Sunday, 27 December 2009

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a creative and prosperous year ahead.

Monday, 14 December 2009

The Very Best of Enya

I was thrilled when asked to work on the booklet for The Very Best of Enya album, a wonderful retrospective of her musical career spanning 20 years released this Christmas by Warner Records.

The commission involved hand lettering key lyrics for the CD which were then dropped over these sumptuous photographs by Simon Fowler. A very collectible Limited Edition Box Set of deluxe CD/DVD and 12" vinyl picture disc has also been released in which all the lyrics are hand lettered. Her original logo has been retained and my hand lettering used as a visual link throughout the inside of the booklet.

Anyone who is familiar with my work will know that I started freelancing as a lettering artist in the 1980's working primarily for the record industry. Enya released her debut album in 1987 to much acclaim and it's been great to get the opportunity to work for her after all these years.

If you'd like see who else I've worked for click through to my music folder on my portfolio site and if you'd like to buy The Very Best of Enya you'll find it available on Enya's official website.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Speak Out For Understanding

It was great to be was asked by the Southern Poverty Law Center to illustrate an article in their magazine Teaching Tolerance. It talks about a powerful and moving film created by a group of students at Vermont High School, USA. Made on a tiny budget, Speak Out For Understanding, the award winning documentary gives viewers a close look at the real lives of four students who have learning disabilities and tries to teach a new way of talking about people who have them.

My work included a full page opening illustration, title lettering and a spot illustration for the magazine article. You can see how the illustrations work in their page layouts in my editorial folder in my portfolio. It was such an inspirational subject that I put together several roughs - this 'note pad' style proving to be the most popular with the design team at SPLC. The casual marker pen lettering, scribbles and doodles echoing the students enthusiastic approach to their subject.

If you'd like to learn more about SOFU, you can go to the projects webpage.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

CAFOD Posters

Primary School Poster

Secondary School Poster

Collection Envelope

I was delighted when asked to work on the hand drawn lettering for the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development's Harvest Fast Day Pack - comprising of two posters and a collection envelope. The packs are distributed to primary and secondary schools and draw the attention of both teacher and pupils to the current fund raising theme. This year it's the rights of the child and the focus country is Brazil.

It was great to work with the creative team at CAFOD, who made the job easy with an organised, informative brief and thoughtful art direction throughout. The stunning poster photography by Marcella Haddad also inspired my choice of lettering, spot illustrations and colours - a playful approach to a serious subject.

To learn more about this worthy project click through to the CAFOD site where you can find videos and downloadable resource materials (including pdfs of the posters!).

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Eid Mubarak!

The festival of Eid starts on the 20th September this year and if you'd like to celebrate by sending a card I have this one available for sale with 12% of the order value going to charity.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Aruba Revisited!

Following the success of the first campaign earlier this year, Lowe NY asked me to develop some more lettering and spot illustrations to promote the beautiful island of Aruba.

The lettering is created specifically to give each Aruban a distinctive voice - personalising the poster campaign in keeping with it's central theme: 'ARUBA - 90,000 FRIENDS YOU HAVEN'T MET YET.' These large format posters can be seen throughout the US on subways and bus shelters. See the first campaign in the advertising folder on my portfolio site.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Map for Wall Street Journal

In a month when I've been working for the UK, Germany, France and the US - I was delighted to receive an e-mail from Hong Kong requesting a map for the illustrious Wall Street Journal, Asia.
A piece for their travel section, the brief was to illustrate a walk around the vibrant city of Brisbane, picking out key features from the accompanying article and tracing the path of the walk through the city. It was great fun to work on - having never been to Brisbane I now harbour a burning desire to visit - and I shouldn't have any problems finding my way around!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Jewel of a Job for the Emerald Isle

Rodney Miller Associates asked me to help them design a hand lettered logo for the Park Avenue Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 

The design team were working on rebranding and repositioning the hotel after extensive refurbishment. They wanted to achieve an identity that would reflect the hotel's 4 star status while emphasising it's independence, style and charm in a market that's flooded with 'big brands'. The fresh and stylish new identity is aimed at drawing in a younger clientele while retaining the existing customers of this friendly, family run hotel.

A hand lettered logo can help give a unique personality to a brand which makes it stand out from the crowd. Working with the designers, I was pleased to see how well the finished logo reflects the hotel's stylish decor while giving it a friendly, approachable first impression.

A strong family link with Northern Ireland means I'm always happy to work on jobs with a link to this beautiful isle. I've also worked on the Irish Tourist Board logo which you can see on my portfolio. 

Friday, 29 May 2009

Students: Starting Out

I've been working as a lettering artist and illustrator for 20 years this year.  Since publishing my personal portfolio site a year ago I've had quite a few e-mails from students asking me how I started out. 

If you've read my profile, you'll know that I studied for a BA in illustration at Newcastle upon Tyne. My work started to change direction in the third year of my BA - I became fascinated with letter forms (and 20 years later I still am). I applied for an MA at Central St Martins in order to push my work further and spent the time exploring the expressive and illustrative possibilities of hand lettering and type. I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about how I fitted into the industry - my work has always spanned
the divide between lettering and illustration - but I did do a huge amount of work and in hindsight, that has proved to be an incredibly useful foundation for my whole career.

Like most students I wasn't clear about my direction when I left art college to start freelancing. I'd done a few freelance jobs while still a student - most notably some work for 4AD Records - Vaughan Oliver was a visiting lecturer when I was studying my BA. Computers were still in their infancy so the only tools I had to promote myself were a portfolio of work and a batch of postcards. However, I did a lot of research into the sort of design that interested me and made appointments to see a lot of people. At the beginning this was all pretty nerve wracking but it was well worth the effort. 

It can be a slow process building up a business. You may be lucky enough to get a high profile job that rockets you to fame and fortune but most people just keep working away at it. Self promotion is important - they can't use you if they don't know you exist. Over time you find what you're comfortable with - what fits your time, budget and personality - then you just have to persevere. I gradually built up quite a few contacts in the record industry and eventually began to work for such artists as Elton John, Joan Armatrading, UB40Duran Duran and the Rolling Stones

Over the years my portfolio has expanded to include a much wider range of work - for publishing, packaging, advertising,editorial, fashion as well as general design. Some briefs can be quite relaxed and open while others have quite specific requirements. This variation is one of the things I like most about freelancing - it keeps it interesting. When you're starting out - tackling new jobs can be pretty daunting. The Association of Illustrators can be of help if you're in the UK, they've published a useful book - The Illustrator's Guide to Law and Business Practice by Simon Stern and if you're still unsure you can ring them up and ask advice. I still do this myself  - sometimes a second opinion is really helpful. Another handy link is the Stockport College blog for illustration graduates with practical advice about how to set up and run a small business. 

Good Luck!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

New logo for Cadbury's Roses

I was asked to work on a new logo for Cadbury's popular chocolate assortment, Roses.

Introduced in 1938, the distinctive blue packaging, in the style of a Dorothy handbag, has been retained. Textured, spontaneous, brush lettering combined with clean, graphic illustration freshen up the design and give it a more contemporary feel. The new logo can even be seen reproduced on each brightly coloured wrapper - which is a nice touch. It's always great to work on a  popular brand, particularly when you have fond memories of it from your childhood!

You can see more of my packaging work in my word>packaging folder on my website.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Saltwater Logo

The current issue of Design Week features a logo I worked on with the creative team at Work Design, Leicester. It's a new identity for Saltwater, a seafood restaurant in St Ives, Cornwall, so it seemed appropriate to use fresh, textural marks and sweeping lines. To see more of my logos take a look at the word>corporate folder on my website.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Aruba Ad Campaign for Lowe New York

Lowe New York's new Aruba campaign features a range of my hand lettering. It was an exciting job for me as Creative Director, Raj Kamble, wanted the copy on each ad to really express the personality of the subject. The challenge was to 'get inside their heads' so that each style was different and said something about their personalities. 

Nothing does this better than hand lettering which can be fine-tuned to suit an individual piece, giving each design a unique voice. The ads spotlight a selection of seven Arubans, letting us experience a little of each of their lives on this beautiful island.

To see the full set in detail just click through to the advertising folder in my portfolio, they include - the Surfers, Wedding Planner, Head Chef, Head Golf Professional, Musician, Nature Tour Guide, and Spa Owner.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Lettering for Country Living Magazine

Country Living have often asked me to contribute work to the magazine and it was a good start to the year with my hand lettering on articles in the  January, February and March issues. 'Spring' and 'From Lamb to Loom' are individual article headers while 'The Good Life' will run across a series of articles over the next few months. The lovely blobby illustrations are by Lotte Oldfield and my lettering was specifically created to work with her style. The fetching blue bottomed lambs are by painter Kate Lynch and my lettering is inspired by the subject - the knotting of wool on the loom.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Science & Islam Title Lettering for the BBC

I was asked to work on a title for the new three part TV series for the BBC, Science & Islam.

It's a fascinating series tracing the scientific renaissance that took place in the medieval Islamic world. It's a personal journey for the physicist Jim Al-Khalili as he travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain narrating the story.

I worked with talented designer Nicky Thompson at Creative Saints to help put together the animated title sequence which involved multiple layers of lettering and decorative elements. I always enjoy collaborating on projects but I have to admit that seeing my work in motion added an extra element of excitement!

The series can be seen this January on BBC4 or you can catch up with the series on the wonderful BBC iplayer. There's also a book published to accompany the series that uses the same title lettering.

Book Cover Samples

I've been updating the Publishing page on my site before archiving some proofs I received during 2008. I've posted a couple of my favourites here but you can see the rest at the top of my Word>Publishing page.