Dubbed the 'hippest place in Britain' by The Times, Glasgow is in the midst of a creative coming-of-age as the de-industrialised cityscape gives way to a subtle but steady innovatory transformation. But whilst it may have been overlooked in mainstream circles, Glasgow has always been a bit of cult creative gem and boasts a surprisingly glittery list of alumni including: Jonathan Saunders, David Hamilton and Pam Hogg. These days a younger crowd are transforming the streets, and its vast student population are undertaking exciting new ventures, in this month’s City Guides we’re took a trip around town...
[ Creative Agencies ]
Dog was founded in 1996 and has remained an independent, ‘pure-play’ digital collective since. Fostering a ‘pack’ mentality for every challenge or opportunity they’re presented with, Dog has a formidable, no bullsh*t approach to the way it works and communicates. It’s a technique that seems to work well, Dog now has offices in London, Jakarta and Singapore as well as its native Glasgow.
When After Digital first started out - at the same time the PNG was born - building websites was what it was all about. But a decade on these digital natives apply solutions which leverage the medium across all of its multi-varied forms. A decade on and After Digital is a multi award-winning, strategic digital agency operating internationally and offering digital transformation consultancy from its offices in Glasgow and Manchester.
With a two-week old baby (who goes by the name Finlay) and £1000 in the bank, MadeBrave founder Andrew decided it was time to start his own business, leaving his previous role as Creative Director and hosting meetings in coffee shops to get it all going. That was August 2011, and these days Andrew has a 20 strong team beside him who work for clients including Brewdog, Scottish Renewables and Ted x Glasgow.
[ Design Agencies ]
‘Design with soul’ is The Loft’s tagline and this design agency work across video, UX, graphics, packaging and more to bring this spirited vision to life. The small team are all talented designers in their own right, coming together to deliver large and small creative projects which complement their contrasting skill sets.
Jamhot have an international outlook - working with clients across the UK, Europe and beyond from their Glasgow base. They’ve designed strategies and brands, re-positioned organisations and helped create new ones from scratch all through targeted campaigns, animations, video, photography, digital content and developed websites. Their own event series: ‘Gab’ is an aptly titled ‘Get Together For Creative Folk’.
Rair was formed in 2009 by Alistair Smith, a graphic and digital designer with a background in the creative agency sector. Rair is unique in that it brings together a team of freelance professionals in a creative collaboration that offers a full agency service without the usual price tag. Over the last seven years the company has built up an extensive client base ranging from adventurous startups to established global brands.
[ Fashion ]
Championing Glasgow like no other clothing brand, The Worst’s garments are made in Glasgow and designed by local artists. The Worst is a collective of like-minded individuals who have emerged from the depths of Glasgow's graffiti and hip-hop culture, and now work with a number of internationally renowned music labels. Based at SWG3 Studio Warehouse, they have rooted themselves in the midst of Glasgow's most influential creative talent in order to provide a platform which allows for fluidity and collaboration between various creative disciplines.
Glasgow-born Rachel was nominated for Young Designer of the Year within six months of her company's launch at the Scottish Fashion Awards in 2014. Destined for great things, her brand also exhibited its most recent collection at London Fashion Week, and her fashion illustrations were picked to be shown at the National Galleries as well as in Vogue Italia. On top of all this, Rachel ensures all her products are designed and manufactured in Scotland, working with local businesses and supporting students and creatives within the industry - what a hero!
Forty Clothing has already collaborated with Hancock VA Jackets, Digital Groove Records, Carl Cox, Space Ibiza and Soma Records - not bad for two guys who started the brand in 2014 with their child’s illustration as the brand logo. Pretty much an overnight success story, Forty Clothing’s particular strain of Glasgow street-style is now a very common sight on Scottish streets.
[ Typography ]
Having spent the first few years of his career in leading design agencies in London gaining experience in various forms of design, Craig Black currently runs his own studio specialising in typography and lettering. His bespoke and innovative designs cross disciplines effortlessly without the burden of a fixed personal style. This versatility has afforded Craig the opportunity to work on a varied mix of collaborations with local and international clients and artists.
De:strukt are a design studio, tucked up in Glasgow’s Hidden Lane who team up with global talent and brands to create designs with care and clout. Their wild eye and beating passion for IDs, street art, still and moving images makes their designs as catchy as they are bold. Although they’re not solely typographers by trade, we’re including them here in honour of their Kräftig typeface which featured on Behance’s Typography Served and received over 3,000 downloads.
Brad is a 20 year old graphic designer who works for a small design agency whilst still studying at Glasgow Caledonian Uni. Definitely one to watch for the future, his personal style continues to develop as he experiments with breaking trends. He cites his current obsession as the bold, geometric grid-based Swiss style of the mid 20th century.
[ Publications ]
Born in Glasgow, Hope St is an independent fashion, arts and culture publication with friends, fans and contributors worldwide. Celebrating new and established talent across the arts, Hope St deconstructs luxury ideals with anarchic spirit, championing the unique and the unconventional across fashion and the arts and merging rich visual stories with inspiring and thought-provoking written content in the process.
Ok, so it’s not a zine in itself, but given it’s an all encompassing celebration of the very best small publications out there, we don’t feel too much like we’re cheating by including it here. The festival brings together makers and lovers who get down with DIY self-publishing as well as good food and music. This year’s festival will run 29-30th April.
This independent magazine by students at the Glasgow School Of Art is a cross-school collaborative venture printed via risograph and finished by hand. It features artwork and writing from members of the Glasgow School of Art community in an off-beat fold out form.
[ To Shop ]
Although ostensibly this is a men’s fashion store, Fat Buddha also stocks a contemporary mix of fashionable clothing, arts supplies and books, managing to meet the need of every sort of creative shopper in Glasgow. And anyway, everyone knows girls can rock men’s street style easy.
Located inside the Mono cafe, Good Press is a combined art gallery, publishers, book and art shop in central Glasgow. The shop itself is incredibly well stocked, featuring all manner of journals and zines from local creators and those farther afield, as well as the Gallery’s exhibition catalogues and Good Press’ own editions.
Neighbours with the aforementioned Good Press Gallery in one of the most creative parts of town, Monorail is a cult record store which goes beyond the traditional storefront by creating a community of music-lovers who shape the groups, labels, events and projects the store works with. In the past this has included Optimo, Chemikal Underground, Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai and many others.
[ To Eat ]
The increasingly foodie-focused Finnieston part of town is home to The Ox & Finch’s trendy, high-ceilinged dining room which offers a casual atmosphere and contemporary tapas-style dishes alongside a not too shabby wine list.
Opened in 2008 at the beginning of Finnieston’s renaissance, Piece has seen many come and go but itself remains an institution in the most thriving food and drink spot in the city. With its Victorian tenement setting and old school décor, it mixes Glasgow west-end café with New York West Village take-away at extremely affordable prices.
If you have any recommendations for places for future guides, connect with me here and let us know!
This pretty brasserie bar with leather banquettes and wood paneling serves English mains and snacks alongside killer cocktails made by some of the friendliest staff in town. Located once more in Finnieston (where else?), the vintage interiors give a lovely old-fashioned feeling and the cocktails are some of the best in the city.