Jo Blogs

I'm a wildly undisciplined blogger, but when something inspires me to write, I swing into action. Sort of.

Another project with Women’s Aid, this time the wonderful Scottish arm for a digital billboard project.

The brief: I was commissioned to design and illustrate an advert that publicises the 24 hour domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline, lets people know they are calling the correct line for those issues, that the service is gender neutral and that people can call if they themselves are at risk or concerned for a friend or family member. The illustration was to depict ordinary people in an everyday setting. Oh and it had to work on social media too. I was given two sets of pixel dimensions for the digital screens, a colour palette and a brilliant team to work with.

After mood-boards, discussion and brainstorming, I figured a bus was a good setting, it’s somewhere you can find lots of different people and where people can access visible support if they need it for stability. With that metaphor under my arm I went to work and turned out the ad below.



To see the billboard in situ, Retweeted by Scotland’s First Minister and Scottish Labour’s Leader, plus preemptive sketches and the pre-vector artwork, see the slideshow underneath.




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Woman Up


Woman Up events ask the question ‘What does it mean to be a Woman in the 21st Century?’. It’s run by some amazing women and I’ve been lucky enough to be a speaker and an attendee. The team wanted to move away from their original Wonder Woman style logo and asked me to create something illustrative that had a tattoo aesthetic and would be versatile for marketing, campaigning and event merch.

First, I sketched…

After this stage we discussed how best to represent being a 21st Century woman as inclusively as possible, so despite us all liking the more figurative elements the team wanted a visual where no skin colour was prioritised over any other (though we did wonder about a zombie green and given the slightly apocalyptic feel of the news currently I wonder if this wouldn’t have been most apt…). The team wanted to retain their original colour palette and it’s brightness meant that we could do something mainly typographic and still have the punch they wanted. And so…

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Women’s Aid Federation

This is another project where I have been able to use my work to contribute to an important cause. In 2012 the UK Government signed the Istanbul Convention, a treaty that aims to take concrete steps to eradicating the systematic violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, honour-based violence, FGM, rape and sexual assault. The UK have yet to ratify the agreement citing devolved power issues within the UK. The four Women’s Aid federations in the UK; England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, funded by WAVE (Women Against Violence in Europe) commissioned me to create social media graphics for their campaign.  These graphics were for encouraging people to lobby their MPs and bring ratifying the this important legislation a step closer*.

The focus was domestic abuse and so I chose to use backgrounds featuring wallpaper and soft furnishing patterns to set the information within a seemingly ordinary context. I used the key colours from each Women’s Aid logo so as to unite the four federations visually without having to create a new identity. I worked with a copywriter to make the text really short and punchy as there was a lot to explain in single images including 6 logos, a website, a hashtag header and a call to action. I created 2 long graphics based on statistics, 2 short in-stream graphics for Twitter and social media assets.

Click on any thumbnail to view slideshow.


*The campaign was successful, MPs present at the bill’s second reading voted 135 to 2 to push the treaty closer to ratification in the UK!



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Bee in Company


The Bee in Company website was an absolute joy of a project. Heena, the founder, is an optician and has seen loneliness increasing in the older generation. Bee in Company seeks to address this with communal living for older people. I’ve worked extensively on community art projects with elderly participants and know how important this issue is, so I was really happy to work on Heena’s website. Also, she already had a gorgeous logo which formed the basis of a strong visual identity. I carried this strong identity through all of the website’s visuals including backgrounds, icons and vector illustrations. The site is a fully responsive single page (excluding the blog) that concisely and stylishly invites the visitor in for a cup of tea and a chat. The site uses the WordPress theme Uncode and the developers at Uncode liked it so much it’s one of the showcase sites, which is dead nice!  See below for bespoke illustration slideshow and full web layout.



Click on full web image below to visit the site.

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Wilderness and #PeriodDrama

Period Drama #-05

#PeriodDrama was a social media campaign with digital agency Wilderness for Water Aid UK.

The objective was to highlight the plight of women around the world with no access to a toilet during their period. The brief was to create parody book covers based on comedic titles of classic literary texts.

Using the Penguin Classic aesthetic I illustrated and designed the pieces below. I chose to draw in black ink that both hinted at a more formal hand-drawn style, and also ‘bled’. I accented the drawings digitally with an overlay of a nice bloody red to pull the pieces together.

Click on an image to view gallery.

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Girl Up

Jo Harrison joelizaharrison • Instagram photos and videos

This is my absolute favourite project to date. I got to work with an amazing feminist and friend Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, on a book that I know will change lives. I remember reading The Beauty Myth at 19 and wanting to stand up and shout ‘Yes!’ at various intervals. I think Girl Up will do that for many girls and women. I’m very proud to have illustrated it.

Click on an image to view gallery.

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Branding projects


I create logos for businesses, organisations, bands, blogs, campaigns and projects.

Since I’m equally happy creating a crisp, geometric identity as I am when fashioning a bespoke hand-drawn logo, my portfolio is a diverse one. I work closely with all of my clients to explore the best way to represent and express their character in a form that is unique, eye-catching and occasionally a bit clever. As a bit of a stationery-aficionado, I love geeking out over designing business cards and other branding assets, and can deliver all manner of useful brand-related paraphernalia:

• Logos
• Business stationery
• WordPress websites and social media graphics
• Signage
• Tote bags, tees, badges and other merchandise

If you’d like to discuss a branding, web or merchandise project get in contact here.

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Comics and cartoons



When I’m not working, eating, sleeping or doing something where holding a pencil is problematic, I’m probably drawing.

Meeting notes are usually littered with drawings, sometimes relevant to the issue at hand, sometimes related to tangential meanderings (which will explain the presence of a marzipan dildo in the margins of notes for a literary festival meeting I work on).

Sometimes I doodle patterns, sometimes quizzical faces and sometimes I draw about things that are current topics. I started doing cartoons for the No More Page 3 campaign drawing in front of the TV every evening for a few nights. I’m still honing my style, and like to be eclectic, but I do tend to have a preference for odd girls who have anarchistic leanings. And the occasional political fox.

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Hand lettering


I remember hearing the phrase ‘text as image’ at art college in 1999 and realising it was something I already did. I love drawing, cutting and printing lettering. When I first started as an illustrator, I used to be obsessed with the perfect line, but discovering the work and approach of artist Margaret Kilgallen helped me see the beauty in the wavering line, the slight glitch, the idiosyncratic human error.

As far as process, I tend to start with a pencil and squared paper, then I trace, ink on bristol board, scan and then take into Adobe illustrator so I can try different colours and fills. I also use an iPad and stylus for doing fun and rough lettering layouts.


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Digital drawings


I used to think iPads were daft. Then I got the app Paper by 53 and had to eat my words. Throw in their scrumptious pencil stylus and I’m now basically a tech-sketch junkie who drools over virtual pens, styluses and anything that makes a digital image.

Here are a few sketches I did on my iPad. All were quick to do, but in some cases I went back and worked on the original in more detail. Strange girls are yet another recurring theme, as are cats, lips and vaginas.

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