Top designers reveal their dream dinner party guests

Christmas is just around the corner. No doubt you've already got dinner plans sorted – maybe sitting down with the in-laws, overcooked turkey, a side of passive aggression – but what if, what if… you were going to your dream design dinner party instead. That's not really a thing. We made it up. But it's got you thinking, right? 

We asked a bunch of our favourite creatives the same question and it got them thinking too. Here's the deal: Five-courses of your favourite food, the finest wines available to humanity, and the company of three other designers, dead or alive. Who would you choose, and why? 

Amongst their responses, there are some of the most famous graphic designers, but there are also some left-field choices. Read on for some super inspiring, highly creative, and downright bonkers dinner tables. 

Salvador Dalí, Freddie Mercury and Joshua Davis

Salvador Dali, Freddie Mercury and Joshua Davis

"First, Salvador Dalí, a great artist, but, as well, a great designer: he created the logo of Chupa Chups among others," says graphic designer of Yarza Twins (opens in new tab) Marta Yarza. "Can you imagine having a surreal dinner with Dali? Yes, us neither. Next, Freddie Mercury, as he was a graphic designer before becoming a legend! We are pretty sure that he was really fun to hang out with. Did you see that picture of him with a Rolls Royce birthday cake (opens in new tab)? F*ck yeah! 

"And Joshua Davis (opens in new tab): we had the great pleasure of meeting him during OFFF Barcelona and couldn't have laughed more with him. We're sure that he will be the perfect guest to manage a drunk Mercury and a drunk Dalí with ease and grace."

Beatrice Warde, Daniel Benneworth-Gray and Luke Tonge

Beatrice Warde, Daniel Benneworth-Gray and Luke Tonge

"I would certainly pick the first lady of type, Beatrice Warde – not a designer strictly but a lady of huge influence on our profession," says designer and typographer Nicole Arnett Phillips (opens in new tab). "Of course, because you’re serving us the finest of wine we could totally unpack the crystal goblet metaphor over the starter. But I would also love to talk to her about typographic authorship, contemporary trends in layout and, selfishly, my research, and a random theory I have about Stanley Morrison's strategic intentions for Monotype during Warde’s time as marketing manager there. 

"With Beatrice at the head of the table I think you’d need publishing talent to fuel the conversation, so I would choose Daniel Benneworth-Gray, as his book design is outstanding, and I find his writing insightful and smart so would assume that follows to his conversation. And my friend Luke Tonge (opens in new tab), an editorial design wizard, would be amazing company. Luke works with Monotype today, designing the Recorder, and would absolutely stoke the fires of our type in print conversation.

Simon Mottram, John Lasseter and Bridget Riley

Simon Mottram, John Lasseter and Bridget Riley

"Now," says owner and co-founder SomeOne (opens in new tab) Simon Manchipp, "normally I’d pick the three partners of SomeOne, Gary, Laura and David. But I’m guessing you want more than that here. So. Simon Mottram, founder of Rapha (opens in new tab). I want all their stuff all the time. I would love to know how he’s designed a brand that is deeply difficult to resist. Next, John Lasseter, founder at Pixar. Storytelling is the greatest asset of any brand. This guys the master designer of stories. He’s going to be a great guest. Third guest: Bridget Riley (opens in new tab). She’s designed some of the most incredible images in contemporary culture. They always stop me in my tracks. I’d love to meet her.

Charles 'Chuck' Harrison, Jan Švankmajer and Elon Musk

Charles "Chuck" Harrison, Jan Švankmajer and Elon Musk

"First, Charles “Chuck” Harrison, often titled as the most prolific African-American industrial designer," says Hjalti Karlsson, co-founder and partner at karlssonwilier (opens in new tab). "He designed countless products for Sears and other companies, including power tools, hair driers, riding lawn mowers, and the first plastic garbage can (at the time of it's release all garbage cans were metal). 

"Next, the Czech artist and filmmaker Jan Švankmajer []. Been a big fan of his work for years. He is the “God” of stopmotion animation. I must have watched his short movie Food like 50 times. And, finally, since I am the biggest fan of Elon Musk and Tesla, I would love to meet and talk to Elon and his chief designer at Tesla, Franz von Holzhausen, who has been responsible for the overall design of all Tesla models to date." 

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Alexis Taïeb and Dame Zaha Hadid

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Alexis Taïeb and Dame Zaha Hadid

"Designer one: Charles Rennie Mackintosh," says lettering artist and graphic designer Craig Black (opens in new tab). "The Glasgow art nouveau and art deco artist and architect, is the pioneer of Scottish art and design. His unique, innovative style would change the art world forever. His beautiful, simple designs are loved by many all over the world. I would love to chat and find out more about him and his process. 

"Designer two: Alexis Taïeb. better known as Tyrsa (opens in new tab), is a French hand-drawn type master. Tyrsa attacks any kind of brief with a huge amount of energy and delivers polished, highly appealing digital and handmade work ranging from murals, posters, and enormous installations to small, detailed packaging designs. I first came across Tyrsa's work in uni and that was what inspired me to become a lettering artist.  

"Designer three: Dame Zaha Hadid (1950-2016), an Iraqi-born British architect whose soaring structures left a mark on skylines and imaginations around the world, and in the process reshaped architecture for the modern age. Her work has continued to inspire me and actually led me down the path of design so I would love to have the chance to say thank you."

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Gary Evans is a journalist with a passion for creative writing. He's recently finished his Masters in creative writing, but when he's not hitting the books, he loves to explore the world of digital art and graphic design. He was previously staff writer on ImagineFX magazine in Bath, but now resides in Sunderland, where he muses on the latest tech and writes poetry.