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Stop: look and listen #2

Categories: Inspiration, Stop: look and listen

James Blake: "Limit to Your Love" (music video)
Well, this is both a look and a listen, I guess: An interesting video. A striking piece of music. James Blake has two really interesting EP's out. This track, which is a cover of a Feist song, is from his forthcoming album. I really can't wait to hear more.

BBC: Sherlock (DVD)
A contemporary take on Sherlock Holmes – classy, stylish and inspired entertainment. Three feature-length episodes on DVD. A new season is in the making.

Trent Reznor and David Fincher (interview)
Trent Reznor and David Fincher talk to Pitchfork about their collaboration on "The Social Network".

Mats Eilsertsen: "Radio Yonder" (album)
Mats Eilertsen is a Norwegian bass player, who's been involved in an uncountable and diverse range of collaborations on the contemporary jazz scene. "Radio Yonder" is Eilertsen working with his own quartet, playing only original compositions, with one exeption; a haunting cover of A-ha's "Hunting High and Low". A beautiful, timeless jazz recording. (Read The Guardian review of the album.)

Royksopp: "Senior" (album)
"Senior" is the dark twin of last year's album "Junior". Less pop, more prog – and it's all the better for it.

Good old fashioned detail*

Categories: Useful/interesting

Mad Men. What a show.

There aren't many (any?) other TV programmes this good and, I think, what I find especially exceptional about it is the incredible attention to detail that's been put into making everything appear authentic and absolutely of its time. The very first episode kicks off in 1960 and everything looks, sounds and feels like 1960. It is 1960.

Or is it …

Recently, Kris pointed me in the direction of a piece written by designer Mark Simonson about the (mainly anachronistic) use of typography in the show; it's a great read if you're into Mad Men and type design.

I put together this graphic using some of the typefaces mentioned in the piece, showing the dates each were actually designed.

Oh; whoops!

So, perhaps there's not quite as much scrutiny about every single designed detail as I'd first thought – but it's certainly not going to ruin my enjoyment of the show and really, who's going to notice, eh?

*aka 'Designers are an observant bunch'.

Ideas for creative careers

We were recently invited to take part in an Ideas Lab event, run by Brightspace here in Birmingham. The idea was to engage young people into thinking about careers within the creative industries. As the resident ‘events speaker’ at Supercool I went along to introduce young people to the concept of graphic design. Other creative industry representatives included Liz Leck [Birmingham Hippodrome], Matt Watkins [Beat 13] and Greg Rudevics [theatrical make-up artist] so there was quite a good spectrum of roles.

Human Brain

London Underground map of the Human Brain. A project I did at uni

Students were split into groups of 7-8 students who rotated around the room visiting different talks by each of us. We talked about our roles, education and career path. Each talk was a very brief 6-7mins, so I really had quite a honed elevator-type pitch by the time I got to the seventh group.

Students ranged from 14-16yrs and I was surprise how few had considered roles within the creative industries at all, let alone graphic design. The show was completely stolen by Greg whose talk involved a practical element, resulting in lots of students with theatrical glass wedged into the back of their hands.

Design exploits …

Categories: Data design, Inspiration, Useful/interesting

After writing a quick post about the visualisation of data not long ago, it's been stuck in my head, niggling at my brain.

Data visualisation is really interesting to me. Not solely on account of it being efficient (and I do like efficiency) but because conveying facts and figures in an engaging, digestible and, yes, nice-looking way is in many ways the perfect design challenge.

Affording Healthcare by Camille Kubie
Affording Healthcare by Camille Kubie

You have fixed information to work with and essentially the same brief/problem each time: (accurately) make complex data clear, understandable, and interesting; make the most of it, I suppose.

So, when Paul Bradshaw tweeted a link about data visualisation for journalists, I got curious and had a squizz.

The site has been set up as an open resource for journalists and a place where designers can go to get data to visualise. And it's all free – no payment is required for using the graphics.

The Worst Oil Spills in History by Gavin Potenza
The Worst Oil Spills in History by Gavin Potenza

After a quick look-through, it seems the data's fairly USA-centric and there are a few glitches on the site – but it generally appears to be a pretty interesting and useful resource; in terms of both the visualisations and data, but also as a bit of a push to think more about how infographics can be used.

It's got me thinking anyway.