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.

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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.

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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.

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  • Blog
  • April 28, 2014

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.

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  • April 9, 2014
Erasure

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 🙁

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  • February 21, 2014
Pet Shop Boys Electric

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.

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  • Blog
  • December 20, 2013
World Octopus Day

Bet you didn’t know that…

Today is World Octopus Day, a good reason for a blog entry. Did you know that an octopus has three hearts and can lay up to 100,000 eggs in one go? In English, the plural is octopuses, the greek plural is octopedes. Octopi, whilst commonly used is actually incorrect. These and lots more interesting facts can be found in this lovely information graphic produced by the US National Aquarium www.aqua.org.

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  • Blog
  • October 9, 2013
Transfer Lettering

Transfer/Transform

I recently saw a company name I have not seen in a long time – Letraset. Who remembers them? I guess that design students now would have no reason to even know what Letraset once was? For me, as much as I do not miss it one bit, Letraset did help to hone my eye for good typography and is what made me the font pedant I am today.

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Independent Liverpool

Soft Octopus Design Studio is the private design practice of me, Andrew Dineley. I set it up half a decade ago because after many years working as part of a massive organisation I got fed up with the bureaucracy and management bullish*t my creative team increasingly had to endure.

The profit before people thing never sat well with this old(ish) socialist, if people are nice enough and have a good enough case I occasionally even do design work for free. I work with lots of small, local businesses as well as non-profits in the health, charity and social care sectors.

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  • July 31, 2013

From club to catwalk

Shoulderpads, hairspray, loadsamoney and yuppies, the 1980s is guilty of some serious cultural and fashion faux pas – but that’s not the way I remember it. Get past the garish brashness and the enduring creativity in the music and fashion is clearly evident. There is an inevitable prejudice for the 1980s – a decade that is within memory and not quite far away enough to be hallowed and respected, yet.

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