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.

Art Direction for the Web Using CSS Shapes — Smashing Magazine ›

Sad­ly, you won’t find many inspir­ing exam­ples of web­sites which use CSS Shapes. That doesn’t mean that inspi­ra­tion isn’t out there — you just have to look a lit­tle fur­ther afield at adver­tis­ing, mag­a­zine, and poster design. 

I’ve been think­ing about my own web designs late­ly, and real­is­ing how often they can lack vari­a­tion in the shape com­bi­na­tions I use. This is a great intro­duc­tion in to using bet­ter art direc­tion for the web, CSS shapes isn’t a tech­nol­o­gy I’m over­ly famil­iar with, per­haps its time to do some more learning.

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.

One of my favourite chairs

The weath­er in Chel­tenham the last few days has been glo­ri­ous, it has a big effect on my men­tal health when the sun shines and I can have the big doors of my liv­ing room open to let the sum­mer air in to my flat. It can also have a neg­a­tive effect though, with the sun shin­ing so bright­ly see stuff that I’ve not cleaned for a while and it makes me want to fix that.
This after­noon the sun caught one of my chairs in such a way that it showed up so much dirt I was hor­ri­fied. I undid the cov­er to check if it had wash­ing instruc­tions, it did, and prompt­ly put it in the wash­ing machine. While that was in the wash I gave the frame a bit of a scrub as well, it’s get­ting a lit­tle worse for wear and could do with some more atten­tion but it’s not in bad condition.
It got me think­ing about how old the chair is. I’ve had it for some­where in the region of 15 to 20 years, so it’s no sur­prise the frame is a bit rough in places. The chair is an IKEA Poäng and if I’ve had it that long it got me won­der­ing how long IKEA have been sell­ing it for. Turns out, accord­ing to this Fast.co arti­cle, the design of the chair is over 40 years old. I guess you could call it a bit of a design clas­sic. The frame of the ver­sion I have is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to the ones you buy today, but the design is essen­tial­ly the same, and it’s kind of com­fort­ing to know that time­less design pieces are still being pro­duced and loved by mil­lions around the world. It’s also nice to know, that in a world of throw­away prod­ucts, some rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive things can last a long time. The age of my chair is noth­ing com­pared to the one that the founder of IKEA has.

The Bulletin Board ›

I’ve been read­ing Austin Kleon’s blog since Jan­u­ary, I find the way that he speaks about his note­books and how he uses them very inspir­ing. Today’s post is about his bul­letin board and how he pins images, clip­pings, index cards, and var­i­ous oth­er bits to it for inspi­ra­tion while he is writ­ing a book.
The ana­log nature of lots of things that Austin does has real­ly caught my atten­tion. I love tech­nol­o­gy, but as a design­er I also love objects and paper. When I was a stu­dent I cov­ered the wall of my room in halls with bits of graph­ics that I liked. The whole thing turned into one giant col­lage of inspi­ra­tion. That’s some­thing I would like to get back into my cre­ative life, some­thing tac­tile and away from a glow­ing rectangle.

New Logo and Identity for Dartmouth ›

Brand New fea­tured the New Logo and Iden­ti­ty for Dart­mouth Col­lege designed by Orig­i­nal Cham­pi­ons of Design.
I real­ly like the whole design, from the ori­gins of the type used in the word­mark and the his­to­ry behind the pine emblem. The exe­cu­tion is real­ly well done and very con­sid­ered in it’s exe­cu­tion, espe­cial­ly when you con­sid­er the num­ber of depart­ments and areas with­in a col­lege the size of Dartmouth.

Write More ›

Cameron Moll post­ed a thread on Twit­ter urg­ing peo­ple to write. Here are the four tweets quoted:

I’ve found it incred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to make time for long-form writ­ing the past few years. When I have, the cat­a­lyst has been remind­ing myself of the tremen­dous ROI as a design­er, man­ag­er, busi­ness own­er, and so on.
If you want to be a bet­ter design­er, write more.
If you want to be a bet­ter man­ag­er, write more.
If you want to be a bet­ter biz own­er, write more.
You can also sub­sti­tute “speak more” for each of these.
The act of syn­the­siz­ing what’s in your head for an audi­ence of crit­ics leads to increased ana­lyt­i­cal think­ing, self-aware­ness, clar­i­ty, and much more.
Last but not least, you inspire oth­ers to write—or at the very least ‘write’ by join­ing the con­ver­sa­tion you’ve started. 

It’s some­thing I’ve been think­ing about lots the last cou­ple of weeks. I’ve been want­i­ng to post to my blog more because I think it will be ben­e­fi­cial for me in many ways, one of which to help me build dis­ci­pline and self-con­trol in oth­er areas of my life.
The thing that real­ly strikes me about this Twit­ter thread, the whole thing would make a good blog post. It prob­a­bly would’ve been eas­i­er to post to a blog as well, like­ly have a longer life span, and con­se­quent­ly have more of an impact. Not all writ­ing on a blog has to be long to have an impact, if it’s worth string­ing four tweets togeth­er in a thread to make a point, it’s wor­thy of a blog post.

📚 The New CSS Layout by Rachel Andrew

Pub­lished: 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
Fin­ished on: 30/12/2017
This was my last book of 2017. I start­ed it at the end of Novem­ber and kept want­i­ng to try things out so it took me a lot longer to fin­ish than it should’ve. It’s a book I’ll be return­ing to over and over in the next few months while I keep try­ing out the new CSS tech­niques in my work. Look­ing for­ward to the more pow­er­ful and exten­sive lay­out options that are now becom­ing avail­able to us. The web has start­ed to look very same‑y in the last 12–18 months, main­ly I believe, due to design­ers try­ing to make it eas­i­er to build respon­sive web­sites. I firm­ly believe some of the new CSS specs will allow that to change and for design­ers to start push­ing bound­aries again.

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.