Based in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Fed & Watered is a branding and graphic design studio with a specific output: all things food, drink and hospitality. Co-founded by Orlando Lloyd and Oliver Hilliker, the pair met while studying for a master’s at Glasgow School of Art where they bonded “over a mutual interest in typography, print and of course food and drink,” saw a gap in the market and decided to set up shop.
Oliver is originally from Liverpool and started his creative career studying animation at Edinburgh College of Art while Yorkshire-born Orlando, on the other hand, did his bachelor’s at ECA in graphic design. It wasn’t until several years later that the pair initially began working together though, when they decided to do a skill-swap during their post-graduate studies: “The deal was I would teach him about animation and he would teach me about typography,” Oliver recalls.
While Fed & Watered is a studio in its infancy, its portfolio already boasts several strong projects, each with a focus on typography combined with illustrative or photographic elements. On why they chose to focus their efforts on such a distinctive studio output, Oliver tells us: “We felt like there was a huge gap in the market for good design within the hospitality sector, both locally here in Scotland and across the industry as a whole. There seems to be a shortage of small, specialist graphic design studios that cater for a particular type of business, so we felt we could use that studio model and contribute to the local hospitality community.”
Orlando adds: “We were both working on projects within food and drink, so it just made sense to combine our efforts together. I’ve always been interested in food and drink. My dream job was (and still is) to open an Italian restaurant, but I’m a distinctly average cook, so this was naturally the closest thing.”
Although definitely retaining a tone of voice across their projects – a certain playfulness and whimsy – Orlando and Oliver purposely avoid any signature visual language. “I don’t think we have a set style – designing to the needs and requirements of the project is really important,” Orlando says. This is only furthered by the food and drink scene in Scotland they find themselves working for. “A lot of our work is for new and young businesses (like ourselves) just starting out, without a lot of cash behind them, who have fresh ideas about changing the hospitality industry,” Oliver continues. “This new era of dining makes our job challenging but rewarding, as we have to constantly find ways of communicating the interesting things our clients are doing.” It means the pair has to evolve as quickly as the industry does, working creatively and collaboratively with clients to keep their work compelling.
Recently, the pair worked with Fresca Pasta, a restaurant serving handmade, fresh pasta in Edinburgh to establish its identity and printed matter for a series of pop-up events across the city. Centred around a lively wordmark that mimics the signature food of the Fresca and demonstrates the duo’s aptitude for typography, Oliver and Orlando then used the promotional material to “stretch and push the identity’s visual language, producing everything from Risograph prints to animated posters and an illustrated zine.”
This is then combined with the imagery of local photographer Abi Radford, someone Fed & Watered has been working with on several projects, resulting in a contemporary and beautifully-crafted identity. “We love using photography,” Oliver explains. “Sometimes it’s more about capturing a mood or lifestyle than anything else – people want to see what goes on behind the scenes, so what better way to capture this than with a well-framed photograph.”
It’s exciting to see the energy Fed & Watered is putting into the niche Oliver and Orlando have carved out for themselves. But while the notion of designing so specifically for one industry is intriguing in of itself, the work the pair is producing would speak volumes across any sector. What’s more, they’re a pair who can animate, do typography, Risograph or identities with ease, all executed with finesse to mean even the smallest project is packed with character.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.