Thursday, 8 October 2009


Keeping a blog is not something I would have thought of as being helpful to the design process, but it has really helped me focus my thoughts and ideas. I approached this blog as a memory bank of things that I find interesting, funny and relevant and tried to regularly update it. Some of the thing I posted I have come across recently, such as the £45 pound horror move called Colin, and others are things that I have known about for a while and have stayed with me, such as the Betty Pepper jewelry and books, which I saw in an exhibition in Birmingham about 5 years ago.

I have had the good fortune to travel a bit this year as I have just returned from a year abroad in America. That coupled with the frequent trips I like to take to France has played a key role in some of my posts. Whilst in America I was exposed to new ways of creating images and type, such as using the photocopier, letter-pressing, screenprinting and photography. This helped me develop as a designer and move away from solely computer based work and using illustrator when I can't get images I want myself. This lead to some posts about alternative image generations such as Photocopier art.

Whilst I was away I also focused a lot of book design. I looked at and designed a wide range of books and really enjoyed it. It was interesting to see that a number of my earlier posts where to do with Book design and book making. The variety and range of books is fascinating to me, and I now have a keen interest in Book design and would love to explore this are further. I was interested to see how other designers had pushed this medium further and made dioramas, coffee table lamps and jewelry cases from them, 'Su Blackwell', 'Light up' and 'Betty Pepper'.

Product design is another area that I found really interesting had not initially planned on exploring. I found it really interesting to see how designers had changed the appearance and in some cases function of a product to make users think about it in another way. In particular 'Bright Idea', where audiences were encouraged to Think and write down their ideas no matter where they were. It made me laugh and it made me think about the multiple uses for products and how some things can have many functions and how things can be altered to fit a purpose the weren't initially designed for.

Film was another area that I explored and I really enjoyed as I love watching Film but don't always critique them from a design prospective. I was surprised by some of my choices but felt that what I chose to show were examples of things that appealed to me cinematically. This is evident as one of the films I looked at "Life is Beautiful" inspired my Extraordinary Ordinary Project. I also found that film crossed into other mediums, particularly Type for instance in the music videos "Do your thing" and "Good Life".

Typography is not an area that I usually feel particularly confident about but I was gratified to see some comments on this subject. The Typography Pop Up book is one that I really enjoy, because in my Type classes we really focused on the mechanism of type and how type is constructed to appear unified and coherent. So the letter m is formed using the letter n, in a similar way the letter r and n are related as they are formed in a similar way to each other. In this way all letterforms are linked an reflected in each other.

Advertising was a fun topic to explore. It is interesting to see the original ideas and angles advertisers approach problems from and the fun solutions they come up with. I noticed this in other peoples posts, including Alex Rennies on Charity logos and how inventive they have to be,and his packing design post on chocolate. Also in the post 1+1=3 advertising through body language, the discussion on advertising in real-life shed light on how advertisers are getting away from conventional methods and really pushing the boundaries of sponsorship and promotion.

Design was more of a reflexive subject area for me. I looked at aspects of design personal to me, from knitting, to bad design, to things that I've seen that interest me. I also did a blog post of Neil deGrasse Tyson an Astrophysicist who included a section on bad design in nature, that explores the idea of just how evolved natural design in. As designers we are always looking to nature for inspiration and guidance on good efficient design, yet Neil deGrasse Tyson argues that nature is the exact opposite of intelligent design and points out key areas of Stupid design mistakes that no modern designer would make.
Graphics/Artworks and Animation really focused my mind on designers and styles that I liked and admired. I am really interested in illustration and favour simplicity over complex and difficult. I liked areas of design where alterations and effects were subtle and had great impacts, such as "When designers get bored", here slight alterations went a long way in changing he message. Similarly "Inner Child" switched a well known phrase to apply new meaning to the museum experience. Similarly "Animator Vs Animation 2"
plays with the well known visual language of the Microsoft Interface and creates an amazing animation that explores the everyday symbols and logo we encounter and disregard.

This blog has made me open my eyes to what I encounter everyday and pay attention to what I like and dislike abut it. I have used many resources to gather this archive, from Tv, Cinema, Newspapers, Books and Internet. I enjoy recording my findings and hope to continue with this blog as it has been and will be a useful resource in my work.

Arcade Fire

This is a 3D computer animated video produced for Canadian rock band Arcade Fire by Plates Animation.


Marumiyan is a Japanese Graphic Artist whose strong cultural influence is evident in his work, yet still modern and exciting. In particular I love his use of colour although I think his subject matter is a little cliched, floral, fauna and the feminine form have been done numerous time, but I think he brings something new to the theme, though I definitely prefer his edgier work. He is saved from blandness by his excellent use and understanding of colour.

War and Peace

War and Peace is a poster by Kentaro Nagai as part of his collection "Piece together for Peace". Nagai has done similar works, for instance Twelve Animals is a collection that shows different Countries of the world arranged like animals. This body of work has come from his concern about the direction humanity is taking. He views the economic crisis as a unique time for human kind to take stock and make changes to our way of life. I really like his imaginative use of the map to recreate a human skull, aside from the politics behind the work I think it is a good lesson in how looking at everyday objects in a new way can lead to creative and inventory ideas.

Inner Child

I was on the D and AD website looking at some of the winning entries sent in from last year and this poster caught my eye. I liked its simple and clear message and its use of colour, but what really grabbed my attention was the copy. I always find that the best copy plays on everyday language that we encounter. My subverting the usual "All children must be accompanied by Adults" phrase that we usually see in amusement parks etc and switching it to "All Adults must be accompanied by inner child", its appealing to the playful side and changes your view on enetering the museum from serious to enjoyable.

Designer Paul Pateman


Here are some fantastic billboard adverts that really push the medium and exploit the size and location for maximum impact.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Bad design

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American Astrophysicist and Atheist and charismatic television personality. He makes the argument that whilst we always extoll the virtues of nature and how cleverly it is designed, in actual fact there are many significant flaws in the design of nature that any intelligent designer would never make. He makes some quite interesting points, and is very humourously put. My favorite is his argument that sex and excretion occur in the same area, and hat no intelligent designer would put an entertainment area right next to a sewage system.