Jamie Clarke is an exceptionally talented type designer - and a first-rate human - so full disclosure I am unashamedly a fan of all Jamie's projects - but his latest work brings together two of my favourite things (tea and type) so I am super excited about the beautiful outcomes and Jamies thinking behind these works.
Those of you familiar with Jamies Type will know he doesn't shy away from complexity (Rig and Brim are both incredibly intricate designs) - Similarly Jamies lettering work often employs pattern and illustrative elements with text surrounded in ornate imagery, or pictures enclosed within words, his beautiful Kelmscott Bakehouse branding (and his Chocolate Ampersands) nodded to Louis Pouchée and Morris with an elegantly crafted K adorned with botanical designs.
In his latest project, Jamie inverted his usual approach and let the lettering take 'a backseat' so the illustrations became the focus. The dynamic between type and image has changed but the relationship between elements is still triumphant. William Morris and the arts and crafts luminaries would be proud.
"I read an article saying that tea drinking is in decline in England and, as someone fuelled by tea rather than coffee, I thought I would show some solidarity with the beverage. Eventually though, the fruitier blends offered more scope to play with ideas rather than my usual builders' tea."
Each design adheres to a structural symmetry and fit within a rigid grid. "Principles that I normally apply to my type design, such as rhythm, uniformity and clarity and various sizes all play a part. Indeed, most of the imagery was drawn using the same process and tools as I use for designing type." In this context the principles of typographic design are hugely successful tools in image making.
"I’ve aimed to simplify all the shapes and avoid the curls and swirls or 'over-abundant embellishments’ as described in Steven Heller’s article Cult of the squiggly." The creativity, discipline and craftsmanship demonstrated in these designs is exemplary. The works are striking as standalone pieces but I am thrilled to hear Jamie is developing them as a series. I would LOVE to see T2 commission a range of these for their blends - and think the patterns would also look superb on teaware!