Saturday, 31 October 2009

Fight the (library) power!

My tutor didn't like my embroidered Metro. I have a lot of pent up rage about that, but we shall not discuss it now. Suffice to say I'm annoyed and disappointed because I was enjoying it.

But on the bright side, it did mean I got to do this.

Basically, it's long been a dream of mine (and some other friends who work at the library) to put the books in spectrum order. Forget the dewey decimal system with all it's complicated numbers and letters... lets go for something simple, visual. Even some of the librarians who saw it said it was an interesting idea, because people do often say things like 'Oh, I don't remember the title, but it was a big yellow book'...

I did feel very wrong whilst doing it though. Basically my whole job at the library consists of bringing order to things, and this act of complete chaos was quite painful, although had beautiful results I think. Here's an actual librarian inspecting our work. I'm pleased to say she liked it :)

It took two of us two hours of speedy working to get it to this stage, and then fully restore order. It was completely worth the effort, I only wish we could do a whole floor!

One slight flaw to the plan is the fact that lots of books (particularly boring history books, which was the section we were in) are very dull colours, either through sun damage or simply dull design, so to do the whole library would be somewhat impractical. And would probably take forever.

I'm so grateful to the library who let me do this, and even more to Hannah, who gave up two hours of her time to help me achieve this! Here she is, restoring order.

I don't know where this is going really, as these pictures alone don't constitute a final piece of any sort, but I'm wondering whether maybe it could lead on to something else. We shall see.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Four hours later...

In our new project, we have to 'subvert the familar'. I've struggled to get going on this one, but I've decided I'm interested in the idea of making the transient and disposable into something permanent. When I was commuting to London every day over the summer, I was always struck by the ridiculous quantity of the free Metro newspapers (and London Lite et. all) that were left on the trains, platforms, and littered across London and the south generally. And throughout the day, cleaners would come through sweeping them away. Often people would pick one up, glance at the cover, then toss it to one side. Maybe someone else would pick it up and read it, or maybe it would get put in the bin by a cleaner five minutes later.

And it's kind of a metaphor for the news in general really, we often hear the saying 'yesterday's news', and it's true that what was news one day is litter the next.

So with this in mind, I'm creating a permenant, hand crafted version of the Metro newspaper, stitched with my own fair hands. People always used to (and still do) create samplers, tapestries and embroideries, which would go on display on the wall for years to come, and be family heirlooms. I'm going to do this with the Metro.


Not sure what my headlines will be yet, whether to take a real issue of the metro and copy it exactly, or make up my own headlines, 'The opening of an envelope', 'More war', 'Bad news', 'Yesterday's news'... I need to think more about it.
Anyway, this afternoon I did the first bit.

Side by side comparison...

And some behind the scenes action. Check my mad sewing skillz yo'.

I've got a knack for taking on ridiculously labour intensive projects this year...

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

I can't believe I forgot to mention, but...

Go see, go see.

Nothing you won't have seen here, but a bit more professional like. I have no idea what a website is SUPPOSED to be like, so I've done it how I like it. My only regret is that all the thumbnails aren't circular, maybe I'll get round to that at some point...

Oh dear, jumping on the horribly early christmas stuff bandwagon...

Well, the first christmas lights have gone up along Brighton North Street, I almost bought a Galaxy 'Mistletoe kisses' bar today (But then realised it was a rip off), and there are horrible Christmas cards popping up left right and centre.

In the past I've always bought my Christmas cards from Paperchase. They usually do fairly nice designs at fairly acceptable prices. But given that my business is design, I figure all my visual communications say something about me... including the mundane Christmas card.
Last year, I designed my own for the first time. They were... ok. They did the job, although I really wasn't that pleased with them. I was pleased with myself for taking the initiative, but that was it. Take a look at them here.
This year, better! Hopefully, anyway. I'm snowed under with uni work (haha, snowed, christmas jokes, oh dear.) so no time to do a whole big new concept... so I decided to re-hash last year's Christmas holiday project, which you can view here. I was (and am) really pleased with this, so I decided to take those images and make them slightly more christmas card friendly. I'm going to be sending these cards to both my family and people I want to impress, so they need to be both accessible and impressive. I like to think they strike a balance between the two (i.e. neither accessible or impressive? Oh dear...)

Another point which I've had to consider is the environmental cost. I strongly believe that there's no substitute for a real, physical christmas card that you recieve in the post. Those 'e-cards' are a load of rubbish. You click a link and get a tacky flash animation with some nasty typeface over it. Maybe you can get classy e-cards, I don't know, but even if you can, it's still not the same as a real card. But, we do have to question paper useage here. I hate the wasteage which comes with christmas, all that wrapping paper, all that packaging, all those envelopes that just get chucked away with barely a glance. So, in a small step to try and reduce this, these are going to be postcards, which will be posted sans envelope. Saving the world! Kinda.

Here they are.

Some days...

... I really do doubt my ability at this whole graphic design malarkey.
Trying to cheer myself up by thinking more about the GDI logo design.

Basically I'm not going to win, but if there's one thing I really want to get across... it's that I want them to be gloomy purple coloured.

Monday, 26 October 2009


The tutors liked my tubes idea more than the text one. Which is annoying because I liked the text and had got quite into it.
Oh well.

I made some new tubes. You'd think you could buy some kind of ready made tube that's approx 1cm in diameter, affordable and easy to cut. Right? No.
So I've spent... I'd say well over 3 hours constructing some more sturdy tubes out of paper. And they don't even look that good! Gah.
Then I've been lighting them up. I've decided I like the idea of the final wall piece being circular - a. because circles are cool, and b. because I can't be bothered making it into a square.

I've been messing around with lights and stuff, and yeah, it does look pretty cool, but I still don't feel like this is degree standard work...

I tried to see if you can read text through it. You can't. Hmm...

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

More ideas...

About that wall sculpture thing.
We had an update on the brief which said it should include text.
I was sick of that tubes idea anyway, it was nice, but frustrating to try and construct, and would have been highly impractical.

This new idea... well, think of it as the most super classy elegant neon sign ever.
The text would say 'University of Brighton', 'Faculty of art and design', and 'Grand Parade', and these three would alternate, sometimes layer over each other, 'write' in and out, fade in and out and generally create gorgeous patterns...

Here were initial drawings on the lightbox...

And layered up on the lightbox.

I imagine in the final sign the lines would be white neon/strip light, shone through frosted glass to create a slightly misty effect. I tried to simulate this by creating a cut out, and holding it up to a lit computer screen...

And then holding a piece of tracing paper just in front...

I tried some different colour backlights too, mmm! The final thing will almost certainly be white though.

This all looks quite crude, and I'm concerned the text is a bit too 'coca cola'esque, but I've had fun doing it. The final thing would be a lot more slick. I really like the idea of the text swirling in like it's being handwritten, if you know what I mean.
Anyway anyway anyway...
I still have flu, OK!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Wow... that's two hours of my life I'll never get back.

So, a new project.
I'm sort of in two minds about it, really. Both Graphics and Illustration third year students have been commisioned to design a mural/sculpture/thingy to go on the end of the main Grand Parade arts building in Brighton.
Well, I say commissioned, it's a competition. The brief is kind of odd. Well not odd, just, I'm not really sure what I make of it. Part of me thinks I'd really rather the university spent their money on useful things, like a functioning colour printer.......... but that's another rant entirely, and I suppose I should be glad they're commissioning us on something so different and interesting. But really, wouldn't this be far more exciting for the product design students, who spend all their time doing work like this? I don't know, I'm just struggling to get into the spirit of it.

Anyway, the brief says
'a white on white project that is responsive to the weather and is designed to say different things in different climatic conditions'

White on white? Does that mean we're not allowed colour?
And as far as I can tell it should in some way represent the faculty, although I'm not sure how I'm going to do this yet. Some people are working in groups, but to be honest, a) I'm too bossy, and b) it's more hassle than it's worth... more time is spent arranging when to meet up, rearranging when to meet up, coming up with ideas everyone agrees on than it is on actually producing!

Not that I'm one to talk, struck down with flu this week, I've been spending more time moping about and procrastinating than working, but ho hum, here are some beginnings.

The idea of it interacting with the weather interested me. The wall is north facing, so this sort of rules out the 'sun' element... I was quite interesting in the idea of some kind of sound art. Inspired quite a lot by this, the 'sea organ' in croatia, which I absolutely love.

I was interested in using the wind to this effect, creating a series of pipes at different levels, which would hopefully create soft, ambient noise as the wind blows over them. With this in mind, I spent two and a half hours curled up on the sofa yesterday afternoon doing THIS:

That's right everyone, hundreds of rolls of masking tape at different heights. The idea being if they were up on that wall, bigger, and made of something sturdy, they'd make organy nice noises.

Yeeah, it was dark and the only light place in the flat is our kitchen. Hence the sexy lino. (Disclaimer... I'm aware Tom Friedman has already produced some similar art using tubes of masking tape like this. I'm merely using this as a modelling process, not as a final piece, so I hope it doesn't infringe any sort of copyright...)

And just in case you didn't quite understand...

There is a catch to this however... The university is in a residential area, and the noise could get just a teeeensy bit annoying. As someone who can't sleep through even the tiniest bit of noise, I would have huge sympathy for the nearby residents... I'm hoping there's a way to engineer it so the noise is noticable, but minimal, and certainly not disturbing.

I'm also thinking of something involving mirrors, which, once I have modelled, I will post here. And, I've been thinking of some other wind related but not sound making ideas involving effects similar to rippling grass, but I haven't modelled or drawn these yet either. I'm really inspired by Theo Jansen's absolutely stunning 'strandbeests' (Beach monsters) which are powered entirely by the wind.

Here's another idea which didn't work out. I feel like a 7 year old trying to recreate something I saw on Blue Peter. I bought straws especially! *weeps*

Thursday, 8 October 2009


I don't think my tutors will like this. It probably doesn't 'meet the brief'. But I'm proud of this, it's a real book, entirely made by me, full of pictures taken by me. For more information, see previous post.

I'm especially pleased with the binding, and letterpress cover, got it spot on. Also, really like the patterned end papers I designed. Enjoying attention to detail at the moment.

Apologies for my frightfully grubby fingers, I'd just been in letterpress, and no amount of soap will get those inks off!

Beer mats.

Trying to persuade you that drinking to excess is, really, quite foolish.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


More ideas. See previous post...
I feel like these are all ok, but none of them amazing somehow. Oh well.


WELL, scarily it's already time for us (Graphic Design and Illustration third years at Brighton) to start thinking about our final show in Brighton/London and accompanying identity. Now, I know it will be a ridiculous amount of work if I win the brief, and I'm not expecting to win, but I've given it a go anyway... and if I do say so myself, I love this. I'd even go so far as to use the word 'sexy', if I used words like that to describe design. But I don't.

Anyway, logo, colour scheme. Trade Gothic (Condensed no. 18) is the typeface. Pantone colours listed below. It was always going to be purple in my mind. Purple is awesome.

There was sort of an assumption that we'd refer to ourselves as 'GDI X'... Roman numerals and all, and X's are awesome... but I don't really think that's obvious enough, and people might wonder what it means. In some contexts that's good, but I've decided to spell it out. Brighton Graphic design and Illustration, 2010. I may do an 'x' variation later.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Letterpress makes everything better.

My summer project was rubbish. And I knew it. Now it's better, and all thanks to the joys of letterpress, fluorescent ink and typography as image. I will add better pictures, these are photographs, I will scan the posters soon soon.