When we came up with the idea for Retro Delights, one of our new 2014 boxed collections, there was only one question: Who would bring it to life in a way that our customers would find fun, bright and delightful. The answer came in the form of artist James Gulliver Hancock. You may already know his work from the myriad brands he's designed for — Coca-Cola, Ford Motors, Herman Miller, to name a few — or from his ambitious goal to draw all of the buildings in New York. Now, you'll know him for the whimsically illustrated and wonderfully colorful bicycle, teacup, French press, camera, turntable and typewriter that make up Retro Delights, a collection inspired by all things nostalgic.
Describe the person who would love this collection.
This collection is really for everyone, I think people from all ages will appreciate it’s fun, colorful, quirky yet refined vibe.
Where did you draw inspiration from for this collection?
I love objects. The world around me is my inspiration, and every time I go to draw it’s usually the things that I find sitting next to me. The things we make are so interesting, and how they sit on the table or the floor and interact with us is endlessly fascinating to me. I also love print making, so you can see the simplicity of a two color design in this collection referencing silkscreen and other print making techniques.
Tell me about your design process.
I like to start all projects with drawing. I usually do a sketch and the draw on top of this for the final piece. I then color the final on the computer.
I know they're all your children, but do you secretly have a favorite design?
I’ve always loved typewriters. They are such a symbol of a romantic by gone era of creativity. I always picture a favourite writer at the keys tapping away.
Tell me about your most cherished "retro" item.
My most cherished personal retro items are my matchbox cars. I have a 1 1/2-year-old son and I recently passed them onto him. All these memories of playing with them came flooding back. It almost brought a tear to my eye to see him play with the same enthusiasm I had for them when I was his age. It’s amazing that objects can be symbols of a time and place and hold such significance for people.
What's the most memorable note you've ever received?
When I was just getting to know my wife, she came round to my house one day with a huge bunch of jasmine flowers she had found on the street. That gesture, along with a little note of love, was a turning point in my love for her.
To whom do you most often write?
Pretty much the only person I write to with a pen and paper is my aunt in England. She is a very talented seamstress and likes tactile things. She sends me exquisite handmade collaged cards with very little writing in them. I like to write back with the opposite, a very simple card with a lot of writing.
Visit our entire Retro Delights collection.