Graphic designer and printmaker Ella Robinson is on a mission to make bold, beautiful prints that everyone can afford. And with her side hustle-cum-burgeoning business Hello Bonjour, colourful prints are now within the grasp of all art lovers.
There's something uniquely appealing about prints. Perhaps it's the heft of the paper, the considered blocking of the colours or the quality of illustration. Either way, physical prints are satisfying in a way that purely digital assets can't quite replicate. And with her vibrant series of gorgeous prints, Ella Robinson leads the print renaissance.
Talking about what drew her to printmaking as a medium, Ella tells Creative Boom that her fascination can be traced to cartoons like Tintin or Asterix and Obelix. "I grew up in France, and comics were huge," she reveals. "They were like a printed version of cartoons on the TV, which blew my mind as a wee tot. When my family and I got to the UK, I discovered the world of Wallace & Gromit, which gave me huge joy."
Another huge influence on Ella's work is Wes Anderson and his films, which stood out thanks to the "world of colour" they put up on the big screen. Graphic designer Annie Atkins, who has worked on the likes of The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs and The Tudors, is a significant inspiration, and it's easy to see how her distinctive packaging design has had an impact on Ella's prints.
Working across both analogue and digital mediums, Ella turns to the likes of Pinterest when it comes to sourcing inspiration for her next print, usually by researching vintage posters of her desired subject. She has many boards containing image references to hand made type in old movie posters, as well as boards dedicated to Martin Parr photography, vintage packaging, and her signature Hello Bonjour colour palette.
She adds: "I also use a calendar when selecting what will be a hot topic in the next few months. It's useful if I want to make something seasonal or something related to the news." This is particularly handy if Ella wants to produce, sell and deliver art that is both relatable and affordable, all of which are priorities of her side hustle Hello Bonjour.
Developed organically in her spare time while not working for Jo Malone London in their print team, Hello Bonjour gives Ella the chance to create bright graphic illustrations that are a stark contrast to the brand guidelines of her day job. She creates three illustrations per Hello Bonjour print series so that "people can choose their favourite, or hang all three side by side if they love them all."
When it comes to juggling her day job and Hello Bonjour, Ella says: "Living in a big house of Aussies - currently there are nine of us - making prints is a nice way to turn on my desk lamp and have a bit of me-time.
"Working for Jo Malone has given me such a good work ethic and shown me how a brand can reach all corners of a globe. When you love something so much, the adrenaline of cracking a new print in the middle of the night keeps you going."
Using her weekends to sell at London markets like Truman Brewery and Flea, London Bridge has been a great stepping stone in terms of seeing the Hello Bonjour brand evolve. "I get to see people's physical reactions to my work, my hobby. It's definitely the most rewarding part."
It's no surprise customers love Ella's prints. As well as looking amazing, they are specifically made to be affordable, with prices ranging from £25 - £80, and sizes ranging from A3 to A2. "It's not about making people intimidated but about them enjoying or laughing at my prints," Ella adds.
As for what's next for Ella and Hello Bonjour, she says that she would love to tell a story on food packaging. "I love me a snack and a supermarket. Every time I'm in a foreign supermarket, I get lost in the worlds other people have created to subconsciously make us buy things."
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