Multi-talented global representative of the creative
industry is coming to this year’s Play Media Day!
Craig Black liked graphic design over football, and everything he creates today stems from his love and passion for design.
Craig Black attracted the attention of leading people in the creative industry with his talent, specificity, perseverance and work. In the last few years, no global creative conference was held without his ultra-engaging speeches and lectures. His work is exposed all over the world, from London and Barcelona, to Sydney and Dubai.
He is an independent designer, letter-writing artist and typographer based in Gourock, Scotland. He is known for his bespoke and innovative lettering, visual identities, packaging, murals, installations and everything in between. His main strengths lie in ability to cross disciplines without the restriction of a fixed personal style. This versatility has offered him the opportunity to work on a varied mix of collaborations with local and international clients of all business backgrounds.
His work has been celebrated and published internationally by Computer Arts, Creative Review and IdN Magazine — in addition to regular features by online media. Craig is also the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Creative Inverclyde. He enjoys attending conferences such as Play Media Day, where he regularly shares with audience inspirational stories and experiences.
When did your love for type begin?
Black: I absolutely loved football growing up, I was so fascinated with the design around the beautiful game such as colourful football shirts, team badges, football boots, TV commercials and programmes. This all contributed to my curiosity in design and made me wonder how things like that were created. My love for typography stemmed from seeing my football idols name and number on the back of their football shirts. Every season the style of typography for the names and numbers changed on each top and I found that just as exciting as a new strip design being released. One Christmas as a kid, my Mum bought me a Glasgow Rangers football shirt which I was absolutely delighted with. I saved up all my pocket money and went into Intersport to get my name and number printed on my shirt. They printed the design on my shirt right before my eyes and it blew me away, I will always remember that feeling of excitement and happiness. That moment and the feeling of seeing something amazing being created in front of my eyes is something that I strive to share with others through my own work.
How did you learn hand lettering? What resources helped you most?
Black: Practice, practice, practice. I can’t stress enough the importance of this. I worked continuously on personal projects for at least two years before anyone took notice. I was playing the long game and devoted myself to the craft of getting better at typography and lettering. Also you don’t need any fancy tools, pencil and paper are all you need – start drawing away. Once you start to get more comfortable with your craft, reach out to family, friends and local businesses to see if they need help with any branding, packaging, interiors, anything that you can contribute to that can allow you to use your craft. Reading design books was a massive influence for me, looking into design from the past and using that as the inspiration to create my own designs. Everyone tends to look at Instagram and Pinterest however after time you start to see the same trends and I feel books can hold more wisdom and inspiration from the past that can influence the future.
What’s the thing you enjoy most about typography?
Black: Selecting and crafting the right type is paramount in graphic design. Typography gives character and plays an emotive role in every design, even if you don’t notice it! Typography can invoke a feeling, it can remind you of a certain time, or create an atmosphere and I love being able to evoke these thoughts and feelings through my work. Essentially creating a more human connection through typography and lettering.
What are your favourite kinds of projects to work on? Which project have you worked on are you most proud of so far?
Black: The brand activation project in collaboration with OFFF x Moritz at the OFFF Design Festival 2019 in Barcelona. I created a live lettering installation customising the iconic SEAT 600 car model showcasing Moritz’ values and modern senses mixed with OFFF’s endless creative vibes. This was an incredible project to work on because I was doing a talk at OFFF on the first day and the response I got from the audience was so incredibly positive that it opened up so much more dialogue between the audience and myself, that they came to see me bring this lettering installation on the car to life. The human interaction and engagement with the installation being created in front of their eyes was truly incredible and I got to meet so many amazing people as part of it. Seeing the installation bring a smile to people’s faces was truly special and due to its wide engagement across social media, it ended up being a landmark for tourists in Barcelona to get pictures and ‘selfies’ with the car which was just amazing to be a part of.
How do you approach your projects and where does your inspiration come from?
Black: Every project comes with a thorough discussion with the client, brand or agency to figure out exactly what they want and narrow down on a brief. From that, I research and explore ideas and inspiration. The inspiration itself can come from all walks of life from nature to architecture, I try to always look outside of the norm of graphic design and see how the world can influence my work.
Each project for me is a collaboration, there is a relationship being built with the client, brand or agency and it’s key to be open to exchanging ideas as that can be pivotal to the final outcome. Every project I work on regardless of whether it’s branding, mural or installation always starts with pencil and paper and then it organically grows from there.
Can you tell us more about Creative Inverclyde company?
Black: I’ve recently joined forces with two incredible human beings, Louise Hunter and Andrew Bowman to co-found a social enterprise called Creative Inverclyde. It’s a social enterprise aimed at utilising the creative sector to be the nucleus for positive social change across Inverclyde and Scotland. I’m hugely passionate about helping others and contributing to my local community. Creative Inverclyde is working on some really amazing projects this year which is going to make a huge difference within Scotland (and hopefully further afield). One of the most brilliant things about this initiative is that it’s bringing a community of people together to be creative and create a positive outcome. It’s a life-changing initiative and I’m hugely proud to have started this movement.
What can people expect from you on Play Media Day 05 conference?
Black: The aim of my ‘Craft your Future’ talk is to inspire other creatives to unlock their full potential and to pursue their own dreams, no matter the trials and tribulations they face. Audience members will learn what it takes to become known for your craft. They will learn actionable steps on how to generate work and how to connect with other creatives/businesses/clients. Dealing with mental health and how to turn a negative into a positive. Learn about the power of personal projects. Learn how to get your business up and running with no financial safety net. Learn about the benefits of contributing to your community.
This is an inspiring, fun and engaging talk and I can’t wait to share it at Play Media Day 05 conference!
What are current trends in graphic design and typography?
Black: I don’t follow trends or try to compete with anyone. Everything I do stems from following my passion and my love for design.
More details about fifth regional communications event Play Media Day available on www.playmediaday.com. Get your tickets on time, among more than 1000 participants from creative industry, with 50% off until 1st of March. See you on Play Media Day 05! Communication is endless!