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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.

Taking stock

Categories: Nice stuff

Paper. There's a lot I could say about it.

I could go into detail about the way a particular paper stock feels, its grain and how it holds ink, or voice my concerns over how much paper (and other stuff for that matter) is wasted every day and the impact of this on our environment.

You'll be pleased to hear I won't do either to any great extent but the fact is, when it comes to paper, 'reduce, reuse, recycle' has become mainstream. How many of the emails in your work Inbox end with the missive "Don't print this email unless you have to"?

Here in the office, we only print when we need to, reuse paper when we can and, of course, have a recycling bin. It's acceptable, sensible and it just seems 'right'.

Having said that, I wouldn't want to work in a completely paperless office.

Not solely because I design for print but because I simply love the stuff; for me there ain't much better than going through the post and finding you've been sent a beautifully printed … something or other. Little things, eh?

In many cases, printed materials are still a great – at times the best – way of communicating with selected people. And there's my point; selected people.

Folks don't want to be bombarded with stuff that they're going to put straight into the recycling – print just isn't the best way of communicating a general message to lots of people. There's something else which does that much better.

The internet's open to all (theoretically), so has loads of benefits in terms of reach, expanding audiences and, not least, accessibility; but receiving a high quality, beautifully crafted, tactile object is so much more personal, more human, more emotional, and it can leave a hugely positive impression when well-matched to the person receiving it.

Besides this, one of print's supposed flaws I see as one of its strengths – it can't be instantly altered. What's good about this? It has permanence, longevity, certainty; this can lend printed materials a huge degree of credibility compared with online communications which can be amended at the click of a button. (I'm talking good quality print here, not churn-it-out junk mail sort of stuff.) Print is often maligned as wasteful, but I think the trick is simply to be sure to choose the right tool for the job.

So; my hopes for the future of print? Increasing use of recycled paper stocks; shorter print runs of higher quality things; and pieces that are designed carefully, to be 'keepable' rather than bin-bound.

In essence; sustainable, lasting quality over general, throw-away bulk. Hmmm; let's see …

The photos are of print samples from, respectively, Typoretum and The Mandate Press.

Stop: look and listen #1

Categories: Inspiration, Stop: look and listen

Torgny and Emil Trier
A transcendent view into Norwegian youth culture. Two truly brilliant music videos.

This is England '86
Shane Meadows and cast discuss the Channel 4 show (in The Guardian).

10 Crazy Campaign ads
(Compiled by The Daily Beast).

Basia Bulat "Heart of my Own" (album)
Heartfelt, timeless folk pop. Grows with every listen.
Dungen "Skit i allt" (album)
Swedish prog folk rock. Sounds like it's recorded in the woods.

William Brittelle "Sheena Easton" (track)
Totally over the top pop production, somewhere between Toto and Prince.