Adobe Max, 2–4 November 2016
San Diego, California, USA
A short video ‘auto-generated’ by Google Photos, so mind the verticle videos, it was never intended for this medium, but it summarised my experience quite well.
There were plenty of special guest speakers, a highlight being Quentin Tarantino of course; technical workshops, where we dived deep into everything Adobe CC, learning tips and tricks from some of the industries top talent; introduction to new and improved software; as well as a parade of sponsor gear, gadgets and freebies.
To top it off there was a great party just out on the bay with an array of speciality food trucks, art and installations and live music whilst I enjoyed munching down on a lobster cheese melt.
New work added from a telecommunication conference held in London, this was held at the uber-cool Ace Hotel on Shoreditch High Street. The space was well presented and the view was beautiful, especially at night.
Services included print and digital design as well as documenting the day with video/photography. The logo was animated and redesigned to align with the company’s brand.
Every day on the way to meet Lara for lunch I walk past Tunbridge Wells Gallery, and I’ve always seen this cool looking poster for this exhibition, it’s just now I actually got round to going in to check it out, sadly, a week before it’s three-month stint at the venue ends.
Grunts and Grapples is a showcase of oldy-time wrestle mania during the golden age of British Wrestling from the 1950s til the 90s. From posters, photography, video, costume and other paraphernalia, it’s an incredible collection of delight and something of a history lesson on something of a bygone era.
Wrestling was a central part of British national life in this period with iconic figures such as Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy appearing in hundreds of UK town halls and theatres night after night as well as featuring on TV. The exhibition explores how the showmanship of wrestling drew on earlier traditions of public entertainment such as music hall and circus and how this informed the development of the cast of characters, storylines and audience participation unique to the sport.
Through posters, photographs, souvenirs and costumes the exhibition reveals the origins of wrestling’s interplay of sport and spectacle and the development of personas. The portrayal of wrestlers as baddies (heals) or goodies (blue eyes) would be combined with prevailing social narratives of otherness and racial and sexual stereotypes.
An observation of typography, lettering and visual communication in Hastings, a town rich in history, in the county of East Sussex on the south coast of England.
Ranked third most deprived seaside town in England, the town centre is split into two main areas, the ‘new town’ where you’ll find your generic chain shops and cafés, and the ‘old town’ in the East, which is the supposed culture quarter – it hosts a variety of independent cafés, restaurants, and specialist shops trading antiques and art. Before approaching the Stade, the site of Europes largest fleet of beach-launched fishing boats, is the Jerwood Gallery – a contemporary addition to a much traditional setting.
On the hills above the town are the ruins of Hastings Castle with Britain’s steepest funicular railway to take you up.
Also, worth noting is the pier, that famously was set ablaze, is located further along the seafront to the West, in front of White Rock Theatre. It has been regenerated and has become an open area for music festivals and other popular events.
Ben Eine’s alphabet street
Culture petri dish
I recommend next time you’re in this part of the country, pop down to Hastings and have a look around, there are lots to see and do, it’s amazing the variety on offer, crack out the ol’ Tripadviser.
Yes, deprivation is around, as it is in most places, but it’s not a hindrance, as I find it’s often a catalyst for regeneration, new art, and renewed community spirit. It is the home to the Jerwood Gallery and ‘has developed its reputation as one of the UK’s cultural centres’, read Culture Trips overview.
This is the go to event to find out about the latest additions to Creative Cloud, and hear the stories of success from luminary speakers.
We had Tom Watkins, D&AD black pencil winner; Marylou Faure, top illustrator; and Dan Germain, the brand director of europe’s largest juice company – Innocent.
At 21, this guy has achieved a lot, and is a great inspiration for students and graduates. Watkins made his name with his project When I’m a dad, which awarded him a D&AD black pencil and a great deal of exposure.
Watkins kindly gave us a few wise words he swears by, designers of all ages can learn a nugget or two from this guy.
This woman is on fire! Going freelance little over a year ago, this illustrator has really made her mark on the world, with her quirky style and juicy colour palette, this lady is the real deal.
‘I don’t know what I’m doing’, wise words from a wise man (with wise 60s hair). Germain expressed the importance of having a voice, your own voice, and being true to it. It works for him, it works for Innocent, and everyone that drinks Innocent.
He’s made something as mundane as juice to be the coolest thing to rock this planet. It has even received the seal of approval, in the form of a tapestry, made by one of many loyal ‘fans’. In the words of Germain ‘Does Apple or Nike have a tapestry?’
This May Lara and I headed out to Berlin for a long weekend, the sun was out and it felt like the start of summer – with temperatures passing 25°C for the first time this year.
It was my third visit, Lara’s first, to the cosmopolitan city and we enjoyed the food, the drink, the hospitality, and the availability of vegan currywurst!
Berlin has a plethora of museums, with countless exhibitions on the go to, one that caught my eye was an exhibition on GDR graphic design at the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge (Museum of Things).
The exhibition presented a wide range of designs, for books, periodicals and phonograph records, as well as packaging, advertising and posters – works of commercial graphic design for mass production that shaped the day-to-day visual environment of East Germany.
‘The exhibition examines the characteristics of this part of the GDR’s aesthetic culture. What images, typefaces, materials and colours were used; what traits and qualities or references to international trends can we discern?
‘“Masse und Klasse: Graphic Design in the GDR” introduces illustrative examples of the people and organisational structures involved, and investigates the potentials and limitations of graphic design in the East Germany. Themes include the improvisation driven by an environment influenced by scarce resources and political exigencies.
‘With a nuanced look at the various fields of graphic design, the exhibition questions widespread judgements on the aesthetics of day-to-day life in the GDR – often described “grey” or “pallid”.’
Grafik bring you Letterform Live, in partnership with Monotype and the ISTD, a series of talks – all about type, typography, and the design process.
At each event speakers zoom in on a single letterform, exploring both its visual form as well as the story behind it, sharing their letter’s little-known secrets and reveal their personal relationship with the letter they’ve chosen.
Morey kicked off the night with a light-hearted in-depth observation of a record, The Visitor, featured in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) which starred Bowie. From identifying the designer, to the typeface, and the image featured on the cover. The talk was intensely fascinating and for an object that only appears in the film for about a minute – quite impressive to what Morey had discovered. I shan’t share his story, as it is his to tell, and I hope he continues to recount his obsession at future gigs.
Myerscough delighted us with some nostalgic stories of her childhood and the music she listened to with her sister. The letter she had chosen to focus on was the letter ‘K’ featured on the cover of David Bowies Hunky Dory (1971). It was interesting to hear the thoughts of an artist who disregards all the house rules (like Bowie), experimentation with the letterforms, and her experiences with the popular rub-down type – Letraset.
Hingston kindly shared with us the story behind the video of David Bowie’s Sue (Or in a Season of Crime) (2016), from concept to creation. Showing us behind the scenes of how the elements, and tangents in the creative process, led to the final shoot – somewhere in south London with a big arse projector, smoke machines, and mysterious characters. The outcome is beautiful and fitting, inspired by 1930/40s film noir.
Finally Barnbrook delighted us with the journey to the creation of Black Star (2016),David Bowie’s last album released shortly before his death. Without knowledge of Bowie’s condition it seemed a fitting tribute, as it followed the subject of mortality. A coincidence some people cannot believe, as Barnbrook recounts many a time people have questioned him, such as relating the character code with special dates etc.
Barnbrook used Unicode Character ‘BLACK STAR’ (U+2605), an open source graphic language, and further made all artwork created as free to use under Creative Commons on bowieblackstar.net.
I’ll be working with a new brand in the near future so I thought it appropriate to look back over the year. It was logical for a small company like SpeechStorm to hire a dedicated in-house graphic designer to meet their creative needs, it showed me that the company understood the benefits of, and appreciated, good graphic design. I immersed myself into the brand, becoming a guardian of some sort, leading visual identity decisions and advising on design related queries on UX/UI.
SpeechStorm year in review
Branded material, photography, and video from over the last 12 months at SpeechStorm.
Dublin-based art and design conference set up shop bang in the centre of London’s creative community, at Shoreditch Town Hall, the programme consisted a whole host of notable speakers.
Attending: Johnny Kelly, Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer), Seb Lester, Yasmeen Ismail, Maser, Pony, Andy Stevens (Graphic Thought Facility), Rachel Thomas, Aisha Zeijpveld, and more.
Representing industry at all levels, speakers are key disruptors and influencers in their field driving everything from huge global campaigns to awe inspiring personal projects.
There is a sense of celebration of cross-pollination of disciplines to be had with guests working in many disciplines animation, fashion, graffiti, graphic design, illustration, craft and more. With a general focus on their journey and strategy – the creative process – rather than the product of their efforts.
Highlights included Andy Stevens’ insight into Graphic Thought Facility’s wayfinding and identity work for Hult International Business School in East London. The studio visited the Evening Standard’s print room and were given a copy of the alphabet used to make its headline posters, which it used to create a series of phrases in the style of newspaper headlines, again using Cockney rhyming slang about money.
‘Visually they’re very simple – there’s not a lot of richness – but the language is quite opaque,’ says Stevens.
Erik Kessels of KellelsKramer spoke wise words; ‘It’s not so much about learning from your mistakes,’ he told the London audience. ‘It’s more about deliberately going towards your mistakes to change your creative process. Confusion is crucial.’
He advises making an idiot of yourself once a day. ‘If no one hates your work, no one loves it.’
One of my favourite speakers was Johnny Kelly, Nexus Productions director, who believes in working with nice people. He is willingly ready to credit his successes to the people he works with. He also had advice to ensure with every pitch, won or lost, that you can take something away. ‘I try and learn something new with each pitch,’ he said, adding that this way he can walk away with a new technique or tool, even if he doesn’t win the pitch.
‘I’m also quite good at keeping ideas and using them again for something else,’ he said.
Finally Vince Frost gave us a rundown on his self-motivational book, Design your life, which deals with applying design principles to our everyday life. With the belief that design is fundamental to every aspect of our existence, this most recent publication is in response to the applications that changed him in terms of ambition and design practice.
I hit one too many walls. I was designing and redesigning everything else but myself. I tried outsourcing my problems but it didn’t work so I decided through desperation that I would tackle my life problems as if they were briefs. As a result I feel stronger and more alive. Life is a learning process. Instead of being intimidated by aiming for perfection just start taking incremental steps.
I know whats on my Christmas list… *wink wink*
12–13 November 2015
Shoreditch Townhall, London
Software developer SpeechStorm specialise in optimising customer service systems and interactive voice recognition (IVR). They work with some of the biggest players in telecoms, retail, financial services and utilities across the globe.
We have started on completing the brand refresh, which involves working with Tunbridge Wells agency, Yoyo Design, who are working to bring together the company image by defining the visual language and perhaps introducing new communication elements such as a ‘mascot’.
This week, being my first, has already started great. I’ve met some friendly people, talked about some exciting upcoming projects, ate some tasty food and look forward to more. One of the first tasks I worked on was to design the jersey for a group of cyclists at SpeechStorm that are riding 165km from Dunkerque to Roubaix with SpeechStorm in aid of Guide Dogs.
Last week an old friend came to visit me and it was a good opportunity to check out this amazing exhibition, a major retrospective exhibition of Ralph Steadman’s work, at the Bentlif Gallery – Maidstone Museum. I’d been anticipating the arrival of the exhibition for some time, as it’s not very often you get a world renowned graphic artist showing in your local gallery. I have to hand it to them (the gallery) as they’ve done well in recent years. They hosted the Henri Mattisse’s paper cut outs during winter 2013/14 which later exhibited at the Tate Modern that summer, if you were in London you would of seen the posters everywhere.
My tutor at college first introduced me to Ralph Steadman’s illustrations, with George Orwell’s Animal Farm, through one of the introduction units on the graphic design course. We were tasked with replicating his style and, with our best efforts, illustrate Napoleon, the antagonist pig-leader from the children’s book. It took a few attempts to embrace the archaic effects of overloading the pen – creating ink blotches, spraying it across the page to then find myself dunking a fat paintbrush into a pot of rich-black Indian ink and slapping it onto the paper. So much mess but I really enjoyed it.
Steadman lives locally, moving to his Kent studio just over 25 years ago, so it is good to see the town celebrating it’s creative heritage. This exhibition was originally put together by the Cartoon Museum back in 2013, celebrating Steadman’s long and illustrious career as one of the most important graphic artists of the last fifty years, called ‘Steadman @77’.
On display are many of his early cartoons published by Private Eye and Punch, including his earliest published cartoon from the July 1956 Manchester Evening Chronicle, as well as his later pieces for The New York Times and Observer. Along with many of Steadman’s famous ‘gonzo’ works from his collaboration with the writer Hunter S. Thompson, including his iconic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas illustrations.
Alongside these are his seminal children’s books illustrations like The Big I am, Animal Farm and Through the Looking-Glass, demonstrating his range. Steadman’s more recent atmospheric wine drawings produced for Oddbins and his sketches of ‘boids’ can also be seen.
‘Ralph is an icon, his topical, political renderings iconic, his mad jargon a paragon of artistic brilliance. And through the illustrated musings of his life and times, Ralph’s bird will perpetually soar in the minds of those that follow, carrying the torch he once collected from all the dissidents that spewed their creative venom before him. Here is a man and artist of superior calibre.’ – Johnny Depp
Sadly my visit was shadowed by the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris the day earlier. During my visit I was inundated with notifications on my phone from BBC Breaking News alerting me of every detail of the manhunt that ensued, it just hit me how relevant this experience was to current events. Here I was celebrating the works of a cartoonist, yet only 200 miles away across the English Channel they were massacred. I think it is important to remember that these illustrations are a form of communication, as powerful as spoken or written word. I’m not sure if Charlie Hebdo were right to print offensive imagery but where could the line be drawn? What level of offence is acceptable? Are Steadman’s satirical caricatures offensive? To those he depicts I suppose so, but to others it’s a visual representation of someone’s opinion and it’s entertaining! What would I be looking at on these walls if Steadman couldn’t cause a little offence?
Anyway, check out this exhibition if you’re in the area, it’s great. Also there is a competition to win a signed copy of any piece of your choice, sounds good. I went for one from Through the Looking Glass, as it is visually stunning, but my favourite piece from the collection has to be the memorial piece to Hunter S. Thompson signed with messages of love from his close family and friends.
These sheets are overprints from the production of various Baseline issues. Images will show inposition pages from Baseline articles as well as, in some instances, images from other, unrelated and random jobs which were going through on press at the time. View the collection here.
This week a reader from USA purchased an overprint poster, No. 5, and as part of the Baseline team I had the pleasure to sign the poster and prepare it for shipment.
Visited a great local exhibition called ‘Sense of Place’. The projects included analogue and digital print (experimental and manipulation), graphic design, photography, sculpture, book art, architecture, audio and illustration. It was very good to see a variety disciplines, academics and students exhibiting together, especially at the start of the academic year. Hopefully the show will inspire some of the students starting this year.
‘A Sense of Place is a collaborative project between UCA Canterbury and Le Havre ESADHaR Universities.
Staff and students have been exploring and mapping the, social, cultural, historical and architectural contrasts between these two World Heritage sites; from Canterbury’s medieval footprint to Peret’s modernist utopian city.
The responses have been generated through diverse graphic art processes, creating prints, photographic images, book art to installations and wallpaper designs. The work therefore questions individual’s concepts of identity, belonging and culture within these contrasting environments and their sense of place.’
My time as Campus Officer has come to the end for Maidstone UCA and a new adventure awaits. Hidden away in the small village of East Malling, West of Maidstone, is Bradbourne House. The HDR studio is based in the converted barn (pictured above) on the estate.
The house was built in Tudor times and extended over time, it sits besides a lake filled with geese, ducks and carp. The estate is run by East Malling Research Trust that specialises in horticultural research, the grounds are littered with experimental fruit orchards and strawberry fields.
I’ll be working with Directors Veronika and Hans Dieter Reichert with Baseline Magazine and other projects as Junior Designer.