Creative Works member Adam Duckett runs Covers, a graphic design studio specialising in remarkable places to stay, eat and explore…
The studio’s inaugural project involved creating the brand identity for Harlosh, two incredible holiday hideaways on the Isle of Skye.
We caught up with Adam over a fresh cup of coffee to find out more about the project, his new business and why he chose Creative Works as the base for his creative antics.
Hi Adam! Tell us a little more about the beautiful properties you’ve been creating brand identities for…
Hello! I’ve been working with Jason and Sarah, the owners of two holiday architecture houses on the Isle of Skye. They moved there 10 years ago and we’ve been working together for a few years. Wood h was built first and in an area that they visited a number of times on holiday; the house is a contemporary take on the traditional Scottish longhouse with spectacular views of the Outer Hebrides.
Then on their croft is Black h, a modern black box perched on the peninsular; there’s a view of the Cuillin mountains in one direction and Macleod’s Tables in the other. Jason and Sarah commissioned Dualchas Architects and their sister company Hebhomes (who work on a lot of rural architecture projects in the Scottish Highlands).
They both look incredible. Do you always get to visit the places you work on?
Yes, and it’s something I prioritise in the early stages of a project. Seeing, experiencing and understanding the place you’re designing for is a crucial part of the design process, particularly when a project might easily last between six and 12 months.
I went to Edinburgh for a couple of days recently to do research for another holiday architecture project. I traversed the city capturing its different areas, walking from Grassmarket up and over the Esplanade, down into Princess Street gardens and beyond.
The research trip resulted in a comprehensive presentation; thoughts, images, sketches, annotations and a direction for the project ahead. It brought together observations I’d found inspiring, from typography on the monuments and street signs to stone and architecture details.
Research trip to Edinburgh for a new project
Did you also draw inspiration from the surrounding area for the Harlosh projects?
I did, and I ended up incorporating elements of the rock formations, topography, starry sky (there’s no light pollution there, so it’s pure darkness compared to London) and the way the wind moves across the land.
Test prints of graphics and type using white ink
Application of identity for house manuals
The two linear graphics were grouped together, as were the two dot graphics. Wood h uses the linear and Black h uses the dots. Each were chosen as primary graphic elements for the houses as a response to their location.
The welcome cards double up as mementos for guests to keep
Egg boxes for the houses with eggs from the owners’ croft
The first part of the brief was to bring the two houses under one identity. Wood h was previously called Skye Woodhouse; and the new black house was yet to be named. It felt stronger to create a link between the two houses, Black h (one bedroom) and Wood h (four bedrooms) rather than two separate entities. By identifying what was unique about each property, combined with a nod to the ever-changing landscape and weather, a concept behind the identity to ‘reveal’ was developed. The naming brought together a descriptive and an abstract element (Black h, Wood h) and in the application of the identity, the ‘h’ is given a flexible meaning. Take a look: harlosh.co/black-h, harlosh.co/wood-h
How often do you collaborate with other creatives?
All the time. For the Harlosh project I led on the design and direction and worked collaboratively with a developer and a photographer. It’s always nice to have the flexibility to work with different illustrators, copywriters, photographers, filmmakers and other creatives who bring different perspectives to a project.
Have you always worked in graphic design?
I knew early on that I wanted to pursue a career in graphic design. I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from Ravensbourne in 2013 and worked at a studio for a couple of years before realising I could have a lot more flexibility if I went freelance. I’ve worked with some great studios and people over the years.
Wait — that makes me sound ancient!
I’ve worked with retail design extraordinaires Hotel Creative for a number of years and I’m actually working on a project with them at the moment. I’ve also collaborated a lot with dn&co in Bermondsey. I actually play football with half the studio which is a nice way of seeing them and playing alongside designers from different studios too.
Why did you choose Creative Works as your base?
I was in the process of buying a home in Walthamstow and wanted to find a space I could be in more long-term. I looked at a handful of options in the area but Creative Works just felt right and the two-person office I’m in had just become available.
Going from a workspace that was a lot more open and full of distractions to having my own space was great. I’ve got a big desk, an area for making mockups, it’s spacious and there’s lots of storage for the ever growing book collection.
I like using Creative Works as a pivot too. Living next to St James Street, I often cycle up here in the morning and pick up bits I need if I’m going into town to meet a client or working on a project somewhere else. Having the 24/7 access is really useful.
Covers office at Creative Works
Are you working on any passion projects at the moment?
I’m lucky in that I’ve been able to forge a career out of my passion. Everything I do outside of “work” helps to inform the projects I’m working on. For example, I recently took part in a book binding workshop at a place called We Make Books near Hampstead Heath. The workshop was really useful for the making of the guest books for houses where only a handful, or even one offs are needed.
And finally, what was your thinking behind the name “Covers”?
Covers started as an idea on a Trello* board three years ago and has been ticking over in the background since. It alludes to covers in the restaurant sense, in relation to places to sleep in hotel and holiday architecture, and more broadly the concept of an identity wrapping around something, and a journey, so to speak. It’s about focusing on design for places to stay, eat and explore and working on elements of the guest’s experience through to its brand identity.
*For those who don’t know, Trello is a super useful list making app.