Designing for a Commercial Commission – Part 1

I was contacted by the Hanna Group to design something around an ‘Emblems’ design for a drink coaster. They  specifically liked the idea of the Australian Golden Wattle used as a feature – perhaps around the edges, they also wanted a design that had no ‘up’. In other words so that it could be spun around. I guess when I have one of those cardboard coasters whilst out I do tend to sit there a bit and ‘spin’ the coaster around so this is what I was thinking when I undertook this commission design.

A difficulty I always struggle with is how much to charge – usually I end up under charging especially given the time it takes to design.

The most important thing for a commission piece I have found is to talk to the client and work out what they are looking for and feed back your progress.

For this project I had a time frame of about 2 weeks from designing to final handcolouring. This is a major ask! My designing frequently can taken months or even years where I can often scribble an idea even on a scrap piece of paper and not come back to it for 2 years!

So I set to the task – the first being to get down a basic idea – thumbnail sketches and then eventually a full-blown idea scribbled down as a starting point. The image on the left was the basic idea I started with but using the wattle as a central panel. Then I went on to develop this into 2 design ideas to present to the client – one with the wattle as central and the other with the wattle as a feature around the outside.


The client decided on the second design using the wattle as the outside feature encircling all the state floral emblems. I then ‘inked’ this up into a full black and white design, represented this back to the client, carved, printed and painted the design to the final stages. All within the timeframe but working VERY long days. I do not think people realise just how many hours go into each and every step of designing a linocut to the finished piece – often longer than a lot of painters take to do a painting!


Copyright – Lynette Weir

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