Octoblog

With our wiggly tentacles in many places, it’s interesting to reflect on what’s happening on the open seas of creativity. Check out our blog for musings and observations on design related matters and connect with us in the comments.

Demolition Man

This time three weeks ago, I was in Edinburgh speaking at a symposium devoted to critically exploring the influence, impact and legacy of Grace Jones as actor, model, musician, entertainer and icon. It was hosted by Edinburgh University's College of Art and was the second in an ongoing international series devoted to exploring the topic of ‘the iconic’, Grace Jones followed last year’s acclaimed Pet Shop Boys symposium where once again, academics and enthusiasts from across the world gathe...

Read More

Can graphic design save your life?

Last week I was in London for a few days and made a special trip to see the latest exhibition of The Wellcome Collection entitled Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? I'd read about the exhibition and because of the nature of what I do, it was an obvious draw. My answer to the question is an emphatic Yes! Graphic design can save lives. The exhibition goes on to show many of the creative and ingenious ways that design has been used over the years to distil complex information into a public friendly...

Read More

Red Frame/White Light

One of the wonderful things about the experimental electronic music of the late 1970s and early 1980s was just how wonderfully absurd some of subject matter was. In a bid to discard with the past and all its rock and pop clichés, virtually anything made for an acceptable lyrical theme. In many ways this made perfect sense; if one was using the cutting edge equipment of the day to beckon an impending digital future, it would be inappropriate to marry a tune to anything as mundane as another boy ...

Read More

History in the making

Liverpool has always been a great place for history - there's quite a story to tell and the many museums we have, do it with aplomb. For a relatively small city, we've got more than our fair share of these great places. I vividly remember visiting Liverpool Museum as a kid and being amazed by it. As an art student, I remember regularly visiting the Walker Art Gallery and spending hours staring at those massive oil paintings and the contemporary works that would always enthral as the John Moores ...

Read More

Still infected after all these years

I went to London last week to see a rare screening of Matt Johnson's 1986 video epic - 'Infected'. I haven't been to the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) since the early 1990s, so it was good to be back. We arrived just in time, after getting a bit lost, and my memories of this film didn't disappoint....

Read More

Vinicius and Tom

The 2016 Olympics is coming to an end this weekend, in Rio. I'm not a big fan of sports in general, but it's hard not to be seduced by the spectacle of it all, particularly when your home country manages to exceed all expectations. As one of the millions of spectators of this worldwide event, it's always interesting to see how design is used as a tool to promote, package and visually harmonise a huge global event....

Read More

The ins and outs of it all

Well, the day is almost upon us. The UK gets to decide its future in the European Union tomorrow. I started off about 70% leaning towards Vote Remain, the uncertainty of the alternative wasn't something that I could comfortably reconcile. As with anything I'm unsure of, I did some reading - a lot of reading, actually. I appreciate that facts will always come with a degree of bias, depending on what filter we choose to view them through, but it didn't take long for me to move that extra 30% to a ...

Read More

Colour to die for

Recently in the UK, all cigarette packaging brands have been stripped of their alluring design. Big Tobacco has always worked with top creative agencies across the world on lucrative deals to promote smoking in clever and creative ways. Times have become increasingly tough though for those who still choose to smoke themselves to death, as their weapon of choice has been gradually edged into the fringes of invisibility....

Read More

Back to the future

I design a lot of logos. I spend ages on them, pushing around every element - pixel by pixel, vector by vector. They're hard work, what often appears as deceptively simple, is usually the result of dozens of iterations and experiments. Preparing something that harmoniously sits together, with considered capacity for use in multiple formats across multiple platforms isn't something that can be automated or rushed. Good logo design is an art form for graphic designers....

Read More