Monday, 21 July 2014

Put the Needle on the Vintage Record

My love of music seems to seep into every post I do and this one is no exception. I have taken it upon myself to start a very expensive hobby; Vintage Record Player collecting. Below you can see my first rescued baby; a Fidelity HF45. She is a early 1970's machine, designed to look like and early 60's Dansette player. Me and my father repaired it as it had a noisey volume knob. It now works fine and looks absolutely beautiful.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

 Went to America bought a lot of cool records and I forgot about this little gem of a book. It is a compilation of artist books from Europe throughout the past 100 years. Some seem to be way ahead of the time and some just beautifully creative. I have selected some of the pages below to show you. These are some of the ones I found most appealing. The front cover is most interesting as well. It is layered and cut in such a way you get a sneak preview of some of the books prior to actually opening the whole book up. Click the image to increase the size of the image.

Time For Action

I've been keeping a close eye on the gigs that have been announced recently at The Brickyard in Carlisle as I have a contact who works their who I do posters for. I contacted him to ask if he had any work and I got the gig I wanted. The mod revival band "Secret Affair" are playing a gig to celebrate 35 years in the business. I am a big fan of their debut single "Time for Action".

 I was asked to concentrate on the bands logo as the line up has changed throughout the years so old press photos are out. I decided to fuse this with the sign/logo of the mod's to fit with the bands style; in reality it is the RAF logo too. Set on a red background to contrast the main blue of the logo and white text to link to the inner logo. All parties are very happy with what can be seen below.

 And it's gone live; 

Saturday, 19 July 2014


It is possible to say that one of the best British bands of the past 25 years are Spiritualized. The music from this band varies from the spiritual and almost religious to the very loud noise rock feedback sessions. So for those who have not listened to any of their music, do it, Buy "Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space" and listen to it in full.

Anyway, a compilation of their greatness was put together by my father and he wanted a front sleeve as well as inserts and back cover doing for this album. So being a big fan of the discography, I hopped to it. The lead singer during gigs prefers to sit and play his guitar so this was a beautiful image to start, I thought a silhouette of this image would look pretty sweet. I decided I had to keep the design in the sty;e of their designer Mark Farrow (a design legend who has worked with the like of the Manic Street Preachers and Pets Shop Boys). Below is the front in which this silhouette features; the name of the album is from a tribute video to the band.
The back cover proved to be more difficult to do as their was no obvious inspirational ideas or images until I came across a nice live shot in which displayed the large screen normally set behind the band. This particular pattern was very simple and worked really well in this context so I used that. editing it to be the same colour as the front.It links to the front as well as they are both inspired by live shots.

Thursday, 17 July 2014


I am not an illustrator, do not get that impression from these drawings. These little fragments are from my sketchbook. I do quite like to doodle, especially on train journeys to and from home. I'd like to use these at some point for something or other but I don't know how and I don't know when. I have "corrected" them by some basic editing and sharpen them up so that they look presentable. when I draw I am not looking for a style because that will one day come to me.


Psychedelia has Gotten to Me

Whether people have noticed or not, I have recently become a big fan of Psychedelic poster design as well as the music to accompany it. The debut album by 13th floor elevators is an amazing piece of art as well as the mind opening music. The Piper at the Gates of the Dawn is also an important album to me. The best Pink Floyd album in my opinion. 

But back to posters; very regularly they would feature strange images or nudity just to draw people to the poster. This also made it link to the hippy mood at the time who's mind expanding drugs made them see some strange things. I haven't taken any to make these posters but I do like the styles that they created. The colours were wild, so I have chosen some of them for mine. They were originally screen printed back in the day, unfortunately this process is not easy to come by at home. So these posters were done on a computer. I hope that you like them. Don't be scared of them. Please.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Not a Type-ical day

I have a bit of practical design experimentation during the course of the last week. It was based on the use of ink and typex. I had previously discovered that if you first write in typex then place ink on the top of it. it does not seep through onto the other side so you end up with a reverse letter form on the other side. So using this I tried this again but chose to do the whole alphabet to see how it looked. It was going to be a "grunge" typeface; not one that you would commercially use for a heading but for a one off piece. Once the process work had been done it looked like what you see below. So after that I drafted it into photoshop and made the negative space letter forms into positive space ones. which is what is next to the process work.

Once they were done, I did some one off works in this style to see what they would look like so these. I chose words that would be relevant to the style of the the font so "wet" and "Dirt" were chosen. These appear to be more successful due to them being bolder in weight and easier to read. I do like these and think the process was worth it to find out this out. 

Shape of Design

Over the weekend, I spent a lot of my time on Photoshop experimenting with patterns and different typefaces to see what interesting combinations I could come up with.   I have become a very big fan of Bebas, the typeface used in the first piece "The Candy Shop", only problem is it only has one weight. I have always wanted to use Gill Shadow but never had the chance so I have used this in the second piece "Good Mood". Shape tools have interested me too. I have utilized the line tool differently making it so the line is staggered and not just straight. This has been used throughout the pieces too.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Good Days, Bad Design

It is said that bad design costs as much as good design. But when you see bad design it's stands out like a sore thumb on and other wise normal hand. Yesterday was a particularly good day for bad designs. Two examples were spotted on vans; this is the prime place it can be spotted even when you are not looking for it. The examples below were spotted while out with family.

"Air Supply" seems to bare little resemblance to air just pieces of metal. It appears to be a default emboss with a strange font and border for no reason at all. A text warp has also been applied. I don't even understnad the mustard yellow colour of the background. It doesn't contrast the logo enough to work a long side it like it normally would.
 This one appears to have no structure or layout and just looks lazy. Comic Sans in varying colours, key lines and shadows. Clip art as far as the eye can see. Then some out of date information to advertise the city and not the actual company.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Photoshop Wanderings

Have your random Photoshop wanderings ever turned it to a towering cityscape at lunch time? Nope. Neither had mine until the other day. I started messing around trying to replicate a post modern piece of Graphic Design from a uni text book and ended up with this. So failing my intended target, I made a nice pretty picture for you all.

Fan Girl Moment (from a bloke)

Since coming back I have really gotten into the debut album by Courtney Barnett, bought the LP while I was away and just can't stop listening to it. Flawless. So my current (this will pass)  favourite thing to do is to make a poster using lyrics and stylings from the album it's off. So I made this (see below); A basic but unusual typeface "Rex" and a crop of the debut album sleeve as well as track listing.  Basic was the aim because that's what the illustration was like on the front (done by her).
Looking on her website, she has a contact e-mail which seemed to be directly her, rather than the management, which the bands who they are celebrities don't have. So I e-mailed this to her thinking nothing of it. Then yesterday I got this and freaked out.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Back to Basics

This was a project that I did for my band Back to Basics. We were doing a release for a present for our mother (our joint biggest fan w/ my dad). At the time I was very inspired by the ideas and concept laid down by David Carson; a hero of typography who challenged legibility of type while still trying to convey the message. That is what you can see on the back of the sleeve; layers and layers type all fighting for attention. The Front is more simplistic that the back but in the sense follows the same principles. Is the B still readable as a B if the two holes in it are covered up? yes. These are my favourite covers from the project because you can see where the ideas are coming from. The final covers were very straight forward and lack the ambition I started with.

Jack is Back

I have always been a fan of Jack White, whether it be in The White Stripes or The Dead Weather or any of his other projects. But in his solo stuff he out does himself. He is not trapped by the constraints of any members because he'll just form a band to fit around what he does. The new record is faultless;bittersweet ballads, blues freakouts and some amazing song writing. His first record is also amazing but it is only know that I have realized. So as a strange and unusual ode to the amazing man I made him a poster to celebrate one of my favourite songs. I think I am obsessed with typography posters (oops). The colours are from Jack White's Label "Third Man Records" and the lyrics are from "Love Interruption". Hope it is to your satisfaction and if you click the poster; I have put a link to the song.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Lights are Blinding My Eyes

Over the holiday, I got heavily obsessed with light and how much of it is used in America. Lights seem to be on 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Even in this country lights always seem to be on, maybe not in homes but in town centers and street lights. It baffles me how much engergy we use.

This was a "Lightbulb" moment, I chose to utilize this to see what shots I could get. I soon discovered moving as the shutter was taking a picture was enough to generate some fabulous results. Click the images to see them full screen. They are better at that size.

I have always been obsessed with the idea of long exposure shots and especially doing them with light sources. Seeing the results that other people have managed to accomplish employing this technique made me wanna have ago. I have gone for the more abstract patterns rather than trying to spell words or tells because I know that has been done numerous times before by hipsters, who think they are so arty and cool.

 ...and with heavy tinkering around with the levels tool you end up with the chaotic but beautifully strange image.