I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Two States of Perfection

For as long as I can remem­ber I’ve had a sketch­book on the go. I think I estab­lished the habit when I start­ed senior school, but I remem­ber hav­ing them back in junior school as well. They’ve been a com­pan­ion beside me all that time, whether I’ve been draw­ing, writ­ing, brain­storm­ing, plan­ning, or some­thing else, they’ve helped me to be cre­ative in some form or another.
When a new sketch­book arrives, it always brings a moment of joy. The moment the wrap­pings come off is one of the two moments that a sketch­book is per­fect. There are no creas­es on the spine, no scuffs on the cov­er, no page cor­ners curl­ing up or fold­ed in, every­thing sits square and com­pact, full of poten­tial. I always enjoy that moment. When a sketch­book is first opened it’s excit­ing, there’s poten­tial on those pages, but with it comes a hes­i­tan­cy, it’s some­thing that I don’t want to ruin.
It’s the fear of the blank page.
Over the last few years when I’ve start­ed a new sketch­book I’ve devel­oped a habit. I open it to the first page, grab a pen and I write the same sentence.

I give myself per­mis­sion to mess this sketch­book up. 

From then on I use it how I want and it doesn’t mat­ter what goes in it.
It might seem a bit sil­ly to write that sen­tence on the first page, but with­out it it would take a lot longer for my sketch­books to get to their sec­ond point of per­fec­tion. The moment they are fin­ished, either because they are com­plete­ly full, or the year has end­ed. At that point it’s done it’s job and deserves it’s spot on my shelf along­side all it’s old­er sib­lings, it’s per­fect because it’s been used and not wast­ed. It’s helped me think, helped me cre­ate, helped me process events that have passed, it’s poten­tial has been met.
With­out that first page sen­tence and my nat­ur­al state of being a per­fec­tion­ist, there’s a chance those sketch­books would remain on the shelf in their first state of per­fec­tion. And in that state they would be a waste. What would be the point in own­ing them, if they remained for­ev­er in their first state of per­fec­tion and nev­er made the jour­ney to the sec­ond state of perfection?
It’s not just a sketch­book that has these two states of per­fec­tion. A blog has them, a can­vas has them, a book has them, a roll of film or an SD card in a cam­era has them. The unused per­fec­tion, and the fin­ished, full, com­plete per­fec­tion of a job well done.

Letter Play

When I was back home at my par­ents over Christ­mas I sort­ed through a cou­ple of box­es of bits that were tak­ing up some space in the room I sleep in when I’m there. Dur­ing the process I came across some of my old sketch­books from my Art Foun­da­tion course and had a flick through.
I was struck by how dif­fer­ent they were com­pared to the note­books I’ve been keep­ing for the last few years. They were full of cre­ativ­i­ty. Each page was dif­fer­ent, whether it was explor­ing my own ideas on a project, or a con­tex­tu­al spread about a design­er or artist that inspired me.
The last cou­ple of days have been odd ones for me. After many months of not feel­ing much of the effects of my depres­sion, yes­ter­day when I woke up I could feel the heav­i­ness and fog of it. I had the same thing this morn­ing, so I’ve done what is the only thing I can do. I’ve tried to push on and not let it stop me doing my work.
This evening I put a film on, one of my favourites, Good Will Hunt­ing and grabbed my sketch book, a scalpel, two mag­a­zines I get free from Wait­rose, a pritt-stick, and my Bible. I flicked to one of my favourite vers­es and while I watched the film I sat on the floor cut­ting out words and letters.
It’s been a long time since I did any­thing like this and about ten min­utes before the film fin­ished I had fin­ished. It might’ve tak­en me a lot longer than I remem­ber it tak­ing, but for those two hours there was no fog and I was just able to enjoy being absorbed in some­thing a lit­tle more cre­ative than my nor­mal design work.

Adobe’s iOS App Failure ›

Over on Six Col­ors Jason Snell speaks of his dis­ap­point­ment with Adobe’s iOS offer­ing. I’ve long been dis­ap­point­ed with Adobe’s approach to the plat­form and I couldn’t agree more with his comments.

But it’s frus­trat­ing that Adobe has failed its core design cus­tomers to such a degree—and it’s also a big risk for Adobe. Pho­to­shop com­mands a lot of space in the brains of many cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als, but a lot of those peo­ple want to use iOS. If Adobe pro­vid­ed them with ful­fill­ing tools for iOS—ones that are as capa­ble as what’s avail­able on macOS and Windows—it could keep its cus­tomers loyal. 

As a design­er the iPad has always appealed to me as a means of cre­at­ing. It seems like it should be the most intu­itive way of lay­ing up designs and draw­ing out ideas. The iPad Pro and Apple Pen­cil only served to enhance this idea for me. Yet Adobe con­tin­u­al­ly fail to acknowl­edge that we could do seri­ous work in an iPad. They keep serv­ing up “mobile” apps instead of actu­al­ly con­sid­er­ing how an app like InDe­sign or Illus­tra­tor could function.
It took Microsoft years to bring Office to iOS, and in that time apps arrived to fill the gap they had left caus­ing Office to lose mind­share. That’s now start­ing to hap­pen to the Cre­ative Cloud apps, Affin­i­ty Pho­to is excel­lent, and more than capa­ble of grow­ing in to the gap left by a lack of a ful­ly fledged Pho­to­shop. My hope is that oth­er apps will rise up to fill the gaps left by a lack of full ver­sions of Illus­tra­tor and InDe­sign or that Adobe gets its fin­ger out and cre­ates them.

Workloads and Creativity

I’ve noticed over the last few weeks a dis­tinct cor­re­la­tion between my abil­i­ty to spend time on side projects and the amount of design work I have going on. Jug­gling a part time job in the Cof­fee House along­side run­ning my design busi­ness makes for a dis­tinct lack of ener­gy to keep my side/personal projects going when things get busy. I find my moti­va­tion drops as my ener­gy gets used up jug­gling the two, and it’s a source of dis­ap­point­ment since I know the impor­tance of doing my own cre­ative things on the side.
It seems to be a mat­ter of mar­gin or focus, I’m yet to work out which, but my gut (which is usu­al­ly right) tells my it’s about focus. When I become invest­ed in a project it dom­i­nates my mind. It becomes what I think about when I’m not real­ly think­ing and I’ve cer­tain­ly become aware that this is what has been hap­pen­ing of late. It’s the rea­son I’ve start­ed yet anoth­er side project that will oper­ate on a sched­ule and is on a top­ic com­plete­ly unre­lat­ed to any of my oth­er side projects.
Whilst hav­ing a project sit at the top of my mind is help­ful for work, it’s not always help­ful for me men­tal­ly. I need to be able to cre­ate things just for the sake of cre­at­ing them. It brings me a joy and sat­is­fac­tion that cre­at­ing for a client doesn’t always bring. Eric Lid­dell once said

I believe God made me for a pur­pose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure. 

I’ve nev­er thought about it in that way but I can cer­tain­ly relate to it. Like Lid­dell I believe God made me for a pur­pose, but I know He also gave me a gift of cre­ativ­i­ty and a pas­sion for design. When I use my gift, espe­cial­ly just for the sake of it and not just for my work, I feel His pleasure.
God cre­at­ed the world because he want­ed to, because it gave him sat­is­fac­tion and joy to do it (Gen­e­sis 1 v 31). He enjoyed walk­ing in his cre­ation and meet­ing with the peo­ple he cre­at­ed, which we learn from Gen­e­sis 3 v 9 when God goes look­ing for Adam & Eve. When I cre­ate some­thing because I want to, I feel God’s plea­sure because in some way I am mir­ror­ing Him and that is an incred­i­ble thing.
My God is the God of cre­ation and He has giv­en me the gift of cre­ativ­i­ty. When I use that gift to cre­ate I feel His plea­sure and that’s why I need to firm my resolve to cre­ate for the sake of cre­at­ing some­thing because I want to cre­ate it.

Seth Godin Explains Why You Should Blog Daily ›

With the arrival of Micro.blog my inter­est in my blog has picked up con­sid­er­ably. It’s always been there bub­bling at the back of my mind, but active­ly post­ing micro posts to it has me once again look­ing to post oth­er con­tent more reg­u­lar­ly. CJChil­vers linked to an arti­cle by Seth Godin that Explains Why You Should Blog Dai­ly res­onat­ed deeply with me and the grow­ing desire to post to this site more reg­u­lar­ly. It’s both a cre­ative out­let both and a men­tal out­let that I know will be good for me. I intend to mix the con­tent I post between links, quotes and orig­i­nal articles/thoughts along­side the afore men­tioned micro posts.


The desire to tin­ker is strong in this one.
I have this prob­lem when it comes to my blog. The more I start to post to it, the more I want to tin­ker. The more active I am on the site, the more I notice lit­tle things I don’t like and want to fix. The more I post to it, the more I want all my inter­net post­ing to orig­i­nate on it. It’s like an illness.
It’s some­thing I’ve always strug­gled with, and I con­fess it’s a side to blog­ging that I enjoy. The trou­ble is, the more I tin­ker the less I post. The more I craft the design, the less time I spend writing.
It’s a bat­tle, although one I’m sure I do not face alone. It’s not just the bat­tle of a blog­ger, it’s a bat­tle of a design­er. Most of the tin­ker­ing I do is design relat­ed, lit­tle details and quirks in my theme which I notice but very few oth­ers will. I also know from expe­ri­ence, that I will get to the point where I’ve caught the lit­tle tweaks I need to and they will be fixed. Then it’s just a case of resist­ing the big­ger things I’d like to do. Or at least knock­ing off the major ones first, like find­ing a way to post pho­tos here and on Insta­gram, dis­play­ing them in a way I’m hap­py with. The key though, is to keep the posts flow­ing. Keep to my chal­lenge of post­ing every­day, and get­ting through the tin­ker­ing stage until I get to the point where I’m just post­ing each day and all my pub­lished con­tent orig­i­nates here.
Or is it just a pipe dream? Should I just keep post­ing and ignore the lit­tle bits that nag?
But I know I can’t just ignore the nag­ging. I’m a design­er, I like details and its in my nature to keep refin­ing bits until they’re gone. To keep craft­ing until they as close to per­fect as can be, it’s just impor­tant to keep the per­spec­tive, to keep in mind that per­fect does­n’t exist. It’s about get­ting things to good enough whilst keep­ing on post­ing each day and build­ing momen­tum so that the writ­ing takes over the tin­ker­ing and becomes a cre­ative out­let in its own right.

Building a New Photography Workflow With the iPad Pro ›

Drew Coff­man has some inter­est­ing obser­va­tions in the open­ing para­graphs of his arti­cle about Build­ing a New Pho­tog­ra­phy Work­flow with the iPad Pro.

“I’m just now real­iz­ing that the more and more I embrace each cre­ative process, the less time I want to give to any­thing but the act of creating” 

So often we change things because we think we should, but in actu­al­i­ty we should only real­ly make changes in work­flows and apps we use with moti­va­tion sim­i­lar to the above. To free us up to cre­ate more things.
I like my blog, I enjoy it from many angles, from cre­at­ing the design to post­ing to it reg­u­lar­ly. But on reflec­tion I realise that the thing I dis­like the most is edit­ing and feel­ing the pres­sure to write well. I just enjoy post­ing or my blog, and I enjoy read­ing arti­cles and shar­ing the ones which I think are most inter­est­ing. Hence why my post­ing rate has increased since I made it eas­i­er to share an arti­cle to my blog from my iPad or my iPhone. The change in work­flow has allowed me to do more of the thing I most enjoy about my blog.

Freedom of page ›

So often when we think of a blank page we’re scared by it, it cre­ates a fear, a fear of the pos­si­bil­i­ties. But maybe we need to turn that upside down and find free­dom in a blank page, free­dom to create.

To cre­ate doesn’t mean you have to draw the plans of a sky­scraper or the physics for­mu­la for the uni­fy­ing the­o­ry of the uni­verse. It can be as sim­ple as tak­ing notes in a meet­ing or writ­ing a jour­nal entry. Every new mark on a page is a baby step, and before you know it you’re tak­ing leaps. 

The Week in Links

After a brief break last week, I was on a mini-hol­i­day, The Week in links is back with it’s 26th edi­tion. This weeks take a look at how we work and think, how the design of the web is pushed a bit more. And then some furter thoughts on Apple Watch, head­phones, cam­eras, and the often spec­u­lat­ed Apple Car.

The Week in Links

This weeks edi­tion con­tin­ues the evo­lu­tion of the The Week in Links. Rather than pre­sent­ing a list of links of vary­ing length I decid­ed it was time to start adding a lit­tle com­men­tary and inject­ing some more of my inter­ests and per­son­al­i­ty into the col­umn. It is after all my per­son­al blog that it appears in.
This week cov­ers some tech­nol­o­gy news, some views on Art and Cre­ativ­i­ty, Le Tour de France, how dress­ing could affect our approach to work and an incred­i­ble video that I high­ly rec­om­mend you watch with your Sun­day morn­ing cof­fee or evening glass of wine.

  • The sto­ry of Win­dows 10 from inside Microsoft — It’s been a big week for com­put­ing with the arrival of Win­dows 10. I’ve long been a Mac user, and will be for a long time to come, but I have to say this release of Win­dows has me intrigued. I’m inter­est­ed to see how it does and whether it can bring any trac­tion in the mobile space.
  • Approval & Art by David duChemin — I real­ly iden­ti­fied with this when I read it, in par­tic­u­lar this short paragraph:

    The prob­lem is that safe­ty, in many ways, is tox­ic to art. We get addict­ed to it. We cling to it and ven­ture out less and less. We risk less. We repeat what “works” and avoid what doesn’t. But if what works is what holds us back, it becomes a kind of sab­o­tage to keep doing it.

  • Tak­ing on the Tour de France — With the end of Le Tour last week, this VSCO Jour­nal is timed nice­ly. Rather than your usu­al pho­to­graph­ic essay look­ing at Le Tour with a focus on the Pelo­ton this one has a more inter­est­ing take look­ing at those who are watch­ing as well.

Other Reads