Charlie Smith Design

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Finding the best people for the job


At CSD we pride ourselves on working with the best collaborators, searching long and hard until we find the right people for the job. A recent branding project for a jewellery company proved just that.

We commissioned a beautiful but extremely intricate illustration from Olivia Knapp which we needed to be foiled in two colours on a range of collateral including carrier bags.

With a tight deadline, a small print run and the approaching Chinese New Year we wanted to keep production of the bags in the UK. So, armed with detailed visuals we set about approaching a variety of producers. All the bag manufacturers we found advised us that the designs were too detailed to be foiled and that we should consider a metallic pantone for the bag printing instead. 

Undeterred, we continued our search, finally finding the brilliant A14 who agreed to help with the foiling and manufacturing of the bags. 

Discussing the project further we agreed to use a magnesium foil block which holds more detail than regular foil blocks and decided, given the complexity of the design, we would do a foil proof to confirm we could achieve the desired level of detail. 

The proofs were a success and showed the level of detail was possible, however, this was only at the larger bag size. We also needed to produce the Kraken at a much smaller scale to be used on the lining of silks in jewellery boxes and also business cards. For this we asked the illustrator to create a version of the Kraken with considerably less detail. This eliminated many of the finer lines which would have disappeared at the smaller scale.

Working closely with the client, illustrator and printers we perfected the second illustration so that all parties were happy. Resulting in a set of carrier bags with fully foiled illustrations which captured all the detail envisaged at the start of the project.

“Thank you so much for the incredible print/foil sample you did for us. I’ve produced a lot of things over the years and never to this quality; it really is stunning. It’s so rare that something is even better than hoped for, which this certainly was.” Client quote on receipt of the foiled proof.


We’ve moved!


We’re currently unpacking boxes, sorting book shelves and settling into our new studio.

You can now find Charlie Smith Design at:
Studio 22, Royal Victoria Patriotic Building
John Archer Way, London SW18 3SX


Filler Podcast


This weeks Filler podcast features Charlie talking about the studio, recent projects and how she got into design. You can listen to the podcast here.


Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas from all of us at Charlie Smith Design. Thank you for your support this year, have a great break and see you in 2016!


YCN Membership


We are delighted to announce that we are now part of YCN and one of the 24 agencies who they showcase on their website. Our profile on the site includes a range of case studies which explore our work in more depth as well as client testimonials and information on us. You can find our profile here


Breakfast Briefing


Charlie recently gave a talk along side Cristina Fedi on our love for illustration and how we work with illustrators on our projects for Byron. It was a brilliant morning hosted by YCN, including an inspiring talk by Alice Bowsher about her work as an illustrator and Doris Tydeman introduced us to work by some great new illustrators.

Read YCN’s write up on the talk here


Modern Heraldry


Our work for John Lewis’s partnership with Herbert Parkinson and our identity for The Bread Factory have been featured in this lovely book on modern heraldry by Counter Print. Read more about the book here.


Sign of the Times


Recently we participated in the ‘Sign of the Times’ exhibition. An exhibition organised by NB Studio in conjunction with Spring Chicken, challenging the current ‘Elderly’ road sign.

The brief was simply to reinvent the sign, addressing the negative way that elderly people are depicted on the current sign. There were some brilliant submissions, some took a humorous way and some a more serious way. For ours we looked at what the sign actually needed to communicate to drivers. That they need to be aware of people less able to cross the road. This needn’t be directly linked to elderly people and so we removed them from our sign. Then, concentrating on the reasons why people might be slower at crossing the road (impared sight and mobility) we devised two simple and recognisable icons to represent this.

The opening of the exhibition was a great success and you can read articles from the Telegraph and YCN and see the full list of entries here


YCN Feature


YCN have writen a fantastic article on our collaboration with Alec Doherty on some new illustrations for Byron High Street Kensignton.

Read it here


We Won!


For our work with Byron and a host of amazing illustrators we were Bar winners at the YCN Professional Awards for Illustration.

You can read an article about the awards here


The Heart Index


The Heart Index, a not for profit design compendium, showcasing a collection of ‘hearts’ interpreted by various designers, including us!

For our submission we looked at the average heart rates  of different animals from the great blue whale whose heart the size of a car beats only 8 times a minute, to a rabbit whose heart races at 200 beats per minute. Each of the lines represents 60 seconds, being 60mm long.

All proceeds went to Heart Research UK.

To read more about the book, and see some of the other submissions visit the website here


Colour Book


For a book celebrating print and the art of colour matching we were asked to pick our favourite colour combinations. After much deliberation here is our favourite, or one of them at least.

For a copy of the book contact Opal.


64 GB


Very pleased to have our work featured in 64GB a book profiling 64 Great British designers considered to be at the forefront of their field.

What a compliment! We were featured because of our work for Simone Handbag Museum, which you can take a closer look at here

The book published by Victionary includes some great work giving an overview of the graphic design industry today. You can buy it here, and we thoroughly recommend you do!