Saturday 27 November 2010


I got the hardback McJunk through the post on Thursday. I'm generally really impressed, but test copies always throw up a lot of issues previously unconsidered.

For a start, I've decided to abandon the paperback version. The size of the prints and the overall feel of the book just didn't justify the price I'd have to charge for it. This was made blindingly clear when I held both the hardback and the paperback editions in my hands and I realised a £10 price difference didn't translate into tangible value. There will now only be a promotional paperback version which won't be available to buy.

I'm also rethinking the inclusion of the Polaroid McJunk shots. They may be axed or included in with the introduction text.

Layout and type size issues are bothering me and the bleed on the endpapers is a disaster. Even though I've artworked correctly, it appears I'm not going to be able to trust Blurb's print registration so this needs a rethink also (see below). There are numerous other details I won't go into here.

Needless to say this is pushing the publication date back even further, but this is no bad thing as we approach the end of the year and I'm thinking a 2011 release date could play into my hands as far as publicising the book anyway. I'm now aiming for a release date of 01 Jan 11.

Anyway, I've had some invaluable feedback from those whose opinions I trust enough to show this too in the flesh at this formative stage. So thanks Russell, Dave, Heike, Matt, Ken and obviously Claire, my most astute critic without whom I'd never formulate my half baked ideas into fully formed content.

Keep a pen handy

Dan Welsh

A few weeks ago I invited final year UCS graphic design students to give advice to first year graphic design students via the medium of posters. There's not enough room to show them all here, but for those with blogs that have posted about the project, check the links below:

Luke Mitchell

Sean Cooper, Candice Alvarez, Tara Gardner, Vicky Patmore, James Tye

Peasant in the big city

I've been up and down the East Anglian line between Ipswich and London this last week so much I'm beginning to get to know the people who work at Delice de France on Liverpool Street Station.

A student trip to the Barbican Curve gallery on Friday took in the Damián Ortega show. The Mexican artist has responded to a newspaper article everyday for a month. He's produced some dramatic and inventive installations in response to a challenging schedule that sees doors and window frames floating above your head in response to a story about a hurricane, an airplane made out of cigarettes to represent Ryanair's CE denying the existence of climate change and a bicycle impossibly laden with a fridge, bed, suitcases etc in reference to an article about refugees. Well worth a visit, and it's free. Details here.

I covered a stand at the Design Your Future UCAS event at ExCel for University Campus Suffolk on Tuesday.

There appeared to be lots of interest in graphic design from the visiting FE students. This was mirrored across other universities from the fellow exhibitors I spoke to. This is a bit of a change from last year which saw a fairly even mix of interest across creative disciplines.

The UCAS event aside, and the hideousness of the inside of the ExCel Centre, I found the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) strangely appealing.

I was in London again on Thursday evening, unfortunately not traversing the pleasures of the DLR, but instead for a lecture by Creative Review editor Patrick Burgoyne for The Typographic Circle titled 'On Liking'. The talk went from Facebook to the 2012 Olympic logo, Crouwell vs Smile In The Mind designer preferences, Exactitude (check it out), rational and emotional judgements, Pimentel & Heckler's theories into persuasive imagery, what he termed the Twiggy Nadir ("if I see that M&S advert one more time I will kill someone"), as well as discussing examples of the designer's challenge to get clients to 'like' their work over and above rational explanations about appropriateness. He then opened the mic up to the floor where creatives discussed their experiences of getting clients to like their proposals. I managed to sneak a quick word with Patrick afterwards and he seemed to like the fact I'd banned students from using the word 'like'.

So, an interesting week all round that has sparked lots of trains of thought, and lots of thoughts of trains and a dream of getting the DLR to extend to Ipswich.

Monday 22 November 2010

Blurb deliver

A test print of the paperback of McJunk is back and it has provoked much thought, as well as much marker pen action over glossy pages.

The print quality, for what it is, I'm impressed by - and I'm pretty choosy. However, I'm now having an internal debate about charging £20 for a 40 page paperback book. I'm on the verge of cancelling the paperback, except for promotional copies.

I now can't wait to see the hardback, which should arrive tomorrow.

Wednesday 10 November 2010


I've submitted an update of a piece of work I posted here 3 years ago to Can You Draw The Internet. This is a competition that pits 10 year olds against grown up creatives.

Submissions close on 12 Nov, if you think you're hard enough!

With thanks to Steven Ball.

Monday 8 November 2010


Things have been incredibly busy for the last few weeks day job wise, so the progress on McJunk hasn't been as rapid as I would have hoped, but there is progress. This chipping away at little jobs is at least making some headway.

The folios are now done for both Large and Regular versions. A Sunday morning of RSI inducing cutting, pasting and editing sorted that one out. It took an age for the registration of my first ISBN to appear on the Nielson UK ISBN Agency online publishing service, but it's there now (after an email prompt yesterday). Somehow the title was changed to 'Mwunk' somewhere between me sending the forms off and a Nielson employee inputting the data, so I've had to update that. I have also now applied to assign my next ISBN number to McJunk Regular, something I couldn't do until the first title appeared online. Here's hoping both these won't take too long. I don't know whether Nielson have a priority system, and I'd understand if they did, considering they deal with all UK publishers and Dubdog is small fry, but time will tell.

In updating the details on their site, I discovered there is a BIC Subject Categories scheme for the UK book trade which classifies publications into subject areas. I was pleased to find that there is a specific code for Graphic Design. It is AKC in case you were wondering and I've now assigned it to McJunk.

So, once these are through (could be a 2 week wait, again), then I can get some ISBN barcodes. I'll then be ready to upload to Blurb, get proof copies and see this thing in the flesh at last. That's if I can settle on that tricky last paragraph.

Finally, this project had its first public outing after I gave a presentation about my design practice to final year graphic design students at UCS last Friday. I showed sample InDesign spreads and read them three paragraphs of text. Thankfully they were gentle on me.

Sunday 7 November 2010


I went to TedxAldeburgh yesterday. An independently organised (but sanctioned by event that will hopefully become an annual affair. Hosted by Thomas Dolby (who is Ted's musical director), it featured great talks from David Toop; founding member of the Flying Lizards and now a research fellow at LCC and journalist, who spoke lyrically about silence; Martyn Ware, ex Human League and Heaven 17, who talked about his visual 3D sound experiments with Vince Clark; and United Visual Artists, who gave a presentation about their interactive graphic installations for Massive Attack, the V&A Museum, and other private commissions. Other speakers included Sarah Nicolls on physical pianos, Nick Ryan on sound games for iPhones and an interview between Thomas Dolby and William Orbit, who was remarkably down to earth.

These were all punctuated with Ted clips that included an excellent talk from David Byrne on how venues have influenced the way music is written and performed, and Evelyn Glennie who spoke about music/sound and hearing impairment.

Unfortunately I missed Tim Exile and Imogen Heap, both of whom were due to run into the evening and my lift couldn't stay longer, but by then I was a bit over loaded anyway.

A great day all round, with plenty to think about, both from a visual and sound perspective. This is highly recommended if it does come around again next year. Keep a eye on the TedxAldeburgh blog and Facebook pages, links below.

Cheers for the lift and company Dave.