BLOG

I AM A GRAPHIC DESIGNER
THIS IS MY STORY

JUMP TO: THE FULL STORY (abridged)
JUMP TO: (in)FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

THE QUICK INTRO


ANTON TOWN

My name is Anton Gustav Stokes and I am an English graphic designer and artworker.

I live in Gothenburg, Sweden where I work as a freelancer, with a particular fondness for the vibrant cultural community here.

I have designed for print and the web since the turn of the century, but mostly for print, but also sometimes for the web.

Prior to 2009 I developed my skills in London’s internationally renowned design sector.

THE FULL STORY (abridged)

In the beginning…

I finished my design education in 2000 after a circuitous route through the ’90s, including part of a fine art degree and a stint as a Burger King staff supervisor.

In 1999 I won a competition to design the poster for the school’s annual exhibition. I was also the first student at Reigate school of art and design to turn their hand to website design. As a result East Surrey College, of which the art school was a part, asked me to create the look for their planned intranet.

Towards the end of my studies I landed a 1 year contract with Ballard Consulting, a small software company outside London, designing interfaces for their e-commerce products, as well as printed material and exhibition displays. I was the ‘design department’ in a company of 4 and missed the learning-on-the-job I would be getting as part of a design team so when my contract was up I headed for the capital in search of my next challenge.

The record store years

TOWER RECORDS

Where I arrived couldn’t have been more central. I joined the in-house team of store artists at Tower Records’ enormous Piccadilly Circus store, in an underground studio just above the tube trains.

Tower was a classic independent record store – cluttered, chaotic, and charming; and the work was very hands-on, with us often working from the initial sketch, through manufacture using our own printing, laminating, and vinyl cutting equipment, to installing signage, posters, and window displays ourselves.

In the fun and bustling creative environment at Tower I made it my job to reduce the chaos without damaging the charm of the store I had always loved to visit, and when our department took over responsibility for the regular seasonal campaigns I lead the design, as well as the print buying for these promotions.

Virgin Megastores took over Tower’s London stores in 2004 and our small team moved up and out to a studio on the famous Oxford Street, where we continued to design and produce specialist displays for their major ‘destination’ stores. I personally designed the 12 window launch display for the re-opening of the Piccadilly Circus store as the new flagship Megastore, with 2 metre diameter spinning records and vignettes depicting modern musical history in the windows on both Piccadilly and Regent Street.

East End boy

CITY LIMITS

In 2005 I left Virgin and began to earn my way as a freelancer for the first time. After spending some time helping a selection of design agencies in fashionable East London meet their deadlines I found my next position, and great learning opportunity, with one of them, as a creative artworker with Shoreditch based marketing agency BD Network, working primarily on their newly acquired Tesco account. As well as running the Tesco output, and organising and managing their vast image library, I helped with other accounts such as Coca-Cola, Nintendo, Peugeot, and Stella Artois, gaining a valuable understanding of the theory and workings of a number of major international brands.

After helping build Tesco into one of the agency’s larger accounts I moved to the Orange Telecom team where I designed branded advertising, as well as point-of-sale material for their chain of Orange shops and network of independent retailers.

Against the tide

OVER THE NORTH SEA

In 2009 I left my developing career in London for a new life in Sweden, on the simple basis that during my few visits to a childhood friend there it felt like my kind of place.

After a short spell in the picturesque lakeside village of Dals Långed I moved to Gothenburg where I quickly became involved in the burgeoning underground music and arts scene, helping with such organisations as Christian Pallin’s Koloni concerts, and Svenska In- & Uttrycksbyrån’s sound art and performance events. I studied Swedish on both the basic SFI course, and then the foundation and level A courses of the more advanced SAS programme, while building my contacts in the local cultural and business sectors.

Following my time working with major brands in London it has been a refreshing change to help smaller organisations with the specific creative and communication challenges that face them, in my new role as a freelancer in Gothenburg.

If you are an individual, organisation, or business that has a project you truly care about, and would like help with your creative direction and getting the message out there, I would love to hear from you.

BACK TO: TOP OF THE PAGE

(in)FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

1. Anton Gustav Stokes?
I live in Sweden and look a little Scandinavian in a certain winter light, but so far as I know I don’t have any recent ancestry from the region.
I’m Anton after a Dutch boy my dad was at school with in Dorset, and Gustav after my mum’s cat because I ‘should have a European middle name to match’.

I will add more questions, and their answers, as they arise.