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Village in a Town (Hall)

Categories: Extra-curricular, Learning things

The Imagined Village logo - styled like a directional street sign

Having recently been appointed to the design roster of Town Hall Symphony Hall (yay!), last night we were invited along to meet the marketing team and then watch/listen to The Imagined Village at Town Hall.

Having first learned a bit about Performances Birmingham (the charity who run Town Hall and Symphony Hall) in the Joseph Hansom Suite – yes, he of 'Hansom Cab' fame was one of the Town Hall architects – we joined the rest of the audience for The Imagined Village.

They're a kind of folky, world-musicy supergroup; but the sort of act you might perhaps expect to find in a smaller venue than Town Hall. In fact this bigger venue worked perfectly as the auditorium was packed enough to feel atmospheric but small enough to still have something of an intimate feel to it. Plus the sound's everso good, the lighting's great … and the seats are comfy.

It's local-hall-gig-gone-large; in a good way. (In a standing ovation sort of way in this case.)

Until last night I'd not been to see live music for ages and had forgotten how much I enjoy it, so I'm now keeping my eyes peeled for something else to get me out of the office/house in the near future. (If any local venues are considering booking Los de Abajo, I can assure you, you'll have at least one person in the audience …)

Four strings; for the win

Categories: Extra-curricular, Our work, Silly

The Moselele logo, featuring a ukulele for an 'O'.

A fun little side project, I've recently put together a logo for Moselele – renowned as the second-best ukulele group in all of Moseley (and Billesley). Apparently.

I think I may have found some kind of niche market as this is the second ukulele group I've designed for: see also HUG.

Moselele's new look has plenty of options for playing around with copywriting, which I think has gone down well with the Moseleleians who've already invented a load of new tagline-type things.

They've also been busy applying the new logo to all manner of merchandise in their online shop; I don't think I've ever designed something that's appeared on a lanyard, an iPad sleeve, and a hi-viz vest before, so that's quite something.

(A selection of more serious items such as t-shirts and badges also available.)

Change is afoot – Part II

Categories: Extra-curricular, Nice stuff, Our work

Following on from that cliff-hanger of a teaser post the other week, here's my contribution to the Pointe Blank project; creating a poster for Birmingham Royal Ballet's Hobson's Choice.

For last year's Coppélia I spent quite a lot of time on illustration and layering and, though I wanted to do something similar this year, I didn't have quite as much time to spend on it, so needed to keep things simple.

To that end, a repeating pattern of the same ladies' Victorian-style boot made for a good start. I placed this pattern over a leathery-looking background – another little nod to the shoe-making trade – using a transparency and a kind of golden glow. (No special reason for the glow; it just looks nice.)

leathery texture, some boot silhouettes and the poster title

Another element I wanted to include was a zero – that being the precise number of choices Hobson's presented with in the production. I tried a few different ways of incorporating this but in the end, the simplest way was to replace all the incidents of the letter 'O' with the number '0'. B00m!

As Hobson's Choice is a comedy, I thought it was appropriate to use slightly cheeky copywriting, so composed the tagline "A thoroughly amusing allegory of Victorian cobblers." C'mon - it is about Victorian cobblers!

The final thing I was adamant I'd feature somewhere or other were the pink rodents Henry Hobson hallucinates following a particularly heavy night out. Oh, yes siree, they're in there somewhere. Spot 'em if you can.

Photo of the Pointe Blank exhibition launch

That's enough about what I did. You should totally go and have a look at the 26 other designs which were unveiled last night. Just as with Coppélia, there's a huge range of styles, concepts and takes on the subject; it's everso impressive and I'm very pleased to be part of it:

You can find out more about BRB's production of Hobson's Choice, which starts tomorrow, over on their website.

Coffee mourning

Categories: Extra-curricular

Montage of Likeminds from the past few years

Would it be an exaggeration to suggest that today marks the end of an era?

Absolutely, yes - but today is a little bit special. This morning was the last time Supercool hosted Birmingham's Likemind coffee morning; an event which started in New York and now happens in over 50 cities around the world, on the same day and at the same (local) time each month.

Having hosted the Birmingham version for nearly five years, we decided it was about time someone else had a go, so we've passed the coffee-soaked baton to Likemind regulars Rickie and Tim.

As a completely open-to-all and agenda-free event, we weren't sure what sort of reaction Likemind would get when we held the first one way back in 2007. Granted, things got off to a bit of a slow start (there were only three of us on one occasion – including two hosts) but over the years Likemind's grown hugely in popularity and, dare I say it, become something of a local institution.

We've met so many lovely people (many of whom are now friends), chatted about all sorts of subjects, introduced folks who'd otherwise never have met, downed countless coffees, and even raised a bit of cash for charities at the occasional fundraiser.

It's been fun. And interesting. And productive. But it's time for a change.

All the best to new hosts Rickie and Tim, and thanks to everyone who's come along over the past several years for making it worth our while getting up extra early! Finally, an extra-special thank you to Geoff, Lucie and all the staff at our venue Saint Caffe for being great to us. (And always letting us rearrange the furniture!)

Likemind Birmingham is dead. Long live Likemind Birmingham!

The next event: Friday 16th March (follow @likemind on Twitter for details)