One habit I'm trying to foster is regular drawing practice. So I picked up a pen and sketchbook, and faced with a blank page I reverted back to the drawings of animals I used to do as a child. I ended up sketching a variety of animals I love or have connections to, in this very unlikely menagerie.Read More
While probably a little late to the party in my admiration for this arttist (her 6th solo album 'The Silver Globe' was topped the Piccadilly Records Albums of 2014 list), but I am really enjoying her album and this song especially stays resolutely stuck in my head (in a good way).
I'm very much looking forward to catching her at Sounds From the Other City in Salford on 3 May 2015.Read More
These boards jumped out at me through the constant hustle that is Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester City Centre. The very un-gardeny Gardens (it's a historical name) has a reputation for being fairly grey despite the best efforts to keep the grass verdant and there being some real trees, not just metal ones. But these adverts, even with their restricted colour palette, cut through the people, the trams, the ads, and the concrete and made me whip out the phone to capture them.Read More
I am well aware of the expected failings of a 'New Years Resolution'- give up drinking, chocolate, smoking, lose a stone, find a new job- all common and all with a high likelihood to fail. But I do like the structure and opportunity that a new year brings- like starting a new note book or sketch pad- it has the potential to be anything you can stretch your brain to. Admittedly, in January, the brain is not necessarily at it's most limber after the holiday season's over-indulgence of rich food and non-taxing TV.
Therefore, this year, as last year really, I see it as an opportunity to set out a statement of intent for myself, or just a big, vague to-do list for the year. While I'll not go into the full details of this 'big plan' (and give away all my secrets!?) the main driver behind this is to 'know more'.Read More
...and Blackpool's rise in my estimations
I'm pleased to say my view of the much maligned seaside destination has improved somewhat. Part of this is how much better it looks in sunshine- if the Blackpool Borough Council could only control the weather for some of the time, I think it's troubles would be over. Secondly, the beach and sea were a lot cleaner than I remembered or expected, meaning a stroll across the beach on the water's edge was really exceptionally pleasant, if not for the biting wind coming off the Irish Sea. The third reason for my current extolling of the Lancashire resorts virtues, is The Comedy Carpet. I had been told about this while chatting at a recent BLAB Talk and made a mental note to check it out (thanks Ben).Read More
Erik Kessels is a man after my own heart as far as his love for flea markets is concerned. But more than just a shared love of whiling away many hours searching for unknown treasures, there were other things he spoke of which struck a chord with me. Having set up KesselsKramer out of the frustrations of having to continually compromise their work while in big ad agencies, he now maintains to have never produced work he hasn't liked.Read More
An inspiring day, with my highlights being the exuberant Morag Myerscough and the sage-like Adrian Shaughnessy.Read More
This, in case you're from the Moon, is Ms Pac-Man. Built from corrugated cardboard, mount board, newspaper, glues of many kinds, paint, tapes of many kinds and some foam and felt for comfort. It was a prize winning costume, due to, as usual, me not realising the scale of effort I'd gone to, compared to everyone else. Despite it being the scourge of my life (certainly the scourge of my living room) for a few weeks, I became quite attached to it. She was a party hit, and I was implored to not throw her away, so she now greets me with her toothless grin at the top of my stairs of the way to bed each night.Read More
After a library reservation came in, I went to pick up Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. Sub-titled 'The Power of Thinking without Thinking', I first came across this title a while ago while researching what our unconscious eye sees, from a designer's perspective. Even from my early art classes, I was taught about rules of composition, the rule of thirds, and later on the golden ratio et al and now it is without thinking that I arrange things in odd numbers rather than even where possible as it pleases the eye without, without the person knowing they like it better for that reason. These can be powerful tools and I wanted to find out as much as I could around this subject. While I understood just from the blurb alone that this wasn't the exact direction the book goes in the general power of our unconscious reactions interests me greatly.Read More
So I am a little behind with commenting on this campaign, the humongous billboard near Exchange Square in Manchester where I first really noticed it has long since changed, but I'll crash on regardless. The Kellogg's Rice Krispies Squares, It's all Lies campaign by ad agency Leo Burnett gets a big thumbs up from me. Firstly I like the visuals, the candy bright colours, 50s retro typography and screen print effect are pleasing to my eyes, they're not new, you're tripping over digitally created 'screen print' block colours on poster blogs and design sites, I've created a few myself, but that's doesn't mean it's not right for the job. To me it is fitting the bill for being simple, eye-catching in keeping with the feel of the product. And of course, as Alan Sugar always reminds his hapless contestants- you need a product shot, and this has a mega, in your face shot, but together with the bold colours and shapes it doesn't look at aggressive.
But I think even more than the cute, perky stripes and speech bubbles, it's the concept behind the campaign that made me want to express my appreciation. If you think of the product- it's not quite cereal bar, not chocolate bar, not something I think I'd ever suddenly sit up and decide I really fancied. So going away from the product is a good move in my eyes, no need to avoid the pesky health issue or what time of day the target market is supposed to be consuming said confectionery. When the product came to the UK market and was named 'Squares' there was obviously someone involved who had that slightly twisted sense of humour to call a cuboid, a square, so in a way, how have they taken so long to successfully revisit this concept?
It's cheeky and it must have liberating for the creators to be able to do all the things you'd love to do to promote a product (i.e. say it can change for life and is better than sliced bread, the moon landing and a Wonka bar) and get away with it with that little snapping tagline, It's all lies. A lot of us cynically think that most of what we see and hear across the media is a bunch of bobbins anyway, so why not go with the flow, and make it funny at that?
Nice little look at the colours used in a selection of major web presences too- there is of course a lot of blue- they obviously all want to seem trustworthy and secure. Although they (Facebook) probably need to make sure the actual product is as such to begin with. The latest Facebook uproar surrounding the automatic face recognition software that was switched on without being announced and without notice given to user to opt out beforehand. I do think that is unacceptable, and not for the first makes me question the information I have 'out there'. By now, it's too late, and of course, most of what's out there I do want there. Google my name and you get images of my work (although probably not my best bits at the top) and my CV- which is I don't think can hinder me in my quest for career progression.Read More
This little piece of wizardry by Alexander Chen uses New York subway routes to pluck out notes when the 'trains' cross, with the sound depending on length etc. Read More
I wouldn't want to even try to understand the technicalities of it and it's not going to change the world, but I think it's lovely!
Take a look at it in action here.
You've got to love this track of Gil Scott Heron's remixed by Jamie from The XX, finding it quite hypnotic and feel like you'd be happy if it just continued on and on!Read More