Feature: Q&A with... Graphic Workman

Hatch'd caught up with David Ottley, the designer behind Graphic Workman, who's recently moved to Derbyshire. 

HM: Who are you and what do you do?

DO: My name is David Ottley and I'm a graphic designer and typographer. My business is called Graphic Workman.

HM: When and why was GW formed?

DO: Graphic Workman was formed in 2010 not long after I had completed my MA in Communication design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. It was a way for me to formalise my approach and the intention of my work.

HM: Where did the name Graphic Workman come from?

DO: The name Graphic Workman is inspired by my Grandparents' (William and Beryl), printing business – Workman & Co. They were, as Beryl describes it 'arm-chair printers', however William was actually a draughtsman and an extremely accomplished technical drawer with a love for typography.

HM: What brings you to Derbyshire?

DO: My family live in North London and my girlfriend, Alicia's live in Middlesbrough – so when we found out we were having a baby last year we packed our bags and moved to the middle point between them. We left Chiswick in West London and moved to a hill in Derbyshire to start our family. Beatrice Olive was born in November and we haven't looked back!

HM: Has your business changed since moving up here?

DO: Yes, I think moving home and work, starting a family and meeting new people naturally makes you re-address your work and how you choose to live your life. All these changes have had a hugely positive impact on me and now I feel more invigorated and excited about the work that I have been making and the people I'm working with.

HM: What sort of projects do you work on?

DO: I work with brands, people, products and ideas. Corporate or Cultural. My portfolio includes visual identities, logos, information design, websites, typefaces, packaging, books, brochures and occasionally exhibitions.

HM: Who have you worked with?

DO: My first official client as Graphic Workman was Original Mountain Marathon, and since then my client base has grown to include Ecozone, The University of the Arts, TIGI Haircare, Goat Fashion, Jason Hynes Photography, Yeast culture and VesselsValue.com.

Prior to this, as David Ottley the employee, I cut my teeth at Turnbull Grey (a design studio in London) for just over four years leaving in 2007. Then, as a freelancer I joined the agency Represent where I've spent time working in-house at many London based studios as a senior designer getting some valuable experience. Studios have included Together Design, Dalziel + Pow, Lambie-Nairn, Browns Design, Unilever, IDEO, Black Dog Publishing and New Edge / The Brewery.

HM: What inspires you?

DO: Different things inspire me for different projects, but day to day its the little things like riding my bike, being outside, my wood pile, hanging out with Beatrice Olive, paper swatch books, Armin Hoffman, letterpress, stencils, brutalist architecture, my table top adana press and laser cutting random objects at the FabLab in Manchester.

HM: Do you work with freelancers?

DO: Yes, I have a small network of printers, web developers and photographers who I work with whenever the need arises. It's great to have these relationships as sometimes my skills run out and I need specialist help, or projects can just be too big for one person alone to handle so I can call on people I trust and who are reliable.

HM: Can you talk about any of the projects your working on at the moment?

DO: I can't really divulge too much about what I'm working on at the moment, but I can let you know that there is a new graphic Workman website in production which will have updated projects and new work from the past twelve months – so watch out for that!

HM: What does the future hold for Graphic Workman?

DO: This year I would like to work alongside and with, more enthusiasts, curators, innovators, people who are trying to initiating change and those who are a pleasure to be around!


To find out more about David and his work, visit his website: www.davidottley.co.uk

Tags:  #derbyartists Derby Graphic Designer Graphic Design