This month’s cover is the work of hello DODO, a printmaking and design business run by professional and marital partners Ali and Jam. hello DODO has been running for over seven years, springing from the couple’s desire to teach themselves to screenprint and make things. Ali explains that “We started just from posters, then brought out a greetings card range, and it got out of hand from there”.
Ali and Jam both went to Plymouth University: Jam studied graphic design with typography and Ali analogue photography. Jam: “We sort of fuse those things together, screenprinting is a happy medium between us.” Ali explains further: “We wanted to do something hands on, inky, actually making things.” Ali’s CV includes stints in clothes shops and the ever-colourful Legoland, whereas Jam worked as a freelance graphic designer up until about 14 months ago, but hello DODO is now a full-time concern. Jam: “You definitely have to put a lot of day job hours in, but it’s so worth it in the end”.
Browsing hello DODO’s Etsy page and Instagram feed at the office makes for a refreshing jolt of colour, playfulness and positivity, as well as welcome helpings of their pug Hero, the George Martin-like third Dodo. Jam: “One of the main reasons we do the work we do is to make fun work that makes people smile, and makes us happy to make it.” Ali and Jam opted for a red, yellow, green and blue palette from the beginning of hello DODO, and their vivid Viva cover design is no exception.
Ali: “We’ve called it ‘Brighton Up’ for the colour angle, and then you’ve literally got Brighton Up. If you start at the bottom you have the sea, then the beach huts, then the Pavilion, the i360 on the right, then the streets of Hanover.” Can you guess what the white triangles are? Brighton regulars might know them as food-thievin’ tyrants, whereas visitors might see them more as playful, swooping curiosities.
Brighton itself is not the only inspiration for the design however, with Ali and Jam’s big box of kids’ building blocks informing the aesthetic of the cover. We love the starkly delineated look of the Brighton tableau, as well as the complementary colours, sometimes symmetrical, sometimes not, but always well balanced. It’s also a real feat to recreate such clearly discernible Brighton landmarks using only their building block aesthetic.
hello DODO share some similar views on colour to Viva Lewes cover artist Cressida Bell in fact. When discussing her work, Bell commented that older people often seem to wear more muted colours and commended Prue Leith for bucking the trend. Jam concurs: “What’s weird with colour is that when you’re a kid you’re given all of the colours in the world because it makes you happy, but this gets stripped back a bit when you get older. It’s amazing how powerful some colour can be to make people happy”.