Pioneering homegrown excellence is important to us. So we jumped at the chance to work with someone close to home: Falmouth based designer David Doran, who has designed our latest Artist Series Tees. You may recognise his drawings from publications such as The New York Times, New Yorker Magazine, Wall Street Journal or Wired Magazine. David’s reimagining of Finisterre draws upon early 20th century British seascapes and has a distinctive, contemporary geometric design style.


We caught up with him at his Falmouth studio, and talked all things design.


As a Falmouth graduate, is there an element of Cornwall that influences your work at all? 


Absolutely. It's hard not to be inspired by the beauty of Cornwall. I find the slower pace of life has gradually influenced my illustrations, the more I focus on quieter moments. I also often find myself doodling boats, people swimming, surfers, etc.


Why did you choose to stay in Falmouth after graduating? 


Being an illustrator means that I'm able to work from anywhere in the world, so long as there's wifi and I'm able to travel city-wards every now and then. With Falmouth, the pace of life, the fresh air, the community and friends were all reasons to stay. My wife and I married here earlier this year and it's definitely home now. We both enjoy travelling, and that equally inspires my work, but it's so nice to come back to such a lovely base.




What is your design process when you are approached with a brief?

I first try to find out what an image needs to communicate. This should direct how the illustration will turn out and what the emphasis in the image should be. I focus lots on the idea behind an image, the composition and the colours.


How did you come up with the t-shirt designs for Finisterre? 


Vintage travel posters are a large inspiration for my work and, after chatting with Todd (Finisterre's Lead Product Designer), I found that he had picked up on this reference too and we had a clear direction for how the images should take shape. The images refer to the wild, rugged coast of Cornwall and life as a cold water surfer, whilst hopefully evoking some of the charm from bygone eras.




How often do you draw? Now that you’ve gained momentum, does it feel more like a job? 


I draw everyday. I'm currently on holiday in the South of France and I've drawn every day here too. Occasionally drawing can feel like a job and taking a break from it is just drawing for yourself instead of a client. I think this is equally stay inspired and passionate, and to remember how blessed I am to spend time everyday doing something that I love.


What’s been your most exciting project to date?


I enjoy all kinds of projects and am blessed to work on variety of different kinds. My first illustration for The New York Times is possibly the most memorable. But more recently, I've had the pleasure of illustrating a worldwide campaign for Nespresso, a full page illustration for The New Yorker and I've just completed my first book Alphabet Cities, which will be published by Penguin Random House next spring.


Who would you cite as key influencers on your work? How did you create your own style? 


My work is very influenced by its process, which takes a lot of inspiration from traditional printing techniques, using minimal colour palettes. I have developed my way of working in a very intentional way, by creating scenes and objects out of shapes of colour and texture.