Kerr|Noble Go Separate Ways

After 11 years of working together, Frith Kerr and Amelia Noble are closing their design studio, Kerr|Noble

After 11 years of working together, Frith Kerr and Amelia Noble are closing their design studio, Kerr|Noble

The decision is not, they stress, due to any credit-crunch-related difficulties or bust-ups: “It’s completely amicable — we’re the best of friends, and fortunately this has nothing to do with the current climate,” says Noble. “We’re not closing sadly, but solvent and successful.”

Rather, the split is the result of changing circumstances including, for Noble, motherhood. The two met while at the Royal College of Art: “When I arrived at the RCA my friend Lynwen and I would sit by and watch a huge clan of Central Saint Martin’s girls at their desks. Somehow Camberwell College and Central Saint Martin’s were always the north and south divide. So it was with great suspicion that I spotted the work Amelia was doing. I thought she was completely the opposite to me and the same all at the same time. I still do. In fact when we disagree we are usually in agreement, but it takes us a while to work it out,” Kerr said in a Design Museum profile on the pair.

Creative Review recognised the pair’s potential when we chose them for our Creative Futures young talent scheme shortly after they had set the studio up. They have gone on to produce beautifully crafted and intelligent work for a range of cultural and commercial clients, becoming that rarity – a leading design studio owned and run by two women. Both will now work independently.

To mark the end of the Kerr|Noble era, we asked them to pick out some favourite projects produced during their time together:

‘Bun Bun’ and ‘Tony Face’ Seaside Suicide posters for director Tony Kaye, 2001
Design: Kerr Noble
Illustration: Ian Wright
Client: Tony Kaye

Lost But Not Forgotten
magazine, 2002
Design + Production: Kerr Noble

AN: “This came about in a funny way. We were nominated for an editorial prize in Creative Review’s Creative Futures awards, but had done very little editorial design. We decided to set ourselves a project where we would collaborate with people whose work we liked but hadn’t worked with before. We asked everybody to meet us at Highgate Cemetery one autumn afternoon. Lost But Not Forgotten was a collection of their responses to the visit. Frith and I edited, designed and produced a magazine. We are now working on the second issue, entitled Modern Manners.”
Quote: Design Museum

Exhibition graphics for Beauty and the Beast – New Swedish Design, 2005
Design: Kerr Noble
Client: Crafts Council, London

“When we worked on Beauty and the Beast—a show about Swedish design for the Crafts Council in London— we decided that the last thing we wanted to do was look at Swedish design. We had a month to present concepts, and we spent three and half weeks researching and thinking about Sweden – its people, its habits, its weather. It is quite hard to trust this process. Sometimes it takes a long time and you don’t know where you are going. Most Swedes have a second home in forests, as there are many forests there. Tree cutting is a big part of their lives, land and landscape. The font that we eventually developed, although it is completely abstract, came from the idea of cutting simple log shapes with an axe or saw. I don’t think that we could have got to that solution in any other way.”
Quote: Design Museum profile

Channel 4 Rivermap leaflet, 1999
Design: Kerr Noble
Client: General Assembly

“In this map Kerr | Noble are representing the thoughts and feelings invoked by the River Thames, in London. They chose to use a poem by John Banck, A Description of London, 1738, to convey the character and history of the Thames. The words of this poem have replaced the geographical contours of the River, creating an alternative map. The font, Caslon by William Caslon, was chosen for its joyfulness and historicism, as it was designed at the same time that the poem was written.”
Quote: Museum of Sheffield

A Book of Wonder, promoting the Wonder Room at Selfridges, 2007
Client: Selfridges

Frith and Amelia can now be reached on the following email addresses
Frith Kerr:
Amelia Noble:

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