Tag Archives: design

The Olympic mascots have tipped me over the edge | Life and style | The Guardian

And the 2012 Olympics is meant to be “a showcase for British talent”. Yet out of the entire country, teeming with artists – professional, amateur, student, infant and the odd trained elephant – these nasty designs were the absolute best they could dredge up. Who designed this drek? A human? A committee? Who chose the winner? Another committee? I  want them all punished.

I have to agree.

I am on record in this very blog saying that I think Wenlock and Mandeville did actually work, when they were animated and trying to get children interested in the Olympic thing, but I have changed my mind. The whole London ’Lympics is turning out to be a tawdry white elephant. With all the talent the UK has to offer, it isn’t a very good advert at all, frankly.

BBC News – The tent that turns into concrete in less than 24 hours

The past 12 months have seen a remarkable number of humanitarian crises with earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and deadly tornadoes in the southern US being among the most recent.

Among new innovations which could help relief efforts is a fabric shelter that, when sprayed with water, turns to concrete within 24 hours.

Invented by two engineers while at university, Concrete Canvas allows aid teams to construct solid structures in emergency zones quickly and easily.

Will Crawford and Peter Brewin showed BBC News how the concrete tent is put together and spoke about what inspired them.

Skipping lightly over the “new innovations” tautology, it’s this kind of original thinking that we should be encouraging in this country. Reliance on service and financial sectors isn’t going to help the UK out of the mess we’re in.

So you think you can design a logo? | Patrick Burgoyne | CiF | guardian.co.uk

How many logos have you seen today? Perhaps you maintain a lofty disdain for such things, but logos are unavoidable and, in their own way, quite remarkable. With a few lines, a good logo can articulate the aims of a charity or symbolise a city.


Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank. Designer: Anton Stankowski, 1974

Logos today get a pretty bad press: “How much? My 12-year-old could have done that.” Often, that’s true, sort of. Take the Deutsche Bank logo. Created in 1974 by artist and designer Anton Stankowski, it consists of a blue box with an oblique line inside: that’s it. And yet it represents a multibillion-pound business. Any self-respecting pre-teen with a ruler and a felt tip could have made a decent stab at it, a fact not lost on German newspaper Bild Zeitung which, at the time of the logo’s launch, wrote a disbelieving story headlined “Artist gets 100,000 Marks for five lines” (he didn’t get that much, by the way).

As an erstwhile designer, I face the never-ending problem that clients think they know more about my job than I do. No amount of explanation will convince them otherwise, so I end up being very disheartened with the entire game.

The recurring newspaper of Tinseltown

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Who’d have thought art departments couldn’t be bothered to cook up fake newspapers for their shows? It seems art directors fall back on using the same prop newspaper time and again, and it appears to have become a sort of in-joke in the US TV and movie world.

Wonderful. I liked the comment made about web sites. The BBC, in particular, has spent a good deal of time making backup “fake” web sites for some of their sci-fi and drama productions. It makes you wonder why Tinseltown can’t muster the same level of skills.

It’s all about craft

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It’s all about the craft. I’ve been coming to that conclusion over the past couple of years.

High tech, computers and whizzy gadgets are all well and good. I wouldn’t be in business without them, if I am honest. But there’s something much more satisfying about design and art when it’s hand-finished.

I love the crafted feel of letterpress printing. A hand-finished book binding is a joy to behold. Hand-painting signwriting is undervalued. Even the dirtier stuff, like blacksmithing and, yes, even restoring cars and lorries, have aspects of the love, attention to detail and the craftsmanship involved. Skills and techniques handed down from generation to generation, sometimes through an apprenticeship, honed and practised to perfection.

I need to look at ways to incorporate more craft in my work, and to engender the appreciation of such things in clients. One day, such hand-crafted skills may return to the ascendant, because we never know when something will knock our modern society into a cocked hat.