Interview: Mia Shurey, Graphic Designer at TOAST

TOAST New Makers newspaper

Founded in Wales in 1997, TOAST began as a small mail-order company selling high-quality pyjamas. Today it's a lifestyle brand with 17 shops across the UK, known for its commitment to traditional textiles and craftsmanship.

Recently TOAST launched New Makers, a programme to support emerging makers whose work demonstrates "thoughtfulness, simplicity, and a celebration of age-old techniques." This year's five New Makers are profiled in a traditional tabloid newspaper designed by Mia Shurey, who has worked as a graphic designer for TOAST since 2015.

Below, we talk to Shurey about the New Makers, how the creative team works at TOAST and why the brand remains dedicated to print.

How long have you worked at TOAST? What experience did you have before joining the team?

I’ve been at TOAST for three and a half years now. I started off just working on the layouts for the lookbook and it’s grown from there. Before TOAST I worked at a creative design agency for a year and prior to that I was interning after graduating from my Visual Communications degree.

TOAST New Makers newspaper

How is the creative team set up at TOAST?

We have different creative teams within TOAST. The brand team is comprised of 4 people: the art director, shoot producer, shoot assistant and myself. There are other creative teams, the fashion design team – who often collaborate with other makers and designers – as well as a marketing team who work on our online magazine and collaborate with artists and other creatives for events, podcasts, articles, artist residencies, etc.

TOAST New Makers newspaper

How would you describe the visual language of TOAST and how do you communicate it through your design?

Our clothes are simple, functional and beautiful and we aim to communicate this through our visual language. Our clothes are designed to last and be worn for years — this idea is reflected in our visual language in the sense that it is contemporary, without being too current. Our photography is a key part of our visual language and we really consider and value a sense of place, depth of character and richness of texture.

TOAST New Makers newspaper

What has been your favourite project to work on at TOAST so far?

That’s a really difficult question! I work on such a range of projects that they’re hard to compare. In terms of graphic design, I really enjoyed working on invitations for our press events. As the quantity is so low I can play with unusual formats, processes and materials which is always fun.

Another favourite project is the campaign shoots. A lot of time and thought goes into the preparation for these and its always a lot of fun to be a part of this.

TOAST New Makers newspaper

You recently designed a newspaper for the TOAST New Makers programme. What is New Makers and how did it get started?

As a brand, TOAST is very interested in working alongside other creatives. The New Makers programme was established to support and mentor five emerging makers who at the beginning of their journeys. They receive business and marketing advice from TOAST, as well as a platform to sell their pieces until the end of the year, with full profits being returned to them.

This year's New Markers are Blue Firth, Nicholas Shurey, House of Quinn, Ali Hewson, Takahashi McGil. You can read about each artist on the TOAST website.

"The newspaper allowed us to produce something on a large scale that could give justice to the New Makers’ attention to detail."

Each New Maker demonstrated a great appreciation for material and texture in their designs and, while varied in their approaches and disciplines, all showed commonalities in tune with our own ethos — that of thoughtfulness, simplicity, and a celebration of age-old techniques.

Pieces by the New Makers are on display in five of our stores across the UK: Bath, Brighton, Edinburgh, Oxford and Notting Hill. The newspapers were distributed amongst our TOAST stores across the country and sometimes sat next to the New Makers' pieces.

TOAST New Makers newspaper

Why did you decide to print a newspaper about the New Makers?

I think print still holds great value. A lot of our online magazine readers use their mobile phones to view the site, which massively limits the size of the imagery viewed.

The newspaper allowed us to produce something on a large scale that could give justice to the New Makers’ attention to detail - the horse hair strokes in Blue’s vases, the hand-carved wooden texture in Nicholas’ bowls and Takashi McGil’s spoons, the painted marks of Ali’s plates and the hand-sewn stitching detail of Julius’ quilts.

TOAST New Makers newspaper

And finally, can you describe your ideal scenario for reading a newspaper?

Sat outside in the sunshine, about to tuck into breakfast and coffee.

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