Interview: New Designers Hallmark Award winner Lucinda Ireland

At last week's New Designers exhibition, which brought together the best graduate work from universities and colleges across the UK, Lucinda Ireland picked up the Hallmark Award, which was sponsored by the greeting card company and won Lucinda a one month's work placement in its studio, along with a £1,000 prize.

Lucinda Ireland has recently graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a BA (Hons) in graphic design. Nottingham Trent provided one of the best stands of the show, packed with clean and simple graphic work of which Lucinda's was a shining example. We caught up with Lucinda this week to learn more about her work and creative process.

DA: Where are you from?

LI: "[I'm] living in Nottingham at the minute, but originally from Lincolnshire."

DA: How did you get into typography?

LI: "I got into typography when I first began studying graphic design on the BTEC National Diploma course at Grantham College. My tutor Dave was keen on typography and there was quite a big focus on it on the course.

"We often had to do typography exercises which involved tracing 12-pointt serif type right down to 8-point. I remember trying ridiculously hard to get the serifs as perfect as could every time; I really loved doing it. This exercise got us used to hand rendering type for our final pieces as the majority were done by hand, especially during our first year.

"I can't really explain what it is about it, I just really enjoyed working with typography right from the start."

DA: Why is type art largely perceived as a something boys do? (despite Marian Bantjes and Jessica Hische being possibly the best typographers on the planet right now)

LI: "My Girls Like Type Too project came as a response to a poster I saw up in uni, which read "take me back to when men were typographers and women were grateful", so maybe I should ask the person who said that for the answer to this question!

"Seriously though, in my opinion, I think it comes from the roots of traditional typography -- when it was just literally a male's job to cast and set type with it being heavy to lift and carry around the workshops. I think that tradition has simply stuck a little.

"Looking at it from a more positive perspective, I do feel that when a female is good at typography -- like the beautiful work done by Jessica Hische -- it isn't as hard to stand out from the crowd and be noticed."

DA: What materials and tools do you use?

LI: "To start with, I use a pencil or pen to sketch out my type in a layout pad and work it up. I always work in a layout pad as it's easy to trace previous sketches and make changes quickly. I always make sure I'm happy with the hand-drawn type on paper before I scan it in and put it into illustrator.

"I don't like changing it too much once on screen -- it's more the treatment of the type [that] I work on in illustrator, so it works best for me to have it as finalised as possible before hand.

"I work in this way as I feel it works best for me and I am most confident with using this process."

DA: Who and what are you main influences?

LI: "I get inspiration from so many different sources, I find myself growing increasingly more aware of my environment everyday and I am always spotting random things -- and it isn't always just about typography. For example, I look at colours and the way things are displayed and set too.

"I also have a huge love for old design; I love the variety of different type styles seen on old packaging and signage, particularly scripts of which many are hand-drawn. I went to a vintage transport fair with my dad a few summers ago and I spent hours photographing random bits of typography from tiny engraved plaques to huge lettering painted on the side of old lorries. The photos I took that day I still look back at for inspiration time and time again."

DA: Why do you think you won the award?

LI: ""I still really don't know, I am still in amazement about it. It's a huge compliment from all the lovely ladies at Hallmark, and I am so pleased and grateful to of been chosen by them. It's nice to know they saw potential in my work."

DA: What are your plans now?

LI: ""Over the coming months, I want to gain important and valuable studio experience, making the most of all the amazing opportunities I have been given and just see what happens.

"I aim to develop my more illustrative stuff, in particular work on my Girls Like Type Too collection in my own time, as well as doing any freelance work that may come my way. I am really excited to see what the future brings."

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