top of page

Week 2 Perspectives 

Industry Today

Which creative studios contribute to the identity of your city’s design industry and how?

The answer to the question of how creative studios ‘contribute to the identity’ of Bournemouth town? appears to be very difficult to quantify.  My conflict lies in the the nature of how modern Graphic Designers work.   Many of the Brounemouth based sudios, agencies and designers are not working exclusively for Bournemouth based companies, obviously they are actively seeking work beyond their immediate location in order to sustain their business.  To restrict their client demographic would be counter-intuative to operating a successful business.  But, how far should designers be casting their nets?  In a world where designers can operate from their computers from anywhere, how much does their location matter to their success? and perhpas, more importantly, their process of creation? 

If Designers are not in some way influenced by their chosen city/town/village of residence, or working for significant organisations or individuals situated within it,  then how can they be credited with contributing to its ‘identity’?  Moreover, how do we define the ‘design identity’ of a place anyway?  In the Falmouth University Interview resource, designer Maziar Raein discussed how modern practice has been consumed by media and local practice is being ignored. (Raein.  c2020)  Is this because designers are casting their eyes to their place in a global market?  Perhaps they are being swallowed whole by the enormity of this platform?  Becoming a small fish in a super sized pond, I wonder, does their work have the same significant and relevance on this global stage? 

Is there anything wrong with setting your sights on a more modest, local market? As Maziar Raine says,  “I see lots of young people really interested, not changing the world but their little bit of the world, what they can change in a positive way.” (Raein c.2020) Positively changing even a small part of your world, is worthwhile in Maziar’s opinion, like recycling your plastic and paper to contribute to the ‘bigger sustainability picture’. 


Maziar claims that these designers are being ‘almost ignored’, but are they?  Or is it just that their work is not shouting from the lectern of a global conference stage?  These emerging designers seem particularly interested in local community and their place within it as influencers of change.  Does it matter that they are not being recognised for their influence within a wider design forum?  Do they need to find a platform for their collective voices?, a merging together of knowledge, understanding and skills from each “micro-utopia” as Maziar called them.

How much does location matter to a designers success and creative process?

Rick Walker from Paintshop Studio describes his choice to live and work in Bournemouth  “I have recently (2006) moved to Bournemouth from London and have found the move hugely inspiring, having a little more room to breath and not be surrounded by the ‘latest design trends’ gives you space to be more original, develop your own ideas and a stronger sense of identity to your business”(Cohen. 2015)  Walker refers to Bournemouth as if it were a tonic, some medicinal location that fuels creativity.  This is something that Bournemouth and other coastal towns like it were historically known for;  Spa Towns,  prescribed as the best places to convalesce after illness or to escape the polluted air of the cities.  The creative process is injected with vigour as the creator is in a state of positive physical and mental wellbeing.  In this case the creator then produces vibrant and uplifting urban mural work, which in turn increases the likelihood that encounters with the work will promote positivity in others as they go about their business in the beating heart of the town - a shared and cyclical design experience produced through the designers enthusiasm to make an imprint on their location. 

How do we define the ‘design identity’ of a place?

The landscape of a place in terms of it’s design culture can be identified through social groups, working spaces, cultural & educational institutions, individuals, businesses, charities and local authorities.  All of these stakeholders interact with art & design, calling on the talents of those in the know ; projects are born, collaborations begin, ideas spiral, outcomes are presented and all benefit economically, politically, socially & personally. 

If this is the definition of ‘design identity’, then the designers I have chosen have directed the Bournemouth scene by their work with local parties, for example, Rick Walker at PaintShop Studio working with BCP Council to produce wayfinding murals, these having a very tangible & literal impact on the Bournemouth landscape.  Bluewalnut founder Steph Horan, educating the next generation of Graphic Designers at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), supporting the manufacture of enthusiastically skilled graduates fit for re-invigorating & sculpting Bournemouth graphic design industry.  Warren Hoare of White Hot Monkey, working with local organisations, including Bournemouth University.  

Workshop Challenge:  List four key evolutionary design steps that contributed to the identity of the modern-day design culture of your city / country.

The four main evolutionary steps that have clearly contributed to  Bournemouth’s modern design culture are:

1.  The inception and growth of Bournemouth’s first art school in 1880 and it’s burgeoning in to Arts University Bournemouth today. (Design Education)
2.  The beginning of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (1893), the Russell Coates Museum (1922) and The Pavillion Theatre (1929). (Cultural Attractions)
3.  The expansion of tourism in the town. (Entertainment & Hospitality)
4.  The growth of digital enterprise in Bournemouth, quoted by Tech Nation as being the next ‘Silicon Valley’. (Digital Technology)

Inspired by a fellow student Ben Mills, a timeline of the most significant events in Bournemouth history that I believe have influenced it’s design culture...





























History of Graphic Design

As a previous student of design in the late 1990’s and early noughties, I had prior knowledge of art movements of the last 100 years that have helped shape the landscape for fashion and textile design but I had not really looked in any depth at the emergence of typography, or how the role of the ‘Graphic Designer’ was born.  

Reading through the resource for this week,  Drip Dry Shirts: The Evolution of the Graphic Designer (Roberts,L), I became clearer about how the industry, as we know it today,  grew from the roots of exploration, influenced by technological advancements, political unrest, art & culture.  In the 1960’s Graphic Designers were freshly inducted out of the newly developed art college courses specifically dedicated to their specialism and were,  as Lucienne Roberts describes it  “trying to make things better” (Roberts. 2005)  Roberts goes on to explain how typographers, those skilled crafts people who created design using type, before designers took on a more holistic role, were increasingly inspired by abstract art conceived by Futurists and Cubists at the start of the new 20th century.  Out of this came a different aesthetic for amalgamating typography and image.  Lucienne defines this as the "start of Graphic Design thinking" (Roberts. 2005) So the idea of ‘Graphic Design’ as a discipline in it own right began to emerge, later coined as such by American type designer and book maker, Addison Dwiggins in 1922.

One prolific designer at the time, working from his newly founded Pushpin Studios was Milton Glaser.  Speaking about that era and the influence of history in his work he said,  “We were excited by the very idea that we could use anything in the visual history of humankind as influence,” (Glaser, Adobe Documentary 2010)I think this idea is very empowering and provides a sense of what drives & excites designers, imagine the possibilities across the "visual history of humankind"(Glaser, Adobe 2010)  Glaser really believed in the process of design and how important it was to take risks and make surprising discoveries along the way.  He also had a strong moral compass and believed that designers have “a responsibility to be a good citizen” (Glaser, Adobe 2010)  This is something that I have found to be at the heart of many a creatives design ethos, although it continues to be hindered by client &  economic constraints.



















Milton Glaser’s Bob Dylan Poster 1966 

Elaborating on his design inspiration in a quote for The New York Times, posthumously posted in an obituary article online, Glaser  notes the many areas he draws from when working,  “Art Nouveau, Chinese wash drawing, German woodcuts, American primitive paintings, the Viennese secession and cartoons of the ’30s were an endless source of inspiration,”  This again demonstrates how historical & cultural reverence is a vital part of the act of discovery in any designers work.  Glaser seemed to have mastered and embraced this ideal with visually striking work which remains iconic and popular today.  


Practice No. 1

Paintshop Studio -





‘Energy, creativity, authenticity’

Led by:  Rick Walker (Designer & Artist) and Sandra Ramos (Projects & Client Services)
Founded: 2007
Where:  Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK












Paintshop Studio occupy the top floor of this building on Wimborne Road, Bournemouth.  On the ground floor is a cool coffee shop that also provides a t-shirt printing service and there is evidence that the two businesses are harmonious with a mural in Paintshop Studio ‘style’ on the righthand side of the building (although I am not sure they were the artists here). 

Wimborne Road is an absurdly long road that runs north from Bournemouth town.  Paintshop Studio sits on a busy commercial section of the road in the Bournemouth suburb of Winton, this area skirts around Wallisdown, where both the Universities main campuses are situated.  Rental prices here are cheaper than the town centre and it is a bustling trendy area with many shops, restaurants and cafes.

Statement:  ‘ Our job is to bring your brand to life, be it in print, pixels or paint, helping you connect to your audience in any space. We continually aim to push the restrictions of graphic design. To create something different, new and exciting in a dull and media-saturated world. To cut through the convoluted and create clear and visually striking work’.

Paintshop Studio have a very clear and direct point of view.  They are heavily influenced by graffiti art and do not appear to compromise this aesthetic.  Instead they embrace it and sell a signature style that is appealing to any company looking for cool, quirky and fun designs.  Lets face it what is more cool than graffiti?  Something that conquers up thoughts of underground, street, emerging, exciting, next big thing ideas.  Even more kudos now that Banksy has surfaced as the figure head for the collective, his anonymity, cutting political and social statements making graffiti honourable and revered by the masses. 

Paintshop Studio subscribe to services of branding, illustration and a term they call ‘super’ graphic design. Something I have learnt means;  ‘large environmental graphics usually applied over walls or floors. Forming a kind of altered space, they are used to build identity and transform perception’.  This idea of transforming perception through the design of spaces I find very interesting and the images on Paintshop Studio web pages show the successful designs they have achieved for their clients.  My perception of the concrete carpark below has certainly changed for the better, has yours?

































Paintshop clients are predominately  cool, street, edgy, fashion forward companies or those looking to inject these ideals in to their workspaces.  Rick’s skills in Supergraphics have landed them much work in the local authority open spaces, educational institutions that want that young vibe to resonate in the spaces, and public art that also lends itself to wayfinding. 














They also have a large portfolio of work for sports apparel brands, food and drink establishments, urban music trends and collaborative gaming spaces. 















In terms of contributing to Bournemouth Town’s design industry, I think the positive impact their designs have had on the town environment is both striking and illuminating.  Bournemouth University and Arts University have grown exponentially over the last 15 years, the student vibe of the town increasingly influencing town culture.  Paintshop Studio has effectively contributed to and benefitted from this changing landscape.  I am pleased to see a design business that is true to their aesthetic and seems to commission work from likeminded businesses with an appreciation of their work.


Practice No. 2

Blue Walnut -









‘We’re creative designers with a head for business.’

Led By: Steph Horan MA (Founder and Creative Director), Steven Cocker (Head of Interior Design) William St James (Digital Guru)
Founded:  2010
Where: Albert Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK












Blue Walnut Studio is based in the centre of Bournemouth on Albert Road, very close to the town shopping district and a stones throw from the Bournemouth Daily Echo offices.   The offices are in a historic Bournemouth building, The Old Theatre Royal, which has many lovely Victorian decals synonymous with a theatre of that time.  You can better appreciate the wonderful space they occupy by the internal photograph below...










This is an incredibly light, open and historically interesting space to work in, however there are only 3 employees listed on their website so this suggests they may be sharing this space with other creative agencies/studios residents, seen in the photo?  Rent in such a significant building in the very central location would be above average in price, but an impressive place to bring a client for a meeting. 


‘Your project is unique. But, whatever your brief, we follow a tried and tested creative process to help you achieve everything you want – and maybe more.

We’ll need your help to work out your what, how and why. Then you can leave it to us to follow these seven steps to take our ideas from concept to creation.’

What struck me first about BlueWalnut was their quirky use of fine line drawings reminiscent of Victorian scientific journals or textbooks on their homepage, shown below.

















They describe the ‘design process’ to their prospective customers in a succinct, quirky and personalised presentation of what they call their ‘7 step creative program’.  I thought this was a clever marketing strategy as it demystifies the process for the prospective client and demonstrates how they will be integrated, ensuring final designs were arrived at through collaboration.

Blue Walnut pride themselves on being a ‘one stop shop’ for brand identification services, including interiors.  They will bring in other creatives to present the customer with their perfect outcome, including crafters such as metal workers and sculptors.  

The work they show on their web pages shows a diversity of clients from a range of sectors.  They highlight more of their creative process within in these pages, showing mood boards that supported development of client projects.  An example is here...
















I really admire this approach because they break open more of the process for the client (or potential client), allowing them to have a sneak preview of what it would be like to work on a project with Blue Walnut.  Those without design education backgrounds are often interested in how one arrives at a design.  It’s visual storytelling at its best, telling the story of the project.  They also write about how they solved the problem presented by each brief on their pages.

When considering how Blue Walnut contributes to the design landscape in Bournemouth, it should be noted that founder Steph Horan is a lecturer in Graphic Design at Arts University Bournemouth, so not only is she running her successful business in Bournemouth but she is also supporting the next generation of designers at this highly acclaimed institution.  Her contribution to design education, the variety of skills that her team hold, the hive of ideas that she must observe & critique from her talented students and the networking that this additional role must bring, all combine to make Steph and Blue Walnut very influential in the Bournemouth design scene.


Practice No. 3

White Hot Monkey -








“Ideas turn to magic or dust, depending on the talent that rubs against them” Warren Hoare

Led By: Warren Hoare (Designer & Owner)
Founded:  ?, website produced 2015
Where: Wimborne Road,  Bournemouth, Dorset, UK









The streetview for Whitehotmonkey’s address is a residential property at the bottom end of the very long Wimborne Road (mentioned earlier in Paintshop Studio).  This is the residential area of Moordown, a significant distance from Bournemouth Town centre but close to the busy Castle Lane where Bournemouth Hospital, Castle Lane Shopping Centre and several large retail units and commercial businesses reside.  Warren Hoare clearly keeping overheads down by working from home.

Statement: ‘I’ve done a truckload of stuff for a ton of great companies...I don’t churn soulless stuff out...My designs delight, inform & influence’

Warren’s business really stood out for having a clear design direction, however on close inspection I realised that he very cleverly uses styling techniques, not too dissimilar to a magazine editorial page, to give his projects a cohesive feel.  Two project examples he styled below...











Warren’s business focuses on branding, web design & logo design.  He has worked with a large range of clients from different sectors including a blacksmith, travel company and vet.  He has a comedic vibe on his website that gives the prospective client an insight to how a working relationship with Warren would flow.  He has quirky caracature-esch style copy explaining his aesthetic, using funny dialect such as ‘interweb’ & ‘bish, bash, bosh’.   His logo work is particularly strong as he chooses and combines simple imagery with appropriate type for the clients business. 


Production No. 1

Caktus Design & Print -


‘Printing by real people, in real offices, in the heart of Christchurch.’

Led by: Dyrck ?
Founded: Unknown
Where:  Wick Lane, Christchurch,  Dorset, UK








Caktus Design and Print as the name suggests, offer design services and facilitate printed paper and card based materials for business needs including business cards, leaflets, stickers, posters etc.  They claim to have a network of printing partners and this suggests they are more of an intermidiary between client and their printed product being manufactured.  They are very upfront about their pricing ‘packages’ and encourage prospective customers to submit a request for a quote.  There is no information about who runs the business and the design aspects of their service are not elaborated upon, suggesting the focus of the business is production of printed material.  Company testimonials on their home page demonstrate a good undertstanding of the correct materials for each job and technical know how.  


Production No. 2

Surface Graphics -




Led by: John Laverack & Clayton Jewiss
Founded: 2014
Where: Woodside Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK

Surface Graphics specialise in large format printing and installation for retail, events and exhibitions.  They also have an in-house design team that can product artwork.  They aim to support printed graphic needs nationwide and are experienced with a range of different sectors requirements.  They show images of their impressive digital printing machinery in operation on their web pages and discuss the options for printing on to card for packaging & POS products.  They will also survey the site where you want to position your graphic products, helping clients decide on suitable scale and size.  They also produce signage and interior mural graphics.

















Production No. 3

Branded Studios -






Led by: Charlotte Fantelli
Founded: 2017
Where: Saxon Square, Christchurch, Dorset, UK

Branded Studios offer a range of image based services including photography (incl. studio based & 3D), animation, video’s of varying sizes, corporate video, short film or whole TV series.  They have worked with some of the big names in TV including BBC, ITV & Netflix.  You can employ their expertise but also hire their facilities, such as photography studios.  You can also attend a training course with them to develop your film production skills.   With no experience of video production or editiing and with an increasingly popular moving graphic design landscape, I will take note of this!

































This week's research task has made me consider where Graphic Design originates from and how it developed in to the multifaceted discipline it is today.  I've been introduced to some of the biggest champions in the industry's history and how their legacies live on, continuing to be hugely influential to graduating professionals.  Maziar Raein & Susanna Edwards posed a number of challenges & opportunities facing practicing designers today, particularly the opening up of global networks and evolving cultural landscape.  I have been enlightened by the broad influences and inspiration affecting modern designers, way beyond the immediate art and design discipline, including science, maths, geology, fantasy and identity.

I have been struck by how uninspired I felt looking at the heavily corporate bland aesthetic presented on many local design studios websites.  It has made me consider what work I am interested in undertaking but also worry that it will be relevant and interesting enough to sell.  Above all, I am now more informed and armed with a wealth of designer names to continue my exploration and find my niche within this vast arena.  







Susanna Edwards interviews Maziar Raein, associate professor at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, (c.2020)  Falmouth University Resource.  Available at: [Accessed 03/02/21]

COWAN, Katy. (2015) A creatives guide to Bournemouth. Creative Boom. Creative Boom Ltd, Available at: [Accessed 03/02/21]

ROBERTS, L. (2005) Drip Dry Shirts: The Evolution of the Graphic Designer. London: AVA Publishing.

A Brief History of Graphic Design (2019) Youtube video, added by Ben G Kaiser[Online]. Available at [Accessed 05/02/21]

Using Design to Make Ideas New (2010) Youtube video, added by TED Talks[Online].  Available at [Accessed 04/02/21]

Vimeo Video, add by Rui Amaral. (2010) A short documentary on the designer Milton Glaser. [Online] Made for Adobe Systems, Inc by HILLMAN

CURTIS [Accessed 03/02/21]

GRIMES, W. (2020) Milton Glaser, Master Designer of ‘I ♥ NY’ Logo, Is Dead at 91.  The New York Times [Online], Available at:,Friday%2C%20his%2091st%20birthday%2C%20in [Accessed 03/02/21]

MAY, V. & WILKES, K. (2010) Tourism & The Town. Bournemouth: Edited by PERRIN, L. 
Available at: [Accessed 05/02/21]

CRESSWELL, J. (2010) Leisure.  Bournemouth.  Edited by PERRIN, L. 
Available at: [Accessed 05/02/21]

KAZMIERCZAK, P. & PHIPP, M. (2010) Transport. Bournemouth:  Edited by PERRIN, L.
Available at: [Accessed 05/02/21]

PERRIN, L. (2010)  Society & Culture.  Bournemouth. 
Available at: [Accessed 05/02/21]

SOANE, J. (2010) Bournemouth’s Buildings. Bournemouth. edited by PERRIN, L & MAY, V. 
Available at: [Accessed 05/02/21]



Analysis of Research
Journal Reflection
Discovery Notes

The challenge this week was to investigate the Graphic Design Industry today, including our local area practitioners and how studios operate.  My initial notes can be seen below.

bottom of page