Introducing: Josh Woolliscroft

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Introducing: Josh Woolliscroft reimagines the HB pencil and other cool stuff

Look at this! More exciting new work fresh from the brains of the world’s as yet untainted creatives! This week we’re introducing designer Josh Woolliscroft, who is currently working for Swiss design studio Loris&Livia in East London before returning to finish his MA in European Design at the Glasgow School of Art. Everybody, meet Josh.

Among his recent projects, Josh modified a packet of BIC HB pencils in a number of different ways and then returned them to BIC World to have them investigated for non-conformity, documenting his correspondence with BIC World all the while and presenting it as part of the project, to brilliant results. He also designed a spray gun intended to help graffiti artists rediscover the gesture of painting, and a beautiful table with an uneven surface which creates the illusion of flexibility in wood. We caught up with Josh to hear about struggling through a year of speaking pidgin French at ENSCI Les Ateliers in Paris and his secret (at least it was secret) penchant for Harry Potter.


Josh Woolliscroft: BIC World Leaving a Trace

Where do you work?

I work part time for the wonderful swiss design duo Loris&Livia in their Hackney studio, and I spend the rest of my time as a freelance designer and aspiring chef. I am just taking a break from my Masters in European Design, and will be returning to complete it next year.

How does your working day start?

A cup of tea, an english muffin with much too much butter (with the occasional egg if I get up especially early) and a brisk cycle into the studio. Then I’ll privately put on a Harry Potter audio book and start work.

How do you work and how has that changed?

I was never particularly confident in my own work until I spent a year studying at the industrial design school ENSCI Les Ateliers in Paris. I couldn’t speak any French to begin with, and had to develop loads of new ways of explaining my ideas and my work, which included a lot of drawing (and hand gesturing), but also I think it changed the direction of my work a little, with the objects I was creating telling much more of a story on their own.

The people at the school found my work funny, not just because of the terrible French that accompanied it, but because to them it was very “English” and dry. By the end of the year I had a much clearer idea of what I wanted to do as a designer, maybe because I had spent so much time thinking about and practising explanations of what I was doing and why I was doing it in French.

Since then I’ve found it much easier to find and maintain a direction that is both somewhat critical and humorous, and I approach my work with much more confidence. So it doesn’t matter when I get things wrong, often it turns out to be blessing in disguise! 

Where would we find you when you’re not at work?

Probably in the kitchen developing a new method of egg poaching. Cooking is my favourite pastime, and I find planning a meal or inventing a recipe a great way to spend a break from work. If not, I would ideally be watching the Test Match Special.

Would you intern for yourself?

Definitely yes, I think we’d get on really well. And then I wouldn’t have to listen to my audio book in secret any more.


Josh Woolliscroft: BIC World Leaving a Trace


Josh Woolliscroft: BIC World Leaving a Trace


Josh Woolliscroft: BIC World Leaving a Trace


Josh Woolliscroft: Two Structures


Josh Woolliscroft: Two Structures


Josh Woolliscroft: DeVilbiss


Josh Woolliscroft: DeVilbiss