Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Album Lettering for Paul Carrack's Soul Shadows

It’s been a busy few months and one of the projects I’ve really enjoyed working on is the hand lettering for Paul Carrack’s new album release, Soul Shadows.

The album has come in the wake of Paul Carrack’s time as featured vocalist and keyboard player in Eric Clapton’s band for his UK and international tour, the result of their longtime friendship and mutual respect.

I was commissioned to work on the album title and track list by Ian Ross, an old friend and much respected designer I first worked for over 20 years ago at Bill Smith Design. It was Ian who introduced me to Paul Carrack’s music some years ago, an artist well known in the industry as a ‘musician’s musician’, so I was delighted to have the chance to contribute something to the album design.

With a loose but legible letterform in mind, I decided to work with brush to create a fluid but slightly raw and not ‘too perfect’ line for the lettering. You can see the hand lettered Paul Carrack logo in use on his official website, while the album and track titles are positioned throughout the packaging design in vibrant turquoise to contrast with the soulful greys and blue-blacks of Paul Cox’s moody photography.

You can see more on this project and my hand lettering for the record industry in my music folder.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Pixar Lettering for Wired Magazine

It was exciting to be asked to work on the lettering for Wired Magazine’s fascinating article on Pixar’s John Lasseter.

Referencing early animation titling and sign writing brush script, I was asked to develop a sympathetic style that would work with the dynamic opening page photograph. It’s always great when an art director gives you this sort of challenge, short on time and with quite a bit of copy, I immediately started experimenting with a variety of brushes and papers to get the feel I was after.

Finally settling on this softly textured brush stroke and controlled script form, I completed the title as well as additional lettering throughout the article. As ever with Wired Magazine, it was a pleasure to see how the hand drawn forms complemented the abundant colour photography and vibrant design of the piece.

Click through to my editorial folder to see more of the project.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Simple Minds v The Stranglers Limited Edition Single Lettering

Thrilled to work on the lettering for a new single brought out by these two era-defining bands, Simple Minds and The Stranglers

To celebrate their forthcoming tour together, when The Stranglers will be special guests of Simple Minds, the bands got together to record a version of The Stranglers' 1977 punk classic, '(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)'. Influenced by The Stranglers and the Punk ethos in general, read Jim Kerr's thoughts on first seeing the band live when they performed in Glasgow.

Created with a pen I made specifically to capture the raw energy and anarchism of Punk, I hand lettered the single title and added it to distressed versions of the bands' iconic logos. I had some fun working on a range of options (some of which you can see on my website) before this version was settled on.  It was then printed as a limited edition onto collectible 7" white vinyl in black and vibrant green.

You can see more of my work for Simple Minds and the music industry here.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Cliff Richard Album Lettering, 75 at 75

It was great to be asked to work on Cliff Richard’s latest release, a triple-disc collection of his greatest hits celebrating his 75th birthday, called appropriately, 75 at 75.

It includes a new song, Golden, a tribute to his famously loyal fans and with that in mind, the cover was designed as a visual reminder of his first album cover, Cliff, released in 1959. Devoted fans who have the record in their collection will see that the the original title lettering has been reused in celebration of his 75 years in the industry.

It was good fun getting out my brushes, listening to some of Cliff’s early hits for inspiration and working on the Living Doll and Move It track titles to develop a sympathetic lettering style to the original 50’s lettering.

Happy Birthday Cliff!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

New Logo for St Luke's Hospice

I always enjoy working on branding, so when Ledgard Jepson Design contacted me to help out with a new logo for St Luke’s Hospice, Sheffield, I jumped at the chance.

Ledgard Jepson, specialists in branding and well known for their recent rebrand of Birmingham Museums Trust, worked closely with the client to develop a logo that evokes a positive, upbeat message. After much care and consideration, it was decided this was best achieved with a piece of custom lettering, giving St Luke’s Hospice a unique, hand drawn mark that is instantly recognisable. 

Once briefed, I collaborated with the creative team at Ledgard Jepson, providing initial brush drawn options. These were gradually developed and drawn up digitally, while taking care to retain the hand drawn appeal of the script.

The warm colour, soft curves and playful nod at smiles and hearts keep the lettering fresh and friendly, while the bold weight and clean design give it the visual strength to work across a range of applications.

You can see more of my lettering for branding in the logos folder on my portfolio website.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Hand Lettered Pilot Pens Ad Campaign

It was great to be asked to work on this follow up campaign for Pilot Pens.

Each ad was hand written using the featured pen. I had great fun working with the stylish erasable FriXion Clicker, the edgy MR Animal Collection fountain pen and the intriguing and beautifully designed Vanishing Point, with its unusual retractable fountain pen nib. The perfect job for someone who loves pens!

If you’d like to see more of my work for Pilot Pens or advertising in general click through to my website.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Lettering for Bill Wyman - Back to Basics Album

Having worked on his website logo, I was delighted to be asked to work on the latest Bill Wyman album - Back to Basics.

His first solo album here in the UK since 1982, Back to Basics is stripped back, clean and accomplished. To reflect this approach, I kept it simple - working with pencil, I produced sheet after sheet of name and title script until the forms were fluid and relaxed, yet still legible. I’ve been working quite a bit with pencil recently and have enjoyed exploring its versatility as a lettering tool.

The theme was continued on the album inlay with song titles drawn and fitted to the shape of Bill’s guitar, with matching script on the disc labelling and the single, What & How & If & When & Why.

You can see more of my work for Bill Wyman and the music industry on my portfolio site.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Demonstrating Lettering at Art in Action: 16th-19th July

I was excited when Art in Action asked me to show my work and demonstrate at Waterperry House, Oxford this Summer. Last year the event had around 25,000 visitors over four days and as a regular attender myself, I can personally vouch for the wonderful atmosphere that keeps visitors coming back. Originally set up in the ‘70s as a way to showcase how artists work in studio, it’s a rare opportunity to meet and talk with professional artists about their work methods and professional lives.

The organisers are renowned for their attention to detail and the care they take of visitors and exhibitors, ensuring a high standard of work and a wonderful array of artwork from sculpture, glassblowing and textiles to printmaking, calligraphy and illustration and much more besides. If you have an interest in art and you’ve never been before, you have a treat in store.

I’ll be talking about my life as a lettering artist, chatting about some of the well know and less well known jobs I’ve worked on and demonstrating with some of my favourite brushes and pens. If you’ve been following me on my Facebook Page, you’ll know I’ve been steadily creating new work for the event over the past few months, inspired by some of my favourite books. 

If you’d like to take a piece of my work home, I’ll be selling A3 limited edition prints over the four days at Art in Action.

Small handmade cards will also be on sale, inspired by my calligraphy and ephemera collection.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Lettering for Van Morrison Duets: Re-working the Catalogue

I was thrilled to be asked to work on musical icon, Van Morrison’s latest album release, Duets: Re-working the Catalogue on RCA Records.

Having steered away from some of his more well-known classics, Van Morrison enlisted the help of some of the artists he most respects to perform and re-craft the songs with him.

This theme of re-working is reflected in the sketchbook feel of the design with pencil lettering, notes and doodles used throughout the CD cover, booklet and disc. Sensitively designed by Michela Comisso, I was asked to reference Van Morrison’s own notebooks and handwriting for style, complimenting the soft hues and textured papers of Michela’s beautifully conceived packaging.

If you’d like to see more of my album cover work check out the music folder on my portfolio website or follow my day-to-day posts from the studio on my new Facebook Page.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Smartphone Satellite Lettering for Wired Magazine

It was great to work with stylish Wired Magazine again on this fascinating article about satellite technology, the story of how DIY team, Planet Labs, 'used smartphone tech and energy bars to take on national governments …’

This textural marker pen lettering adds a casual touch to the vibrant imagery and clean typography throughout the article. Its informal ‘notepad’ layout, arrows and underscores reflecting the hands on approach of Planet Labs as they launch satellites, using off-the-shelf smartphone components and in-house production to monitor our real-time world.

If you’d like to see more of my work with Wired Magazine you’ll find it in the editorial folder on my website.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Hand Lettering for Simple Minds Big Music Tour Guide

It was great to be working for Simple Minds again - producing the hand rendered lettering for the beautifully designed 2015 Big Music Tour Guide.

In keeping with the ongoing trend for vernacular lettering, this tonal brush lettering is laid over the atmospheric tour shots, capturing and intensifying the immediacy of the moment. The bright, raw lettering compliments the vibrant photography and adds a pop of colour to moody grayscale shots.

If you’d like to see more of my Simple Minds work, check out the music folder on my website.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Save Kids Lives Poster

I love it when my work supports a good cause, so when Scholastic contacted me to work on a poster for Save Kids Lives, I jumped at the chance.

Scholastic, Safe Kids Worldwide, and its partners invite families to help keep kids safe on the road. More than 500 children die every day in traffic crashes and thousands more are injured. This inventive new campaign offers parents and teachers information and advice to highlight the problem to policymakers by writing letters and posting #safies or selfies online. The sites include family action packs and curriculum-focused road safety awareness lessons amongst a wealth of other helpful information.

My part in the campaign was to design and illustrate a poster for inclusion on both parent and teacher sites. Entitled, Our Declaration for Global Road Safety, its aim is both to appeal to and speak out for children. I wanted to keep it upbeat with bright, eye-catching colours and had fun combining naive letterforms, stencilling and textures with simple spot illustrations. A pdf of the poster is available to download on both parent and teacher sites.

If you have a minute, support the cause and sign the Child Declaration to help keep our kids safe on the roads.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Sketch Advertising Agency Promotional Lettering

Innovative British advertising agency, Sketch asked me to work on their new website and promotional material.

Tonal wild and loose lettering reflected their fresh and creative approach to projects. I was delighted to see the work come alive with animated title screens throughout their site. You can browse the animated pieces here.

In the words of Sketch’s Head of Design and Technology, Luke Wotton:

"We were looking for something that expressed the business ethos of Sketch on an emotional level. Ruth's work communicates the passion and commitment that we all have to creativity here."

Want to see me in action? See me demonstrating gestural calligraphy here.