Artist Research – Eric Hill

Eric Hill (OBE) was an English author and illustrator of children’s books, best known for his Spot the Dog series. He first worked as an errand boy in an illustration studio, where he was encouraged by his peers to draw cartoons and comic strips in his spare time.

After completing his National Service, Hill worked as a freelance illustrator and designer in advertising, before he started writing short stories for his son in 1976. In 1980, his first book, Where’s Spot? was published, the initial story in a series which sold over 60,000,000 copies worldwide, was translated in 60 languages, and adapted into a children’s television show.

The use of minimal outlines, block colours and basic shapes means Hill’s illustrations are easy to recognise, giving Spot an identity, which in any aspect of design is important in my opinion. The pure simplicity of the books (and accompanying illustrations) is what makes them so popular, from a very young age. Personally speaking, the Spot the Dog  series is one of the first memories I have of reading, and these books are still sold to this day, proving the books and their illustrations have a lasting effect on children. 

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Artist Research – Josef Muller-Brockmann

Part of the Swiss International Style, Josef Muller-Brockmann was influenced by the ideas of several art and design movements, including De Stijl, Constructivism, Suprematism and The Bauhaus. Perhaps the most well-known Swiss designer, his most decisive work was done for the Zurich Town Hall, as poster advertisements for its theatre productions.

He is recognised for his simple designs, and his clean use of typography (most notably Akzidenz Grotesk), shapes and colours, which inspire many graphic designers in the 21st century. He developed a grid system for producing his designs, one which is still used in some regards to this day. josef-mueller-brockman-1975The design above is an advertising poster for an exhibition in Germany in 1975, for a Japanese lighting company called ‘Akari’. What strikes me most about this piece is how simple it is. The vibrant, glowing colours draw the eye into the centre of the design, and the dark background makes the design stand out even more. The piece itself is elegant, crisp and formal, with the symmetry and clean typography complimenting one another very well. Muller-Brockmann uses shape and typographic elements to great effect in the vast majority of his pieces, which makes him my go-to designer when considering layouts/spreads.