Category Archives: Fun Fun Fun

Cheap Pop Song

I have no idea what the lyrics to this song are so I hope they are okay! I had to post it because the Elmo finger at 0:50 seconds is simply wonderful. It was made by Rhett Dashwood, a graphic designer who is currently the Director of Wade Studios in Melbourne, Australia. His personal online portfolio has a really clean look and his work is very sharp – particularly his show-reel for Wade.


Good Branding > Funny Signs

I was at a farm shop one day over the summer for lunch; I really liked how they had branded the entire the shop in a fun way, by taking the farm aspect to excess. So much so that it even continues to the toilets as you can see below! I remember I took these photo’s just because I thought the signs were funny. They are actually relevant to my current advertising and branding module however.

They how the little details can contribute to your overall personality. Whilst the farmshop that was very serious about fresh, free-range produce they were not serious and dull about their communication of it – they were playful and astute. It was clear they were professional but they could have a fun too.

The photograph below was taken in Bowness when I was down at the Lake Distritct. I remember thinking how it had a much nicer tone that the usual “NO FOOD OR DRINK”.

You can almost imagine the disaster in your head – it’s visual. You feel sorry for them because something bad actually happened – it’s a precaution that’s based on experience (not just a speculative one). The “please, please” sounds like they are begging you, but in an exaggerated way where it sounds childish; making it amusing. This sign gives the shop a “voice” which speaks to the customer before they have even came inside. It’s a nice voice speaking a serious message but in a good attitude. I think it’s a small but good example of branding.

Home-made Sketchbook


I made this sketchbook over the summer with some leftover paper I had kicking about. The stitching style is “coptic stitch” – I had to learn it for one of my book projects whilst I was at college. There are loads of tutorials on youtube for it but you can go to places like Owl and Lion who do bookbinding workshops. I went to one over the summer holidays and it was quite good although there are still some parts I struggle with – just practice needed I guess!

If you are a Dundee University student you can go to a free bookbinding class on Thursday in the Union (Carnegie Suite) at 7pm. It is being run by the Dundee University Arts Society who run lots of different events like this every year. It sounds really good and I am very disappointed that I cannot make it. You can follow the society on Facebook and Twitter.

The Price Of Design

In a recent lecture my tutor talked about the amount of time we spent on our projects and how we can relate them to the ‘real world’. Keeping a project time sheet is one way of doing this as it lets you see how much time you spent working on it. This was a practice that I was encouraged to pick up in college (I went to the Glasgow Metropolitan College before coming to DJCAD). My tutor there told us to note down what time we started working, to the minute, and what time we finished. If we stopped for a break or to chat to someone we had to deduct it from our hours. Keeping track of my time like this soon made me realize just how much time sauntering off for a coffee took… It also encouraged me to work more because I wanted to earn more. Our tutor told us that we were on an imaginary £50 an hour so I often found myself working half of my lunch break to earn another £25!

The novelty of the imaginary wages barely lasted a full project but the practice of the time sheet has stayed with me. I often keep two pages free in my sketchbooks to note down the time I spend working on the project. I also briefly write down what I was doing as well, eg. research, computer. I will admit however that they often flag towards the end and the last few days very rarely get recorded. I am going to put a big sign above my desk though when I get back up to Dundee.  I did this when I was doing my Graded Unit at college because it was part of the brief that we had an accurate time sheet.

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In fact, using my completely complete, accurate Graded Unit time sheet I am going to calculate how much the project would have cost. My tutor at DJCAD gave us a guide for doing this so I’m going to test it out:

  1. Okay so I would like to earn say, £25,000 (the average graduate starting salary)

  2. Divided by 1000, this is £25 so that’s my hourly rate.

  3. From Wednesday the 31st March 2010 to Thursday 29th April 2010 I spent 162 hours (and five minutes but i’ll let that go) on the project. Multiplied by £25 this is £4050.00

  4. I would have had to rent a studio so that would have roughly cost £300 for that month plus say another £100 for bills. I remember spending a fortune on my graded unit materials for things like paper, mounting board, printing, getting my book made so I am going to put £200 for materials as well.

  5. I am not too sure about calculating depreciation but say my laptop, printer, camera and adobe software all came to £3200. They have a life span of say three years so I divide that by 900. So depreciation works out at £3.50 per day.

  6. So £4050 + £600.00 + (£3.50 × 30) £105 = £4755.00

  7. Added to this is 12% for my pension and 20% for insurance and other payments (as I am working freelance) So: £4755.00 + £570.60 + £951.00 = £6276.60

Wow. Firstly I cannot believe how much time I spent on the project! It was a thirty day project so multiplied by twelve this is three hundred and sixty. I spent one hundred and sixty two hours working on it which is forty five percent of my time. At the time, I felt as though my graded unit had taken over my life but that doesn’t actually seem like that much time? Although, I did have two part time weekend jobs so maybe it was!

What surprises me more however is that, multiplying this month long project by eleven (say I had a month’s holidays a year) it comes to £50,105. I only earn £25,000 of this which means that running costs equal the full salary of a freelancer! In fact, I’m forgetting that the running costs would still apply for the twelfth month! This is all of course just speculation but it gives me some idea of the actual cost of design. (I wonder how long I can stay at university?)

Summer Reading

During second year at DJCAD I have read books such as ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcom Gladwell, ‘The Mindmap Book’ by Tony Buzan and ‘Snoop’ by Sam Gosling. These books reminded me how much I love reading and have shown me that I can review and relate them to my design studies. So, with nearly four months of summer holidays coming up I have compiled my own reading list (to keep me on track).

Blink by Malcom Gladwell

I often found myself absorbed in The Tipping Point and this was partly due to Gladwell’s writing style. The way in which he talks/writes about his research encourages me to communicate my own fieldwork better. His second book, Blink, talks about rapid cognition (e.g intuition, the snap judgements we make, first impressions…) Gaining an understanding about this will not only be interesting it will be something to consider in my Graphic Design work. As I mentioned in my research proposal, it would also help me, should I chose, to further my interest in the research area of groups vs individuals.

In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World by John Thackara

I was greatly inspired by Lauren Currie, a service designer who gave us a lecture this year. She recommended this book to us, saying that it had greatly inspired her and was a must-read. From the summary it seems to be about the need for technology and how we should consider the impact that it has – basically do we need it? It suggests we focus on people and the services we provide for them. I am really interested in Service Design so hopefully this book will help me explore this exciting new design world.

Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynee Truss

Writing this blog has got me writing more than I ever did but it has also opened my eyes to punctuation. I often find myself flicking through my Higher English Grade Booster by David Cockburn to check whether I should ‘dash it or bracket it’ – I do like my brackets. This book, recommended by my lecturer, talks about the importance of punctuation and how you should “give careful consideration to the meaning of what you are saying”. I have noticed that Graphic Designers often use punctuation to communicate a message – sometimes as a pun. This can be really funny and effective. This book should therefore not only help me with my blog writing but with my communication design as well. It sounds like one of those books I will keep going back to (alongside my ‘Grade Booster’).

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

This book was recommend to me on my first week at DJCAD by my course tutor. She asked us all what kind of designer we wanted to be (I wrote down ‘good…’) This book is about how as a designer or businessperson we should be remarkable. I remember doing the “five P’s” in Business Management (I was always really good at remembering four of them). This book introduces the idea of a sixth P: “Purple Cow” – I cannot wait to find out what this is and how it will help me be ‘remarkable’.

Do Good Design: How Design Can Change Our World: How Visual Communicators Can Save The World by David Berman

For my recent Oxfam project we were told to read chapter one of Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. I was delayed on a train for four hours so ended up reading much more! It did make me think but I just couldn’t get into it. I will come back to it as I hate having unread books on my shelf. This book though, ‘Do Good Design’, was also recommended to us for the project so I borrowed it from the library. I hadn’t even finished the first chapter however before someone had requested it. What I had read though got me intrigued and I felt I could relate to it more so I am going to buy it and continue from where I left off.

The Back Of The Napkin by Dan Roam

As you might know, I am a huge fan of the Service Design Tools website and many of the tools involve sketching. This book basically talks about the power of simple drawings and how important they are for visual thinking. This will hopefully help me not only with my sketchbooks but with my communication skills. It also looks like a really fun read!

Homemade Pinhole Cameras

One of my latest projects this semester is to make a pinhole camera and develop the shots myself in the lovely ‘dungeonous’ darkrooms of DJCAD. Here are some shots of me making the cameras (one started life as my breakfast cereal box and the other was the shoe box for my walking boots)

I painted the inside black and let it dry overnight, this combined with cardboard and gaffer tape will hopefully keep all UNWANTED LIGHT OUT!! (the photographic paper which goes inside cannot be exposed to any other light apart from the light let in when taking the picture)

It’s this little metal thing here (made by for us by the jewellery department) that will be kept covered with insulation tape until I am ready to take my picture. Once I’ve taken my picture I will quickly cover it up again! I only had one of these so I cut up a coke can and stuck a pin in it – equally as good apparently!

Taadaa! The finished pinhole cameras. I will load them with the photographic paper in a darkroom on Monday.

Whilst I was doing some sketchbook research on David Octavius Hill I found out that he had a particular interest in railways. I suddenly remembered the Robert Louis Stevenson poem about being on a train!! I love when you get a brainwave like this, Stevenson was of course Scottish so it’s perfect on two levels! Our postcards have to ideally feature Scotland and can also include complimentary text (something I really wanted to do). I am going to focus on Scottish railways, particularly the Tay Rail Bridge. I might also branch out and feature other elements of the poems narrative such a ‘river’ and even a ‘child’.