Thursday, February 25, 2010

book vs blog

Despite the decline in pure creative advertising blogs, the growth of design blogs has flourished. However,I'm a bit torn by these design blogs. They quickly inform me as an art director of all the talented designers, illustrators and photographers out there, fantastic you would think, your jobs done, easy, wal laa!
It means I have more of the same choice that everyone else has. Of course nothing is original, but everything is becoming mainstream. For an illustrator or designer its perfect to finally showcase yourself but at the same time it can become boring. Once, beautiful design and illustration used to move me. Now, i've become a bit blasé, which is outragious considering the majority of work is brilliant. Perhaps I'm just overwhelmed in a overcrowded marketplace and its become much too easy to look at new trends and styles for "inspiration", that also go out of fashion as fast as they have come in.

So this week, whilst trying to tackle a full on brief I've returned to books to try and find something original, (if that's at all possible). Yes, its taken me longer, but it has proven very refreshing and feels like I'm discovering great work myself, in my own time. Also, I find that when looking through books you seem to have more time to consider and think about the little leads that crop up inside your head and although it takes longer it feels as though you have a wider spectrum to think in. Where as on the computer my thoughts feel confined to the frame of the computer screen, with the finger on auto pilot scrolling through pages and pages of new work, my brain just flicks from one thought to another, treating peoples work like " throw- away" design.

The only benefit I can see from these blogs is that standards are generally raised. Everybody is aware of what other people are doing and everyone can see the quality they need to reach, or mimic in some cases, in order to compete in the creative industries. Work is compared and critiqued internationally within seconds of being published. This type of blogging to me is all about showing your work off at its best in the quickest and most interesting way to a huge audience.

Despite the pros and cons, the pace of producing adverts has accelerated and so the speed at which looking for new illustrators and designers needs to be faster than ever. Blogs give you the ability to keep up to the speed of production whilst keeping one eye on trends. So perhaps blogs are a very useful tool to get the job done, but this doesn't necessarily mean the best. However, with books or blogs, its the end result that matters. Its not about what you've fffff-Found and more about how you've aaaa-Applied it (possible sister site suggestion ha ha?)

Now where did I leave my library card?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Question everything generally thought to be obvious"

I took a stroll to the Design Museum on Sunday to have a gander at Dieter Ram's exhibition. Despite only a small part of the gallery open due to preparations for Designer of the year, what I did see was really great and this time I did actually spend longer in the gallery than in the amazing design shop. That's always a good sign!

I knew little about Dieter Rams apart from a few Braun products and some furniture design, so I didn't really know what to expect but from the start your greeted by a snapshot of his 10 point design ethos expressing what makes good design:

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible.

Here's a few of my favorite pieces. I think its easy to see where products such as apple get their minimal style influence from. For me, feeling like i want to own all the retro pieces (especially a Braun radio) shows that the design hasn't dated and still could remain in a modern market place whilst the balance remains prefect between both style and practicality. Have a look at a short interview with Dieter Rams below.

"Good design - real design is centered on the user."
At the exhibition there was also a mini section exploring ergonomics. Ergonomics looks at problems or situations that can be improved through design. There was some really interesting experiments that included looking at how medical emergency equipments works and how it can be improved for efficiency to studying the layout of a Sky remote control. I particularly liked the experiment that looked into trying to stimulate what its is liked to be an older driver with ailments such as arthritis and restrictive movements. The result was a funny looking suit below that mimicked these restraints however the real world use is in fact that these studies will improve safety and car design for the older generation.

So the lesson, brilliant design is a solution that is both innovative and serves a purpose. The best of last years design can now be seen at the Brit Insurance Awards. Which funnily enough, for a brief, I was sent there yesterday. See the next post for more details.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The age of diversification

Coming from rural roots, I know alot about business' diversifying, especially farmers. But the creative industries also seem to be at it. It's not a new phenomenon but why does it happen? Whether its an entrepreneurial act for financial survival or simply transferring existing skills and creating voluntary collaborations, everyone in the creative sector seams to be exploring other fields.

Take Rowan Moore, an architect with several buildings to his name, he has branched from exterior to interior design. His designs include the 2009 Oscars ceremony, the stage production of Legally Blonde and the interiors of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants. Moore claims its not about making shed loads of money, but instead the result of natural progression as a result of "staying curious" and open minded to opportunities creativity can produce.

Likewise in Advertising, agencies no longer wish to pigeon hole themselves into boxes, instead they choose to be more expressive and encourage communication through the medium which works best for the brand, not the agency. Spanning from music videos, magazines, installations and product design. Personally I think this is probably the best way to express creativity, after all don't clients and budgets restrict the brief enough already? It seams to be changing the shape of advertising just as it has through the history of Art, where many new movements happened due to accidental experimentation.

However, as conceptual thinkers this would suggest that creative people should be able to move into any creative area, but this doesn't mean you will succeed in all. Here's a classic example, take Celebrities Dancing On Ice, each celebrity already has a 'talent' of some sort in predominantly the entertainment industry but that doesn't mean they can all skate.

So, does this mean you should stick with what your best at? Of course not, but as long as we explore, experiment and stay open minded when answering a brief, you never know where it might lead, but almost certainly it will lead to somewhere new.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love is in the air

So tomorrow is Valentines day. Florists will have Cheshire Cat smiles, restraunteurs are clinking champagne glasses and Anne Summers gets another *ahem* boost. But if the love of your life doesn't magically appear tomorrow or of those petrol ridden "special coronations" aren't quite cutting it, then heres some advertising attempts instead to help celebrate this most special time of year.

First up, Heineken's Beer flavored lip Gloss:

Next, nicely directed ad from Seat, Ibiza " See it, Love it."

Finally, once for the boys, Hard Chorus by Puma. Cleverly taking advantage of Valentines day falling on a match day.

Bring on the Pancakes!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A happy accident

Well the battle of the blogs is over and indeed I lost to the boys who regained a lead in the last hour. Well done.

Apart from rallying blog votes this weekend, I visted a photography exhibition by Matt Stuart at the KK outlet titled "Happy Accidents". It was nice to view an exhibition where whilst trundling around you'd hear discussion and laughs from other visitors. A light hearted subject certainly lifts the mood of a gallery space.

Matt Stuart's exhibition is about being an opportunist with photography and either through composition, people and props quickly take a photo that gives the subject another meaning or life. Considering most photography is staged and meticulously fussed over it's refreshing to see photos that are less staged and comprise of natural and accidental compositions. It just shows that with a little patience,luck and an observant eye, great pictures are out there waiting to be captured.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pattern V8476

I've finally got around to starting my sewing. I got a Bernina Sewing machine that my dad fixed for me for Christmas. So I started my first pattern, a " Vogue Easy" Blouse. "Easy" mmm, tad misleading as this has not been the case with Pins flying everywhere, but I'm enjoying it.

I spent all last Sunday picking a pattern out and I just fell in love with the illustration style on the pattern packs. It's kind of classic technical illustration and the style hasn't really changed over the years, only the figures silhouette and hairstyles. Check out the more retro patterns below and I will keep you updated on my progress.

Monday, February 1, 2010

a Starbucks tutorial

This morning started with a little lecture in Starbucks ordering. As you can see, with this comprehensive guide there will be no more excuses for wrong orders. Take note Cate!