25th October 2021 |
Spotlight: Designer & Illustrator Emma Fisher

Up next in our Glug X ibis Styles By Us ambassador spotlight is Emma Fisher. 

Emma is a graphic designer and printmaker living and working in South East London. She has worked on several high profile campaigns with brands including Barbour, and products collaborations with creatives included US studio, Special Edition Co. to name a few. 

As well as creating a successful freelance career in her graphic design work, she sells her screen-printed designs around the world. Her print work is inspired by Japanese art and geometry in design, and includes her signature hued gradient colour palette - always accented with a burst neon tones.


Can you give us a bit of background into your career, where did you start and how did you end up where you are now?

I’ve always been interested in art and design and from a young age and dreamed of a future where I could be creative every day in my career. Doing a foundation degree allowed me to experiment with so many different practices, and I continued my studies in Graphic and Media Design at the London College of Communication. I have always thought of myself as an illustrator or artist but learning about my love for briefs and problem solving and design strategy led me to pursue a career in graphic design.

I only found my love of screen printing in my third year of studying and this saw 4 years of study and experimentation come together in a series of final printed works. I continue my print practice at Sonsoles Print Studio in Peckham and sell my work online, in markets and shops across the world. I also work as a graphic designer full time and my print work continues to inform my daily practice experimenting with colour and the playful tactility of the print room.  



How would you describe your style of work?

I’d describe my style of work as an eclectic cocktail of neon colours and bold graphic design. My love for drawing and tactile making collides with my graphic design education and creates my style that’s a unique hybrid of the process led screen-printed designs with a technical graphic edge. 

What does design mean to you?

For me, the design is more than just practice it’s a mindset and a way of life. Everything can ignite inspiration for me and influence my design decisions. Final designs can take many forms but to get there, the process of research, photography, illustration, and making all feed into the bigger picture. For me, the design is the whole process and experience, as well as the outcome. 


Who is your main inspiration in the creative space?


I have a few key influences in the creative space. I’m a huge fan of Heretic Studio, who are constantly pushing the boundaries with screen-printing, whether it’s tackling huge multi-layer prints or three-dimensional paper sculptures, their work is a constant benchmark that inspires me to grow and push my practice. I’m also still a big illustration fan and although I don't do so much currently, I love the incredibly intricate work of Laura Callaghan’s illustrations. Her technical painting and drawings skills are aspirational, and her topical themes showcasing the lives of a real woman is refreshing to see. 


What do you like about the ibis Styles brand and our hotels?

I love the unique style of the ibis Styles hotels as they offer a different experience to your standard hotel. Everyone has their personality and style and it's great to see a brand that is willing to bring a creative-led design to the forefront of their interiors. You can't help but be excited by the creative elements in all the various designs, definitely creating a memorable experience for all customers.

What materials do you use and what are your favourites? (how do you experiment with textures and materials?)


I enjoy drawing and collage and where possible use this as a starting point. It can be hard with time limitations, and this tends to create a habit of screen-based work. But for most projects I start with a pencil in hand, drawing and sketching on whatever comes to hand. For print work, I will then create the final designs in illustrator to get the hard-graphic edge or halftones needed for some screen-printed gradients. Once in the print studio, anything can happen so the experimentation continues there with ink mixing, gradient blends and of course unexpected colours from layered prints.



Where do you source your inspiration from?


I get inspiration from all over the places. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and finally made a trip there last year. I took hundreds of photos from tiled grids in the architecture to the coloured traffic cones in the street. For me it’s colour and shapes that often catch my eye and seeing a country with beautifully contracting colour palettes at every turn was something else! I do however look back to some of my favourite artists including David Hockney and Matisse as masters in colour. Their skills and talent in their crafts is so timeless and unique and always makes me want to get messy, especially when I feel suffocated by digital fatigue.


Do you have a specific way you approach design? / How do you take inspiration to deliver an outcome?


Approaching a new design whether it is briefly led or self-initiated I try to get something on paper as soon as possible. I will save the screenshot on things I’ve seen online and naturally start to create a project mood board. While the research process is endless hours which I love and could get lost in, I usually have to set an endpoint to follow up with a single idea to get a project underway!



What have been your biggest challenges?

One of my biggest challenges has probably been tying a full-time career like graphic design with my freelance passion as a printmaker. But because I love collaborating with like-minded designers and working on client briefs as much as being in the print studio, I have to make time to do both!

What excites you about your industry? 

I think printmaking as a process is at a really exciting point with the relationship with craft and the handmade at the forefront of people’s minds. The longevity of products and the skills of traditional processes mean items that have a longer lifespan reduce the abundance of waste in our society and I believe good design can be at the forefront of this movement.


Do you have a specific way you approach a creative brief?

Approaching a new design whether it is briefly led or self-initiated I try to get something on paper as soon as possible. I will save a screenshot on things I’ve seen online and naturally start to create a project mood board. While the research process is endless hours which I love and could get lost in, I usually have to set an endpoint to follow up with a single idea to get a project underway!

Is there a consistent theme you try and incorporate into your designs? 

Whereas I don’t have a consistent theme to my work, as my inspiration sources change and develop, over time I have shaped a signature colour palette which always unites my work. I find graphic forms and shape led to design a recurring theme in my work – sometimes intentional – sometimes unintentional!


Have you had a favourite piece of work to date? If so could you explain why? 


One of my favourite pieces of work to date was a project with Barbour, where I had to create a series of single colour designs related to the theme of rain for their new apparel collection. Firstly, the single colour brief was an interesting restriction I don’t usually face in my work as the final designs had to be produced as stencil artwork. The artwork also had to include specific quotes, so incorporating typography was also another new realm. I relish the challenge to try something new and be pushed in directions I wouldn’t usually venture too, hence following this project I started a new series of type-based work and played more with single colour designs!

You can check out Emma's portfolio and channels by visiting her website.


Also, make sure to join in with the competition and be in with the chance to win £500 worth of ibis Styles stays and £1000 cash.

You can see the details on how to take part here.

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