Pivotal moments: We explore the making of career-defining projects at July’s Nicer Tuesdays
At this month’s Nicer Tuesdays, we heard from All Purpose Studio, Raj Dhunna, Nataal and Leanne Rule.
From illustrating an advert for the nation’s most divisive TV show, to designing the tenth anniversary issue of a renowned and celebrated fashion magazine, this month’s Nicer Tuesdays speakers offered insights into a range of recent high-profile, high-pressure projects. Joining us was design studio All Purpose, illustrator Raj Dhunna, creative director of Nataal Media Marie Gomis-Trezise, and 3D illustrator and animator Leanne Rule. Kicking things off, All Purpose Studio gave us a detailed run-through of its design process for LAW magazine’s tenth issue; followed by Raj Dhunna, who spoke about a zine he recently illustrated on footballer Hamza Choudhury; and then, after the break, we heard from Marie Gomis-Trezise, who took us through the unstoppable rise of magazine and global media brand Nataal; before the evening finished with a talk from Leanne Rule, who revealed the hilarious requests made by her client for her recent Love Island project.
All Purpose Studio on working with LAW’s John Joseph Holt to make the magazine’s tenth issue a special one
In the world of independent publishing, it’s an impressive feat to release five issues of a magazine, let alone 10. With such a saturated marketplace, and no shortage of hurdles to jump over – from the ever-present issue of funding to the headaches of distribution – many a magazine falls and fades before it reaches anywhere near a decade. But that’s exactly how long British style publication LAW (an acronym of Lives and Works) has been going for. As such, it felt fitting to invite the studio to discuss the tremendous amount of work that takes place behind the scenes – especially for the tenth issue, which marks a significant moment for its founder John Joseph Holt.
All Purpose Studio was awarded the honour of putting together this important release. The studio spoke to us about the themes and ideas that became jumping-off points for their design, informing the extensive and very specific research that it carried out in the beginning. Titled Folklore, Faith and Unity, the concepts for this issue inspired the pair to source and study village hall and church ephemera as possible routes forward. What followed was a series of design decisions that attempted to highlight the strength and power of LAW’s legacy. From bold typefaces to Bible paper stock, the studio found several ways to do justice to this milestone in the publication’s history. “John said to us he wanted [the issue] to feel like a pilgrimage”, the studio recalls – which is fitting, given the five years it took to make it.
“I’m football mad”: Raj Dhunna reveals how his love of the game led him to illustrate a comic book on professional footballer Hamza Choudhury
Though Raj is a self-confessed football addict, he began his talk by showing us the diverse range of projects in his portfolio, as well as the other interests that inform his work: “I like to explore the things that are part of our day-to-day life, like our fashion or how we congregate… I love that idea of community.” From his more lifestyle-focused pieces to his sports-focused work, Raj’s particular brand of illustration revolves heavily around the way we express ourselves both as a collective and as individuals. Whether through our hairstyles, our clothes, or the people we choose to surround ourselves with, Raj captures these elements using his soft yet dynamic aesthetic.
But the main project he joined us to speak about was, of course, a football comic book. Commissioned by EA FIFA, Hamza: My Story retraces the ascent of British Asian footballer Hamza Choudhury from his childhood in Loughborough to his current position as a Premier League player. The small publication delves into various aspects of his life and career, including his heritage and his encounters with racism on the pitch. Raj explained to the audience how he tackled these more sensitive moments in the story, highlighting them through subtle illustrative methods that help to capture the emotions involved. He then went on to explain why, given his own heritage, this project was particularly important to him. “As someone who understands the British Asian experience, I had a responsibility to tell this story with compassion”.
Marie Gomis-Trezise of Nataal Media on how the brand is pushing the boundaries of the Black aesthetic
Marie joined Nataal at a pivotal point in her career, just as she was starting her own gallery, Galerie Number 8, and she recalls it being a poignant and inspiring moment for her. This was back in 2020 and since then, she has overseen a mountain of beautiful projects as the brand’s creative director. At the core of Nataal’s focus is a desire to tell stories from a diverse perspective, championing the talent of some of Africa’s most exciting creatives. During the talk, Marie explained that she shares a connection to Senegal with the brand’s founder Alassane Sy, and as such understood the need for platforming the talent coming from their home country, as well as other surrounding African nations.
The latest result of these endeavours is the third issue of Nataal magazine, which Marie walked the audience through in spectacular detail: “We’re really proud of our latest issue because it took three years to make it to print and everyone involved gave 100 percent.” Explaining the inspiration for the issue, which looks at the theme of beauty, Marie showed us the many fascinating projects that were created by Nataal’s global network of contributors. These projects explore various understandings of the concept of beauty, positioning it as an “an attitude, a point of view, a sense of inner confidence, an expression of identity, or simply the power that comes with a slick of red lipstick”.
Leanne Rule shares the nitty, gritty details of making a TV advert for Love Island
Since first airing in 2015, Love Island has divided viewers around the world – some hate it, some adore it, but all have at least heard of it. The reality TV show is undoubtedly one of the nation’s most highly-anticipated cultural moments, having now been streamed a whopping 130 million times. So it goes without saying that creating any kind of promotional material for the show comes with a ton of pressure, let alone being asked to create a fully-fleshed TV advert.
Speaking on her own relationship with Love Island, Leanne recalled: “I was 18 when [Love Island] first came out and I was partying and drinking lots, so I was the perfect age to enjoy it.” Years later, though her interest in the show had waned, she remembers being extremely excited to get a call about working with ITV on the advert. The brief she was given was that this spot needed to be “confident, sassy, and playful” and she set about finding a way to capture this using her bold, bouncy style. Delving into the various bits of research and the many sketches that were involved in its creation, Leanne gave us a revealing insight into the trials and tribulations of working on such a high-profile project. However, daunting as it may seem, Leanne was also quick to reassure the audience that many of the hurdles she faced were actually very fun, and at times, hilarious – such as striking the right balance between a flaccid and erect aubergine, and finding just the right shape for a typical Love Islander's “fit” body.
Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform for growing businesses. Mailchimp empowers millions of customers around the world to start and grow their businesses with world-class marketing technology, award-winning customer support, and inspiring content. Millions of businesses and individuals – from community organizations to Fortune 100 companies – trust Mailchimp to help them connect with their audience with the right message, at the right time, in the right place.
El Rayo Tequila is transforming the way you think and drink tequila – one T&T at a time. By partnering with artists and designers, it’s building a lifestyle brand around its tequilas. Tequila & Tonic is a thing now.
We’re excited to partner with Love Corn the UK’s first crunchy corn brand as our snack sponsor. Its delicious crunchy corn kernels are packed with flavour and made with love. On trend with being low sugar, gluten-free and vegan, it’s the feel good snack so please enjoy!
Nicer Tuesdays Online is our monthly event of creative talks. You can find out more here.
Did you know that if you join Extra Nice, It’s Nice That’s new membership programme, you’ll automatically receive a ticket every month for Nicer Tuesdays Online, for the entire year? That’s just one of the many perks that makes Extra Nice so special. To find out more about this and all the other benefits of joining Extra Nice, head over to the dedicated part of our site.