Thursday, 27 April 2017

Eight years of design at Shetland Arts

Today marks the end of an era. 
My last day working for Shetland Arts.

I started working as Graphic Designer with Shetland Arts in 2009. The graduate placement transformed into a full time post. In 2013 I switched to part time when I moved to Bristol to pursue a MA in Printmaking.

Shetland Arts went through many changes during the time I worked there. Building Mareel. Expanding the marketing department and use of design within the agency. More recently restructuring the whole team.

I'm very lucky to have been part of that and it has allowed me to boost my professional practice. And to that, I'm thankful to all the people I've worked with at and through Shetland Arts.

I thought I'd celebrate by putting together a best of creative projects from over the years. 

It's been hard to pick one per year as there are so many projects ranging from corporate branding (Mareel!) to the weird and wonderful (which are my favourite, and usually something to do with John Haswell!)

Within a few days of starting I got to play around with movie posters for Film Wednesdays  at the Garrison Theatre.

Notes: The team worried not using official movie imagery would not pull in a crowd.


This was an epic project to document hundreds of rings that were part of the Portage: Finger Symbols exhibition at Bonhoga Gallery curated by the amazing Mary Smith.

Notes: We shot most of the film at Burrastow House. We had freedom of the B&B for the day and freestyled as we went through all the rings. There was no real plan and it was wonderful! Jane Matthews came up with the idea of body paint on the arms and it set the film off on the weird tangent.

The process of branding Fiddle Frenzy, from the initial sketch to final which is still in use. It seems fitting to show it as Fiddle Frenzy 2017 happens to be the very final project I'm working on today!

Notes: We user tested the designs with musicians and music teachers who suggested flipping the direction of the fiddle to better represent the instrument.

Above all the rest this was the most memorable in ambition and process. Director John Haswell pitched the idea and we went with it! Morag Haswell was a hero and posed for this photo in the freezing cold.

Notes: The photo was taken in the old Sandwick school, where Richard Wemyss lived at the time. Pig head provided by Martin Sandison who was working at the Globe butcher. The chalk was written by hand. John kept the head in his freezer, it provided a good few meals.

Change was a climate change conference held in Mareel in 2010 which we were helped out with marketing and branding.

Notes: There are often so many iterations in the design process. And these are two concepts which were never used. The first cycles through different typefaces showing the changing nature of our world. The second used a piece of creative coding software, visualising data collected over a year in Shetland in form of a logo.

I would have thought every designers dream job would be to work on a beer bottle label? Part of the Mareel cafe bar's celebrations around ScreenPlay, an annual project I will miss working alongside Kathy Hubbard.

Note: I didn't get to try the beer or get a picture!


It has to be said that some projects were tough with quick turnaround times. Sometimes you have no idea what's required, but it allows things like this to happen.

Note: That is a pepperoni pizza on his head. Nobody noticed.


As well as a new logo design for Shetland Youth Theatre, there was this fun poster project for the Gargantua show.

Note: The concept was to parody the (Shetland hacked) Konga movie poster which is on display in Shetland Museum.

A 3D visitor map for Up Helly Aa activities inspired by theme park maps and model towns.

Note: I wrote a bit more about this here.

Cheers to an excellent 8 years!