William Hall is a particularly articulate interviewee, especially when it comes to describing the methodology that underpins his creative output, which includes designing iconoclastic cookbooks for Giorgio Locatelli and elBulli. He looks perplexed when asked if he ever suffers from ‘graphic designer’s block’, “My process is very methodical and contemplative. I don’t hope for Eureka moments and I don’t stare at a blank piece of paper. I work by thinking about the brief and the content of the project.“
Hall’s dedication to a rigorous process and desire for purity percolates his work. When he talks about his philosophy towards design it centres on unfurling and refining his solutions to each brief. “I think that if one doesn’t really understand something, we tend to muddy or complicate in order to disguise that and what I’m interested in doing is demonstrating that I understand the brand or the idea utterly and therefore have the confidence of something that is almost skeletal in its conviction. I was contacted earlier this year by MoMA, who told me that the trustees had asked them to find the best graphic designer in the world. It really felt like the culmination of my career because there were so many elements that I’d been working on for so long.”
"Everyday dressing means being stylish without having to think about it."
It seems only natural that a career built on designing books for other people would transition into authoring them himself, “When I did my careers interview we talked about three things, architecture, journalism and graphic design and as it’s panned out my career is linked to all three” His first book was Concrete, a visual exploration of the omnipresent building material which was published by Phaidon in 2012 with Brick following this year.
Unsurprisingly Hall has a very definite idea of what does and doesn’t suit him and carries the same visual clarity that resonates through his work to his wardrobe, “Everyday dressing means being stylish without having to think about it. It means having a series of staples in your wardrobe where you’ve thought about getting the details right.”
However, it’s cashmere jumpers that he really relies on, “My most over-used item is properly a grey cashmere jumper, which travels with me almost everyday. I get one a year because I go through the elbows.”
All photography by Samuel Bradley