Category Archives: Design

Jelly and Scouse in Leaf

UK Jelly Logo

I attended my second Jelly gathering yesterday. It was held in Leaf on Bold Street, Liverpool. I met a number of very talented people (Matt, Emily, Dan) and enjoyed a few hours out of our studio working, chatting and generally having a very pleasant time. Jelly is an interesting concept. This is from the UK Jelly site: Our aim – to bring home workers, freelancers, small business owners and entrepreneurs together in a relaxed, informal, working environment to maximise creativity and minimise the isolation that being your own boss can bring!

We discussed matters ranging from work placements in the design industry, the new iPhone, Android OS, Drupal, iPads vs MacBook air and all while working on our own laptops using the free Wi-Fi and receiving a free lunch – what’s not to like! For me it was a breath of fresh air and really good to hear the opinions of others in the creative industries.

All this brings me to Emily. A young design graduate who showed me her on-line portfolio. One piece impressed me more than any other.

Beat lettering

This is from Emily’s site.

BEAST (celebration of scouse slang + typography)

This project stemmed from a personal interest in local dialects. I wanted to explore scouse slang via the visual language of locally sourced typography.

I took photographs around Liverpool to source typography and drew up an extensive list of scouse slang with the help of some scouse friends. I wanted to contrast the informal nature of this language with the formality of dictionary-style definitions and synonymns.

I produced some large posters featuring some of my favourite scouse sayings using treated found type and an accompanying book. The book includes all the scouse colloquialisms I collated in a dictionary style, letter features and a section at the back which reveals the origins of the type featured. It is packaged in a screenprinted bag along with postcard versions of the posters.

Beast bound as a book

To see the rest of Beast use the link above.

Thank you Emily for showing me your work and thanks go to the Jelly organisers and the staff at Leaf who made us all so welcome. I’m looking forward to the next one.

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Responsive Design and responsive designers

Berthold Photosetter

Berthold Photosetter

I’m trying to get my head around Responsive Web Design. Not the easiest thing I’ve had to do. In my time I’ve gone from hot metal type, through mark-ups and photosetting and finally to computer-based design. Programs come and go and are upgraded along with Operating Systems and we designers just have to keep up. It’s like a marathon but you also have to second guess the turns in the road ahead as some will take you to a dead end. (Freehand, PageMaker).

Apple Computer Desktop

Apple Computer Desktop showing System 6

But don’t get me wrong as I’m not moaning here. This progress is truly amazing and to design a page that can be delivered from my screen to other desktop computers, laptops, pads and even smart-phones is comparable to the first pages coming off the Gutenberg press.

Ye olde printing press

Ye olde printing press

The critical point, I guess, is to design that page as well as you can by continually expanding your knowledge base in the hope that you arrive a suitable solution given the constraints you are working with, or as a famous athlete once said, “keep up”.

Responsive Design requires a fluid approach to design and to site building and that flexible mindset is the one to adopt if you want remain a designer in the twenty first century. It’s just that sometimes during this never ending marathon, you need a break… I know I do.

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Design on a budget

I’ve decided to add a page to this blog listing useful free resources, aimed at young designers on a budget. Don’t expect Quark and InDesign killers, but there really are some useful packages out there, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

If anyone out there reading this would like to add anything to the list, please let me know.

I’ll be adding to the list and improving the supporting comments as I find out more.

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Funding Sport and the Arts for 21 Years

FSA History Book Cover

I don’t usually use this blog to talk about the work our studio produces, but for this project I’m making an exception.

Gina (my partner) and I began working on this case-bound book back in September 2011 when we were asked by the Foundation for Sport and the Arts to design and produce a book celebrating their 21 year history.

FSA History Book Reflections page by Sir Tim Rice

Reflections section written by Sir Tim Rice

With privileged access to the FSA’s archive we drafted the story of the Foundation and it’s amazing work with Sports and Arts organizations and people up and down the country over the last two decades and more.

FSA History Book Timeline spead

The Timeline spread

The text pages were printed on Hello Silk, with Colorplan endpapers in Dark Grey and a dust jacket in Colorplan pale grey with a buckram finish. Silver foil blocking was added to both the dust jacket and the red leather cover itself.

FSA History Book cover foil blocking

Silver foil blocking on the Colorplan Pale Grey Buckram finished dust jacket

FSA History Book spread

A double page spread featuring Wilton’s Music Hall with pictures by Barry Hale

FSA Case bound book cover

The case-bound book cover with foil blocking

FSA History Book endpapers

Endpapers in Colorplan Dark Grey with the dust jacket and foil blocking

This project became something of a ‘Labour of Love’ for us. The limited edition book has been very well received and hopefully will be on the owners bookshelves and maybe coffee tables for many years to come.

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New Penguin English Library range

Penguin book covers

Just browsing in my local Waterstones and saw this display of the new Penguin English Library range. Beautiful cover designs and a refreshing change from so many ‘bestsellers’.

Penguin also have a very good little animation to advertise the range. Makes me want to buy the lot, but I don’t have the shelf space.

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Jonathan Ive gets knighthood

Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive (2009)

Ive began working for Apple in 1992 and it’s fair to say that his influence as a designer has been immense and the products he has been responsible for set new standards in industrial design.

To quote Dieter Rams on Apple in an interview with The Telegraph: I have always regarded Apple products – and the kind words Jony Ive has said about me and my work – as a compliment. Without doubt there are few companies in the world that genuinely understand and practise the power of good design in their products and their businesses. 

I’m glad to see a designer awarded in this way. Whatever you may think of the ‘honours system’.

For more on Jonathan Ive go here.

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Artists not Designers for London 2012

1972 Munich Games Poster Max Bill

1972 Munich Games Poster Max Bill

Twenty nine artists are commissioned to produce posters for the Olympic Games, Max Bill among them, but this is not the London 2012 Games, this happened back in 1972 for the Munich Games.

It was a success and made over 2 million Deutschmarks. Let us hope the twelve artists commissioned for the London posters can do as well.

2011 London Games Sarah Morris Big Ben poster

2011 London Games Sarah Morris Big Ben poster

It would have interested me to see what leading designers in the UK could have produced if they had been given the chance but maybe something put the organisers off that particular idea.

London 2012 logo

London 2012 logo

For more on the 1972 poster designs you can go here.

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