Stuart Williams | Freelance Senior UI & UX Designer | CRO Consultant

Illustration and written piece for ACH1EVE Magazine

In February of this year I had the pleasure to have been asked to design the cover of the University of Chester’s ACH1EVE magazine. The University’s publication is sent out to all the Alumni signed up to the network across both a print network and via the email newsletter. For the Spring issue, I was commissioned to illustrate the cover of the digital magazine, and write up a piece for inside the edition. You can find my article on pages 6 and 7.

For the written piece I was looking to describe how my experience had been since leaving the University in 2014. I graduated in November of that year and since then, time has flown. In the piece I provided insight into my places of work when I was based in London, and how this led me to being a freelancer and living in Finland. The main image of the piece shows a mock-up of an interview I wrote for Fault magazine, with the artist Tom Walker speaking with me. Although the piece in ACH1EVE doesn’t feature design work, it was important to show all aspects of my time since the degree course. 

Above: My full illustration piece for the digital cover of ACH1EVE magazine.

The theme of the Spring issue is ‘Women in Music’, with both the printed and digital covers using illustrations under this theme. For the cover design I wanted to create a clean vector illustration which incorporated movement in the artist, and displayed a sense of sound through visual shapes. Basing the main artist silhouette of a live concert image of Tash Sultana, there was a great point of reference for a visually striking and powerful image. Tash is known for her incredible guitar work, so naturally I had the instrument included as part of the silhouette. Using plectrum shapes for central interest; there are also smaller repeated designs masked into the main shape to indicate sound and movement. The shapes ranging from smaller to larger the further away they become from the guitar.

The colours of the illustration were kept neutral in terms of a stereotypical gender palette. The greens, oranges and blues used helped keep this neutral ground whilst using the brighter colours to inject energy, and the darker for stability. The white outline of the artist indicates the movement whilst playing, whilst the “stage” is shown via a green bubble underneath. When used within the magazine cover itself, the illustration has been cropped to sit neatly in the center of the blue frame, in-keeping with the colours used. 

Above: The full digital cover of ACH1EVE magazine’s 2nd issue, featuring my illustration.

Do also check out the wonderful printed cover version designed by Mei Wen Kuang, a current Graphic Design student at the University. There are some insightful articles inside including a piece from Deviate PR, a music PR company in the North West of the UK ran by Holly Royle, a 2019 graduate. Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank my good friend Hayley for coordinating the work and for doing a stellar job of editing the publication. Thank you Hayley and the team – keep up the great work. 

You can download the Spring issue of ACH1EVE magazine with my illustrated cover featured here. Join over 2,000 digital subscribers and 4,000 postal by visiting the website.