Sunday, 29 April 2012

2012 London Olympic logo has warmed on me...

When I first saw the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic logos back in 2007, I thought they were too different and angular. Basically I just didn't get it, but I do now. They have to be looked in context to what was the general norm in design trends a few years ago.

For a long time, orb logos and logos with graduated colours or drop shadows were in fashion, but recently there has been a resurgence in more angular shapes within contemporary design. This is a direct move away from the previously organic inspired curved shapes. Circles and bubbles, targets and butterflies have given way to more confident angular designs. The Olympic logos could be seen as quite visually disruptive, but they also have an energy about them. In my opinion, where the logos are seen in place on other branding they also work very well. They are bold, they are brilliant, they are fresh. I finally get it.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Adobe Creative Cloud and CS6 Webcast

I've just watched the video clip of Monday's webcast about the new Adobe Creative Cloud and new Adobe Creative Suite 6 software. From first view, CS6 looks very very powerful. They have managed to bring a lot of things in line with what designers and content creators will find of real benefit. This is very smart, very interesting.

I also see that Abobe have made a big effort to bring CS6 more up to date with regards to creating content for mobile devices. There is also a big effort to make Adobe more accessible to a wider customer base. In the past, I think that they may have positioned themselves out of reach from a lot of budding digital artists and designers, but with the introduction of Photoshop Touch and other mobile apps, they will be in a position to introduce their software a new generation. Adobe Photoshop is a household name. I have been using it since the start. I was using Photoshop version 1 in art college, many years ago and personally think it is a really powerful photo editing tool. From what I've seen so far, CS6 seems to make the creative process a lot smoother for designers who want to design and publish over a wide range of media.  As an Adobe creative designer and user I found it very inspiring.


Australia Zoo - Website Review

Of all the zoo websites that I have reviewed, the Australia Zoo website is by far the most interesting. It is both informative and visually exciting. I think that Steve Irwin had such a powerful enthusiasm for what he did that his legend and vision lives on and is evident in such an amazing zoo and therefore the website too. Some zoo websites get the "Wow" bit right, but don't make the information informative enough and some get the information right, but don't make it visually interesting. The trick is that the site has to shout "THIS IS A WEBSITE ABOUT AN AMAZING ZOO" and it does it with brilliance. In my opinion a website for such a brilliant visitor attraction, must have the same impact and be as amazing as the place itself. It must create a "buzz" among people to live up to people's expectations. The Australia Zoo website team do this very well. Brilliant.


New Document Folder

I've recently sent out a promotional mail shot. I designed a new document folder to promote the consultancy side of my design business. If anything it is useful just to have something to leave with prospective clients. I print out my own data sheets and use them as inserts. In today's digital age I still feel it is important to keep up a visual awareness through traditional print media. I feel that it is also important to keep my clients informed about what I do. In my opinion, the method of folder and differential inserts is more versatile than the plain brochure option. As I am in the business of brand development, I think it is equally important to build and promote my own brand.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

New Entrance Sign

I recently designed a new entrance sign for Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park. I have been working with the client on a new enhancement of their branding, to evoke a fresh approach and direction.


Friday, 13 April 2012

Are we in another technology bubble?

This week Facebook bought a company with no source of revenue and 13 employees for $1 billion. Instagram, the company that allows you to alter your photos through cool filters, to look like they were really taken with an old polaroid and then upload them on to Facebook or other social network sites, was bought by Facebook. Facebook is gearing up for a floatation in May and is tipped to be valued at $100 billion. As Facebook is allowing people to customise their pages, this move is in line with the way things are going. I think Facebook will go the way Myspace has gone and everyone's Facebook page will become gaudy and reflect the appearance of a teenagers bedroom wall. I think that in 5 years time Facebook will be not as cool as it is now. I hate to sound like an old fart, but is this what we have come to? In the 1960's people wanted to be astronauts or racing drivers. Now you've made it because you made an app that turns a photo to look like a crappy old polaroid.

When I was in Art college, (Before PC's in the workspace and at home) we spent hours trying to create images that looked as though they were actually computer generated. These hand painted images were "Modern" in their appearance. Now we think we have been creative because we made an image look like it was old, but the software did it, not us. Now, Apple, would prefer everyone to do everything on their hardware, but the paradox is to sell these gadgets to the masses, the digital software that goes with it waters everything down to the lowest common denominator. "I downloaded an app that makes me draw like a child! Wow", "Look I made a letter look like it was hand crafted, Wow!", "Look I made a photo old!" Wow! Well done! Google is also relentless in its persuit of knowing the back end of a fart. Google is the global version of the Doomsday Book, where everything has been mapped and listed. Great. In this current digital age we live in, it is easy to assume that technological emancipation will liberate us, but with every step we are also burdened in some way. Before mobile phones, I could memorise over 10 phone numbers in my head, now they are not in my head, they are in my phone. Also, take Satellite Navigation. In stead of looking at landmarks to remember where you have driven, so that next time you will know the lay of the land and remember where to go, with Sat Nav you are told where to go and don't bother to remember where you have been. Now without the technology you cannot get there! GPS has saved many lives, where people have been lost in remote places, but it is also used to locate and kill people in Southern Sudan as well as other parts of the world affected by civil war.

I think we are in the second phase of a general technological move forward, that is now selling us crap that we don't need. In the 20th Century, with the invention of household appliances, washing machines, hoovers, fridges, cookers etc, the everyday tasks of the family became easier and with television life was made more enjoyable, but once everyone had a washing machine the large companies had to invent 'add ons' to these appliances that didn't make them any better, but just made us want a new appliance. Therefore a washing machine with a digital clock doesn't wash your clothes any better, but it creates a demand for something better that isn't really any better than the washing machine you already have.

I think this is the stage we have got to with the internet. The internet and PC's in every home and workplace have transformed our lives in ways we wouldn't have otherwise imagined. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Apple produce the new ipod six months after the previous one. It is sold as a "Game Changing" device, and six months later a new one is released, rendering the old one useless. The gadgets are made, not to transform your life, they are made to push products. I think we are in this second phase of the internet where we have totally lost sight of the 'advantage' that it brings. For me, nothing REALLY NEW is being created at the moment. It is a lack of ideas that is driving current tech sales. It is all soup at the moment. Remember why we all bought a digital camera? They took very clear high resolution images, that could be edited and filed on our PC's. Now I can make those images look like they were taken with an old Polaroid?