Say hello to ...Jamie Macdonald from Whale and Bird.
Whale and Bird is a brand new greetings publisher from Oxford. Focusing on the quirky and funny side of things.
Describe your typical working day …
I'm currently still working a full time job while I get Whale and Bird up and running. It is for a fairly large card and gift retailer who sell lots of rude, funny and offensive cards. I've been working there for the past few years so have gained a fair insight in how the card industry works. I also get a decent idea of what people like from their cards.
What is the best thing about your job?
Probably showing friends and family our card designs. I spend so long looking at the images when formatting them for products and our website that I end up forgetting they are actually funny so sometimes worry that they aren't as good as I thought. But showing them to people and seeing them laugh makes everything better.
Tell us a little about the Designers you've picked for your collection …
We are kicking things off with work by two different designers. The first is Brainless Tales which is a web comic that has been posting up a new picture every day for the past 5 years or so. A mix of dry humour and a liberal dose of puns and let's face it, who doesn't like puns! The second range is Randy Otter, who is also known as artist Aaron Jay. I first came across Aaron's work many years ago via a T-Shirt website called Threadless which is full of user submitted work. He has a great style and I was delighted when he agreed to let us publish some of his work in card form.
Your products …
What is your personal favourite design in your current collection?
I'd probably have to choose either Hold Your Hand (an oven glove with a big dorky smile!) or Eating Competition (it's all in the detail)
What are the most popular products in your range?
We are a bit too new to have a stand out design. 'Coffee is a drug' and 'Supplies' seem to be leading the way so far though.
What plans do have for your business in 2013?
As a new company we are mainly going to be focusing on getting ourselves out there and into some shops. We are going to be trialing some of our designs in a few shops very soon and if everything goes to plan we will be at PG Live for our first trade show.
Your inspiration …
What inspires your design selection for Whale and Bird?
I think the most important thing is that I have to like the designs. If they make me laugh or smile then I'm fairly confident other people will like them too.
What card and gift designers or brands inspire you?
Hazel Bee! Her drawings are so simple yet each one somehow manages to contain so much character, style and humour.
Quick questions ...
What is your favourite book?
Unfortunately I don't really get to read as much as I'd like. My favourite book from the past few years is probably Everything Is Illuminated.
What is your favourite album / band or song? All 3 if you want!
This is always a tough question, one that I can never really give a proper answer to as I tend to have a new favourite every other month. Most recently I have been listening to a lot of Mountain Man who are kind of a mix of Bon Iver and Joanna Newsom. Simple guitar melodies and loads of beautiful harmonies. I used to put on gigs in Oxford as well as helping some bands book tours around the country. I could talk about music things for hours, so I'll stop there before I go on too much.
What is your favourite card or gift brand?
I really like the Toy Stories range published by Noi as well as Brain Box Candy who have seemingly come up with a refreshing way to insult people.
What Is your favourite website or blog?
I probably spend a bit too much time on Reddit. Where else can you find go from looking at a picture of a photobombing pug to finding out that new Google employees are called 'nooglers' and are given a propeller beanie cap to wear on their first Friday?
What can't you live without?
Annoyingly, the Internet, so much of my life is organised through that thing.
Thank you Jamie!
The cards shown in today's Behind the Design interview are my personal favourites from the collection. They retail at £2.50 each and can be purchased direct from the Whale and Bird website. At the time of blogging there is a 20% discount on all cards. Click here to see the full range.