Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A new years resolution

Its been a while since I last posted, 8 months almost! My mind has been elsewhere with work and as a result I have fallen out of the routine of keeping this blog updated. I graduated in June with a 2:1 and have been working since then as a digital artworker at Amaze in Manchester.

Although I cannot post any specific work that I have been working on, I can say that I have had the opportunity to develop my flash animation, action scripting and web design skills as well as branding, pitch work, image making, type setting and page layout for both print and web.

In my personal time I have also been chasing up some skillsets that I had hoped to cover whilst at University but failed to find the time to, including processing, Cinema4D modelling and animation and developing my knowledge of HTML/XHTML/CSS.

My aims for 2011 are to continue developing these skills but also try some new ones, such as mobile/tablet apps, and to get to grips with HTML 5 and CSS 3.

Below are some examples of the things I have been playing around with - there is no brief or target audience so the images appear quite abstract, i'm just trying tutorials out and tinkering with software for fun and continued learning.

Thursday, 15 April 2010


Late last night I took my hand to a little bit of amateur star spotting, I had my star maps, pencil, notepad, red filtered torch and most important, mug of hot tea. I observed several constellations including Ursa Major, Boötes, Leo, Leo Minor, Canes Venaciti, Coma Berenices, Cancer and Hydra.

In the hour that I spent out in the garden I happened to see a surprising amount of activity in the sky, I spotted what appeared to be either aircraft or satellites passing over on three different occassions and a small but bright flash that lasted less than a second in the region between Leo and Leo Minor.

I took a couple of few second exposure photos on my basic Olympus DSLR, documenting points of personal interest. Unfortunately the low light levels require long exposure to actually capture the light which is then smeared by the Earths rotation, I'm fairly satisfied with the results though.

Top image: Brightest star is Arcturus (part of the Boötes constellation)
Bottom: Part of the Ursa Major constellation known as the Big Dipper in the United States or the Plough in Britain.

Pen-Y-Ghent walk

On 22nd May I will be attempting the Yorkshire Three Peaks walk in the Yorkshire dales with my dad, brother and friends.

It will be a 42 km (26.1 mi) walk with 1.600 m (5,249 ft) of ascent and descent which we expect to take ten hours.

We are currently raising sponsorship money for a friend of my dads, who has been diagnosed with cancer, he will be personally tackling the first peak himself and then meeting us at key points throughout.

To prepare I have been doing several climbs onto the Saddleworth moors, cycling, jogging and most recently a practice climb at Pen-Y-Ghent - the first part of the challenge we are planning to undertake. Here are some images taken by my brother Nathan on the day.

If you would like to sponsor us please email me at to arrange a donation, thanks.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Popular Science magazine released on ipad

Popular science magazine is the first available for US users to download on the ipad, all the same it's a pity the editorial design and interface considerations aren't as strong as Wired.

Mag+ live with Popular Science+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Wow, this is why I want to get into editorial design!

This is the most exciting thing I've seen in a long time. Last autumn I completed a dissertation titled 'Wired? The printed magazine in a digital age', where I explored the relationship between printed and digital publications and how they would develop in the future.

This project pretty much sums up all of my research, I'm absolutely ecstatic.

I'd like to add that as a graphic designer it is great to see how the magazine aesthetic can be retained digitally with the benefits of audio/video and interactivity. No doubt this will be a deciding factor in the migration of readers from print to digital. I'm just curious as to what the print market will be like if this really takes off.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Light pollution

Amazing image showing light pollution from Manchester and Liverpool, taken 350km above the earth at the International Space Station.

Alan Fletcher on the Art of Looking Sideways


Under the surface of style

Towards a complex simplicity

Monday, 22 March 2010

Pop up book of phobias

I was looking at things that might make an individual panic for the Noiselab 'panic' brief and came across this rather nice book of pop up book of phobias by Gary Greenberg. It's great how the design has utilised the pop up effect to heighten the sense of fear in height and creepy physical form rather than just gimmick. Plus scenarios other than the obvious such as speaking in front of an audience or dirty toilets.

Stefan Kanchev

Came across the wonderful work of Bulgarian graphic artist Stefan Kanchev this week, although mostly known for his masterly logo designs, he was also a credited designer of posters, television graphics, product labels and packaging, postage stamps, greeting cards and print for advertising.

His designs have the utmost strictness of form embracing modernism, not dissimilar to the work of Paul Rand but portraying a surprisingly complimentary humanistic and cultural flair.

Indians Head, Dovestones & Chew Valley Reservoir

Dovestones reservoir and the Saddleworth moors near my hometown of Oldham are a particular favourite place of mine to go walking, I haven't been up since before christmas due to the cold weather but last weekends' warmer spout encouraged me to get my walking boots on. The weather was granted a little windy so it wasn't that surprising to see Chew Valley Reservoir still frozen over by the chilling winds and remnants of ice on the moor tops. Beautiful scenery all around.

Wonders of the Solar System BBC

I've just finished watching the third episode of Wonders of the Solar system, a factual program presented by Professor Brian Cox. I'm writing about it here because I'm impressed by how inspiring and easy to digest he makes the content, I have always had a particular fascination with our solar system and was lucky enough to actually see it in its full colours on the Norfolk broads over christmas 2009, a thick band streaming across the centre of the sky containing red, yellow, blue and white stars, far different from the usual view due to light pollution from towns and cities. Like Brian says in episode 2 of the series "you know, from a modern perspective, astronomy can seem remote and arcane, because we've lost our connection with the night sky, from a city you just don't see a sky look anything like this".

In the third episode Brian explains how the atmosphere of a planet or moon can shape its surface, and that Saturn's moon Titan has one much like our own. Though far denser and thousands of miles higher it is able to to support a methano-logical cycle, where methane can exist as ice, water and gas just like hydrogen here on earth. Due to the low gravity and dense atmosphere the methane would fall as thick blobs of water very slowly like snow does here. It's this constant cycle that creates ice sheets, rivers, canyons and rain shaping the surface of Titan to resemble that of Earth.

Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra

I went to the academy tonight to see thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra, an experimental band with members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, from Montreal, Canada. It was truly humanistic performance which I've rarely experienced, taking you through heartfelt reflection in beautifully paced verses and kicked out choruses in songs like 'god bless our dead marines', 'There is a light' and 'I built myself a metal bird'.

During the set Efrin Mueck, vocalist and guitarist, made a bold statement about never falling in love with music as it will only break your heart, which was sadly heckled down, he wasn't going to get his point across to this audience.

In an article he wrote for fishpiss magazine, he elaborates, "there was a time I swear there was a time when music belonged to the people, when songs were the things that we made for each other in spite of, prettiest wordings or saddest angriest warblings to pass between us like hugs or handshakes, the sacredest sacrement of peoplehood's dreamings, hopes, resentments & confusions, or like the ringing of chords like perfect bells to smite wicked politicians, judges or occupying armies, or like all the mucky messy mess of our wandering livings here all wrapped around gutstring or torn throat-chords choking on a tuneful rhyming riddle; a thing that belonged to we the people here all strewn across this muddy spinning rock, a fiery spittle-vapour that clung like fog to the cold cold dirt the FREE dirt of this prettiest starving land, hung there like sacred harps in the fog, cradling sweet skinny tubercular babies to dream a little while— A SAVING GRACE that was once and COULD STILL BE AGAIN".

It was fascinating to watch the varied techniques employed by the musicians, how the percussionist used an array of different sticks and brushes to subtly sweep his snare drum and make his high-hats resonate like crystal singing bowls or the way violinist Jessica Moss would sing directly into the pickups of her instrument.

Seeing how much the band truly loved expressing themselves through their music made me think about how I've perhaps fallen a little out of tune in my own work, and should maybe re-evaluate what it is I actually want to do with my talent and skills.

Summed up wonderfully as a slogan on a tshirt I bought after the show "C'mon, persevere ye bright punk-rockers, S.Mt.Z."

If you've never A Silver Mt. Zion, then I strongly recommend trying to catch one of their live shows, I don't think recordings do them full credit.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Ian Anderson workshop work featured on Prosthetic Knowledge

Quite pleased to see my work from the Ian Anderson workshop has been featured on the Prosthetic Knowledge blog. You can view the post here

My website is now live

I've not updated the blog for some time as I have been busy working on my website and have three other projects on the go. You can view my site at

Monday, 15 February 2010

My logo and ident designs UPDATED

I've been working on a few idents and logos recently and figured it would be a good time to update my portfolio. Here is a sheet showing some logos designed freelance for clients and some for projects at university.

Valentines Teacup window design

On friday I was asked by John Walsh to work on a valentines theme window for teacup on thomas st, I worked on some design ideas with teacups and hearts but in the end we went for a decorative heart pattern which I think works really well with the interior of the shop. Thanks to Jen and Nathan for helping out.

Burial myspace design now live

After several hours of playing around with html coding and adjustments in photoshop I finally finished the myspace design for black metal band 'Burial' yesterday. You can view it live at

Friday, 12 February 2010

My Ian Anderson workshop work featured on VizThink

I was really happy to find out today that my work from the Ian Anderson workshop last term, was featured on An international website that aims to promote visual thinking from all over the globe, they also run conferences and workshops across North America and Europe.

You can see the page I was featured on here

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Lu Shengzhong posters

A few weeks ago I helped Oyunga with these posters for exhibitions at MMU by the artist Lu Shengzhong. It was a quick turnaround and I think a great collaborative effort from the two of us. The final pieces look very striking and the client was very happy with them.

Screen-printing tests for Burial album design

I've been working on an album design for a friends band recently and experimented with using metallic silver ink to lay down typography and logo marks onto a digital print. It's been a tricky process as the fine silver grains in the acrylic I tried were blocking up the screen and causing it to dry out very quickly, resulting in a poor print. Today I tried using an oil based lithographic ink instead which I thought would work better. It does go through successfully but the small type sizes on my design does not help and even still there are issues with defined edges on the larger print areas.I don't think the silver really works in the end anyway, it appears very grey and dull, not what I wanted. The job requires me to do a run of 100 and I don't think this process will be very helpful, considering I may have to wash the the screen down every couple of prints and redesign type sizes to equate for the bad flow of ink through the screen. Digital print will have to suffice for now, it is not plausible to run the heidelberg for such a short run nor is it to try foil blocking either. It was worth trying though.

Some images from the shoot on tuesday.