January 5, 2010


What makes a good designer? Is it what they design, or is it how they design it? Every designers mind works in a different way; each one will see creativity in different places and be inspired by different things, noticing the little details around them that speak to them. Some go to art galleries and exhibits for inspiration. Seeing someone else’s designs has always given me perspective on my own, and while I don’t usually go to galleries, I often take out a few minutes of my time to ask my peers for their opinions and to look at some of their work. Seeing how they are doing and how they approach the same brief with a completely different concept to my own enables me to reflect on how well my work is expressing the brief. I hope to keep this perspective throughout my design career, and remember every now and then to simply take a step back from my work and ask a friend for another point of view so that I may see my designs in a different light. Looking at other sources of creative inspiration helps me to keep my work contemporary and original. Having contemporary designs is vital to having a successful career in design, clients aren’t looking for designs that appeal to audiences in the 90’s, what worked last year may not work this year. To ensure big clients, your ideas also need to be original, no one wants something that’s been done a thousand times before. People are always looking for the next big thing, with original, contemporary designs I hope to be a contender, but there are so many original ideas out there that make the industry so colorful.

Diversity is what makes the design industry so interesting for me, with everyone trying to make a name for themselves and develop their own identities. A designers identity is one of his most important assets, you must always remember who you are and what style you are currently using, if you forget your identity, what makes you so unique, then it will show in your designs and you will become uninteresting and generic. I aim to stay true to my identity and to shape and mold it by proving myself a competent and efficient designer to my ever growing and demanding audience. The audience is one of the most import things to consider when designing anything. Exactly whom you are aiming at can inspire or hinder your work depending on your outlook. I aim to seek motivation for my work from the audience, and to never forget precisely who needs whom, for without an audience I wouldn’t have a job. Wherever my life takes me throughout the design industry I hope to hold on to my principles, there are many jobs out there and choosing which one to take isn’t easy; “Should I make a poster for this cigarette company? It’s wrong but the money’s good…” What’s more important? Everyone will think differently thanks to their own principles and unique knowledge about their employer. Personally I will avoid designing for any product that I think is: harmful to the environment, potentially dangerous to humans or animals, using or associated with slavery, cruel to animals, or is discriminatory in any way. What I am prepared to do is work for a company that may have done one or more of these things in the past, as long as they no longer do them or deal with anyone who does.

Knowledge about whom you’re working for is also important; what they like and dislike, what kind of jobs they’ve done in past, what they want this piece to accomplish, the background of the subject matter, knowing these facts will equip you with the mental tools required to come up with an intelligent and original design. This journey we all take through the industry isn’t easy, things will go wrong, (especially with printers) and a designer must be patient. If you’re working within a team then patience becomes even more important, you must respect and listen to all of the other members of the group so that you can work together efficiently. Patience will also help you remember what you like about your work, when things get difficult it may become easy to forget why you started this project, but it is incredibly important to remain passionate about your work. Passion for your work will give you purpose, and it will give your work purpose, for it is purpose that defines us and our work. Graphic design is a maze, a maze with infinite entrances and exits. We all enter the maze in our own way, and come out in different places. What makes a good designer? The journey.

Take it easy

Captain out

P.S. Again those who got the Matrix reference can has cheezburger.


Top Ten art and design venues

January 4, 2010

Here are my top ten Art and Design venues.

10. The Photographer’s Gallery

Self styled as the largest public photographic gallery in London, this venue has quite a reputation for showcasing some of the best international contemporary photography.

The Photographers’ Gallery
16 – 18 Ramillies Street
London W1F 7LW

Tel: 0845 262 1618

9. National Museum Cardiff

A very well known and respected gallery that holds one of the best collections of impressionist works in Europe, as well as over 500 years worth of incredible paintings, drawings, sculpture, silver and ceramics.

National Museum Cardiff
Cathays Park, Cardiff
CF10 3NP

Tel: (029) 2039 7951

8. Tredegar House

The Gallery’s collections of paintings, watercolours, decorative ceramics, contemporary prints, and craft incorporate work by a great list of well respected artists. The gallery displays a huge collection of Welsh art that illustrates the changing landscape of South Wales.

John Frost Square
South Wales
NP20 1PA
Tel: (01633) 414701

7. Bay Art

The Bay Art gallery is a relatively new venue that aims to nurture and support contemporary works of art and design in the Cardiff area.

54B/C Bute Street

Cardiff Bay


CF10 5AF

Tel: 02920 650 016

6. Arnolfini Gallery

Hailed as one of the leading sites of contemporary art in Europe, the Arnolfini gallery exhibits not only still works but also dance, ‘live art’ and it has it’s own cinema. Like all the best galleries entry is free.

16 Narrow Quay



Tel: +44 (0)117 9172300 / 01

5. North Laine gallery

Quite a small venue it showcases mainly the work of local photographers, and holds the competition for the Brighton and Hove calendar. Another little touch that makes this gallery unique is it’s ‘peoples gallery’, where local people can put up their photos for the competitions, whether they are professional or not.

Kensington Gardens

Brighton BN1 4A

Tel: 01273 628794

4. Oriel Kooywood Gallery

Labeled as “one of Wales’ most prestigious art galleries”, it showcases paintings, sculptures, ceramics and limited edition prints from both established and up and coming Welsh artists.

8 Museum Place


CF10 3BG

Tel: (029) 2023 5093

3. Annely Juda fine art

This gallery is known for cutting-edge modern and abstract installations. Expressionism is frequently showcased, and works are typically from big-name figures like David Hockney and Anthony Caro.

4th Floor

23 Dering Street(off New Bond Street)

LondonW1s 1AW, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7629 7578

2. Tate Liverpool

One of the four art museums under the ‘Tate’ name, this one is stunning. Operating out of the very heart of Liverpool, the venue has a constantly changing list of exhibits that never cease to inspire me, not to mention the incredible historic location of the Albert Dock. It has been up and running since 1988, and I don’t see it closing anytime soon.

Albert Dock
L3 4BB
Tel:0151 702 7400

1. The Victoria and Albert museum, London

This venue is amazing, it has a seemingly never ending amount of beautiful rooms and halls filled to the brim with incredible pieces of historical artwork. Round every corner and up every tiny staircase leads you to some fascinating little display of handmade beauty. Covering a staggering 5000 years of history this venue holds pieces from all over the world, be it a tapestry from India or an authentic samurai battle dress from Japan. On top of all this history there is a changing list of new exhibits that line the great halls.

V&A South Kensington
Cromwell Road
London SW7 2RL
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Take it easy

Captain out

Top Ten Photographers

January 2, 2010

My Top Ten photographers

10.Richard Avedon

A photographer who often uses a white background so the viewer doesn’t lose focus of the subject. He traveled across the American West taking portraits against a plain white background to make a collective portrait.

9. Alexander Rodchenko

One of the first photographers to use ‘severe’ angles to create abstract images as he did not like “from the navel” photography.

8. Martin Parr

A documentary photographer who is most know for his series on British culture. In particular I like his series entitled ‘Luxury’, which documents the wealthy population in order to express his own concept of ‘Greed’.

7. Robert Capa

One of the most famous war photographers of all time. His picture; “Falling solider” of a solider being shot during the Spanish civil war (1936 to 1939) still holds controversy as to whether it was staged.

6. Louis Daguerre

Inventor of the Daguerreotype, he was a pioneer of early photography creating some landmark images that are truly inspirational. This one was taken with an 8 hour exposure!

5. Wiliam Eggleston

One of the first photographers to fully embrace color photography, he never really explains what his photographs are about, leaving the interpretation up to the viewer.

4. Henri Cartier Bresson

Bresson was a photographer who hated having his picture taken, despite his fame he valued his privacy. He never used a flash when taking his pictures as he thought that it was “impolite, like coming to a concert with a pistol in your hand.”.

3. Annie Leibovitz

Starting off as a photographer for Rolling Stone magazine, she has taken some fantastic shots of all kinds of musicians and celebrities.

2. David Hockney

Famous for his unique composite photos where he uses multiple polaroids to create one single image. These images have a very surreal feel to them.

1. Ansel Adams

A landscape photographer who is renowned for his high-contrast monochrome images of American national parks, in particular Yosemite National Park.

Take it easy

Captain out

Top Ten Architects

January 2, 2010

My Top Ten list of Architects.

10. Konstantin Melnikov

A great Architect, Konstantin was a highly respected avant-garde artist who created utterly different work to that of his peers. Refusing to conform to ‘Stalinist architecture’ he retired from the industry standing firmly by his principles.

9. Jørn Utzon

Most famous for his radical design for the Sydney opera house, he uses quite ordinary shapes in innovative and amazing combination to create some really inspiring designs.

8. Hablinski + Manion

The buildings these architects create are magnificent, they remind me of old English mansions and really radiate class from every arch to every room.

7. Shubin+Donaldson

This is a partnership that has a real belief in the use of cubes. Their style relies so heavily on cubes that they have become experts on the use of them, using this simple shape in ways that I couldn’t have imagined.

6. Marc Appleton

I would love to own an Appleton building, in my opinion they are the very definition of luxury. Built in picturesque locations on the outside they have a very traditionl Spanish feel to them but inside they have a unique combination of tradition and modern thinking.

5. Santiago Calatrava

Named one of the best architects in the world, Calatrava is a Spanish designer who has buildings all around the world. I personally really like his work with spirals, the look is so out of place next to the ‘normal’ buildings it really is refreshing.

4. Kazuyo Sejima

A student of Toyo Ito her designs often utilize clean, white square cubes. This gives her buildings a very unique style, her use of white on the surfaces gives her buildings a very hygienic feel.

3. Toyo Ito

His work looks very clean and fresh, I love his idea that architecture is ‘clothing’ for urban dwellers, I think that this says a lot about his work ethics.

2. Frank Gehry

His crazy designs are so different and bold, seeing one of his buildings is a real experience.

1. Zaha Hadid

I find her use of smooth curves fantastic, I think that her designs are truly futuristic and the way that the building flows from one section to the next seamlessly is quite beautiful.

Take it easy

Captain Out