London-based artist and illustrator Marcus Oakley began work on the two-month long project after writer Matt Lindley approached him and handpicked foreign proverbs for him to visualise for a blog post on the site.
HotelClub is an online travel website and blog that provides readers with information about various destinations, hotels and holiday activities.
“Matt emailed me different idioms, then I chose the ones which I thought would aesthetically work on a digital platform,” Oakley says. “Nowadays, we want content – people look at things so quickly. I had to create images that grabbed people and captured them for a few minutes.”
He says that the illustrations had to be simple and striking to achieve this: “The images had to work vertically, and they couldn’t have particularly detailed illustrations, as these are hard to look at on small phone screens,” Oakley says. “Complicated designs wouldn’t have worked. All the images also had to have the same visual proportion to them.”
The illustrator’s main aim was to break up the proverb text to make it more visually exciting and intelligible, he says. “Text is always black and takes up so much space,” Oakley says. “Even though it’s important, you need something to break the mundane, and break the page down to make it sizeable so that it can be consumed in a nice way. My job as an illustrator is to offer a broader sense of visual communication.”