“I think the work I’ve done so far is varied enough that you can’t easily put me into a box,” says James Hines. “For now, I think that’s a good thing.” A fan of boldness, colour and pattern, the 2011 graduate recently moved back to London and is currently focusing on building up his freelance portfolio.
“I studied illustration, but my interests weigh mostly on the graphic design side and I rarely handed in anything that anyone would define as traditional illustration,” he says of his time at university. “I think it’s allowed me to be more experimental and intuitive when it comes to design work – I don’t believe in following any set of design rules.”
Hines cites Ed Fella as his typographic hero, and loves Corita Kent’s use of colour and cut-out. “A lot of my current influences come from illustrators and designers working in the 80s or early 90s, such as Elizabeth Murray, Mendell & Oberer, Yasaku Kamekura and Niklaus Troxler, while my all-time favourites include Gary Panter, John Baldessari, Philip Guston and Ettore Sottsass,” he explains, adding that he’s just as likely to be influenced by whatever book he’s currently reading (“I recently did some drawings loosely based on Lanark by Alasdair Gray”) as he is by the visual references he collects on Tumblr.
“There’s a lot of mid-century poster design and book jackets on there, and I love the typography of 60s jazz sleeves,” he says. “Blue Note Records had maybe the best run of records and artwork of any label ever – no one has matched their consistency. I’m a bit of a music nerd and records will always remain a massive influence on my work, especially the music and artwork of the UK post-punk era. It was a great time for freedom and experimenting in music, with the proliferation of independent record labels and the DIY ethos.”
His current goal? “To keep on building my portfolio, and make better and better work. Hopefully someday soon I’ll be able to do design and illustration work full-time and get a nice studio. I’d love a really homely, comfy space with lots of bold, warm colours.”
“I like to produce work that is considered, detailed and simplistic, while still remaining visually strong,” says graphic designer Joseph Johnson, who is based in Melbourne, Australia. At the moment, Johnson is working as an in-house communication designer at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP). He has also undertaken a broad range of creative projects since graduating from Melbourne’s Victoria University, working across print, identity, web, signage and packaging.
Johnson says he likes to gather inspiration from a diverse range of sources. “My early influences included Josef Müller-Brockmann, Wim Crouwel, Massimo Vignelli and Paul Rand,” he recalls. “I also admire a lot of the inspirational work that is currently being produced in Australia and abroad.” Not that graphic design is his sole source of inspiration – he prefers not to limit his influences, and also looks to other creative areas including architecture, furniture and industrial design.
“The way I work can change from project to project,” Johnson says of his creative process. “Sometimes while discussing a project with a client I immediately have a clear vision of the direction I’d like to take the project in, while on other occasions the solution presents itself after an intensive process of concept development.” Whatever he’s working on, he always undertakes copious research: “I’ll find references to help define an aesthetic direction, and will be constantly updating and refining this direction throughout the process.”
On top of his role at CCP, he has more freelance projects coming up in the near future, including identity, signage and packaging for a cafe, and says he’s excited by the prospect of creating a brand identity across a number of collateral pieces. For now, he says his passion for graphic design remains in printed matter. “Although I believe that, in the current market, you have got to be versatile enough to work across various media,” he adds. “Long-term, I would like the opportunity to work on a larger quantity of print design projects. I love the craft of typesetting and the tactility of a printed piece.”
Ask Teagan White what inspires her and the answer is very clear: nature. “I try to spend any free time I have outdoors going to forests, lakes, rivers, marshes and fields. I take tons of photographs and everything I observe tends to work its way into my illustrations eventually.”
Also a fan of eyeing up “tiny, junky objects” in antique shops and at garage sales, White is just finishing her BFA in illustration at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Minnesota, USA. Her style varies from serious and realistic to more playful, colourful work. “Regardless of the content or mood, my goal is always to pack a lot of detail into one image – I enjoy making little bits and pieces fit together,” she says. “I also tend to use flat colours in a limited colour palette, so the details of my illustrations don’t seem overwhelmingly complicated.”
Post-graduation, she plans to continue the freelance design and illustration work she’s been building up over the last few years, taking in clients such as Wired magazine, Anthropologie and Nike. “I like working on a wide variety of projects, from editorial to products and packaging,” she explains. “I think my job would get very repetitive if I limited myself to one industry, style or type of work.”
Illustration: André Gottschalk