Q&A with the versatile and multi-talented illustrator, typographer and graphic designer Hannah Rummery
Incorporating a wide range of typographic styles in her design work, from bold, graphic statements to delicate and playful lettering, Hannah commands her space. The same versatility can be found in her illustrative work – delicate, stylistic and incredibly detailed nature drawings are contrasted with gestural, free-flowing watercolours. We find out who’s behind all this talent.
Did you train as a graphic designer or an illustrator – or both?
My BA was in Graphic Design at Sheffield Hallam University, but we were encouraged to explore so many different processes and approaches to our work which lead me to explore illustration as part of my work. That was where it started really.
What inspires your drawings?
Natural forms are what really interest me, and the patterns that can be found in plants and nature. It blows my mind! Have you ever looked up close at the legs of a bumblebee and all of those little hairs… it’s incredible!
Your pen and ink illustrations are incredibly detailed; how long does it take to create them?
It can vary really, something like the A4 bumblebee could take me anywhere from a day to 3 days depending on the level of detail I’m exploring and size of the piece
Typography plays a significant role in your design work – I love how you intermingle bold, large typography with playful, hand-drawn lettering; if you were a font, what would you be?
If I was a typeface, I would be one called ‘History’. It’s got so many flourishes and elements that you can build to create something unique every time. I take that approach to all of my work really, start with something simple and work into it.
Your layering of the laser cut typography against nature in the ‘Visit Wales’ project is so interesting; how did you come about that idea?
The idea behind the Wales map was to find a way for people who didn’t know much about the place and help show them how much it had to offer. The research for that project was so interesting, there were so many things that I had no idea Wales housed in relatively small area. That’s where the combination of the map and typography idea came from. I used a sheet of acrylic so that the reflection was what you’d think of when you imagine Wales, but the map told another layer of the story. I love digging deep into a brief or idea to find the little nuggets that help give my work a story or narrative.
You’ve worked for award winning agencies on some very large-scale projects with big brands in retail and fashion, and now you have struck out on your own; how has that transition been and do you miss the agency buzz?
It’s been really exciting! I’ve been working at lots of different creative agencies on some really exciting briefs since going it alone, a lot of which have been an opportunity to use my illustration. I love meeting and working with new people so that was something that influenced my decision to make the change. I wanted to try lots of different things and have the time and headspace when I needed it to be able to work on my own personal projects too. I’ve also become a member of some great organisations which make you feel like you’re part of a wider community of creatives and people trying to do the same thing; the AOI, E17 Designers and East London Trades Guild namely.
What’s the proudest moment in your career so far?
Taking the leap of faith and going out on my own, trusting in my ability and believing in myself. It was, and still is a really hard mindset to adjust to!
Describe your ideal client or brief.
Someone brave that wants to make a change for the better, and work with me to find the answer. I love my clients to be as involved as they want to be. It helps them to be more invested in the idea and the outcome.
Best part of the job?
I’m lucky, I love pretty much everything about my job! Starting a new project and working out the story that I want to tell is up there, but you can’t beat a day of getting messy, drawing, creating and trying new things out. My job is also my hobby so you can usually find me drawing, crafting or at a class learning new skills and approaches to help enhance my work.
And the worst?
Wondering where my next job is going to come from!! Fortunately, I’m yet to be in a position where I don’t have work or projects on the go, but I’m sure there will be a time when that will happen and that’s a moment
Any advice for aspiring designers or illustrators?
Be brave, be original, don’t give up….you’re going to come up against a few road blocks in the start of your career but as you gain experience and meet people that will change. Get out there and go for it!!
Except where credited, images courtesy of and © Hannah Rummery