Self-Styled: Andrew Footit

by Taylor Slattery | March 17, 2022

Source: Andrew Footit
In this new series, we’ll explore the work of note-worthy contemporary designers and shine a light on the creative choices that define their personal style. By doing so, I hope to illuminate some of the ways in which you might go about crafting a signature style of your own. Hopefully, by the end I’ll have imparted on you, the reader, a sense of just how easy finding a personal style can be.

In this first installation, we’re going to take a look at the work of Andrew Footit, a self-taught graphic designer from South Africa who has gone on to work with massive brands and agencies the likes of Nike and Ogilvy. Along the way, we’ll examine the elements that comprise Footit’s signature style and how he uses them to navigate different mediums while maintaining his design DNA.

Source: Andrew Footit

The first thing you’ll notice about Footit’s body of work is undoubtedly their use of color. Footit’s palette makes prominent use of basic reds, blues, greens, and yellows—a collection of colors also commonly used for children’s toys and educational tools. By tapping into shared cultural experiences with things like legos and crayons, the colors give the work a sense of childlike wonder and exploration, which suits Footit’s experimental work.

While these colors serve as the basis, Footit isn’t entirely restrictive with their application, allowing modulations of hue and saturation to work their way into the mix as well. Another key element to the success of this palette is the use of solid black and white backgrounds which help to balance the visual noise resulting from the louder colors they support. By contrast, they provide a calm space for the eye to rest, even when this peace is interrupted by the occasional pattern.

Source: Andrew Footit

Another key element of Footit’s style is the subject matter. Footit’s work focuses primarily on experimental typography. Because this particular color palette is by no means unique to Footit, it’s only through the combination of color, pattern, and subject matter that something more proprietary emerges.

This is important to note because you’ll have a tough time trying to find a way to do something that hasn’t been done within the confines of any single element. But that’s ok, because no single element makes a style. It’s only through the union of several expressed as a whole that a style becomes apparent.

Source: Andrew Footit

While it may be hard to claim ownership of any single color or pattern, like red or checkerboards, by combining them into red checkerboards, you’ve got a much stronger case. It’s through this sort of combination of simple decisions that the potential for uniqueness increases exponentially.

Another key element of Footit’s style is his use of pattern. Stripes, sprinkles, and splatters along with the use of simple geometry and an architectural approach to typography are strongly reminiscent of Memphis Milano and serve to give the work a subtle retro vibe. In concert with his use of color and medium, Footit is able to recontextualize these patterns in a way that feels more MoMA than Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

Source: Andrew Footit

Despite only consisting of three elements, Footit’s signature style allows for easy transition between mediums. Whether 2D or 3D, typography or illustration—as long as at least two of the three elements are present, the work reads as Footit and feels like a cohesive part of the larger body of work. In this case, pattern and color provide enough of a stylistic base to free Footit up to be completely experimental with form while retaining a signature look.

 

Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.

 

If you are interested in developing your graphic design skills, Sessions College offers a range of graphic design courses for students at all levels. Contact Admissions for more information.

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