Portofolio: Michael Mcdonnell

Michael Mcdonnell is a Graphic designer from Liverpool. He is extremely good with typography and hand drawn lettering. We love his colorful and very playful work.


KALTBLUT: Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?

Michael: Hi, I am Michael and I am from Liverpool, home of Echo and the Bunnymen and a few other  bands, like the Beatles. Basically I am a Graphic designer and Illustrator. I have a strong love for hand drawn lettering and typography which I like to express in my artwork through drawing a lot of different styles of lettering and combining them with some illustrations. I am often trying to make the words in my art flow like a poem or a song and love to play with words. Humour is also pretty important in my artwork.

KALTBLUT: How did you come to graphic design?

Michael: I have always been interested in art and have been drawing since a very young age. I think the main thing that really got me into graphic design though was when I started skateboarding many years ago. It was something brand new and exciting for me and a way I could truly express myself, thus I think it somehow helped me to find my style in my artwork. I was always into the freedom within skate culture and the graphics used on the boards where also very bold, interesting and sometimes a bit controversial. I was also really into the do it yourself aesthetic within the subculture and think it all somehow connected together and pushed me into getting into graphic design and art. Graffiti and fashion also played a big part in getting me to go down that route, as well as inspiring me to get into typography and learn to make my own lettering.

KALTBLUT: Your work is more focus on typograpy. What is it about typeface that you like so much?

Michael: I like that Typography is something quite unique and it is an extensive field. It also looks very different to a picture or an illustration and for me more beautiful somehow. I like that typography can either be very clear and readable or also be very naive and off key, and I also like how the style of the typeface or font can really express a strong emotion too. A jagged edge font can look aggressive just like a sans serif font can look very classical. Typography is also a very specialist area, its something where you have to really consider things like how each letter fits together and also the spacing between the letters as well as the sizing, the negative space between the letters and so on.

KALTBLUT: What is your favourite font to use?

Michael: I generally don’t really use any actual fonts in my artworks, I always try to draw my own lettering styles and develop as many original styles as possible. I am very much into naive looking hand drawn stuff and also really weird and quirky looking 70s psychedelic lettering. I am influenced by some fonts though and I think if I had to pick an actual font to use then it would be Futura or Frutiger. They are fonts that are both very clean and readable and fonts that you can never really go wrong with.


KALTBLUT: Which font is for you definitely a NO GO ?

Michael: I don’t think there is really a “NO GO” within typography. Everything is possible and even the not so cool typefaces can have their own charm. As everything including graphic design seems to be going through a renaissance period right now I think even fonts like Comic sans could easily be thrown into a flyer design nowadays. Trends in graphic design seem to be going back to basics towards a more 90s Microsoft word produced look.

KALTBLUT: Who is inspiring you these days?

Michael: Well I guess My main inspirations come from interesting people I meet or weird and unique things that I see on the street. Berlin inspires me a lot, riding my bike high speed through the traffic on sonnennallee and hermannstrasse inspires me. I am also really inspired by fashion. I am a big fan of Supreme and love how they always seem to always be on point with their pop cultural references especially the Neville Brody stuff they did last year who I am also a very big fan of. Music is also a big part of my life from Hip Hop to 60s rock to Folk. Neo Folk being my main inspiration at the moment to listen to whilst I am drawing. My inspirations are unlimited.


KALTBLUT: What would be your ideal commission?

Michael: My ideal commission would probably be for Nike. I think Nike is probably one of the best brands in the world and they seem to have every separate little market covered. Plus I love the stuff that Neville Brody did for them in the 90s. Other than that I will be starting my own street-wear brand a little bit later this year. Keep your eyes pealed to my Instagram and Facebook pages. I will be posting further info soon.

Interview by Nicolas Simoneau