Sunday 8 March 2015

My Top 3 Influential Designers

"What inspires you?". I hate that question. Inspiration isn't quantifiable, it's a combination of everything you're exposed to. Some things stick out but they all play a part, rolling around in your brain until triggered. That being said, there will always be designers out there whom I find incredible, creatively stimulating and always go back to when I'm feeling uninspired. During my Graphics A Level I was encouraged to research appropriate designers, leading to my work reflecting them... so maybe "influences" is the right word. *Changes title*.

I've picked three illustrators who I've been aware of for the past couple of years and who greatly impact the way I design so I'm sure you'll see links from my work to theirs. In case you hadn't noticed, I love hand lettering and dry humour, which these three are experts in.

Linzie Hunter

Two of my favourite projects are her "Uninspiring posters" series and "Hand-lettered Resolutions" project where she illustrated the New Year's resolutions people sent in this January.

Linzie Hunter was the first typography/hand lettering artist I studied during my Graphic Design A level and she's remained a strong influence to me ever since. She definitely kick started my love for the style as her work is so fun and experimental and I can look at it for hours. I would recommend her to any aspiring designer who has taken an interest in hand lettering as there are so many letterforms to study within each piece. I would pick a word I liked the font of, copy it out, then try to create the rest of the alphabet from that one word shown. It definitely exercised my imagination, but gave me somewhere to start.

What I love about this artist is the personality she gets through in designs. I enjoy making dumb little jokes on twitter and drawing them out seemed a natural step. Linzie Hunter often uses little phrases within her pieces, meaning they're not only enjoyable to look at but read too. Also, an important point, she never forgets the background. You can create wonderful hand lettering, but if the background is blank the whole image can look flat. The top right image is a perfect example.

In the middle of the photoset I've included, and on her website if you have a snoop, you'll see she also does advertisements. This is really important to me, as I want to be an illustrator more than a Graphic Designer, but I still want to be involved with branding and advertising campaigns. A commercial illustrator. I just need to explain that to universities...

Gemma Correll

Now this woman is brilliant, punny as hell. I love her work, I LOVE it. I can spot her illustrations from isles away in Paperchase (and any other stationary shop, to be honest... she's everywhere) as she has such a defined style. Simple line drawings with a very limited colour pallet and hand lettered annotations. The combination is just so appealing. Pair that with level 10 whit and you've got yourself the best greetings card/art print ever. It's very bold to limit your designs so much but I guess it allows her to focus on being hilarious, so who's complaining.

Gemma Correll definitely influenced my early illustrations at college, but less so now. These days I focus on her humour. I haven't publicly created anything THAT funny, but it's my aim to do so. I enjoy hand lettering so I'm working on impulse, silly phrases to illustrate. I hope one day I'll be able to make customers laugh as much as I know her work does! People love to see personality, so she's inspired me to keep that in mind.

I would recommend this artist as doodle inspo to exercise your creative juices. Illustrate inanimate objects' lives and annotate what they're probably grumpy about. I'd love to see some!

PS: every time I read that dinosaur card I tear up with suppressed giggles.

Steph Baxter 

Possibly saving the best till last, I present to you, the mouth watering beauty of Steph Baxter's hand lettering. Her work simultaneously makes me want to cry and lock myself away with a mug of tea to draw into the night. It's crazy to find work that can inspire you in such an extreme way, but here it is! 

I feel like she sticks to photoshop (or something pixel based) for her work, scanning it in and editing digitally. I of course don't know, I haven't found any detailed information about her design process so I'm just assuming. But I think she keeps the rough edges which scanned fine liner gives to keep the hand rendered look to her work. I on the other hand cannot do this, I stick to illustrator and pay for it by having to spend hours longer than necessary smoothening the edges of my work. But each to their own!

Steph Baxter is the ultimate influence for my preferred style of lettering, and honestly, sometimes I find it really, really hard not to just rip off what she's already done. The problem is, her work is literally what I aspire to. This is a style of drawing, and it's the kind that I enjoy and want to create. That's a bit dumb to voice, as I've only been drawing for about three years so will almost definitely change up what I do within the next 6 months, but you know what I mean. Here's some food for thought: You can copy something completely, be it drawing or dancing, but there will always be marginal differences, and in those differences lies your unique style. I adore the layout of her typography pieces, the strong hand rendered route, but I can't stop myself from making sure every word is exactly the same distance from each other, that every bump is removed from each letter and that my illustrations aren't wonky at all. I'm not comfortably quirky... oh well! So that's what makes me confident in my style, when everything looks smooth and ordered, and I focus on it every time I start a piece.

Something I'd like to point out about her pieces is that gaps are filled with swirls and appropriate illustrations (example, bottom middle). It's such a talent to create a good typography piece because you can't only focus on the lettering; the layout and extras make it a full picture. So SWIRL, DOODLE, HAVE FUN!


So there you have it! My top three influential designers. I know many aspiring artists follow me for inspiration and want to know who inspires me, so I thought I'd share that with you. I was very happy to see that when I asked on Instagram a lot of people were eager for this post, so I hope it was informative enough! Is there anything else design based that you'd like to see from me?

I encourage you to browse the #handlettering tag on instagram, the same on Pinterest. And do let me know if you find any artists you think I would love!

Polly xo



  1. Polly this was a great read! I'm not artistic at all but I found this really interesting. I'd definitely say your work is on par with these amazing artists. Congratulations on everything you've achieved so far, I know you'll go on to be super successful. x

    1. Thanks so much Anna! That's really, really kind to say. I do want my blog to be filled with design content but also entertain non artistic heads too! <3

  2. I always see Gemma's illustrations in paperchase and other shops like that, lovely to see talented people which such success, I'm sure you will too!

  3. I love Gemma Correll's illustrations they are so good and so funny!

    Beth // Lots of Sparkle


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