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.

The Pleasure Principle

Yesterday I visited Tate Liverpool to see the much publicised René Magritte exhibition - 'The Pleasure Principle'. Very pleasurable it was too. The show focuses on the less explored aspects of Magritte’s life and artistic practice, and on themes including the artist’s use of pattern and artifice, ideas and revelation, and visual fracture and eroticism. The exhibition also investigates the relationship between Magritte’s painterly work and commercial design, and the inspiration he drew fro...

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The old and the new

In 1993 someone suggested The Landmark Trust's historic holiday properties to me, time out in the countryside with no TV and only the sounds of nature and my friends for company, a lovely idea. I did this and became hooked. I love living in a city and couldn't live without my technology and the things that being in a city provides. Equally, I can't imagine not having such wonderful places to escape to. I try to head off at least twice a year to a Landmark Trust or Vivat Trust property with sele...

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I can see a rainbow

So many projects I work on come with their own set of guidelines that dictate what colours, fonts and images should be used, so it's refreshing when you get something where you can play. The Dao collaborative is a Soft Octopus client that comprises professionals from the public, private and voluntary sectors offering consultation around training, service improvement and strategy development....

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Sometimes no words are right

It's always hard when people you know die. It's never easy, and even when their passing is remembered as a celebration of what's been achieved, it always cuts me up. There are never words to adequately encapsulate what's being felt. The hardest deaths are the ones that come from out of the blue, instantly and when you least expect....

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Then and now

In 1957 a new school was built on farm land in a rural part of Liverpool called Gateacre. In the late 1970s I went there for 5 years. It wasn't rural anymore and the only roaming animals were us - the pupils. It is said that school years are the best years of your life; even in hindsight with my rose tinted glasses on and my nostalgiometer turned up to full I can't say this is true....

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Keep calm and Kare on

As a geek and a graphic designer I have to be a fan of Susan Kare, It's written in the secret graphic designer's code of conduct handbook. She is the woman who designed the original icons for the Macintosh operating system (and some for Microsoft too, but we won't mention those). Anyway, designing an icon that works at such a tiny size in a very low resolution that also looks great when enlarged is no easy thing. ...

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Another little Jing thing.

This piece probably won't make it into my online portfolio because it's only small but it's cute. I have lovely clients in Brighton called the Jing Institute of advanced massage and training. Right now I'm working on some design bits for their new website with Mark Jones a...

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Manners maketh the man (and woman)

If you have seen the Soft Octopus website, you'll know we're a small but perfectly formed creative studio. I can't do everything and know there are people who are better photographers, musicians, film makers and web folk out there. I can do all of these things (a bit) but know that graphic design is where I excel. Collaboration is key and also fun - as long as you choose the right...

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Everyman, gone but not forgotten

The Everyman Theatre on Hope Street opened in 1964 and has been home to some of the most inspiring, urgent, enjoyable and socially aware theatre of the last five decades....

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