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These are a few of my favourite things: Artist and designer Kate Hursthouse

As part of Idealog's Design Month, we picked the brains of some of the most interesting individuals in the industry to find out their favourite design-related things, their not-so-secretive side hustles and what inspires them creatively. Here's artist and designer Kate Hursthouse, who specialises in calligraphy, lettering and typography.

What’s your favourite…

Brand identity?

Meadowlark jewellery.

Building?

Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Object?

A white Ampersand Marquee light in my bedroom.

Designer?

Luca Barcellona.

Clothing brand?

KowTow.

Use of design to change behaviour?

There are hospitals that have designed and painted MRI machines in themes, such as pirates or space, to make the experience of being scanned less daunting and scary for children. It is a clever and empathetic human-centered approach to design and innovation.



Inspiring design-related book/podcast/TV show/website/magazine/story?

‘Take Your Pleasure Seriously’ by Luca Barcellona.

Design project you’ve had a hand in?

A custom illustration commissioned for someone’s birthday using the numerals of their birthdate filled with elements important to their life and history.

Design project that isn’t yours, but you’re envious of?

Pokras Lampas, a young Russian Calligrapher, has been collaborating with Nike on a range of projects. Recently he did a live calligraphic mural installation at Moscow Vogue Fashion week on the History of Nike Air Force 1.

What first drew you to design?

I was working as an architect originally, which I didn’t love, a few years went by where I barely picked up a pencil. I took a night class in illustration and realised I had forgotten how much I love drawing. It wasn’t too long after that I made the decision to take an early retirement from architecture and go to design school.

Where does inspiration come from for you?

Travel, books and music. The majority of my work is based around words so interesting phrases, languages or lyrics can trigger ideas, as well as colours and patterns seen in different parts of the world.

Do you have a design ethos/motto you abide by in your work?

“Only work on projects that inspire you, with people that you aspire to.”

Do you have any creative side hustles going on outside of your line of work? If so, what?

I am illustrating my first children’s book, it has been a passion project for a while and all things going well I should be publishing it this year. I have also just started to learn the guitar - I needed a creative outlet that wasn’t work orientated!

How has technology impacted on your work? How do you think it will impact on it in the future?

I work in both the analogue and digital. My work always starts by hand with pens and paper, but technology like the Wacom tablet means I can digitise my hand lettering and calligraphy really easily. I have recently seen a huge rise in people creating hand lettering and calligraphy on the iPad Pro, I am still so wary about this. To me, it defeats the purpose of calligraphy and hand lettering and you can always tell when something has been done on an iPad Pro because it still has that digital look with no imperfections. Technology like the iPad Pro poses a risk that the actual craft of calligraphy and hand lettering will disappear in the future, but I am hopeful there are enough authentic calligraphers out there to keep it alive.



Who are some of your design heroes?

Frida Khalo, Luca Barcellona, Neils ‘Shoe’ Muelman, Jessica Hische,

Best design-related advice you ever received?

Do what you love, work as hard as you can, put your work in front of as many people as you can. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now.

What do you enjoy the most about working in this industry?

I enjoy the variety of work, each project is different and I get to work with some interesting people. I also love the freedom to pursue my own creative projects.

How do you define New Zealand’s design culture?

Small, young, fresh and encouraging.

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