Established long before most other agencies, Folio has four decades of industry experience. The company was founded in a small basement shop when Nicholas Dawe, who still runs Folio today, had a vision of helping prospective illustrators establish their work.
The inspiration for Folio was Dawe’s close friend, illustrator George Underwood, who produced early album covers for Davie Bowie, T-Rex, Mott the Hoople and more. The connection with the music industry continued when Folio artist Joe Petagno designed Motorhead’s ‘Snaggletooth’ logo in 1977. Other bands with album art by Folio artists include the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.
Work was not confined to the music industry, however, as Folio worked on some of the most prestigious advertising campaigns for the likes of British Airways and even produced an icon of the silver screen when Joe Petagno created the concept model for the ‘facehugger’ in Ridley Scott’s Alien – a prop which would haunt the office for years.
Before the internet and before digital illustration, there was Folio. In the 1980s, some of the artists would work at Folio’s light-filled studio near the British Museum, phones ringing, jobs coming in, couriers whizzing original artworks and transparencies across London. Some of the mechanics might have changed, but Folio’s professional approach and attention to detail remain invaluable to agency clients such as J Walter Thompson, McCann Erickson, Grey, BBH and Mother.
Each decade has seen Folio involved in culture-defining artwork, from Syd Brak’s iconic glam-punk airbrush art for Athena in the 1980s to the Hed Kandi clubland digital illustrations pioneered by Jason Brooks in the 1990s and beyond. From billboards, movies and TV ads to album covers, magazines and packaging, over the years you have seen more art by Folio’s illustrators than you know.