Kay Vincent is the artist and creator behind Ketchup on Everything – the South East London based design studio that she set up in 2011. Animal Alphabet – which we adore – is her latest project and consists of hand screen-printed, limited edition prints (100 of each only) that have been inspired by Kay’s collection of ’50s & ’60s children’s story books & vintage picture flash cards.
Why the name Ketchup on Everything? I am fond of ketchup, however I don’t really have it on ‘everything’. However, I do like to think that my designs could be the perfect ‘life condiment’ creating ‘smiles’ for the masses.
Who are your design/creative heroes? I take inspiration from lots of places. When I was at Uni, I loved Paul Smith’s classic-with-a-twist style, quirky but subtle. I love so many designers… Donna Wilson is a well known one, but I have so many favourite up-and-coming designers whom I meet at markets and via my etsy shop, there are just too many to list! At the moment I have been rediscovering my love for retro/vintage books – my collection from when I was a child. Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever was a brilliant find at a carboot a few months ago. I find his attention to detail and humour really inspiring!
How did your own childhood influence your creative process today? I think my grandad had a lot to do with unlocking my imagination. We would take packed lunches out and explore the forests when I was younger and he would tell me so many tales and I would believe anything and everything he said!! I remember he would hide sweets in little holes in tree trunks and say that the fairies or some forest monster had left them there!
Where do you create your designs? I create my designs in my studio in South East London, in Illustrator, mixing computer generated elements with scanned-in crayon-drawn elements! I also often think of an idea while I’m on the bus and have to write it down to create later.
What is your favourite piece from your collection and why? I think it has to be the A1 Animal Alphabet poster as they all took so long to create individually and it is so satisfying to see them all on one print together!
How did you select the characters… can you tell us a story about at least one of them and why he or she appealed to you? It was quite simple – the animal had to be doing something starting with its letter, so for instance with the letter X, I was very restricted! I would never have dreamt of designing a Vulture, but was so excited to surprise myself with the finished piece as I didn’t think he would look so cute! My boyfriend actually came up with the ‘Valentine’ part of it, and that was that really! It was just a matter of putting it together and getting the eye in the exact correct spot so that he looks cute enough! He is waiting for his date but will they turn up? It’s up to you to decide, just use your imagination…
Which is your favourite letter from your alphabet and why? I think at the moment Rodeo Rabbit as he seems to be on trend! But I also love Scooting Squirrel, Hippy Hamster (he reminds me of my boyfriend), Travelling Tortoise as he is so cute and Valentine Vulture because I am genuinely worried that his date isn’t going to turn up!
How does where you live influence what you design? I’ve been working as a freelance kidswear designer for many years now, so I understand and have a passion for that market. Living in London means that there is inspiration everywhere, but new things like Pinterest create so much inspiration that it doesn’t matter where you live these days! I have a Pinterest board called ‘Vintage Kids Books’ and there are so many cute retro characters, perfect for inspiration!
What’s up-and-coming for Ketchup On Everything? I am currently working on individual story book ideas related to the Animal Alphabet Prints…
The best travel experience you had with your family? About eight years ago we went to Tobago – we met amazing friendly locals who gave us an unforgettable trip. We had to catch our own lunch to bbq and limbo dancing on beach fun. I’m really lucky that my dad has always treated us to amazing holiday experiences!
What superhero power would you most like to have? To travel at the touch of a button. My parents and grandparents live in England’s Midlands and my sister lives in Singapore. I’d like to see them more often! And it would be pretty cool to pop to Mexico for a lunchtime burrito!
What’s your motto in life? If you want something, don’t wait – go and get it! Stand up for yourself and what you believe in!
See the full collection of Kay Vincent’s Alphabet Animal prints in our feature piece here.