Sep 2020

Guest writer: Bridget shares her adventures with DAC, including latest book Archibald Trotter

Words by Bridget Upton

We’d like to welcome our first guest writer, Bridget Upton. When she’s not competing in muddy obstacle course races, baking, or having wild adventures in Bluebell, she’s writing about Archibald, a prize-winning truffle pig. This just happens to be our latest joint venture with Team DAC… over to Bridget!

I first started working with Design and Code, when it was just Colin Leonard and his wealth of experience and talent. The company I was working with at the time was looking for a graphic designer to help them update a rather hefty and outdated catalogue of downhole equipment and tools.

A colleague recommended Colin for the job and it didn’t take long for Colin to make his mark. Soon Colin was collaborating with a range of people across the business, both in the UK and the States, bringing their visions to life. It’s not surprising therefore, that the workload became too big for one person and Colin set up his business, Design and Code.

From the moment I met Colin, I was so impressed with his vision, skill, ability and enthusiasm to interpret and deliver on any brief that was given to him.

So, when I decided to leave the corporate world to retrain as a Patisserie Chef at Ashburton Cookery school in 2017 and then to set up my own baking business, Bake, it’s not surprising (there is that word again) that I chose Design and Code to create all of my marketing material.

Everything that Design and Code produced reflected my vision for my business and was finished to the highest of standards. I was so impressed with what Design and Code had done for Bake, that when my husband, Jo and I decided to rent out our delightful VW Campervan, Bluebell, they were the only company we would entrust with marketing her. It was a relatively small project, but done with the same commitment and to the same exacting standards as any corporate project.

Early on in our working relationship, way before Bake and Bluebell, Colin and I had discussed a project that I had in the background, a children’s book, Archibald Trotter. Colin was always encouraging me to publish the book but it was about finding the right illustrator to bring Archibald Trotter to life.

This opportunity arose, when Design and Code took on the highly talented, Madeleine Edwards, and as they say, ‘the rest is history’.

The process started with a face-to-face pre-project briefing and Design and Code sending me some drawing styles, so I could select the one that best complemented my writing style. Once we decided on the drawing style, Madeleine started working on the characters for Archibald Trotter.

Although I had originally envisaged Archibald as an older pig, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with Madeleine’s interpretation of Archibald.

Archibald’s face studies

The rest of the characters seemed to be developed seamlessly thereafter (I am sure Madeleine may have something different to say about this), albeit there was one character, Mrs Hogg, who took a little bit more development. I had an image of Mrs Hogg in mind (based on my paternal grandmother), which was slightly different to Madeleine’s interpretation, but after a bit of discussion and tweaking, Mrs Hogg emerged as a hybrid of Madeleine’s and my vision of her and to be honest a better version of the character than I had envisioned.

Mrs Hog and Archibald

It was a pleasure working with Design and Code on this project as Madeleine did her utmost to ensure that she created the characters as I intended them. It was wonderful seeing the characters in the book coming to life through Madeleine’s illustrations. Before her illustrations, they were simply words on a page, inspired by a conversation with my two young sons, many moons ago.

Archibald Trotter is available to purchase, and you can keep up with his adventures on Instagram.

For our latest illustration projects at Design and Code, follow us on Instagram.

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