TOBIAS HALL, WARBURTONS, & PETER KAY PRESENT: PRIDE & BREADJUDICE
WCRS and Warburtons have developed a reputation for creating blockbuster campaigns, having previously enlisted the help of Sylvester Stallone and The Muppets to help bring their message to life. This time, they called on WNW Member / Illustrator / Letterer Tobias Hall and British Comedian / Actor Peter Kay to create a hearty bread-themed parody of Jane Austen's Victorian classic. In our interview below, Tobias tells us about the Pride & Breadjudice campaign's rise, from the personal project that drew WCRS to him to developing lettering styles that felt immediate and digestible.
Tell us a bit about your creative background. Who is Tobias and how did he get here?
So I graduated back in 2010 with a degree in illustration and animation, then did a graduate exhibition in London with some coursemates - at this point, my work was purely conceptual illustration. I was drawing a lot of portraits in the style I’d started to develop at uni.
About 6 months later I was asked to pitch to design a mural for a restaurant chain called Zizzi here in the UK; someone from the brand had seen my work at the graduate exhibition. I’d never done anything like that before, but I ended up painting murals for them around the country, still in this conceptual illustrative style.
I was getting on well with the guys at Zizzi, so I thought I’d ask if they had a more permanent design role in their team. They said ‘yes’, so I started in-house with them. Eventually, I got to designing their menus and supporting comms, which is when I started playing with the lettering stuff; I would hand-letter these titles for posters and quotes on menu covers.
Then I started getting noticed for lettering on platforms like Behance, so I just carried on with it!
How would you describe your creative style? Do you recognize a signature style that links all your projects, or do you try to approach each project as its own entity?
I think I probably initially became known for working in more ‘vintage’ lettering styles; stuff inspired by the samples I’d found from the 1600’s onwards. That was certainly the stuff that got me really into lettering.
But nowadays I get commissioned to work in multiple different approaches to lettering across different styles, which is exactly what I’m aiming for.
How did you come to work with WCRS on Warburtons’ latest campaign?
I think they saw an old piece of my work, which was in this very old-school, ornate style (it’s a self-initiated piece that just says ‘Thank You’). The campaign itself is based around a TV advert parody of Pride & Prejudice, and I guess they thought something like that would suit the campaign nicely.
Can you offer some insight into the creative process for establishing the lettering identity?
So the "Thank You" piece was used as a starting point, but given the bulk of the work was going to appear on billboards and posters, the lettering needed to be a little less complex and easier to digest quickly. So it was really a case of developing lettering styles which felt of the same ilk, but which carried the necessary immediacy. We changed it up slightly for each piece, but they’re all pretty similar.
Can you share some of the creative challenges and breakthroughs that came with this project?
Initially, there was a lot of back and forth while trying to find the right hierarchy of message and photograph. The hero of the campaign and star of the accompanying advert is a famous comedian called Peter Kay. He’s a very popular figure here in the UK so naturally, the client was really keen to keep him prominent (there were a few classic AD examples of ‘make it bigger’).
During that process, I had to develop different ways of showing the headline, and we fiddled with a lot of different compositions for the first piece we created. As is usually the case though, once that formula had been agreed upon, the remaining pieces generally went pretty smoothly.
How were WCRS and Warburtons as creative partners? Were they hands-on with helping to concept your illustrations and lettering, or did they give you a lot of freedom?
WCRS initially needed to be hands-on, to make sure the client was on board (there was a period at the beginning where they were still selling the O.O.H. part of the campaign to the client), but once everything was agreed upon, they were both a dream to work with.
What scares you most about making creativity your career?
Ha. This could be a long list. I have a tendency to be anxious in certain areas of life, so I get the usual bouts of creative insecurity and self-doubt, either around the work itself or my wider career, which can sometimes be pretty hard not to buy into. But I have an awareness and understanding of what anxiety is and why it shows up, which really helps, and ultimately it drives me to do better work, so it’s not all bad.
One book, one album, one movie, one show. Go.
Book: Murakami - Kafka on the Shore
Album: That’s too hard man!!
Movie: I think either Donnie Darko / Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind / Terminator 2
Show: Flight of the Conchords hasn’t been beaten yet, for me.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard or received that all creatives should hear?
‘Everyone is winging it’ - not sure who said that, maybe I can claim it? Rob Clarke has told me before that ‘there’s no single correct way of working’, which I found reassuring. Another one would be ‘Don’t sweat the process’... you get the idea.
Who are some WNW Members whose work you admire and why?
We’d be here all day...
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I’m currently teaching myself illustrator on the job (with some really big help from others in the type/lettering community) while creating a logo for a studio in New York, so that’s fun/really, really stressful. Then I have two little ad campaigns on the go for a couple of UK charities. What a saint.