That Was The Year That Was

I'm not really one for looking back preferring instead to face forwards.  But sometimes it is healthy to take a pause.  January 2015 was a landmark moment. It was the time when Simple Shape went from being a germ of an idea, a lot of pieces of paper, an endless conversation, and became something of a reality. There were, of course, some pivotal moments and, as with most things, some key people . This is my look at the moments and people that made 2015 for Simple Shape...


Simple Shape, established 2015, graphic identity by BCMH

Simple Shape, established 2015, graphic identity by BCMH

Bravo Charlie Mike Hotel / BCMH

Ben Chatfield is the BC to the Mark Hopkins MH of this loveliest of design agencies.  I met Ben in January last year, sat down and talked him through the initial idea for Simple Shape.  He listened. And, most importantly, looked interested! As I walked away it suddenly dawned on me that 'this was it'. I had talked about 'it' to a real person. Now Simple Shape simply had to happen.
BCMH are an exceptional, nothing-is-too-much-trouble, rare type of design agency.  They apply a careful, considered and intelligent thought process to their work.  Ben worked on the graphic identity and the branding with beautiful results. And has come to be an all round reliable 'aesthetics barometer' and sensible sounding board.

Generation Press, printers with impecable credentials, printed our postcards and business cards. 

Porcelain colour samples on the workbench in Elliott's studio.

Porcelain colour samples on the workbench in Elliott's studio.

Elliott Ceramics

I didn't go to talk to Elliott Denny about ceramics. I had seen his print work referenced a couple of times in a blog I had been reading, discovered that his studio was based very close to me and in all honesty I needed to get away from the kitchen table. We talked about riso-printing and I talked about my ideas for Simple Shape, the type of work I was hoping to find & stock. Quietly he said, 'I've been making some cups'.

On a pale wooden shelf high up at the back of the studio was a tiny collection of pastel porcelain cups. They were so incredibly fine and in such delicate pastels. When I got back home I sat down and emailed him, "if I manage to get this thing off the ground, please could I sell your cups?" Elliott took March off from printing and expanded and developed his collection of Elliott Ceramics pottery. 

Eleanor Pritchard

Eleanor Pritchard's textiles are extraordinary. Full stop. Pattern, colour, design and quality - perfection.

When Eleanor agreed (quite early on) that we could stock her collection, it was without doubt one of the 'linchpin moments' of 2015.

Eleanor Pritchard's studio [image credit: Kangan Arora]

Eleanor Pritchard's studio [image credit: Kangan Arora]

My photo of Yeshen's photo. Rosie Brewer's food board under the tripod on the first day of shooting in April

My photo of Yeshen's photo. Rosie Brewer's food board under the tripod on the first day of shooting in April

Yeshen Venema

Along with innumerable other 'firsts' I had never done a photo shoot. Ever. 62 Thornhill Square is instantly special. It's a wonderful unspoilt square of street lamps, railings and history and Yeshen Venema's first floor studio looks across the park at tree level.  It's very calming. That, and the fact that Yeshen really is very very good at his job took away the anxiety. The first weekend-long photoshoot in April was the realisation of months of planning.

Later in the summer Yeshen and I spent a wonderful day making a tiny film; 'Lay The Table'. It was a day that barely felt like 'work' and we were both proud of the results.

Yeshen has photographed all the pieces in the Simple Shape collection.

Between Two Pines / Stuart Hobday

'Don't worry.  It'll all be fine'.

I had absolutely not one clue about web design and development but this pretty much sums up all my conversations, and there were ever such a lot of them, with Stuart. He works all night, is occasionally know to nip-out to photograph rolling mist and fog at 3 o'clock in the morning, and is passionate about magazines and print layout. All admirable qualities! And he was pretty patient too. 

At 01:00 on 8th May, the day after the General Election and during the first ever London Craft Week, Stuart switched over the test site and Simple Shape went 'live'.

It's hard to illustrate web design, so instead, this grainy Pembrokeshire night sky and lighthouse is for you Stuart!

It's hard to illustrate web design, so instead, this grainy Pembrokeshire night sky and lighthouse is for you Stuart!

There were, of course, so many other significant conversations, people and moments, too many to mention.
Thank you, to all of you.