Nina McNamara

This is Nina McNamara. When not being a designer, she is trying to be Daryl Hannah in Kill Bill films, and she records her life in a leatherbound notebooks (having never watched the Kill Bill films, we are unsure if these two facts are related). She also is obsessed with vintage sound devices, such as dictaphones, reel-to-reel tape-players, old radios and so on.

‘I’ve recently bought myself a 1960’s hooded nurse cape,’ Nina tells us. ‘I want to fulfil my dream of looking like a ‘Scottish widow’ (a la the bank). The cape has yet to be phased into my everyday attire, but it will be soon.’ Expect to see her on a hillside (or is it a beach? We can’t remember…) near you soon, looking suitably glamorous, and, er, Scottish Widow-ish…

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I am a graphic designer, illustrator, image-maker and experimental thinker and do-er. I am currently in my final year studying Design & Art Direction at The Manchester School Of Art. I have a particular passion for photo montage as I find it is such a versatile medium, which allows the subversion of disparate themes. I find the manipulation of images fascinating, playing with the semiotics of an image, re-contextualising it and giving it a new meaning be that through juxtaposition of other images, by adding typography or by the changing composition of an image or page. This is why I love editorial design as it gives the opportunity to amalgamate type, image and writing within one platform.

What are your inspirations?

I am hugely influenced by surrealism, this is probably because the weird and wonderful intrigues me. I like the idea that anything no matter how obscure can be appealing, it is exciting to have no boundaries in idea generation. Naturally working within graphic design mans there is always a boundary to an extent in the form of a brief. I think it is much better to go too far with an idea and reign it in, than not go far enough and fall short of an exciting concept. In the same way I am influenced by literature, and illustrating literature gives me limitless pleasure, the idea that the essence of a whole chapter or whole book can be contained with one image is challenging and exciting.

What’s your favourite piece of work you have produced?

So far it would have to be the brand identity for a restaurant named ‘Avant-Yard’ returning to my surrealist influence, I wanted to completely immerse myself in the world of Surrealism, then see how surrealist ideas could be applied to a commercial brief. This was difficult, because it was hard to get a balance between how surreal to actually go. I felt like this brief was the perfect balance between conceptual freedom and commercial restraint. I also really like my response to Ian Anderson’s brief to ‘Re-Brand God,’ which was featured in Grafik magazine.

Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

At the moment I would have to say Vaughan Oliver, I have been a long standing admirer of his work and recently he came to my university to give a lecture. This completely affirmed my respect for his a rich career. I find his choice of photographers and art direction of projects fascinating and unique, and above all he manages to convey a sense of emotion, which is something that can often only be created by a genuine passion for what you are doing.

Visit Nina’s website, read her blog and Tweet her: @NinaMcNamara.

All images © Nina McNamara. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.


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