So I did no work updates last year, tut, tut. Mostly because I was just doing the work, and because I was a bit overwhelmed with everything that I was trying to deal with. But it is important to me to share this stuff, I want to make the time to recognise what I’ve actually achieved. I want to be able to look back myself in the future and remember these things, and the blog feels like the easiest way to do that. I’m back in London now, and already back on the madness of the merry go round of work, exercise, friends, food, Netflix and sleep, but I want to take a look at what have I actually been up to.
THAMES & HUDSON FOR THE V&A
Well, I started off last year by illustrating another book for Thames & Hudson. I went in, got briefed and collected the Art Deco colouring book I had illustrated. I then spent a month working on a creative workbook on wallpaper patterns. The idea being you could colour in some patterns, complete the repeat and also design your own creations. I got a copy of this one a few months ago and the hard work paid off. The book looks great, the intricate drawings of some of the most famous patterns look incredible printed.
I also spent the whole year working on Sagitta which has come to mean such a lot to me and it’s such a privilege to work on. The reason Sagitta was started was to inspire people to take care of their own health through preventing sickness. The products they make are there to stop you from getting ill in the first place and the tips and advice that we share on the website are there to stop any problems you might come across happening or from getting worse. The idea is to enable people to live their best lives without any major health issues. I spent the whole of last year working on a healthy habit each week for the blog, trying things and seeing if they stick. Some definitely have and my life is better for it, working on this brand is working its own magic on me. Which just leaves me to believe in the idea behind it even more. I can’t wait to see what we come up with in the future.
RAWKIN VEGAN & MIA LAAKSO
My favourite projects are always branding projects. I really love thinking about the creativity behind a new name, and thinking about building the best looking and most relevant identity I can and trying to see how that can work as part of a strategic vision for how they come across to the world. I had the pleasure of working on Rawkin Vegan, which is initially looking to start out by creating incredible vegan burgers for the world to try – which I can’t wait to see become a reality. I was really proud of this work as everything has knit together to create something super inline with the brand and there’s so much to build on there. I also got to work on some branding for Mia Laakso, a sustainable textiles brand (though the name may change) but I’m absolutely loving where the logo design for this is at the moment as well.
One of the biggest projects of the year that I had was being commissioned by Cineworld to concept and design their gifting range. I brought Olly who I worked with at Ogilvy onboard to work with me as a creative team, and while it was quite a beast of a project I feel like we absolutely smashed it – both pushing each other to work better. It went on for a lot longer than we initially expected but Cineworld took on an idea that both of us believed in. We had to come up with the creative idea, all the designs, copy, artwork etc for the gift card range and surrounding promotional pieces – the wallets, the carriers, the posters and stands all just in time for Christmas but with a whole year of assets planned out and created. It was a bit of a knackering process but I’m pretty proud of what we’ve achieved.
BUZZFEED FOR TESCO & WORTH IT UK
Antonia, the lovely art director at Buzzfeed, brought me in to photograph a post for Tesco where people spoke about their family traditions at Christmas. She briefed me the initial concept and we both worked to push the idea and art direction further and worked like an absolute dream team during the shoot days. It was so much fun working with her: we went to uni together and we’re totally on the same wavelength. It was so much fun shooting and I got some really wonderful portraits as well as great feedback from the client.
Antonia also recommended me for an illustration brief for Buzzfeed Worth It UK. It was a very random, quick brief but it’s really cool to see that something I’ve drawn is on a video that’s had over 1.5M views. I’m also currently wrapping up another quick illustration brief for another video project for them.
THE BODY SHOP
Early in the year I freelanced at The Body Shop and had the pleasure of working on Christmas concepts with the team. It was mad to see that something I thought up, had been photographed by Rankin. And when the time came, I got to see that poster front and centre of the stores I visited. I’ve spent the last two months of the year working there on one of the biggest product launches of next year, absolutely knackering but very exciting. I’m currently back there for another fun stint with the lovely team.
I’ve worked with the Cath Collins team again to create their Christmas catalogue for the second year running, alongside some promotional material for the brand. I’m so excited to continue working on this and can’t wait to see where we can take the brand as I really believe that there’s something special to the fragrances they offer and believe that the people I’m working with have got a great vision under their hats.
I also helped out on Good.Loop. Amy – a brilliant girl who I worked with at Ogilvy started working on a project to use advertising for good. You watch an advert for 15 seconds and a brand donates money on your behalf to a charity of your selection. We have been working on an array of designs & ideas for digital ads to catch peoples eyes, testing & refining these to see what people engage with the most. We’ve also been testing the video player designs and it’s been really interesting to work with a team of people who really believe that advertising can have a positive impact. I’m excited to do more of this this year. This one was one of my favourites.
I also continued to work with the lovely charity First Story. These guys were the first people to ever give me a freelance job on the side setting me on course for this journey. I had the pleasure of working on their annual report and also did one or two book cover designs for their Anthologies that they produce with the students they get involved with.
My friend Clementine teaches for General Assembly in London and she connected me to a lovely designer called Susi in New York who was looking for help producing illustrative assets for the brand. She has definitely provided the most thorough briefs I’ve ever come across which made my job extremely easy.
I’ve also been working on the branding for my own studio which I really, really, really want to get started this year. I’ve worked in some places where I’ve felt the names have been a little questionable… So I’ve tried to put a lot of thought into the one I’ve picked. I wanted it to sound nice when you say it but not necessarily be a recognisable word, and I also wanted it to be memorable. So after playing around with some meaningful things I’ve decided to name it after my mum: taking inspiration from her first name and middle name. She’s someone who has given me the absolute best start in life she could, despite having the troubles of trying to keep everything afloat on her own. She taught me the value of hard work, supported me in everything I’ve done even if she not been 100% sure about it – like doing art instead of triple science. She inspires me to do good by people: She’s a carer for the elderly and I admire her so much for her empathy, compassion, good humour and integrity when she’s doing the work she does even when it’s so hard. She’s given me life in several senses of the word, so I want to be able to continue her legacy and the values she instilled in me – in my studio. Because without her, I wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t be doing the work I’m doing.
I also was lucky enough to be interviewed by a lovely girl called Megan for her blog where she’s doing a series of interviews with creative women. That’s it pretty much for last year. I know roughly what I’m up to till May, working with clients old and new and loving that everyone I’m working with is aspiring to do something positive in the world. Whether it’s by doing something small that leaves an impression on people that makes them feel good, or by trying to do something to change it a little for the better. I’m excited to see what 2018 has to offer.