Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Build a Rocket Boys!

For the Man Candy's birthday i managed (with the help of a well connected friend) to procure some tickets for the Elbow gig in Manchester last Friday. The entire crowd seemed to visibly fall in love with Mr Garvey a thousand times over, his voice was fantastic.
This was the set...

The Birds
The Bones of You
Lippy Kids
With Love
Neat Little Rows
The Night Will Always Win
Great Expectations
Grounds For Divorce
The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver
Puncture Repair
Some Riot
Weather to Fly
Open Arms

Station Approach
One Day Like This

Monday, 28 March 2011

A Bit of Neglect

This bit of space, tucked away neatly in a dark corner of the internet was left a bit neglected last week. Sorry. It was a tough week, work, stomach bugs and birthdays left little time to keep up to date here. Time for a fresh start this week; the daffodils are out, the sun is shining, there are only two weeks left till the Easter holidays (how fast did that go?!) and i've made myself a little promise to get my head down and power through for a fortnight, whilst paying a bit of much needed attention to this bit of space.
Have a good week my lovelies, work hard!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Books, Books, and more Books

And sadly not enough time to read them. Just to look at the design of their covers. This project is really taking over my life, so i thought i'd post some of the lovely covers i've been looking at for inspiration. Coralie Bickford-Smith is a bit of a new found hero.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Monday Blues Cure

Milkshake/Smoothie Ingredients: 
Raspberries, dark chocolate, milk, greek yoghurt & a tiny dash of sugar
Good call Man Candy

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Swing Theory

On Thursday i had a bit of a design related meltdown. I am not proud of this. I tend to pride myself on being quite a level headed person, so Thursday came as a bit of a shock, mostly for those who witnessed me groaning loudly and slamming into various things (buses, children, small dogs...). After stomping about for a good 20 minutes with no direction in life, i was taken by a nameless companion (who probably felt more obliged than willing) to have a swing in the park. Swings seemed like a good idea.
I hadn't been on a swing in a long time, but i was distracted immediately by the fact that they're made smaller. The chains now offer a very snug fit which i decided to see as comforting, rather than adding insult to injury. I had another moan, then threw caution to the wind and swung madly. It lasted for about a minute, before i felt thoroughly nauseous and had to stop for fear of vomiting on my companion. I looked over at her feeling slightly embarrassed about my motion sickness, to realise that she had stopped also. My entire design meltdown was forgotten straight away, a new more troubling thought had taken over my brain. When did i get too old for swings??

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Project 2.5: Specification

**New Brief**

This brief is about book cover design; more specifically it's about branding a series of books as a visually coherent set. This brief is also intended to get you thinking about the expectations of target audiences and how to engage that audience without resorting to cliches. You are expected to develop a series of predominantly typographic approaches for the following set...

Brave New World: Aldous Huxley (1932)
Nineteen Eighty Four: George Orwell (1949)
Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury (1953)
A Clockwork Orange: Anthony Burgess (1962)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


I would love to pay another visit to R.S.V.P in Berlin to stock up on writing paper

I had the luxury of a bit of a day off this weekend. Sunday was spent plodding through ideas for my new project (more on that to follow shortly) which was done at such a leisurely pace it didn't seem taxing. I also had a 40 minute cat nap in a sunny spot, and i wrote a letter. Letter writing is one of my favourite things. I love the whole process of thinking up what to say, the beautiful stationery, trying to keep writing neatly and in straight lines, and then the couple of days of anticipation while your note gets carried across the county, or world. I think letters are becoming a bit of a lost art what with email and texts (which i do use constantly). For a while, maybe over the summer, i would love to pick out some lovely stationery with matching envelopes, and perhaps a new pen, and spend days writing letters. I love  receiving them too, do you ever try and guess who a letter's from just from the handwritten address on the envelope? I do. I wish i had more spare time to enjoy writing a good letter, they're not really something you can rush. I think that's what i quite like about them, they force you to slow down.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Edible Hug

I would be willing to bet you large amounts of money i don't have, that these brownies will be the best, (or at least will be level pegging with the best) that you have ever tasted. The recipe has become a bit of a staple in our household, and i'm fairly sure that they are the only sure fire way of instantly making you feel better. They are an edible hug. They are perfect served slightly warm, when they've just come out of the oven, or with a coffee at 11am at the weekend. The recipe started off as a Jamie Oliver one, but over the years it has become more and more our own, with additions and alterations after years of testing. Here's the recipe...

60g Dark Chocolate
3 tbsp Golden Syrup
75g Lard
2 Large Eggs
200g Caster Sugar
125g Pecans or Walnuts, broken into pieces
95g Plain Flour (we use wheat free, so that the difficult half of the family can enjoy them too)
1tsp Baking Powder
A Pinch of Salt

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C
2. Grease a 20x20cm baking tin using lard, then cut a square of greaseproof paper to fit in the bottom.
3. Melt the chocolate, syrup and lard in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until light in colour and texture.
5. Add in the melted chocolate mixture, and sieve in the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the walnuts or pecans, being careful not to over-mix.
6. Spread evenly into the prepared tin, and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares and eating.
Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

I am a Bucket & Spade...

For the past two days i've spent more time in the studio than anywhere else. Ian Anderson has been running a workshop for 14 of us and it's been pretty intense. Yesterday he asked us to create a self portrait of ourselves as graphic designers, without drawing ourselves, or using our name. The brief took me completely by surprise, i hadn't expected to have to think about myself. He was trying to highlight the importance of knowing who you are as a designer, which is something i feel like i haven't had time to think about at all lately. I decided to draw my self portrait as a bright orange bucket and spade. It represented how i feel as a designer at this moment in time, shovelling choice bits of what i'm learning into a mix to try and create a stand alone structure, or piece of work, whilst highlighting the importance of trial and error. 
Really demanding two days, but very rewarding. 

Monday, 7 March 2011

Return of the Country Mouse

i wish i could run away and work here
When i first starting blogging, i wrote a post about flitting between living in the city and the countryside. On Friday i made the executive decision to take myself back to the countryside. I was feeling slightly overwhelmed with the amount of work i have at the moment, and the chaotic pace of city life wasn't helping. The house was empty when i got there, my parents were off yomping in Switzerland until yesterday. Because of this, the heating and hot water had been turned off and the fridge was empty. The stillness of the countryside acted as a bit of a comforting blanket, and with very few distractions, i got down to the task in hand. I came out of solitary confinement yesterday afternoon and feel like things are slightly more in perspective, now that i've had a bit of time to re-group and re-focus. This week is going to be a busy one.

Friday, 4 March 2011

World Book Day

How did you celebrate? Yesterday at uni, a drop-in workshop was being run that took you through the stages of book making. We watched the pages being printed on the off-set litho machine, then we letterpressed our front covers, and the Lucy May Schofield showed us how to bind. It was such a nice idea, and everyone came out with a finished book to keep. Makes me a appreciate the facilities we have at uni, and want to use them more, especially since they're constantly under threat.

Happy World Book Day!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Renaming Mr Anderson

A while ago i posted about an optional brief we were given by the designer Ian Anderson. He was going to pick 14 of the submissions to work with over a series of workshop sessions. This was my response for an A1 poster that renames him:

I was lucky enough to get picked 

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A New Month

I always forget how quickly February seems to pass. Do you still get that little flicker of excitement that you'd get at school, when you write the date and it's a new number for the month? I do a bit. The third month of the year has started well, yesterday was a beautiful day. I walked to the shops at about half four, and the sun was very much still up and shining, and it was warm enough not to need a coat. Quite a big contrast to Berlin. It was that lovely sort of temperature that makes you want to swing your arms back and forth whilst you walk, although not on a crowded pavement i hasten to add. I don't want to jump the gun here, but spring seems to be tentatively poking it's head round the corner. I saw shoots of unopened daffodils and crocuses on the grassy boarders, and it brightened my already fairly good day. 
Roll on spring!