The Locker #1: What inspires Martin, our lead designer?

Welcome to what we're imaginatively calling 'The Locker.' Here you will find out exactly which cultural beacons or abject detritus informs the work of the varied intriguing individuals that inhabit our humble studio.

Being a 'creative' working in the media industry tends to mean that you also have the peculiar tendency to soak up much of what you see or hear going on around you. Our new studio is fitted with shiny new lockers in which to keep our personnel effects but really 'The Locker' is a metaphor for the mental place where we keep figments of all those inspirational items safe for the times when we need that extra spark to make our work as good as it can be.

So, first to reveal the items that keep them keeping on is Martin, our esteemed lead designer, our authority on all things artworking and our resident packaging expert.

Mr Hills if you could please open your door...

Vaughan Oliver: Visceral Pleasures
Rick Poyner

Booth Clibborn Editions

This was my main book of reference during my university years. Oliver produced a lot of work for the V23 record label. I particularly love the sleeves he did to package the music of Gus Gus and the Pixies. This stuff was massively original in its approach and way ahead of it's time. 20 years later it still is.

Haruki Murakami
Vintage Books

I have said it before but I especially like the series illustrated by Noma Bar, I like it so much that I am collecting it as a range. (Yes you have, and we interviewed him didn't we - Ed. Why not have a read once you've finished here?). They are beautifully well crafted, simple but always interesting. A well put together set of designs. I am not tied to that style though as the new look for IQ84 and the jacket for Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Suzanne Dean are very different but equally good.

Spiritualised: Ladies and Gentlemen, we are floating in space
Sony Records

Design by Farrow Design

If we are talking music packaging then this must be one of the best executed and clever designs ever, a solution which totally hit the brief. The melancholic music is perfectly mirrored by this engaging design based on medical packaging, the concept being that many physical symptoms can relieved by the medicine of music.

Why Not Associates

Thames & Hudson

This came out when monographs by studios were all the rage. Probably a bit trendy at the time but a superb book nevertheless. I look back now and the work still looks fresh as if it was done yesterday. Very influential in terms of expressive typography and a definite game-changer in how to approach graphic design.

Reykjavik Murder Mysteries Series
Arnaldur Indridason
Vintage Books

I just love this usage of nice big type and eerie Icelandic landscapes. It's stark for sure but an engaging design theme as the literature itself is well-written, fascinating stuff. The design fits the writing perfectly, so you can probably guess the type of books that they are…

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Name: Martin Hills

Job Title: Graphic Designer

Time with Ego: 10.5 years

Previous Experience: Celemi (Guildford offfice)

Education, or how did you get to these dizzy heights?: Visual Communication (Graphic Design) at UCA Farnham