Typo is/

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Currently plotting the final year show of my degree. I’m project manager, curator and editor. Which means I am also exhausted… updates soon.

The website has been put together by the sickeningly talented Mr. Rich Cousins (www.richcousins.co.uk) – go check it out!!


Our private view is 30/06, 6- 9pm.

London College of Communication. SE1 6SB.

Please RSVP to events@lcc.arts.ac.uk.


If I see another pancake…I’ll probably eat it.

March 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Pancake day has (in my circle of friends at least) been labeled ‘a better celebration than christmas.’ And rightly so. Similarly to Christ’s birthday, I spent yesterday talking to people I didn’t know and stuffing myself silly, without having to endure the consumerist chaos or family disagreements. Perfect!

My day was mainly spent in The Shed of a new organisation called Out of the Ordinary of which I am currently producing the ‘brand’ graphics for. I got involved through Sophie Howarth – she of The School of Life fame – and plan to spend at least one day a week in their Whitechapel Shed for the foreseeable future.

OOTO takes inspiration from the up-cycling movement that has become so trendy of late, and makes it accessible to everyone. So people can donate unwanted materials or source stuff from the street and give it a new lease of life, like this:

The main space is a public shed in Whitechapel, which is currently being used as a test space before finding a permanent home. The community have already started filling it with wonderful stuff, which will only grow and grow as more people get involved. The idea is to have tools and space and creative ideas available to people who don’t want to fill their lives with machine made copies but own things that are original and well loved because they were crafted by the owner.

(Will and Hannah potting purple cabbage)

A small note.

February 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

I was thinking about logos and how detailed they have to be even if they are tiny. Zooming in on my application symbols I find Text Edit. Not just squiggly lines but actual prose. Good prose. And it is addressed to me. (weird) 

Dead Air Space?

November 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m currently writing a dissertation. Supposedly. But my extended vocabulary seems to have left the house and doesn’t look to be returning any time soon. I think she skipped out hand in hand with spelling and correct grammar. I hope they are all having a nice time together because their absence has made writing anything a back-breaking task. The thesaurus has never had so much attention. It then occurred to me that I haven’t written on this blog since July. It’s been a creeping – guilt ridden – neglectful sort of epiphany – I knew it but was slow to acknowledge the fact. Therefore a substantial amount of crap has accumulated around the plughole of my mind. Which is obviously what is coming out first when I do eventually bother to put digits to keys. Highly problematic.

It’s also pretty ungrateful of me to let this just sit here. Access to the internet is pretty common, yes. Anyone can set up a blog, yes. But some people don’t have access, or such an easy way of channelling their thoughts. Mr Dave Eggers made me think this. If you haven’t heard of the Ministry of Stories – look it up – they’ve just opened one in Hoxton.

And some bloggers have interesting things to share, yes. But most of it is just people talking to no-one, to themselves or to a small group of people, clogging up server space with regurgitated findings and thoughts. (I’m in this gang. It’s not exclusive but we all have rule over our own little patch. Which is weirdly comforting.) Optimists – yeah those kids – would claim it is also an unparalleled source of self reference, a permanent record of our lives. Which seeing as the next few months of my life are going to be either horrific or the most liberating I’ve ever had, (hopefully a bit of both – I’m a fan of balance) I should probably start documenting it.

Well that’s a couple of minutes of your life you are never getting back – now for the slide show…

This was August :

The start of a dissertation:

The beginning of the end:

When you get past ‘outrage’ and witty slogans, it’s just a bunch of kids that want someone to give them a chance. I’m part of the first generation in my immediate family to go to university. Now I will probably also be the last. As much as I think university has been a bit of a bad fit for me, I had the choice. Grateful doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I’ve also recently been looking at how we use (or misuse?!) public space:

(Personally I was expecting it to read: This is not a giant litter-tray. Without accounting for philistines and miserable bastards.)

Shuffling around second hand book emporiums:

And fishing out some beautiful letterpress:

On yer bike.

July 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

I am currently in the beautifully balmy bike-loving city of Copenhagen at CIID summer school lead by Matt Cottam of Tellart. A quick rundown:

Our first day involved analogue data visualisation.

Today we were service designing.

I wish all my design education had been like this.

An extreme fondness of post-it notes has also manifested itself.

More photos and notes to come..

(will include credits when I have everyones URLs.)

Do It Yourself. or Get Someone Better Than You Are To Do It: GSBTYATDI. Why did that not catch on?

May 29, 2010 § 2 Comments

The St Bride Foundation is the spiritual (and once physical) home of my college. St Bride Library specialises in collecting and preserving specimens of typography and printed ephemera. I have spent the last two days there at the St Bride DIY design conference, here are the highlights from day two…day one to be added later when I recover my notes…oops.

German typographic genius (why are they always German?!) Wolfgang Weingart was first of the day. His work mirrors the way he talks; methodical and considered. A student friendly presentation, he stated his main objective was ‘to give students courage,’ his favourite pre-cursor or conclusive statement being ‘for the students.’

Other pearls of wisdom hastily scribbled:

“Don’t speak too much. Don’t write too much. Do it.”

“Put air between the letters.”

“The paper stays the same, expectation changes every time, it is all about symphony.” (said in comparison to  a composer’s music sheet)

In order to have a profession…”you must have fascination and love, you must know why, you must learn history.”

“Have fun. Everything is an important stone in the mosaic”

“It is not necessary to design new letters. We have enough” (to a room of type designers. ha.) …..”We don’t need a luxury life with so many choices. It brings chaos.”

“I am proud that my work is timeless as I did not go with the fads and zeitgeist in type of the time.”

“Experimental is a stupid word. I create experiences. Experimental works are for science.”

And the one comment that will cement him as an absolute legend in my eyes:

“To say that the basics have no place in universities is idiotic. A musician must practice. Children must learn the language before they can speak it.”

Next was Teal Triggs on Zines. I’m always a fan of amateur endeavors and as Teal commented the ‘craft activism’ that seems to be arising from everywhere in the form of zines, guerrilla gardening, printing and blogging is quite encouraging as a reaction to the saturation of consumer crap. It’s also great to see the communities that form around these activities.

This was later proved by the makers of Manzine, a zine alternative to the lads mags and metrosexual journals that men have to choose from in the commercial market. Written by journalists of some of the most successful of the two commercial camps, it is witty, relevant and honest. With articles such as ‘Objects of disaffection’ in which writers rant about things like gravy boats and hand driers: a refreshing change to the gadget porn that always appears in sunday supplements – not everyone wants a widescreen T.V – ever considered that?! ‘Man’s best friend:’ a full page photo of a nice dog rather than some scantily clad ‘bird,’ ‘Thinking Man’s Crumpet;’ a feature on the best combination of baked goods, beverage and setting. Other absolute gem’s include ‘The Genealogy of a Grudge’ and ‘Maxims & Mediations from the Wise Old Barbour Jacket.’ My Dad would love it.

Petr Van Blokland (brilliant Dutch designer) is really into programming. I didn’t know this before. I do now. I have never programmed anything more than a freeview box so most of his presentation was sadly lost on me and many others in the audience, however he does (obviously) have some great insights into design.

“The problem is not getting ideas but getting rid of them”

He has developed something called The Design Game that to me sounds like a role play of service designing for students which is interesting and something that I will definitely be looking into. “It’s not about aesthetics but procedures”

“Do it yourself and keep it for yourself” (if you create a system that works for you.)

Lastly Alex Bec and Will Hudson of It’s Nice That fame. After trying to set up a design practise together they then invested time in a blog which has led to them setting up an agency in which they curate and act as project managers…So basically my dream job. To say I was listening intently is an understatement.

There was no plan. There is no plan. To reiterate; they never had a plan. Which is always how the best things start.

Their alternatives to DIY was DNY: Do Nothing Yourself and DID: Do It Differently.
DIY is the act of not being too precious with things.

So: get people involved who do things better than you do. Do things you have never seen or heard of before.

They choose content that would otherwise get lost in the ether if It’s Nice That didn’t exist. They don’t pick things CR or Eye are already covering. They offer a unique resource.

I have often questioned a need for the magazine but the boys fully justified the decision as obviously they need to make some money, they wanted to go into greater detail with some interviews and most of the work they feature is made to be viewed in print so why not show it as it is supposed to be seen. Also the magazines act as a good archive and reference point rather than trawling through the blog.

Affable chaps and clever with it. Nice indeed.

TBC…day one to follow shortly…

The philosophies of Elephant and Castle

May 24, 2010 § Leave a comment