Marianna Orsho: adding some girl power to her portfolio

Marianna Orsho’s vivacious designs really stand out from the crowd. In this interview, she tells us more about her approach to design and how she became involved in creating the typeface for the Spice Girls 2019 world tour.
Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am an artist and multidisciplinary designer based in London. I focus mainly on illustration, typography, and creating visual identities for clients with unique businesses that require a very bespoke, illustrative, and out-of-the-box approach to their branding.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy exploring new ways of communicating ideas and messages through illustration and design. I like it when there’s an interesting challenge or a new problem to solve, and I try to push myself out of my comfort zone so that I’m always learning and expanding my knowledge. For this reason, it’s very important for me to work on my own self-initiated projects where I have time to explore and am not restricted by a deadline.

Hush - personal work by Marianna Orsho
You work on a wide range of projects, from graphic design and branding to typography and illustration. Do you have a preferred type of project to work on?

I am happiest when I’m working on projects that feel meaningful in some way. I find it inspiring to work with people who have a vision to build a better future and to help others, whether it be through addressing a specific problem, creating a sense of community, or simply giving people a wonderful life experience.

When I can help people with great ideas bring their vision to life through visual communication and enable them to connect with their audience, I feel that what I am doing is purposeful and exciting. I learn a lot through collaborations like this. Whether that be through illustration, bespoke typography, or branding—it doesn’t really matter (although it’s usually some combination of the three).

“When I can help people with great ideas bring their vision to life through visual communication and enable them to connect with their audience, I feel that what I am doing is purposeful and exciting.”

You’ve worked for some pretty impressive clients. What would you say your career highlight has been so far?

I love working with clients big and small, but working on the branding of Spice World 2019 with Studio Moross was definitely one of the most unexpected and wonderful experiences to date. I grew up listening to the Spice Girls; they were a very big part of my life.

I was involved in the early stages of the project and created the new Spice Girls typeface, which was used in the logo, show visuals and animations, printed in huge dimensions on the stage, on the merchandise—it was everywhere.

Spice Girls Typeface - Branding & Art Direction by Studio Moross, Art Director Kate Moross and Typeface Design by Marianna Orsho
Photo of Spice Girls / Spice World 2019 by Andrew Timms / Timmsy

It’s still in use on the Spice Girls website and social media posts, and whenever I see it pop up on my feed, I’m like… whoa. I still can’t believe it.

I met so many incredibly talented people while working on that project, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it.

What would be the ultimate dream project for you to work on?

I’d love to do something in 3D space and have my illustrations come to life in that way—in large formats.

Talk us through a typical working week for you to us.

It varies. I’ve been collaborating with a design studio here in London for the last few weeks, so I need to be in sync with the team and I’m working normal hours. I usually get up at 7am, go for a run, have a shower, run out to grab a coffee and then we get to work from 9:30am onwards.

When I’m not working in this way, however, my days look very different. Pre-Covid, I’d go to a cafe, library, or the local freelancer-friendly pub (coffee only, I promise—hi Mum!), and I’d work there for a few hours on my laptop or iPad when I need a change of scenery.

Some days, when the weather is really nice I’ll get up super early to do some work but then use the nicest part of the day to be outside. I’ll be in the park with my sketchbook or take a really long walk in the forest to clear my head, go over ideas and make plans. On those days, I work when I am most productive—there are no rules. The only constant is that I will definitely, 100% go for a run at some point during the day.

But I’ve always done a mix of the two—working on projects independently and collaborating with studios and agencies.

Sunset Bridge - made in Affinity Designer
Do you have a favourite project?

It’s always the next one. The one I’m excited for but have yet to make.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Listen to their advice—then do it your way.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Everywhere. I love looking at the art of creative people who work in disciplines and with mediums different to my own; fashion design, textile design, architecture, photography, interior design, furniture design, ceramics—everything.

I also love listening to interviews and podcasts with people from other creative professions. It keeps me from getting stuck thinking in a certain way—and the things they talk about, I find, are often universal.

Spring - personal work by Marianna Orsho

I guess I’m quite curious and enjoy learning about things. Sometimes my brain will come up with some interesting or weird connections between the various things I’ve observed and experienced. If it’s something that intrigues me or a new way I can try doing something, then I guess that’s when an idea has popped up. But I don’t think everything needs to be some kind of grand, epic idea. I think it’s really important to just play and try new things, just to see what will happen, to have fun with it. I think that’s often how you accidentally discover something new—when you’re not trying.

“I think it’s really important to just play and try new things, just to see what will happen, and to have fun with it. I think that’s often how you accidentally discover something new—when you’re not trying.”

Which other artists and designers do you admire the most?

I love the work of my friends Milica Mrvić, Christina Poku, and Anastasia Beltyukova. They are all amazing artists and people. I also love everything Yinka Ilori and Studio Moross create. They are awesome.

Do you get to impose your own creative style on your client’s projects, or are you usually always working to a brief?

With branding projects, yes—because I’m also doing the art direction. With illustration commissions specifically—more so lately.

Merry-go-round - made in Affinity Designer
How would you describe where you are now in comparison to five years ago?

A little over five years ago, I left Sydney and moved to London. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already.

As far as my accent goes—it hasn’t changed at all. I still can’t get used to saying ‘aubergine’ instead of ‘eggplant’, and I do not pronounce the word vitamin properly.

Overall it’s been an exciting, rocky, and wobbly little adventure, but I try to keep my balance and move forward as best as I can. I am extremely grateful to be here in this amazing city and to have had the opportunity to meet all the wonderful people I’ve had the chance to meet.


To view more of Marianna’s work, you can visit her website marianna-orsho.com and follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.