Hello! I wanted to officially unveil the new poster for the Craft Candy December mini fair! The mini fair graphics have been given a brand new look recently, courtesy of the exceptionally talented, local graphic designer, Paul Williams, who works under the name ‘Halftones and Headphones‘. You have probably already got a sneak preview of the poster elsewhere already, but anyway, for the first time ever on the Craft Candy blog, here is the poster in all its fine glory!
I think you’ll agree, it’s an amazing piece of design work, which captures the ethos of Craft Candy perfectly. If you’re going to be selling your work at the fair in December, or would like to help promote Craft Candy mini fairs, you can download yourself a version of the poster from the Craft Candy mini fairs page, and use it on your website or blog. Paul has also designed a simple logo, which is equally as striking.
So now you’ve seen the awesome new designs, you’d like to know more about the man behind the Mac right? Well, get yourself a nice cup of tea, and read on…
Twenty three year old Paul Williams is originally from Liverpool, but now resides permanently in Sheffield, where he is the fourth and final year of his MDes, specialising in Graphic Design, at Sheffield Hallam Uni. An MDes, if you don’t know, is basically a Masters, combined with a degree into one long course. So, this is not bad at all for a boy who (in his own words) ‘flunked’ his Art A-level, and was told he had no future career in the discipline!
And, what’s more, Paul has recently returned from spending a semester of his course at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. Studying abroad and doing a placement or exchange is an optional part of the MDes, and although there were a range of places available to choose from, such as Prague or Lapland, Paul says he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be able to put ‘Bauhaus‘ on his CV! He worked under the well respected Canadian typographer Professor Jay Rutherford, and although the course was essentially typography based, got to try his hand at all sorts of different things, including hand-set type and calligraphy. The course culminated in working as part of a group, on producing an educational board game, Schrift Stadt, which was his final piece.
When working on his own designs, Paul draws on a vast array of different influences, from movies, comics and music, to old books, photographs and other collectable ephemera, including the Las Vegas Motel kitsch of ‘Americana’. He loves the hand-painted signs and old style script logos, and this comes across in his own work, which he sums up, in one word, as ‘retro’.
Paul is inspired by the work of some great designers, such as Brian Ewing & Rob Dobi, and their great comic book style, and more recently, has admired the witty minimalist style of Jason Munn (The Small Stakes), and the work coming out of the Aesthetic Apparatus and Silent Giants studios. Eric Tan is another inspiration for Paul – he likes his “cool Disney stuff”, and the way “it goes against what you’d expect.” And he cites Saul Bass as being a ‘massive influence’, commenting “I think people have used his style to death, but when I see one of his Hitchcock posters, or title sequences, I’m still shocked by how ahead of their time they were.”
Juggling his Uni work along with his ever growing stack of freelance requests, and with his part time bar job thrown into the mix, Paul is so busy, that he doesn’t get as much time to enjoy the things that interest him as he’d like. He says he has to make time for them as much as he can though, or his creativity would just dry up!
Paul began freelancing when he was still at school completing his GCSE’s. He started off by designing flyers and posters for his mate Kev, who ran band nights. Paul’s band used to play at these, and he was paid in beer and free entry to other nights! He doesn’t rate the designs he did back then, saying “They were really awful, using about twenty different typefaces and pixelated images but I guess I had to start somewhere!” For a few years, whilst studying for an Art Foundation BTEC, and during a stint at Salford Uni (which he left to take a year out instead!) Paul worked mainly on gig posters, and improved his style bit by bit. He says it was only when he arrived in Sheffield, that he got the confidence to start taking on bigger jobs.
Now, as resident designer, he regularly produces graphics, and puts together events posters for Bungalows & Bears on Division Street, and has also worked for The Lescar, on Sharrowvale Road (see image above).
Paul has also worked on several self promotional book projects, and is keen to do more of this kind of work in the future. He says “I started a project last year, to document people and their bikes. I travelled around the country meeting up with friends and doing quick interviews about riding and the history of their bike.” The project isn’t complete yet, but Paul hopes to revisit it and expand upon it in the future. He has also worked on another book project as part of his course, called ‘You can quote me on that’. The brief was to produce a run of portfolio promoting books. Paul’s book features personal favourite quotations, and was produced in a run of 25. He says “There’s something nice about collecting all your work into one finished piece with a clear outcome. I find books a far more interesting way to look at design than blogs for instance, so it’s nice to have made a few. I have this book, ‘The making of The Fantastic Mr. Fox’, (the recent Wes Anderson version). It’s absolutely amazing, and documents every last detail beautifully. I think getting the opportunity to put something like that together would be incredible. Difficult, but incredible.”
Pauls process of working changes a lot. He carries out the majority of his work on a Mac, but he often draws everything up by hand first. He also does all his own screen printing and is planning on doing a run of some of his favourite pieces soon, which will be up on his website in due course. He shares an office with a two other guys, who are also involved in design in one way or another, which for Paul, makes it “a good space to work in.”
As part of another University brief, Paul created these screen printed images for Electricworks, which is a new media centre in Sheffield, aimed at creative small businesses, and which famously has a helter skelter inside the building! The theme for the art works was ‘interconnectedness’, and Paul decided to explore Sheffields relationship with the environment in the images.
When asked where he sees the future taking him, Paul comments “I think when I graduate I might look in to working in a studio for a short while. I don’t see myself settling in to that sort of role, I’d much prefer to be a freelancer, but it would be useful to get some first hand experience of the business and admin side of things. Long-term, I’d like to set up my own print studio. Being able to design a piece of work and then actually bring it to fruition myself is something I really enjoy.”
Lets hope we see plenty more of Pauls work around Sheffield in the future!
Here are a few more of my personal favourite images from Paul’s website…
*You can visit Paul’s website and view more examples of his work at Halftones and Headphones.