Steve Simpson on the role of the client brief and starting off as an illustrator

We will have a separate blog post between now and 10th May (Outstanding By Design) on Steve’s work with Mics Chilli, his food producer partner on the day.

In the meantime found this really nicely shot and post produced short interview with him. I have included some snippets from the interview underneath.



Illustrator and designer

Steves uncle was a cartoonist with Beano and Dandy and that is where it all kicked off for him.

He ended up doing technical Illustration in college and then TV animation in Manchester (Danger Mouse)

After 8 or 9 years he ended up back in Ireland and illustration. He hit the ground running with digital and is appreciative of the opportunities. But he does create everything with a pencil – drawn and redrawn. Then scanned into Photoshop.

Behind each piece of work is the client brief and the message they want to convey. It always has to be grounded in a brief – the client identifies the problem which they need solved. That problem solving is difficult. Recently Fade St menu cover very successful. The brief was a busy menu cover and he was given a lot of freedom in the execution.

For recent graduates

Starting off in illustration? Find your hook to stand out. First couple of years are a learning curve when you develop your drawing skills, your observation skills, your getting the message over skills.

With briefs they need to be inspiring yet practical.

He reckons that the balance of illustration and design is really important. Approach someone in a farmers market, understand their requirements and design for them.

More information and the full line up for Outstanding By Design here.



Gubbeen, Fingal Ferguson, Lorenzo Tonti and an enduring brand

Once upon a time a graphic designer based in Waterford/Kilkenny decided to help found the South-East’s first Slow Food Convivium and, because he was good that way, he also helped out the national Slow Food group with their website and design.

During that time Lorenzo met with the founder of Gubbeen, Giana Ferguson and that is how his long association with the brand and their packaging kicked off.

On 10th May Lorenzo and Fingal Ferguson (Giana’s son) will be kicking off the day and they will start with that initial piece of work by Lorenzo:

Q – What was the initial scope of the work?

A – Brief (if I remember correctly, we’ve been collaborating since around 2001/2) was to redesign the brand, make it ore lively and fresh – that included the ‘logo’ and packaging. The project evolved into what we have today, more and diverse products and applications. It was my intention from the start to create a long-standing brand which could grow with the business.

Q – What are you most proud of within the work?

A – The flexibility, longevity and overall feel of the brand. It hasn’t grown tired. Plus, the relationship between client and designer: one of the most fulfilling I’ve ever had.

Q – any particular compromises that stick out for you?

A – I don’t think any of us compromised. Not in the products, not in the design. We found a balanced way of working which suited the creative minds of makers and designer, and that’s what makes the partnership successful.

Sounds like a great one to start with – there is a lot to be learned from that relationship and the enduring strength of the brand.

More information on Outstanding By Design including full line up and a link to booking here.



Kilkenny – Health board approved commercial kitchen to let on a daily basis.

This will be a godsend for any small early stage food businesses in Kilkenny and surrounds – a daily let on a commercial HSE approved kitchen just outside the ring road in Kilkenny.

So crucial in the early stages to have somewhere to experiment with recipes and formulations and even use this facility to cook up and package batches to sell. Further details:

  • 6 ring industrial gas hob / oven
  • Industrial fridge
  • industrial glass washer
  • Upright stainless steel deepfreeze
  • Double drainer sink and separate hand washing sink
  • PVC clad walls throughout
  • Industrial wall sockets and tiled floor with stainless steel gullies
  • Electricity and gas supply metered

For more information contact Kevin Mahon on +353 (86) 828 6863


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