Creative Design

Time is of the essence – Khan and Weil

Its’ important not to become entrenched in what we think, we should do, as designers and artists, it’s important to listen to other disciplines. This can only enhance what we do as agencies. The Design Museum is a fantastic example, lines are blurred, boundaries are broken and this place brings all walks of life together.

KhanTimes like this reminded me of the importance of leaving the bread and butter for a day, and how important in an ever-changing design landscape, it is to renew our ideas and thinking and to lead in our field.

I travelled through the life and work of Louis Khan, a revolutionary architect of our time. There was such a strong bond between his work and the work I had been presented last month by Suzhou and Wuxi University from China.

Khan3I could feel a whole conversation bubbling inside and unraveling around the use of architecture in everyday design. This was only then reflected and confirmed by the next exhibition.

Daniel Weil is a partner in the international art group Pentagram. Like myself he questions and shakes those boundaries. I simply loved the personal approach of raw sketchbooks. It is an intimate journey as you see more than a sketch – from beginning to end you see someones outpourings of expression and critical design thinking.

He draws on personal exploration whether that is exploration, travel, parenting, sport or fashion. Showing his relationship between personal aspirations and clients aspirations are fused.

Hairs stand on my neck as he quotes,
“My design doesn’t compromise the opportunity to invent, it gives you the sense that everything is connected.”

This man sings from my song sheet, this is my ethos too.  As designer, artist or visual thinker we must make connections. It could be through the context of social media, a visual conversation or collaboration.

Creative Design

Not enough time in the day…

Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Dribbble, Instagram… everyday designers, artists, illustrators, makers and doers around the world post their creations online for us to appreciate. While this can often prove a vital resource for inspiration, there are a number of catches when browsing and posting art and design online…

The first problem is that what you think is wonderful (and your mum has reassured you is truly awesome) might just be a bit rubbish. And now the whole of the internet has seen it and anonymous commenters are bluntly comparing your artistic ability to that of a trained chimp. Ouch! Of course the alternative is almost as bad – your work is poor but you get 30+ likes on Instagram so you falsely assume that it’s good. Who are these people who are telling you that your work is ‘Adorbs’ or ‘Sick!’ and do they know what they’re talking about? Take a look at their profile and the sort of thing they post. If it’s all kittens and food, are they really a valid critic? Perhaps not. So, rule 1: don’t just post any old stuff. Look at it. Evaluate it. Post it only if you’re proud of it.

The second problem with sticking all your images online is that other people, less scrupulous than yourself, may appropriate your work and pass it off as their own. Rule 2: if you’re showing professional work that you use to earn your living, it may be better to only show a sneak peek online or to invest in professional watermark services to protect your copyright.

A further problem with looking at the work of talented, skilled designers and illustrators from across the world is the crushing sense of personal failure that can arise when you realize that, even if you quit your day job and did nothing but drawing practice from now until you’re 90, you’re never going to be THAT good. Oof! That can be a harsh blow to your ego but hey – maybe that person can’t code websites or cook a mean linguini or whatever your particular talent may be. So rule 3: don’t let the talents of others knock your self-confidence.

However, the main problem with browsing Pinterest and Behance etc is that we spend too much time looking and not enough doing… Faced with the sheer enormity of stuff available to look at, admire, covet and drool over, it’s easy to waste whole afternoons browsing, pinning and admiring inspirational images but that’s time you could have spent creating your own little masterpiece. So the final, most important rule is: make time to make things. Go on…

(Featured image: Whale  by Sarah Bibby)

Creative Design

Lost and Found on the Southbank

After three heavy filming days, confined to the foot well of the cramped car and a less than ideal temperature, my artistic leash was unfastened by my directors. I was set loose around some poignant, cultural and stimulating exhibitions.

IMG_2786I packed up the cameras, notebook and complimentary tickets. I declined the idea of a hot tube and plumped for an on foot foray of optical delights.

London definitely did not disappoint. I’m a little lost on the Southbank and I feel like I have walked into uninvited rave, as I am party to an explosion of neon stripes and geometric revelry.

An impromptu feast of shapes and colourways, these would be my inspirational epiphany. A whole memorised mood board, was being built and ready to pass on to team members for our creative den, which is under construction as we speak.

IMG_2791An awe inspiring construction of typography and multi leveled graphics lured me in to explore. Artists, communities and partners had come together and transformed the Thames side site with installations and artworks (featured in Creative Review).

The artist Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan, shower me in a riot of bright colours, a place of celebration and love for humanity to conquer hate – something we could all do with right now.


I had no choice but to smile and be happy, with an energized spring in my step, The images are captured and stored to help influence styles and ideas within the office.

IMG_2785I turn around the corner to find a random lonely chair, perfectly placed in the most contrasting setting. Swaddled in street art and placed in the center of the skate park. How did it arrive? Where is it going? I place my self on the seat and take in the messages, stories and statements.

This is the height of using visualisation for clever communication, albeit smelling of p*ss from where the homeless sleep every night, it seems to add to the social impact and impact of the political messages being spoken through illustration.

Each of my senses are heightened, as I have eaten my visual starter before I head off to the Tate for my mind filling, main course.