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- Print & Production , Graphic Design

Hattie Newman: Delight in three dimensions

Strong colours and a light whimsical touch are the keynotes of Hattie Newman’s delightful designs. And a mere two dimensions were never going to suffice for this particular British creative: she had sensed that as a child …


Nonetheless, Hattie Newman did initially study illustration in Bristol before finding work as a set design assistant and so gaining her grounding in this fascinating discipline. »Lego was my first great love as a child, and at school art became my favourite subject,« she tells us. »That was how I found my passion for illustration. But by the time I was coming up to Finals, I was getting far more satisfaction from transposing images and animations into 3D and building sets from paper and cardboard.« And then a stroke of luck saw Hattie’s first major commission come from Fedrigoni, the fine quality paper manufacturers. Her installation in paper for the company’s London showroom proved to be the key impetus behind her founding of her own studio in East London.

Client: Canon Brazil


And that is how her work came to be where it is today, in border territory shared by illustration, set design and paper design – charming evocations in which objects and products are seen to best advantage. »Just now I am making more and more use of wood and plaster in my projects,« says Hattie Newman, who enjoys sharing her expertise and holds workshops for children, students and anyone else interested. »Following the job briefing, I always begin with a sketch and then go on to make a 3D mock-up. I always work in close consultation with the photographer and the project art director to agree the colour palette, materials and lighting. But quite often the design isn’t finalised until the actual day of the shoot.«

Client: Home Depot


Hattie’s success as a designer has not come without cost. »The biggest challenge so far has been coping with the physical effects on me of the work I’ve been doing. All those years of precision paper-cutting, stooped over the workbench, have taken their toll … Nowadays my assistants and I will stop and stretch ourselves far more often – I so wish I had done that from the start!« It’s not surprising, then, that Hattie Newman takes a dim view of the current pressure on artists in her field to keep cranking up their output: she wishes careful thought and planning were valued as they should be. »That is why I so enjoy working on the rare projects that have sufficient time budgeted in.«
   One project planned to suit her own work tempo was the production of her first book, which has just appeared. »Say it with Paper« presents a wealth of advanced paper building projects and ideas for colleges and schools. And what’s coming next? »I would dearly love to bring out another book, but the dream I have just now is a children’s TV programme that I would conceptualise and commission. I’m working on that already … wish me luck!« And we are happy to wish Hattie Newman just that, even though we know such an impressively dedicated worker has little need of luck …

Text: Bettina Schulz

This article was first published in novum 06.19 (n+ set design); single copies:
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