Graphic artist, print-maker and designer Anthony Burrill is known for his persuasive, up-beat style of communication. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York and has been exhibited in galleries around the world including The Barbican, The Walker Art Centre and The Graphic Design Museum, Breda. In 2012, he made his first foray into curating with the exhibition Made in L.A. — Work by Colby Poster Printing, at KK Outlet in London.
Words and language are an important part of Burrill’s output and he has developed a distinctive voice that is sought after not only by collectors of his posters and prints but also by clients including Wallpaper* magazine, The Economist, The British Council, London Underground and The Design Museum. Burrill is perhaps best known for his typographic, text-based compositions, including the now-famous “Work Hard and Be Nice to People”, which has become a mantra for the design community and beyond.
Burrill has a long-standing relationship with the printers Adams of Rye where he uses traditional techniques to compose and print his work. The integrity lent to the process of image-making by hand-made methods is essential to his practice across all media – from print, to screen-based, to three-dimensional applications. In 2010 he worked with Happiness Brussels to design a screen-printed poster made with oil and sand collected from the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico disaster. Proceeds from the sale of the limited edition poster “Oil & Water Do Not Mix” went to CRCL (Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana) and copies were acquired by the V&A and Cooper-Hewitt for their collections.
While Burrill’s work is grounded in a serious devotion to his art, he has a lightness of touch and humour that, although often copied, is unique in the field of graphic communication. He frequently embarks on innovative collaborations with friends and fellow creatives. Recent and regular colluders include product designer Michael Marriott, writer and philosopher Alain de Botton, designer Ben Kelly and creative director Erik Kessels.
Installations, events and work in three dimensions punctuate Burrill’s practice. At the renowned annual graphic art fair Pick Me Up at Somerset House in London in 2011, Burrill re-located his studio to the gallery and held workshops and daily collaborations with fellow designers, illustrators, photographers and musicians over the course of ten days. For Graphic Design Worlds at the Triennale di Milano in 2011 Burrill and Michael Marriott built and installed a red-timbered chalet structure, clad with recreations of Burrill’s work cut from multi-veneer board.
As well as his self-authored work and commissioned design, Burrill makes regular appearances at events and talks worldwide. He also runs creative workshops attended by children, students and creative professionals alike. He documents and communicates his work and points of inspiration prolifically via social media, with thousands of followers on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
Burrill was born in Littleborough, Lancashire. After studying Graphic Design at Leeds Polytechnic he completed an MA in Graphic Design at the Royal College of Art, London. He now lives and works on the Isle of Oxney, Kent.