Archives for posts with tag: design

I was a late starter to Pinterest, but have to admit that I have succumbed to it’s appeal and find it amazingly easy to search for images under any subject heading. I was regularly searching through Houzz and DwellingGawker for my interior design and architecture fix. However, when it came to art & design inspiration I had a tendency to just scroll and surf through the Google search results under those headings.

Since joining Pinterest I have many late nights looking through all the design porn I can handle. Not-so-recently, I discovered a simple image that I found appealing enough to save to the camera roll on my phone. (This was before I realised I could save it within the Pinterest app.) Unfortunately, I cannot credit the artist of this great work as I didn’t take note of those details. A few attempts to rectify that have resulted in me searching through Pinterest again, but that always resulted in a lot of other distractions!

Anyway, what I wanted to do with this saved image was to recreate it as a gift to my sister and her husband as a house warming present. It looked like it was a screen print, but it has been many years since I’ve done anything in that field, so I was reluctant to take on this process now. Instead, I chose to use cardboard and cut out the various colours to resemble the original design. It’s not an exact match in colours but I think it turned out quite well. The gift was greatly received and is already on the wall in the new home. It felt lovely being creative again, and has definitely encouraged me to keep some time to do something else again soon. I’ll keep you posted here obviously.

In the meantime, what do you think; did my rehash of the original print turn out well in your opinion? If anyone out there knows the original artist, maybe you could let me know who they are – I owe them a big thank you for their inspirational work. 🙂

Picture 1 is original, with the stages of my work to the final image at the end.


When I started this blog earlier this year I had a goal of posting something every two weeks. That gave me plenty of time to come up with a topic, write about it and then post it – and still allow time for work, family and everything else on the sidelines.

However, if you read my previous post, you will understand that sometimes plans don’t go according to plan! So, in an effort to be more organised and focused on writing for this blog, I thought I’d start something new to keep up the momentum each week.

You see, I’m currently reading Scott Belsky’s book ‘Making Ideas Happen‘, which is, so far, a very enjoyable and productive read. The title provides the brief description of what the book is about, and I’ll elaborate with a sentence from the cover page:

“This bestselling book reveals the three steps vital to making any idea happen: getting organized, collaborating and leading effectively.”

It suggests some steps on how to prioritise all your ideas, and then how to make (some of) them a reality. I included ‘some of’ in the previous sentence, as Belsky (thankfully) acknowledges that we often have too many ideas to carry through to completion. So, is it not better to work on some projects to the end, rather than constantly talk about ALL the ideas you would like to complete – if you had the time? He also reminds the reader that developing ideas involves a lot of work, quoting Edison’s mantra of “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”.

After several months of writing here I agree with this concept. I’m enjoying the act of blogging, and I want to at least complete my initial commitment of a blog post every fortnight. However, with family being a huge part of my life at the moment, more so than design; I have a tendency to consider writing about family days rather than design!

So, the new concept for my blog, each Wednesday, is to simply present an inspirational design I like, and hope it will please some readers too. I might even get a design / picture of my own into this slot some day soon! 😉 Anyway, here’s the first of many:

I saw this picture online many years ago and thought it was beautiful. I still love it! However, I can’t remember who did it, or where I found the picture. It is made up of all the dots and full stops the artist found in print media, and she then stuck them onto a large sheet to admire them. Isn’t it amazingly simple, yet beautiful? Do you know the artist?

You can download a free PDF copy of the Scott Belsky book here. Not sure how this site can offer it for free, but it’s there.


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!


New Year has a tendency to induce our continuous attempts to follow our dreams. After all, you never work a day in your life if you are doing something you love (apparently). Well, I currently have an enjoyable and rewarding job. However, during 2012 I rediscovered a long-lost love I’ve had since childhood that made me rethink my position. This love is design.

In my (not so distant) youth, I spent many hours, day and night, creating designs and images on paper (and other surfaces), or copying stuff I saw around me. Thankfully, in my childhood, someone else was looking after the cooking, cleaning, childcare and bill paying so I had plenty of time for this creativity. Once I became the person responsible for all these tasks I seemed to have forgotten about design and focused on a more ‘practical’ role. Life hasn’t been bad over the years, but I definitely knew that something was missing in my life.

The age of the internet and the smart phone have brought more distractions, but thankfully some have been a blessing to me. Dwell, Wallpaper*, Dribbble and Pinterest are great to watch the creativity of others. It is now easier than ever before to see so many variations of design in a short space of time. The browsing I’ve done on these sites has reminded me of what I hoped to do when I was younger. Unfortunately at that time, I never realised how to turn my passion for design into a ‘practical’ income-earning task. It was easier to gain finances elsewhere and that’s where I went.

Over the last two years I have assisted my wife in (one of) her passions and it allowed me to be creative. The time we could afford within the family to do this has often been restrictive, so not giving it the commitment it needs has often been demoralising. However, in recent months I have tried to create a positive outlook on this and say some time is better than no time. We all have to start somewhere, don’t we?

The year 2012 was coming to an end and I was determined to create a design life for myself. Income from this is not essential but will be a bonus when it happens. Maybe I’ll be saying something different in a few years from now!! However, an inspiration to me during 2012 was a new magazine I subscribe to called Offscreen. The man behind it is Kai Brach and his blog post for December 29th was a good read for me, and I hope to others.

It’s a simple reflection on what he has learnt over the last twelve months as a publisher. But in the opening paragraph he briefly describes what he did to start this magazine. It’s a great achievement and a wonderfully enjoyable read. The work is inspirational to me, the content is educational. I’m using his creativity as a starting block to my dream.

The pace I will take will be more erratic, but the path to design will be followed. Diversions from this path will hopefully be interesting. I’m willing to learn how to be creative (again). I’m hoping designers I meet along the route will teach me what they know. This blog is my way of reflecting on this learning, sharing my experiences with others and hoping I can look back in twelve months and appreciate what I have achieved. Hopefully the love of the subject will still overshadow the idea of it being work. I hope you might be interested in walking with me.