Xavier Segers is the winner of the Cross-Category Innovation Award, which this year was selected by Workbook. Read on to find out more about Xavier’s winning project:

About the Project

It was the beginning of the first lockdown and all of my freelance projects were put on hold due to the uncertain times. This gave me the opportunity to experiment and try out new things. Being constantly bombarded by news about Covid-19 was certainly the inspiration for this project.


Everywhere I turned, people were talking about Covid-19 so I wanted to give coronavirus it’s own voice. So I came up with the concept of typographic bacteria being injected with the virus, resulting in it spelling out its thoughts and desires. I wanted to create something that was intriguing and slightly off-putting with a hint of humour.


I’ve always been fascinated by microbiology. It’s visually such a rich world of textures and patterns. For this project I looked to examples of scientific documentation on how bacteria and fungi grew and spread out. I roughly based myself on this and gave it my own personal twist.


I photographed petri dishes to have the setting for the illustrations. I used yellow rubber kitchen gloves (that I turned blue) because I didn’t want to use medical ones and add to the PPE shortage at the time. I drew out all the letters first and recreated them in illustrator, emulating organically grown letters. Afterwards in photoshop I added textures and other elements to blend it all.


I think everyone experienced how drastic and impactful the corona crisis was in the early stages. Lockdown seemed never to end and all of my projects were put on hold. I’m so grateful that I have a medium and creative outlet to deal with the situation in a therapeutic way.


This project has taught me to create my own opportunities. If you have nothing going on at a certain moment why not try something new. I think being proactive and doing little side projects keeps the creative juices flowing. I never imagined my little project would make such big waves.


To be honest, the only big distraction I had during lockdown were my two cats that weren’t used to me being home the entire time. Their constant craving for attention, my lap and to star in my zoom meetings were their favourite pastime.


In general as a designer and illustrator I would tell my younger self, not to put too much pressure on yourself. Perfection is an illusion and the pursuit for it can be counter productive. Have fun, create and share. I would have made faster jumps and developments in my work if I had focussed on the entire process and not just the end result.


Never underestimate yourself. We all overthink sometimes or feel that what we do isn’t good enough. But you should celebrate your work and show it to the world. You never know who is watching. Find your creative community or network and reach out for feedback.


I’m planning on doing a series of illustrations about sea creatures and the effect of microplastics. Also I’ve been invited to do some creative talks, which I look forward to doing because that pushes me out of my comfort zone and makes me think more in depth about certain subjects.

Dream Commission

I would love to work with an institution or brand dealing with art, science or natural history. Shining the light on certain issues and subjects, creating more positive awareness. It would be great to do something that is in the public realm, like a big installation or a large scale exhibition.

Favourite Thing to Draw

I really love drawing plants and insects. I could never get tired of creating new kinds of botanicals and creatures and getting lost in the many details and textures.


I work from home in London. In an office space on orange tables that energise me. I’m not really a morning person, so coffee is a must. I have two cats that love to come in and distract me from my work. Usually some belly rubs keeps them quiet for a while.


This meaningful award has certainly motivated me to keep on pushing my creative boundaries and to keep on experimenting. A big thank you to everyone from WIA, the sponsors and the jury. I would love to dedicate this award to my beautiful mother that recently passed away.