Chris Lewis, who created our lovely cover, is a graphic designer, who works under the brand Studio Lewis. Until now based in Brighton, he’s just – the week we meet to chat – in the throes of moving to Lewes. “We pick up the keys on Saturday”, he says, “so I’m in the midst of packing boxes. Exciting though…”
Chris has recently been working on a project all about the charms of Lewes and its surrounding area. In partnership with Helen Browning-Smith (see page 11), he’s been leading the rebrand of Visit Lewes. He’s also designed our excellent skittles cover. How did he arrive at the finished product, I ask?“Well, I took your theme of sport. I thought quite a bit about the Lewes women’s football team – doing something about numbers on shirts, or something. But though there’s so much to be interested in in that story, as an image, it wasn’t speaking to me.”
This is often the challenge in design work, we agree. So, when Chris alighted on the idea of skittles, another Lewes sport, he felt much happier. “So simple – but with an element of surprise.” Like much good design.Born in Wales, Chris moved to Sussex – Rustington, near Littlehampton – aged six. He’s always had a fascination with design and studied at Bath Spa before graduating in 2003.
From 2011, he worked for seven years in Hove-based We Like Today before, a year ago, branching out alone. Chris really enjoyed his time there. “We Like Today is an architectural, interior and design agency and it was great being part of a team that had the opportunity to work on all aspects of a job, not just the print side,” he says. “I was lucky enough to work on great projects such as the redevelopment of The Bell in Ticehurst (the neon sculpture is my own handwriting which I still find thrilling), The Better Half pub in Hove, The Old Laundry at Shepherds Bush Market and Platf9rm.”
So, what’s the essence of a good brand design, I ask? “A resonance with the past. A logo should make an emotional connection with the person who sees it. It should tell a story. So, with the new Visit Lewes logo, we’ve linked to the checks of the old town shields – at the same time as designing something new, and contemporary. Or, with Franklins Brewery, in Ringmer, the design plays with a little pattern that echoes the fields of the South Downs. I also really enjoyed working with the zero-waste Silo restaurant in Brighton – a restaurant unlike any other. I contributed some design to the Silo book that’s being released soon.
“For the Visit Lewes rebranding, our whole focus has been on the vibrancy of the town and its environs today: all the characters who live and work here. The artists, the makers, the cyclists and the shopkeepers to name but a few. It’s about celebrating the people by sharing their stories… ”