Karl Sinfield: graphic designer/artist

theroad_quad6z2I have to admit I had never heard the word learnaholic used before, but when Karl Sinfield, left, said that’s what he was I realised it was the perfect description for the man I was interviewing.

The graphic designer-cum-artist isn’t someone easily satisfied with what he is doing and he is always looking for something a bit different to add to his CV, be it using 21st  century technology or by returning to retro skills.

“I am a bit of a magpie – a definite Jack of all trades and I always want to be trying something new,” he said acknowledging his self-confessed condition.

“It has made me a bit of an all rounder and I find that the new things I learn eventually feed back into everything else.”

He tells me that the next day he is booked on a screen-printing course and that he plans to use his already fine-tuned design skills to turn his hand at creating limited-edition posters for bands and events.

It seems having bespoke posters made for your gig to sell as collector items is the current Big Thing.

Well if you are going to have a poster designed for your band, then asking Karl to do it for you is definitely a good move.

The 42-year-old father-of-two has just beaten off the competition from the big boys in the world of film poster design to win Best UK poster 2013 on the International Movie Poster awards website for his work for The Road.

Not only that, his work for Scott Graham’s Shell which was featured in the London Film Festival was given an honourable mention on the website.

“I am not wishing to blow my own trumpet too much but considering there is just me working from home up against the big agencies this is quite a coup.

“I work on about five or six film campaigns a year for Verve Pictures, which is a small indie British film company and I really enjoy it.”

Karl, who was brought up in Norfolk studied astrophysics at Sheffield University but while clearly an academic who enjoyed the rigour of learning he found himself hanging out more with the artists and those students on humanities courses.

“After university I was in the wilderness trying to decide what to do and answered an advert in the Sheffield Star which said: ‘Wanted physics graduate’. The next thing I knew I had a job teaching the subject at a private school in Sheffield,” he said smiling at the memory.

“I guess I could have had a career as a teacher but although I enjoyed it, when I was later offered another job writing computer manuals I decided to head off to London. I think I realised then that I wanted to do something more creative.

“When I arrived in the city I signed up for night classes in contemporary film and short story writing partly to meet new people but also to learn another skill.

“I really got into the short story form and actually published my own series of books – anthologies of short stories by other writers. One of the authors asked me to help with the marketing campaign for a film and that kick-started my design career.

“That was almost 20 years ago, so now I am at the stage where I want to get slightly more creative control back and do more of my own designs rather than working to a brief, hence the screen-printing project.”

Karl, his partner Angela and their children moved to New Mills from London eight years ago. They wanted to be near the Peak District landscape, a city and a railway station.

“New Mills had two railway lines crossing it and it seemed the perfect town. We love it here,” he said.

So much so that Karl has become increasingly involved in community life by offering to help out with marketing and logos for a variety of events.

He first became part of a team working to improve the town when a newsletter was put through his door asking for volunteers to help with a community orchard. He offered to do work on the signage and information boards and since then has gone on to design the distinctive Visit New Mills heart logo which has been used on bags and mugs.

“I had thought I would remain a southern softy living quietly in the town, but it wasn’t ever going to be like that. There was so much going on as people here worked to transform the town. There is so much passion – you just cannot help but get involved. For me it is satisfying to be able to use my skills to help enhance the place in which we live.”

More examples of Karl’s work can be seen at http://www.sindesign.co.uk