Dorset By Night


Beautiful film made by a very talented mate. Dorset by Night, by Stephen Banks.


Came across the website of a web designer today that made me laugh. Instead of following the same old boring portfolio route like most designers do when creating their own site, this guy tells it like it is, and doesn’t take any shit from pushy clients. The highlight for me was when he was explaining what will happen if the client takes over:

If you take control, you’ll end up with a huge lump of dog muck, and people will laugh at it behind your back. Youths will point and say: “that man didn’t listen to the web designer and his website looks shit”

We do things a little differently at our graphic design studio, but it’s refreshing to see another way of doing things. I also bet he doesn’t get phone calls from the really difficult clients either. It’s a good laugh, so check out

Actual Studio

Just come across this design studio on my travels. They are a packaging and branding company called Stranger & Stranger and they specialise in alcoholic drinks. They’re work is pretty impressive and quite broad as well, seeing as they specialise in this one specific market. Their portfolio includes work for brands and drinks that I’ve never come across before, as well as the big branded wines you see on the shelf in Tesco.

I have a list of things that I’d like to design at some point in my career (as I’m sure many other designers have too), and designing brands and packaging for beers, wines, spirits etc is a dream job for me. I’ve even got my own board on pinterest dedicated to bottles, so hopefully sometime in the near future, Actual Studio will get commissioned to do something like this.

Check out Stranger & Stranger, nice work.

Sagmeister Inc. becomes Sagmeister & Walsh as Jessica Walsh becomes a parter.

Actual Studio


This blog has been quiet for some time now, and that’s because I’ve been rather busy with Actual Studio. We are a multidisciplinary graphic design and art direction studio based in Cardiff, South Wales. We’ve just launched our brand new website,

There is even a brand new blog to check out, That doesn’t mean this blog will become redundant, far from it. I plan to keep this one going with interesting snippets from the art and design world, as well as personal projects.

All very exciting, more info soon hopefully, but for now why not check us out:!/Actual_Studio

On Friday I went to the ’10 things I learnt’ conference set up by Design Wales in Cardiff. It was good, some very interesting talks from interesting people from all sectors of the design industry. Here’s a list of 10 things that I learnt from the event in no particular order.

1. Have fun.

Nick Marsh from Sidekick Studios told us not to lose our sense of humour. It’s really easy to slip into boring mode in design, when we forget that design is actually really exciting. It’s good to get a reminder of this from time to time.

2. Work in imaginary worlds.

I had a tough time getting my head around what Sam Kinsley had to say, but the words ‘work in imaginary worlds’ cropped up at some point. We work in the creative industries so we should work in imagery worlds, creating things for a world which doesn’t yet exist. As I said, I didn’t quite understand the talk, so I might be missing the point, but it’s a really nice phrase anyway.

3. Be yourself.

Asha Thompson from Intelligent Textiles Limited gave a great talk about the work that her company does in wearable technology. It was a fascinating talk but what I learnt most was the importance of being yourself and talking truthfully. I hear a a lot of bullshit from the design industry and so it was really refreshing to hear somebody talk about the importance of being yourself as this is something really important to me as well.

4. Look for solutions outside the office.

The speaker I was most looking forward to hearing from was Nick Eagleton from The Partners. What stood out most from his talk was the importance of looking for solutions outside of the studio. It’s really important to not spend all our time scratching our heads in the same room, we’re creative people and we need to absorb as much from the outside world as we possibly can. Nick told the story of the ‘Falklands Finest’ identity above, which came about after actually visiting the Falkland Islands, and the discoveries made whilst being there.

5. The importance of working environment.

Marek Reichman, the Design Director of Aston Martin mentioned how their cars are designed in conditions that reflect the environment they will be used in. Big windows and lots of natural light help them to design the cars to the highest standard. This concept can be used in graphics as well. It’s all to easy to see a design on screen and assume it will work when printed, blown up etc but the outcomes can often be very different.

6. The importance of learning about other sectors of design.

At my graduate show at the end of university, I was approached to do an MA in wearable technologies, because of some of the tactile design work I had on show. I didn’t even consider it, I knew I wouldn’t be interested. However, after hearing Asha Thompsons talk on intelligent textiles I wish I had had a proper look, as it sounds really interesting.

7. Make more notes.

I made quite a lot of notes, but not as much as I could have because I didn’t think I would need them. Now theres a number of things that I wan’t to look up, but can’t remember what they were. Damn.

8. Talk to more people.

I wanted to talk to some of the speakers afterwards but didn’t, I’m not sure why. A great opportunity missed.

9. Draw on the table.

Helen Carnac talked briefly about a family who drew on the table to remind them about past stories. (I think that’s what she said, but all I wrote in my notes about this was ‘Drawing on the table’.) This is interesting, maybe design studios should all have a table for people to write their thoughts and ideas.

10. Parking in Cardiff is expensive.

£8! Should have gone on the train.

All in all it was a good event, and was free unbelievably! Although I wouldn’t have minded paying a little bit for catering, it might have been a good way to network and get people connecting, just a thought.

It’s good to do self initiated projects for a number of reasons. It keeps you fresh and allows you to experiment, it’s fun and it can show potential clients and employers your potential. I love seeing self initiated poster projects, and theres been a lot recently with some really nice results.

The posters above are part of a huge self initiated project by Mike Joyce. The project is called Swissted, and involves the designer creating modernist posters for past punk, hardcore and indie gigs. The results are simply stunning. Check out  for the full range or to buy one.

The four posters above were designed by one of my favourite studios, Toko. I’ve featured this project before. The posters are designed as a response to the emails the studio recieves, and are each created within 15 minutes. I really love this project, check out Toko.

I also love the posters of James Joyce (above), many of which are self-initiated. He classes himself as a designer and an artist, and maybe thats why he can come up with such great ideas for work. I work as a designer, always to a brief, the stricter the better, so I find it hard working without one. I’d really like to do more self-initiated projects but it’s difficult to know where to begin. The last personal project I did was ‘the quick blind fox‘, a series of tactile posters (below). What to do next?

Quick Blind Fox