Halloween Interview: At it Again! on vampires and visuals

Photo of Halloween Interview: At it Again! on vampires and visuals

This Halloween we catch up with At it Again! whose range of literary gifts include greeting cards, pocket guides and printed tote bags. One of their most loved designs features Count Dracula - the iconic character created by Irish author Bram Stoker who is now celebrated with an annual festival each Halloween in Dublin. Here we speak to At it Again! founders Niall Laverty and Maite Lopez on their inspirations, joys and challenges as creative business people with a passion for illustration and literature combined.

Photo of Halloween Interview: At it Again! on vampires and visuals

Describe an average day at At it Again! HQ

Our days are surrounded by books and a pot of coffee researching or writing drafts for our next pocket guide to Irish literature or working on illustrations. We could also be moustache twirling as we brainstorm ideas for new products or working on a commission. Some days you can find us around the city sniffing out literary places to add to our guides while other days, we are meeting new clients, delivering our goodies to retailers or attending events and festivals.

What training or qualifications do you have and how are they relevant to what you do at At it Again!?

Niall trained as a hand-drawn animator at BCFE in Dublin and worked in the animation industry for over 15 years in the USA, Germany and Ireland. He has moved into illustration and also teaches gesture drawing for animation and graphic storytelling students at IADT in Dun Laoghaire and other animation schools throughout Europe.

Maite has an MA in theatre studies and has trained as a life and business coach, establishing her own business and mentoring creatives at the Entrepreneurs Academy. During her varied career in theatre, translation, online marketing and retail she has acquired a variety of experiences and skills that come in handy for the business side of At it Again!

Photo of Halloween Interview: At it Again! on vampires and visuals

How would you describe your style and products?

Quirky, playful, engaging and fun are the words that best describe our style and products. We bring Irish literature to life with our pocket guides that are easy-to-use and read for the literary beginner. Each pocket guide captures the essence of the original book by giving the reader an abridged version of the story. It also contains insider tidbits for those more versed with the writers and their stories. With maps included in the pocket guides, they are both a literary and city guide to the authors, their works and places that inspired them.

Where do you get your inspiration?

We are inspired by mid-twentieth century illustration like Sasek, Gruau and Saul Bass. Our other sources of inspiration include Scandinavian design, film and vintage children’s books. We love to travel and are inspired by places we visit, exhibitions and new designers and artists. We are also inspired by our fellow creatives in Design Ireland.

Photo of Halloween Interview: At it Again! on vampires and visuals

What is your most popular product?

Our first pocket guide, Romping through Ulysses, continues to be our best-seller with up to 2,000 copies sold per year. Its popularity is due to the fact that we have made James Joyce’s epic novel accessible and fun. It gives readers an insider look into the book itself with illustrations, maps, tidbits, things to do and see and best quotes to impress in the pub! Other popular gifts include our Irish Writers Collection of greeting cards and our Dracula, Joyce and Nora Barnacle tote bags.

What is your favourite piece of work at the moment and why?

Our Irish Writers Collection of cards and prints have taken us in a new direction with a more graphic approach to the images. They really capture the essence of our style with their strong shapes and colours to reflect each writer. Our latest set include seven Irish women writers including Edna O’Brien and Maeve Binchy. This has given us fresh ideas on how to bring At it Again! forward with exciting opportunities to strengthen our brand. It has also allowed us to highlight that our products are made in Ireland and that the authors are Irish.

Photo of Halloween Interview: At it Again! on vampires and visuals

Why do you love doing what you do?

We love what we do because there are endless opportunities to bring literature to life with so many authors, books and a growing global audience. We love being detectives as we search for clues about the authors’ lives and getting out and about to find the most interesting places to visit. We love putting that At it Again! humour into our writing and illustrations with our verbal and visual puns. We love the feeling of holding our latest finished pocket book in our hands after months of work and the thrill of seeing someone chuckle as they flick through them. Finally, we love that we are able to create and print all our goodies on Dublin’s Northside!

If budget and time were no obstacle, what would you most like to create?

We would love to add a few more bells and whistles to our books to make them even more irresistible and to bring out more high-end gifts specific to each book. We would also like to bring out more books each year, foreign language editions and develop apps around each title.

Photo of Halloween Interview: At it Again! on vampires and visuals
Niall Laverty and Maite Lopez founders of At it Again!

If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you work at?

Niall: Clown, magician, topiary artist and/or a cinema owner showing classic films.

Maite: improv performer, dancer/choreographer, environmental artist, natural cosmetics blogger, city manager, brainstormer and/or world changer.

Photo of Halloween Interview: At it Again! on vampires and visuals

Stories you might like

Brookwood Pottery: From garden garage to studio shop

Features

Brookwood Pottery: From garden garage to studio shop
Read more
Symbolic jewellery proves a hit at the Oscars

Features

Symbolic jewellery proves a hit at the Oscars
Read more
Written in Metal: The Jewellery of Enibas

Features

Written in Metal: The Jewellery of Enibas
Read more