#44: Sarah Maxey

Design/Illustration Inspiration, 2003-Present

If you live in New Zealand and love books there is a pretty good chance that Sarah Maxey is already your favourite designer and you don't even know it. Go on, pull your most beautiful books down off the shelf and I bet she'll be in the credits there.

In 2003 in a fit of 'I should get around that whole 'career' thing' I enrolled in a diploma in publishing through Whitireia. I didn't last the whole year - I soon worked out that there was no more money in publishing books than there was in the comics and music I was already doing - but the best thing about the course was meeting Sarah Maxey. She came in and gave a few basic classes in book design and for my internship I managed to get a spot helping a small publicist who shared an office with her. I was just licking envelopes and cutting out press clippings but it was cool to get a little sense of how she worked.

I was pretty awestruck by her. Still am actually. She is a killer graphic designer with an amazing eye for shapes and colour and compostition but unlike most really pure 'graphic design' designers she does everything in this warm, hand-made, tactile way. Her stuff is always simple but complex and she is a master of hand drawn type. The best. Look up at my little rip-off in the banner header, you'll see she was and is a huge inspiration to me.