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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Art on your sleeve

I've always felt a big connection with, and between art, design and music. My day job may well be pushing pixels around a screen, but while I do it there is inevitably music playing. One thing feeds the other. As a teenager, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to be a pop star or a graphic designer but opted for the latter, I never could sing and my keyboard skills are fairly limited. The connection between music and design was forged very early for me, when I developed a fascination with the design of record labels. My Mother still recounts tales of me as a four year old with my head under the lid of the record player, hypnotised by the colours of the spinning disc label as much as the music coming from the speakers. Continue reading

Pop songs and postcards

This was a nice job. Late last year I was asked to come up with a concept for a calendar that would engage with, and inform NHS staff of important health messages. Rather than the usual information based approach, I proposed we use song titles that would hopefully get into people's heads and possibly even generate discussion. One for each month. These were of course backed up with short pieces of information. I mooted the idea of a competition where staff would be encouraged to name who sang each of the twelve songs to win iTunes vouchers. Just getting people to read this stuff is an achievement, so a competition is always a good way of gauging interest. Continue reading

End of an era

Before I set up Soft Octopus Design Studio I worked for an NHS Trust in Liverpool managing a very creative design studio where we developed a lot of groundbreaking public health materials. I could see the writing on the wall as toxic overbearing politics seeped into the system, eventually engulfing the whole of the NHS with the new coalition government. I was lucky to escape when I did. On the 31 March 2013, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) will no longer exist, and it makes me feel quite sad.  I was really happy working at Liverpool PCT with a lot of very committed and professional people. Continue reading

Logo a-go-go!

It's been a while since I've updated this blog, I feel bad. It's been a busy few months personally and professionally with Christmas, year end deadlines and the hideous tax return which is always the last nail in the coffin for any festive overspill of joy. My idea with this blog was that it should fill in the gaps, allowing me to shine a light on smaller pieces of work or areas of interest that didn't quite fit into my main website and online portfolio. The reality, however is that I usually end up getting so bogged down with the day to day delivery of design and creative commitments that I rarely get around to actually doing what I should. Continue reading
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