INSPIRE ME – with This is Rude

Todays ‘Inspire Me’ is all about the brilliant London based cult product design duo – Rupert Meats and Abi Williams, aka – This is Rude.

This is Rude started out thirteen years ago as a t-shirt label using hand drawn illustrations incorporating their passion for screen printing. Before long they expanded into a street brand selling their clothing as far as the United States and Japan.

Since then, This is Rude have collaborated with a huge amount of high profile clients such as Sony, Vogue, The Guardian, Tate Gallery, The National Theatre, Boden.. to name just a few with their easily recognisable illustration and animation product design.

With the amazing Olympic fever going on right now here in london, it seems a perfect time to chat with Rupert as This is Rude have also just designed the t-shirt for Samsungs Warm and Win Hope Relay Competition. I wear mine with pride :)….


How did you and Abi meet ?

Abi and I met at a design company in west London almost 15 years ago. We’re now married with 2 x kids, so we work together and run a family together. It seems to work.


 What inspired you to create ‘This is Rude’ ? 

After I left the design company (I was only there for a year) I wanted to do something on my own which was creative, a reaction against the corporate work which we were made to do. Around that time no one was doing illustration onto T-shirts or product.


I first bought one of your t-shirts around twelve years ago  – Did you know at this point that you would evolve into such a diverse company ? 

I knew that our road would not be straight forward and in any creative business there are lots of twists and turns. As long as the work we do is creative thats all that matters to me.

Do you do all of your illustration by hand or ever use computer graphics ? which do you prefer to use ?

I try and do a mix, so I will draw stuff out, some of it looks great as it is and some of it need sorting out in photoshop and then adding to in illustrator.


 How long have you been doing animation too ? 

Abi was asked about 5 years ago to create a pop video for cult band ‘Cornershop’ since then she has been involved in quite a few animation projects and last year we were involved in a project for the Manchester International Festival where we worked with school kids who drew the characters and we animated them and Cornerhop worked on a track (with the kids) to go with it

Are you a music fan and if so – what do you like to listen to for inspiration when you’re working ?

We have quite an eclectic music taste, we go to Glastonbury every year a top up on new stuff. I’ve just resurrected my turn table in the studio so I’m playing lots of old vinyl at the moment. When we had out shop 10 years ago we had it in there and would buy £1.00 records from Spitalfields market on a Thursday. Old Elton John records, things like that.

Rupert Meats design trend colour print artwork  

Your style is very distinctive and yet clearly appeals to a wide audience – how have you managed this ? :) 

We love colour which I think helps, also if you stay true to your style over time it will become your signature.

 What has been your biggest achievement to date with This is Rude ?

Not giving up on it! About 9 years agowhen Billy cam along it would have been easier to go out and get a job, I’m so glad we persisted, as it’s paid off.

For anyone reading this, wanting to start their own brand/business – what advice would you offer them ? 

Just do it, don’t wait, the younger the better as you can make all your mistakes when your young and then learn from them when your a bit older !


You’ve worked with various clients including The Guardian, Vogue, The National Theatre, Sony Playstation, Mini Boden, No Added Sugar, Joseph Joseph, Capital Radio … is collaborating a big part of what you do ? 

Yeah, you know who your going to work with next, interesting collaborations as so important for modern creative businesses.


What’s happening for ‘This is Rude’ in the near future? Any new projects in the pipeline ?

We’ve got some very exciting things happening this Autumn, watch this space…I can’t say anymore than that !


A big thanks to Rupert for sharing a nice little slice of his time and inspirations. Always good to put a face to a great company.

Have a look at their website – you will find a whole lot more information on Rupert and Abi’s work and their online shop –  brimming with mouth watering screen prints, bags .. and even Melamine sets ! :) You can also become a fan on Facebook.

All images copyright of This is Rude 2012.

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