Enrich your design: leaflet printing from Solopress

29 August 2012

Kumi Yamashita's Shadow Art

Remember a short while ago we were talking about the silhouette idea with the football goal sized translucent screen of tracing paper? Well today we were introduced to a new type of shadow art using much smaller objects and different angled light sources to create something extraordinary.

Kumi Yamashita is a Glasgow school of art student who has taken the simple natural resource of light and manipulated the shadows cast using obscure and sometimes relevant objects to the subject matter. Take her piece above named Untitled (Child) as an example. Numbers are a learning process for any child, the phyiscal forms of which have perfectly combined to create the shadow of a child's face.

Other forms of her amazing work include Origami and City View both of which are displayed below. It is evident that she is a true shadow master whose simplistic object choice can create something so much more using nothing more than our natural elements.


City View

To see more of Kumi Yamashita's work visit her website kumiyamashita.com.

This article was originally found in and inspired by Esquire UK's article.

28 August 2012

Movie Day - Burn After Reading

I'm no film critic but Burn After Reading was a star-studded delight of a spy comedy. It had me bursting with laughter at every riddiculous scenario it could think of. The Cohen Brothers really managed to put something together that stretched each of the cast member's talents to its truly surreal realm. Brad Pitt of course had his signature 'I must eat in this film' move though.

The way this movie was first publicised to me left little to the imagination. Instead it left me admiring the wonderfully creative font and simplistic design of its film poster. The red background has the effect of a roller painted wall as it has squares of slightly different shades, similar to the kind you'd get when painting the outside of a plastered wall unevenly. The contrast of the clean text makes the message stand out better, ideal for a film poster.

The only spy related imagery of the poster is from the silhouette of the handgun on the left and the binocular holding person on the right. Unless you'd seen the film you wouldn't make these connections, which on review tie in with the message: "intelligence is relative". Personally, after seeing this poster I thought it was reflective of the plot for American Beauty.

I'm a big fan of simple movie posters that captivate their target audience, however, I prefer to have a little more suggestive imagery of the plot or at least the genre of the film, as binoculars and guns could be tied in with other genres e.g. action.

Overall, its font makes it an inspiring design as I'm a firm believer in keeping design simple. Where it falls down is in delivering its message clearly enough. There are lessons in typography that can be learned as the title of the movie is coloured differently from the cast, yet perfectly slotted in place with the rest of the text. Someone create an event poster may pull some inspiration from it as there are some many different messages that need to be conveyed in text with limited space at times.

I'd recommend watching this film too. Just take a look at the trailer for it below:

22 August 2012

5 Of Our Favourite Free Fonts

Fonts are one of the most attractive features of marketing that captivate the attention of consumers all over the world. Of course it is perceptual as to what attracts who, however, most of us can gauge what looks good within our community, and on a bigger scale our nationality, to gain as much positive attention as possible.

Many designers attempt to create their own fonts to maintain originality within their work, however, for those who focus more on the other design aspects and less on the font, there are a multitude of free font sites available across the web which will allow the use of them for modificiation, commercial gain, etc. This noted, we've found a few fonts across the web that we quite look the like of.

So without further ado, here's our 5 favourite free fonts!

1. Scribble Box

2.  Nova Solid

 3. A Ripping Yarn

4. Masterplan

5. Media Blackout

21 August 2012

Movie Day - Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry is another of the classic films that everyone knows because of it’s iconic scene where Clint Eastwood is looking down at the baddie and utters the memorable words “do you feel lucky punk?” This scene is very much like the image portrayed in the film poster.

What I love most about the poster is the cracked glass layover effect, which makes it look like Eastwood has shot through a panel of glass. The illustration below the coloured image has a silhouette effect similar to those found in the Reservoir Dogs art, giving a strong visual impact in addition to a snippet from the movie itself.

Overall, the movie’s great and the poster grabs your attention leaving little to the imagination as to what to expect from the film itself. If you were a fan of his previous films you would imagine it being a western film in the city. Below the poster is the classic scene I was talking about earlier.

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20 August 2012

Back from Jelly Fest

So I'm back after a much needed weekend of sun, music, and cider. Jelly festival was a big hit and I'd recommend anyone looking for a small alternative festival next year to check it out. It was a great ear opener to the many talented folk, reggae, and down right non-commercial musicians that you won't hear on the radio anytime soon but perform to impress.

The whole weekend gave me some great exposure to the country roads of Britain, which are an absolute dream to drive, and made me think of some great nature inspired photography. I've decided to find some absolute favourites that sum up my weekend to share with you so you can be inspired to jump down to your nearest camping site or festival before the sun turns its back on the UK.

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16 August 2012

Festival Posters of 2012

This weekend I will be fortunate enough to visit the Jelly Festival in Norfolk. I'm excited because there are some pretty good DJs like Alex Metric and Jakwob on the line-up so I'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting who I want to watch perform and when.

I was impressed by the quality of their poster design promoting the festival, which featured the classic circus/ fairground-style font and a host of images that reminded me of the Monty Python era. It's combination of black and white sketch with other contrastic graphic styles also grabbed my attention along with the colour choices. It was a truly unique and captivating illustration.

Following this beautiful visual experience, I started to wonder how many truly unique and creative festival posters had been created this year to promote themselves in the most interesting ways possible. So for your delight, below is a list of 2012's most creative music festival posters.

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15 August 2012

Designing to Inspire

I'm a big supporter of working for others to learn from, as well as primarily working for passion and financial gain of course. This is why I amongst many others am a big fan of the works of great magazines and websites such as Creative Bloq and Smashing Magazine. They not only provide updates on trends and innovations within the design community but they also teach the future designers of today with tutorials and free resources. The tutorials are not simply for the purpose of teaching though.

Many of the tutorials and lessons provided are a result of some really awesome design created by an inspiring artist who then picks apart their creation to provide the methods behind their madness. It might not have been the intention of that artist to inspire people with his creation. It might have been to serve a purpose e.g. creation of a new logo for a client in exchange for money. The inspiration is perceptive from the viewers of the artists' work who seek to create similar creations.

Last night I came across this fantastic piece of artwork on Adobe's blog which not only provides visual stimulus to inspire my own creations but it also gives a very in-depth tutorial for others to learn from.

It is great work such as this which makes me think should designers keep it in mind that their art could one day inspire someone to create something equal if not great to it? If that is the case should every illustration be created with equal passion to present our best work every time no matter the size of the task?

I think it is great questions such as these which should be commited to memory with every brush-stroke or mouse-click designers and artists make. It is a great feeling to know that your own creation could inspire the future Picasso. After all the notion that every original idea is simply a remix of previous ideas is one that appears evident in many current day 'invention'. The TED Talks video below by Kirby Ferguson champions this very notion. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Embrace the Remix from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

14 August 2012

Movie Day - The Dark Knight Rises

Two weeks ago I watched the outstanding Dark Knight Rises film, Christopher Nolan's final instalment of the awesome Batman trilogy. I understand that it has a completely different and darker take on The Caped Crusader compared to its previous versions; however, in my opinion this has been the greatest of all the Batman films created…ever!

The artistic creation of the film poster for this great movie managed to keep the majority of the plot on the Q.T. until its premiere. Now that I’ve seen the film it makes much more sense to me and for now I don’t want to give too much away as I know there’s still people out there who haven’t seen it. All I’ll say is that the “Rise” is quite literal and the poster reflects that particular scene.

So for your enjoyment here is one of the official Dark Knight Rises film posters, followed by the movie trailer:

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The Dark Knight Rises Movie Trailer

13 August 2012

The Controversy in Shadow Art

Over the weekend I spent some time on art and design forums to look for some general chat on the topic and I came across an artist who used light with hanging tetrahedron frames to create shadows, supposedly related to the city as they'd chosen to play a CD of city background noises with the display. The image created did look pretty cool, like a bunch of post falling in my opinion, but more than anything it got me thinking about the creation of shadows and how artistic they can be. The artist's work can be found at this art forum thread: http://www.artforums.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=1379.

The forum got me reminiscing of my final year of sixth form when I created the set design for a small theatrical production - the final year project for my drama course. We used shadows as a way to add drama to a scene, which lead to me creating a series of free-standing door frames with tracing paper trapped in the middle of them so that when light was shone from behind a frame the shadow of the person behind it would be cast, visible on the front facing side of the frame as just a shadow of a man/ woman. It worked really well and scared the audience when the real person punched through the tracing paper frame - perfect for our off the wall version of Berkoff's "The Trial".

Combining my experience with the forum artist's project I started to think of how dramatic this art form could be. Imagine a large frame filled with tracing paper in an art gallery with light shone from behind it, casting the shadow of a series of objects to visitors presented with the front facing side as they enter. Combined with the right soundtrack, a whole series of moveable or static creations could be made - similar to the shadow puppet stories or "shadow play" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_play).

I like this idea but I'm fully aware that it's been done on some level before. I've even seen it in a John Lewis advert once where they used light to present the shadow of a woman from their product range. It's still something I'd be interested in creating though.

Personally, I prefer more controversial art so if anyone has the capability to champion the idea I'm about to propose then I encourage you to do so as my current position won't allow me to. I'd like to see an artist take the tracing paper canvas shadow casting idea but also take the idea from the John Lewis advert where they used their products. Instead of using random products though I'd love to see something provocative e.g. thousands of branded chocolate bars, coke cans, and other obesity creating manufactured goods, which will form the shadow of a naked obese person. Next to it should be rolled up fashion magazines to create the shadow of an anorexic figure as a contrast, like Supersize vs Superskinny.

The audience should be allowed to look around the back of the frame to see what has formed the image they first see as just the shadows of two unhealthy figures. It's a weak and obvious example, however, I'm sure many other connections can be made such as the shadow of the breast cancer trust's logo with cigarettes being behind the 'canvas' casting the shadow.

I'm unaware as to whether these kinds of art have already been done but if they haven't then someone who likes to bring controversial issues to the surface should create it.

Let me know if you like the idea of if you know of someone who has already done it because I'm fascinated by this art form.

10 August 2012

5 Pinterest Boards of Design Inspiration

Pinterest has been a great way to create mood boards, bookmark influential designs, and create inspirational design sources for other creative minded individuals. It's easy to get lost in the plethora of beautiful stuff that it offers which is why we've chosen 5 of our favourite Pinterest boards which act as a good resource for those needing inspiration for their design projects.

Want yours included in our next inspirational Pinterest board blog article? Leave a link to it in the comments below.

  1. /paulsvo/illustration/

    This fantastic selection of illustrations by Paulsvo gives all sorts of creative ammunition to artists and designers whose weapon of choice is nothing more than a pen and some paper...maybe even a graphics tablet too.
  2. Click here for Paulsvo's Pinterest Board

  3. /butteredmuffin/inspiring-art/

    Inside of Butteredmuffin's board there is an eclectic combination of artistic styles ranging from graffiti, street art through to sculptures, etc. The main image that grabbed my attention is the one shown below.
  4. Click here for Butteredmuffin's Pinterest Board

  5. /raychap/graffiti-or-art/

    Raychap has a range of graffiti art from different street artists on his board which asks the old question Graffiti or art?
  6. Click here for Raychap's Pinterest Board

  7. /retorta/poster/

    This board is full of really cool and artistic posters of all kinds, mainly of events. Retorta's board is definitely one for designers looking to create cool posters.
  8. Click here for Retorta's Pinterest Board

  9. /peaceluvharmony/artsy-fartsy/

    Peaceluvharmony's board has got some more great examples of street art the most interesting to us is the one shown below.
  10. Click here for Peaceluvharmony's Pinterest Board

9 August 2012

The Psychology of Colour in Design Test

Colour is something we all as human beings take for granted as we are born with this fascinating privilege of colourful sight, unless if you’re born blind of course. For the majority of us, colour is a major catalyst of universal design that evokes a wide variety of emotions – although it is perceptual to each individual’s experiences in life i.e. red can be associated to passion and love for one person and mean something completely different to another individual, most likely in another part of the world.

By understanding the environment in which we intend to unleash our designs, we can spark the desired emotional response to create an affinity from consumer to creation – something that many businesses seek to create in order to maximise the sale of their products or services.

For designers in the Western world who intend to release their illustrations on their local demographic, the desire is there to always follow the curve, as businesses do, and create a red heart for example as you know that it is socially acceptable and the affinity to love is expected. But is there something more to be had from confusing the senses of your expecting audience? This is where the study of psychological response to colour can make your design become “off the wall”.

Using the example of the heart, I’ve presented a few images I’ve pulled from Flickr below which show a standard illustrative heart in different colours.

Let me know what your emotional response is to each of them in the comments below telling me which country you’re from so we can see if there’s any difference between nationalities.

 1. Green Heart

2. Red Heart

3. Wood Heart

It will be interesting to see what the results of this psychological test present. I will present an in-depth discussion on the topic following its results in a month's time. Please comment your responses to the designs presented above below.

2 August 2012

Newbie Photographer Resources and Advice

Prior to this blog I was a photographer for a small nightclub in the London area and it taught me a lot about how to use my Canon 1000D SLR in low lighting to get some really cool shots (with the aid of a flashgun of course).

As well as trial and error I searched the web for advice and tutorials on how to use my SLR camera effectively to create impressive photos that patrons of the club would want to use and share. This lead to the discovery of multiple blogs, infographics and video tutorials which I'd like to share with you awesome readers in this blog post. Just keep in mind that when I started my photography job I was a noob so some of this information might not be of interested to advanced SLR users, however, it's always good to go back to the basics every now and then.

The Photography Cheat Sheet

This is a recent infographic that I stumbled upon by Miguel Gantioqui which explains the basic settings of SLRs and the effect it will have on the image you shoot. This is a great resource for SLR owners who are deciding to use the manual settings of the camera for the first time. More experienced users will understand that it is a balance of the different functions within this infographic that contribute to the quality/ style of image you want to produce. Therefore, for the noobs out there, don't stick to just modifying one setting. Play around.


YouTube Channels for Video Tutorials

Like anyone else looking on how to do stuff, I YouTubed it. So rather than having you waste your time looking for the decent quality channels on photography I'm going to give you a quick list of the ones I'd recommend:
Short list right? If anyone has any other channels they'd recommend or individual videos they rate highly for noob SLR photographers then please add then to the comments section of this post. After all it's all about learning right?

Photography Forums

There's a lot of value to be gained from becomming a member of online communities as you can get honest feedback and advice from a broad spectrum of users, from noob to expert. There are a couple that I checked out which were pretty good reads so if you feel like it sign up to them and get asking. If not just have a read of the stuff they're talking about, you'll learn quite a bit this way.

The forums I took at look at were:
If anyone has a range of forums they checked out when they were starting out/ that they are still a member of, please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section below.

That's all for now...

I hope you've found some use in the resoureces that I've provided above. I hope new users of SLRs can learn a whole lot from this and then go on to adapt these teachings to find their own methods. Don't forget the value in post-production as photo editing software such as Photoshop can add a whole other dimension to your images. I'll discuss this in another blog article some other day. Happy learning!

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