Friday, 20 August 2010

This is (probably) the best advice I've found...

Taken from the Office of Frank Chimero

Anonymous asked: What advice would you give to a graphic design student?

Design does not equal client work.

It’s hard to make purple work in a design. The things your teachers tell you in class are not gospel. You will get conflicting information. It means that both are wrong. Or both are true. This never stops. Most decisions are gray, and everything lives on a spectrum of correctness and suitability.

Look people in the eyes when you are talking or listening to them. The best teachers are the ones who treat their classrooms like a workplace, and the worst ones are the ones who treat their classroom like a classroom as we’ve come to expect it. Eat breakfast. Realize that you are learning a trade, so craft matters more than most say. Realize that design is also a liberal art. Quiet is always an option, even if everyone is yelling. Libraries are a good place. The books are free there, and it smells great.

If you can’t draw as well as someone, or use the software as well, or if you do not have as much money to buy supplies, or if you do not have access to the tools they have, beat them by being more thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is free and burns on time and empathy.

The best communicators are gift-givers.

Don’t become dependent on having other people pull it out of you while you’re in school. If you do, you’re hosed once you graduate. Keep two books on your nightstand at all times: one fiction, one non-fiction.

Buy lightly used. Patina is a pretty word, and a beautiful concept.

Develop a point of view. Think about what experiences you have that many others do not. Then, think of what experiences you have that almost everyone else has. Then, mix those two things and try to make someone cry or laugh or feel understood.

Design doesn’t have to sell. Although, that’s usually its job.

Think of every project as an opportunity to learn, but also an opportunity to teach. Univers is a great typeface and white usually works and grids are nice and usually necessary, but they’re not a style. Helvetica is nice too, but it won’t turn water to wine.

Take things away until you cry. Accept most things, and reject most of your initial ideas. Print it out, chop it up, put it back together. When you’re aimlessly pushing things around on a computer screen, print it out and push it around in real space. Change contexts when you’re stuck. Draw wrong-handed and upside down and backwards. Find a good seat outside.

Design is just a language, it’s not a message. If you say “retro” too much you will get hives and maybe die. Learn your design history. Know that design changes when technology changes, and its been that way since the 1400s. Adobe software never stops being frustrating. Learn to write, and not school-style writing. A text editor is a perfectly viable design tool. Graphic design has just as much to do with words as it does with pictures, and a lot of my favorite designers come to design from the world of words instead of the world of pictures.

If you meet a person who cares about the same obscure things you do, hold on to them for dear life. Sympathy is medicine.

Scissors are good, music is better, and mixed drinks with friends are best. Start brave and brash: you can always make things more conservative, but it’s hard to make things more radical. Edit yourself, but let someone else censor you. When you ride the bus, imagine that you are looking at everything from the point of view of someone else on the ride. If you walk, look up on the way there and down on the way back. Aesthetics are fleeting, the only things with longevity are ideas. Read Bringhurst and one of those novels they made you read in high school cover to cover every few years. (Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby.)

Stop trying to be cool: it is stifling.

Most important things happen at a table. Food, friends, discussion, ideas, work, peace talks, and war plans. It is okay to romanticize things a little bit every now and then: it gives you hope.

Everything is interesting to someone. That thing that you think is bad is probably just not for you. Be wary of minimalism as an aesthetic decision without cause. Simple is almost a dirty word now. Almost. Tools don’t matter very much, all you need is a sharp knife, but everyone has their own mise en place. If you need an analogy, use an animal. If you see a ladder in a piece of design or illustration, it means the deadline was short. Red, white, black, and gray always go together. Negative space. Size contrast. Directional contrast. Compositional foundations.

Success is generating an emotion. Failure is a million different things. Second-person writing is usually heavy-handed, like all of this.

Seeking advice is addicting and can become a proxy for action. Giving it can also be addicting in a potentially pretentious, soul-rotting sort of way, and can replace experimenting because you think you know how things work. Be suspicious of lists, advice, and lists of advice.

Everyone is just making it up as they go along.

This about sums up everything I know.

Listen to Paul Baribeau.

Some things aren't meant for blogs. Some things aren't even meant for other people's ears. Listening to other people's emotions is like slitting open their stomach and watching their guts and bodily fluids gush out all over the floor. It stinks. So I'm gonna shut up.

See you in a while. x

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Wed, 18th Aug.

Currently listening to: Missed the Boat-Modest Mouse

Saturday onwards I will be down in London for 2 weeks so If you're down there and fancy hanging out let me know! Yesterday I popped into Von Graff, a new midlands based studio. The guy who runs it is doing a really cool photography project this Saturday, where participants have to take a photo on the hour, every hour from 9am till 9pm of their surroundings. Doesn't matter where you are, film or digital. These are then going to be published in a nice little book. If you fancy getting involved or want to check out more you can visit Von Graff's studio blog HERE Or just go ahead and take part and email the photos later.

Thanks to Silas for letting me use some of his polaroids.


Hello postman! (for the present below) and hello new followers! :)

Sunday, 15 August 2010


620 film??

Bought this from the carboot today for 100 pennies. Mine's the older model. The kind man threw in the case and film holder too because I looked like his daughter.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Ohh mann...

I'm terrible for daydreaming but hurry up the day when I can pimp my car to look like this! First pay cheque will be going on some alloys! Or an upgrade to a razor edge... Stop me nowwww...!

Apparently I'm 'wordly' :)

Thursday, 12 August 2010


I really wanna race my friend Tom's a boys vs girls race and I reckon I can win his ass EASY! If he loses he has to be my jester for the entire week. All I need you to do is vote for us so we can take part!


The Social Network

Watched Inception last night. But I'm not going to talk about that. Instead I want to comment on the awful yet gripping trailer I saw for 'The Social Network.' It's basically a story about the founders of the Facebook, how they had this amazing initial idea and how they gained success. Only this trailer makes it look all glamorous and seedy. Oh and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE is in it!?? Fair play to them though, what the director has done is pretty clever. We are so consumed with our perverse addiction of updating ourselves on peoples lives and letting everyone know our own that I fear every facebook user will feel obliged to watch it just to see how crap it is. Myself included. The trailer makes it look epic I must say.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Are you downn to earthhh, are you down with usss?

Here's my favourite song (track 8) off the lovely mixed cd I received through the post. (see below) You can listen to it on this link as long as you crank up your speakers :)

Sunday, 8 August 2010

On spotting a good idea...

......and sometimes an idea that seems weird, crass or simplistic can make an amazing ad. If someone presented you with a script that read: 'A gorilla in a recording studio listens to "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins, and joins in on the drum solo"...would you buy it?'

Friday, 6 August 2010


Been getting some cool stuff in the mail recently. I think people should send me more though. Today came a mixed cd off an anonymous admirer. Thankyou muchly. xxxx