We're moving office at the moment (more about that later I promise) and I was digging through some old stuff when I found these.
All of these have been used as images on our homepage and all of them were created for real. No special effects or Photoshop filters were harmed in the making of these images.
I thought I'd post them as proof that I practice what I blog.
These ones are my favourite. We used them at Easter this year. It would have been so easy to do this in Photoshop, but it would have looked shit. So instead we popped down to Thorntons and a few raised eyebrows and ten quid later we ended up with this.
Back when it was Design Questions Week Russell asked, 'what are the 5 worst bits of graphic design you can think of?'.
At the time I could only think of four. Now, here's the fifth. I'm not sure whether to call this typographic insensitivity, graphic insensitivity or design insensitivity so let's settle for visual insensitivity.
Take a look at this ordinary high street.
Take a closer look at the signage. Forget the fact that they've done that thing where they're too posh to admit they have to have shops and they've made all the signs out of bronze and look a little closer at the typographic insensitivity.
(might be worth clicking on this to make it bigger)
Now I know all these signs were put up by different people on different days from different companies, but this sort of visual insensitivity really annoys me.
I was planning to put this right using the power of Photoshop but unfortunately I took the photo at a funny angle so we'll revert back to theory. I've recreated the street signage in plan form. Obviously the fonts and logos aren't correct, but as an exercise it gives you an idea.
Currently everything is a different font, a different weight, a different size and on a different baseline. See?
Nothing anyone can do can make that eye Clinic logo look OK. In the ideal world everything would be the same height. Like this.
But that's not going to happen, is it? Probably the easiest and simplest thing to do would be to put all the type on the same baseline. Same size as they are now, same mix of fonts etc, one common baseline.
That looks a little better doesn't it? This would be easy to achieve, the council or the street could manage this. You see this insensitivity all the time and it annoys me. You see how this isn't really centred? It's not justified one way or the other. It's just sloppy. And annoying.
You know when someone becomes President of some professional body type organisation (like the D&AD, RSA, APG, Marketing Society etc) and they normally say something like, “In my year as President of XYZ I’m committed to raising the level of left handed art directors amongst our membership” etc etc? Well in my short tenure I’m aiming to dramatically increase the number of female attendees.
The last three weeks have seen lady participants soar, but I want the number to be even higher. At least 5 women coffee drinkers. At least.
A few people have been asking for a earlier session so now’s your chance. Friday 3rd Novemeber, The Breakfast Club, 8am til 10 am, same low brow conversation, no Russell. Hippies must use the backdoor. No exceptions.
Thomas Heatherwick is an innovative genius. Two words that get over used in this industry but two words that couldn't be more appropriate here.
Thomas Heatherwick is a designer who does amazing things like this:
This bridge, which takes obvious cues from nature, is the best thing I've seen in years. It's completely brilliant. Fantastic looking, brilliantly engineered, innovative, sensible, natural, a bloody good idea, in tune with it's surroundings. It's perfect.
There was an interview with him in last weeks ES magazine.
Two bits in particular struck me as fantastic advice for young designers or for people about to embark on a design career. I'm constantly interested in how creative people work and think and make decisions. This gives a small insight into that.
I find this fascinating. Give the choice between lengthy discussion about how the structure of a birds nest could be applied to a cathedral, he chooses making lots of things, fast and often. If you're a design student and you've ever wondered why your tutors go on and on about sketches and roughs - this is why.
Just like sketching Heatherwick wanted to try lots of things quickly. He wanted his ideas to evolve as he made them. Lots. Quickly. Making mistakes. Learning. Evolving. That's the best way to work.
Next there's this.
Several points to make here. First if you want to be a designer in the future you're gonna have to do stuff like this. You're going to have to take bold steps and you're going have to approach people with your ideas. You will have to be proactive. You simply can not sit around waiting for stuff to happen. And like I said here, you're probably going to have to start up on your own one day and so this stuff will be twice as important.
Secondly, and luckily, in the design world almost everyone is findable and approachable. There are no untouchable stars like there are in other industries. If you're dream is to work with Phillipe Stark you can probably find him and speak to him. You can't do that with the Chairmen of BP or HSBC. Terence Conran (love him or hate him) is about as famous as British designers get, and there he is strolling down your college corridor (admittedly the college is the RCA).
They neglect to mention this in the article but Heatherwick did this not long after leaving University.
It's a window display for Harvey Nicks and it won a D&AD Gold Award. Not bad for two years out of college, eh?
Does that feel inspiring to anyone else? Does that make sense?
My favourite thing I've designed, that's a tough one.
But one I get asked all the time. The problem is that for the last 5 years I don't feel as if I've really designed anything on my own. Not 100% on my own. My proudest achievemnent of the last five years (work wise) is this and everything we've all built and achieved with that. But, obviously, there are a lot of other people involved in that, not just me.
Work wise, I've always liked the stuff we've done for these guys, I think it's different and strong and I think that we (meaning us and the client) have created a really strong brand with going through some laboured branding exercise. They also had the courage to go with something that is very bold for their industry.
Then there's this which gave everyone all sorts of fun and led to me being interviewed all over the world including on Radio 4's Today programme. I have to admit I enjoyed that.
If you could get your hands on one account, anywhere in the world, who would it be and what would you plan for them?
There isn't such an account really. The best problem is the next one that needs solving.
I also want to second Andrew's question. I don't know about England, but Design is not taught in American schools. What 'curriculum' would you come up with to teach design to teenagers?
A curriculum! Jesus, Valerie! OK buy all the books by these guys especially this one. Read cover to cover, then get back to me.