Work / Illustration

Joseph Melhuish’s illustrations and gifs are inspired by “glossy pop culture”

Illustrator and designer Joe Melhuish describes his style as “glossy pop culture” mixed with “trashy irreverence”, which best describes the things he’s most inspired by as well: “Lots of serious graphic design and high-end fashion photography colliding with memes, pop culture and ephemeral tech,” he says.

It’s been a while since we last checked in with Joe and since then he’s been working for various commercial clients including Afisha magazine, Island Records and Big Dada among others. “My favourite recent project was probably a series of three little animations about worms. This was just a personal project, but probably some of the most fun I’ve had making work in a long time,” says Joe. “For me, it was important because it was a big injection of humour back into my work which is something that is packed into my sketchbooks, but for some reason wasn’t coming through in what I was making.”

Joe spends a lot of time working in his sketchbooks, constantly jotting down visual ideas. “I also drag and drop a lot of found imagery onto my desktop as a kind of unorganised storage place for ideas,” he says. “I have seen people actually recoil in horror at my desktop mess. I just randomly preview things if I’m stuck on a project hoping to trigger some different ways of thinking.”

The creative’s portfolio is packed full of bold character work against colourful backgrounds and he’s recently been working with gifs to experiment and develop his practice. “Gifs allow me to be much more humorous with my work and I love that you can tell a story or create a strong atmosphere in only a few seconds,” Joe explains. “I’ve noticed there’s actually a lot more editorial illustrators making moving image work now, since so many commissions are seen only on screen. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.”


Joe Melhuish


Joe Melhuish


Joe Melhuish


Joe Melhuish


Joe Melhuish