Thursday, 8 October 2009


The objective of the graphics blog was to develop skills as part of ongoing cultural and creative development, by documenting inspirational aspects if our lives. The brief certainly made me more aware of what was happening around me, it enabled me to step out of the student bubble and get a fresh perspective on things, whether in the creative world or not. When I received this brief I aimed to collect inspiration from a variety of sources, and I have achieved that, from artists, illustrators and designers to being inspired by the symmetry found in my keep fit class. I have drawn my inspiration form lots of different sources and experiences as I was forced to confront design on a day to day basis, especially when it is involved in current news, for example my entry on the review on the ban of product placement.

I have learned a lot about myself as a designer from this brief, what inspires me, what I hate, and what I have a tendency to fall back on. What inspires me tends to be current issues, this is because I feel that I can have my say, and respond in creative ways to stories such as Boris Johnson selling Christmas to Disney or Jordan getting dropped from Asda’s breast cancer campaign. I have also learned that I have very strong opinions and it is difficult to maintain a professional critic when personal views can easily override objectivity, this made me realise that perhaps nothing creative is completely objective, as personality leaks into everything a creative does. Though this is often a good thing as enables designers to develop a certain style, and this is what distinguishes them in their feild. I feel that my personal design style has not fully been developed yet; this is evident in my blog as I often refer to what other artists or designers are doing. The designer that has interested me the most is Timorous Beasties, the textile designers who I discovered in August during a work placement. They have a very distinct style with a deep and almost tactile quality to some of their prints, I also love the subverted messages they present through their work, when looking at one thing you are often see something different entirely.

This brief was also a personal learning experience, I learned that I enjoyed putting my thoughts on paper, and it was intriguing to read other people’s experiences and opinions of the things I was blogging about. Responding to other peoples blogs was useful as I learnt what styles I most responded to and was therefore able to gain knowledge that would otherwise be unavailable to me, for example when people blogged about what they had seen abroad or simply something that I had overlooked. This also enabled to build up a wealth of knowledge and the Glog has become an excellent place to conduct research for other projects. What hindered my while blogging was my spelling, I know I am a poor speller, though often wrote straight onto the blogger without checking my spelling, and though blogging is an informal action, when reading back over my blogs I found I was annoyed that I hadn’t taken the extra time to spell check my work, this came off as unprofessional. Though the spelling was wrong on only a few occasions I became much more aware of this problem and will ensure all words are spelt correctly in the future.

My work has been affected by this as I am realising new techniques and approaches, it has made me consider both hand rendered design and more web based projects, I am now able to see that a variety of styles can be used to tackle design problems and just because something will be finally produced digitally does not mean that some element of hand rendered design can not be incorporated. I will try to branch out the style in which I communicate in future projects, I am now aware of far more research facilities that I will use in future projects, I will also aim to draw my research from a wide variety of sources, as I have done for my blog. This will enable me to come up with diverse results in final artworks.

My independent project topic “the language of design” has evolved from my blog, I found that I was particularly interested in what things were said to me, and how they were said, this is evident in many blogs, such as “Talk to me”, “It’s Timmy Time” and “The book thief”. I am planning to further research into how the language of design is created through both copy, tone of voice and typography, specifically the casual chatty language I discuss in “Talk to me”, and what would happen if the language of serious and chatty products were mixed up.

Overall I think that I researched a wide range of sources and critically evaluated them well. I particularly enjoyed writing about my observations of day to day life, my blogs “Call on me” and “The suits” particularly make me laugh, though I feel I have addressed interesting issues, it is in these observations that I feel my personality most comes across. I have done this because I think it is important for creative people to put their own stamp on the world and by commenting on the working world and aerobics, I have not only began to do that, but began to understand what my views are on certain traits of society. This will be an important skill to develop as it will be very useful after I graduate and join society as a creative.

The graphics blog has helped my to develop my creative personality as well as becoming more aware of issues surrounding design, this will be helpful in both future projects and in extra curriculum activities.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Talk to me

Writing about the language used in Timmy Time reminded me of an article I had read in September’s Creative Review by Gordon Comstock on the new chatty language used in design. He warns:

“Thanks to Innocent, chatty label copy has become ubiquitous. But imitators beware: it’s not so easy”

Comstock talks of the language of the label, the ‘use by’ the ‘serving suggestion’ and the ‘best before’, things that designers know, the stables to packaging design. But now, with this chatty style, a bottle says “hello”, “how you doing?”, the rules of packaging language have changed, and designers scramble to stay in touch with this new informal style as addressing the audience. Malmaison does it, Innocent definitely does it, filling labels with irony with chatty anecdotes. This certainly works for their brands, but what does it mean for the rest of design?

I for example don’t want medicine chatting to me before I take it. I want it to tell me, to instruct. Not to make me laugh, but is this the era of packaging we are being led into?
Though medicine is an extreme example, and I am fairly confident that it’s tone of voice will remain authoritarian for ever more, it is true that more and more brands are trying to engage us in conversation, a quick trip down a supermarket isle and your having half a dozen conversations with your cereal, your milk and your juice. Though this style suits many brands it is often my opinion that quieter is better. Just give me the information I need. But then again I am the type of person, who does not want to talk to the hairdresser as they chop away, and instead am happy in the comfort of knowing I am not involved in idle chatter which both of us don’t really want to be engaged in.

It's Timmy Time!

Today whilst looking for something acceptable to watch on TV (tryin my hardest to avoid GMTV) I stumbled across Timmy Time on CBBC (BBC2). I was about to flick staright for something even more senseless on perhaps a channel 4 variable when the animation caught my attention. The show is a spin off of Wallace and Gromit’s Shaun the Sheep. The animation style of Nick Park is continued in this children’s version, though a more colourful, and obviously more childlike style has been adapted for Timmy. This style of annimation is fun and accessible to every one, as the massive success of Wallace and Gromit shows. It is possible to adapt the style of clay modelling into many genres for advertising, design and animation, I would love to give this sort of thing a try and possibly incorporate it into future projects. It can also be a way to put across more serious messages in a different way, which perhaps would be more well recived.

What I also found really interesting about the animation is that none of the characters speak, well that is to say none of them actually say words. Instead they simply make the noises of the animals that they are. ( For example to owl simply says: “ Hoot Hoot HOOOOT Hoot!!”). This is perhaps for the benefit of the under 5 target audience which the show aims for. But I also find it raises an interesting question about language in design, as though no words are spoken the plot is easy to follow, and fairly witty when you put your own words to the sounds of the characters. This raises the question of how important language is in design, and with companies such as Innocent adopting a chatty tone of voice, how long before we give up on proper English altogether?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Jordan gets dropped

Jordan or as she now prefers to be known Katie Price has been dropped from Asda’s Breast Cancer Awareness campaign after she moaned on her T.V show that she hated the scars on her own breasts from her bouts of cosmetic surgery. This has caused uproar from breast cancer sufferers who found the comments she made both hurtful and offensive. This lead to her being dropped from the Tickled Pink campaign. One sufferer went event further to attack the phrasing of Adsa’s campaign “Tickled Pink”, saying she was definitely did not find her condition funny. I feel this is a bit extreme as Asda’s campaign is designed to raise money and awareness of the condition and certainly does not make light of it.

Jordan may be forgiven for the comments but firms will think twice about involving her in advertising campaigns in the future. This is what happens when celebrity endorsement backfires, especially when dealing with sensitive issues. However, Kate Moss came back fighting after her fall from advertiser’s grace.

Cadbury's goes Fair Trade

Cadbury has released a single and music video to accompany it to celebrate the chocolate becoming a completely Fair Trade product. The single, titled Zingolo is made in collaboration with Ghanaian music star Tinny, and the video directed by Ringan Ledwidge, and the video was shot in Ghana. This is because Ghana is at the heart of the fair trade industry, and I suppose this is Cadbury’s tribute to that fact. The project was created by Fallon advertising agency, who were also responsible for the Gorrilla and Eyebrow ads. This video follows the weird and wonderful standard exhibited by the other Cadbury adverts, however this runs just under five minutes. I love the concept that the adverts for the chocolate can be enjoyed just as much as the product its self. This opens the door to imagination, and perhaps the product is secondary to the advertising. With this idea you can do anything… and simply flash the product up at the end, a genius idea.

I have watched the video quite a few times now and though I like it something does not fit quite right with me. It’s great that this massive company has gone fair trade and used the country that inspired that change to advertise it. However, for me, this video is not up to the expected gorilla standards.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Bike Furniture

This amazing querky furniture has been made entirely from recyled (pardon the pun) bikes, from handle bars to tyres. The primary designer for this range Andy Gregg was inspired by his work on bikes and in bike shops. The furniture created is marketed as contemporary and comfortable, and would certainly be a statement piece in any living room. I love the way a passion for bikes can be turned into furniture, two seemingly totally different areas. It shows that a good designer can create something really interesting design wise for something everyday. The key to these designs is the designers love of the objects in the first place.

Great North Run

Today is the day of the Bupa Great North Run. An exciting day in itself, the run has become the most popular half marathon in all of the land, so I am told. And thousands of runners flock to the North to run over that famous bridge. This day however has a certain more excitment for me as the runners run across the bottom of my street. The days leading up to the event runners can be seen training and signs for road closures go up. It's an exciting time. The mood on the day is tangible and it is impossible not to smile as the runners jog past you. Standing in the crowd gives you such a buzz, I cannot imagine what you must feel running it (though I have considered it...then thought better of that idea).

As far as advertising, it's a dream come true for charities, who not only raise thousands of pounds via the runners but also get to splash their logos across T-Shirts and tents. It's such a positive place to be it seems the right thing to give to others. Other businesses also gain from their presence at the run, ice cream sellers being just one. A great advertising oppotunity, a great feeling and a great day out.