Blog: 29 February 2016What makes a graphic designer tick…

Liam Sharp

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Liam Sharp

Senior Graphic Designer

Reading office

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Having worked in the Graphic Design team at Barton Willmore for 18 months, I thought I’d share what makes a Graphic Designer’s head tick (or at least mine!), and for me it’s Photography and Illustration.

Every artist has their favourite tool: some use brushes, chisels, guitars, pens – mine’s a camera. It’s called a Lubitel, medium-format film (no batteries!), a black box with two lenses on the front, which is viewed down from the top. A Russian invention, which is my Pandora’s Box, I'm never quite sure what’s going to come out of it. Printed photographs come back in a square format, full of colour or grey tones, and present a pause in life and emotion – perhaps a bustling city or a stranger in the street. You just don’t get that on an iPhone…

I'm hugely inspired by the likes of early David Bailey, Cecil Beaton, Henry Fox Talbot, and the recently discovered Vivian Maier. It’s not about posing or studio shots or hundreds of takes, it’s all about taking a photo to capture a moment or a place, or just something beautiful. My camera goes on every adventure, whether it’s on holiday, a long walk, or a friend’s house – inspiration is everywhere.

Shooting on film forces you to be careful, there’s no scrolling through and deleting the bad ones. It makes you focus far more than on digital, as there’s only 12 precious shots per roll. You capture a raw and unique moment that creates an interesting, engaging and ‘real’ result every time. It’s amazing how so many people see the camera and are surprised there’s no batteries or USB ports.

My photography has recently been published on the local news website GetReading, as part of a focus on local artists in Berkshire and has also been featured on the culture magazine and website Huck.

As well as photography, my other passion is illustration. Inspiration mainly comes from personal interests like 80s/90s video games, TV shows and the great outdoors. I use a whole range of different materials, including pen and ink, lino and screen printing, as well as Photoshop and Illustrator. I've had two illustrations selected and printed into art publications, with a third on the way! Those books are curated by Game Paused, who celebrate artwork around gaming nostalgia.

Here at Barton Willmore, day to day I'm involved with a whole host of typical projects from documents to exhibitions, brochures to websites, but I’d encourage everyone to think further afield – perhaps a bespoke illustration of some fine-detail photography might really bring your project to life!

Posted with the following keywords:
Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography