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The intricate illustrated lettering of Andy Smith

Established and award-winning illustrator Andy Smith (opens in new tab) recently updated his portfolio with some impressive examples of work from 2012. Unsurprisingly, much of it was Olympic-themed – not least an ingenious cover for Waitrose magazine.

"This issue was due to come out bang in the middle of the Olympic Games and I was approached to design the cover," he explains. "They wanted something that would celebrate both the Games and London, so I came up with the idea of placing the names of the competing nations around the capital, interacting with the sights of the city," he says. "As the regulations regarding the Olympics are so tight, there’s no actual mention of the Games, no Olympic rings and so on."

Smith’s Olympic-themed cover for Waitrose magazine – which wasn’t allowed to feature any official branding because of trademark restrictions

Smith’s Olympic-themed cover for Waitrose magazine – which wasn’t allowed to feature any official branding because of trademark restrictions

In a similar if rather more sober vein, Smith also worked with Channel 4 on its annual report and financial statement this year - a document that inevitably included lots of facts and figures. Smith tackled this by including the data as part of the illustrations themselves.

Andy Smith’s illustrations for Channel 4’s annual report communicate extensive factual data in a visually appealing way

Andy Smith’s illustrations for Channel 4’s annual report communicate extensive factual data in a visually appealing way

"The images initially present a bold graphic shape that relates to the theme," he says, "but when you look at them more closely there’s lots of data in them that’s all lettered by hand."

‘The Lonely Goldfish’ is a handpainted wooden bowl, available from Smith's shop

‘The Lonely Goldfish’ is a handpainted wooden bowl, available from Smith's shop

As a self-initiated project, Smith also created 'The Lonely Goldfish' - a handpainted wooden bowl, available through his shop (opens in new tab). "It was originally just a little doodle in a sketchbook," he says. "Then it became a screenprint, then a T-shirt and then I thought to myself, why not make an actual goldfish bowl?"

This article was originally published in Computer Arts (opens in new tab) issue 209.

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