If you’ve sent some cards through TouchNote recently, you’ll have noticed our new section ‘Featured Artists’. This summer, we’ve been collaborating with some of the country’s brightest young talent, bringing TouchNoters a fresh batch of illustrations to accompany their messages; be it birthdays, summer escapes, congratulations, or a particularly excellent dinner party. It’s the result of an exciting collaboration that’s been a long time in the works with Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.
The creative hub of central London, it’s one of the most globally recognised institutions of art; its legacy the early creations of Stella McCartney, Richard Long and Alexander McQueen (to name a small handful). The latter inspiring Kanye West to take a pilgrimage to the college and tread the same path as his idol, and while he didn’t end up studying there — rumour has it he was too famous — Kanye was hugely inspired by late professor Louise Wilson, declaring her “the greatest fashion instructor of all time.” So, it’s clear why this was the natural destination in our quest to uncover the architects behind our new wave of artwork.
As Dan our CEO explains, this was an opportunity for us to collaborate with new talent, and a chance to “allow students to create their own illustrations, bring their selves and their self-expression into our app, and hopefully create a huge variety of illustrations and artwork for people to use,” and for them to experience working to different targets, creating art for a new audience, and respond to real-time briefs in a working environment. We aimed to prepare them for a more specific target, and they’re already reaping the rewards. Yolande recently landed a role at Mother — Campaign’s ad agency of the year in 2018 after a string of award-winning campaigns. So, the proof is in the pudding.
As the collaboration came to a close, we sat down with the students to collect their thoughts on the process, their favourite illustrations, and the inspiration behind their work.
How did the process differ to university?
Milly: “It was less personal, a different beast. At university the work is more conceptual, but at TouchNote we are serving a brief, an audience. This took me a little while to get my head around… that I’m not creating solely for myself. I learnt to take the audience into consideration and not just my personal taste.
Diandra: “At uni the brief we receive is very abstract, I’ll spend hours thinking about it and where it can go… much more open to personal interpretation. At Touchnote, I found it to be more time efficient. There was a clear goal in mind, something I could work towards.”
How did you find inspiration when responding to the brief?
Diandre: “I was inspired by looking at the others’ work. We all have different styles. It was interesting to see how each of us interpreted the brief differently. It definitely helped that there was a group of us, it was inspiring to see where the others were taking their work.”
Yolande: “A lot of my personal work is more… sinister. Obviously that’s not appropriate for TouchNote, so I took from a similar style but used it differently. I put my head in a more professional place, and put myself in the shoes of the end user.”
Milly: ”Shower thoughts. A lot of my ideas would arrive then. A lot of the time on the train, as well.”
What were your favourite designs you created?
Milly: “Zesty Bestie. I was on the train trying to think of catchy captions for illustrations and this one just came to me. I googled to see if it had been done before, to my knowledge, it hasn’t!”
Diandra: “Monster under the bed. It was so different to what I’m used to creating. I usually deal with text and objects, but for this design I had to create a whole environment.”
Yolande: “My one of the woman sunbathing. When I drew that it reflected exactly how I felt at the time, during the heatwave, and it’s the one I’d most like to send to someone; with a bit of humour, not taking itself too seriously.”
What have you learnt?
Milly: “It was a challenge to come up with the copy, I usually only have to worry about the visual, so I explored sayings and common turns of phrase. Then learnt to make up my own. I also learnt more about my own sense of style.”
Yolande: “Some designs could be strong on their own without copy, it was about knowing which ones needed copy and which didn’t, so I tested them out on friends”
Diandre: “I learnt from looking at cards in shops and what else was already in the TouchNote app, and working out where there were gaps of opportunity to do something different.”
Anything you’d like to add?
Milly: “I’m just excited to send one to my nan!”
So, head over to the app, feel inadequate in the presence of their talent, and send a card yourself.