Pottering around Southsea I have loved seeing Alice Coffey this year with her work popping up in a few local indie projects, from designing the label for Southsea Spirit gin to designing the logo slogan for Hunter Gatherer Coffee. I thought it would be nice to find out a little bit more about this artist.
Asking about her childhood, Alice said she loved to draw cartoons, characters and making things like houses out of shoeboxes as a little girl. She said “I know it sounds cliché, but I always said that I wanted to be an artist. As I got older I started using computers at school and learned most of the design around me was created digitally. I was drawn to the perfection you can reach on a computer and the use of grids and pattern. I also realised graphic design was the best way for me to design as an actual ‘job’ (yes I was a very practical child haha)."
Being interested in design at school was a cool thing but it wasn’t taught at the time so Alice took art as a subject and then went on to do graphic design as an A-Level which really helped her work toward a career path of design and graphics. Carrying on her studies to university, Alice felt a lot of her learning came from outside the classroom, through observing and investigating design around her. Alice was 7 when Portsmouth’s Tricorn Centre was demolished, and her parents were so confused about how passionate about it she was, she even made them buy her the T-shirt! Having always loved the shapes and shadows the building cast, it’s that passion she has for lines and composition that led her into design.
Talking about her style Alice said “I think as a designer you’re often not necessarily designing what you want, but answering a brief. So my style has been shaped by personal projects as well as clients and their feedback. I love thick lines and minimal colour palettes. I’d describe my style as a balance of minimal, brutal, and cartoon. I’ve always loved the old school Fleischer Studios style of cartoons, and I think you can see that in a lot of what I do. Having said that, my style is changing constantly and will probably be completely different in a few years.”
Describing herself as a minimalist, brutalist and most importantly Pompey-ist is a fun view into the mind of this design enthusiast. Loving the independent scene in Portsmouth, Alice said that she feels the area has such an amazing community of independent businesses. She said they make great clients as they’re always full of new ideas and energy that is sometimes lost in larger organisations.
I asked Alice if she felt there was a pattern of graphic designers loving Brutalist Architecture and she said there is definitely a pattern between the two. Alice wanted to be an architect for a long time and over the years has known many graphic designers that wanted to follow this path too. Alice said “both disciplines are built from the same principles; shape, form, and function. Brutalism exposes the skeleton of a building with a focus on the people the building was designed for. The principle of design is to serve a function, this is so important and that is essentially what graphic design is too."
For people wanting to buy Alice’s work, you might have seen her designs at the Portsmouth Create market last year and she is hoping to do more markets soon! Alice has a website that sells artwork which you can click on the link below to find. You can also lookout for a few things planned that are hopefully coming out before Christmas!