In The Studio - With Jemma Kendall

The Fable&Co. team is a powerful blend of ambitious creatives brought together through weird & wonderful journeys. Our unstoppable formula is a careful mix of different opinions, backgrounds & influences, which in a series of studio interviews we aim to uncover.

We’ll talk through everything from inspirations, lifestyle & career experience, revealing some of the secret ingredients of our Fable&Co. recipe.

In contrast to our last post, this week we’re talking to the newest member of the team, Brand Artist, Jemma. She’s been in the industry for 3-years now & spoke to us about her experience as a designer so far.

Talk us through your journey that led you to Fable&Co?

When I was younger, design was never on my radar. I was really into football, & sports were kind of “my thing”. It was only when my friends & I went our separate ways after college & was left to my own devices, that I really found out what design was.

I started drawing all the time, & then I got my first Macbook which was a complete game-changer. I would invest all my spare time messing around on Illustrator, designing t-shirts & watching tutorials. I set up my own e-commerce store for a while & then eventually bit the bullet & decided to go back into education.

At first, I felt like my design qualifications were just going to be a box I had to tick, but my course turned out to be amazing. I learned so much then that I still carry with me now. The course was print-focused & so I was exposed to some really cool stuff like screen-printing, letterpress, laser cutting – I just gave everything a go.

After graduating, I was offered a role at a local Design Studio doing everything & anything, getting myself a good foundation before deciding to focus on branding, so I reached out to Fable&Co. & thankfully they took me in with open arms.

Tell us what inspires you & why?

Before I ever knew anything about design, I was inspired by what my friends & I thought were cool. We were obsessed with sport, so it was always about Nike, Adidas or Vans. I loved having that one t-shirt or pair of trainers with a design that no-one else had. I still love these brands; my Instagram feed is full of trainers as much as it is designers.

After discovering the artists that collaborated with these brands – the likes of ILoveDust, Hort, Studio Morross – I got really into their design style. They are constantly producing next level experimental work whilst always pushing the boundaries. It’s like they’ve mastered the art of making something look like it hasn’t been designed, it’s just effortlessly cool.

I’m also drawn to their illustrative style. The art of communicating a deep & sometimes complex concept in a simple doodle is something that never gets old for me. Christoph Niemann is a complete master at this, & it’s the same with design – you’ve got to find that simple, concise way to communicate something bigger. The audience should just get it. When someone does this & they do it well, that’s when you think, I wish I’d designed that!

How would you describe your approach & design process?

When it comes to designing, for me it’s a case of really focusing on one element at a time & just constantly thinking back to what I’m trying to communicate. From the typeface, to the colours, to the imagery; every detail should be carefully considered & executed in a way that resonates & connects emotionally with the audience.

And then it’s a case of throwing elements together in different combinations & seeing what happens. I think you’ve got to be brave with it & get a bit messy with things for a while before everything starts to fall into place. If you’re too afraid to fail you end up producing safe, predictable work all the time. So I try to just trust the process & not put too much pressure on everything looking perfect from the off.

We saw some great branding projects in 2019, what were your favourites?

There are loads, but the first one that springs to mind is the BackMarket identity by Koto. I think it resonated with me because it’s got the illustrated element to it, & also I love it when brands decide to be brave & bold. Studio Koto are great at getting brands to come out of their shell & not just follow the crowd.

Another one is Hussle by Onwards. As an identity system it’s just super slick & clean, stripped back to a few really well-crafted elements. I also like how they’ve managed to achieve an aesthetic that feels relatable to anyone who’s into exercise & avoided being hyper-masculine, aggressive & predictable.


What podcasts are you listening to at the moment?

I listen to a lot of podcasts. I recently listened to Private View(s) interview with design agency Collins which is really good. It’s interesting getting an insight into how other agencies work because everything is behind closed doors usually. I’m curious to see how different each of their interviews turns out to be as I get through the playlist.

My favourite podcast has to be Creative Rebels hosted by David Speed & Adam Brazier. Each episode features an interview with a different creative, from photographers to illustrators. It’s relatable & massively inspiring to hear their guests talk about their journeys. Anyone who hasn’t listened, definitely should!

What are your goals for the coming year?

I really want to draw as much as I possibly can. Physically put pen to paper & sketch things out. Getting away from the screen definitely helps me think more clearly & creatively, coming up with ideas in a more natural way. It’s like your mind can go back to that childlike state that makes you creative to begin with.

I recently watched the Christoph Niemann episode of Abstract on Netflix. He had this sketchbook where he’d just take a simple shape & draw something different with it every day. I might set myself a challenge to do the same as I love the simplicity in that!