James Dixon and Sir Brendan Foster holding 2022 Great North Run medals with Tyne Bridge in the background
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Local Illustrator Designs Great North Run T-shirt, Medal & Memorabilia

James Dixon is a big lover of his hometown. His designs showcase everything he knows and loves about his beloved Newcastle.

Starting as a hobby, James saw his designs rise in popularity at his local makers market.

A whirlwind journey quickly followed, commissioning pieces for local celebrities and big business – but his ‘pinch me’ moment came this year when he was approached by event organisers to illustrate the official finisher’s t-shirt, medal and memorabilia for the Great North Run.

 

What can you tell us about Lines Behind and its success?

The business is blowing up and constantly growing. What started as a little hobby at Tyneside Market has grown into something incredible – working with global brands and enterprises.

We’ve now got clients from Brighton right up to Edinburgh, as well as all of the amazing work we do with local people and businesses.

We’re designing everything from interior office spaces, to merchandise for events and our popular ‘Geordie’ product range which sits in Fenwick Newcastle.

 

 

What can you tell us about your exciting partnership with the Great North Run?

This partnership has been a pinnacle moment for me. To be asked to work with an event as huge as the Great North Run hit home a little bit and made me realise that this is why I work so hard, for wonderful opportunities like this.

It has been really well received and I can’t wait to see it all come together on the day. There’s no bigger North East event than the Great North Run – 60,000 runners from all over wearing my design on their finisher’s t-shirt and medal, it’s incredibly overwhelming.

 

What Lines Behind memorabilia can we expect to see on the day?

We’ve illustrated the finisher’s t-shirt and medal, as well as signage and the official memorabilia of the race day – so we’ve done everything from greetings cards, to mugs, prints and tea towels, all of which you can order online now.

 

 

What can you tell us about the designs?

The illustration tells a story. Like the race itself, it incorporates iconic moments, community spirit and why the Great North Run will continue to go down in history as one of the most spectacular charity sporting events in the country.

I was given a lot of freedom to make it my own, so that’s exactly what I did. The team had full confidence in me and that was really encouraging.

There are certain things that stick out for me when it comes to the Great North Run; like the rattles of the charity buckets, the sweets, the fancy dress – it’s endless, so I wanted to pack in as much of that as I could.

There’s so much happening. There’s a lot of diversity in there when it comes to race and disabilities, which is so important. It just confirms that the Great North Run is an event for everyone – and something we’re incredibly proud of here in the North East.

Of course, I had to include the Red Arrows flying over the Tyne Bridge – no matter where you are in the race, it’s a real goosebumps moment, so that had to be incorporated into the design as a statement piece.

The t-shirt has a lot of personality – it perfectly sums up this treasured race day and will (hopefully) be something people can pull out of their gym box in five or 10 years time and promote happy memories.

The medal will probably go down as the best thing I’ve ever worked on. I’ve got it in my hand as we speak, and it’s phenomenal to think I designed it.

I’ve taken part in the Great North Run 10 times now, and every time I cherish my medal and finisher’s t-shirt, so I hope this year’s runners will do the same.

 

Will you be taking part in this year’s Great North Run?

I am! It’s my 11th year, and it’s going to be so surreal.

This is the first year the race is returning to its usual route, finishing on the seafront in South Shields, so it feels like an extra big celebration in that sense.

I can’t wait!

 


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