Meet the Makers: Design Studio We Are Beard
We Are Beard are a super talented multidisciplinary design and illustration studio. They’ve worked with some pretty impressive brands during their time and it looks like 2016 is set to be even bigger and better!
Armed with all manner of art pens and pencils in their stash, as well as their trusty Macs they create impactful and dynamic artwork and campaigns.
Here we find out what inspires their graffiti style designs, what design process they go through and whats coming up for the rest of 2015 and beyond . . .
Creative Designers We Are Beard
We love your graffiti designs, where do you get your inspiration from?
Thank you, we love it too! And it’s sad because graffiti has got itself a bit of bad reputation over the years but there are a lot of people out there doing it justice as an art form. When people think of graffiti they think of the badly scrawled tags that you see on car park walls, but if you compare that to the kind of live artwork that we create at events they are polar opposites. The intentions are massively different, we try and create something that will be enjoyed, create a show and provoke a reaction, as opposed to doing it to rebel against society or just marking territory.
In terms of where ideas come from, we’ve got an eclectic mix of people in the studio, which leads to ideas coming from almost anywhere. Inspiration can fall out of a caffeine induced rant through to a quiet moment eating your sandwich.
I think part of doing what we do means that you naturally pick out things that other people may over look. It’s hard to explain but when inspiration comes you can’t dictate when or where you will be, but when it hits, you better hope you have something to note it down with.
These then tend to get bounced around in the studio and we see where the ideas land. Sometimes they’re perfect for an existing project and other times they get benched, waiting for the right moment – but nothing gets wasted.
Is there anything you don’t like to draw?
The short straw for who’s turn it is to make the coffee. That and horses. Horses are impossible.
Tell us a bit more about your other crafting passions.
Aside from experimenting with paint and ink, most of the work created in our regular 9 to 5 is crafted in one way or another. We craft words for company straplines, we craft brochures and websites.
There is a misconception these days that computers do all the work for you. Yes, drawing something by hand does feel more authentic but everything that leaves our studio has been crafted. Whether using a sketchbook or Adobe software, both start with a blank page and require you to know what you’re trying to create.
Where do you usually create your works of art? Give us a tour!
We’ve got a studio in the centre of Worcester. It is currently half full of iMacs, laptops and other shiny things, alongside another room full of canvases, murals and other artistic accoutrements that we’ve accumulated for different projects. It can quite quickly get out of control but it all adds to the fun of the space that we’re in.
What made you want to start up your own business?
The freedom that it brings. Yes, it is hard work but you are in control of the output and direction that you want to go. In actual fact, our direction has changed quite significantly from when we first started as we went through a merger in early 2014.
Dave was running an illustration based events company and Rob was running a design studio. Both had been running for three years independently before this but an initial collaboration made both Dave and Rob realize that there was a huge opportunity to utilise each other’s talents on a more regular basis. Initially this meant working out of the same office space but ultimately led to the businesses merging into one.
Our motivation and direction as a business has changed subsequently, as we have combined two very different styles which very few studios are fortunate enough to be able to do.
What would be your top five tips for people wanting to get started in illustration/graffiti art?
Not wanting to sound cheesier than a French man’s pantry, it can never be said more, be yourself! What ever comes naturally to you; If you’ve always wanted to buy spray cans and go wild in your garden on some old unused bedding, or use an obscene amount of acrylic on the biggest canvas you could buy for under £10…
Our number one, top of the pops, that’s my final answer Chris, advice is, JUST DO IT! It’s never perfect, never finished, but unless you start you will never find out what’s possible. And if you’re having fun, that’s all that truly matters.
What is your favourite commission you’ve had to date?
It’s really difficult to say. In the last month we’ve created a giant exploding Red Bull can and within a week found ourselves drawing blueprints for a Lego skyscraper. Both have been challenging and hugely rewarding at the same time as we’d never done anything like either of those before.
We embrace each and every project in a different way so choosing between them can be difficult. If you ask everyone in the business what their favourite piece as been you’d more than likely get different answers from everybody.
In the last month we’ve created a giant exploding Red Bull can and within a week found ourselves drawing blueprints for a Lego skyscraper.
What design process do you go through when creating a bespoke piece?
Everything starts with a face to face conversation. We like to get to know who we’re working with, so we prefer to sit down and chat with them over hot beverage and what ever sweet treat has smuggled it’s way into the office that day. This allows us to gauge who they are, what direction they want to take and how much freedom we have. This is crucial for us to build a trusted relationship with them.
After we’ve all gone away and thought about things for a while, we begin with an uninhibited, no holds barred brain storm. From here we usually have at least a couple of paths that we would like to explore.
There are a million different ways you can take these projects too. We doodle, research, pick up things, move things, glue, throw, break or chew them, the outcomes of those variables are infinite and that doesn’t even scratch the surface. It depends on the materials you’ve got, where you are, what colour hat you have on, what side of the bed you got up from that morning or what tune the church bells ring out throughout the studio. We like to experiment and see where it takes us.
What three pieces of kit could you not be without?
Three? That’s just a tricky question to answer! It definitely would be different for everybody in the studio.
Dave’s first answer was apple products, laptop and iMacs, quickly followed by pencils. So they couldn’t be less alike. Ross didn’t hear the question due to headphones, so we assumed that to be his answer. Ben looked around at all his things unable to let go of anything and Rowena said the kettle, not that she ever uses it. I’m personally most comfortable in a castle fort made of design books but would also concur with all of the above. Now you can see why it’s hard to answer just three!
We’re very much looking forward to you blogging for Hobbycraft! What kind of thing can our readers’ expect?
We have got no idea! But definitely prepare for something different. We are looking to create something new for you and us and it’s going to be a great way to explore while having a lot of fun.
We intend each blog to be a document of us starting from scratch, with a blank page, canvas, board or wall and will show us experimenting, refining and hopefully coming up with something cool at the end of it. It’s something we are really looking forward to sharing with you.
And for the future? What’s next for you?
More work, more experimenting and a lot more noise.
We’ve built a great team and solid base and we plan on doing a lot of work that we intend to shout about. Each new project is a challenge and, if the last 12 months are anything to go by, we’ll be producing some pretty awesome stuff in the near future.
And this time we’re ready for people to sit up and take notice!