In our new series Creators & Innovators, we chat with people who are making moves in their industry. Our belief is that training can shape how we think, create, and ultimately impact the world. This new series explores the impact training has on their work, wellbeing and what they have planned for the future.
This week, we sit down with James Newton, a graphic designer based in the North East of England. With a clean and articulated aesthetic on his socials, accompanied by some of our favourite brands scattered across his feed, James was the ideal person for our first instalment of the series. Check out the interview below.
Hi James, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Sure! I’m a graphic designer, working in the fashion industry and based in the North East of England, having settled back home after living in London and the South West post studies. I grew up here, so it’s nice to chill and have a place of my own back home, but the dream of living in warmer climes will always be there. I’ve always been quite particular and liked things to look and feel a certain way, so I’ve been mindful and appreciative of how things were designed from an early age. Being in a creative role where I can experiment and try new things is important to me. That being said, I would love to get into more industries and try new things as I feel like you can span such a broad range of mediums doing what I do.
Who or what inspires your work?
I’ve never really idolised anyone to be honest, so I’ve never really looked to one person or thing for inspiration, but I enjoy quite a lot of different things be it motorsport, architecture or cycling which I think help me get a good perspective from a broad range of subjects instead of just focusing on one particularly industry. I like to curate my own vision so I think having a lot of different interests and trying new things is a great way to stop me being stagnant.
Based on your socials, fashion is obviously an important part of your daily life. Can you name a few of your favourite brands and why?
Absolutely. I grew up riding bmx so I definitely think that’s influenced the way I dress. I have always liked to look a certain way and been mindful of what I put on. Getting older I’ve realised that more certainly isn’t better. What I look for now is well made, considered pieces that have versatility and timelessness. I always look to brands like Our Legacy and mfpen as they have the aesthetic I want but are continuously experimenting and growing. Whether that’s OL’s Work Shop pieces or mfpen using super interesting deadstock materials. Sillage are fresh on the radar this year and although their shapes aren’t conventional, I love their use of colour and patterns.
Your social has a certain aesthetic, drawing colours from nature. Would you say this palette inspires your work or what you wear?
Yeah it definitely does. I think being a designer helps as I take a lot of inspiration for colours and textures from what’s around me naturally. I’ve always preferred subdued colours and tonal pieces, letting the design of an item or object to come through instead of being overruled by colour. That being said, it’s not all muted tones around me, there’s definitely a bright and colourful side which I like to experiment with.
Moving onto training, how do you keep fit?
I try to switch it up as much as I can so I don’t get bored. Some people hate going to the gym but I love it. It’s a different experience to being outdoors and running, cycling or playing tennis, which I also try to do as much as I can. Being in a gym is a much more intense experience for me, really trying to push my physical limits. I like to see how far I can go. Exercising outdoors is a more relaxed affair (others who join me would tell you otherwise) but I think it’s important to take in your surroundings and slow down a little.
What does training and exercise do for you personally?
It’s one of the most important things I do. It’s crucial for me to keep moving, keeping my body moving and my brain engaged improves my mental health and wellbeing like no other. I’ve always been active and messing around outdoors since I was young so it comes natural to me and something I really miss if I’ve been a bit lazy. I’m really competitive and used to race motorbikes and karts as a kid so still being able to still compete with friends while running, cycling or playing tennis is great and a healthy way to challenge myself.
What have you got planned for the future?
Something I’d love to do is create more, whether that’s an object or an overall product, I’m always at my best when coming up with new ideas and just experimenting. I used to freelance a lot which is something I need to do more of, and think it’s about time I turn my hand to some photography too. Having a creative outlet to allow me to do things my own way is definitely on the cards in the future. The problem is that I like so many different things it’s sometimes a struggle staying in one lane before getting distracted and into another.
If you could travel to one place in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I think to go with my frame of mind at the moment it’d have to be Copenhagen. It encapsulates so many things that I like and I’m inspired by. After having a fairly quiet couple of years during the pandemic it’d be a sensory overload checking out interesting interiors or art spaces, trying on good clothes or just kicking back sipping good coffee and eating al fresco at new restaurants.
A big thank you to James for taking part. You can follow him at @iamjamesnewton.