Designing the Blythe Award

A  while back I was approached by the Ipswich Institute to design a lifetime achievement award for Dr. Ronald Blythe.  The institute was planning a ceremony followed by a charity dinner in honour of his literary contributions to Suffolk.  At 94 years of age, he has written a great deal about Suffolk and to my knowledge was in the process of writing his next book.  Perhaps his most notable work is that of Akenfield which was turned into a film by Peter Hall in 1974.

The institute gave me some initial direction, referring to Akenfield, as well as the fact that he lived in the home of John Nash. I began by researching the importance of his homestead and the life of Nash.  I would find he had been an accomplished artist with many intricate British floral images and wood block prints such as this:


My approach to the award would be to take design cues from this style of illustration. The institute and I exchanged many emails regarding the imagery and what would be suitable.  My initial proposal contained three options: that of a floral image, an illustration of the exterior of the house and a rural Suffolk scene.  We agreed a Suffolk scene would be best and to give the institute some options I mocked up both a rural illustration and a village scene. My loose sketch proposals were:

Worked up to a higher standard and a border to represent the mount card finish, they became:

The Ipswich Institute was very pleased with both and faced with deciding which image they preferred best. The rural field was chosen and I saw to sourcing quality paper stock and framing options. The selection at MF Gallery and Framing across from the Regent Theatre was excellent and their turn around time superb.  An Earth tone for the mount card to suite the paper and a frame that would fit with Mr. Blythe’s current home decor would be the final touches.

[photo courtesy of the Ipswich Institute]

It was a pleasure to design this lifetime achievement award for Dr. Blythe.  Many thanks to Hugh Pierce of the institute for commissioning the award and all his input to arrive at a suitable design for such a wonderful occasion!