A Friend of Mine add a touch of colour

A Friend of Mine was a stand-out choice for executing this idea. They’re brilliant with colour and we love their work. So off Suzy Tuxen and Cassie Brock set with a lot of paper to put together some amazing overprinting (without actually printing) banner images. Here’s a brief interview with Suzy that allowed us to gain an insight into the creative process. Thank you ladies and also a big thanks to Sarah Anderson (photographer) for your very fast and inspiring work!

Us: What was it like working with paper as your main medium?
Suzy: We love working with paper. It’s great to get a break from the computer and work with our hands! We originally sketched the designs by hand, then designed them on the computer with colours roughly from the paper range. We had to plan it very carefully before actually making them – planning the designs in advance is always key when we work with paper! We then laid out the entire range in our studio, using up all the available surfaces to fit. We then made snap decisions as to whether the papers we had chosen on computer worked together in the flesh.

Us: What was the rest of the process like in terms of execution?
Suzy: We wanted to get an array of colours, shine, tonality and texture to keep things interesting. We loved the more unusual papers such as crocboard and parchment – these made for fun and unusual combinations!  Using sharp blades, compasses, rulers and paper templates, we tried to achieve accuracy and strong lines in each piece. We wanted the paper images to be strong, geometric and architectural.

We also had to work at a small scale to ensure that the textures of the papers could be seen and celebrated in the photography. This meant that we had to be quite precise with our details and careful with piecing the works together. We also wanted to achieve a bit of depth, so we often cut out duplicates of the shape, and chocked them up before glueing to gain a bit of height and shadow in the composition.

One challenge is making paper look like paper! Yet you did that really well. How?
Suzy: Sarah Anderson really managed to perfect the lighting technique for the photoshoot. She worked with us to do three different exposures for each image so lights, mid tones and darks were correctly represented, with special lighting for metallic paper, so that the paper range could be captured as it looks in real life. We then combined the different exposures together in Photoshop to get just the right light for each paper.

Us: The way you put colours together is interesting and beautiful.  Tell us more about your thinking behind the colours and layouts.
Suzy: We had the concept of the overlapping shapes in which the overlapped sections would ‘mix’ – except of course this would be achieved with paper, instead of traditional overprinting! It was this founding idea from which all of the compositions stem from, and this informed some of the colour choices.

We wanted to have a mix of colour palettes so each banner varies. We chose eclectic and unusual colour combinations for some banners and then for others we chose harmonious colour ways. Brights are often teamed with neutrals to achieve a balance. We also explored some more neutral palettes of neutral whites and creams and also a palette of dark hues. On the whole we were aiming for bold, strong and unusual – and the bright and contrasting colours really assisted by echoing the strong geometric feel.