Ooh aah… just a little bit

What's not to like about the Eurovision Song Contest? It comes around every May and brightens our lives with eclectic sounds, visuals, performances and dance. The quality ranges from tragic to terrific and anyone willing to suppress snobbish musical opinions can usually find at least one gem amongst the 40+ international offerings. As a graphic designer, I always look forward to seeing how the host country will take the static Eurovision logo and build on it to reflect their own culture and identity. Continue reading

Dutch Lawn

I have always been interested in music, I remember getting bought a tiny Casio VL-Tone when they came out and thinking I was the fifth member of Kraftwerk or John Foxx Junior. My musical career however was never meant to be, even though I wrote plenty of songs and even did a couple of gigs which were thankfully in the days before people could film things and put them online for everyone to see - for eternity. Continue reading

Write here, right now

With so many fonts to choose from, one often forgets about the simplest of them all - your own. We all have our own unique font, and just like our fingerprints, it's unique. It's also perfect for many jobs. Before the design industry became computerised and while I was studying design in the 1980s, I used my handwriting for a lot of design work. This continued when I was employed as a graphic designer and the only alternative was transfer lettering, Letraset etc. My first major public health campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness was all written by hand and can be seen in a previous blog entry. Continue reading

All is calm, all is bright

It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid... or so the song goes. I like this time of year, the miserable weather is counter-balanced by the mirth and merrymaking of festivities and we can forget it's Winter, if only for a few weeks while we bask in the coloured lights and enjoy a much needed holiday. Business-wise, it's been a great year for Soft Octopus, the business has grown a little and the happy clients keep coming back for more. Personally however, I've never known a year filled with such sadness, loss and ill-health of those I hold near and dear Continue reading

Sprechen sie Geek?

I’m just back from a trip to Hamburg. I went to see a show called “Stylectrical” at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe. This interesting exhibition explored the complex process of industrial product design in the context of cultural studies. It focused primarily on the industrial design of products by Apple and Braun, mainly by Jonathan Ive and Dieter Rams respectively. Continue reading

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day, not that you would know from the TV coverage, have you seen any mention of it? World AIDS Day was observed for the first time on 1 December, 1988. So much has changed since the early days of HIV/AIDS or GRID or HTLVIII as it's been called over the years, but so many things remain the same. Continue reading

Getting sniffy

So, COMME des GARCONS are about to release a new fragrance on the world. I like the way this company works. I admire their approach and aesthetic. I like that they have always done their own thing, regularly working with artists and musicians to cut against the grain of fashion trends, and I like that they have prevailed as a result. Continue reading

Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

I woke today to the sad news that Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple inc. had died. He'd been ill for a while and had had major surgery as a result of pancreatic cancer but it was still a shock. I never met him and by all accounts he was tricky to work with; a ferocious attention to detail and demand for perfection made him as feared as he was respected. I think on balance, I respected him. Immensely. Continue reading