This time last year we turned 25 years old and have had a year-long celebration of this milestone. Throughout the year we’ve published special interviews with long-standing members of staff John, Mike and Gavin. We’ve written a host of 25 themed posts like 25 years of education, 25 influential designers and 25 keyboard short-cuts. We’ve eaten a lot of cake, hosted two BookMachine design events, including our birthday party and we finally got round to creating Our Story as an infographic which is displayed in our reception as well as on our website. We also found out that we shared this wonderful milestone with one of the loveliest companies we get to work with Beehive Illustration. So we thought what better way to round up the year of celebrations than with a joint interview…
So we asked Ellie at Beehive three quick questions:
What have 25 years of technological advancements, with programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, meant for artists and you as an agency?
It has led to almost all of our artists moving across to working in a digital way of one sort or another. Most common is Photoshop, and increasingly Illustrator, as clients are asking for vector art styles to have unlimited flexibility for scaling to different sizes without a loss in resolution quality. As conventionally painted artwork needs scanning, it has become become less and less popular, but still hasn’t disappeared completely. Styles using soft pastels and looser watercolour washes are very difficult to capture digitally, so these remain very much on the scene.
What do you think has been the biggest change within the publishing industry that has had the most dramatic effect on artists/agencies and providing illustration services to publishers?
Without a doubt, the shift of the publishing industry into a more digital landscape. The internet, emails and fast broadband have all created a revolution in the way artwork is sent and seen around the world. It doesn’t seem possible that less than 25 years ago we would still be placing final artwork, packaged up with stiff protection, on British Rail Red Star parcel service or with a motorcycle courier so it was able to reach it’s recipient on the same day. These days, of course, you can send an identical full colour digital image file in a matter of seconds across the internet using FTP. The mind boggles at the advances we’ll be enjoying in the next 25 years!
We come across a lot of graduate illustrators starting out in their careers, what advice can you give them to ensure that they too have a great first 25 years in the industry?
Your most important tool is your portfolio – keep it fresh and up to date, show everyone that you can find who commissions illustration and take on their advice. It’s very important to have a good technical foundation, learn programmes like Photoshop. Communicate well by responding quickly and clearly to emails and phone calls. Always meet deadlines and if possible get your work in early. Illustration is a tough industry to break into but if you are passionate and have received great feedback about your portfolio keep persevering.
And here are the three quick questions Beehive asked us with our answers.
What are you most proud of over the last 25 years?
Mike started the company freelancing as a designer and during the last 25 years we have grown significantly. In this time we have built up a fantastic and loyal team and we are immensely proud to run our family design business as a well-structured, organised and fair company. We are also incredibly proud of the reputation we have built up for delivering outstanding creative and production solutions for major Publishers and projects.
What has been the most significant change?
We think the most significant change (that has probably had the biggest impact on us too) has been seeing big Publishers move away from using individual freelancers to larger studios such as ours, in order to produce larger courses in a quicker time-frame. Our growth coincided with this change and it would be much more difficult starting out and growing a company like ours today in the current climate.
What do you hope EMC will have achieved in the next 25 years?
We hope that over the next 25 years we will continue to provide even better design and publishing services to more publishers and clients. We hope that by maintaining our position within the industry we will continue to be a thriving company for our clients but also a company that is rewarding to work at for our fantastic and growing team.
We hope you’ve enjoyed celebrating this special year with us and we look forward to working with you all in the new year.