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Design inspiration from around the world.

What the FFF?

Founded in 2005 by an ever growing group of designers, illustrators, coders and makers eager to collect and share the best design work they came across, FormFiftyFive soon became an international showcase of creative work.

We scour the world’s best creative talent to keep FormFiftyFive a foremost collection of current design from both the young upstarts and well known masters. We’re constantly on the look out for new features that dig even deeper into what’s happening in the design community, so get in touch if there’s something you’ld like to see on here.

Have a look round, if you see something you love or hate be sure to comment, and drop us a line if there’s a juicy bit of creative gold you’d like to see on here.

Keep it real, the FFF team.

The FFF team

Glenn Garriock — 1463 posts
Graphic designer – Uetze, Germany

Jack Daly — 1133 posts
Graphic designer & Illustrator – Glasgow,…

Lois Daly — 45 posts
Lois Daly – Graphic Designer, Glasgow

Alex Nelson — 64 posts
Designer/coder – Leeds/London/Melbourne

Guy Moorhouse — 45 posts
Independent designer and technologist — London,…

Gil Cocker — 316 posts
London based designer and maker who…

Barry van Dijck — 124 posts
Designer & Illustrator – Breda, The Netherlands

Gui Seiz — 135 posts
Graphic Designer – London, UK

Chris J
Chris Jackson — 68 posts
Graphic Designer – Leeds, UK

Tom Vining
Tom Vining — 12 posts
Graphic Designer – London, UK

Tommy Borgen
Tommy Borgen — 15 posts
Graphic Designer – Oslo, Norway

Clinton Duncan — 24 posts
Creative director – Sydney, Australia

Amanda Jones — 24 posts
Graphic Designer – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Gabriela Salinas — 14 posts
Graphic designer – Monterrey, México.

Felicia Aurora Eriksson
Felicia Aurora Eriksson — 4 posts
Graphic Designer – Melbourne, Australia

Got something for us?

If there’s a juicy bit of creative gold you’d like to see on FFF, or you’d just like to get in touch, email us on the address below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

You can also check out our guide to the perfect submission here.

Looking for something?

Categories rowsEverything Interviews Books Events Jobs



Interview: OFFF founder Héctor Ayuso

In preparation of the OFFF digital media festival in May 2014 we are launching a series of interviews with selected speakers from the event. To kick things off we spoke to OFFF founder Héctor Ayuso about some of the challenges he faced organising the festival.

Hello Héctor, would you mind briefly introducing yourself to our readers.

Introducing yourself must be the trickiest thing you could do, but well I’m Héctor Ayuso, I’m a curator and OFFF Festival’s founder and director, also known for a huge Sigur Ros fanatic that owns thousands of blu-rays back at home. Hope that sums it up!

I read somewhere that you came up with the idea for the OFFF and launched it that same day. What was the biggest challenge organising that first event?

That is true, and I can never count the times someone has asked me this question and I really hope every time my answer will influence most of the people out there with a strong passion to do something. Basically the biggest challenge I have ever faced is the fact that I had no previous experiences in such things and I had no idea what I was doing. I had a passion to do create something new, a place where people could gather, meet and get inspired by the awesome talents we have out there. I would say that I probably lost a lot of money in my first event, but that only taught me something new every year. And once you have a strong will to do something, you fall, you pick yourself up and you basically learn how to do it better each time.

We’re all glad you persisted! What would your one piece of advice be to someone who is thinking of organising a talk or event.

If you want to do something, just do it, go all the way till the end until you achieve that goal. And that’s the main reason OFFF has been going on for its 14th edition now. Another important piece of advice: don’t think about the event’s profits, don’t organise something focusing on the money that you will make or any such thing. Focus on your audience and give them something that will change their life and this will give you the opportunity of success.

Read more


Competition — 15/115

To celebrate the launch of 15/115 – the second book from Graphic Designer Mark Bloom, better know as Mash Creative, we are giving away a signed copy and an exclusive print!

The book features 115 projects spanning Mark’s 15 year career to date and is divided into three chapters: Posters, Logos & Case studies. It’s beautifully printed on a tactile mix of GFSmith papers. With a white foiled cover, thread sewn spine for lay-flat spreads and fluorescent orange ink to help break up the sections, showing a great care for detail. No decent designers bookshelf should be missing a copy!

And as a special treat we also throwing in a signed Grid Effiency poster Mark designed for Dixon Baxi’s Join The Dot series. There are only 10 of these fluorescent green A2 poster in existence and they have never been made available to buy.

To enter the competition…

Simply tell us what you think is the most significant branding design project of the past 15 years. Tweet your answer and tag it #FFFifteen, leave a comment on our Facebook page or comment below before 9th August 2013.

Good luck!

– Available to buy at This is our shop for £22.50.


Interview: Jeffrey Bowman

This week we launched out latest interactive masthead collaboration with Jeffrey Bowman. We had a chance to chat to the illustrator and designer, who left the UK for a log cabin in the Norwegian country side, to ask him about his new surroundings and how he had to adapt his working process.

Hi Jeffrey, can you tell us a little about where you are these days and what lead you to Norway.

At the moment I’m based in a place called Hemsedal, which is a mountain village about 4 hours north of Oslo. It’s a pretty incredible place, based around an active outdoor lifestyle. In winter it’s Norway’s snowboard capital and in summer it turns into a hive of outdoor activities from climbing, hiking, fishing, camping, downhill mountain biking and so much more. It’s a super chilled place with a really easy pace of life, which is one of the reasons I ended up here.   One of my students from my time at Shillington College lives here, so I came out to visit last summer. I love the mountains and being outdoors, hiking, climbing and snowboarding and the lifestyle that goes with it, so when I came to visit for 3 weeks I fell in love with the place. I was really sad to leave after my trip, it was like I’d found my second home, so I decided that it was a lifestyle I wanted, so packed up and moved here in January.   Everything is possible here, in summer the 19 hours of sunlight means you can do so much with each day, we call them ‘double days’. I go to the studio do 5-6 hours of work and then head out to explore. Winter is different the daylight is around 5-6 hours and its down to -25 for a lot of the time so you spend your time between boarding and working.   And if I’m honest I really got wore down by the city and the 8-6 everyday, I never felt like I had a life, it got tipped way out of balance, juggling a full-time teaching job and freelance. Plus dealing with the daily encounters of Manchester. I loved my time there and the people I met, but city life can be tough and ugly, so I opted out. I still have dreams or ‘nightmares’ of being back in a city and not being able to get back to Norway haha. At the moment I do feel like I’ll be sticking here for a few years, it’s the right lifestyle for me. I’ve swapped sirens for the sweet bird sounds and the chavs for mountains.

What’s your new work space like?

I work in a log cabin called ‘Igloo’. It’s in the village centre, set up as a shared studio space by Anki Grothe (photographer) and Mari Soderholm (graphic design and former student of mine). It’s a really cool space, it’s as authentic as you can get! I love working down here, I think anyone freelancing needs a space to work, and for me it’s the dream I’ve always had, a cabin tucked away in the mountains.   The creative community here is really strong so people come by to work from here a lot, and we have regular exhibitions from local creatives. There is a good sense of community and it’s building stronger as we go. 

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just finished the cover of issue 15 of The Albion BMX magazine (it should have been issue 13 but it got put back and added too quite a lot), it’s been quite a ride doing that and I’m super stoked to see it finished. It’s 15 famous BMX spots from around the world made into one crazy ‘dream’ spot! I’m also working on more promo material and branding for Sheffield Uni. Also a range of longboard and decks for a Brazilian skate company and off the back of that I think I’ll be re-branding them too. And I’m also working on a ton of other small branding projects including Sim Warren who is a videographer, working on graphics and branding for his video ’64 Days’ which documents his trip through the national parks of America filming the wildlife and mountains.   And as always I have personal projects I’m working on, one of which i’m currently in talks with to produce a book all being well.

Read more


POINT Conference – Review

David Hieatt talks about his new company Hiut Denim. Photograph ©Davy Jones 2013.

At the beginning of May we attended London’s latest design conference POINT. Boasting some big names from the design world including, Erik SpiekermannMorag MyerscoughJonathan Barnbrook and video interviews from Alan Fletcher and Milton Glaser the bar was already being set pretty high. POINT took place over two days at Royal Institute of British Architects in London’s west end, the choice of venue (with it’s wooden panelled theatre walls, grand entrance stair cases and architectural-orientated bookshops) and list of speakers set an intellectual and academic tone to the conference.

With just one theatre for all the speakers there was a lot of speakers to get through in both days. For the most part this meant short 30 minute talks in order to stick to a tight formal schedule which kept talks concise and focused. Unfortunately this didn’t leave much time for questions both from the live audience or via Twitter. As both days progressed speakers towards the end of the day were given hour long slots which, for the like of Morag Myerscough and Matt Webb gave the audience a much deeper insight into their work.

Read more


Steer – a novice’s review

Some of you may remember last month’s Steer feature, where we introduced the London-based team of developers and designers, who aimed to teach people to code. From scratch. In one week.

It was Steer’s one week commitment that most intrigued us, so we sent FFF’er Jack Daly – a complete coding novice – to check out the course and report back.

Find out how he got on…

Day 1

After a 3.30AM rise to make the Glasgow to London sleepless train I had been a little worried that a lack of Z’s might leave me a off the pace for the day ahead – those fears were only compounded when the train ground to a standstill for an hour, meaning I wouldn’t make the 10am class start.

I needn’t have worried.

Even turning up a full hour after the class began, the Steer team made sure I didn’t miss out. Rik went through the various lessons at a pace everyone could keep up with, and even though i’d missed the start Tim was straight on hand with one-on-one tuition to cover everything i’d previously missed. By lunch I was fully up to speed.

On the first day – and throughout the week – everyone was well fed and watered, with a variety of fresh fruit, pastries and nibbles available, before a lunch of salad’s, wraps and sandwiches. There was also a steady flow of tea and coffee.

The first morning was spent going through the basics of HTML or “the bones of the internet”. We learnt how to structure basic content, into head and body, while bringing hierarchy to our typography with headers, paragraphs and a variety of listing code, before introducing links, images and video content. Finally dealing with meta tags to ensure our sites links would be best represented in Google, Facebook and Twitter. Read more


Offset 2013 — Review

We hopped over to Dublin last weekend for Offset 2013; three days of talks and debates from a line-up of inspiring creatives. Even at first glance Offset feels a bit different from other design festivals. Its bold identity smacks you in the face challenging you to get stuck in, enthusiastically flouting the usually restrained style used for design events.

Based on this design aesthetic one could be forgiven for expecting a slightly chaotic event, but Offset is one of the best-organised events of its kind we’ve been to. On top of the seamless organisation and euphoric lack of queuing, it was fun, laid back and friendly. But above all, it felt tangibly creative. It’s easy to indulge in a bit of middle class navel gazing at these events, but this one didn’t allow any of that. It had a young, interesting buzz. It felt exciting. And the venue of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, sitting on the Grand Canal Dock, is an architectural feast that looks different from every angle. Gorgeous inside and out, the venue itself added to the inspirational atmosphere.

There were two things about Offset that really stood out for me and enhanced my enjoyment of the overall event. The first was that the second room — rather than being used for the less well known speakers, was a discussion room. This created a great breathing space from the main stage, and added pace to the day.

The second thing was the variety of styles, disciplines and personalities of the speakers butting up against each other, creating great juxtapositions. As the content and style of each presentation was quite different, it brought fresh perspectives on familiar themes.

There weren’t as many big names on the bill as in previous years, but there were some serious heavyweights, including Bob Gill, Ben Boss, Vaughan Oliver, Oliviero Toscani and Louise Fili. Our highlights from this year are as follows:

Ireland’s Laureate for children’s literature Niamh Sharkey talked passionately about the fight to get to a place worth going, gave fascinating insight into character development from a simple hand drawn line through to a 3D TV character and inspired the importance of respecting, and working for, your audience. Read more


Interview — StudioMakgill

To wet our whistle ahead of his upcoming LongLunch talk at The Design Museum, we caught up with Hamish, Creative Director of Brighton based Studio Makgill.

Could you sum up in a few words what you do?

We are a graphic design agency that makes beautifully simple work.

Can you tell us a little about the team behind StudioMakgill?

We are currently four permanent staff with a rolling roster of freelancers and interns to help with the workload.

What spurred you on to start your own studio, and how did you make the leap?

This is actually the second agency I have run. I founded Red Design with a friend back in 1996. So the process of setting up StudioMakgill wasn’t scary to me. In between Red Design and StudioMakgill I spent four years working with some great agencies in London and this had really helped shape the kind of agency I wanted to run.

You’re based in Brighton, what influence do you think location has on a studio’s output?

The decision to be in Brighton is because I live down here and I want to have a decent quality of life with my family. StudioMakgill was very nearly based in London, but the thought of being a lifelong commuter was too depressing.

It presents some challenges, but I feel that you really don’t need to be London based to be recognised as a serious agency. I hope that we are proving that to be true.

How do you approach creating ‘beautifully simple work’?

I think firstly it isn’t a completely conscious process. It comes from a desire for and appreciation of simplicity. But there is a process which in itself is actually quite simple. We constantly ask ourselves what is important in a design. What can we get rid of before we compromise the meaning or integrity of that piece.

Do clients ever come to you with something specific in mind?

Of course.

We don’t take on every project that comes to us. But a client with something in mind can either be a great thing or it can be potentially toxic.

It really depends on so many factors. It requires learning a lot about people and becoming a good judge of character. Experience has really helped here, though taking on the wrong client is a mistake that can still happen. Read more


Steer – teaching the world to code

Historically there’s been a clear divide between designers and developers, with the handover of static photoshop pages sometimes their only interaction. However, times are changing. With ever increasing platforms to design for and more possibilities for interacting with digital technology, there’s never been a better time for true collaboration.

That’s where Steer come in.

Having launched in Clerkenwell, London, Steer aim to “teach the world to code”. With an expert, multi-disciplined teaching team, Steer will be running a series of intensive, one week courses in front end and back end web development, from early April. The front end development course in particular is of interest, as it aims to teach complete novices to code in one week.

We spoke to Steer co-founder Rik Lomas to find out more about the project.

Q. There are a number of courses teaching people to code, but we haven’t seen any others which claim to teach novices in one week. This almost sounds too good to be true, what gives you such confidence?

A. Our courses are intensive, we pack a lot into 5 days to make sure participants get their money’s worth. All you need is a smart mind and a willingness to try. Coding is one of the most creative skills you can learn, you can make anything – from silly animations using cat GIFs to companies the size of Facebook. Children aged 9 are learning to code with initiatives like Code Club (, so if they can do it, anyone can. Once you break the first few walls down, it’s amazing how quickly people pick it up, especially people who’ve already got en eye for design. It’s a natural progression.

Q. The Front End Developer course is likely to be popular with traditional graphic designers who have a background in print, what are the main benefits you’d expect them to take away from this?

A. By the end of the course, designers would be able to create the sites that they design. Learning to code will help them better understand the medium and context that they’re working in, and can only make them more valuable. It’s a bit of a no-brainer.

There was a great article called Designing With Code by Jeremy Bell from Teehan+Lax who said that “if great design is not only aesthetics but also how it works, then it’s time to make development part of the creative process”. This is something that we totally agree with. The best designers are the ones that truly understand the medium.

Q. There are online coding courses with good reputations, what are the benefits of learning at Steer HQ?

Learning online has one fundamental problem – what happens when you get stuck? Most people I’ve spoken to who have tried to learn online have hit a wall and stopped. Learning with a teacher fixes this, and, crucially, a big part of what we do at Steer is teaching them how to get over getting stuck.

A. When learning online, you have to plough in a fixed direction, but we want our students to ask as many questions as possible. Often they’ll have a specific goal in mind – a business or a specific process they want to fully understand – and we can help them get there. Online courses will never be able to do that.

Q. You’re currently based in Clerkenwell, are there any plans to branch out to other UK cities?

Not yet, London is currently our home but the whole team is from around the UK. I’m from Manchester and I know there’s a great design community up there. Calum’s from Glasgow and there’s some awesome designers there too. It’s something that we’re planning to do but in the meantime, we’re looking for affordable deals to let people stay over in London for the courses.

We’ve partnered with Steer to offer FFF readers 10% off their courses – to take advantage of the offer use this link.


How to get FFFeatured

If you’re looking to get your work infront of agencies, journalists and other designers, having your work featured on a design blog can really boost your profile.

The big question is what’s the best way of making that happen?

I can’t speak for everyone, but I can shed some light on what we look out for at FormFiftyFive. There are a variety of ways that we find content for FFF. Here’s how you can stand out…


We get around 30-50 daily submissions from all over the globe. Going through these isn’t an easy task, we all have a day job and can’t read and especially answer every single email. So make your submission count!

Keep it short, send a concise email with basic information on you or the project, a link to the work and 2-3 jpegs.

Supply your images ready to publish and take time to find the preferred image dimensions of the blog you are writing to. Provide a download link with further material and a press release with soundbites, quotable comments and ‘behind the scenes’ or production info.

Do your research! Read the blog you are writing to and find out who they are, what they write about and if your work will fit. Never start your email with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’ (it really happens). Within the first 2 seconds of reading an email I can tell if you actually read FFF or not!

Try seeking out the contributor who’s posts you most enjoy or who’s work is most like your own as there’s probably a good chance they’ll feature you.


Consider spreading news about your project or portfolio through Twitter’s design community. Bloggers might stumble over a link to your work or you could ask a blog directly to check out your work.

The advantage of Twitter is that it requires you to be concise and this helps you focus your message, meaning that you can catch the attention of busy bloggers.

Never tweet multiple blogs at the same time to check out your work though, its just rude and impersonal.

Other blogs

Our contributors keep an eye on a variety of other design blogs for work that instantly stands out for it’s idea or execution. So, if you get featured by one blog you’ll usually notice your work spreading quite quickly. The more effort you put into finding the right blog to suit your material, the more likely it is your work with gain momentum.

The main thing is to carefully consider what and how often you share. Writing to blogs about single projects every couple of weeks isn’t going to get you far, unless the project is mind-blowing of course! A portfolio update with multiple new projects on the other hand is more likely to get you featured.

So to recap

Do your research, keep it short & direct, make it easy to publish and don’t over-do it! Send us your very best work to

Illustration by Parko Polo


Tim Lahan

New York-based designer and illustrator Tim Lahan is our feature artist of the week and has also created our masthead illustration. Since 2008, Tim has worked with folks like The New Yorker, Jack Spade, McSweeney’s, GOOD, AOL, Nike, The New York Times, and others. The goal has always been to communicate visually in a simple and direct aesthetic. Tim was recently awarded as a Young Gun by the Art Director’s Club,was recently signed by the ever-growing Agent Pekka and wins the price for best favicon of 2013!

If you’re a fan of Tim’s work you have to follow his Tumblr packed with hilarious sketches and thoughts!


Mr Bingo — Hate Mail

When Mr Bingo flippantly announced on his twitter feed that he’d send an abusive message and drawing via the medium of vintage postcard for just £10, he was bombarded with requests. ‘Hate Mail‘ was born, a fluent stream of sharp, witty, and often silly abuse was sent to the recipient (and no doubt, the postman’s) amusement.

We caught up with the ‘Justin Bieber of drawing’ himself at his studio to chat about the launch of his book ‘Hate Mail‘.

What lead you to become an illustrator?

I think it was just something that I felt that I had to do, I felt like it was the only thing I could do. I always liked drawing, studied Graphic Design at University, specialised in Illustration, mainly because I couldn’t work out how to do Graphic Design, so I kind of defaulted to Illustration, ended up really getting into it and turning it into a career.

Right now you seem to really have a distinctive style and a voice of your own – how did you get to this stage?

A combination of being influenced by other illustrators such as Paul Davis, Andrew Rae and The Peep Show Collective, and comedy that I like, like Chris Morris, Monty Python and various other things and being influenced by them all, but finding my own thing. Which has taken years to work out, but I’d say the main thing that goes on in my illustrations that makes them mine is the personality and the humour, not really the style – you can sort of see that it looks like my work but it’s more of a feeling or a vibe, hopefully, when people see my work it makes them smirk or laugh or think – he’s fucking done that again hasn’t he…

You’ve worked with some really big names, such as The New York Times, the Guardian, Orange and Microsoft, etc… How does your having such a strong and distinctive voice work with bigger clients? Do you find that they come to you because of your alternative approach?

I think at first you need to make your voice known, and it takes clients a while to work out who you are, and what you could be good to do for them, and when you’ve gotten to a certain level I guess where you’ve become known for doing a certain thing and having such a strong voice – that’s the point that I’m at now, which is great, where clients will come to me. And that’s great cause I’m much more in charge than I was when I started out so I get to pull the strings a lot more and make more decisions, cause they know that this is the thing that I do. The best clients will come to you and say ‘do what you do, and we won’t try to change it too much, or influence or steer it too much’ – they’ll always get the best job out of you that way… Unless they’ve chosen the wrong person to begin with, which happens a lot as well! I have to be careful to say no to a lot of jobs, otherwise I know it’s going to end up being wrong.

Is there anyone who you would turn down?

There’s not many people I wouldn’t work for to be honest, I consider myself a fairly decent person in society, but I wouldn’t go so far as not working for banks or something like that – and if I did I’d want to rinse them for as much money as possible, I’d make sure that happens! [he laughs]

Maybe I wouldn’t work for cigarette advertising… If there was a company that was really known for fucking over a third world company I guess I would have to say no. The problem is I’m not really that much aware of current affairs and the news to know who’s been naughty and bad! I’m kind of wrapped up in a world of my own – I might end up working for a bad company by mistake! I think the main reason I turn down work isn’t for moral reasons, it’s because I don’t think I’m going to enjoy it.

We love your new project, Hate Mail. How did you come up with the idea?

It’s really simple – I was in my old studio one night, I was drunk, I went on twitter and said ‘the first person to reply to this tweet, I’ll send them an offensive message on a the back of a post card’. And straight away there was loads and loads of responses, a guy called Jonathan Hopkins won (it said fuck you Jonathan and fuck your shit legs) – sent him a post card, lots of people talked about it, so I thought I might as well do something with this, opened it as a service which was so cheap – £5, you send your name and address and I send you some hate mail.

It literally started as a joke, I didn’t ever think it was going to become the thing that it has. I thought, this is funny, and if anyone wants to pay to be insulted that’s fucking brilliant and that’s why I did it – to amuse myself.

Do you ever get any Hate Mail yourself? And if so, what is the best one you’ve received?

Yes I have. I’ve received a few things, one of them was from Oliver Jeffers, who was an integral part of me turning this into a book actually – he’s a famous children’s book illustrator who lives in Brooklyn and I was showing him some pictures on my phone in a pub, where all good thins happen, and he said – ‘this should be a book’ and put me in touch with people who ended up turning it into a book! Oliver Jeffers sent me some love mail, he did an illustration of some puppies in a basket and said ‘why do you have no love for anything?’ or something, that was funny.

I had something from some girls in Israel that said ‘go global you wanker’ on the back of an s-club 7 post-card, because I only offered the service in the UK, because I was lazy [he laughs]. The best thing I’ve received was a Swiss roll, with the word ‘fucker’ written on it, in a tube.

What was the process like speaking with Penguin about getting it published? Some of that work is pretty close to the bone… Was it a difficult sell, or was it easy?

It’s really really amazing, it’s like the last thing I ever expected to happen you know, I would have thought if anyone would have made this into a book it wouldn’t have been Penguin it would have been a small, indie / edgy publishing company with no resources or money who’d have thought ‘fuck it, let’s just put this out’, but to have Penguin who are one of the biggest publishers in the world to actually back this, believe in it and make it, to put it out on their label without worrying about it ruining their reputation – I guess this work has a lot more commercial appeal than I realised when I first started doing this. I consider this an art book, but for Penguin it’s a ‘humour’ title, they see it as a book that everyone can appreciate, which is I guess what I always want for all of my work really, I don’t want to just appeal to the small art crowed, I want to appeal to everyone. It’s much nicer.

So yeah, Penguin wanted to meet me, I went along with my agent, Paul, and met them, chatted to them about it, they seemed really positive. Then I sent all the people in the meeting hate mail, so I said ‘meeting you was a waste of time’,‘93% of the staff at Penguin think you’re a twat’. ‘Your crisps were insulting’ cause they had some crisps in a bowl on the table… I thought, if they get this, then they get the book, it was a risk that had to be taken. And then they came back a few weeks later and we had a book deal, so it was amazing. Apparently things don’t normally work that quickly, so they must have seen something in it worth going ahead with. It’s really hard to tell how easy it was, I think I’m quite a hard working person, I guess I don’t show that with my nonchalant tweets and stuff, but there’s a lot of work behind the scenes to make things happen.

So what inspires your hatred? What’s been your inspiration for the hate mail?

Most of it’s just trying to be funny, lots of people think that I’m really dark, I don’t mean dark skinned [he laughs], people think I’ve got this ‘hatred’… I don’t have this hatred inside me that I need to express and get out. Really it’s just for fun, you know, it’s fucking funny to send a stranger a post card with “if you were a supermarket you’d be a Lidl”. It’s basically like any other illustration job where you’ve got to come up with creative ideas – it’s just another problem solving exercise. So you’re sitting there, you’ve got a blank post card in front of you, and you think ‘what can I say to someone that’s gonna’ really hurt them. Or how can you really put someone down. I think about it all the time, so I guess I became addicted to these things and so even when I’m not doing them I’m thinking about it and constantly emailing myself ideas for hate mail. The next person might get that one, and a lot of them are made them up on the spot. They can go from the simple, just the word ‘prick’ written in massive letters, cause I think, that’s funny because of how it looks, to something more complicated like ‘you are another generic drone wandering around waiting for the weekend’. And that’s more of a heart-felt one where I suppose that is more of my ‘inner thoughts’ where I walk around looking at people and thinking, ‘yeah you’re pathetic’. Some of that comes out in it…

If you could send some hate mail to anybody, who would it be, and what would you say?

[Pauses for a while, and says with a smile] Has to be, a guy called Martin Olley, who wrote a letter to a magazine in 2003 saying that he hated my work, so I’ve kind of had it in for him ever since, in a jokey way. I’ve put him in loads of bits of work and also like to slip the odd ‘FUCK MARTIN OLLEY’ slide into a talk. I don’t tell people what it means, I just leave it on the screen for a few seconds, just long enough to make feel awkward and slightly uncomfortable.

The response to your hate mail has been incredible, what do you think it is about hate mail that people find so appealing?

I guess the main thing is that it’s just funny, it’s different, and not many people do stuff like this. Life is quite boring for many people, I think, this book and this project is very silly, and people really need silliness in their lives. It’s like escapism, you know. I guess reading my book is like watching Hollyoaks Omnibus or X-Factor, you know, it’s just a stupid escape from the trappings of modern sad life.

You’re one of the more prolific and entertaining illustrators out there on twitter. What is it about twitter that you enjoy the most?

The thing I love about twitter is that perfect connection with people and strangers that you didn’t really have before, or would have had to made a lot of effort before to keep up. It’s so direct, people can just contact you so quickly, it’s so easy and so fluid as well. It’s really good for me, it’s perfect.

Like Hate Mail, that was born from a tweet?

Exactly, I couldn’t do any of this stuff without twitter, you know. Twitter’s created it, it sells it, cause it tells people there’s a book, it then tells people there’s a launch at Camden Brewery… Everything starts on twitter now basically, I need it to survive basically, and do the things I do.

Is there anything out there that you haven’t done yet that you’d love to do?

Um… I don’t know, I feel really lucky at the moment, I feel like I’m at the peak of my career or something. I’ve got a book published by Penguin, I’ve got my own beer with Camden Brewery… Everything seems to be going ok, I’m expecting to get run over now. I don’t really know, I just tend to take care of what’s going on each day, I couldn’t really give you an answer to that… I know that’s a bit annoying, but I almost feel like I’ve got everything at the moment, and I’m sure that in six months time I’ll be hungry for something else, and I’ll forget about this position I’m in now and I’ll be looking for the next thing…

I think the main thing I want to do, is to move away from being a commercial illustrator and move slightly more towards becoming an artist, which seems to be what’s happened naturally. By mistake. I find the best way to live is to not plan anything, because stuff just sort of happens, I feel like stuff is just meant to happen, if you just do what you want ‘follow your heart’ [Bingo says with a grin and a comedy voice] you know, if you just do what you really enjoy, things end up turning out, and people end up coming to you, and opportunities turn up. I don’t think there’s any end goal for me, just to be able to do the stuff I’m doing now, forever, and if it pays for me to live then that’s really cool.

So when can we get the book?

I’m doing a big book launch on October 25th at Camden Brewery, and it’s an open invite for anyone and everyone. So I want people to come along, bring their friends, family, whatever, and Byron Hamburgers are going to be there, my hate beer is going to be there. There’ll be a big stack of books where people can buy a book and get it signed with an individual insult. You can take the beer away as well. If you like the sound of that come along on October 25th!

*** Camden Hate Ale ***

Can you tell us about your beer? Camden Brewery were really interested in the book and were fans of my work, and said why don’t we sponsor your book launch, and do a beer with you? And I was like, that sounds amazing! I like their beers, and them as a company, a small newish, micro-brewery who are doing well, have a nice simple philosophy – no bull shit just this is what we are… So they said you can do your own beer, and I said I’ll only do my own beer with you if I can have complete control over the bottle-label and I can do whatever I like – they said ‘yep, we like your work, we respect it, so you do whatever you want and we’re not going to put any rules on it. So I was like great! I came up with a few ideas at first which I thought were a bit weak, we had a bit of a back-and-forth, and then suddenly it struck me one day that what we needed was something that what we needed was something completely like hate mail, because that’s the reason for the beer. So I thought the beer needs to be like a hate mail directed to Camden Brewery, on their own bottle, and then it ties in with the book and it’s like this perfect thing. So I sent them this email one night saying, I think this would be a good idea, it just depends if you’ve got the balls to do it or not, and sent them this rough of ‘Camden is full of cunts’.

I kind of expected them to come back and say ‘no, this is too stupid, at the end of the day we’re paying for this to be made, and you’re taking the piss too much’ and to my surprise they said ‘yep, let’s do it. This is perfect, this is exactly what is should be.’ And since then I have so much respect for them to do that. It shows how much they get it as a company, how much conviction they’ve got to push these ideas forward.

So I then spent quite a few days working on the bottle, I took their original bottle design and then re-drew everything by hand, changed every single word and logo and bit of type, expect their own logo, everything else is completely changed. It reminded me of when I used to be at school, or when I was like twelve, you used to get a letter sent to your parents and you’d change all the words… So like, instead of ‘you’re invited to a parents evening’ it would say ‘you’re invited to a cock evening’ or something like that. So it was just completely taking over the bottle and de-facing it. I basically hi-jacked the bottle of beer. I think it’s great, and it ties in with the launch as a funny, collectors item as well.


New Blood 2012

First off, apologies for the slight delay in the post – the show finished yesterday – but we think old news is still better than no news!

A few of the FFF team headed along to check out this years New Blood and, as expected, there was some excellent work on show from the class of 12.

In no particular order, we’ve put together a short selection of the work and designers who particularly made an impression.

Rick Jones (University of Huddersfield) This work really stood out, with a meticulous attention to detail running through every project. Rick also cut a selection of his own typefaces, which were used to great effect. My particular favourite was the inline, rounded Neben Pro.

Jordan O’Brien (Stockport College) Jordan has a beautiful hand painted style, which helped to light-heartedly personify a series of mundane everyday objects.

Brendan Bennett (Glasgow School of Art) I was really drawn into Brendan’s Digital Planets piece which “considers the idea of a digital ecosystem that will operate in a posthumous universe.”. Really intriguing idea, beautifully realised.

Sebastian Koseda (Middlesex University) Middlesex had a very strong batch of graduates this year, with Sebastian among the best. A mixture of well considered design and strong concepts (such 20th Sonic advertising), created a really accomplished body of work.

Naomi Wilkinson (University of West of England) Bristol-based Naomi’s work is “heavily influenced by Vintage children’s book’s, Mid century graphics and eccentric pursuits.” Beautiful.

Peter Smart (The Arts University College at Bournemouth) Peter enjoyed the enviable position of having created one of the most high profile pieces of work on display. His 50 Problems in 50 Days Online Experience set about the ambitious task of solving 50 problems in 50 days using design. It was a journey which saw Peter interview a series of top agencies worldwide, before winning a Best of New Blood award.

Melissa Preston (Edinburgh Napier University) Melissa’s back to basics typographic poster really stood out, while being an appropriate medium for her Something of Value project – a campaign to promote traditional values as a foundation to solve contemporary cultural problems.

Overall there was a huge amount of talent on show, and while there isn’t the time to fit all of it in todays post, look out for other talented graduates making an appearance on our Twitter over the next few days.

Congratulations and goodluck, Class of 2012!


‘SHE’ Competition Winner!

And the winner of our ‘SHE’ best image-caption competition is…

“In the year 2375, a traditionally dressed Prince Harry MXII represents Earths best hope in the first inter-planetary bean polo championship.” — Matthew Burvill

Congratulations Matt, you win a copy of Brosmind’s new, exclusive two-part comic SHE, packed full of bonkers drawings and a crazy narrative.

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Very nice work. Been a long time admirer of Iain’s work… I just didn’t know it was him that did it!

petemandotnet on Iain McIntosh

So, when talking about originality, why do people still use those popular artist quotes about art/idea theft? Just as unoriginal, just as idiotic. No wonder some of them defend such behaviour when all they do is ‘copy/paste’ themselves, think of …

TUB on Peter Tarka

What you are failing to understand about the current design society where young designers are being pressured to be noticed by their skills in software and “finish” not so much on their conceptual outcome.

But you need to understand as you …

Luke on Peter Tarka

“undeniable skill”? Everyone can download a free 3d model, buy or download a ready 3d light/vray/render studio and hit “render”. That’s not a skill imo. :)

sak on Peter Tarka

The event of BCN x MCR was an absolute joy. The exhibition – excellent and the talks engaging, varied and insightful. I particular liked the talk by due to the way she described the process of type design. Overall the …

Rob Walker on BCNMCR Reviewed

I’m just loving the scale and the work put into this design. Cant of been easy to do this on a wall. Sorry to sound so simple but it looks great I don’t think the passing public are going to …

Simon on Papercut: update