Telegramme style

After cultivating a striking visual style over several years Telegramme Studio’s easily recognizable work is in high demand. Large clients, including Habitat and Random House, to small ventures, such as the branding for a friend’s new ‘Hawt Sauce’ have had their products ‘Telegrammed’. I was keen to find out the story behind this prolific studio and how its distinctive identity developed.

I met up with Bobby Evans who is now the studio’s one-man design team. Telegramme was originally a collaboration of two friends living in different parts of the UK, working via the postal service (his partner, Chris, has since left to set-up a fashion enterprise). After graduating the studio gravitated to East London and has remained in this area for several years.

Despite nearly being kicked out of university for not conforming to the ‘clean’ brand of graphic design being taught there (aimed at preparing graduates for life in a design agency), Bobby forged even further towards a grittier style more suited to the type of projects he wanted to design for: band posters, record sleeves and skateboards. The type of things his studio is now known for.

A passion for screen-printing and “broken-down type” contributes to this visual style: “I love the visual aesthetic of screen-printing and the process. It’s not always viable for projects with very short turnaround times—gig posters might only get the go-ahead a few days before they’re needed—but even when I’m designing for digital output I find myself automatically adding in trapping and overlays which result in a particular quality.”

Texture is another key ingredient:

“I enjoy emulating the quality of small items that have been blown-up, so you can see the grain and texture in the printed material. However, I’m careful to maintain a modern edge - I don’t want the work to rely on visual trickery or be a pastiche.”

“Although I started as a graphic designer I found that I’d often need illustrations for my work but rather than hunt down say a specific style of bird for example, I’d simply draw one”. The same goes for Bobby’s lettering but rather than drawing it from scratch he prefers to customise existing type to make it fit the project, looking at the decayed lettering and ‘ghost type’ that you see a lot of around East London for references.

The passion for designing gig posters is as strong as ever. Even now when he finds out that a band he likes is planning a local gig he’ll get in contact and offer to produce the official posters. And as an active board member of the UK Poster Association (UKPA) he also supports and promotes the work of British poster artists, exhibiting posters around the world at events like SXSW.

You can see more of Bobby’s recent work on tumblr here.