Alan Fletcher – ‘the art of looking sideways’

This book for me is essential to any designer, I found Alan Fletcher when I was in college and I visited his exhibition before he died in 2006. Fletcher is a British Graphic Designer and regarded the graphic designer of his generation, and probably one of the most prolific. It was amazing to have studied his work in books and then see it in the flesh, truly amazing. Fletcher to me is a legend, his work is profound and based on questioning everything, not only just underneath the surface but deep within a subject he can find the most intriguing details and his work is addictive because of this. I feel I can learn so much from reading and looking at the way he explains things.

The piece that I will always remember is the ‘mind over matter’ which he writes mind with a line underneath and then writes matter underneath that line, it is so pure and simple that if all designs were like this then all design would work. I try to live up to this ideal of being able to create something so simple out of something so complex.

The book ‘the art of looking sideways’ is a development of all his ideas from evolution, to colour, to the way the mind works. He explores pretty much everything you could think of, relating it to your life as a human and your life as a designer. The main point I get from this book is that as a designer you never shut off and live your life as just a consumer, they are intertwined and if you recognise that then you can make the most of your life as both a human and a designer. If you can always question things further than the top layer then you will have a better understanding of life, the way it works and what can be gained by making certain judgments and decisions. The design of the book itself is just as expected from Fletcher, a collaboration of ideas and developments structured and organised but in an experimental fashion.

I really quite like the way that this book has been designed, having many ways of reading it, the different textures, typefaces, styles and ideas. I think the only question that needs to be asked about this book is: Is there too much going on in this book? My answer would be no. If it were any different than it would not represent Fletcher the way it does. His style is this book and many designers like myself aim for this confidence and ability.

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Paul Arden ‘Its not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.’

The book ‘Its not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.’ Is one of my favourite books, not only for its content but the way that content is displayed and organised. First the cover is pure, plain and simple highlighting the word ‘good’ because this is the whole point of the book itself; that you can be as good as you like. But because of the way that the front cover is you instantly know what the book is going to entail, the style and layout of the cover represents the way the whole book is laid out and so essentially you end up judging a book by its cover.

Inside the book is a wondrous amount of self help anecdotes to help you succeed, this book can be applied to any walk of life, but for me its the design industry. A lot of what is said in this book I live by, constantly questioning myself and others as to whether we are doing things in the right way or the wrong way and what the effects of these decisions may be. Looking at things from all angles as well as my own, knowing what I want and where I want to be helps me to focus my energy on getting there and succeeding. ‘Accentuate the positive’ and ‘Eliminate the negative’ is one of my favourites from this book; this helps me across all boards of my life, not just my career and designs. Looking at things from a positive point of view helps you to accept criticism and helps you to learn from your mistakes.

I believe confidence is a state of mind, and it can help you achieve everything you want in life as long as you do not confuse confidence with arrogance you will succeed.


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Ethics in Design

Ethics in design is an interesting subject, I recently started reading ‘Good: An Introduction to Ethics in Graphic Design’ by Lucienne Roberts. I am literally a few pages in and I already finding it truly inspiring. The ideas she bases on fact and history is amazing, she looks as religion and art, politics and philosophy. She combines all these things together to form a coherent thesis on ethics in design. Ethics in design does exist, but to what extent? I have spent a lot of time researching this area of the industry because I believe that it is important for our future(as designers) to look at the whole picture, the effects on society, the way  that a company is perceived in society and what the real message is.

My aim is to make young designers aware of ethics in design or more aware of ethics in design, we tend to see the brief or job as ‘the big sell’ when we should be looking at the long term effects of the message a company wants to sell to the world. At the moment I am reading and researching and do not know the whole story but in a few months will be in full swing of producing well thought out ideas and solutions. I am not saying that I will be able to save the world, or make design better, but what I want is to understand the industry and where is stands in terms of ethics to  be able to change the way I design, and perhaps others for the better.

As designers we have done a lot for society, we have not only produced ways of communicating with each other, but destroyed some companies and built others up. I believe that a designer can input their style and creativity but the underlining message and audience perception is controled by a higher being(the boss). What I am trying to get at is, we often think we have freedom in our designs, when really every small piece of design is already being controled by something or someone else.

Design is based on what people want other people to think about a certain issue or company, not necessarily what it true. This does not go for all design and designers, and I am no exception at some point or another we have all been told to do something we do not agree with. It could have been a colour decision, a typeface decision,  a character design, shape, word, absolutely anything. But its for certain that we have all had to deal with this at some point or another. But the idea behind this is that should we stand up for what you believe in, whether its a colour change or whether we think the project is totally unethical?

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I attended the Gadget show live and loved it. My little brother met Jason Bradbury and now talks to him on twitter ALL the time. Amazing, that bloke is so down to earth. Anyway back to what I was originally going to write about. FESTO. Now FESTO are an interesting company that not only produce geek technology but create technology that can be used to inspire and create a buzz of general amazement.

During the Gadget Show Live show FESTO had their floating/swimming giant penguins in the audience whilst we waited for the show to begin. They are free floating technology that basically swims through the air in the same way that penguins swim through water. One word. Amazing. These things stunned me, they were definitely the highlight for me.

Here are the floating penguins:


They also do a couple of similar products:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_citFkSNtk&feature=related] [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxPzodKQays&feature=related]

These products are inspired by nature, some may say that they have in fact copied nature, however it does not matter what people say about these things, you see one for real and it makes you question the reality we live in, they are so life like in movement it is astounding and I would have these at my events any day.

Just brilliant.

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In the attic who has a birthday today.

I had the chance to see this beautiful yet creepy piece of stop motion at my local cinema(Hyde Park Picture House  – http://www.hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk/). It was absolutely fantastic, the story itself was enticing and the stop motion I just adored. I have seen a lot of different pieces of stop motion but this piece of  claymation was just astounding. Here is a link to watch the Trailer for yourself.


The textures and creative use of textures I really admired, makes you think a lot about how you could create exciting yet unique stop motion. The boat scene was a favorite for me. The use of the bin bags and the boat itself I thought was great. I would urge anyone that gets the chance to see this film. SEE IT.

This was supposed to be a kids short film, but it had my cowering in my seat whilst i watched it. It felt very real considering it was claymation. I fell into the story headfirst and loved every moment of it. Truly inspiring film.

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