Interview: Intercity
Posted 16th of January, 2017

We caught UK-based graphic design studio Intercity for a quick chat to find out more about their recent work and the Soello branding.

Intercity is a UK-based graphic design studio with a network of collaborators from the worlds of art, design, illustration, photography, digital media and beyond. Their clients range from Nike and Tate Modern to Heathrow and Wagamama, resulting in a plethora of work that's diverse, ever-changing and vibrant. Intercity is also the brains behind the look of Soello. From designing the brand identity to building the new site, they’ve taken a few scraps of ideas we delivered to them into a brand both Intercity and ourselves are truly proud of.


Twitter: @intercitystudio

Instagram: @intercitystudio

Can you quickly introduce the Intercity team?

The team consists of myself (William Hibberd) and Trystan Thompson in Bristol, with Nathan Gale in our Plymouth-based studio. We are a purposely small studio, each of us with a slightly varied skill set. We like to work closely with our clients and we believe keeping things small makes that more achievable.

How did Intercity come about?

Intercity was originally founded by Nathan and two friends in 2004, as a place to house the freelance work they were doing at the time. Since then the studio has gradually evolved into what it is today.

Is there anything particular about your style of work or is it largely dependent on your client?

We like to work collaboratively and have a network of creatives whose expertise we draw on, from artists and illustrators to photographers and developers. We think of our approach as ‘creative and considered’, but generally try to work as diversely as possible within that remit, to fit with our various clients’ needs.

Would you say that you all have different strengths in the team? Are there particular things you’d rather work on for example?

In general we all work with a very similar approach and aesthetic value when it comes to graphic design, but within that yes, we all have a slightly set of skills. In addition to the design work that we all do, I usually work more on the web-based elements of projects, while Trystan handles any animation needs and Nathan tends to take on more of the art direction projects.

You recently completed the design of Katie Baron's 'Fashion + Music' that was published at the end of 2016. What was the process behind this?

Designing books can be a lengthy process, and Fashion + Music is a good example of this - as it took almost two years to complete. As with most projects, things started with various stages of design and feedback, until the final visual direction was agreed. From there we designed a blad (a short cross-section of the book used to promote the concept), and then four different stages of the complete book, each stage with various copy and image amends. Image clearance was a big part of Fashion + Music, and the design often had to work around a limited number of images per page. The last thing to be designed was the cover, and again in the case of Fashion + Music, finding the right image was no easy task.

Wired also asked you to create an abstract typographical illustration for the Features cover of November’s issue too. How did you create this final image?

Being asked for something as abstract as possible was a key part to this project. It really opened up what we could do and, in the end, led to us creating a physical object rather than a digital graphic. Our idea was based on a topographic map, so layered depth was how we decided to both create and camouflage the typography of 11.16 (the magazine’s issue number). The final illustration, created using a toolkit of various geometric shapes, was distilled into seven main layers - with each layer being laser-cut into sheets of 8mm cork at Bristol Design Forge. The layers were then painstakingly glued together before being transferred to a photography studio in Plymouth for the final shoot. If you look very closely you can see the 11.16 formed within the darkest areas of the piece.

We can’t talk without mentioning your recent work with us and the creation of the Soello identity. What was the thought process behind this?

We believe that any successful rebrand should start with a good understanding of the business’ aims and ambitions. Following a good chat with you guys, we spent some time researching competitors, brainstorming names and sketching out ideas. Then, after some feedback on our initial working, we spent a while working up a few different concepts. The simplicity of an underline representing Soello’s ability to elevate the profile of its clients stuck pretty early on and, once this concept had been decided, we then looked into a typeface and colour scheme to fit. The concept is simple and the visuals are clean and contemporary.

What makes the perfect client for Intercity?

Obviously we like it when clients are open minded and not afraid to try new and unusual directions but, with that said, any client/designer relationship should always be a partnership and we also like it when a client challenges us and pushes us into areas we might not have considered otherwise.

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