Joe is a graphic designer by trade working for a marketing agency in the Northern Quarter, Manchester. A lot of Joe’s freelancing and personal work has been based on football illustration, whilst having been commissioned by Stoke City FC in the past. As well as this, Joe has worked on full branding projects for The Bear Pit TV and the Football365 family of TEAMtalk, Planet Football, etc. Joe’s illustration were second to none and so I had to speak with him.
How did you get into graphic design?
"I’ve always had an interest in design from a young age, I just never knew of the many opportunities and applications that came with it. I experimented with a lot of hand-drawn stuff at school and then in college I began to appreciate editorial design and typography. Only in the last 18 months have I fallen into illustrating. It’s probably the most rewarding I’ve worked on."
Football illustrations are really common and popular, so how do you ensure that your work stands out from others?
"You’re right, it’s an incredibly saturated market at the moment. The success of campaigns such as BT Sport’s #ChampionsDraw competition has not only created a fantastic platform for budding and established designers, but also inspired a lot of others that otherwise may not have had a go at it. It’s great to see. If I’m totally honest, I find it difficult to make my work stand out from the crowd - as vector art is probably a less creative approach of illustration than others."
How did you get noticed by Stoke City FC? What feeling did it give you to see a professional club approach you for work?
"My work with Stoke City was a bit of a fluke really. I just asked, and a huge thanks to the media team for giving me that chance as it opened up lots more doors. I’d encourage others to just ask, too. If you have nothing to lose and want to challenge yourself, put yourself into situations that push you to the next level."
What is your favourite design you have made?
Which of your designs has gained the most popularity?
Your recent logo designs for Planet Football show that your work ranges in a wide variety. What other illustrations do you feel comfortable designing?
"Thank you. Personally, I never enjoy my work more than when I am OUT of my comfort zone. I feel the only way to stay current and challenging is to constantly push yourself, and so I try to do this at every opportunity."
Which other designers do you admire?
"Those that consistently floor me with their ability would be : Matthew Shipley (@mshipley24), Phil Galloway (@philthyart), Jamie Fulker (@jfdoodles) and the GUNDSGN brothers Rudi Gunderson (@Rudisign) and Robin Gunderson (@RobgunCreative)."
How do you plan on branching out digital paintings?
"Digital painting is something that I’ve been eyeing up for a while. I spent much of my formative years sketching and doodling and feel my creativity and experimentation is hamstrung somewhat by clean and precise vector art. It’s something I’ve been researching before jumping in feet first!"
What in your opinion is the key quality a graphic designer should have?
"Two of the more important rules I try to work and live by are never to shy away from a challenge, always say you can do something and figure it out later - an exciting way to learn and it’s helped bolster the strings to my bow for sure. But also just awareness, being aware of the trends around you - the do’s, the don'ts and the why nots. Never be afraid to push yourself and surprise others."
My Comment: "Joe is certainly becoming one of my favourite designers as his illustrations are always perfect to detail. It was a pleasure to speak with him, and I wish Joe all the best for the future. Make sure you follow him on Twitter @jbdotco."