A Cross-Continental Creative Collaboration

Serendipitous encounters happen all the time on the Internet, and luckily for us, we know of one that set in motion an exemplary creative collaboration. Designer Craig Black, hailing from Scotland, and designer Nicole Phillips of Australia, connected over social media on their love of design and typography.

An International Creative Collaboration: Opposites Attract

As their friendship blossomed, they started directing the conversation to the idea of an international creative collaboration. Honing on the theme of opposites for their designs, they initially planned out their designs via Skype and Dropbox.

“We brainstormed ideas for a series of work. We wanted to explore the juxtapositions in our relationship – we may contrast in styles – but we are cohesive in our passion and approach!” comments Phillips. Their artistic styles differ in that Black focuses his energy on high contrast and bodacious curves, while Phillips concentrates on the process, specifically the manual side of design using pencil or ink.

Inspired by their contrasting artistic styles and their opposite locations on the globe, they named the first two pieces in the series “Opposites Attract” and “Northern Southern.”

Realizing the obstacles with international collaboration, they began the project by establishing parameters, specifically setting the project scale to 500x500mm for shipping and logistics considerations.

Even more fascinating is the manual execution of their designs in their cross-continental collaboration. Phillips “proofed and measured some of my wood type collection, selected the paper stock and decided to compose and print the form on ‘Frank’.” Frank is Phillips’ Farley No 25.

Focusing on keeping the project manual, she opted to hand-ink the form versus using Frank’s self-inking function. Once Phillips inked six editions and some proofs, she shipped the letterpress designs to Glasglow.

Black added his creative lettering to the letterpress design by stippling the backside using a painting pen and by applying a wrong reading pencil outline on the front face of the glass.

View the first two projects of the series – “Opposite Attracts” and “Northern-Southern.”

“The words ‘opposites’ and ‘attracts’ are situated in a negative position but by combining the two together and their meanings, creates a positive (symbol) reaction.”

“The idea behind the Northern/Southern is to have the word ‘northern’ sits above and overlaps the word ‘southern’ therefore when light hits the frame of design, ‘northern’ casts a shadow over the word ‘southern’ which in turn represents night and day in two different time zones.”



These designs were recently on exhibit at ING Creative in Dubai. Learn more about their project and follow their future collaborations by visiting Craig Black’s site and Nicole Phillips’ site.


Start your own lettering collaboration! If it’s been a while or you are new to lettering, brush up on your skills with HOW Design Univerity’s course, Brush Lettering 101.

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