Category: My Work

Not Quite Southwold

On a much needed day off, the lads and I decided we didn’t want to stay in and to go out and do something. Exactly what we didn’t really know, but with all of us being completely broke I figured it would just be walking round somewhere on a lovely day, so I made sure I threw my DSLR in the car (I’ve had my Sony for a couple of years now, but don’t get anywhere near enough chances to use it). Someone suggested going to Southwold, which I was totally up for, but was met with disdain from others, and after starting to drive without a destination, we ended up in Great Yarmouth.

I haven’t been there in about a year, and I forgot just how cool a place it is to photograph. It’s quite surreal having a seaside holiday destination so close to home, as I never really think of Yarmouth as a place people want to go and stay, because as awesome as the Pleasure Beach is, and who doesn’t like arcades, there’s very little else. I took hundreds of photos, all the different structures, people, and signage makes for some really cool looking images. Typography too, as a big type fan there’s a wealth of stuff to admire in that tacky, run down Yarmouth sorta way. The things I spent the most time snapping away at, were the giant arcade signs. Huge lettering adorned with colourful light bulbs, which look pretty interesting when you zoom in close and have a kinda sombre feel during the day. All in all it was an awesome day out, we spent virtually no money and experienced the great British seaside. Charming.

You can find the full albums on Flickr: Black & White Colour


Back to Business

I’ve been meaning to whack these on here for ages now, as it’s been over a month since I finalised and printed my nifty business cards. My preliminary post while I was still developing stuff can be found here. They didn’t change dramatically, I’m still ripping off / paying homage to my favourite set of book covers designed by Penguin and Romek Marber, but what I did do, is design four different variations. Why have one when you can have four? It’s based on a set of books after all.

Above: Two of Marber’s original covers. Below: My final four business cards.

Based on recommendations from my fellow designers Anna O’Dell and Laura Jordan, I went to Eco Digital Print to get them… well, printed. A great bunch of gents, who helped me and many other design students get their shit printed as our exhibition rapidly approached. My cards came out awesome, very nice stock and the colours looked fine. I was a little worried as me and printing never really got along, with so many variables, stuff usually goes wrong in the short time it takes an image to go from my screen to a piece of paper, and even shorter amount of time for me to punch the nearest wall in frustration. I have since gone back to Eco to print my entire portfolio, and have joined my colleagues in recommending them as probably the best place in Norwich for printing.

Above: The first test page. Below: All cropped and ready to give away.

As if by magic, when you put all four cards next to one other we see the title / logo of this very website (OMFG!). By no means an original idea, I thought the tackiness worked with the old school retro-ness of the cards themselves, and I think it does look pretty cool. It’s also a cheap incentive for people to take all four away with them. I must have done something right, as both stacks at D&AD London and our exhibition in Norwich disappeared completely. Though saying that, I haven’t received any e-mails from those who took one, unlike most of my friends. So if you did take one, and happen to be reading this, chuck a comment my way. It would be kinda nice to know someone else digs this stuff as much as me. Anyways, thanks for reading, much love to all of you.

Eco Digital Print, Noriwch: (Thanks again guys!).

The H.G. Wells Collection

It occurred to me the other day that it’s been a while since I’ve stuck any of my own work on here, and being freshly graduated and resting before I try and sort out a career I haven’t really flexed my design muscles recently. So here’s a project rundown of the last thing I did at uni, my final major project based on the D&AD brief from Orion Books, which asked for a series of matching book covers for legendary author H.G. Wells‘ more lesser known novels (aka the non-sci-fi ones). The original brief said they had to be hardback jackets, but the set is aimed at a younger audience and those likely to have a basic knowledge of the author but not these particular titles. Hardback’s just seemed like a contradiction. They’re more expensive and less practical, two qualities I thought were pretty important when targeting ‘young creatives’.

Here are a few of my scamp pages for each book, just to show you where the imagery and ideas came from:

Stuff was pretty varied at the early stages, and I didn’t know how I would realise anything, though it would have to be either illustration or photography. Designing custom DVD covers in high school really helped me with the whole ‘matching set’ thing, but then again, it’s hardly rocket science to establish a visual style and apply it to three books. Before I decided upon the 60’s cut-out style, I made a few random mock-ups digitally, with varying degrees of success:

They’re not too bad really, just not the sort of thing I wanted. The last ‘pink bottles’ one I still think is pretty cool, but I couldn’t make the same thing work for the other two books. All this digital experimenting lead to the old school, cut-out style I would fall in love with. It got me looking at old Penguin books and kick-started this retro crush I’ve had over the last few months and will probably stay with me for the rest of my life. Here is a selection of some of the earlier covers I made for ‘Tono-Bungay‘:

I really dug the pink and black (though I would end up changing it to a green / blue thanks to printing issues with the red on the next title), and I thought that applying a 60’s style to books published in the late 1800’s gave them an awesome modern-retro feel. My original post while these were still in development can be found here, and a bunch of (eventually) rejected designs for ‘Love and Mr. Lewisham‘ is also on here. I moved onto the second book, and it took me ages to get to something that a) I liked as much as the pink bottles and b) looked like part of the same set as the others (and at that point I still hadn’t decided on which one I liked the most). So I ended up making loads of similar covers using vector stylized people and hearts, which I just couldn’t seem to make work:

The two above were the best of the bunch. They’re simple, and fit with the previous designs. ‘Love and Mr. Lewisham‘ is the only book of the three which I actually read during the project, and although I came up with the heart / arrows idea before hand, it’s a really good reflection of the story and it’s key protagonist (three guesses who that is). The Ouija board background disappeared fairly quickly, as did the question mark, it doesn’t add anything and the imagery speaks alot better without it.

Annoyingly I have lost the front mock-ups of ‘The History of Mr. Polly‘, which basically went from a hand holding a match (which I actually re-used here) to a gentlemen’s top hat on fire. Both of which are a reference to the most pivotal moment in the book, where Mr. Polly decides to burn down his clothes shop and start a new life in the country.

Well this post has gone on far longer than I originally intended anyways, so I’ll leave it here, simply by saying that I’m awfully proud of the final outcomes, with each one really reflecting the essence, spirit and themes of each book, and in the Saul Bass style I have been a fan of for years, but had never imitated. If you actually took the time to read all this, thanks alot.

Coffee Stained Self-Promotion

Thought I’d share some stuff from my current self-promotion project that is now starting to take shape… sort of. I’ve let my new passion for old books kinda take over this, with the last bunch being a direct send-off of Romek Marber’s iconic Penguin Crime series. I set up this blog as part of self-promotion, so I’m trying to link CSP and CE (that’s me) together. It’s all a little skattershot, with me just playing around with whatever I think may look cool or interesting. For what it’s worth I originally imagined the book covers as business cards. Anyways, this is nowhere near complete or even coherent and logical, just some funky stuff I wanted to share.

The Playlist Project

For years I’ve been making playlists in good ol’ Windows Media Player, proving to be both a motivation to do more uni work and a distraction from it. Recently I started writing them down, as it occurued to me that not doing so was kind of a waste. And it’s now turned into an apparently directionless, kinda avant garde personal exercise that I can’t seem to leave alone.

My basic idea was to try and tie these somehow into my self-promotion project, and so I made these largely type-based CD covers that I’m not sure what to really do with. The funny thing being the playlists I make are like 30 tracks long, so could never possibly fit on an audio CD, so…yeah. Not sure where this thing is heading at all. What I am sure of though, is there’s something kinda nice about the whole endeavour. Aside from the fact they look good, I find music is a truly wonderful thing, it has the power to enrich your soul, overcome you with emotion and provide an outlet for your deepest feelings or problems. Cataloguing the music that is currently getting me through stupidly late nights and massive amounts of uni work can’t possibly be a bad thing. Perhaps in several years time I’ll look at ‘The Awesome, Motivational Playlist’ and remember how those humble .mp3’s provided me with enough focus and determination to finish my book covers at 2 o’clock in the morning, and how fantastic that made me feel.