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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with graphic designer Simon Loxley, creator of the Ultrabold magazine for St Bride Library

Graphic designer Simon Loxley describes the highlights of his career, and what it's like to create a new magazine from scratch.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Designer Simon Loxley is a multi-talented print designer and writer who has worked on some fantastic projects over the years, including the creation of the beautiful Ultrabold magazine for the St Bride Library. Following the highly successful Critical Tensions conference last week I decided to check in with him and find out a bit more about his career. You can read about how Ultrabold first came to life here.

Ultrabold St Brides Library
Ultrabold 10 spread
Can you tell us a little bit more about your career as a designer and some of your favourite projects that you’ve worked on?
I suppose I’ve always approached working in design as a ‘fan’; I love music, books, films, magazines, museums and art galleries, so have always tried to seek out work in areas I personally feel very connected to.

Simon Loxley Art for the Nation
I did a lot of work in the past, and still some now (St Bride obviously), for London’s cultural institutions: the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Museum of London, Geffrye Museum, the Maritime Museum, the London Library, and a long spell for Dulwich Picture Gallery. Their logo was my design, and I created a cut-out model of the Gallery’s famous John Soane-designed central tower/founders’ mausoleum for their shop which was lot of fun to do. I designed a postcard set for the National Portrait Gallery that a Financial Times review called the best small present of the year, which was nice of them.

Simon Loxley Catalan Culture
Simon Loxley Spanish Cinema
More recently I‘ve been doing lots of book covers for the publisher Boydell & Brewer: non fiction stuff, history, music and Hispanic studies. I’ve put some of my favourites on my website, Although but no means do I do all their books – it’s a large umbrella organisation with several imprints – I do enough to hope I’ve managed to create something of a Boydell style or ‘feel’ for them.

Type- the secret history of letters
My distinguishing feature is arguably that as someone who can both design and write I’m relatively unusual; I enjoyed researching and writing both my two books, Type: The Secret History of Letters, and Printers Devil: The Life and Work of Frederic Warde. And of course Ultrabold would be right up there at the top of the tree for me: a chance to design, edit and write. Perfect really. Ten issues feels like something of an achievement. It would be good to be offered, or to create, other projects where I could be involved with the content as well as the design.

What is the production schedule like for each issue of Ultrabold and how long does it take to put together?
Ultrabold comes out twice a year; I think it would kill me to do more, unless I had a team of assistants focused solely on the task, which I don’t. Although if it were financially viable for me, ie a job rather than essentially a labour of love, it might be quite good to do more. Time? Tricky to quantify, as I’m always thinking of possibilities for the next issue, noting them down so I don’t forget them; so the planning goes on all the time, in the back of my mind. I suppose if the journal was laid out and proofread all in one go, you might be looking at 2, maybe 3 days. But then there’s reading and editing the copy, surely another days’ worth, and then a day to go down to Principal Colour and pass the pages on press. But a lot of the design and editing gets done in little corners of the day concurrent with and fitting around other things I’m working on.

Find out more about the production of Ultrabold and why it’s so important to preserve St Bride Library in the whole instalment of this blog over on the Principal Colour tumblr.

Simon Loxley Javier Marias
Simon Loxley No Pasaran


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