Allen & Overy at 75


Brief: to devise and execute a workshop experience to create a series of compelling illustrations on the theme of internationalism for a book celebrating 75 years of the global law firm Allen & Overy. The final book was to be designed by GM Media London.

Working with 14 pupils from Morpeth School in Bethnal Green with an average age of fifteen years, Harvey created an ambitious visual strategy to enable the children to explore the major artists from the 30 countries and cities where Allen & Overy have established practices. These research drawings were married to references from the text as well as the geographical locations to produce the illustrations for the book. Pupils had the delight, the pressure and the fast-track experience of knowing that this was not a theoretical exercise, but a real commission with hard deadlines leading to publication.

Remarkably, all the illustrations were produced over one intense week in a hot classroom in the summer vacation of 2005. Incredibly, 94 illustrations from the workshop were selected to appear in the final book (the original brief was for 12); the designers at GM Media recognised and used the imagination and vitality created in the support drawings and studies as well as the final illustrations themselves.

The educational success of the project lay in bringing together art, culture, geography and commerce, a small group of children and a massive corporation. Pupils gained from a direct understanding of how their creativity could be applied to the professional practice of illustration; the lawyers gained simply by being presented with some extraordinarily beautiful, sincere artworks.