Why I love col­lab­o­rat­ing

Chloe Templeman, de­sign di­rec­tor at De­sign Bridge, ex­plains the fine art of suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion

Computer Arts - - Chloe Templeman -

Work­ing with dif­fer­ent il­lus­tra­tors is part of my role at De­sign Bridge, and I find that these collaborations of­ten help push our brand and pack­ag­ing de­sign projects in new di­rec­tions, and bring a unique­ness to our work. Along the way, I’m learn­ing that there’s a fine art to a suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion.

For starters, it’s im­por­tant to know when to ap­proach an il­lus­tra­tor. I never be­gin a project with a par­tic­u­lar il­lus­tra­tor in mind. In­stead, at De­sign Bridge, we come up with the creative idea as a team and, as our idea takes shape, cer­tain il­lus­tra­tors of­ten come to mind. This means we can avoid the awk­ward­ness of ap­proach­ing some­one too soon, only to find that our idea or ap­proach has changed and we no longer need them.

When work­ing on the Fort­num & Ma­son Christ­mas range, our idea was to con­jure the magic and ex­cite­ment of ev­ery­one com­ing to­gether around the Christ­mas ta­ble for a sump­tu­ous Fort­num’s feast. I’d seen Krist­jana S Wil­liams’ work pre­vi­ously on some­thing I’d re­ceived through the post and thought, ‘Yes! She’d be great for this.’ Her eclec­tic style puts a modern twist on tra­di­tional wood­block tech­niques – perfect for ex­press­ing both a tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary Fort­num’s Christ­mas.

Bring­ing these kinds of in­di­vid­ual styles to our work while en­sur­ing the de­sign is ab­so­lutely right for the brand is both fun and chal­leng­ing. It’s a bal­anc­ing act, call­ing for con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion, treat­ing the il­lus­tra­tor as part of the team and truly work­ing to­gether.

We re­cently col­lab­o­rated with Rob Bai­ley on a lim­ited edi­tion Smirnoff project to cel­e­brate Bri­tish Pride 2017. I’ve loved his work for years and was in­spired by his piece Hey Man, which de­picts two fig­ures in a warm, lov­ing em­brace. Rob’s style ex­pressed the ‘Choose Love’ mes­sage of the project so well. It was a tight turn­around, so we had to work very closely to make sure that we re­mained true to both his style and the Smirnoff brand, pro­duc­ing work that would look great on the bot­tles, too.

Un­der­stand­ing the com­ple­men­tary skills that a designer and an il­lus­tra­tor bring to a project is also cru­cial to get the best out of a col­lab­o­ra­tion. We worked with Co­ralie Bick­ford-Smith for our Fort­num & Ma­son honey range. Her in­tri­cate book cover de­signs were perfect for our creative idea of la­bels in­spired by postage stamps from farflung cor­ners of the world. I did some ini­tial sketches based on her ex­ist­ing work and the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of de­sign­ing a la­bel, which she then de­vel­oped. It was a real labour of love, but work­ing with Co­ralie was a dream for me as I col­lect her book cov­ers.

I feel lucky to work on such amazing projects where we can bring an idea to life with the help of tal­ented il­lus­tra­tors that I’ve of­ten ad­mired for years. Each project in­volves a lot of work, but an open, hon­est and truly col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach en­sures the best re­sults ev­ery time.

Who do you dream of col­lab­o­rat­ing with, and why? Tweet your thoughts to @ComputerArts us­ing #De­signMat­ters and set the wheels in mo­tion

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