The most important thing to know about me is that I prefer crunchy peanut butter to smooth. Why do you think typography-led
Why is your (beautiful) blog in
design is such a big trend at the
black and white when your work is
Words are very immediate; people respond instantly to a piece of text. Everybody is looking for clues about how to live and how to be happy. I try to send out positive, genuine messages that I’ve learnt from my experiences so far.
The blog is more about things I’ve seen, or work in progress. It feels more like a scrap-book or sketch book, so it seemed like a nice approach to make it black and white. Plus it looks really cool!
Your work is very optimistic — What inspires your slogans? They pop in to my head when I’m not thinking about them I try to remember the good ones.
What’s the most important thing to know about you? The most important thing to know about me is that I prefer crunchy peanut butter to smooth.
where does come from and how do you maintain it? I was brought up to have a positive outlook, my parents worked very hard and always enjoyed themselves in the world that they had created for themselves. I’m lucky enough to have a lovely wife, beautiful children and have fun for a living, that’s how I maintain my optimism!
Oil & Water Do Not Mix Screen-printed poster made with oil from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. Collaboration with Happiness Brussels (2010)
nthony Burrill became renowned for a series of typographic covers for Wallpaper* magazine in 2008 ‘The Wallpaper work issue: Defying the daily grid.” The covers featured slogans that included “Work More Live More” and “Work Hard & Be Nice To People”, printed in traditional woodblock technique on bold colour backgrounds. In 2010, Burrill created a poster with oil from the Gulf of Mexico disaster: “Oil & Water Don’t Mix”.Here, Burrill discusses the origination of the phrases, some of which resulted from eavesdropping on conversations. Burrill has also collaborated on a series of posters with the author Alain de Botton – who discusses contemporary themes and subjects in a philosophical style — including slogans “Pessimism Is Not Always Deep” and “Optimism Is Not Always Dumb”.The characteristic woodblock printing of all these phrases is completed by the company ‘Adams of Rye’ — a rare print shop of typefaces in East Sussex that produces print and posters in the almost extinct processes of woodblock and letterpress.
You’re most wellknown for your graphic design work— are you keen to do more film work or 3D design? Which medium is your
Make work you believe in.
favourite? I like to explore lots of different avenues with my work and I collaborate with some very talented people. I think the key is to have a real variety in your work and your life. I haven’t got a favourite medium; I enjoy it all equally. At a push I would say that print is the most satisfying— I like to make things that you can touch and hold.
How does living and working on the Isle of Oxney affect your work? I live in a small village in a rural area of Kent. The pace of life is relaxed, and this suits me perfectly. I like to have time and space to think. I travel lots with my work, so I get to have my dose of city life, but I’m always happy to return home so I can walk my dog through the fields and feel the nature and peace.
What single item that you’ve produced are you most proud of? It has to be the ‘work hard…’ poster. I’m continually pleased with its popularity, and the way that it has travelled outside the world of ‘graphic design.’
What’s next for you? My new show Clear Your Head Every Day is at Outline Editions until 16th July. I’ve produced lots of new work for the show, alongside collaborations with Michael Marriott and Wilfred Wood that I’m excited to share with people. After that I’m off to Barcelona for a summer workshop in July, a project for Amnesty and another exhibition in Istanbul in September.
What’s your favourite colour? It’s hard to choose, but I use red a lot in my work, so it would have to be that.
What advice would you give to up-andcoming designers? Make work you believe in.
Woodblock poster All proceeds from the sale of this print go to help save Wilton's Music Hall (2011)
Woodblock Poster Series An on-going poster series of simple typographic statements produced using traditional woodblock techniques. (2004 - 2011)
“Work More Live More.” This was commissioned by Wallpaper* magazine as one of a series of four front covers I designed for their ‘Work’ issue in June 2008. The other three phrases had a positive spin on the live / work idea.
“Work Hard & Be Nice To People.” This is another phrase of the Wallpaper* series, that I overheard whilst queuing in a supermarket. An elderly lady, talking to the check-out girl, was explaining the secret to a happy life. The phrase struck a chord with me and hung around in my head for a couple of years until I made the poster. It has become very popular and is my most recognised work so far. I’m very proud of it.
“Someday, someone may make a movie of your life. Make sure it doesn’t go straight to video.” This phrase was written by my old friend Chad Rea. We first met whilst he was working at KesselsKramer [advertising agency] in Amsterdam. Chad had hundreds of phrases and we decided to consolidate them into a series of books – the Booksmarts series, which was a personal project, with only a couple of hundred copies printed. Subsequently, we’ve put some of the phrases (from that book series) into prints and posters. I really like the phrase; it resonates with people in a positive way, whilst still conveying humour.
“It’s Ok For Me To Have Everything I Want.” I first found this phrase in a newspaper article about subliminal messages in advertising from the 1970s. I thought it was an interesting phrase, as I don’t think it is OK for you to have everything you want. When I made the poster some people saw it as a positive comment on consumerism whilst, in fact, it is quite the opposite.
Clear Your Head Gallery installation of multi-coloured geometric giclĂŠe prints, fabric hangings and furniture. Conceived and constructed in collaboration with Michael Marriott, Wilfrid Wood and Outline Editions Gallery, Berwick Street, London (2011)
Anthony Burrill’s persuasive, up-beat illustration and design has been commissioned by cultural, social and commercial clients around the world from New York, to London to Tokyo. He has also gained a following in the design world for his innovative collaborations with friends and fellow artists, designers, print-makers and film-makers. Burrill works across a range of media, including posters, moving image and three-dimensional work. He combines an instinctive handling of colour and composition with a witty approach to words. He has worked on advertising campaigns and posters for clients such as The Economist, the British Library and London Underground. He regularly collaborates with musicians and animators to make films, music promos and animations, using his distinctive visual vocabulary and passion for fusing sound and image. His installations and 3-D work have been commissioned by Colette in Paris and The Design Museum in London among others. Printmaking is an important part of Burrill’s practice and he creates limited edition prints with slogans including “Work Hard and Be Nice to People” that have become mantras for the design community and beyond. Burrill has also taken part in group and solo exhibitions around the world... and lectured and led workshops at numerous design events and educational institutions. Burrill was born in Littleborough, Lancashire. After studying Graphic Design at Leeds Polytechnic he completed an MA in Graphic Design at the Royal College of Art, London. He now lives and works on the Isle of Oxney, Kent.
articles 200percentmag.com confessionsofadesigngeek.com
images anthonyburrill.com Anthony Burrill – Flickr Happiness Brussels – Flickr
What’s the most important thing to know about you? What inspires your slogans? I was brought up to have a positive outlook, my parents worke...