Hello, first of all, how are you?
I’m good thank you! Run ragged but surviving.
Give us some fun facts about yourself?
Oh gosh. I used to get called giraffe at school because I have a long neck. I developed a bit of a nerdy passion during 2020, I got into foraging and heavily into mushrooms. I have one cat, one girlfriend, and secretly if I wasn’t a designer/lecturer I would be a chef, as I really love cooking, or I’d be making products as I love product design.
For those of us who don’t know, who is Jane Anderson?
So I’m a lecturer in Graphic Communication, but outside of that I’m a multidisciplinary
designer, so I illustrate, prior to COVID in the summer months I used to do the festival trail and do photography for music magazines and festivals. I’ve been interested in design for as long as I can remember, but I guess I was born with a pencil in my hand, so I always knew I was going to do something quite creative. I did a Fine Art degree but quickly realised it would be really hard to just be a painter. Interesting fact, I’m also a self-taught designer. I got a job in the NHS as my first job after university, and pretty quickly they gave me a Mac and asked me to have a go at designing posters. Suddenly I was a junior designer, designer, senior designer and then I kind of left at the level of creative director.
As a designer who also happens to be a lecturer, do you have any advice for new designer’s?
In terms of advice, for those that are interested in design in terms of a career, I would say that it can be incredibly regarding, whether you’re going down the academic teaching route or going straight into industry. Well-known fact is that grades are pretty irrelevant, and it’s more about you as a person and how you get along in a team, as it’s quite important. I don’t actually think you need to go to university to learn these things either. My main advice though is that your portfolio is king, so adapting that for jobs that you apply for is really important, but most importantly take breaks and have fun because it shouldn’t be stressful.
What has been your favourite or most successful project that you’ve done so far?
One of my favourite projects so far, was actually a brief for an independent honey
producer. The thing that I really loved about this project was that I really got to delve
deeply into how honey is produced. The client was a lovely lady who produced honey
right across the Hertfordshire and Warwickshire region. One of the things I really loved
about it was that I got to go out and see the aperies and was taken all around the area
where the bee’s collected their nectar and honey. It was really nice to see that, because as a designer it’s easy to sit behind a desk and never really interact with clients, so when you get to really absorb into that process it gave me huge insights.
So in regard to actually experiencing a brief, would you recommend to students/young designer’s to take themselves away from a screen and dive into the project?
Oh 100%. It just gives you a whole added dimension that you wouldn’t have thought
about before, so whenever you undertake a brief if you can really unlock a bit of primary research, now whether that is for packaging where you get to see the actual product being produced, it will really help you have a huge appreciation for your task in hand.
Who has been your favourite client?
That exact same client that I mentioned earlier, Rona the bee lady from a company called Foragers. It was her openness and willingness to listen and take on board my idea’s, I suppose it was a really good working relationship where we both had a lot of good ideas that flowed nicely.
Do you believe the creative industries are diverse?
No, not at all. It’s still a white dominated male world, and this is partly one of the reasons why I got into teaching. My goal within teaching is to overturn the inequalities of the design industry, and that’s an absolute core part of what I want to do and why I want to try and get people from diverse backgrounds, people of colour especially, queer, trans people etc to join, as it’s really important the design industry does become more diverse and inclusive. Those are the students that I was always champion and really go the extra mile to try and help.
How could we improve the lack of diversity/inclusivity?
There needs to be more support systems and mentoring schemes that can help people from diverse backgrounds get into the industry, because that’s the only way we can get a true representation and are able to actually design properly for target audiences. We really need to look at ourselves and ask if we really are designing for everybody and championing people that are not represented.
Who are your standout creatives?
In terms of famous creatives, the female creatives always really impress me. I’ve always admired Paula Scher, certainly for being one of the first Women trying to stand up to a very male dominated world and actually being one of the first in a big agency. People like Jessica Walsh, who has been a super brave designer and Veronica at Hey Studio are some standout creatives too. People that are on a more local level, somebody that I think is an absolute champion is Mary Hemingway who runs DesignbyWomen,
I think platforms that really do place Women and non-binary designers at the forefront and try and showcase more female designers are important. Mary is doing a fantastic job and is very noteworthy.
Could you tell me about ‘Lucky Pablo’?
Lucky Pablo is a collaborative and illustrative project that I started with my partner Ally Standing in March 2020. Just when things were getting a little scary out there and COVID started to hit, we were trying to avoid watching the news and letting that stress us out, so we just decided to draw to alleviate the stress. It was actually Ally that had led the initial drawing and doodles, and before long we had a whole table full of these shapes that looked quite interesting. We’d wanted to collaborate since doing a previous project called Love Letters, which we didn’t do very well. We formed Lucky Pablo as we came across the name on the canal, and before long that project was born. Since then we’ve been doing lots of different things, like producing art prints, we’ve looked at homeware etc. It was all based around meditation really and doing something that got us off our screens. It was just something really nice that allowed us to explore lots of analogue and hand rendered processes.
So, for my final question, what’s next for you and Lucky Pablo?
Last year we ended up buying a sewing machine and started to produce some textiles, so that’s something that we’d like to look at again. One of the big things that we have coming up is that we’ve just recently designed and illustrated a materiality report for WeTransfer, so that’s going to be coming out which is going to be really exciting to see, as we have no idea what it’s going to look like. The big thing is, we really want to do an exhibition and develop some giant 3D Lucky Pablo shapes and then curate an exhibition of some of our favourite creatives in the city. For myself, I’d like to design a book on mushrooms for children.