Thursday 27 November 2008

R.I.P Alton

Having stopped getting the Guardian delivered everyday and not listening to much radio recently I've only just found out about the death of Alton Ellis. What a voice. R.I.P

Monday 24 November 2008


Got home from work today to find the David Byrne and Brian Eno collaboration "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" laying on my doormat. I bought the download when it first came out a few months ago and forgot I'd opted for the physical copy as well. I primarily wanted the CD as well as the virtual version because Sagmeister Inc had done the artwork/packaging. The download version came with PDF artwork but these things are rarely satisfying, as Adrian Shaughnessy is fond of discussing.

Anyway, I was expecting a little more from Mr Sagmeister's studio as far as inventiveness for the download artwork. If anyone could tackle this design doldrum then Stefan should be able to realise a decent solution. Shame the print version is laid out in such a conventional way as well but this leads me to guess that it was one of Stefan's interns that worked on the piece. However, as far as the concept goes, it's dripping in irony. The so very naff 3D computer applications (3D Studio Max and the like) that generate this sort of imagery for creatively challenged architects to slap factory filters and renders on walls and other surfaces of their 'artist impressions' adds an eerie Stepford/Celebration, Florida aesthetic to all the images. This sits perfectly well with 'Home', the first track on the release. Of course, as you would expect from anything that comes out of Sagmeister Inc, the type is nice apart from the odd bit of poor kerning on the Byrne/Eno pages (which endorses my intern theory). Also, the print is a little subdued on the cover. The booklet is punchy for an uncoated stock. Either this cover is the runt of the print run or they used a different card stock to the booklet and hence the difference in ink saturation.

Anyway, less of the design diagnostic, what really struck me was the sticker on the cellophane. Great sticker. Excellent typography. Shame it's going to get ripped off and thrown away!

OK, so I appreciate it wasn't stuck directly on the cover and thus ruin the sleeve forever, but come on, I wanna keep the sticker. So a big decision followed. Do I tear the shrink wrap off to reveal the booklet and be able to listen to the superior quality of the CD over the mp3s version I downloaded, or do I leave it sealed and be content with the burnt copy I made? I fleetingly considered buying another copy but then realised that would just be too sad and decedent.

So I ripped it off. It was the only thing to do really and this is how I now know the difference in print quality between the cover and the guts.

And I'm glad I did. To touch a piece of print, to flick through a booklet, to sniff ink on uncoated stock is a much more satisfying experience than looking at a PDF on a screen.

But what to do with the sticker still sitting stuck onto the plastic wrap waiting to go into the recycling bin? Should I carefully cut out the little square of plastic it was stuck to and keep it with the CD? Or should I gingerly try peeling the sticker off, knowing that in the process I may rip it?

I took a risk.

I peeled.

It came off in one.

Now what to do with it? I didn't want to stick it onto the cover. I thought for a second or two and decided there was only one place it should go, and then thought to myself that that's where it should have been placed all along.

Oh the dilemmas of an anally retentive graphic designer and CD collector. Some one, please help me. My wife has so much to put up with!

Saturday 22 November 2008

Six Years: another pointless list

In renewing a work library book online the other day, I stumbled across a record of all the books I've borrowed from Suffolk College/University Campus Suffolk library in the last six years. Six years = my time as a lecturer in both Further and Higher Education. It includes the time I did my PGCE course and several videos I used to borrow every 4 weeks for a repeated teaching session. Fascinating only to me perhaps, but I thought I'd publish the 122 item list none-the-less:

How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul
Graphic agitation
The Storyboard design course
Picturing and poeting
Pause and effect
Saul Bass
Design issues
Graphic design as communication
Graphic agitation
No more rules
Transforming found objects into digital assemblage
The Culture show 24.11.07 & 08.12.07
This means this, this means that
Shock of the new
Designers are wankers
Why not associates
Consumption and everyday life
The ad factor
Design anarchy
Visual language
The ad factor
Onedott TV
The art of persuasion
Design studies
Motion graphics
How to fold
CD art
No brief
Typography now
The digital designer's Bible
The art of looking sideways
The best music CD art and design
Album cover album
Album cover album
Pen and mouse
Visual communication
Design anarchy
Hybrid imagery
Pen and mousey
Suffragettes to she-devils
Belleville rendezvous
The ad factor
Inside Saatchi and Saatchi
Business cards
Letterhead and logo design 8
How to get ahead in advertising
Structural package designs
Art of the advertisement (South Bank Show)
Smile i-D
Consolidated accession list no 47
The ad factor
Inside Saatchi and Saatchi
Creativity works
How to get ahead in advertising
Inside Saatchi and Saatchi
Art of the western world
All messed up
El Lissitzky
Josef Muller-Brockmann
The Typographic experiment
Ads infinitum - Soups/ food ; cleaning products and Oxo ; afternoon ads.
Inside Saatchi and Saatchi
Theory and practice of curruculum studies
Social change educational theory and curriculum planning
Curriculum studies and educational planning
Curriculum context
Knowledge and curriculum planning
Basic principles of curriculum and instruction
Developing a curriculum a practical guide
Curriculum beyond school
Icons of graphic design
Constructivist architecture in the ussr
Art is work
The art of looking sideways
D & AD 2003 showreel
Wolfgang Tillmans
Nosferatu 01/12/04
In America
Corporate Identity 4
Visible signs
Swiss graphic design
Creativity for graphic designers
Re-designing identity
Emotional digital
The Thames and Hudson dictionary of graphic design and designers
Josef Muller-Brockmann
How to do everything with Macromedia Flash 5
How to do everything with Macromedia Flash 5
Teach yourself Adobe Illustrator 10 in 24 hours
Owl who married a goose
The art of looking sideways
Teach yourself Macromedia Flash MX in 24 hours
Dreamweaver MX bible
Graphic agitation
How to fold
For a better world
Structural package designs
Successful IT projects in Excel

Wednesday 19 November 2008


This is me and Stoofer taken a couple of years ago and posted here in response to missing the call for photos of designers and their dogs on The Design Observer.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Overheard conversations #2

Over heard conversation in Norwich Waterfront toilet at a Half Man Half Biscuit gig last night: "This is the first gig I've been to in 15 years".
15 years. Fifteen years. FIFTEEN. One Five. Ten plus five. I'd have to be serving a serious prison sentence not to see a band in 15 years.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Dubdog gone

A big cock up by BT resulted in my Internet connection being disabled for over a week. Once the initial shock had subsided, I decided to treat it as an experiment. Luckily I could access some of my email accounts via WiFi at work and I also had access to the Internet there. But evenings and the weekend were the challenge. I've found that I've watched more films this week, learned the basics of a new computer application I've been meaning to get my head around for a while and I haven't burnt any food: no sneaking off to do a little surfing while I was waiting for the veg to steam. Also my back felt a little straighter from not sitting at a computer for too long and the RSI hasn't kicked in as much.

All in all, not a bad experience. I'd like to think that if civilization did completely collapse I'd be able to cope and at least I now know that I can live without my NewsFire feeds if I was forced to.