Saturday, 31 December 2011

Border Baguettes signs

Some other signs...

Some other signs that I designed while I was employed at Fantasy Prints Ltd.

"My First... Information Sign"

I designed 14 Information signs for Midloathian Council back in 2001 and, to my amazement, most are still standing!

"My First.....Billboard"

I designed this billboard for Blair Drummond Safari Park in 2002, it is hard to imagine that I have now been doing work for them for over 10 years now. 


I've been supplying design templates to Flyerzone for about six months now. Flyerzone is a new venture into the world of pre-built design templates. Owned by they have a very large range of flyer and leaflet templates. Within my designs, I have tried to offer a mixed range of high end designs as well as some budget focussed work. 

Cohorts by Design

I've recently supplied some files to a local design company called Cohorts by Design. I quite like their folio website which is quirky but still business-like at the same time. They are based in Galashiels and do some interesting work.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

More on Photography...

The photos of me for ScotlandShop were taken by YID Photography. YID Photography are a company based in Duns, in the Scottish Border region. YID is a well known and respected Photographer, specialising in Portrait, Wedding and Event photography. Personally, I believe that a sign of a good photographer is down to the rapport that they have with their subjects, as much as their technical skill. YID has both of these skills and does it with ease.

Image Newcastle Photography

I normally write about graphic design on this blog, but I thought I'd mention some photos that I had taken a few years ago. About 4 years ago, I thought that I might get some model work, so I had some lifestyle shots taken by John and Serena of Image Newcastle. I was very impressed with the overall results and I would recommend anyone to use them. The photos were worth the effort because I did get some modelling out of it from ScotlandShop. As a designer, I am normally working on the other side of the camera at the occasional photo shoot for scarves or other products, but a wee bit of vanity now and then can be good fun.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Nice Website...

I see that the Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust have moved over to a .org website. I think the site looks new and fresh. I think it works well and suits the magazine style of website that is best suited for football websites. All the best for the remainder of the season.

Wholesale Heat

I was recently involved in the design of a new project for Wholsale Heat. The work involved logo design concepts and a website layout. Wholesale Heat are suppliers of quality wholesale kiln dried firewood logs, wholesale briquettes, wholesale wood pellets, wholesale kindling and real Scottish peat.

And here is some festive link love....

Some associate businesses that I occasionally do business with are Print Spot and Fantasy Prints. These great businesses are based in the town of Berwick upon Tweed.

Here's one "Big Up Myself"...

My own design consultancy website is now live.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Border Baguettes, Duns

I recently did some design concepts for Border Baguettes based in Duns. The client wanted a simple solution, so that's what I did. Overall, I think that the design works well. The proprietor has a good reputation and great experience working within the food industry.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Is it true about the new Blue Jays Logo?

The Toronto Star has released an article stating that a blog has leaked an image of a new Blue Jays Logo, which looks like it has been changed to look very much their original version. At the moment it is unconfirmed on the Blue Jays official website, but if it is true, then it is quite a big step. You can still buy official merchandise at their stadium with the original branding on anyway. I was getting used to the most recent version of the keen eyed Blue Jay, but this version is good also. Will they change the name of stadium back to the Skydome too!



Sunday, 18 September 2011

New Fidelity Logo

Fidelity, the investment house, have launched their new logo. I think it is a brave but worthwhile step in a new direction. They have retained the styling within their press ads and also the same colour schemes, so they shouldn't be confused as some other new company. In my opinion, I think the Fidelity brand is big enough to carry this off without any negative impact. I think it is quite a nice design. Their old logo was a little outdated, but this seems more than just a tweak to the overall look, but more of a new step, which might reflect new markets, a new era or perhaps to appeal to younger clients, then I think they have done quite a nice job of it.
New Logo

Old Logo

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cologne Bottle Photoshop Rendering

I recently created a cologne bottle in Photoshop. This was just a project to keep my skills sharp. At first I wasn't sure how to create a cologne bottle render, but all I did was take a photo of it and then recreated it while omitting all the small imperfections, smudges and flakes of dust etc. Basically it is just a matter of cleaning it up. A kind of hyper-reality. A time consuming job, but worthwhile, I think. This 2D illustration could well have been created with 3D software, like Maya or 3Ds Max, or Softimage, but it depends on what the final function of the artwork is. If the end result is to be 2D, then Photoshop is good enough for me.
"eau de toilette pour homme" as they say in France

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Zoo Website Review - San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo website is okay. Just okay, I wouldn't say that it is great or inspiring, just okay. It has many interesting pages of noteworthy content. It has lots of information about the zoo, but I just don't think it is very inspiring. It doesn't make me go "Wow". Personally I think it could do with a makeover. In my opionion it needs some "Va Va Voom" some amazing photography, features with more impact and excitement put in. As an information resource it serves its purpose. It can be used and accessed with relative simplicity, but the overall design is just a bit dull. 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Spray Container Rendered in Photoshop

I've also recently created some simple spray containers in Photoshop. If you are a designer and are creating a packaging label project, and would like to present your labels on a blank container? These pre-rendered images may be the kind of resource that you and other designers are looking for. When I'm creating a packaging label, I don't have time to create a bottle or jar etc, in 3D or 2D, but I hope to build up a small library of blank packaging containers for this very purpose.

Glass Beer Bottle Rendering in Photoshop

I created some more bottles in Photoshop, but this time, I retained the transparency within the image. Basically I just didn't merge all my layers. I have found that if I retain my layers, then I can insert a background at a later date if need be. Here I have just added a spotted background, just to demonstrate that a background image can be inserted to show the transparency of a glass bottle. I may not always want to use a white background, so this should be a good resource file for the next time I have to design a bottle label.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Zoo Website Review - London Zoo

The London Zoo website is packed full of great content and interesting stuff. Some other zoo websites don't quite get that their main users are families with young children. This site does make the effort to appeal to its users. The site isn't boring, but it isn't too crazy either. Most web designers try to keep "bells and whistles" and other bits that go "whiz" within a website to a minimum, which is fine for predominantly business focussed websites, but when the target audience need to be inspired, then it is good to have lots of fun content. The site offers education projects as well as fun games centred around their animals. As far as the function of the website goes, I think it will inspire people to visit the zoo, so therefore it does what it is supposed to do.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Diet Coke Brand Refresh

I quite like the new Diet Coke brand refresh. It is quite simple, but bold. I think the brand is strong enough in its own right to move in this direction. The silver colour is as important a part as the red and black text now. I personally prefer the "real thing" with the full sugar. I actually prefer sugar to sweetners, but that's just my preference. Diet Coke has a huge number of loyal customers and this will not dampen that. Coke have done a good job. I think that their brand development has not changed the flavour, only the packaging, so this can only improve their sales. 

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Samsung Website is very slick, but it works brilliantly.

I had a look at the Samsung UK website and found it dripping with technology. It is very slick and it did leave me wanting things that I've never wanted before, like a camcorder. All products have been excellently rendered to a very high standard. The site navigation is fairly easy to follow, but the site is a little thin on text content. It takes a few clicks to get to some detailed information. I suppose that Samsung are a great brand who offer a wide range from TVs, mobiles, tablets and computers, so this is as much a showcase website than anything else. For a website that says "Wow look at all the great stuff we make" it works very well, but personally there is too much emphasis on style than detailed substance for me.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Photoshop Render of plastic bottle

So a while back, I created a plastic bottle in Photoshop. At the time I wasn't sure how to render a bottle in Photoshop, but I gave it a go. Although I never kept the the original photo, I created this bottle by taking a photo of a plastic bottle and then simplified the reflections.
First I created a plain background with a grid of dots on it so that the transparency of the bottle would be shown.

Then I traced the complete outer shape and filled it with a sold grey. Then, using the eraser, in airbrush mode, I took away some of the middle area to show some transparency in this base layer.

I then duplicated that layer and brightened it. Then I took the brightened layer and airbrushed away all, but the outer edges, just to give the bottle some shape.

The reflections took up the majority of the time in this project. It is just a case of tracing almost all of the reflections, by drawing a path around each one, filling and blurring until it looks realistic. The point of this is not to make it look exactly like a photo, but a simplified version, so that if you have to add a label design to your image, it looks better than a digital photo.

To get the red of the bottle top, I just copied and pasted the layer and then hit the "colorize" button within hue and saturation. Then I brightened it to get a vivid red.

Added some reflections to the bottle top.

Finally I created a bottle reflection below the bottle, to stop it look like it was floating. To do this I just merged my layers and duplicated the bottle, flipped it round and eraser airbrushed away the edge. Done.