Tag Archives: design

Finished baked typeface project

It’s finally complete.

It was going to be a book, but the final outcome is a set of postcards of the baked typefaces, with the recipe and a bit about the typeface on the back.

I’m hoping to carry this project on in my own time as this is just a sample for an idea that I’d like to get professionally produced at some point because I’ve had such incredible feedback from it. For now, I had to stop at 6 typefaces because at around £10 a typeface to create it was getting a little expensive for my student budget.

Putting a price on knowledge

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.

Thought vomit

For the past few months I have been attempting to drum up ideas for my forthcoming dissertation/self initiated project. Rather than sit down and actually do some research, my system so far has been to write down ideas as they come into my head on whatever scrap of paper/post-it/napkin/back of hand might be available, which has resulted in my ideas being scattered far and wide and being a little bit neglected. So in the interests of actually starting to make some progress and also not being precious about my ideas, I thought it’s about time I put them all in one place.

(Most of these are half-formed thoughts spewed out of my mind usually when I am trying to get to sleep so if they don’t make mean much to you then just feel lucky that you’re not the one who has to make sense out of them.)

– Andrew Keane – Cult of the Amateur
– Rupert Murdoch
– Malcolm Gladwell – Tipping Point
– What is social media? Is Facebook a utility/is it everywhere/is it a corporation?
– The medium is the message
– What other ways do truths emerge?
– Arab Spring – are they just coming up to our level?

(The Code, BBC, 10/08)
– Google being able to predict flu outbreaks
– Possible to predict how well the stock market will do based on negative words on Twitter
– Your Google searches can predict what car you’ll buy/how you’ll vote/many other things about your life

– Police using Twitter/Flickr to identify rioters
– #RiotCleanUp 

– The Glass House – community-led design
– Almere Housing Project

– Ready-made tailor-made
– The same stuff but different
– Chain stores/mass produced
– Your impact on the world in a day/week/month – environmental, economical, social – “one person doesn’t make a difference” – disprove  this
– If you buy a pair of jeans where have they come from? Journey, chain
– WE DO NOT NEED A NEW OBJECT – we need to get rid of some to reduce the complex network of things around us
– Just Undo It

– Genericisation of brands? ‘Googling’ things, ‘Photoshopping’ images, ‘Ebaying’ items
– Effect of new technology on language

– Looting – were brands victims of their own marketing appeal? Will they have less appeal amongst consumers after being associated with looters?
– Keep Aaron Cutting/Let’s do something nice for Ashraf

-Effect of social media on brands

– The internet made tangible
– What would Twitter/blogs be like in real life?
– Live the internet

– Books in 140 characters 

I’ll probably add to this as more things come to me. It’s nice to have everything in one place and be able to see patterns emerging.

On design ethics, job happiness and making the world a better place

Here’s a photo of a cat before all the serious stuff starts.


It took exactly 18 days of working in the design industry for me to do something for a company I morally object to.

Perhaps naively, I’ve always thought that if I get asked to do something for a company I don’t agree with then I would stick to my guns (this probably stems from attending a lecture by Adrian Shaughnessy very early on in my degree, where the topic of design ethics came up and although I don’t remember exactly what was said I do know I have had the same mindset ever since).

Now, as a mere intern, it’s not really my place (or in my interests) to refuse to do work. It’s not even really the fact that I’m doing it that is troubling me. It’s the fact that it only took eighteen days for me to be asked to do it. And that’s including weekends people, it’s not even eighteen working days! I’d assumed it would be at least six months, if that. If it’s taken less than three weeks for me to start making work for one of the most hated companies in the world, what can I expect when I actually graduate and have to start doing stuff like this for a living?

I’m scared!

The thing I am most scared of (in relation to this, not just in general – that’s another post for another time) is having to do a job that makes me unhappy or guilt-ridden just to get by.I don’t even know what kind of job I want to do, so how on earth am I going to know what to go for?

I broached this subject with Tim yesterday, who asked me what my fantasy job would be. My answer: “something that utilizes my creativity and not just my design skills and is something that in some way makes the world a better place (cheesy).

Yeah, it is cheesy. So what. He told me not to stop until I find that job, and I don’t intend to. I’ve been told by a number of people (hi mum) that a job isn’t something you’re meant to enjoy and I’ve always been determined to prove that wrong. Also, I feel like in this country we’re very lucky to be able to choose what we want to be. There’s not really much excuse for moaning about a job that you hate if you’re not actively doing anything to change it.

So that short but meaningful conversation yesterday has, I think, made it a bit clearer for me as to what I want to do with myself. And I’m determined that once I graduate, every bad job I have will make me work harder towards my ultimate fantasy ultra-cheesy job.

(I feel as though there’s a lot more to say on design ethics, but as this post is getting rather long I think it’s better left for another time)

Website is live!

After feeling totally out of my depth with this whole thing, I’ve finally managed to make an actual functioning website *proud*.