Our Head of Design Ross has had his eye on the big white wall in the boardroom for a while now. Here's his account of how the Limehouse Mural came to be.
When we moved to our Leeds offices, we knew we wanted to put the Limehouse stamp on things, which initially meant branded wall vinyls and new furniture. But there was a large expanse of blank wall that was crying out for something special.
So we got to work on creating a mural. Sounds easy enough but there’s a few considerations: What will the mural depict, an illustrated scene or an abstract pattern? Will it be full colour or have a limited palette? Should it be hand-painted or printed? It was time to do some research.
We compiled lots of inspiration and ideas and narrowed down the concepts that we felt reflected our culture. Like any design concept, these aren’t plucked from thin air but rather distilled from absorbing elements of different existing design, then creating something new.
So we decided to depict a scene, involving people and objects compiled in an abstract space. We wanted to show the breadth of our work types and skills, the lifecycle of a project, and a hint of our move across the valleys of Yorkshire.
We then set about putting together some rough sketched concepts to get a sense of the scale, before creating more refined character sketches and spacing adjustments to make sure it worked around the fixtures in the room.
One dilemma was whether to colour or not to colour. Some of our early designs used a nice limited palette for a clean look, but this worked in isolation – we needed to see how it would work in-situ. As we’d built a colourful mix of furniture, carpeting and soundproofing, we thought it best to stick to a classic inky black with no other colours.
The final decision was print or paint? Some of our favourite work done by other agencies is hand-painted directly onto the wall, which has a very appealing variable line and hand-crafted look.
There were two obstacles with a hand-painted finish: an ever increasing workload meant that the more gifted emulsioneers among us couldn’t fit the work in, and those that could just couldn’t bear to make any slip ups. Maybe we’d have more nerve when the next mural came along.
The final result is just what we wanted, thanks to the talented gang at Leeds Printing Company, who made our digital doodle into a real world work of art.