Monday, 31 August 2015

Bank Holiday Monday Special

 Posters galore for you this Monday. All of the photos used in these posters were taken from vintage issues of NME; most of which I had never seen before, making them more than a pleasure to use & incorporate them into designs. Interstate is the font of choice, which I haven't really used and was reminded of it's existence by the graphic designer and teacher and author Ellen Lupton.  

Admittedly some of these posters are better than the others and some are more interesting than others. but I suppose that's all in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. All of the gigs are real and did happen most of which I would love to of gone to.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Get Loose, Get Loose

On the contrary, to the great song by FFS, Collaborations Do Work. Me and by buddy Vincent of Progression through Inspiration "fame" gone and done a poster for the Brickyard's indie night. It is only second time we have collaborated on a client based project, The first was the first Loose Poster. (I got a thanks on the second, despite not raising a finger on design apart from helping on the ideas).

The collage of indie stars from past and present, in the main is mine. The colours were nicked from my website, because wincent liked it I suppose. handwritting his thing and giant paint splodge is also his doing. A team effort me thinks.

 I have never attended one of these nights despite looking for one to attend ever since my teenage years and I still won't be able to make this one. This is my aim to get to the next one we design Vincent, That is a promise Vincent if you are out there reading this.

If you are in Carlisle and haven't been lease go and tell me what it's like. Plus if you go, it means more business for a place I love to go to.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Book Club : Zapf Dingbats has a use.

David Carson is a man I have covered recently on this blog & how I seemingly used to hate his work, or so is my assumption as I don't recall seeing any of it. In college I was stupid, I could not see for looking. David Carson is now one of my all time favourite designers, up there with Jamie Reid, Chip Kidd & Peter Saville. I have more but the rule of three in literature is stopping me from writing anymore.

Out of control is not a monograph, which I thought it was before I bought it. It is a book that puts into perspective, what Carson meant at the time,  as well as showing the genius' vision for what a magazine with unreadable, in the main, could be. It destroyed, all in it's wake. I love his work for Raygun, hence the reason, I chose this book and not his more famous book "the End of Print" because that only has a chapter on Raygun.

"How can you like something you can't read, idiot?" because design can look beautiful and be madder than a ship's cat even though it fails on the direct level of communication; Don't mistake legibility for communication. Just because you can't read something it doesn't mean it doesn't communicate something. I will leave you with that thought.

PS he is really good with design lecture's so give him a search on Youtube. Informative and funny.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Less musical than Throbbing Gristle

A year in numbers. 12 months in figures. 24 half months in stuff and so on...etc. That is what I wanted to summarize in a report before the third year starts. the big scary final year of university with dissertation.

So in a very similar vain to my manifesto, I have used the same fonts and colours to show the true extent of what my year has been like. Including some facts that you may find surprising. to the extent facts about an up and coming graphic designer can be. I would print these publications but due to not having money or a double sided printer. Come to think about I could print them off when I get back to uni. Not that people would want to buy it but would be nice to have a paper copy.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Book Club - Drawing Music

I saw a sneak preview of this book prior to it's release on the social media platform instagram at 11:30pm and HAD to add it to my amazon wish list before I went to sleep. So a very tired James, spent the next twenty minutes when he should of been asleep adding this to his wish list.

I bought it the following day or two and it was delivered home a while later (it was a preorder) and when I opened it, it was beautifully. A perfect fusion of quirky illustrations of musicians I did know as well as those I did not. It does boast that it is not a professional book on music. It's all humble opinion & favourites.

It is a recommendation for the illustrations alone and expanding your music eclecticism. It's also a Nobrow book and they are beautiful things in general.

Bonus: the beautiful man did a mural at the urban outfitters in London. Which I saw while at NME. Their vinyl prices are far too expensive.


Monday, 24 August 2015

Film Review - helvetica: the movie

A movie about a font, would bore most common folk but for a designer it is something fabulous. The cream of the crop in the design world all appear to pay tribute to it's beauty or to hate on it. It is EVERYWHERE so it is hard to ignore it's impact.

Is it beautiful because it is neutral? Is it beautiful because it is multi purpose? Is it perfect? These are some of the questions raised in the film by (preapre yourself) Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmiester, David Carson, Designers Republic, Neville Brody & Erik Spiekermann. It has the son of one of it's makers looking over all of the tests before it became a finished font. The full movie is on youtube, which is where I watched it & I reccomend that you do.


Friday, 21 August 2015

Communism had one, so why can't I?

Communism had one. Yeah I own a copy. When penguin released the 80p version of it; in the format of a little black book. I haven't read it yet but the concept is what I wanted to steal. Many artist have written one; a manifesto. There are two reasons to do this; either to be pretentious or to outline your morals/principles as an artist. The reason I did it, was a bit of both. I would like people to know what I am about but in the same vain, it was just to say I have one.

You know what you getting from me as a designer if you read this document before you hire me. I like to think that it makes fairly common sense. have a look and see what you think of it.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Book Club - Importance of Peter Saville

My bible, the holy book, of beautiful post modern record cover design. People who know me, personally, know how much praise I have work the work in this book. Especially, the early work done by Peter Saville. Blue Monday 12" sleeve is the reason that I am in Graphic design. Art over the cost of production. The morals of Tony H Wilson; the subject of a new charity/single by the poet Mike Garry. A beautiful dedication to an awesome man. see below for the original version.

I am preparing an in depth blog post on the work of peter Saville for my university dissertation so stay tuned for that little beauty, it is in the vain of post modernism so it should be a jolly good read.

How did i get into uni?

This is a question, I often ask myself, and to be honest I have no idea. I would like to say it was down to my outstanding grades. It wasn't. I did put a lot of effort into my limited graphic design course, which I am labeling art, sort of. Art, maybe. The anti comic sans course. I will choose one of them.

The only reason I say this as I was sorting through my work and found my portfolio, the very portfolio, untouched, that got me into team grillust, into the next step/branch of my educational adventure. Now by today's standards of my work (not perfect but learning) the pieces in there don't even count as design. The body of work over them ten pages shows a primitive knowledge of Photoshop, an ability to copy/trace pre-existing materials as well as poor type choices.

It is a time stamp. I have just sort of said its bad but it was of its time a brings home the fact that I do not suck as much as my depressed mind sometimes tells me I am. I still love my "Hey Jude" collage, it took hours but just represents how much of a behemoth that song is: especially the LOVE version is.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Book Club - Chip Off the Old Block

Graphic design doesn't have many so called "rockstars" but in the press/media Chip Kidd is the closest you will get. He is a book cover designer by job, now that may not sound very exciting but I promise you once you see his work. Its marvelous. So when this man writes a book telling you how to design it is something to look out for.
This book could be taken as one of the most condescending books of all time because its in language and tone it is very very simple. But past that it is very informative; tips, tricks and tasks. The three  T's. (My tablet has just tried to change that to the three R's (repition, repition, repition). It is odd always by its construction as a book. It has the look and the feel of a children's book. 

I bought this 2 years ago, at the very beginning of my uni course, having only been taught college, what in hindsight, didn't really feel like the bare bones of design, more art but not quite.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Keep Calm and Carry Wrong

It's over, lets celebrate. I think it's over at least, I haven't seen any imagery of the "keep calm..." variety in a long while so I assume the fad is dead. nothing stinks of lack of creativity then revisiting and old idea and ripping it off shamelessly without a bat of an eyelid or any care for it's history. the original was intended to keep up morale during the blitz during the second world war. It was designed by the ministry for information, and for a public sector body doing a design job they did a smashing job. According to wikipedia "The typeface is often assumed to be Gill Sans, which is very close but not exact (see the terminals of the 'C', for example). The lettering was perhaps hand drawn by a now-unknown designer." Making this ever more tragic that the maker of such an icon is unknown.

One thing I would say is that I would hate the man responsible for this to see what a mess the market make of his piece. He certainly wouldn't of made any money off of the thousand and thousands and thousands of parodies of this. It's on mugs, t-shirts, tea towels, stationary, phone cases and probably underpants. It became widely destroyed icon I started to hate it; I mean what is the link between this;

One is to keep spirits high in the event that you and/or your family home is bombed during the blitz and the other is keeping you calm casting a fictional spell that does nothing outside the lens of the camera in a film studio with a special effects guy making something happen. Having it on a pop compilation album is wrong, having wrapping paper is wrong. making fandom relevant versions of it is wrong. removing carry on and putting love _______ is stupid and wrong.

I am so happy to celebrate the end of a fad that stopped originality and creativity in it's tracks.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Gun Flaws

 America, I love you. You have created many of the things I love. Your Punk Rock was amazing. Rock and Roll spawned from your shores but you are letting the side down with your homicide rate. Homicide; the act of a human being causing the death of another human being. Especially via guns. Now I know you love them but there are times when you can protect yourself from a so called threat by using other methods of protection. 

Now there are a few things that may be to blame.;
  •  Maybe you are violent people; nope other countries have had just as a violent past as you guys and they don't have a mass shooting every other week.
  • Maybe you guys play violent video games; nope, the same games are played all over the world.
  • Maybe you have violent hip hop and rock music that is teaching young people that guns are cool; nope, this music is widely available in other countries too. 
Maybe you guys have a 2nd amendment that gives you the right to bear arms; you do but that doesn't mean you have the right to kill anyone. But accidents do happen when you keep a killing machine under your bed. Maybe you have an association that promotes guns and refuses to accept that murder using said weapons means they need to be regulated. oh yeah, you do and it annoys me so much.

the people who want to regulate and put controls on your guns are not evil they just want to stop people who carry out the mass shootings with your favourite thing. they don't want to take them away. So let the below be a warning to you and your unfair behaviour to straighten up and take a little bit of regulation to save the people of your nation. The press does say you are an exclusive organization of angry white men & I believe them all the way.

Anyway, in design terms these are themed like 1940's style newspaper ads, when the good time supposedly were, and are for the NRA (national rifle association). They are racist, sexist as well as in appropriate to be provocative. it tends to make people listen when you over step the mark.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Deck the mac's with wallpapers of joy

One of the the projects for summer was to create a set of wallpapers based on the course in which I am studying.Now for those of you who may or may not know the Grillust Graphic Design and illustration course is unlike any other course it is run by professional type people who at heart want whats best for you but have a funny way of showing it via laughing at your work, telling you straight and telling you via some long and twisted riddle.

It's a good course I have learnt a lot of good things just I thought I would give you a students perspective on the ordered chaos that the course is. Since the course is funny I thought humour was the best way to tackle. this project, so here is the reality of that we as students put up with... I mean treasure

Sunday, 9 August 2015


I never work on a Sunday, if you even dare to call design work. it is merely play with elements until it fulfills the brief. (wow that sounded professional) Not like this; below is a photo from my recently rediscovered college notes and there is a cross next to the name David Carson. The man who gave us Beach Culture, Surfer and Raygun and is the father of Grunge type. Sigh, Older James frowns of College James.

A photo posted by James Alexander Reay (@jamuggins) on
A study of some of the ideas and structures behind David Carson's work in the books "the End of Print" and "Out of Control" (a Chemical Brothers reference?), led me to this some how. I was using quotes from the books and re-purposing them into simple typographic posters but the quote I had was not working so I changed it. I changed it to a line from the great song "Some Kind of Nothingness by the ever great Manic street preachers and to a line sung by Ian McCulloch. To be fair this is really bad design practice but I wasn't gonna fight with something I am gaining nothing from.

& it works. That's the main thing I think.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Positive Songs for Negative People

this man sang on hill in front of millions of people prior to the Olympics opening ceremony, of which the ceremony melted my face, and he is not more famous than he is. what does he have to do to win your approval. He is mates with one of the biggest musical activists of our time, Billy Bragg. As per, I haven't listened to the guy but the amount of effort he puts into his work is just jaw dropping.

Vintage style photos of the well groomed punk rocker seemed on odd concept to me. Not the well groomed but because sometimes I do that. no the Polaroid style photos seem misplaced. but they are nice photos and feel that they contextually look pretty and yes the headline is the name of the John Lennon song.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

To Pimp a Editorial

His last album came as a shock to me, I had heard it was awesome from a variety of reliable sources mainly reviews and my close uni friend Vincent (who has just made his own typeface) but honestly thought it was not going to be my cup of tea. but my mind was blown. one day once uni had finnished. I put the long album on and wow. good beats (tick) political lyrics (tick) narrative (tick). So kendrik has been on my watch list from then and his latest album is good but very very very ambitious and hard to wrap your head around.

So a delightful photoset set with a cheerful looking mr Lamar and an enagaing read about his views on the institutional racism that the police in america seem to have against the black community and gun laws in the US of A. this one was really hard because not only was it a long story but the printed version; done by my superior Dani, was brilliant.and had a cool drop cap that breached a new line.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Big Talk in drag with a boxer dog called Archie.

I am not going to claim that I have heard this band, I know of them so I am not completely out of the loop. I also know that one of the members is the drummer in one of the savers of my music CV. The post punk revival brought my ears to the attention to The Killers and Mr Brightside and Smile like you Mean it and Somebody Told Me. so many good singles to name. Anyway this is their drummer (Ronnie Vannucci) side project, while Mr "Brandon" Flowers thinks he is in the 80's.

I approached this spread like people in my position; who is this band?, oh it's that guy from the killers, oooooo, it's his band, better read the say that it has some really odd monet in the article is an understatement but thats why I'd want to be his friend.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

I Told You I Was Trouble

Amy Winehouse, what can I say. I knew about Valerie, her hit collab cover single of before the rest of her material. I haven't listened to her albums but the songs I have heard are great. She sounds like her heroes. "Stronger Than Me" is a tear jerker, "Back to Black" is sassy and "Rehab" is defiant. Her versions of "I heard it through the grapevine" and "Don't go to Strangers" with Jools Holland and Paul Weller are great too.

NME were doing an feature to promote the new movie "Amy" about her life and times and her music. of course. It's controversial if you read the article but they were given access to home photos of her at the beginning of her career which make this have a personal feel to it. I really like this layout and it's way harder than it looks. You have to fit so much text into such a limited space, use the RIGHT photos and fit the box outs in.

Monday, 3 August 2015

How Small, How Orange, How Editorial

Florence and the Machine. I liked them from the start and even own the issue in which NME introduced them as that years top tip along side The Big Pink (domino's, anyone), Empire of the Sun, White Lies, Little Boots & The Virgins. It was a good year for music shame 50% of them fell flat on there face soon after.

 I was really happy to be able to do some work involving great photos of Florence Welch (who did a great glasto show)and a great article. It was given to me as part of my internship that I be given so text and an inDesign document and make the article. so that is what this week is going to showcase. My editorial ability.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Are you Satisfied?

Grime is the new punk, claim this great new London outfit Slaves, who's debut album I listened to on a dark rainy lonely night in Carlisle and it cheered me up no end. it is good old fashioned punky rock but not by any means are they just a vintage sounding act, the grime element is there and works no end. Unfortuanetly it is an expensive album to own on LP but the songs like Feed the Mantaray and Cheer Up London make it a tempting prospect none the less.

So this editorial was the one that I did first and did it "wrong", I did it without any prior assistance from the people who work here. and once they look at it I fixed it and it looked pretty. The one thing I did not change was the lead image is not meant to be a live shot, unless the article is a live feature. but using that shot, it is just a marvellous photograph.

You are now the NME

Nip and a punch for the first of the month.

Looking back of the past two weeks I spent watching people work and mill around me each telling each other what there favourite covers of NME are and which ones should become posters for the commemorative magazine. So I thought that I would share with you my favourite covers of the magazine. that used to be my weekly bible of new and exciting music, that is now going to be free from september.

these are the real classics. the top two are shot by Anton Corbijn and the large slits one is done by the genius that is Barney Bubbles of Elvis Costello and Stiff/Radar Records fame. and the last two ae just genuinely awesome. I really wish it would go back to it's roots and become and newspaper magazine, it allows for cheaper printing and more creativity.