Who are NotOnSunday?
After meeting across a crowded lecture theatre, Mike Willows and Wayne Trevor Townsend (Trev) went on to found branding and design studio NotOnSunday. We spotted their recent work for the Horniman Museum's Indian Summer series and immeditaly wanted to find out more...
Who are NotOnSunday?
NotOnSunday is a creative design studio founded by Trev and myself. We like to keep things simple, open and honest. Bringing an informality and sense of fun to everything we do.
Where did the name come from?
We started working together on a variety of projects before we had a name or even knew where we were heading. We had lots of discussions about what our name could be and couldn’t really settle on anything we liked. We were ultra-busy one month working all hours and that’s when Trev’s wife asked if we could take at least one day off a week… Trev responded with 'Sunday?' And Les replied ‘not on Sunday’. We liked its tone and how it described us, so it just stuck. Design isn’t something you can do as a 9-5 job, we’re always thinking and creating, but it’s always nice to take your mind off things and enjoy the time spent outside the studio.
'It’s the things we enjoy outside of the studio that we manage to find a passion for and it tends to come back into the studio.'
How do you know each other?
We met whilst studying graphic design at Uni. We would always be in the same critiques and that’s when we quickly found out that we had a very similar view on both design and our inspirations.
How did you end up doing graphic design?
Mike: Before I even knew what graphic design was, I remember being fascinated with stuff like the Ghostbusters and Jurassic Park logos. I loved tracing letters and logos at school and always wanted to do something creative growing up.
Trev: I had a really bad knee injury at 15 so had to stop trying to be a footballer… I don't really have an amazing story. My Dad was pretty creative. He did taxidermy in the late 70s and 80s along with painting. I really enjoyed tracing type as a kid and making my own posters. It was just something I could spend hours doing.
'Nail down what type of design you want to do and achieve. Find a passion for something you enjoy.'
What’s been your favourite project?
Each project is so different it’s hard to pick out a specific project as our favourite. We just enjoy what we do and take each project as it comes, finding enjoyment through the individuality of each job.
Do you have a favourite icon?
There are so many great designers when it comes to who we admire. The classics include your Milton Glaser’s and Otl Aicher’s, but you have people like Erik Spiekermann and Tony Brook who are still creating great work and experimenting with their own projects.
How do you choose your projects?
We work on such a variety of projects. It all comes down to whether we think we can put our creative spin on it and if it excites us. We do a lot of work that involves looking into different cultures. The Horniman Museum work we recently created is a good example. It’s great to research something completely new and to just immerse yourself into the subject and visual reference.
What inspires you?
The everyday things inspire us. It’s the things we enjoy outside of the studio that we manage to find a passion for and it tends to come back into the studio. A great example of this is our love for Football and that’s when we decided to create the Football Editions blog and booklets. It keeps us refreshed, allowing us to have some creative freedom and an outlet to jump in and out of the various projects we have coming into the studio.
'Don’t stop learning (...) There’s nothing worse than a bored designer!'
If you could rebrand any brand what would it be and why?
It’s easy to say that our dream job would be to rebrand an airline like British Airways. There would be something very special about seeing the work you’ve created at such a large scale and up in the sky.
What would you be if you weren’t a designer?
Mike: Through my school and College time I always had a passion for woodwork and building things. I still have a passion for it now and love the work of people like Jean Prouve and Hans J Wegner. There’s just something beautiful and organic about making things with your hands, so I guess it would be something along them lines… and Trev still thinks he will make it as a footballer!
What advice would you give to someone starting out in design now?
For any individual that’s entering the design industry, we would say…
Really nail down what type of design you want to do and achieve. Find a passion for something you enjoy. This could be anything from typography to branding and packaging.
See which studios really inspire you, that are creating the work that you are looking to achieve in your career. The first studio is so important as it gives you a base to hone all your skills and learn from everyone around you with their different skillsets. We’ve been really fortunate over the years, working for some great studios and alongside some really talented individuals. It’s helped us to understand the industry and really push NotOnSunday to where we want it to be.
Don’t stop learning. We’re always throwing ourselves into new things, even now, we’re still learning. It keeps you fresh and on your toes. There’s nothing worse than a bored designer!