Last month I visited some studios in Amsterdam (again), which involved another really enjoyable visit to Dolly Rogers. As a thank you for once again putting me through their unique form of torture – Powerpoint Karaoke – and giving me some really great feedback on my work, I created a little something for them:
The poster has now found a happy new home in the Dolly Rogers studio.
I’ve been meaning to post for a while about what I’m up to at the moment.
Currently I’m working on a self-initiated minor project on the topic of consumerism. Or anti-consumerism actually. I went into it with the very vague brief of wanting to create something that encourages people to consume less.
I had a look at consumer co-operatives (including The People’s Supermarket which I just love), culture jamming, Freeganism, free stores/swapshops/The Really Really Free Market/things like Freecycle, LETS systems and I also documented everything I consumed in one day (which I might revisit later as a large-scale poster or something).
I really like the idea of swapshops as a way of reducing the amount of stuff there is in the world without stopping acquiring new things completely, but I wanted to make something that was a level above just swapping used goods. I looked into ways that this could be done without money (member-run stores, local currency) but giving things away for free isn’t really a viable option – things like Really Really Free Markets and Freecycle work because they’re either a temporary event or don’t exist physically, whereas I want something that has a permanent physical presence. Basically a shop that a) doesn’t create waste b) cuts out the middle man of current consumerism by putting producers and consumers into direct contact with each other which means c) goods are affordable for everyone.
After a lot of thinking, what I’ve finally come up with is a shop that takes unwanted donated items and gives them a new lease of life by upcycling them and reselling them in-store. People who donate items are given tokens (the amount depends on the quantity/value of donated items) that can be spent in the store. Products are priced in token value as well as pounds, so customers can choose which currency to use. The point of the token system is that customers who contribute to the business are rewarded, and it encourages people to donate items that would otherwise go to waste. As the items are donated and all the production is done in-house, it also reduces the cost to the customer as well as the impact on the environment.
Brand look and feel moodboard
I’m at the stage now where I’m creating the visual identity. I’ve already come up with a name – The Foundry – which describes the in-house production and the way the items are created. Right now I’m working on creating a typeface that reflects the feel of the brand – found items, handmade, mixtures of textures, colours, patterns etc.
I’m really enjoying this project so far. I feel like I’ve learned from my mistakes last year so it’s been going a lot easier for me.
I’d like to go to TypoLondon. Imagine the valuable things a student like me could learn from three days at a design conference. Unfortunately, someone decided it should cost £780… however luckily for me, students can get tickets for £290 – a mere pittance!
I’d long ago resigned myself to the fact that I’d never be able to afford to go to any design conference until I’m at least 30 and have a mortgage and other grown-up stuff, and as no one ever seems to question the price I assumed there must be something that design professionals knew that I didn’t that made it ok to fork out the cost of an annual holiday on three days of listening to people talk. That was until this morning, when Jamie Wieck (designer at Airside, author of #The50 – a really good read for any design students – and all-round interesting person to follow) tweeted “TypoLondon costs £780.00 or £290.00 if your a student. Insanity. I haven’t got enough energy to form a coherent argument against this.”
Thank god, ok so if it’s not just me, and there are people who actually work in design who also think this is ludicrous, then who actually goes to these things? The design industry isn’t that big, so it’s not exactly a big leap to imagine that the same people wind up going every year – the ones who can actually afford it. And if that’s the case, then surely there’s a limit to the knowledge that can be shared? Putting such a hefty price tag on conferences like TypoLondon not only makes them an elite members club for designers who clearly earn too much, but it also stifles the spread of knowledge and blossoming of new ideas. It’s the design equivalent of a a shallow gene pool – eventually you wind up with something that, well, just doesn’t work.
Imagine if something like TypoLondon was free. Imagine the huge scope of people you’d get – not only hugely successful designers but people from smaller agencies and students – everyone with their own unique take on the design world and their own ideas to share and develop.
I’m not saying that’s feasible to hold something as big as TypoLondon for free. I have no idea, I don’t have a business mind. But there’s no way that the ticket price needs to be that much. Huge music festivals don’t cost that much and they employ some of the biggest stars IN THE WORLD, not just in their industry. I think a fee just covering the running costs of the conference would be fair – surely the profit comes from what everyone involved gains from the experience rather than the money they earn? You can’t put a price on knowledge.
My has mum this bookshelf in the living room that is full of old books. I’ve never really thought to look at them before, they are just there more like ornaments than anything, they’ve always been there (like the wooden kaleidoscope or the weird marble statuette of a rhino that also inexplicably occupy the shelves). I’ve never seen anyone reading them.
Being a fan of typography and books and old things in general and also being really bored today, I decided to have a flick through. Some of them were rather beautiful. Some of them had been scribbled in by the previous owners which I really liked. I’d love to know who these people were and how these books came to end up decorating the bookshelf.
Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
“…many volumes of the series should in due course find their way into nearly every home, however humble, in the British Empire.”
Henry V – Shakespeare (Oxford and Cambridge examination edition)
Adam Bede – George Eliot
“Printed on a new and legible type, in volumes of a convenient and handsome size.”
The Old Curiosity Shop – Charles Dickens (1886)
This is my favourite cover out of the lot. It looks especially good considering it’s 125 years old.
The illustrations and decorative drop caps are amazing – why don’t they make books like this nowadays?
Captain Cook’s Voyages
Chambers’s Etymological English Dictionary (1890)
I could have hours of fun with this one. I love linguistics.
I’ve already added two words to my vocabulary from this one page.
Hobbledehoy: a stripling, neither man nor boy.
Hobnob: not, as you might think, a delicious biscuity snack, but in fact a familiar invitation to drink. Excellent. No longer will I be getting razzed, I’ll be getting hobnobbed from now on.
I think I might have to have an 1890’s Word Of The Day post every day.
The Marvels and Mysteries of Science (1946)
This isn’t particularly old compared to the others, but I had to include it purely for this amazing and totally insane illustration:
Posted in Books, Found Things, Typography
Tagged Adam Bede, antiques, bookbinding, Captain Cook's Voyages, Chambers's Etymological English Dictionary, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Gulliver's Travels, Henry V, illustration, Jonathan Swift, old books, printing, Shakespeare, The Marvels and Mysteries of Science, The Old Curiosity Shop, Typography