Abbie Freeman is a Camberwell BA Graphic Design graduate and one half of Snootie Studios. She recently released her book ‘Crayonograph’ as part of a collaboration with Fraser Muggeridge Studio.
Snootie Studios is a design studio formed by Abbie and her partner. Based in Harlow New Town, Essex, their work includes illustration, publication design, visual identities and creative direction.
Abbie is also a course leader for Modual, UAL’s digital collaborative workshop, which is led by Fred Deakin. It aims to empower students to launch their creative careers.
We caught up with Abbie to discuss all of this and more.
How would you describe your practice?
My practice is a mix of traditional graphic design and experimental processes. The more I create, the more I am able to learn and decode what design really means to me. You’ll usually find me crayoning or forcing my printer to print on something it doesn’t want to.
Why did you choose BA Graphic Design at Camberwell?
When I was at college, I mostly chose universities to apply to based on where my favourite artists had studied. It wasn’t until an open day that I realised how perfect it was for me. I found out that my late grandad grew up in Camberwell, and even studied letterpress, bookbinding and gold-leafing at the college in the 40s. Whilst I was waiting for a tour, I saw a student walk through the entrance carrying a car door on his shoulder, and nobody even looked twice at him. That’s when I knew I was truly home.
Tell us about Snootie Studios
I’m pretty sure Snootie Studios was born on the last day of Modual, which I attended whilst in my second year at Camberwell. Its’ founder, Fred Deakin, laid out possible pathways you could take after graduating - either work for someone else, work for yourself, or start a studio. The last option leapt out at me.
Later, I chatted to my partner Harry about our plans after graduation, and we both realised how important returning to our hometown was to us. So we got a little space in Harlow and started working together.
Snootie Studios is about pushing what graphic design means to us as illustrators, designers and artists. We also really care about showing people that the arts industry can thrive outside of London too.
What’s been happening since graduation?
Last year saw the release of Crayonograph, a collaboration I worked on with Fraser Muggeridge studio and published by Actual Source. Since interning for Fraser, we have maintained a strong working relationship and after many months of posting crayoned drawings to him, Crayonograph was created.
The book has since been sold worldwide and I even stumbled upon it in a shop called Post Poetics whilst I was in Korea. I’m very proud of Crayonograph as it continues to explore how the humble crayon can break down what makes good graphic design.
Since being a student of Modual I’ve been working with the team and am now one of the course leaders. This summer, we took Modual to Shanghai Tech University in China, bringing 10 UAL students along to work with 20 science and technology students. It was amazing to see the tech students open up and explore their creativity and emotions with the help of a fantastic bunch of UAL students.
Much of our Snootie Studios work is inspired by the unusual things we find during our travels - we almost treat them as research trips. When Harry and I graduated, our first big venture was to the West Coast of America. We immersed ourselves, searching for all things gaudy and kitsch and even got married in Vegas!
This year, after Modual in China, I flew over to South Korea to visit a good friend and fellow artist in Seoul. We explored the city and collected all sorts of ephemera and stories to bring home with us. Our findings will fuel our work until the next big trip.
What’s happening now?
We’re currently redesigning the sculpture map for Harlow New Town in collaboration with Fraser Muggeridge studio, which includes a beautiful custom typeface by Commercial Type. It’s super important to us and a real honour to be shining a light on the amazing collection of public art we have in Harlow, from Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, to an Auguste Rodin which lives outside of Nando’s.
We’ve also got plans for another drop of our Harlow enamel pins, as well as another secret enamel pin coming soon. We are also looking forward to an exhibition in 2020 about the beauty and horror of plastic bags.
What inspires you?
I’m always looking towards design made by non-designers to inspire my work. I love a good handmade sign or an unintentionally wonky mural. I also find much of my inspiration in vintage paper goods. I recently scored a great book on paper ephemera from Folkstone, Kent, for £2.
Tips for students who have just started BA Graphic Design at Camberwell?
Look after your classmates. You’ll soon come to realise the design industry can be a small world - your future network is all around you, so support them. Show up to events, be present and say yes to everything. You’re on a fantastic course that is supportive, open and will allow you to explore all avenues. Listen to your tutors, get excited about the universe, take advantage of the resources, ask questions and be cheeky! If you don’t ask, you won’t get.
Find out more about Camberwell BA Graphic Design.