Gemma Snelling

This is 22-year-old Gemma Snelling, a design and art-direction student in Manchester (and originally from Solihull in the West Midlands).

Graphic design aside, Gemma loves reading and seeing live music. She is also rather petite, but is definitely a force to be reckoned with – ‘I’m incredibly small in height,’ she says, ‘but I have a red belt in Taekwondo!’ She also played the organ when she was younger; ‘the less said about that the better though…!’

Tell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Gemma Snelling and I am an aspiring graphic designer, studying Design and Art Direction at Manchester School of Art. I’m in my third and final year, so currently going through the daunting process of trying to make a name for myself. To me design is everything – I can’t seem to go anywhere without assessing typefaces, colour palettes or imagery being used in my environment – which might sound a little obsessive but I feel it is a way of life for me. In fact my latest brief that I have set myself is to do just that – explore my world and the graphic elements around me.

My main strengths are typography, publication design and print design. I would love to end up working on the art direction of a magazine or publication in the future, but right now I am open to anything that will excite me and my creativity.

What are your inspirations?

I would have to say my main inspiration/influences come from the early to mid 20thcentury poster designers – for example A. M. Cassandre, El Lissitzky and the Avant-Garde artists of that period. Many of their designs were simply used for advertising purposes but they are truly beautiful! I am also inspired by my environment – like I mentioned above – I’m always picking up on the small but significant elements around me and thinking of ways that I can transfer these into my work, be it a sound, a word or a specific colour.

What is your favourite piece of work you have produced?

A piece of work from Gemma's 'Static' project

I think one of my favourite pieces is a series of posters and a brochure that I designed to inform the public about the analogue-to-digital television switchover. The idea derived from the word “static” and how once digital television signals are in full-use across the UK, static noise – or white noise – will not exist on our television sets anymore. It seemed quite a mundane concept to try and promote, but I really enjoyed portraying the switchover in a more alternative way. I was influenced by the government-initiated posters created by Abram Games during the war and wanted to capture the same sense of urgency and importance in my outcomes.  I’m really proud of my work for this project as it was one that I really struggled with initially. I tried really hard to push through my ‘designer’s block’ though and I feel all the more happy for doing so.

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

One of my all time favourite graphic designers is the late Alan Fletcher. Not only is his work really exciting and dynamic, but he was a brilliant writer on the subject. If I am ever feeling a bit stumped for ideas I always flick to his book ‘The Art of Looking Sideways’ for inspiration or a pick-me-up comment.

Visit Gemma’s website, and view her blog Gemks; also Tweet her: @gemks.

All images © Gemma Snelling. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.

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