Jane Bowyer

Designer & Illustrator

Jane is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator specialising in branding, illustration and print. She is the creator and curator of Women in Print.

What influence does music have in your life as a creative?:

For me, design and music go hand in hand like a beach and a good book — you can enjoy them exclusively but when enjoyed simultaneously you achieve the ultimate state of bliss. I find music helps me to focus and set the pace I want to work at. I usually start my day listening to the radio and then progress to Spotify in the afternoon.

Music has been part of my everyday life from an early age. My family are quite musical; both my parents play the piano and sing. My mum is also an accomplished violinist and my sister is a dancer/choreographer. As a kid, if I wasn’t drawing I was adding to the noise in my house by practising my piano, strumming my guitar and singing. Anyone who’s ever had to share a space with me for more than a couple of hours will know that I like to sing. A LOT. Probably too much.

Another way music and design go hand in hand is they both provide a platform for telling stories. Storytelling has always been a point of interest for me and my work, particularly my illustration work and I also think it’s what I look for in a good album. We’re now living in a time when people are listening less and less to whole bodies of work, but I have found that the strongest/most creative albums I have listened to in the last couple of years have been concept albums. Two albums that immediately spring to mind are Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ and Bat for Lashes’s ‘The Bride’. I felt like both these albums made a lasting impression on me because they took me out of my own reality and gave me a front-row seat into someone else’s life. They had a clear well-thought out journey they were trying to take the listener on. In my opinion good graphic design (like a good concept album) is about good story-telling and planning. You have to figure out what it is that you’re trying to say and decide on the place you want the viewer to reach before you even begin to add colour or decoration to it. Otherwise it’s just noise.

Tell us about your playlist:

I have about a dozen self-made playlists on Spotify, created around my different working moods. I have one called ‘Tea & Toast’ which is my typical easy, daytime listening and I have one called ‘Disco Tits’ which is my go-to Friday playlist. This playlist I’ve named ‘Pick Me Up Buttercup’. It is a collection of songs that lift me up on those days when you need a bit of a creative push — it’s a musical kick in the bum. Working for yourself is very liberating but it can also be tough at times, especially if you’re stuck on a project or trying to tackle some tricky admin. The songs on this playlist have a positive message about getting through difficult times. The first track ‘Get Up and Get Out’ I saw performed live by Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings at the Albert Hall in Manchester on her return tour after battling cancer. She dedicated this track to her cancer screaming ‘get up, get up and get out!’ at her body — the whole performance was like a religious experience!

I have been lucky enough to see quite a few of the artists featured on this playlist in concert. For me, live music creates a much deeper emotional connection to a song or artist than just listening to the music through my laptop. Some of the tracks on this playlist remind me of the times I saw the artists live and how incredible an experience it was. No artist has made me feel more ‘feels’ than Beyoncé. From Destiny’s Child’s Survivor album through to her most recent Lemonade album, she has provided the soundtrack to my teens and twenties. I could have put any of her tracks on this playlist but it felt right to end on ***Flawless because if that song doesn’t make you feel like you can take on the world, then I don’t know what will.

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Pick Me Up Buttercup

  1. Get Up and Get Out – Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  2. Hurry On Now – Alice Russell
  3. The Bare Necessities – Bruce Reitherman
  4. Don’t Loose Your Steam – Gregory Porter
  5. Make Me Over – Lady Wray
  6. Ms. Fat Booty – Mos Def
  7. Crazy Dream – Tom Misch
  8. Show You The Way – Thundercat
  9. Like a Fool – Crazy P
  10. Pharaohs (feat. Roses Gabor) – SBTRKT
  11. Phenomenal Woman – Laura Mvula
  12. Reality Check (feat. Akenya, Eryn Allen Kane) – Noname
  13. Interlude: The Glory is in You – Solange
  14. Cranes in the Sky – Solange
  15. Better Off – Quadron, Kendrick Lamar
  16. Green & Gold – Lianne La Havas
  17. On & On – Erykah Badu
  18. O-o-h Child – Nina Simone
  19. Pain – De La Soul, Snoop Dogg 
  20. Get Up Offa That Thing – James Brown
  21. ***Flawless – Beyoncé