Style and substance

Is it more important as a commercial creative to cultivate a style of your own or be comfortable working across a variety of styles?

Certainly, when sifting through freelancers’ folios there is a tendency to search for a style that matches the project you’re approaching and a strong personal identity to your work gives it standout. But working in-house or at an agency, I find myself asked to look at a wide range of briefs so it’s important to be able to honestly evaluate the style you’re working in and tailor it to the brief when necessary.

I was recently asked to illustrate a series of cartoon kiwis for a campaign advertising an arts festival with a New Zealand theme. My first attempts at a cartoon were well-received but, for me at least didn’t fit the brief. I wanted the cartoons to look more ‘primitive’, to match the branding already in use.


Searching for woodcut illustrations online helped, as did finding a quick technique for drawing in the scratchy style (custom art brush in Illustrator). They came out quite Dr. Seuss-like, which I’m pretty happy with.


I think they’re pretty successful as separate illustrations, and with icons added to illustrate the different events at the festival they’re functional too.




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