Creative Lives — Peter Hope-Parry describes his role as Barbican’s in-house print designer
As one of two print designers in the Barbican’s in-house design team, Peter Hope Parry helps to produce a huge range of visuals for the cultural institution. After being recommended for the job by a friend, demonstrating a good grasp of the Barbican brand at the interview stage helped land Peter the role in 2015. Now working within the vast brutalist expanse of the Barbican estate, for Peter, one of the best perks of the job is getting exposure to the ever-changing variety of events, shows and exhibitions on display. He tells us more about his role, and shares some early learnings from his university days.
Print Designer, Barbican (2015–present)
Previous employment: NWN Media, Intelligent Media Solutions
Graduated from University of Wales Newport in 2009
BA Graphic Design, University of Wales Newport (2007–2009)
Peter at work
How would you describe your job?
I’m one of two print designers at the Barbican. Alongside making sure everything stays on brand, the design work can range from show posters and flyers to art form brochures and shop ranges. We work with all art forms within the marketing department, so there is always something keeping us busy.
How did you land your current job?
A friend drew my attention to the role as they thought it was a perfect fit for me. I think my enthusiasm for the role and my portfolio helped. I was set a design task to create a Barbican poster; I was pretty happy with my designs, but I also think they showed that I had a good understanding of the Barbican brand.
Posters by Peter
Posters by Peter
Do you run any self-initiated projects alongside your job?
I do bits of freelance work when I get the time. I recently created some posters for a Herman Miller photoshoot working with stylist and creative director, Hannah Bort, and I’m currently working on an album cover for my friend’s band ‘Golden Fable’, vaguely inspired by concrete poetry and working with a great illustration by Kathryn Lloyd.
What do you enjoy most about working on the Barbican design team?
Not a week goes by where there isn’t a project I’m excited to be working on. Being able to pop into the centre after work and check out a gig, concert, theatre show, exhibition or film any day of the week is also a pretty great perk (the Basquiat and Ragnar Kjartansson exhibitions were particular highlights).
Inside the Barbican estate
Inside Barbican’s offices
What tools do you use most for your work?
Predominately Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. I have worked with screen printing in the past and am waiting for the opportunity to shoehorn it into a project when I get the chance.
What advice would you give to a young creative wanting to do the same kind of work?
In my final year of university, I spent a whole weekend building letters out of collected wood within a grid-like frame. I then burnt the wood and re-drew the letters with the charcoal from the fire. The end product was a handmade book containing photographs, drawings and a digital version of the font (the book case even contained some of the ash from the fire). My teachers loved the project but I was left feeling a little nervous I should have maybe spent a bit more time learning how to use software or worked on filling my portfolio with more eye-catching work.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is: I have since found it is easy enough to learn how to use tools on the job, or tailor a relevant portfolio for an interview. There is no real art to being creative; it’s just a case of years of experimentation. Just get your hands dirty, and don’t be scared to make mistakes along the way.