Posts in DESIGN
The Design Process

I have been thinking a bit recently about how I can do posts on this blog that are more helpful to people and inspiring and that actually help people learn. I guess design is what I know most about so maybe I will start a series about design with advice and tips etc. Today I want to share something with you that I remember being taught at University while studying graphic design and it was something that was really drilled into us regularly > the design process. 

At uni we had to show really clear evidence of each stage in all of our projects. I think now I use it slightly differently as I don't necessarily have that intense accountability (and assessment!) over my process and I probably spend different amounts of time on the various sections than I used to.

I still think it is a really great way to structure the way you work if you are a designer (and to make sure you don't miss out any of the important stages) and so I thought it would be worth sharing here for a reminder to myself as much as anything. I think this process isn't really limited to graphic designers either and would be useful to people working in any creative role. I hope you find it helpful! 

Identifying needs
This is the bit where you really get into the nitty gritty of what is needed for a project. In a commercial project this is where you work out exactly what the client wants and needs. Sometimes what the client wants and what they need can be quite different. It can be your job to be an investigator to get to the bottom of it all. You need to ask the right questions, give your opinion and use your expertise and then come to a decision with the client about what the brief should be. Some people have a questionnaire that they get clients to fill in to help them think about all the various aspects of the job they are commissioning. This can be a great idea and save you work later on if everything is clear from the beginning, sometimes though I am not sure a 'fit all' questionnaire will do the trick and a bit more hand holding on your part is needed. 

Information gathering
This is the time to get busy researching. To start off with you will need to find out and learn as much as possible about your client and the industry that they are in. Depending on what that is you will probably need to find out who their competitors are and what they are doing. The internet seriously makes doing research so easy and it is usually pretty easy to find out what other companies are up to when it comes to their design and campaigns. 

Analysis
This is the point where you take stock of everything you have found so far. You can start refining your brief. Often clients will want to do something similar to their competitors and stay safe but sometimes it is your job to push them and challenge them and encourage them to break out of the mould and do something new and fresh that will stand out from the pack. This is usually a scary prospect for a client so it is great to really develop their trust in you as the whole process goes on. 

Idea generation
This is the time to just let loose and come up with loads of ideas. At the beginning of this phase I just like to get down as many ideas as possible however crazy and unlikely they may seem. Part of being a creative is making connections and so often ideas can spark other ideas. After I have got everything down and out of my head and pushed it as far as I feel I can, it is good to take a break and come back to it again a day or so later. I think people (and me too) don't often totally realise the value of letting a problem percolate in your brain. It sort of hangs out there in the back of your mind while you do other things and often new ideas and connections hit you when you least expect it. When I am working on ideas for a client I usually want to present them with a few different routes to get their feedback on the initial ideas stage. The number can vary from client to client and project to project but I would say about 3 or 4 initial ideas are a good place to start. These don't have to be final designs, just enough for the client to get a good feel for what you are proposing. Getting feedback from these initial concepts can really help your client and you understand better what they like/don't like and what they are looking for. 

Design Proposal
This is where you refine your ideas and narrow down your final designs. This will often involve a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between you and the clients and it might involve quite a few iterations before the design can be finalised. It is quite likely that you and your client will have different opinions about elements of the design and it is helpful to think through which things you think are important to fight for and which are not. It is good to remember that you are the professional and the expert and you do have expertise to bring to the table that can help your client get the best solution possible. If you are fighting for some part of your design it is good to be respectful and explain your thoughts with good reasons that are backed up with research and your experience. Clients will often really respect that and take on board what you have to offer. I think sometimes as designers it is easy to give up and just make every change and suggestion that the client gives but this can sometimes be a bit soul destroying especially if you feel like it really detracts from the integrity of the design.
 

Evaluation
Now it is time to look back on all the work you have done and evaluate whether it has been successful. Have you achieved what you set out to? Did you fulfil all the 'needs' that were identified in the first stage? The evaluation can look different depending on the client and the project, but maybe you were creating a campaign to encourage more sign ups to a newsletter - in that instance the evaluation could take place over a period of time and would be assessed on how much sign up numbers increase. Maybe you created an infographic to help people understand some statistics better. In this situation it might be possible to ask for feedback from the audience. Either way it is good not to just walk away from a project and wash your hands of it immediately after it is delivered. Find out how things are working, learn from things that could be done better in the future, the evaluation stage is a great place to make sure you are gaining experience and learning lessons that will make you a better designer in the future. 

I think often as a designer client work can be frustrating because you don't have the freedom to just design everything exactly how you would like and you have to take into consideration the clients opinions and ideas. Though I think when the design/client relationship works really well, the working together and compromising element of the process can often create even better results than you could have created working all by yourself. I think when that happens I know that this is definitely a client that I could work with again. 

Anyway I hope reading through this process has been helpful and even if you are not a graphic designer actually thinking through these steps can be helpful whatever creative problem you are tackling. It is all problem solving after all. I would love to know if you found this post useful and if you would like me to do more design related/educational style posts. 

Happy Tuesday!

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

Maps of New York

Do you like maps? I am a bit of a fan of a good map. I have had these Herb Lester maps for a while now and I am so excited that now I am going to actually be able to use them when we go to New York in June. I really love these maps from Herb Lester. I have quite a few for London too and one for Paris. They are small and pocket size and have lots of interesting suggestions of places to go. There is just something so satisfying about a beautifully created and illustrated map - it is such an incredible skill, because let me tell you I have dabbled in map making and its not easy. There are so many things to consider! Not only do you want them to look good but they need to be accurate, and easy to read and there is so much information to fit in!

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I was really excited when I found the map below at Papersmiths in Clifton at the weekend. It is a map of lots of great burger places in NYC - ha that is totally something I can get on board with. I will be taking this one too. This is created by a company called 'All you can eat press' - they have a few different maps for NY including all you can eat doughnuts! 

Ages ago I had a dream about trying all of the restaurants in my local area and making a little local map like this and designing it all and including reviews and things. It could get pretty expensive and take so long but maybe one day I will do it...I would definitely like to practise my map making skills anyway!

Hope you enjoyed a little glimpse at these map beauties! Happy Friday, hope you all have a great weekend whatever you are up to!

Find me on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy

The studio book of alphabets

The in-house studio that I work in has been going for a really long time and it originally started as a cartographic unit in the geography department. As a result when we are having a bit of a clear out in the studio we often stumble across lots of lovely old school treats. I have found so many lovely maps over the years, some of which I have kept to put up on my walls and some of which I've made into envelopes in my shop

Anyway we were recently having a sort out and I stumbled across this lovely little book called 'The studio book of alphabets' - and being a design geek and a lover of typography I was pretty excited about it. It was first published in 1953 and the aim of the book (as stated in the introduction) was to 'provide a useful collection of well-designed alphabets, each in its entirety.' 

I took a few photos of the book and included some of the beautiful and lovely typefaces that are my favourites. I am going to treasure this book...such a lovely little find. 

Happy Friday type nerds! 

Esme Winter

So you know good stationery makes me drool. I love it. A beautiful notebook are what my dreams are made of - combine that with beautiful patterns - DREAM TEAM. So I was pretty ecstatic when I discovered the work of Esme Winter. She works alongside Richard Sanderson to 'produce items that reflect the innate worth of the hand-binding, weaving and finishing practiced by their trusted, generations-old makers.' I love the simplicity of the photography she uses on her site and the intricate geometric patterns. To see more visit her beautiful shop and find out more about the process. Oh and also if you are into instagram follow here. Even more stationery goodness to feast your little eyes on.

Medium
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Last week I discovered Medium...and what a find. There is so much inspiration there. (I think I am pretty late to the game here as usual! whoops)

The blurb on the website describes it as this:

Medium is a new place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends. It’s designed for little stories that make your day better and manifestos that change the world. It’s used by everyone from professional journalists to amateur cooks. It’s simple, beautiful, collaborative, and it helps you find the right audience for whatever you have to say.

I have read a few articles over the past week and here are some of the ones I particularly loved and was inspired by:

The Design Process: A pyramid

10 Ways to share your creativity and get discovered.  (this is a shortened down version of Austin Kleon's book that I mentioned earlier this week. I would totally recommend getting it)

Blogging vs Building

Entrepreneur = Artist

I would recommend getting lost in this space and discovering lots of interesting thoughts and ideas from people all over the world. The website is really clean and simple and utilises big full bleed images. I want to become a better story teller and maybe this would be a place to start experimenting. It seems like a great community.

Judging book by their covers
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So the old saying goes, 'don't judge a book by its cover' - and you know...I get it, but I am a graphic designer so I have to confess I totally do. I think books is where I so regularly see the power of good design. It affects which books I pick up and peruse at the book shop for sure. Maybe I am missing out on some great novels (and in the past I have refused to buy books that were probably very good but their covers were so ugly) but recently I have been seeing some really beautiful covers. Some of them are almost like works of art. Here are a few of my favourites I have spotted recently on good old pinterest and would love to have lying around my house. I will definitely be adding some of these to my reading list for holidays.

1. See this one is so good it actually makes me want to find out more about physics and see what is inside. Ha that proves that design can be really powerful!

2. Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov - I really love the illustrations on this cover...and a little searching on Amazon reveals a whole series of penguin classics by this author with beautiful illustrated covers.

3. Excellent hand painted type and I really like how the bar code has been incorporated into the design. I want to add this to my book shelves for sure. (also in colour on Amazon)

4. Ha I have never had the guts to really tackle Ulysses by James Joyce, (something about no punctuation) but apparently it is one of the most important works of modernist literature so maybe I should give it a chance. I really love the colour palette used for this cover. The cover was design by Fuchsia Macaree who has lots of lovely work on her site.

5. Just read the blurb about this book and it sounds interesting...one to add to the summer reading list I think and the cover totally drew me in.

6. Sadly can't work out where this cover has come from...it is not the cover that is on amazon...but I love it. If anybody knows let me know and I will add a credit.

7. Love the type and image combination on this book and the penguin logo peeping over the mountain is a nice touch. I think this penguin classic could also be worth a read by a pool in the summer. adding it to the reading list.

8. So many of these book covers are not the ones they are published with...but illustrators/designers have re-done the covers and this one is a beauty. After rummaging around I discovered it was by Paige Vickers and then got to enjoy exploring her other work on her site. I love the internet and finding new inspiration and talent.

9. This cover was designed by Elena Giavaldi, and is actually one of the rejects. I like the fun an playful nature of this cover. You can see the chosen one and other rejects here. Lots of other beautiful work her on her site too.

10. This book totally grabbed my eye and after investigating I actually bought it for my brother for christmas. I think I need to get myself a copy though as it sounds so interesting. It is an honest memoir of the realities of being a humanitarian aid worker.

11. The trees on this book are beautiful. I think not including any text on the cover is actually a really clever idea and it really does make you want to pick it up and find out more. It was designed by Laura Carlin for the Folio Society.

12.  Jane Eyre - I loved this book when I read it at school. There is something appropriately eery and hidden about this cover. I think it represents the novel really well and looks beautiful and intriguing. As far as I can work out it was designed by Sergio Serrano

Jessica Hische / Skillshare
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Have you heard of Skillshare? If not you should have. It is a place where you can take classes in a whole range of topics online. I love learning and being able to sign up for a class and have access to the content and materials so that you can do it in your own time and at your own pace really appeals to me. I have been a fan of Jessica Hische for a while and she has recently done a Skillshare class based on her Drop Cap covers for Penguin. Look how incredible they all look together below. I own two of these stunning books but imagine owning the whole set. Anyway the project for the class is to do your own drop cap cover based on a book of your choice. I have chosen to do The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis which is one of my all time favourites, but I haven't read it for years. I am currently re-reading it and making notes and I will let you know how I get on, and will hopefully be able to post up here my final book cover when I finish the class. To see more of Jessica's beautiful work check out her website. Also this class is awesome so far. I really couldn't recommend it enough. (Also they have just advertised a book cover design course with Chip Kidd - wow, my wishlist on Skillshare is growing pretty long!)

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The Personal Project
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dana

I love personal projects and I love seeing the personal projects that designers and makers choose to do. It seems to be a really important thing for creatives. An opportunity to totally let themselves go and create something that is not in anyway influenced by a client. I was really inspired by this personal project by Dana Tanamachi in collaboration with Andrew Ryan Shepherd this week. And Dana's other typography work is just amazing too. You should take some time to explore her website.

Some other personal projects that I have enjoyed checking out in the past are the hand written letter project by Craig Oldham and The daily drop cap project by Jessica Hische (also listen to one of her talks where she talks about procrastiworking and her side projects - it is so spot on! and see all her side projects here).

It feels so good to get inspired. The internet can really be an awesome place.

Happy Friday Folks!

Mike Monteiro - How Designers Destroyed the World

Webstock '13: Mike Monteiro - How Designers Destroyed the World from Webstock on Vimeo.

I listened to this talk by Mike Monteiro yesterday on my lunch hour and it was kind of a bit of a wake up call. It was a good telling off to designers basically. I think I have felt a bit a stale and dare I say uninspired in the my design life the last few months - but this talk has reminded me what it is all about it. Its about creating something of value, something that enriches and benefits society. Something that solves a problem...but not just any old problem...problems that need solving and are good problems to solve. I would really really recommending giving this talk a listen...what ever job you do but especially if you are involved in any form of design or creating. Be warned though there is a lot of swearing.

Some of the quotes that really struck me while listening were:

"Creation without responsibility breeds distraction"

"You are responsible for the work that you put into the world, and you are responsible for the effect that work has upon the world."

"As a designer you have a responsibility to your craft."

"Destroy your apathy"

"If you don't care about what you are designing then STOP"

You will notice a common theme there is responsibility. I need to take responsibility for what I create and what I put into the world. Anyway there is a lot to think about and mull over. I think I might go and find his talk on creative mornings and give that a listen.

If anyone else listens to this talk would love to hear your thoughts!

Sawdust
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Sawdust is the creative partnership of Rob Gonzalez and Jonathan Quainton and they are based in London. They have some really beautiful work in their portfolio but one of the things that really grabbed me was the Shanghai Ranking Numerals that they have created. I love how natural and flowing it looks. Its like they used washi tape to create these numbers. They are really beautiful and look great in the book that they created for Shanghai Ranking. For more inspiration go and check out their lovely website. (There is lots of beautiful typography if you are into that sort of thing!)

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Creative Mornings
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Have you heard of Creative Mornings? If not you need to. They have just created a beautiful new website. (seriously hot stuff!) It is a breakfast lecture series for creative people and is happening in 57 cities around the world. Now I haven't actually made it to one of the London creative mornings yet, but boy have I been making the most of the website. All of the talks from all of the cities are filmed and put up on the website and each month there is a different theme. I am slowly working my way through them and they are so inspiring. I have gotten into the habit of maybe once a week watching a talk while I eat lunch at my desk. I have discovered some incredible creative people, seen some wonderful work and been made to think. Today I watched a talk by Mig Reyes and it was frankly brilliant. I have been reminded that ugly is part of the process and maybe beautiful isn't always the point. I think we do all get a bit fixated on making everything beautiful all the time. I guess as designers that is what we are taught to do, but actual Mig is right. Ugly is part of the process and so is breaking things and making mistakes, I am going to try and be less ashamed in future of the ugly things that I create, because to be honest its all part of learning and becoming a better designer.

CreativeMornings with Mig Reyes from CreativeMornings/Chicago on Vimeo.

A few of my other faves have been:

Jessica Hisch

Lisa Congdon

Nick Cambell

Happy Friday! Hope you all get inspired over the weekend! Will be posting another interview next week which I am excited about...keep an eye out!

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication
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I think sometimes I forget how good simple is. especially in design. Sometimes all you need is one colour (or even just black and white) and a classic and beautiful typeface. Some people totally nail simple and sophisticated design and one of those people is Amanda Jane Jones who designs Kinfolk magazine. I love reading these magazines - such an inspiration.

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images taken from the Kinfolk Website

Found Font Friday - Entrance
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Really love this hand painted sign - and the arrow. I spotted this somewhere around Borough Market. can't remember exactly where. oops. This weekend is going to involve folding things and doing wedding arty crafty bits with NM. I can't wait. (can't believe it is only 5 weeks away!!ARRGHH!) Hope you all have great weekends whatever you are up to! x

Found Font Friday - To The Trains
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This weeks Found Font Friday comes courtesy of the London Underground. Hmm I have possibly forgotten which station it was at...but I am going to guess Baker Street. (Feel free to correct me if you recognise it.) Anyway I love it. Details like this around and about London are beautiful and just add to the history and richness of this wonderful city. Hope you all have lovely weekends whatever you are up to! x

Found Font Friday
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Ok so to try and get me to open my eyes and look at what is going on around me I am going to do a little series on the blog called 'Found Font Friday' - where basically I just post a pic of some cool type that I have found going about my days in London. This first one is up in shoreditch and is massive, as shown by a tiny me in the picture. photography by NM. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Down Below
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I miss University. Well not everything about it, but I miss having time to experiment. To create work and it not have to be used, it not have to be for a client. I guess I miss the space to make mistakes. These days time is money, but in those days, I could spend hours trying something and if it didn't work out that was OK, as long as I learn't. I want to try and have the courage to experiment more, to try and factor in time to my life for that. These are some photos that I took when helping Chloe out on one of her projects. We got some underwater cameras and went down to a local pool and just messed around trying things out. I found them the other day having not seen them for ages and I love them. Especially the one below. I love the light spot and the slightly grainy feel of it all. I might see if I can use them in some current designs. Maybe one of the quote posters.

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PS - hanging out with old friends is the best. love you chloebags x

All images © Liz Mosley, 2013 - do not reproduce without permission or without crediting and linking back to this post. Thanks!

Sometimes Love isn't Firecrackers
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Last week we sent out our wedding invites. I was so nervous about them and was feeling the pressure but I am really happy with how they turned out (will post pics at some point). On the back we had this quote by Janette Oke. I really love it. I think it means a lot to me because it pretty much sums up how our relationship started. I was so unsure about NM at the beginning, in fact for a long time, but I took a risk (and he took an even bigger one!) and I am so so happy that I did. love doesn't always have to be like it tells you it should be in the films. I like the way our love grew. I hope it is going to stand us in good stead for it lasting a long long time.

Anyway I thought this quote would make a great poster for the weekly project.

This design is © Liz Mosley (2013) please do not reproduce without permission or without crediting me and linking back to this post. Thanks!

Letterpress - The Final Week!

Ahhhh I am so sad that the letterpress course is over. It has been such a good 6 weeks. 3 hours a week in the basement studio playing with type has been such a lovely and peaceful escape from the everyday business of my life right now. So for my last session I became a bit of a machine and printed loads of Christmas cards. I am really chuffed with how they came out. Usually I am not a fan of sending Christmas cards but this year I am really excited about it. I can't tell you how satisfying it is when you pull the roller across and you don't know how the print is going to come out (trust me there was a lot of variety!) and the ace feeling when it looks really good. I think the thing I have learn't most about this process is that in a discipline like this, where you are working with your hands -  things just often don't work out how you expect, but that has been amazing. The chance to play and it be ok if you make mistake...but also the happy accidents. That is something that I don't really get to do much even though my job is creative, because there are always really tight deadlines. The other things I played around with was thermography powder. You put it on wet ink, blow it with a hot air gun and it raises and goes all glossy. It turned out really cool. Anyway if after all my wittering about letterpress you fancy doing a course I couldn't recommend it enough. Check out St Brides Foundation for more info. (sorry the photos are not great quality. was quickly snapping on my phone while I was covered in ink...I even got in on my face. classic)