Archives for category: learning

Simplicity. I think it’s obvious from looking at this blog that I like simplicity. Keeping things simple is easy for me to follow and admire. It’s not always that easy to keep life simple. Living with other people means consideration for their needs is required. Sometimes, keeping our life simple is forced on us due to economic circumstances. However, compromise can often help create amazing results.

The reason I mention this is due to me flicking through a book on the creative work of a Japanese architect I stumbled across last year, while on Amazon. He is Tadao Ando. His design for the ‘Church of the Light’ in Osaka is beautiful, in my opinion, and is witness to the creative genius of this man. This building demonstrates how the monetary and spacial restrictions he had to work with didn’t prevent him from creating an amazing space for his clients.

The use of concrete throughout the structure would not appeal to some people, but I love the cave-like cocoon it creates for the parish when they need solitude to pray. When the people gather as a community the building can provide a spacious and comforting haven for prayer. However, the most striking element of Ando’s design is the use of the cruciform opening through the grey concrete walls. He uses the natural environment and sunlight to create the centrepiece of this building and equally shows the strong symbolism associated with this religious structure.

At the moment, I worship his work from a distance by reading this book, and appreciate the work of the photographer who captured Tadao Ando’s work. I would love to stand within this building to experience the minimalist, effective and sacred design; to appreciate the light he brings into the concrete rectangular structure; to sit on the simple furniture that rests within the church.

For now, I’ll simply keep dreaming.



The last couple of weeks have been a bit hectic – family stuff, sorting out cars, employment, writing a blog post, losing blogpost, rewriting, more family stuff – life can be really busy when you feel you don’t even have a life!! Anyway, today I got to slow down a bit and sit at my desk and be creative.

At the moment, I’m working on some product labels for six green bottles. This is not paid employment. Hopefully it will develop into that! My wife is the aromatherapist, and I’m the supportive husband who does the designy bits! You can see our work here at the online store, the first edition site that’s currently being redesigned.

There are six different essential oil blends for women who are either pregnant, giving birth, and for motherhood afterwards. There’s also the bespoke option – the blend just for you (with a consultation from the aromatherapist of course!) Some feedback from friends has definitely helped create a more effective design – thanks! what else have I learned – I’m surprised by how much work is needed in designing a bottle of product for sale.

Thankfully, the label design is nearly finished. I also got to start on the brochure to describe the product, and a possible ezine / newsletter that can go out to existing and potential customers. Then I put some thought into the new website that will have to be redesigned to link in with the new branding style. Obviously, there’s going to be photography to capture the new look and show the organic, natural essence of the oil blends. And I also have the packaging of these products – i.e. what kind of container will protect the glass bottle through its delivery by the national postage system?

Once my creative mind started flowing I even daydreamed into shooting a small advert to put onto the website and YouTube. To be honest, the primary goal here was me getting to do more creative stuff rather than attract sales! It benefits us both so the idea is on the to-do list now. 🙂

So, throughout the day I have felt relaxed, compared to all the running around I’ve had over the last few days. I haven’t finished much today, and I’ve started more projects and identified extra tasks to lists. I never would have looked at six green bottles and understood how much work is involved in getting someone to admire them, and their contents, so much so that they choose to buy it. It is definitely a creative process, and needless to say – I’m still loving it!


I started this blog to help me record the self-assigned task of learning to design, to be a designer. I’m doing all kinds of stuff at the moment to constitute a reference to ‘designing’, but I wouldn’t dare use the phrase “I’m a designer” at the moment. It got me thinking about this statement so I thought I better check it out, and according to this is the meaning of ‘designer’:

de·sign·er [dih-zahy-ner]
a person who devises or executes designs, especially one who creates forms, structures, and patterns, as for works of art or machines.

1640–50; design + -er

So, for now, I can honestly say I do a lot of devising of designs, and there is definitely some (and plenty more to come) executing of designs. So am I a designer now?

In someone’s eyes I am. My wife and her mother look at my work and see me as the designer in the family business. When they compliment my work I’m happy, but I shrug off their praise, and start explaining to them the mistakes I made to get the work done, the time it took and how I hoped it would be done better and sooner. I wish for the day I have more skill in executing projects I haven’t even started! I have a tendency to look at what I haven’t achieved before I acknowledge what I have.

So, to start using this blog as intended, I will state now that I have devised and executed some great designs so far. I enjoyed the process and the material is being received by customer (and intended target audience) quite well. I have ideas for more material and have learnt a lot over the last few design jobs to help me with the next few. I’m researching other work and drafting designs in the believe I am improving.

However, I’m doing all this design work on the side of my life, so I see it as a hobby rather than a career. And that is probably the issue for me. Other people are designers because that is what they do for a living, whereas I am just doing it in my spare time.

So, in the quiet corners of the blogosphere I’m stating now – I’m a designer. I hope to work on future projects that will take me outside my comfort zone. I hope some of these projects will be for someone else besides my wife, and payment is in monetary terms rather than love and affection. The latter, I hope, will always be a well paying client.

The infamous phrase ‘if a tree falls…’ throws out the question of existence and observation. So, if I create a design in this huge creative forest and nobody is there to appreciate it, is it a design? Apparently not. Thankfully my wife and mother-in-law are constantly listening for falling trees. They appreciate the small trees I have felled for the family home. We all hope that someone else in the village will recognise my tree-felling skills and ask me to do the job for them. In the meantime, I think it’s time I stopped writing and go get the axe!