I trained in Graphic Design back in the early 90s and spent the first part of my career working in various design companies until my personal work got noticed and I was offered a job by SleazeNation magazine. Since then I’ve continued to work in magazines as well as various other illustration projects and personal art. I’ve always been interested in doing lots of things and experimenting, this is something I’m still doing everyday.
What is the work you’re most proud of?
Because of the breadth of my work it’s hard to pick out one thing as they are so different. I’ve always been a big Penguin book fan so when I was asked to design one of those as an artist I was very happy and pleased with the outcome.
Could you finish this sentence – “When I was growing up I wanted to be…”
a trucker. At least when I was 10 years old. When I was at school they didn’t really know what to do with if you liked art.I didn’t know what graphic design was and didn’t really think you could make a living out of art. My careers advise was that I could go into hairdressing or millenary.
Best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I have not been given it directly but Stefan Sagmeister always has good things to say. Staying small is one thing, it means you have the most freedom.
How have you seen the graphic design industry change during your career?
When I started computers where still on the sideline. Artworking was done physically on drawing boards and copy was typeset.Back then the kind of creative I am now wouldn’t make sense (I’m not that sure if it does now!) With the rise of the internet it allowed more people to see my work and gave me the chance to work with people from all over the world. One of the big things that has changed is, as a designer, you are meant to be able to do all the things that used to be separate jobs. Typesetting, photo retouching and colour balancing, print ready artwork, even copy writing.
Is there someone you would love to collaborate with?
There is nobody specific but I’d love to collaborate with people like furniture designers or fashion designers, things that get my work off the page and into more applied uses.
What music do you like to work to?
I’m listening to Radio 4 a lot at the moment. I’m working on my own for the first time in quite a while and there is something comforting about the rambling voices on Radio 4 that you can zone in and out of. I’m learning a lot as well! But when I listen to music it could be anything but generally the music I put on is fairly unobtrusive.
You’re the art director of Fire & Knives, a food magazine with gorgeous design, are you a big foody? Do you get to do a lot of gourmet eating as part of that job?
I’m not a big foody. I grew up in the late 70s early 80s in the Midlands and food wasn’t the amazing thing it is today. Also I don’t eat meat which is always a bit limiting when it comes to gourmet food!
What else are you working on at the moment?
I’ve been doing an image a month for the V&A Friday Late events which has been fun, it’s a year long project which ends in July. I’m also working on a lot of personal work that I’m going to screenprint. I really enjoy the physicality of screenprinting, getting away from the desk and doing something that tires me out! I have designed a rug that with be out later in the year through Foundation and I’m drawing the whole alphabet in my signature supermundane style, which is taking longer than I thought it would, when they are finished they will be available as personalised prints.
Thanks so much Rob, for your time and wisdom sharing. We too, share you fondness for all things screen printed! It’s such a rewarding process. We urge everyone to head over to Supermundane.com right now, it’s an actual party for your eyes! Which is what everyone wants on a Friday afternoon.
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