Tom Noon on his musical, spontaneous and illustrative approach to graphic design

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Never one for future planning, Tom Noon resultantly had a rather star-shaped path to where he is today. The Bristol-based designer and illustrator was, of course, an arty child, which meant that he went on to study graphics and illustration at college – but surprisingly, what followed was a degree in politics and international relations at university. “After graduating,” Tom says, “I swiftly decided that I didn’t fancy taking on the role of prime minister – so I pivoted to a job in advertising.”

During his studies, Tom set up a club night with his friends and took charge of the poster work, creating low-fi pieces that pushed him to learn new software. This, alongside a stint as a runner at Mother London before starting a role as an account manager at advertising agency McCann London, is purely demonstrative of his broad and varied background. In the search for something more creative, he went on to work at Red Bull for two years, looking after the nightlife venues in east and central London, such as Fabric and XOYO where “a load of [his] favourite DJs would play on the reg”. Getting his foot in the creative music scene was most certainly a win, yet Tom found himself becoming envious of those who were producing the artworks for the shows. “I felt like I still wasn’t in the right role,” he says. “It was time to pursue design and illustration more seriously.”

Provoking a move to study an intensive design course at Shillington College, London, Tom was gloriously met with a fast-paced working environment filled with design and illustration techniques that ultimately prepared him for the work he’s doing today. Working freelance, Tom has utilised his past connections and picked up work at agency The Midnight Club, working alongside his friend Rory Knibbs on a project for Adidas, as well as a multitude of music clients ranging from Jadu Heart to Low Island, as well as Khruangbin. “A lot of my work seems to be through word of mouth, which is really sweet,” he comments.

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