Character & Place (Pat Murphy)

This project was a good opportunity to learn more about the Europe’s most notorious civil war that took place in Spain and the events going on at the time. This project was a collaboration project with the graphics, illustration and animation students, based on the welsh freedom fighters going to support the republicans in Spain.

My group and I were given Pat Murphy as our main character that we had to research in order to understand more about him and his role as a member of the International Brigade, we learned that Pat was an Irish-born that moved to Wales with his family. He chose to become a freedom fighter in mid-1930’s. However, after doing our research we could not find any reasons why he chooses to go to war that we assumed he just could not help it but just go out there and fight for what’s right, in his case were the republicans to freeing Spain of the Fascists and Communists parties.

In order to speed up the process, we decided that everybody would research a piece of information related to Pat Murphy in relation to the Spanish Civil war and bring it to the table.

Part of my research on Pat Murphy – I have looked up academic journals and books that talked about Pat and his comrades. Also, articles talking about the civil war and how the international freedom fighters were involved in it.

After gathering enough information on this character we drew up a mind map of things related to the International fighters (Pat) and the Civil War. We have also talked about how to put things together and how they all will relate to each other in order to communicate effectively and coherently together. We have talked about the context and the style we wanted to design in, also of the kind of content we wanted to include in our work. Whether it was more personal based on his life or in general about the war or between the two.


However, our idea was to design and craft a bunch of personal items owned by Pat at the time and related to his war and past experiences. The idea of this items was that every piece of the artefact will tell a story of their own. For example a pack of cigarettes and matches:

These are meant to tell the story of Pat murphy taking the cigarettes to the freedom fighters that were deployed in Spain to help the war and did not have access to get them from anywhere, so Pat made sure to send some to them soldiers. These cigarettes were originally exported from wales Cardiff and taken to Spain for the International brigade, also Pat was smoking them as well.

Next, this was the letters sent between Pat Murphy and his wife, hand written.

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Then, his unfinished personal journal that he kept, wrapped in an authentic leather, something used around that time.

This is Pat’s passport and what he used to travel to Spain. The photograph is of someone else as we could not find a photograph of Pat anywhere.


These were the two piece of propaganda ephemera for the two different parties, the republican and the fascist.


A piece of newspaper from 1930’s talking about the events that took place in Spain in late 30’s, possible reason for him to join the freedom fighters.


Pat left Wales by boat from the Cardiff Docks. The thing that really fascinated me was that none of us managed to find out the reason why Pat chose to go but we do believe that he read about the Welsh Freedom Fighters in the seamen magazine that persuaded him to make his way to Spain. Which also has a relation to Pat’s past life and helps to communicate a message as well.

I have designed my magazine cover based on our group style, also I have chosen the typeface based on the commonly used typeface of the early 1930s. However, most of the people in my group created their work by hand, I have based mine digitally, I tried to design mine as antique looking as possible using masking effects to create an effect of an old paper grain in order blend with other’s work. Also the illustration I kept as simple as possible and based on shapes. Also, I have worked with the same colour scheme as everybody else to keep it as consistent as possible.


An interesting fact as well was how some of the illustrators in our group were actually working with type and calligraphy as means to communicate and how most of us graphics used illustrations to communicate.

In conclusion, this project was an amazing experience and very interesting it gave us the possibility and the flexibility of working with our hands a lot more and digitally. We got to work in groups with people from different subjects. We talked about our subjects and shared our skills with each other in order to come with greater designs. Everybody was opened to constructive criticism and the group atmosphere was great. Graphics we helped the illustration people to take the best decisions related to hierarchy, font choice and other graphic design related stuff whereas we got some help from them to make sure our illustrations are neath and rather stylish.


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