A friend of mine has started a business called Vinatge Photo Lab. It's a great idea, you send them a box of old photos and they scan them in for you. It's especially good if you have a box of photos you've been meaning to scan in for years and years... and we all know scanning isn't easy.
I've got a box of old tickets. Random things I've collected since 1996. It's not comprehensive although it gets better in more recent times. I asked Ed is he could scan that instead of photos. He obliged and they're all on Flickr. See the full set here.
Graphically some of them are goregous, some are interesting - most aren't. They're artefacts of a machine readalbe OCR thermal printer world. There is a charm to that but it's accidental.
Obviously looking at them now brings back incredible memories and sometimes I can link them to a another picture of Flickr which is great. There are lots of things I just can't remember at all. I appears that I have seen Travis four times, I only remember the one gig.
There's something for everyone, concerts, operas, proms, football, rugby, cricket, cinema, zoos. Take a look.
42 days in. It's not easy. It's tough. Some days I feel like the output is a shit A-level project and I get sad. Other days it feels like fun and like the best days on Foundation and I feel glad. Some days colleagues like my effort and use it at work. That makes me feel super happy. Sarah and Lorena were bigs fans of this one.
Since we last spoke, I tried to make them more like tshirts. Here is one I liked.
and here is one I hated.
It basically works, but it gets pretty dull pretty quickly. They feel too boring and too computer generated. Reliant on Illustrator skills to make them work.
So I started breaking the rules and mixing it up a bit. And I tried to make them a bit more fun.
And in the last two days I seem to have dropped the type.
Finding the time every day is hard. Keeping it moving so you don't get 100 days of the same thing is hard and coming up with the 'stories' is hard. Making them good is hard.
I'm also desperate to commission someone. This is a hangover from my agency days where we would do things similar to this, but we'd get an idea as far as the sketches above and then get someone good to do it, like Anthony Burrill. I might try and cadge some favours before the 100 days is up.
I'm trying to do them all on the actual day and I'm trying to do them all very quickly. On average they take between 30 minutes and an hour. They seem to be better on Monday and Tuesday than the rest of the week.
I'm also off to see the Professor in a few weeks, so I need to get something ready to show him.
One of my favorite kindle buying experience things - it tells you (and stops you) when you've already bought the book.— Michael B. Johnson (@drwave) October 21, 2013
We have an HP printer / scanner at home.
Every time I want to scan something, which is rarely, I search for scan in the finder and I'm given two choices.
The HP software always does this.
And the via the Mac System Preferences I always get this and I can just scan in a few clicks. It's not easy but it's easier than the software that actually came with the printer and only has one purpose - to scan with just one, known, machine.
I know very little about scanning. Although, because of my profession, presumably more than the average punter. But even so, scanning feels like something from another era to me. And era of print software and ripping and files that take a whole afternoon to pop out a grey box.
Something we should have made easier by now.
You can now print 1 copy of a broadsheet, 1 copy of a tabloid and 100 minis newspaperclub.com/products
I can still remember the printers laughing down the phone when I asked to print 1,000 copies 4 years ago.
I signed up for online booking with a cab firm a few weeks ago. Went to book a cab on Thursday and I had seemingly forgotten my password. I clicked forgotten your password? and was sent an email that said,
For lost passwords please contact our Accounts Dept. on 020 XXXX XXXX
Which is bad enough, but when I called the number the person on the other end of the phone had no idea why I was ringing. When I explained, they said 'what's that go to do with me?'.
So I booked with someone else.
A friend bought a washing machine online from Currys. Wanted to canel the order. Was told;
for instore purchases you have to cancel online,
for online purchases you have to cancel by calling this number.
We went to a thing at the Imperial War Museum at the weekend. One of the Horrible Histories artists (illustrators?) gave a talk workshop thing. Sort of for kids but not really, suitable for all ages.
It was splendid.
Over the course of the show listeners got to hear the whole story of Canterbury City's home game against Whyteleafe, which was called off becuase Whyteleafe's away kit was identitcal to Canterbury's home kit.
Managers and fans all rang in.
The Whyteleafe manager said he'd asked to play in bibs, training tops or even skins, but the ref said no.
The fans said the Whyteleafe players were stood on the pitch in just their shorts, warming up.
The Canterbury manager said he'd driven across town and bought 11 spare shirts for the Whyteleafe players but when we got back to the ground the ref had said it was too late to start the game.
And then the ref rang in.
He said the football ground was booked for a wedding at 6 and so if they hadn't started the game by 3.30 they would not have had enough time to play. The manager returned just after 3.31.
A great tale. Listen here for the next 5 days.
Turns out Millwall and once forgot to turm up with their kit.
Designed to look like a Philips radio apparently. Terrible photograph.
Imagine Timo took the picture instead.
That was a better week down in the design-operation-a-day mines. Last update I said, "They seem better when there's type, but maybe that's a coincidence and it's all linked to the stories thing. It's hard to do the type ones justice as a sketch but for the next ten days or so they have to be type based. Mandatory. Let's see if that makes them better." It semed to work although I worry they are all getting to computery.
These are good, some of the best yet.
This could have been so much better
and this is terrible.
As I said before, the hard thing is the story not the idea of the graphics. Get that right and everything else becomes easy. They're also easier to do if you have the story early in the day. Allows you to be thinking about the idea in the background all day. When I've left them to the last minute I've rushed it and they've been rubbish, like the two above.
So for this week I'll try and have the story by lunchtime. Then perculate the idea in the afternoon. I'll stick to type for now, although I'm becoming less convinced of that.
And I'm going to try and think of them as tshirts. Like these ones by howies, neat simple graphics with just the right amount of idea.
Stay tuned, they all live here.
Recap. Some days are easier than others. Some ideas are easier than others. I said they wouldn't all be good. But they need to get better.
These ones worked out well.
Day 1 - children's superhero party
Day 8 - It's that time of year when we rake up the leaves
Day 11 - pub quiz
Day 15 - today we went to IKEA
It's possible I like those better because they are more finished. I think the secret is to choose a good "Op Ed" to start with. That's where all the effort needs to go. Then the design is easy.
The ?ub one is the first result for pub quiz on Google images - I found that out a few days later.
This one is awful.
Day 7 - "Our busy period"
The elephant riding a bike was the most popular on Flickr.
Day 3 - Bizarre as it sounds I need to remember to cycle home today
Type or not type. They seem better when there's type, but maybe that's a coincidence and it's all linked to the stories thing. It's hard to do the type ones justice as a sketch but for the next ten days or so they have to be type based. Mandatory. Let's see if that makes them better.
More on Flickr.
This is a question I frequently get asked when people find out about GDS and what we're doing. I don't get asked this by government organisations, but other people more generally.
The answer is that I don't know.
I do know that you should have a digital culture that means you have the people with the knowledge and the skills to make that decision and then implement it. Because this isn't about Twitter. Of the web, not on the web.
You can read that blog post again and swap Twitter for any other service, technology, whatever.
You can also read that blog post again and delete digital from the third paragraph.
It's a clip from the film Margin Call. Set over 36 hours it depicts a Wall St bank caught up in the start of the banking crisis. A junior employee discovers some serious debt held by the bank that could bring the whole organisation down. During the night the information goes higher and higher up the bank's chain of command until someone takes the major decision to call the CEO, who flies in, landing his helicopter on the roof of the bank.
In a tense board meeting a series of terrified executives try and explain what's going wrong to the CEO who becomes more and more frustrated with their reports and their jargon. Eventually he asks the junior employee to explain it to him by saying, "Please, speak as you might to a young child, or a golden retriever".
I love that.
Firstly, don't be afraid to ask people to explain things simply. Don't be afraid to admit you don't know. When people use complicated language and jargon they are often doing so without thinking. They're using those terms because that's what everyone else is using. Asking them to explain it simply will force them to think about what they're saying. You'll be surprised what they say.
Secondly, I sit in loads of meetings where I have no idea what people are talking about. Often when I admit I don't know what someone means other people nod and say they don't understand either.
As a communications professional you are at a huge advantage if you can explain things clearly to the widest possible audience.
Death to the jargon shibboleth.
Russell and I had breakfast the other day.
I said, "I wonder when marketing people say "brand loyalty" they actually mean "the switching cost is to high". Apple etc. I also wonder when people say they want simplicity they actually want convience. Which isn't the same thing."
Russell said, "What you should have said was that what people are actually saying is that they want to get away from the 'brand' as quickly as possible and get on with their lives. "
And then we both remarked that in the old days we'd have blogged about that.
And then we sat back in our chairs and admired the view over the water.
I've decided to do Michael Bierut's 100 days project.
I've always wanted to try it and last week I saw Michael talk about some of the little graphic illustrations he's done for the NYT and I wished I had done more work like that. Simple, quick, throwaway. So that's what I'll do for my 100 days.
I'll imagine my life is a NYT Op Ed and every day I'll do a little graphic illustration.
Here is one he did about saying No to the expansion of NATO (apologies for the rubbish screengrab.)
Do a design operation that you are capable of repeating every day. Do it every day between today and up to and including the last day of the project, by which time you will have done the operation one hundred times. That afternoon, each student will have up to 15 minutes to present his or her one-hundred part project to the class.
The only restrictions on the operation you choose is that it must be repeated in some form every day, and that every iteration must be documented for eventual presentation. The medium is open, as is the final form of the presentation on the 100th day.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the project changes and letting little rules emerge throughout the 100 days to help me get through. But here are my thoughts as I start.
1. I don't really need any more design work so I'll make these as quickly as possible. They'll mostly be sketches in a notebook I imagine. I'm not worrying about production quality.
2. They'll involve type. For now. But they won't all be word puns. No-one needs more of those.
3. I'm tempted to only use Knockout, it's a beautiful family and has loads of flexibility. But that contradicts number 1. We'll see.
4. I'll do a blog update roughly every 10 days.
5. Seeing as I'm not in a class I might try and engineer some presentation on the 100th day.
If you think I can do 100 brilliant graphic illustrations in 100 days based on a life that involves going to an office for 71 of those days you're insane. But I'm hoping I'll get one or two good ones. Maybe towards the end.
I started on Saturday so my 100 finishes on 6 January.
On Saturday we went to a children's Superheroes party.
Wish me luck.