Forget Hoxton or the Meat Packing District, Steven does a very nice job of whipping out creative, incredibly unique work from his studio in Stirling, Scotland. Steven has worked with a lot of big corporate clients and his artwork has graced the covers of style leaders such as GQ and Wired. His hand-drawn style has a retro twist and we think you’ll love the exclusive font coming your way.
So with the introduction out of the way, let’s kick things off with a brief Q&A with Steven Bonner.
1. YOU HAVE A VERY SPECIFIC STYLE IN YOUR WORK, HOW DID THIS EVOLVE?
I think my style is the child of two very different parents. I used a traditional airbrush a lot when I was in college years ago, and always loved the soft and hyper real results it gave, but when I moved to the mac, I loved the sharp and crisp effects you get with vectors, so I think I naturally end up somewhere in the middle. I think being trained in traditional graphic design focused my mindset into keeping clarity in my work, and so I always strive to keep the message clear in my pieces, whether that’s type, illustration or graphic work.
2. HOW MUCH OF YOUR WORK IS PRODUCED AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER?
It all starts away from the computer with sketches and random doodles, but generally, around 80-90% of my work ends up drawn on the mac as it’s the most appropriate tool for my style. Saying that, I’ve never understood why people would use a computer to try and simulate something with a naturally random finish like chalk or paint. Why not just do the image in one of those mediums in the first place? It’s good to look at other methods, as it keeps your skills evolving.
Typographic T-Shirt design by Steven Bonner for a US based clothing label.
3. WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
I’m just finishing up some book cover lettering for Penguin, and sent off an art pack for an iPad app for production which will allow the users to create their own blacklister type. Next up are a couple of advertising campaigns involving a nice mix of briefs including circus/freakshow lettering, and then some some illustration work for a drinks company. I’m very lucky in that I get to work on a nice mix of disciplines which keeps my working day varied.
4. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE FUTURE OF TYPOGRAPHY, AND GRAPHIC DESIGN?
I think regardless of the economy, the industry is in a very healthy creative state, and more designers are willing to either learn more about lettering and type themselves, or hire in people like me to create more custom work. It’s encouraging to see an appreciation of craft coming back so strongly in recent years. Now designers are thinking more about collaboration outside their own walls and so long as that trend continues, there’ll always be opportunities for new talent to come through.
People are taking more care and consideration over their typography and the fact that it now seems to be trendy to be into type has put it back in focus for a lot of creatives. There’s a great use of crafted typography which is something that was maybe lacking a few years ago. I love the fact that there are so many great fonts appearing on the market all the time. The more options we have, the more interesting things can come from it.
A feature opener for Advanced Photoshop Magazine on ‘The Art of Type’
5. DO YOU FEEL WITH THE RISE OF THE INTERNET AND VARIOUS SOCIAL PLATFORMS, SELF PROMOTION IS NOW AS IMPORTANT AS GOOD DESIGN?
Self promotion is majorly important, but I do still think that producing good work is by far the most important thing. There’s no point in promoting yourself if the work isn’t up to scratch as people aren’t afraid to criticise on the various social platforms so you need to be confident in the work you show.
It’s a constant process and you have to be quite disciplined to keep on top of self promotion, but conversely, the time you spend is free in comparison to the past when you had to spend fair sums of money on mailshots to reach much less people. Having said all of that, I still believe that a polite email to the right person is far more effective than being popular on twitter.
6. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR PRINT, AND IS THIS AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF YOUR WORK?
Most of the time, I’m hired as a supplier to design, advertising or publishing agencies so I don’t have as much contact with print directly as I used to, but my love for print is still strong and I’d personally be gutted if we lost it. I think the digital mediums have replaced print in the mid ranges, and possibly even the lower end of the market, but for me, there always be a need to produce the experience that only print can give. It’s the smell of a newly printed piece, the weight, the feel – it’s a sensory experience that the web can’t match and for me, high end marketing will always need high end print to tell its story. As a creative, I always want to see my work in application, so print work is always my favourite thing to be involved with.
Watch out for Steven’s Exclusive Faces font coming very soon!