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Tag Archive: Design


February 1, 2017

BOOKMARKS. I have bookmarks.



So I was getting some merch made up, mostly postcards and stickers to give away and I wanted to do something else as well. It was going to be badges but NO, BADGES CAN SHUT UP (for now), also there may be a bit of self interest as I am reading far too many books at the same time and keep having to use old envelopes and receipts as bookmarks, which frankly doesn’t work properly.

THESE are properly engineered, stress tested, measured to within 0.002 of a millimeter* and they smell nice**

I have failed to include a photo of a book for scale because I am terribly unprofessional (and it’s late), but I assure you, they are a great size for books, as they are actually bookmarks.

Picture of a flamingo shouting at a penguin on one side and a silhouette composition of starlings taking off on the other. I’m REALLY happy with how the starlings came out, it’s the first time I’ve seen one of my silhouette designs printed and it came out far better than expected.

Anyway, I’ll be giving them away with any orders from the Etsy store and as gifts with other things I will be working on shortly.

I am considering selling them as well. What do you think? Do people actually buy bookmarks? Would they have to be in packs of 5 or similar? Should I do more designs to do a nice pick and mix set?

* these are lies
** this is not a lie but it is subjective

Tile Design

November 30, 2013

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Trying to find time to get some more illustration practice in. Here’s a tile design I knocked up last night.

Sorting out my assets

January 21, 2012

As part of my attempt to discover a more pleasant manner of making a living I’ve started trawling through all the design assets I’ve created over the last 15 years, and there’s tons of the stuff.

I’d assumed I’d be able to dig out a handful of textures, patterns and shapes that I may be able to re-use or package up in some manner, I didn’t expect there to be quite so much. It’s all in a terrible mess. I have an awful habit of creating a pattern or template for one job and leaving it in that job’s folder so I’ll never find it again if I need it elsewhere. A couple of times in the past I’ve started trying to categorize items without much success. This time round I’ve created a categorized Dropbox folder to keep everything in (yes, it will be backed up somewhere non-cloud based).

I need to get into the habit of adding any re-usable asset to the library as soon as I’ve created it (rather than assume I’ll get round to it later). The big challenge is going to be going through the 50 Gig of designs I already have and extracting anything of value. To compound the lack of organisation many of the assets only exist within the designs themselves.

It’s quite nostalgic going through old work, especially the bits related to the record label, hopefully I’ll find something of use!


September 9, 2010

Look, we made a baby.

AlexanderHello! I am Alexander Matthew Barker, I am in charge now.

Thank you to everyone for your kind wishes, especially to Damon for this hugely appropriate message:

You’ve done well and I like your baby. But could you just make a few changes? The baby’s head needs to be made a bit bigger and rotated approximately 73 degrees counter-clockwise. I’m also concerned that my clients won’t know how to understand a baby with two arms. Give it eight arms. The smile isn’t right either. And with the nose, I found this awesome flashing clown’s nose on another person’s baby. Use one of those instead. Also, My daughter is an expert on babies and she thinks you should have given the baby more ‘pizazz’ – so do that too. And get these changes back to me by this afternoon please.


Grumpy Developers (it’s all just work isn’t it?)

April 25, 2010

I’ve always assumed I’m the most difficult, argumentative developer/designer in the country. Apparently not, there are far worse and they’re everywhere. A couple of longstanding clients have recently commented on how comparatively easy I am to work with, specifically my degree of tact when dealing with difficult projects. I am not being ironic.

I bitch and moan constantly about some of the work I have to do, friends, relatives and the less knowledgeable project managers look at me like I’m mental and trot out the traditional line “well, it’s all paid work isn’t it?”. Here’s the problem, it’s not about whether it’s paid work or not. Anyone who has entered a creative industry through choice generally has an expectation of the quality of work they will be doing, an expectation of job satisfaction. Sounds pompous, probably is, but that’s the reality. Often I can deal with crappy deadlines and budgets better than bad design and implementation decisions, I don’t expect to have much say on budget or timeline (for agency run jobs), but I’d like to at least have my opinion heard when a client makes a stupid decision which may damage the final quality or outcome of a project.

From a personal perspective, here’s why your developer/designer may be getting the arse with you for what you perceive to be completely reasonable requests:

The constant redo
Asking them to redo the same piece of work over and again because the client can’t quite decide if it should have the blue border or the green border? The repetition can make me very stabby indeed. There’s the next part of the project to move onto and I’ve just wasted a day shifting the same pixels back and forth (or worse a week), and really I already know which is the best decision and have probably yelled it down the phone a couple of times.

The Neverending Project
Mmmm… scope creep the bane of my existence.  Several things here, firstly project fatigue, after a while of staring at the same project you just can’t face it any longer, you need to switch to something else for a while. Adding just another page/button/function may seem trivial but even that ten minute task can make you lose the will to live. Secondly, on a more pragmatic level we’ve probably got something else lined up to be getting on with and if the scope creep has pushed us past deadline there’s someone else on our case about starting their project. Finally, and most importantly, an awful lot of scope creep includes totally unnecessary and pointless additions which I feel (sometimes incorrectly) will have a negative impact on the final outcome, I don’t want to release something crappy and bloated if it can be avoided.

You’re wrong, wrong wrong
Faced with a decision that’s clearly bollocks by a client or project manager I have two options. I can shut up, carry out the bad instruction and take the cash or I can explain why it’s clearly bollocks. The latter has a tendency to go down like I’ve just murdered someone’s granny. Some idiot somewhere has made the clearly bollocks decision and may well be very proud of it (recently: “I’ve used MS Paint to adjust our website layout, can you please implement this”) so there’s a high chance they are going to get offended when you tell them as much, the project manager doesn’t want to pass this message on and so pushes for the clearly bollocks decision to be implemented regardless of how wacky it is, I dig my heels in and explain repeatedly how clearly bollocks it is. No-one is happy. Don’t let the client get involved in the creative process, they’ll only arse it up and piss of those who are being paid to design.

I want to do it properly
Especially with a big project, I might be putting months of my life into a website. I don’t want the end result to be a bucket of sick. It’s partly the portfolio argument, in that I want to be able to proudly display every site I do in my portfolio to try and garner new work, but in reality I never update my portfolio (so rarely I’m not even going to link to it). More seriously, it’s pride in my work, I know that if I release anything that’s got even the slightest issue that’s will be the only thing I will notice when I look at it again, I’ll never be able to show someone the website without apologising in advance for the strange way the menu works or the odd clash of colours in the footer.

There’s plenty more that gets on my tits on a daily basis but it’s nice outside and I don’t want to stare at a screen all weekend. Generalising horribly, if your developer or designer doesn’t get the nark on with you from time to time, they probably don’t give a crap about their work and could work a little harder at it (or they are bottling it up and will one day come at you with a sharp pencil).

Holding page of wonder

October 2, 2008

A quick holding page that appeared to transform into something a little more flamboyant than expected. For Moonshine PR

Moonshine PR Holding Page

Moonshine PR Holding Page

Hopefully Emily doesn’t beat me to death when she sees what I’ve done to her website. I very nearly animated it in flash but fortunately (for you and her) time is short tonight.

InkyStuff Goodness

September 23, 2008

Quick design/mockup for my Dad’s new business. Needs a bit of tweaking and cleaning up but not bad for a couple of hours work.

InkyStuff Website Mockup

InkyStuff Website Mockup

Quick Ad Concept

September 12, 2008

Rough advert concept…

Rough Ad Concept

Rough Ad Concept

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I am Bob. This is my blog. It is an outlet and a substitute for real life. It contains my art, photography, illustration and thoughts on mental health (I deal with anxiety on a pretty much constant basis).

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A Bookkeepers Guide to Practical Sorcery

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The Daily Stoic

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Light: Science and Magic

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How to write a novel using the snowflake method

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Symmetry: The Ordering Principle

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Dungeon Master’s Guide

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