Wayne Hemingway says the consultancy was engaged by Beano publisher DC Thompson to create a style guide, which can be used for licencsed products.
‘DC Thompson had always looked at licensing from a character point of view, but we looked at the graphics, the typography and the stories behind the comics,’ says Hemingway.
Hemingway Design went through the DC Thompson archive in Dundee, ‘which was like a treasure chest’ according to Hemingway, who says his team found ‘hand-drawn fonts and original art.’
‘It was a voyage of discovery for the younger team led by Jack [Hemingway]. Taking single letters from headlines, they’ve worked them up into full fonts,’ says Hemingway.
He adds that a lot of the sound-effect artwork reminded him of Pop Art giants like Lichtenstein, ‘yet this was being designed ten years before by a British team from Dundee.’
The style guide details suggested applications and makes particular use of the typography and sound effects. It can be seen here in full.
‘From a designer’s point of view there’s so much joy in the artwork, fonts and noises. For babies spoons, we’ve applied the graphics of appropriate sound effects for instance,’ says Hemingway.
There’s a licensed product section in the new Beanotown museum, which has all been designed by Hemingway Design.
An entrance greets passing visitors with one of several audible rude noises, before they enter the Beano Breville Bar, a café with Beano-strip printed table tops serving comic-themed food and drink – including ‘Splat-a-Pult’.
This gives way to a customised Table Dennis ping-pong table and alcoves offering other Beano activity, some marked ‘No adults’, and a shooting range.
The Beano Studio will see children create their own comic book characters and an iPrank app has been created which is free to download so kids can prank at home.
The story of The Beano, its characters, creators, and artists are told with dozens of original strips on display and previously unseen artwork.
Hemingway says, ‘The writers and illustrators were on the hit lists of Hitler and Geobbels’ because the way the Nazis were portrayed in the Beano was seen as propaganda.
Hemingway adds that ‘The Beano has been very influential on my career, and Peter Blake was telling me it’s had a big influence on his. Beanotown is a place not to be missed by designers.’
Beanotown is part of the Festival of Neighbourhood season of events at the Southbank Centre, which runs until September.