Roll Up, Roll Up! It’s Festival Time Again!

When they said to me, “Joy, we want you to brand our children’s festival this year with a circus theme, do your thing!” ~ I was pretty excited to oblige.This was the second year that I’ve had creative control of this festival, now in it’s 5th year and going stronger than ever.




The feeling of turning all my ideas into reality – for everything from the souvenir programme, the personalised crew shirts, the marketing and merchandise through to the colourful bunting I helped the children make which transformed the already beautiful site into a riot of colour, was, quite honestly, incredible!




It seems that my little icons worked a treat on the menu and site plan I designed and tied it all together with a logo which evokes everything you could want from a carnival.




When I take on a job, I do it for the pure joy of creating, but when it’s finished and all the positive feedback comes, well, you can imagine how special that feels too.




I very much wanted to infuse every aspect of the design with the family-centered feel of the festival and make it as colourful and characterful as I could to engage all our ticket holders, both young and not so young.




I am sure that many happy memories were made on the day and I was very proud to have been a part of that yet again this year!



When Science met the Arts

Back in January I completed the illustrations for a wonderful new book by Professor Marcus du Sautoy who is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University which I posted about at the time.




Now the book is out, (and don’t you just love that cover!) it’s called “What We Cannot Know” and is a fascinating exploration of all those big questions that sometimes can and sometimes can’t be answered and I’m delighted to say that Professor du Sautoy came to Grantham, a town near me, during the Gravity Fields Festival ~ a week long celebration of all things science ~ inspired by Grantham’s famous scientific son, Isaac Newton.


After his lecture on the topics he covers in the book he did a book signing and we were really thrilled to meet him in person!




img_7988And as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, we met Andrew Glester who is a director, producer, science communicator and all round generally very interesting guy who was there with his new collaborative show, (staged in a campervan!) and called The Apollo 11 Campervan. Here we are, outside his venue!


We didn’t get to catch the amazing show as every performance was already sold out but he did interview both me and Professor du Sautoy for his Cosmic Shed Podcast which explores “Science fact, science fiction, and everything inbetween” ~ previous interviewees have included Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise and Bennedict Cumberbatch, so I’m in pretty good company wouldn’t you say?!


You can listen by clicking here, it’s 50 minutes of really interesting conversations recorded with people during the festival (we’re towards the end!)


Marcus said some really lovely things about how he wanted hand drawn illustrations in his book to give it a very human, rather than clinical feel and how my drawings achieved exactly this for him.


What wonderful feedback from the man himself and a truly memorable day!


A Norfolk Trip

I was lucky enough to find myself at the Norfolk coast for one whole blissfully warm week at the beginning of the summer. So warm, in fact, that swimming in the sea was even on the agenda!




The trip inspired me to create a map pinpointing some of the beautiful beaches and interesting places to be found in this part of the UK.


I did a call out to all the friends of Maps of Joy via my facebook and instagram pages for their suggestions for places to feature and I got so many responses ~ I think it’s obviously a destination with happy memories for many people!


And here’s the result!



The finished print is now available to buy in my shop (and can be customised with a bespoke icon if you’ve somewhere special you want to add!)

and I’ve also created some notelets and greetings cards along the same coastal theme.



Branding a Festival

Ok, so the weather in the UK hasn’t been quite roasting hot…yet…but that didn’t stop me enjoying a most fabulous mini-festival last month, for which I also had the pleasure of designing and re-branding all the marketing and programme materials.




This family friendly festival has run for 3 years in a row (quite an achievement for an event run entirely by volunteers) and now, in it’s 4th year and with new organisers, it was time for a re-brand.




I wanted to convey all the aspects of the festival within the logo so I used a collection of icons to create a coherent whole. That allowed me to continue the theme throughout the programme, using smaller icons to give a flavour of the food, drink and merriment on offer during the day. My letterpress style typographic treatment of the festival name also carried through to the programme and marketing posters.




I’m already looking forward to next year’s event when I’ll be able to tweak and re-use this years logo whilst retaining the strong new look, with a new colour scheme too. Now, who’s for strawberries and cream..?




Architectural Trails



I’m delighted with the finished trail leaflets for the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Temperate Palm House features on the cover…




…whilst the inside folds out to reveal my interpretation of the site map and the rest of the architectural gems that can be found around the garden.




The designers have used my hand drawn typography to great effect as titles, underneath which there’s a fascinating history of each building. Thinking I’ll be booking my train tickets to Edinburgh so I can take a summer stroll around the trail myself very soon…!


Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh

During my little jaunt up to Scotland for a long weekend of papery creative dabblings (scroll down for the blog post of the full story), I was lucky to meet some very interesting fellow workshoppers. One of them happened to work for Edinburgh Royal Botanical Gardens and I got a call from her once I was back on home turf when she commissioned me to produce a set of illustrations for the launch of a new trail around the gardens, pinpointing some of the many historical and important buildings dotted around the site.


The Palm House

the palm house

I absolutely love drawing characterful buildings so it was a delight from start to finish. There’s something very magical about architecture built for plants, green houses, orangeries, palm houses, orchid houses…the cool, mossy interiors, the scents of jasmine..ahh!


The Botanic Cottage

the botanic cottage

I used a style reminiscent of a gorgeous illustration of the Palm House on the front of a 1950’s guide to the garden which the design team wanted me to give a nod to, but it was also important to make the drawings modern and relevant to the visitors of today.


The Glasshouse

the glasshouse

I hope to take another trip up there soon and walk the trail myself, until then, I’ll post some photos of the trail map itself when it arrives in the next few days, so watch this space.

Prints & Notecards

Over at Maps of Joy, I’ve been busy recently adding some lovely new products to the shop. So now, in addition to commissioning a totally unique map for yourself or someone special, there are also three off-the-peg prints of New York, Paris and London to choose from if you’re in need of a quick city-break fix!


greeting cards


The prints are available as note cards too, and they come as a pack of three with envelopes, so you’ll be ready whenever circumstances call for a hand written note that anyone who loves travel would just adore to receive.


And don’t forget, sign up for my Maps of Joy newsletter as you’ll get a welcome 15% off your first order and after that, well, I’m always sending out exclusive offers for my subscribers…so don’t miss out!


More paper adventures…

A little while back, in February to be precise, I packed my bags for a weekend of pure creativity up in the gorgeous Stockbridge area of Edinburgh, Scotland. I joined a lively group of like-minded paper lovers who had gathered to take part in Rachel Hazell’s (aka “The Travelling Bookbinder”) Paperlove alumni workshop.


This was open to those of us who had completed the online version of the course, which I’d done two years ago, and you can read my blog post about it here.


It soon transpired that we’d all come from places as diverse as Amsterdam, the USA and, the lucky ones who didn’t have travel far and lived around the corner! Over the course of the next two days we all bonded over bookbinding – swapping and sharing paper and materials we’d brought with us to create our very own books from scratch.


Along with making new friends and spending quality time with my great pal and fellow Kingston University Illustration Degree alumni, the amazing Ceri Amphlett, the part that stays with me most was the feeling of being able to be completely creative for creativity’s sake, which, let’s face it, in our busy lives, juggling work and family responsibilities, is a rare and beautiful thing indeed!


And as if that wasn’t enough, I have since completed a commission for The Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens as a direct result of connecting with one of my fellow workshop attendees…more details of which to follow in a future post! Here’s to getting messy and creative with paper, paint and glue!


Abercrombie & Kent

Two maps I’ve recently completed for global luxury travel brand Abercrombie & Kent showing Portugal and Morocco.




They will feature in “Sundowner” magazine which is produced twice yearly for their Australian market and which showcases a range of the incredibly special and bespoke travel adventures they have to offer.




The art director was keen for the maps to each have a distinctive look, so, after my pencil roughs were approved (in progress below), I used texture (from a hard back vintage book cover) and hand painted watercolour accents to bring out the individual qualities of the differing locations.





Happy Customers

I’ve been so delighted to receive some amazing feedback from some of my first Maps of Joy customers…


Their reactions to their bespoke maps have been absolutely wonderful to hear and really sum up everything that I wanted to achieve by creating the concept in the first place…

If you’re interested in commissioning me to create a unique map based on your memories, it really couldn’t be easier. Just head over to my website at Maps of Joy where you can find out all you need to know.