Ray Nicklin


Ray Nickline: rnicklin@cardiffmet.ac.uk
t: 02920 416633

Specialist Subject Areas

Digital drawing The meaning of images Typographic design


MA Fine Art
BA (hons) first class, Graphic Design


Ray NicklinEarly 70s, moved to very rural Mid Wales (as did lots of young people from the cities) set up business designing, making and marketing leathergoods – constructive and formative period, sharing time with like-minded people who were also developing new skills in a new environment. Important lessons learnt; there need be little distinction between work, play and culture, and that there are always various ways to solve a problem.
Mid 80s, Graphic Design BA (hons), graduating with a first and after short period working for a design company, set up as freelance designer/illustrator. Clients include: Sunday Times, Observer, The Post Office, British Airways, Radio Times, Independent on Sunday, Heinemann, Director, Jonathan Cape, Prospect, Time Out, Creative Review, TSB, Reader’s Digest, Mac User, Money Observer, Canon, Mac Magazine, Equity & Law. Work selected for several AoI Images exhibitions and work held in the Booth-Clibborn European Illustration Collection.

Part-time teaching is a stimulating and creative part of my work. When a student’s output surprises him/her, we are probably working well together. As well teaching in Cardiff, I have taught illustration in Hereford and graphics in Newport and Bath. MA Fine Art study in the late 90s – although working with many of the tools used in commercial practice, the longer incubation periods and intellectual rigour proved a challenging, rewarding and recharging experience.


Today I work digitally, although the years of using traditional media have been an important foundation, and is apparent in my current portfolio. A crucial part of any job, generating ideas, usually begins with a combination of research and intuition. I have always been open to happenstance and will harness those opportunities wherever possible.

Ray Nicklin  

I am currently the designer of Touchstone, the architectural magazine. I also restore album cover artwork for re-issues of old jazz and blues records.

Current research

Building SURPRISE into digital process; As a designer I look for ways of making messages visually interesting, to engage and stimulate an audience, to bring them to a place where they will read the message, one strategy is to devise unusual marks with which to construct the message. I am currently exploring new ways of drawing digitally, with a particular interest in the employment of interruptive factors as a means of taking work into different and surprising forms. Although working almost exclusively digitally, I have a history in traditional media and am aware of parallels, where the exploitation of interruptive factors; accident, error and happenstance has long been valued. Interruptive factors halt or re-route the expected continuity of process. Whether deliberately applied or as a result of external forces, they effect the graphic outcome and (I would suggest) the position of the designer.

Ray Nicklin, Cardiff School of Art & Design 

I am looking at ways in which interruptive factors can be deliberately applied within the digital arena, at the graphic impact of such an approach, and I am looking at the impact on the designer, of working in such a way that consciously and productively employs interruptive factors … can such a strategy stimulate their capacity for creativity?

Ray Nicklin, Cardiff School of Art & Design