Adam Chard: Interview

  • Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
    I’m a freelance graphic designer and illustrator living in Canton with my partner and our dog. I’ve been working freelance for over ten years now, and I’ve been full-time self-employed since 2016. It definitely has its challenges (especially right now) but I love being my own boss - I can listen to music all day and I can pop to the cinema if I’m waiting on feedback.

  • What is your background?
    I studied Art and Graphic Design A-Levels but went on to study English Literature and Cultural Criticism at Cardiff University. I kept my hand in by designing flyers for gigs that I used to put on at Dempsey’s in Cardiff city centre, and that led to friends asking me to make album covers for them. I also worked at the National Assembly for Wales designing reports and booklets - I learned a lot about print design there. At some point I realised I could combine my hobbies and my job.

  • What makes your work unique?
    I always try to make crisp, clear, colourful designs that catch the eye. If it’s not hitting those marks, it’s back to the drawing board!

  • How would you describe your style?
    I don’t think I have one particular style - I love bouncing around between vector and hand-drawn illustration; it’s whatever suits the brief best really. I think if I was left to my own devices I would draw a lot of macabre comic book style illustration (I did an exhibition of this kind of work at the SHO Gallery a few years ago) but that doesn’t really work for every commission!
  • How do you make your work?
    It can be on a computer or on an iPad or - probably my favourite - with inks and brushes. Or a combination of all three. A lot of people like to work in cafes and things but I like a more dedicated space so I share an office with a couple of other freelancers; we all do different things but it’s great to have people to spend the day with.
  • What inspires you?
    Music, films, art, friends, food, nature - if I ever get stuck on something I’ll go for a walk with my headphones on and let it percolate at the back of my mind; along the way something will click into place.
  • What does your art mean to you?
    It’s my living and I always feel so lucky that it’s worked out this way - some days I’ll be sat there drawing and realise that I’m getting paid to do this; I feel like my teenage self would be amazed.
  • What’s the most valuable piece of art to you?
    I have several small-run prints by Stanley Donwood, one of my all-time favourite artists. He designs all of Radiohead’s artwork covers and I would say it was his work, and Pete Fowler’s for Super Furry Animals, that got me into art and design. The idea of listening to music and finding a way to represent it visually really interests me. Making album covers and seeing them out in the world in record stores is still so exciting to me - my work for Cardiff band Wylderness is one of my favourite things I’ve done.
  • You’ve worked with some great clients including Darkened Rooms who we love working with. What was your favourite collaborative project to work on?
    I absolutely love working with Darkened Rooms - I’ve always been into horror films so being able to design posters for screenings of Dawn of the Dead and Pan’s Labyrinth among others has been amazing.
  • Who would you most like to collaborate with in the future?
    Over the last few years I’ve worked with Professor Emma Renold at Cardiff University on a project called AGENDA - it’s an online guide for practitioners to help teach children and young people about safe relationships and to get them thinking about the changes they’d like to see in the world. We developed the look and feel of it with young people and I’m really proud to be part of it.

I love working with new businesses to develop an identity from scratch - I’ve recently designed logos for Honeycomb Toys and Books in Grangetown and for a new TV production company called Zwwm. It’s really fun developing a look and feel as people get started with their new ventures, so I’d love to do more of that.

You can see more of Adam’s work at or on Instagram at @croatoandesign

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