Traditional, experimental and spontaneous: Edward July on his multifarious portfolio
Currently a student at the Royal College of Art in the Netherlands, the graphic designer’s work boasts a wide mix of poster, editorial and typography.
- Ayla Angelos
- 24 February 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
The graphic designer, hailing from Warsaw, Poland and currently based in the Netherlands, moved to The Hague four years ago in order to study at the Royal College of Art (KABK). Since then, he’s worked across the mediums, boasting an impressive mix of editorial, poster, typography work and a graduate thesis that’s soon to reach the surface.
It all began for Edward during his younger years, where his father had positively influenced him with his “quite big” collection of vinyl records and books. “Listening to various music and stories about authors and their works is what I remember the most from my childhood days with him,” Edward tells It’s Nice That on the topic of his inspirations. “I really liked it, as there was usually some colourful illustrations and typography on the covers.” Resultantly, this sparked his interests in visual media and, more or less, opened his eyes to the possibilities of what can be achieved in graphic design.
So much so, Edward pursued his studies and began to steer towards posters, book design, typographic and type design. What draws him into a discipline specifically, is its freedom. “I love to experiment with different printing techniques,” he adds, “to celebrate the tradition of printing and to search for new solutions of how to work with different papers and printers.” This blend of old and new means that he’s able to test his own abilities, as well as the limits of the tools and methods in which he uses. “I like both the traditional approach as well as the more experimental one, as I think that sometimes rough and spontaneous sketches might be very powerful.”
Powerful indeed, you can certainly tell that his work may have been formed from free-hand, spontaneous process. Though stating that he doesn’t have a signature visual language, there does seem to be a level of consistency running through his work – one of experimentation. This can be seen in a series of posters he launched earlier this year, which are inspired by the travel advertisement poster from American designer David Klein for Trans World Airlines (TWA), “as seen in Jean-Luc Godard’s movie Two or three things I know about her,” says Edward. Deciding to focus on eastern European destinations as his main concept, he opted to represent the spirit of each city and the best bits that they’re known for. For example, he’s included Moscow, Nukus (the sixth-largest city in Uzbekistan) and Sarajevo in Bosnia. Each poster displays a somewhat abstract and artistic depiction of its cultural markers, such as a collagist depiction of Sarajevo’s winter sports, like ice hockey and skiing, or the prints found in textiles and ceramics from Nukus.
A further project sees Edward produce a publication centred on the identity of Sega computer games – a notorious and recognisable aesthetic, to say the least. Edward’s publication is a well-researched, bold and vivid interpretation, with modern graphics paired against illustrations of Sonic the Hedgehog. “During the design process, I wanted to experiment with capabilities of my home inked printer,” he tells us. “I started with research concerning the company’s visual identity and typefaces used by Sega, and after gathering all of the material I just started to play with it.” This meant that he toyed around with all-over printing – a process that involves a design being printed and transferred onto further materials – on different papers and then “tweaking the printer by manipulating some sensors.”
Citing graphic artist Willem Oorebeek, design duo Armand Mevis and Lina van Deursen, as well as Dutch type designer Fred Smeijers as his main points of reference, Edward is drawn towards a multitude of techniques and processes. Most importantly, he strives to dive deep into the subject matter of a project. “It’s important to settle a starting point from the conceptual perspective,” he concludes, “as it often organically leads the process. Should the work be generic straight forward or more poetic? To be honest, I always end up just experimenting and playing with the design to try and find something that will finally satisfy me.”
Edward July: Godard Poster; Sarajavo