Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams





2006 – IMAGES 30

Based in Aberdeenshire, Jonathan has been working as a designer, illustrator and art-director since 1993. Collaborating with creatives across the globe he has produced lively children's books, illustrated newspapers and magazines, and helped to build iconic brands such as Virgin, Intel, Ford, Hollister and BP. Whatever the client or medium, he aims to grab your attention and spark your imagination!

As part of a £5m multi-media marketing campaign, RKCR/ Y&R commissioned a series of images promoting Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Suite. Appearing in the UK press, internet and 96 sheet billboards across London, the adverts mixed clichés of English landed gentry with familiar aspects of New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Hong Kong and Tokyo. 

Winning the AOI Images Bronze Award for Advertising provided both recognition and valuable exposure. It gave me the confidence I needed to persevere in a creative profession, which can be unpredictable and isolated at times.


Brief: The art director asked for gently subversive images, which challenged the familiar perception of first-class transatlantic aviation, whilst also affirming Virgin's commitment to unparalleled quality. The illustrations had to be playful but immediate, appealing to an aspirational yet self-aware audience.


Materials: Wacom Cintiq 21UX and Adobe Photoshop


Research: Every aspect of each illustration – characters, hairstyles, uniforms, bikes, cars, colours, surface textures, patterns – was meticulously researched to ensure a subtle yet instantly recognisable message.  


Process: Working to ridiculously tight deadlines, I presented a range of sketches for each concept. At every stage I incorporated changes from the agency and client, eventually progressing to a handful of finished illustrations.  


Resistances: Each concept was subjected to layers of consultation and approval. All artwork had to be checked for brand consistency and legal compliance. As the illustrator, it’s important to keep a sense of humour and enjoy every stage of the process.   


Insight: Working with some of the most talented art directors in the UK was both stretching and rewarding. As well as developing my figurative drawing skills, I learned the value of strong, integrated creative direction. 


Distractions: Frequent interruptions from two pre-school children …


Numbers: Numerous visuals. 8 finished artworks. 6 printed posters. 150 x 96 sheet billboard locations across London.


Afterword's: Collaborating with the team at RKCR/Y&R helped me to step up a level creatively. Everyone involved was so encouraging and made me feel a valued part of the campaign. Thank you!