Ooh aah… just a little bit

Regular readers and anyone who knows me will know I like a bit of Eurovision. Keep reading, it's interesting, honestly... It's not just about the music, it's always fascinated me to observe how the host country decides to present the show. The staging, the songs, the cameras and all the obvious things are immediately evident but as a designer, it's the smaller details that I enjoy scrutinising. Like any major event or corporation, Eurovision has a strict set of visual guidelines that are always at the heart of any localised identity that countries must use. This identity incorporates the main logo, its supporting heart graphic device, which fonts can be used and how flags should be used with the main logo etc. Continue reading

Enough is enough

When I design materials for clients I invariably end up rewriting the wording they've given me. People can at times lose the meaning of what they're wanting to say by dressing it up in redundant and superfluous verbiage (AKA pointless waffle). Any design I produce will suffer if the supporting written content is poor, so I see it as my duty, a little bit of added value if you like. Continue reading

It’s a dog’s life

Being an altruistic philanthropic mini misanthrope (try saying that after a couple of drinks) that works alone most of the time, it's lovely having the company of a beagle in the studio. It's also good when you can do your bit for a good cause. Beagles are known for their trusting, placid nature, they are pack hounds that crave company and hate being left alone. Sadly, this is why they're also used for experimentation. The relationship works well for both of us, I sit at my Mac working away on design, film, music, photography, writing or whatever happens to be the priority and Ruby the beagle sits behind me. Most of the time she just snores, happy to be close to me and I'm happy to have her there. Continue reading

Detail is important

In my last blog entry I mentioned that I had recently been commissioned to audit the brand identity of an organisation. In my design proposal, which is now being implemented, I cast a critical eye over all of their material and put forth a constructive series of creative proposals to improve things. It is the grander gestures that are most noticeable; using great photography instead of nasty clip art, or being consistent with a restrained colour palette instead of using everything in the Pantone book. Continue reading

Evolution not revolution

It's not uncommon for me to be asked by clients to design a new logo for their business. That probably doesn't come as a surprise considering I am a graphic designer and specialise in this sort of thing. What may be surprising is that I often ask Why? This is a common question that I ask myself constantly with design; why are you doing it in this particular way, what is it adding and is there a better way? Graphic design is all about solving problems and to do this, a lot of questions inevitably need to be asked and various approaches explored. Continue reading

Things you don’t see very often these days #01

Here's a blog entry that is the first in an occasional series entitled Things you don't see very often these days. I always liked brightly coloured plastic things. As a child, in the days before Alessi and other manufacturers produced designer trinkets in lurid hues, I collected bits and pieces of throwaway ephemera like some pre-pubescent Pantone magpie. I was making my toast this morning and opened a loaf of bread where I saw something I've not seen in a while. Continue reading

Putting the ‘art’ in cartoon

It's hard to work out why I ended up doing what I do, what leads us to where we end up? People, parents, peer pressure or any other things that perhaps don't even start with the letter 'P'? I think I've mentioned in a previous blog entry that I was always fascinated by records, the labels, the way they spin around, the sleeve art and even the vinyl itself with those occasional secret messages etched into the run out groove. There was always something alluring and mysterious about records for me and I will admit to occasionally buying things just because I liked the sleeve design. This could be one of the reasons I ended up being a graphic designer, even if I never got to design a record cover :-( Continue reading

Brown paper packages, tied up with string…

Christmas is less than a week away, it's the season of goodwill to all and the annual peak of epic consumerism. The city centres and suburban shops are filled with desperate shoppers and we must all do our part to keep the economy afloat. Cynicism aside, I do like Christmas, It's a time to wind down and see friends and family, the giving and receiving of gifts is an extra that I can give or take. Continue reading