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The 10 Best Graphic Designers & Creatives from Scotland

At Shillington, we love to celebrate great design and share inspiring projects from creatives around the world. So far we’ve covered the work of studios from Japan, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Poland and Greece. Up next? Our ten favourite creatives from the nation of whisky, kilts and 790 islands, Scotland.

From the lochs and bens to the toons (or lakes, mountains and cities for those who don’t know Scots Tongue), Scotland is an awe-inspiring country. Dundee is the UK’s only UNESCO City of Design, Glasgow has previously been the European City of Culture and the capital Edinburgh hosts one of the world’s most famous celebrations of the arts, the Edinburgh Fringe, so there’s no shortage of inspiration in the country! To celebrate the incredible creative scene in Scotland, we’ve chosen ten Scottish creatives that we can’t get enough of—from packaging to typefaces, and even some paper craft.

1. Gabriella Marcella

Hailing from the western Scottish city of Glasgow, Gabriella Marcella is a designer and founder of one of the UK’s leading risograph printing studios RISOTTO. Working across 2D and 2D, Marcella’s is bold, playful and powerful. She’s inspired by Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten, exploring ideas of learning through play and how creativity can be supported by defining constraints of material, colour and form. Though it’s hard to choose just one of her works, her set design for Penchaan in Glasgow’s Tramway perfectly exemplifies her treatment of colour and form.

2. Rachel E Millar

Signwriter and lettering artist extraordinaire Rachel E Millar is another Glaswegian on our radar. Her incredible work has no limits it can be big or small, inside or outside, on shop fronts, on disintegrating walls, or pretty much any other surface. She works on both commercial commissions for companies, including independent businesses across Scotland, as well as collaborations and her own artwork. ‘She is Fearless’, which particularly caught our eye, is the latter—painted for International Women’s Day.

3. Agency of None

Agency of None is a Dundee-based design studio, founded by Lyall Bruce and Ryan McLeod. Their website tells you, literally, that they work with interesting people to solve problems and make new things. And they do—working with clients from local bars to the new V&A museum in Dundee. The duo also produce the Dundee Design Festival, a UNESCO City of Design Dundee project, and design its identity every year. Their limited colour palette and geometric shapes for their identity for the 2017 festival is a real treat for the eyes.

4. Mateusz Chojnowski

Mateusz Chojnowski is a Motion and 3D Designer from the Scottish capital Edinburgh. He works across various disciplines—including motion graphics, digital art, 3D modelling and web, graphic and mobile design. He’s worked for some major clients, including the Scottish Government, as well as producing interfaces, opening titles and 3D assets for video games. Working at creative agency Whitespace, alongside Liah Moss (below), Mateusz did the visual and motion design for the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year—the campaign was all about stepping in to the unknown and embracing the strange and wonderful, which is a must for the Fringe.

5. Warriors Studio

Founded by Beth Wilson and James Gilchrist, Warriors Studio is a communication design agency from Glasgow. With a shared passion for powerful communication and design, the pair specialise in brand identity, brand development and marketing and believe that the key to successful design is a strong concept, simplicity and clarity. They’ve worked with big clients from all over the world and closer to home, including Urban Outfitters, Warner Music and Visit Scotland but it was their bold identity for Thype, an exhibition for artists and designers from across the world, that struck a chord with us—it incorporates a family portrait to bring both a personal and intriguing element.

6. Eleanor Stewart

Also from Glasgow, Eleanor Stewart is an animation film maker and paper artist—who claims to be challenging perceptions of what can be achieved with paper. She creates bespoke paper models and moving image content—her films have been screened internationally, including with live symphony orchestras. The Tearaway is her award-winning “paper caper”, a film made entirely of paper and stop motion animated, that follows a group of woodland friends trying to track down a naughty beaver. An absolute joy for the eyes and a pull on the heartstrings. Eleanor has also recently opened Clubhouse, the only dedicated stop motion animation studio in Scotland.

7. Touch Agency

Independent Edinburgh studio Touch Agency have expertise in design, direction and ideas, which means they dabble in everything—from illustration, way-finding, name generation and so much more. Their clients have included, amongst others the prestigious National Galleries of Scotland, and the international drinks conglomerate Pernod Richard. Though, we are particularly loving their work for independent investment boutique, Majedie Asset Management. Despite looking like a high end magazine, the Majedie Journal is actually a financial publication that aims to reflect the business’s world view whilst pushing the boundaries of what it can be!

8. Chelsea Frew

Chelsea Frew is a freelance illustrator, working predominantly in murals, editorial, exhibitions and commissions, who lives and works in Glasgow. She’s heavily influenced by her home city and tries to capture the true feeling of it in her illustration. She has also travelled widely and uses the architecture she’s observed—from Tudor to Brutalism—which also inspires her work. We were struck by her project Savoy which depicts shops, people and products from 1950s Glasgow in monochromatic turquoise, red or yellow to celebrate local or self-owned businesses and the close communities they create.

9. Contagious

Contagious is a creative branding agency, specialising in global drinks brands, founded in Edinburgh, a city known for its drinks, in 2001. They work across brand experience, packaging, digital and environmental design, working with some huge brands including Jameson, Absolute and Chivas Regal. Their incredible attention-to-detail can be seen in their bottle design for Port of Leith Distillery’s Lind & Lime Gin. They created a bespoke bottle silhouette and combined it with a subtle cord embossed paper, which work together in tandem. This is then complemented by a bold linear typeface and their elliptical brand marque—which reflects the location of the Port of Leith brewery in the Edinburgh port, the former home of the whisky trade.

10. Liah Moss

Edinburgh-native Liah Moss is a senior designer, she works at the creative agency Whitespace and creates her own personal work in her free time. She specialises in design, illustration and art direction and her aesthetic approach merges bold colour and a distinct sense of play. We loved her Banana Bread typeface, one of her personal projects. Inspired by the influential Bauhaus movement, the experimental but everyday typeface is geometric and simple, with a single weight. Best of all, it’s free to download and use to your heart’s content!

Feeling inspired? Check out our #ILoveTheseGuys series to discover more creative studios from around the world! Or become a graphic designer yourself—study design in three months full-time or nine months part-time in London, Manchester, New York, Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne with Shillington.

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