Inspired, Matt Willey, Studio 8 Design

When I was young I was fascinated by Saul Steinberg, by books [of his that] my dad had – The Passport, The Art of Living, The Inspector and The New World. I got a huge amount of pleasure from them, and I still do.

He is probably the most enduring and constant influence of a sort related to the visual arts. There were many others, including writers and musicians and painters, but no graphic designers.

In my foundation year, adamant that I wanted to be a painter, I came across a copy of Big magazine. At the time, I had no interest in who had designed it (I didn’t find out that Vince Frost did it until about five years later), I just remember thinking how fantastic it was. I had never seen anything like it.

It was physically big, featured great photographs by people like the Douglas Brothers and Giles Revell, and was bold and confident. It had huge letterpress titles, very masculine, but beautifully and thoughtfully done. It was visceral, immediate and powerful.

Issue 7, the ‘New York issue’, with a cover made from wood blocks and letterpress and incorporating the letters ‘NYC’ within the word ‘Big’, is simple and beautiful and brilliant.

Along with Vaughan Oliver’s album covers for the Pixies, it nudged me towards doing a design-related course at Central St Martins College of Art and Design.

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