Saturday, 3 October 2009


Opposite exists as a cafe situated just outside the university of Leeds, selling deicious food and coffee's. It also promotes local artists, musicians and designers and holds exhibitions on certain occasions too.

I have spend a great deal of time in this place during my time at Leeds University. I love coming here at any time of the day, whether it be to grab my morning coffee, to meet a friend for lunch or to do some work. I feel at home here with it's friendly atmosphere buzzing with students at lunch time and the art dotted all over the place. I find it a great place to work too to get my creative juices flowing!

The Body photography

'The body' is a book which celebrates the human form through photography. It promotes some of the worlds most renowned photographers and their different perceptions of the human body.

Pierre Radisic is featured within the book which reveals his abstract, fragmented style of photography creating a kind of fantasy within his imagery. He concentrates on the smooth and curvaceous aspects of the body but also the creases and folds of the skin. In addition he manages to use the subject of his imagery to represent something more than just the body. In one case, he forms constellations out of the black marks that appear on the skin from the negatives, naming them 'heavenly bodies,' in order to convey their beauty and dream like qualities.

I find it fascinating to see how the human body can be portrayed in so many different ways through photography. The book stands out amongst the endless idealistic images of the 'perfect' body that we are bombarded with in fashion magazines and advertisements. It is far more diverse to the same old skinny models we see every day.

Friday, 2 October 2009

William Blake - Sgt. Pepper's

I have always been a fan of William Blake's style. He famously designed the album cover to Sgt. Peppers lonely hearts club band by combining photos with personal heroes of the Beatles. It took months and the help of Jan Haworth to put it together before the photograph could be taken.  

There have been many parodies to this design, including the Simpson's version using all the characters from Springfield. 

Paul Smith for Evian

I came across this post on my new found favorite website. Paul Smith has designed a bottle for Evian. I personally think that spending a lot of money on a bottle of water is getting a bit ridiculous, but Paul Smith has managed to create a bottle design that I would most certainly buy not only because of it's fun and flirty design but also because I would keep it and put it to good use after I have finished with the water. 

More gorgeous packaging design

I was introduced to this website by my manager at work this summer. It is a packaging design website in which the 'The Kitchen', (shown previously in my blog) features it's own designs. The purpose to this blog based website is to promote some of the world's best packaging design and is open for anyone to comment on the designs if they so wish.

I love the simplicity to this website and it's friendly, welcoming typeface used for it's name. I could spend hours scrolling through and admiring all of the beautiful designs and unlike any books on packaging design, there is influx of new designs that get put up on the blog each day.

Go to:

Logo Failure

The design for the 2012 London Olympics has undergone some serious criticism within the press and from the general public. I remember hearing about the terrible state of the logo design before I even got a chance to see it for the first time. I find this very disappointing! If you type ' 2012 London Olympic logo Design,' into google, a list of negative articles spring up onto the page. The general consensus within the public is that it comes across as too patronizing and have failed to get a correct understanding of their target audience. In a Guardian article, the logo had been 'likened to cartoon character lisa Simpson giving a blow job to london.' which i thought was extremely funny and sadly quite true!

The message in which the brand is trying to communicate is as follows:

We need a powerful brand to help us achieve our ambition. A brand that combines the power of the Olympic rings and the city of London together.

The number 2012 is our brand. It is universal and understandable worldwide

Our emblem is simple, distinct, bold and buzzing with energy. Its form is inclusive yet consistent and has incredible flexibility to encourage access and participation. It can communicate with anyone from commercial organisations to kids playing sport.

It feels young in spirit. Full of confidence, certainty and opportunity. Not afraid to shake things up, to challenge the accepted. To change things.

Clearly they have started off on the wrong foot, and set themselves a challenge that was out of their reach. It seems to me as if they have made too many assumptions and of what was needed which is why it has caused such a commotion.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Eat Me

This is a book that showcases some of the brilliant food and drink packaging designs from a broad range of agencies and designer's. It touches on all the different aspects to packaging design that makes it such a success. From the witty copy writing in the Ben and Jerry's ice cream tubs, to the rise of own- label packaging of selfriges that stand as a threat to the the actual brands.

The message of desirability runs throughout the book with cropped images of a women seductively interacting with the food. Her bright red lipstick and nail varnish also conveys this idea of desire within food packaging. It has a simple and effective layout, with the type positioned, at times, diagonally across the page creating an interactive experience. Moreover the imagery exists as the largest, most dominating feature to the page, enabling you to leaf through the book and appreciate the beautiful designs. Finally there are case studies that are included at the end of the book, giving you an insight into the process that goes into how a product can achieve added value through its packaging design.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

King's Cross Station

The new design for the re-development of kings cross station has been long over due. Expected to be ready in the next four years, it will be transformed in order to hold the ever growing population of people that filter through the station every day. I love how the futuristic/modern interior contrasts with  exterior of the station. I think it will be exciting to walk into a realm that is so unexpected and different from the outside, making each journey something a bit special.  

Switzerland Ski Touring

In May this year, I took on the massive challenge to climb up a 4000m mountain named Pollocks in Switzerland, Zermatt. I embarked on this crazy journey with my Dad and an old friend of ours named Tor. 

One of my biggest inspirations is my dad and his passion of ski touring. He was the one that made me passionate about skiing from a young age, and have been lucky enough to go every year since the age of 4.  This trip was something that we had wanted to do together for a long time, and wasn't just any old ordinary ski vacation. 

The only word I can think to describe Tor is... crazy. He now has a wife and children, so you could say that he has tamed down slightly now but he has always been somewhat of a dare devil. Originally born in Sweden, he has spent most of his life working in Switzerland and in his spare time will climb mountains on a weekly basis. Tor's ambitious lifestyle is something that I aspire to and with his surprisingly shy nature, you feel safe in his presence as he leads you up huge towering mountains with no one in sight and the sound of the melting crevasses beneath you!  Somehow he has an ability to make me do things  that I never thought  possible.

The climb up on 'skins'-bits of material that stick onto the base of your skis to help you grip onto the snow, took two days, with one night in a hut and a 3am start on the second day to complete our ascent to the top.  I went through so many different feelings of emotions of fright as we crossed the glacier in pitch black, and nothing but a torch to guide us. Complete awe, as the sun rose and all you could see was untouched snow covering the endless mountains that surround you and physical tiredness that I have never felt before. After a while, i couldn't really feel my legs moving my body up the mountain anymore. 

Overall, the trip was an experience that I will never forget and it will always be with me. 

Smug Designs

As I was walking along the embankment the other day towards London bridge, I couldn't help but admire this ingenious bit of architecture. Nicknamed the 'gherkin,' it exists as the second tallest building in the city of London at 180m tall. Not only does it look impressive with its curved glass exterior that makes a clear impact within the London skyline, it is also environmentally friendly. I feel even more attracted to the gherkin knowing that it has energy saving methods and uses half the power of a similar sized tower. The gaps in the floors create six shafts to create a double glazing effect that insulates the office in the winter and and keeps it naturally ventilated in the summer months.

Working in a place such as the gherkin that lets so much light into flood the office space and the magnificent 360 degree views of the city skyline must keep make such a difference to the way you feel. It stands there looking so effortlessly cool and smug, not only because of it's sleek design but also because of it's Eco friendly nature.

In considering this point, i thought of the other things in our society that have a similar impact and i thought of the 'Prius.' This is a half electric run car that makes almost no noise as it glides through the busy London roads. My family have owned a Prius for a few years now, so i can relate to this feeling of smugness as i drive through the congestion zone free of charge and enjoy the smooth ride of the vehicle. Road rage has become a thing of the past since driving this car!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Wassup Advert

This advertisement managed to create a catch phrase that became part of popular culture which is something that I find extremely inspirational.

The term was founded in 1986 with Charles Stone when he was still at college as a young student. The phrase was used as a greeting between him and his college mates. He made a note of this in his sketch book, as he knew that he would use it in the future. The advert was made to be different from all other beer adverts. Vinny, a copywriter at advertising agency DDB in Chicago, felt that 'beer should be incidental to people's lives, not to be their whole lives.' He therefore decided that Charles Stone's All in the family short film was a bud ad.

The adverts effectiveness is clearly portrayed by the way in which it caught on and the word 'wassuuup!' was used by many people. In addition, the advert is simple and straight forward. It makes you smile, which I think is vital and relates entirely to it's message... 'true.'

This advertisement was made in 1996, which makes me realise that the Budweiser needs something new and exciting to promote it to a young audience. I was trying to think of the last time i drank a bud... and couldn't!

Factory Girl

The factory girl tells a true story about rich, glamorous and beautiful girl named Edie sedgwick, who moves to New York, to find a new life full of inspiration. She meets Andy Warhol, a controversial artist at the time, who invites her to be in his movies at his 'bohemian paradise', the factory. She immediately accepts and becomes engrossed in a life of fame, sex, drugs and rock and roll. She finds love too, but becomes torn between these two lives and regrettably stays with Andy and her life begins to spiral out of control.

Sienna Miller plays a very convincing role of Edie, and conveys the reality of a celebrity obsessed culture. I found the filming itself exciting as it managed to physically take me back to a realm of what it might have been like to go to the Factory. Edie also conveys her character through the clothes that she wears. There is one part in the film where she talks about how she would wear leggings whilst dancing each day. She was too lazy to take them off, and so became an accidental fashion statement therefore showing that inspiration can pop up in front of us without us looking for it. Despite Edie's short lived life and her vulnerable/ fragile side, she puts herself out there for everyone to notice and made a distinct impact for many girls to aspire to.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

THe Michelin Building

The Michelin House, situated in South Kensington, was the 1st permanent UK headquarters and tyre depot for the Michelin tyre company. It was designed by Francois Espinasse which features the Michelin man 'Bibendum" in it's stained glass window on the outside of the building. In 1987, the building was re- opened as a restaurant, the offices foe Octopus publishing and the Conran shop. Paul Hamlyn and Terence Conran, in a joint effort, restored the building's original features, keeping it's true quality.
The Michelin man exists as one of the most recognised trademarks, and can be found in 150 different countries. His design was inspired by lots of bicycle tyres to create this cuddly creature. The design has gradually changed over the years, and was recently down sized due to the health conscious society that we live in today.
Bibendum to me is more than just a brand name. It attracts attention in a way that hits you on a personal level because of this friendly, jolly character that has been around for years, allowing us to appreciate a familiar face when we see it and therefore shining a positive light on the company.

Blink- the power of thinking without thinking

The book, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell taught me something called 'thin slicing,' which is the ability to subconsciously realise or presume something. Throughout the book he gives examples such as in advertising in order to explain how sometimes it is better to spontaneously make a decision than to spend a lot of time thinking it through carefully.

I found this interesting, as it contradicted the way in which I work on set briefs at university. Although, research into your brief is essential, sometimes you need to go with your instinct and take many things you read on the Internet and what people tell you with a pinch of salt.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Art on the undergroud

The London underground has often provided me with lots of inspiration. All the adverts, tube posters, and exhibitions that appear all over the underground were the only thing that would keep me sane whilst commuting into school each day during rush hour. I am particularly fond of the 48 sheet posters lining the platforms that get all Londoners thinking as they wait for their train. In addition the that line the walls as you go up and down the escalators almost seem to brainwash you as they are often repeated several times in a row.

My stop for school was Gloucester rd that holds an exhibition space for artists to show their work. At present the LA based artist Pae White has exhibited her work. She is renowned for her sensitive use o materials. I am interested in one piece where she has created a mobile of millions of colored paper discs as it creates a feeling of weightlessness and happiness, which is what we need on the mundane commute to work each day!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

A Streetcar Named Desire

I went to see a recent production of a streetcar named desire at the Donmar warehouse in Covent Garden last weekend. I was expecting great things from all the fantastic reviews and found that they only gave a tiny insight into this superb performance. I was amazed by the way in which it portrayed Tennessee Williams’ brilliance as the writer of the play.

The play was first opened on 3 December 1947 and was later adapted to a film in 1951, in which the director, Elia Kazan, insisted on keeping the film true to the play. A review by Tim Durks explains the plot:

The electrifying film tells the feverish story of the pathetic mental and emotional demise of a determined, yet fragile, repressed and delicate Southern lady (Blanche) born to a once-wealthy family of Mississippi planters. Her impoverished, tragic downfall in the squalid, cramped and tawdry French Quarter one-bedroom apartment of her married sister (Stella) and animalistic brother-in-law (Stanley) is at the hands of savage, brutal forces in modern society. In her search for refuge, she finds that her sister lives (approvingly) with drunkenness, violence, lust, and ignorance.

Seeing this recent production, reminded me of how much I enjoyed studying the play at A level and having an insight into the workings of Tennessee Williams’ mind. It is inspirational to see how Tennessee used the theatre to escape from his hard background. With a Mother who thought of herself as a southern Belle, a bully of a father and coming down with an illness as a young child, he became a very apprehensive character. However, it was the theatre that made him feel secure. He received a 30-minute standing ovation on his first night and also won the Pulitzer price and the New York Drama Critics’ Award. Moreover, the play was considered controversial, as he bravely introduced homosexuality, desire, and rape into the production, which at that time would have shocked many people.

In addition, Rachel Weisz, who played the leading role, Blanche Dubois was also a massive inspiration. She had the audience gripped throughout the whole play with a southern accent that never faltered and her constant energy on stage left me feeling exhausted for her when it finished. She manages to maintain the vulnerable, delusional character that craves love and security, in which Tennessee identifies with.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Mr Scruff- Tea Pacakaging design

Yesterday, I decided to buy a ticket to see Mr Scruff, who will be playing at the Leeds student union this November. I have never seen him play live, and I have always thought that his album cover art and music videos were very quirky and original. On looking at his website: , I was amazed to find that he has created his own tea brand.
All the illustrations for his cover art, music videos, website and merchdise are drawn himself and he has termed this way of drawing: "Potato style." These simple, bold and humorous drawings appear on his tea packaging design. Originally sold at music festivals, such as the big chill, the product can now be bought from his own website: .

I love the bzarrremess of how Mr Scruff markets himself as a 'DJ, producer, cartoonist and tea drinker!' He is sending a friendly message to all his listeners, inviting them drink tea and enjoy his music.

Monday, 14 September 2009

The X Factor

I know what your thinking... Someone has put X factor on a blog... really?

I thought I would post this one up there, as it's all anyone is talking about at the moment. There is quite literally no escaping the programme, and it has most certainly had a significant impact on me.

I'm not one to normally get emotional... but i think that the producers of the x factor have a talent in drawing you in and have certainly hit a nerve that has had me screaming at the T.V.

The show is produced by Fremantle Media's Talkback THAMES. and Simon Cowell's production company SYCO tv and is sponsored by TalkTalk in the UK. After watching this programme, I began to think about the editing that must go into creating such an impact on the viewers. From the music to the judges they choose, everything must be considered to great lengths. I think it's clever the way in which they create a build up before the singers go on stage making you nervous for them and consequently addictive to watch.

After seeing this clip i (have to admit) had a lump in my throat and shivers shooting down my spine. Living near to Putney, I felt weirdly connected to the guy. Is this all down to the good editing of the show I wonder, or am i just turning soppy?

Thames Festival

Best image in front of an iconic London landmark: Hannah M King
Overall winner: Nicholas Reynolds
Family category winner: Sharada Khanna

River category winner: Julianne Dickson

I had the chance to go to the Thames festival this year for the first time. The festival is a celebration of London and its river and has become a highlight to the city's cultural life. This spectacular event runs from Westminster bridge to tower bridge and beyond in which unusual spaces are transformed to exhibit an array of street arts, performances, carnival, pyrotechnics, illuminations, art installations, river events, food, music and dance....( the list goes on).

On looking at its website, I came across a photography competition that is held each year for members of the public to enter. The judges are looking for images that capture the spirit of the festival.

Spectacle category winner: Chris Mole
These are the winners from last years competition. I love what Chris Mole has achieved with his image. The young free runner spinning upside down in mid air against a powerfully built repetitive office block background, clearly conveys London's diversity.

I'm sad not to have known about this competition earlier. I will be looking forward to entering next year!

More Info:

Philippe Ramette

Philippe Ramette creates these photographs without the use of any computer software to enhance the images. He does all of is own stunt work in order to convey a man's relationship to the landscape, the sense of weightlessness and zero gravity.

I find it interesting how he has managed to convert a normal, attractive image of several scenes in the environment to an atmosphere that seems very surreal and sinister.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Lucozade Energy Drink

Lucozade has had a lot of publicity in the press recently. Not however in a light that one would expect. The Guardian released the headline: ‘The Lucozade bombers,’ to explain the terrorists who were caught attempting to blow up seven planes using bombs inside Lucozade bottles.

Patrick Barkham, from the guardian commented that ‘Lucozade is going through it’s own 90 minutes of PR hell.’ He also exclaimed that ‘one of its current promotions – “you. Your mates. Five amazing challenges”- doesn’t exactly decontaminate the brand.’

After reading this I tried to think whether this kind of press would decrease the percentage of sales of the drink or not. I personally don’t drink the stuff, and the thought of drinking a bottle would bring those horrible feelings to the surface. The current campaign – ’Get your edge back’- creates an impact, but cant really compare to ‘The Lucozade bombers.’ It will be interesting to see what their next campaign will entail.