Regulars / Nicer Tuesdays

“My personal work informs everything that comes after it” and other bits we learned at September’s Nicer Tuesdays

At September’s Nicer Tuesdays (this month on a Monday), four very different talks taught us about the different routes creatives apply to projects.

From Josh McKenna applying his own interpretation of gay culture to create a very successful set of Google and Instagram stickers, the BBC’s David Bailey explaining the volumes that different typefaces speak at, to choreographer and director Holly Blakey stepping away from dance and behind a lens to gain an alternative perspective on the medium, and finally illustrator Laura Callaghan’s approach of honing and developing her personal work which encourages clients to come to her.

Below we share a little more on what we learned at our September event…


Speedo shorts are too risqué for Instagram

This year has seen illustrator Josh McKenna work with some of the world’s biggest clients, Google and Instagram. The most impressive thing about these commissions is that Josh has kept his illustrational style, flare and values at the forefront of his work.

Talking the Nicer Tuesday’s audience through his Google sticker set for Pride – followed by a sticker for Instagram during June – Josh explained the back and forth he had with clients and how he had to give up on a initial idea for his Instagram sticker. “My immediate thought was a sexy guy in speedos”. Unfortunately Instagram granted this “too risqué to approve,” he explains. “So, I made the pants bigger… it was still too risqué”.

Nevertheless, Josh’s second option, a vogueing dancer we’re sure many of you are familiar with was beyond a hit. Used by family, friends and the Kardashians, and developed into a mural, Josh’s sticker, which was supposed to last one month, is now part of Instagram’s permanent collection.


If you want to be invisible then use Helvetica

David Bailey, the BBC’s creative director of GEL (global experience and language) and UX&D took the Nicer Tuesday’s audience through the company’s new typeface, BBC Reith.

Talking through the BBC’s two current typefaces, Gill Sans (its master brand font) and the trusty Helvetica, David explains that the ubiquitous quality of the latter was one of the main reasons for change. “If you want to be invisible then use Helvetica, but we had bigger ideas than that,” creating a bespoke typeface with type foundry, Dalton Maag, which ended in a tight finale: “The race was on between a grotesque and humanist typeface.” In the end, the team settled on a humanist typeface, and called it BBC Reith after 1927 director general of the BBC, John Reith.


Trying a different medium can help you learn about your practice

Choreographer and director Holly Blakey took to the Nicer Tuesday’s stage and explained how stepping out of your craft and into a different one can benefit your practice immensely. “Working in this way has led me to seeing dance through a different lens, well specifically though a lens,” she explained.

Talking through her film-based projects, primarily music videos and short films, Holly experienced a shift in the understanding of her work. “Everything I was doing had much less worth,” she says, “everything that was made for the mass or popular culture.” Holly’s emphatic talk, featuring beautiful examples, posed questions from the director such as “who are we making work for if not for everyone?” and “what are we saying about each other if art isn’t for everyone?”


Personal work encourages clients to come to you

Our final talk of the evening saw renowned and female-focused illustrator Laura Callaghan take the Nicer Tuesday’s audience through her career and latest project.

The illustrator creates products and apparel but her bread and butter is editorial illustration. One of the most fascinating take-aways from Laura’s talk was how creating personal work in her free time is often where her client-based commissions develop from. She explains: “My personal work informs everything that comes after it. It’s the stuff clients refer to when they come to me.”

This was the case for her recent work for Zeit Magazin where she had to illustrate an article that posed the question: “If women were to make all the decisions, what would Germany look like?” A perfect fit for an illustrator as a “female-heavy fronted world is what I create naturally in my work anyway”.


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Supported by: Park Communications

As one of London’s most respected printers, Park Communications is known for its care, attention to detail and high quality, which is why Printed Pages is among the titles it produces.

Drinks sponsor: Hop House 13

Thanks to Hop House 13 for providing the drinks!