Special auction – open for bids!
December 13, 2012
From Melbourne to Moscow – Bristol Pound continues to be of international interest
January 22, 2013

Meet the artists: Phil West

It’s time for people to get to know the artists responsible for the beautifully designed Bristol Pound notes. First up is Phil West, who designed the £B1 printed pound.

Phil West is the Bristol-based designer, illustrator and occassional actor, from Cambridge. Laura and Katie met with him last week at Chickpea Café, a Bristol Pound business on Cotham Hill, to discuss his work, Bristol and his now famous Bristol Pound design.

Phil heard about the city-wide design competition to design the Bristol Pound notes through his friend Martin Booth, of the famed Bristol Culture, who suggested he should enter. Without knowing too much about the Bristol Pound, he made a submission and you know the rest. His design showcases many of the most notable structures in Bristol, as well as common symbols and fauna that one comes across when walking around. Additionally, the design includes more personal objects like his brother’s dog, Immie.

Phil’s design for the Bristol Pound was based on the competition’s theme, architecture and the environment, and it drew inspiration from two of his previous projects. The first was a photo of the London Southbank, where the buildings and landmarks spelled out ‘LONDON’. This Project was the original inspiration for the Bristol Pound design. However, a trip to the harbourside failed to provide all the right shapes to spell-out ‘BRISTOL’ in the same way. Instead, Phil appealed to work he’d done for Brothers Pear Cider, using bold silhouettes. Composition was the main priority for the design, which meant that it was important to find buildings and other objects that ‘fit nicely’ into the picture. Also, the spelling of  ‘BRISTOL’ across the centre meant that Phil needed to find objects that he could use as the letters. The greatest challenge was posed by the ‘B’, which ultimately was made by a shop entrance on Park Street (bet you can’t guess which one). The ‘T’ was originally the red arrows, but since the theme was ‘architecture and the environment’ that hardly seemed appropriate. Instead, he used a picture of a tree whose trees can be found scattered around the rest of the design. Under the tree, is a cheeky picture of Phil himself when on holiday in Tunisia – see if you can spot him below!

Since winning the Bristol Pound design competition Phil has been approached by a prestigious illustration agency ‘folio’, where the Bristol Pound design is part of his portfolio. Phil is pursuing a full time career as illustrator.

You can find out more about Phil’s work at:

Written by Laura Márquez Perez

1 Comment

  1. David Everiss says:

    I like the idea of introducing the artists involved in producing the Bristol pound and learning about their design .I look forward to meeting all the other contributing artists.
    A very worthwhile article.
    From a follower.
    Dave .