Studio & Entrepreneurship – Week 10: Designer, Author, Maker – Case Studies Exploring Trends & Outputs of Influential Studios

Week 10 Lecture & Resources

Thoughts on Resources & Lecture

I found this week’s lecture decidedly thought-provoking. I would agree with Craig Oldham that having clarity about what you want to do, and how you define your role is really important. It’s definitely good to be open to working across, being influenced by or working in collaboration with different disciplines too – this can generate some interesting and unexpected results.


Research: Designers who create authorial work

Alan Kitching

UK Postage Stamp Design for Royal Mail by Alan Kitching. (Image via LongLunch)

Above left: Poster designed by Alan Kitching for his LongLunch design talk in 2016. Above right: The Rules of Typography by Alan Kitching. (Images via LongLunch)


Duncan Shotton

Designer Duncan Shotton (whose works spans product, packaging, graphic and user interface design) has designed, developed and created products full of joy, such as the rainbow pencil shown below.

Rainbow pencil designed by Duncan Shotton.

From dshott.co.uk: “Focusing on designing happiness into everyday things, we use themes such as play, wit and illusion to create tools and objects that converge simple ideas with serious product design.”

Above: products created by Duncan Shotton Design Studio.


Workshop Challenge

Find two examples of designers who demonstrate authorial / making expertise in the delivery of a component of their practice. 

1. Martina Flor

Image via www.martinaflor.com

Martina Flor is a designer who specialises in hand lettering and illustrations with customised typography, as well as being an educator and speaker who nurtures the aspiring typographers of the future. She launched her own design studio in Berlin in 2010 and has created type designs for book covers, editorials, logos, advertising and more.

Flor uses type as a vehicle for telling stories: “Letterforms tell captivating stories. It takes someone with skill, experience and an eye for design to capture the vision of the client and translate it into a stunning piece of lettering – one that stands out, evokes emotions, and tells a captivating brand story.” (Studio Martina Flor 2019)

Some of Martina Flor’s typographic work. (Image via www.martinaflor.com)

She is also the author of a book on type design, The Golden Secrets of Lettering (an instruction manual on how to create your own custom lettering designs) and another, The Big Leap, which is a guide with practical advice on freelancing for creatives.

Flor talks about why she decided to create a lettering handbook on her blog: “I wanted to make a book that would speak to a broad readership under my personal belief that everyone can learn to draw letters. I also wanted it to feel as if the reader was at one of my workshops, with clear visual explanations. As a result, the book is 50% handmade, including sketches done by me, handwritten notes and schematic illustrations that explain in a didactic way how to draw letter shapes.”

I looked at her work previously in the Contemporary Practice module, after watching and being inspired by the lettering design masterclass she hosted as part of Adobe Max 2020.


2. Butcher Billy

Alternative poster design for the cult film Donnie Darko
by Butcher Billy. Image via Redbubble.

Brazillian artist and graphic designer Billy Mariano da Luz goes by the name of Butcher Billy, describing himself as “a pop culture butcher obsessively looking for the perfect cut.” (Redbubble n.d.)

Siouxsie Sioux as the Scarlet Witch (of Marvel Comics fame).
Art by Butcher Billy. Image via Huffington Post.

He creates eye-catching Pop Art style posters in vivid colours, inspired by retro comic book cover art, featuring tongue-in-cheek reimagined versions of familiar pop culture icons, with a heavy emphasis on musicians, including the likes of Blondie, Robert Smith from The Cure, Joy Division and Siouxsie Sioux.

Butcher Billy’s website.
A video showing Butcher Billy in action.

10 Authorial Ideas

  1. A series of alternate album artwork for some of my favourite music albums/record covers.
  2. Album artwork for Storm the Palace, an Edinburgh-based Scottish band I have previously collaborated with on album art & event/gig posters.
  3. A zine celebrating the alternative music scene in Edinburgh (punk/metal/rock and so on), which I’ve been involved with since roughly the late 90s. I’d like to explore different ways of making it/binding it/destroying it, e.g. collage, photocopying, printing, stitching, etc. and finding ephemera such as gig tickets, photographs and old flyers for club nights.
  4. A collection of printed t-shirt designs with typographic illustrations on them.
  5. Alternative printed homewares (for example “Gothic teatowels”).
  6. A self-published book/booklet/artist book of typographic illustrations – an alphabet’s worth. Based on the type I have been hand-lettering whilst taking part in the annual 36 Days of Type design challenge.
  7. A series of illustrative/type-led designs to package a range of high-end artisanal chocolate bars.
  8. Photo book/photo study of found typography & lettering. Possibly focusing on a specific geographical location or themed around signs/street art.
  9. Creating a series of alternative film posters for some of my favourite films.
  10. A set of astrological illustrations/poster designs inspired by the twelve signs of the zodiac.

On the right is some feedback I got on the ideas wall for my list of authorial ideas.


Reflection on the week

Designers are innately creative people, and the ability to creatively solve problems can lend itself well to becoming an entrepreneur. Equally, following one’s passion – as opposed to doing client-facing work – can lead to some really interesting places when it comes to self-initiated work.

Looking at someone like Martina Flor, you can see that her passion for lettering and beautiful typography naturally led to writing on the subject and teaching others about it. There’s a similar theme with Butcher Billy (aka Billy Mariano da Luz) who clearly has a deep love for pop art and clearly revels in this with his witty reimaginings of well-known musicians as comic book characters. The joy of making the work shines through for both individuals when you look at it.  


References

Butcher Billy. 2021. Available at https://www.butcherbilly.com/ [accessed 07/08/2021]

Butcher Billy. 2016. Butcher Billy’s Post-Punk Supervillain Squad [Vimeo user-generated content]. Available at https://vimeo.com/176907131 [accessed 07/08/2021]

COWAN, Katy. 2019. ‘Camille Walala on hard work, perseverance and why it’s important to paint your name as big as possible.’ Creative Boom. Available at
https://www.creativeboom.com/features/camille-walala/ [accessed 04/08/2021]

Duncan Shotton Design Studio. 2021. Available at https://dshott.co.uk/ [accessed 31/08/2021]

FLOR, Martina. 2016. ‘The Book.’ Studio Martina Flor. Available at https://www.martinaflor.com/the-book [accessed 04/08/2021]

FRANK, Priscilla. 2015. ‘And Here Are You (sic) Favorite Post-Punk Rock Stars As Marvel Superheroes.’ Huffington Post. Available at https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/butcher-billy_n_6912738 [accessed 07/08/2021]

Illustration X. 2021. ‘Butcher Billy.’ Available at https://www.illustrationx.com/artists/ButcherBilly [accessed 07/08/2021]

LongLunch. 2016. ‘Alan Kitching.’ Available at http://www.longlunch.com/alan-kitching/ [accessed 07/08/2021]

Redbubble. ‘Butcher Billy.’ Available at https://www.redbubble.com/people/butcherbilly/ [accessed 07/08/2021]

Studio Martina Flor. 2019. Available at https://www.martinaflor.com/ [accessed 04/08/2021]