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Hands on

A while back I signed-up to a Crafts Council thing called ‘Craft Matters’, which aims to demonstrate that hand-crafted things are important to an awful lot of people.

The nature of my job means a lot of my day’s spent at a computer; researching on the web, emailing clients, organising virtual ‘paperwork’ things … oh, and actually designing of course. I love my Mac – in fact it’s invaluable to me – but that’s not to say I think computer-generated stuff is the be-all and end-all.

I’m also a big fan of handmade, crafty things – whether it’s limited edition ‘zines, hand-printed t-shirts, locally-made jewellery, handmade letterpress posters or any other beautiful, useful and/or bizarre bits and bobs that have been lovingly created by hand.

So, yes, craft matters to me. If it matters to you as well, here’s the link so you can sign-up too: Craft Matters

In step

Categories: Events

On Saturday evening I took a trip to see Bollywood Steps, a dance spectacular which was held as part of People Dancing; a strand of the Cultural Olympiad here in the West Midlands. (It was also part of the Town Hall’s 175th Anniversary celebrations.)

Essentially the life-story of originator Simmy Gupta told in dance, the first half hour consisted of a ‘basic steps’ tutorial, so the entire crowd could dance along during the wedding scene at the end of the show. I’m not much of a mover but bopped along in time; suppressing the urge to join in with the arm movements lest I accidentally bop someone on the nose. (Dancing’s not my strength!) I was actually really impressed with the number of people who got into it and gave it a go – there were arms waving round all over the place.

The performance-proper was fantastic – the dancing was, naturally, pretty impressive but fusing it with such beautiful, dramatic lighting and the backdrop of the Town Hall made it something really special. And there were fountains and fireworks and everything!

It was most certainly an invigorating way to spend an hour or so on a chilly October evening. (Especially for the floaty-sari-clad dancers who must’ve been blooming freezing!)

I’ll be keeping an eye on West Midlands Dance (a hub of local dance-related stuff) as I’m intrigued to see – following Bollywood, water features and pyrotechnics – what else will come from People Dancing.

Keeping it simple for 57 years

Categories: Data design

Thanks to Google's oft-changing logo, I discovered that today is the 57th anniversary of the barcode being patented.

Over those years this machine-readable graphic representation of data has morphed into various forms (a recent case-in-point being the Japanese-designed QR code) but the most ubiquitous example in the UK remains – well, a load of vertical black lines.

For me it's a fine example of simple, practical and understated design. (Apologies if the above image makes your eyes go a bit funny …)