Based in Nottingham, England, Amy Blackwell is a craftsman and illustrator. Her portfolio demonstrates doodle, painting, printing, knitting, crochet and pretty much anything that is creative and hands on. Ms Blackwell graduated in 2007, shortly after set up an illustration company, and recently partnered with Leanne Narewski to start Audrey and Illya.
Amy Blackwell’s versatility and prolificacy is inspiring. Her blog is constantly boasting numerous fairs and showing off a range of personal projects. To grasp the full extent of Ms Blackwell’s productiveness check out her flickr page.
Philadelphia-based Lydia Nichols is a illustrator, typographer, designer, and teacher (and anthropomorphizer). After an intern at Pixar, Ms Nichols started freelancing. Some of her notable clients including Bloomberg Businessweek, Chronicle Books, Google UK and MailChimp. She has also taught at MICA and Moore, as well a providing a class for Skillshare.
Squeezing the best out of illustrator and photoshop, Ms Nichols’ work is both lucid and tactile. Her illustrations are clear, sprightly and guaranteed to put a smile on your face, if not, just a simper. Child-friendly too, her illustrations use subdued colour and have a Mary Blair/UPA charm to them.
Continuing with our designer/illustrator theme, I present the work of Kevin Mercer. As a freelancer Mr Mercer’s past projects include advertising, editorial illustration, book illustration, brand strategy, logo design, packaging and hand drawn type. On top of freelancing he is now teaching Illustration at The University of the Arts.
Mercer’s combines ink drawings with collage and digital elements. The work is very stripped down, but built up with layers of texture. All the while retaining a handmade feel. His colour choices are fantastic too, they aid the technique and help sell the intentional vintage-looking pieces.
Paul Rand was an American graphic designer, and would have been 100 years old today. Best know for his corporate identity designs. Some of his well famous logo designs include IBM, UPS, Enron, Westinghouse, and ABC.
Mr Rand pulled inspiration from multiple field including art, design, architecture, literature, and philosophy. By having such a vast pool of thought, by experimenting, and by confidently not being original, the work he produced was considered ground-breaking. He also understood the importance of humour in his work, the easiest way to make a client happy is to make them smile.
Mr Rand’s work and words still resonate today. A brilliant place to find both is paul-rand.com. I will leave you with a couple of Mr Rand’s quotes, as one is just never enough.
“Providing, meaning to a mass of unrelated needs, ideas, words and pictures – it is the designer’s job to select and fit this material together and make it interesting.”
“Without aesthetic, design is either the humdrum repetition of familiar clichés or a wild scramble for novelty. Without the aesthetic, the computer is but a mindless speed machine, producing effects without substance. Form without relevant content, or content without meaningful form.”
Olle Eksell is a celebrated and distinguished Swedish graphic designer. He is most famous for his iconic Mazetti Cacao Eye design.
He was born in 1918 in Kopparberg. Mr Eksell, knew from very young age that he wanted to become an advertising illustrator. Between 1930 to 1941, he studied illustration and graphic art in Stockholm. After graduating Mr Eksell found work at the Ervaco advertising agency in Sweden. After getting married however, decided to sail to America where he and his wife continued their studies at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles.
Throughout his career he worked on advertising posters, logos, postcards and products. His avant-garde, yet timeless, approach garnered him membership to the AGI, countless awards, and an honorary Professorship from the Swedish Government.