Stamping his way to Olympic victory
David Hillman, who graduated in 1962 from the former London School of Printing, created a series of stamps celebrating the Olympics and Paralympics 2012. The last set of 10 will be out on July 27.
David’s previous work includes a re-design of the Guardian newspaper in 1988. He is now running his own graphic design business Studio David Hillman, based in Gloucestershire.
What was the most rewarding part of the Olympic design project?
Working with so many different illustrators. These days not many clients are willing to spend the money to employ good illustrators and photographers, so that was nice. Another thing was that a stamp is a widely used object, not many jobs touch most people’s daily life.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration is finding the solution of the problem. When someone asks you to do something, you do as much research as possible. There is usually something that will help you come up with an idea which is answering the brief. I try not to do stylistic solutions and I always want a concept rather than just a pretty piece of design.
When did you decide to go for a career in graphic design?
It was something that I had always wanted to do from a very early age. I got in to London School of Printing (now the LCC) through total luck. I used to be a bike racer and a friend that worked for a very large printing company said that there is only one school to go to – and that is the LSP. I had never heard of it, but it seemed fate took a hand and got me to the right school.
Do you have any fun anecdotes from your time at London School of Printing?
The head of the school at the time was rather disappointed that I went into magazines, rather than going to work for an established graphic designer. I was slightly considered to be the black sheep. But when the magazine Nova, which I worked for, became very successful, there was suddenly an interest in what I was doing. I have always found that rather amusing.
What type of projects are you working on now?
I don’t do the enormous corporate jobs anymore. Right now I am a design consultant to a gallery up in Lincolnshire, doing their posters, invitations and all. It is not terribly well paid, but it is a very enjoyable project.
Do you have a favourite sport that you will watch during the Games?
I would have gone for the cycling, but I didn’t get any tickets.
What a shame! So you are not going to the Games at all?
No, actually, sometimes it is better to see it on TV. The atmosphere is one thing, but it is much more up-close and personal on the TV, where you can see all the details better, compared to if you’re in an arena somewhere.
Do you have any advice to upcoming graphic designers?
You have to make sure that you come out armed with enough tools to work in any environment. You should have some kind of understanding of the history of graphic design and the basics of typesetting, otherwise it is hard to be a good typographer.