Monday, 31 October 2016

Mic check, one, ONE! two, TWO! TWO!

Two days left as I am writing this. The FOG is clearing and the end is in sight. It's been a rolleroaster of an experience. I was eternally optimistic and thankful for the opportunity with the declaration "I was looking for a placement and then I found a placement and heaven knows I am happy now" because something good happened to me since university gave me the shock of my life by providing me with a grade that I wanted. (college and school didn't give me that pleasure)

I have produced some really interesting pieces of graphic design since being here; from the sublime to the functional. Maybe one day my work will turn up while I am browsing the Internet. My adverts for the dating type website or for Treadmill gym will go live soon so this is a possibility. Keep your eagle eyes out for photos of couples looking eternally happy or an unreasonably big 29p.

From an idea that I really liked being completely ditched and flung on the skip and then being replaced with a giant star but I am just doing what I am told. From an impassioned speech by the boss on Marriage, Marketing and Making good headlines to discussions about my resemblance to Noddy Holder of Slade in Flame Fame. From being told that what I learnt at uni is wrong and that I am awesome (according to Craig). From receiving free doughnuts from the boss' brother to listening to Let it Be and Abbey Road all the way through.

Thank you FOG, You have thrown many design tasks, curveballs and life lessons at me and I've survived. It looks good on my CV and could even look good in my portfolio. If you are reading this thank you guys, you've made it worthwhile. May you prosper in your work and I will be downloading stunt car racing (the free version obviously, I am not made of money) to see where you guys go with this thing. It has a been a delight to meet you all.

Friday, 28 October 2016


This is my new old logo and my new logo. Yes, I know it looks very similar to the last logo but I promise you it's different. It is a redraw of the hairstyle that has made me famous. Well by Famous, I mean unique and by unique, I mean it's my USP. It smooths out the rough edges of my old logo making it look more tidy. It has a different typeface (yes it looks very similar to the old one) but this is a much more usable typeface. The hair is more orange and the text is blue this time. I have also made it smaller. 

I have tried to make it look the same as before, so my buiness cards remain valid. [Yer a bit of a cheapskate aren't you, James.] It was only a draft logo originally for a uni project and it has done me really well so far but this is now the first re-cut and revision. 

Hope you like it...So many changes in one go...eek it's exciting stuff.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Some (Random) Thoughts on John Peel

Now you know by now that the influence that this man had on my dad and his generation. Some of the stand ups and musicians have also praised this man. But on the way to work this morning I was listening to the John Peel Lecture by Billy Bragg from 2012 and it inspired me a bit so when I got in I listened to and I am still listening to what appears to be a long list of the tracks that made the festive 50 over the years. I always knew his show was eclectic but the festive 50 were chosen by the audience so is great testament to see that the audience chose music this diverse from what was probably a more obscure list that he actually played.

However this is interesting; just look below at the first few years of the FF50's.

1. Led Zeppelin Stairway To Heaven
2. Derek & The Dominoes Layla
3. Bob Dylan Desolation Row

1. The Motors Dancing The Night Away
2. Althea & Donna Uptown Top Ranking
3. The Motors You Beat The Hell Out Of Me

1. Sex Pistols Anarchy In The UK
2. The Clash Complete Control
3. Sex Pistols God Save The Queen

1. Sex Pistols Anarchy In The UK
2. The Undertones Teenage Kicks
3. The Clash White Man In Hammersmith Palais

Bragg says the shows remit was to push people, open up people to new ideas; new sounds. Pop music was played all day during that period so musical misfits had no voice on what they would hear on the radio. Yes they had records but again the limit there is how many pieces of vinyl you own and you can't hear new things listening to your worn out of Frampton Comes Alive. So from everyone who  talks about this man say that's what he did.

Note; this is not my copy nor have I heard the album. I am not mocking it's contents but know it was a popular precursor to Punk.
When I started listening to his shows from tapes posted online; I heard songs from XTC, Gang of Four, The Who, Augustus Pablo, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Clash, Ranking Trevor, Mikey Dread and even played an REO Speedwagon track (once it finished he called it bland). I'd love to know what he'd be playing now; with sterile pop music being the order of the day...every day...since the beginning of the decade...I'd hope it be something different. Something completely different.
So would this John I think
What was my point again? Anyway Good Night and Good Riddance.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

If your mind is clouded or in a FOG you may have mist some opportunities.

My last week at FOG starts today after two half days; one to look after the dog and the other to go to the Job Centre, I am back for my final week. (Meaning I will be here on my birthday but hey better get used to it).

Christmas Social media banners and adverts were done for the gym this morning as well as writing a blog about John Peel (see that at 10 o clock tonight, the original start time of his show). Hope this afternoon will produce some clarity on the online adverts for the new venture. As far as I know, the strategy is to throw as many things at the internet and see what sticks.

I have finished rendering all the different adverts at different sizes. My instagram style ones I feel still look the best but at the end of the day it's not me who is choosing them; it's the Click through Rate, that will determine whether they work or not. It sounds odd but I would like to see them floating around the internet.
I have been given a positive recommendation on Linkedin by my manager here which is delightful. I might print posters and shirts with it and wear it around the town so people can hire me.

(Taking this too far now, James, aren't we?)

Friday, 21 October 2016

Two Halves do make a day

I have been contracted to this place for 4 days a week but have made sure that I am in 5 days but work 2 half days. It gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning; considering I used to be a morning person this is odd. But then again I used to go to bed before it got dark at night.

Yesterday morning was adjusting work I'd done previously to say something different as well as fitting it into social media sizes while listening to one of the best albums of last year (Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly) and one of the best album's of this year (Danny Brown's Atrocity Exhibition). Simple and effect and was rewarded by testing out Stunt Car Racing's two new levels. I missed the metro again so had to wait ten more minutes for the next one.

Today I am writing this, listening to the new Lady Gaga album to see what it is like; I don't have a massive track record of liking a lot of her stuff but I thought I'd give it a try. I have pending tasks from Craig regarding typo's (urgh; I blame dyslexica and my stupidity for not checking).

Craig tasks complete. A Leonard Cohen album later and I am in between jobs. though nearly finished for the day.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

What is this place!?

All is quiet on the South Hylton Front apart from one incident involving a random lady bursting into an office, saying "What is this place?" and forced herself on the nearest computer to use the internet.

I have been writing click bait headlines for my bosses new business venture for what seems to be his never ending advertising ideas. Click bait is lazy marketing in my opinion )and most of the internet's advertising advice sites) but it is a vehicle that leads to clicks which what he is targeting as he "grows the brand".

I have also been working on my versions of the adverts; which don't look corny, that appeal more to the right demographic or any click bait ideas. They are clean and simple with sort of a vintage (instagram filter) photo idea going on. I would intend for these to be still adverts however the bosses idea is to animate them. but at the minute we have six adverts of my versions, six versions of the revised old ideas and we could end up producing some click bait ads and then 4 different sizes and then animating all of them. We could end up with 72 adverts!

I have been listening to Beatles podcasting all day as well. "I have a Beatles Podcast" and "Things We Said Today" to be specific. Check em out if you love the BE AT LES.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


  1. Got told that the basic principle that all Graphic Design is built around is wrong.
  2. Applied for two jobs
  3. Listened to New Order, Run the Jewels 2, Variety of Alan Moore related media, Rough Trade Radio, Pop Punk Classics and the late great David Bowie.
  4. Nearly finished gym promotional stuff
  5. Learned what click bait wa
  6. Revised initial adverts and animated some of them for the bosses new venture.
  7. Price Checked buying youtube subscribers
  8. Organized my emails
  9. Questioned why my knee hurts
  10. Coming up with Click bait slogans
  11. Researched what makes a good banner advert

Monday, 17 October 2016

When the FOG burns off it won’t be mist.

This morning I went in and this afternoon I came out. It was a morning of making sure I didn't miss the mark with my work yesterday and sending a few emails and such. Thankfully I didn't miss the mark on promotional posters yesterday; Craig checked them and the feedback was in the form of a verbal thumbs up.

They match branding idea that I set up when I first started here and because they are all part of the same campaign for the new year they should all work along side each other. I am proud of them. Once they get ticked off; they are going straight into a portfolio. Probably my web one.

Monday Motivation was needed today. I wasn't completely with it; I brushed my teeth before my breakfast leading to me not having any breakfast because the minty taste was strong with my toothpaste. (I have so many problems)

Today I produced a compilation of all my previously available promotional material for the treadmill gym so that we can present them to the boss and ask which ones he likes (or doesn't like as the case may very well be.)

This afternoon has been positive; I know where I am going with regards to Gym posters for the first time since I started them. I also got some personal work done in between jobs (stay tuned for that).
I am also getting quite good at naming things TGFC (Treadmill Gym Fitness Center)

Friday, 14 October 2016

I find comfort in what my mind can't comprehend

Comfort zones, we all have them when we want to feel like there is nothing wrong (there is always something wrong) but it's good to feel like there is nothing. I resort to music that I used to listen to when I was growing up. I still know all the words and it just feels good to listen to. I love it but I don't listen to it like it used to because of this comfort zone.

I try to break out of it as often as I can. Using the logic I once heard from the wise man known as Keith Richards; I want to find out the guys that inspired the people I liked. One of the main references for this was Elvis Presley. Elvis was inspired by the Blues which is why I think The Stones became a Blues band and not a "Rock and Roll band" (in the Elvis sense). So I listened to David Bowie (especially his Berlin stuff) and was told it was inspired by Krautrock. Now I am a big Can fan. I listened to Talking Heads and they were inspired by Steve Reich so I got really into Music for 18 Musicians and Double Sextet. I listened to Billy Bragg and was inspired by Woody Guthrie so made it my business to listen to him. Listened to Joy Division and they liked William Burroughs so explored his work. Listened to The Clash and they were big big Dub fans and now I am a big big Dub fan. I love to explore.

It pushes my frame of reference and joins more dots. You can do this with film and games and books and beer. It doesn't make sense to me to stay in a whole of comfort. The clubbing people who go out every week to the same club, to listen to the same music with the same people; it will lose it's thrill really easily. Without an element of change you will end up hating what you like. With change you may end up hating what you used to like and like what you used to hate.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

The FOG is thin today's been really cold today.

Today, animation was forecast but never came typical weather forecast *shakes fist*. Both me and my colleague Lewis who is also on a placement were due to be taught animation in HTML5 by the boss. But the boss came in for a business meeting and then went for shawarma and then returned and disappeared...somewhere. Anyway; I was requested to some some special offer posters for the gym using the style of my previous posters and hopefully tomorrow morning they can be confirmed.

This afternoon through lack of activity. I have spent an hour or so exploring job sites. I have reacted my ambition to move to a different place. I don't have the same excitement as I did because it is a scary commitment. I have had a quick look within a one to two hour distant away but nothing special. It would be a motivator to move the job was perfect. If I got a job at The Guardian's art desk (in London) or at a record label or at a music magazine or a design magazine. The best job would probably the most unexpected role.

In other news...

I have also been type studies while listening to rhlstp (RHLSTP!). Exploring layout, stretching type and colour. It's a while since I have done some modernist style stuff so I hope you like it. It's not really my style but it's good to get back to where Graphic Design was essentially born. It's all in that great modernist typeface Univers too. The colours don't match that but they were fun and kept the creative juices flowing.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Getting caught up in the FOG

I am sat here listening to Billy Bragg/Peel Sessions/Everything on a Wednesday afternoon, having a little break after completing most of my tasks for the day with two hours to go.

I have officially got the time off that I need for the job centre, etc so thats good. Today I have completed the different size adverts done as well as a sneak peep at the task Craig has in mind for me tomorrow. Some gym stuff, to oil the limbs up. Keeping busy while listening to the Distraction pieces podcast with James Acaster and the Shuffle show with Scroobius Pip.

I did get a job rejection email which is disheartening, but I am used to them by now. But is baffles me that they said 'you are not the right fit for the position at this time', despite the fact that I matched every single thing on that job description. I don't know, how to react anymore, however you guys will be informed about any more job developments.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

I tried to catch some FOG but I mist.


First monday at FOG media and the weekend blues were seen on everyone's face. They have a list of stuff as long as their arm to do and when I went in I had enough tasks that I could count on one finger. Firstly, I finished next draft of the Good Vibration report and sent that off. It is looking so colourful and pretty. You won't be getting a close crop of that because it's not FOG work.

For it was today I produced a logo/banner for a beard treatment company. Yep this job gets strange at times. There is a build up of small little graphic design tasks that are in the process of getting done but aren't at the minute as they aren't top priority. So that's my job here. To tidy up. So here is awkward crop three of the placement; some sexy close up Akzidenz-Grotesk extended and condensed. ooooo.

The second task of the day was producing dating adverts...I mean marriage adverts for my temporary bosses new business venture. I would show you are crop of them but they corrupted when I was saving them. Thankfully the silver lining is that they were adverts were the wrong size and they were only ideas.


Today, I have the morning off to go to the job centre; since there was a job offer here but I rejected it as it was not a graphic designer role, it was a be what I need you for kind of role without a wage offer in site. (On the job front, I did apply for 4 jobs on Sunday, all in the North East). Going back into the FOG after though; to catch up after the file corruption.

Caught up on file corruption and the next task was a follow up to the beard. Three more logo projects for James to complete (and I did as record time). It did help that the guy I was producing the logos for was actually on the other side of the office. This afternoon I also had a follow up meeting with the boss about the adverts. These were confirmed to be good and now he wants them at different shapes and sizes. A task for tomorrow me thinks.

Here are some more awkward crops;

Monday, 10 October 2016

Mind Your Head #WorldMentalHealthDay

One in four of us will suffer from mental health problems at one time in our life, which is worrying. Suicide is on the rise, which is worrying. We are in this situation from years of neglect treating mental health problems. I have a solution. Teach children about it. Simple.

Option one;

Education is the key to most of society of problems but if you teach children that is normal to be sad. It's not normal to feel it for weeks on end. Teach children in primary and secondary school about it; along side sex education and politics (well... schools don't teach that but that's for another time). It should be a given. Schools teach a lot of things and there is always the reply "where do we fit it in?" Strangely my trip through the education system has told me that some of what you are taught is not useful full stop. and some is useful to the small minority. Instead of cram this mental health class in on top of classes; rearrange everything that is taught in school. That's radical but it might just relieve the stress and change priorities.

or option two; read this book in PHSE/Citizenship.

I got this book in Waterstones in Sunderland town centre on a whim because I thought I was too old for it (I am only 21). But it helped me so much. I not just understand what I have been through but what others go through as well as teach me about; drink, drugs as well as body image problems. None of these problems were ever discussed in my school and yet I realise now a lot of the people at my school had one or the other. I cannot recommend this book enough; even if you are clued up about this stuff you might learn something new.

 This book opened my eyes and I would love to see people read it in schools so that they maybe educated on what the rest of their lives may hold. Life is tricky for many people in many ways; let this be your rule book to at least understand some of what you are going through

Friday, 7 October 2016

Placement Day Two/Three - St. Gym-my

Day Two - 
Started the day right listening to one of the best albums of the past ten years; Enter Shikari's A Flash Flood of Colour. Heavy guitar, smashing drums and mad electronics; melded together in one cohesive awesome LP. Loved the first two albums but this is just the best. Four is quite good too.

In keeping with trends in marketing; I designed a selfie frame for the January campaign that they are running. If you are unaware of what a selfie frame is. It is kind of like this (see below) with the name of your company and whatever promotion you are running at the time. Normally includes #'s so that your campaign will start trending.

Day three -
I have been in a car today up to Mr Khayam's other property; the Treadmill Fitness Centre. I have been working from the epicenter of it all in the office and been made an honourary member of staff so was able to use the staff toilet. Delightful!

Today, I have been promoting Elaine's salon which is integrated into the gym. Provided her with a logo and a promotional poster. It looks really cool. It's orange. I think I love orange. It's my default now. It's eye catching without being too overbearing. It's simple and effective for a nice lady. See awkward crop two below.

I have been working on a banner for outside the venue too, with the and famous star that Craig loves. Stay tuned for more information or ask Dougal for more info. He's on TV.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Placement; Day One - Jump into the FOG

First day on the job and I feel really comfortable. Straight in 10 o clock and the team treat me like I have been there weeks. A joke and then back to work, seems to be the scheme here. Reasonable lunch break and deadlines for work. The office even has a Ping Pong table; I didn't expect that.

Been working on some posters for a gym run by the manager here. However trying to come up with synonyms for train (the exercise one and not the one Corbyn sat on the floor of) isn't as easy as it sounds. I have no knowledge of whether I can share these work in progress versions or not so here is a really awkward crop of one of the posters;

I look forward to seeing what additional days and weeks have in store for me. I think a packed lunch might be more cost effective instead of a store bought £3 lunch trip everyday. But I have saved money on metro travelling with a week pass. It is odd starting on a Wednesday but that's just the way it's panned out.

I believe this week panned out so well because of seeing Mr Richardson (my secondary school GCSE English teacher) on Monday. That teacher taught me so much, even though the class was so rowdy, he battled through that and gave the people who wanted to learn the time and space to do while he dealt with the more rowdy members of the class. I have seen him three time since he retired and I left school and he always asks after me and wishes me luck in the future. Massive thank you (if you are reading this)!