I’ve been busy which means I haven't had time to share any of the nice new work I've been doing. Over the last few months I've been working with the photographer Chris Floyd, designing and hand binding some promo books for him. I highly recommend you check out his website, especially his great blog posts on photographing different people. Here are a few pictures of the books we made together.
What a year 2016 turned out to be. I think I will always remember 2016 as a year of division, a year of divided opinions across countries and a divided nation choosing to isolate itself from its neighbours. All in all I’m happy to see the back of 2016, this brand new year, only a few days old, currently provides a brief opportunity for optimism, 2017 has to be better than 2016 right?!
Amongst all the unsettling news I managed to work with some incredible people last year, some of them now long term friends that I have worked with on many projects, and some inspiring new people I hope to work with on many projects in the years to come. One particular project that will dominate my memories of 2016 was mine and Alma Haser's Cosmic Surgery project, it’s successful Kickstarter campaign and the design and making that followed took over so much of our time, now that it is over there is part of me that still wishes it was going on.
My year was also defined by adventures, spending my time walking across the country, hiking in the mountains, surviving a thunder storm and 1000’s of aggressive midges in Scotland with my trusty adventure companion and human midge sacrifice Curtis James. Me and Felicity, the other half of the This Way team, finally launched our first map detailing routes that can be walked connecting Brighton to Lewes. Part of our long term plan to find ways that being outside can be described as part of our work.
As always my aim for this new year is to work with amazing people working on unusual projects and to spend as much time as possible outdoors. I’m also hoping to find myself crossing the Atlantic by cargo ship in the spring (but more on this one later if it happens). As a result of such a terrible year I’m desperately trying to find some people to work with that are trying to make some kind of positive social change. I’m desperate to put my skills to good use with the idea that this might help keep me sane in 2017. Please email me if any projects or people spring to mind.
This summer I walked the Coast to Coast. A path that starts by the Irish Sea in the Lake District and ends by the North Sea at Robin Hoods Bay. Here is a link to something I wrote about those 2 weeks spent outdoors.
And finally, this project didn't go to print but back on the 22nd of April I did a talk in Cardiff for Design Stuff about how I work. I am not usually found on stage with words coming out of my mouth, but that is exactly what happened and the proof can be found here.
So that is what I have been up to these last few months.
Next to go to print, some maps for the Chelsea Fringe Festival. A lovely project that meant I got to spend a week illustrating lovely green leaves, a map that showed London and its green spaces and as an added bonus I got to work with Felicity Rowley, the other half of This Way, who illustrated London’s landmarks.
The Chelsea Fringe Festival runs from the 21st May - 12 June.
A long running project I’ve been working on with Felicity Rowley was second to go to print.
For over a year now we’ve been working on a project mapping the footpaths of Brighton and the surrounding countryside. Back at the start of 2015 I wrote that I wanted to work on projects that made being outside part of my job, Felicity was looking for the same thing so we decided to make some maps. We spent a year working on this project in our spare time, designing our very own routes that lead you from Brighton, through the countryside and eventually to a small town called Lewes. We wrote a number of stories highlighting things to watch out for on your journey. And we tested many amazing places to grab provisions along the way.
A few weeks ago our maps went to print and people are using them all over the Sussex countryside, following paths that lead to a roast or a much needed pint of beer. Two weeks ago we headed out on foot putting up wayfaring signs along the route to help travellers find their way.
You can follow our adventurers and updates about this project at www.this-way.co
What usually happens is I get super busy for short periods of time and forget to tell everyone why I disappeared. So breaking with tradition I thought I’d tell you what I’ve been up to whilst I’ve been away. Its been an extremely busy few weeks. Mainly because so many things were all going to print at the same time, I'll tell you about each of them over the next week or so.
It all started with the wonderful news that me and Alma Haser had successfully reached our Kickstarter goal, raising the £22,000 we needed to produce a second edition of her Cosmic Surgery book. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the 329 backers who helped make this project happen.
As soon as we hit our goal we spent 2 weeks finishing all the last minute bits needed to finish the book. Alma finished the final origami portrait, I spent a week finishing the layouts and we both spent a very exciting day together choosing foil and pantone colours, cover materials and paper. All our files are now with the printers, who are busy making blank dummies, laser cutting examples of the pop ups and printing the first colour proofs, which will be with us shortly!
For the first time in my life a junk email inspired part of a project. The Cosmic Surgery website which launched at the start of the week was directly influenced by junk.
Last month, to get into the mindset needed for the Cosmic Surgery book, I started signing up to multiple cosmetic surgery websites asking for brochures and advice on surgery’s I would never have. This research resulted in a tidal wave of junk emails filling my inbox everyday, and multiple phone calls with cosmetic surgery groups convincing them that I really had changed my mind and I didn’t need that facelift after all.
One morning waiting in my inbox was an email about a ‘virtual breast enlargement’, the spark of an idea that led to the website we now have.
Designing a website has been lots of fun. Josh Emerson helped turn mine and Alma’s escalating crazy ideas into a thing. I’m used to working with paper and thinking about user interaction in books, not on a screen. But it turns out Josh has a lot of patience and he managed to translate my paper based descriptions into something that works online.
As I mentioned in my previous post we never wanted our Kickstarter campaign to be based on pestering people to pledge, the Cosmic Facelift was an attempt to make our campaign playful even for those people who don’t want to pledge money.
Last week photographer Alma Haser and I launched a Kickstarter campaign to try and raise money to make a second edition of the Cosmic Surgery book. So why did we decide to crowdfund this project? We have launched ourselves head first into a month of continuously refreshing Kickstarter pages, a month of heart palpitations, mammoth spreadsheets and of not knowing if this thing we have spent so much time talking about is going to succeed.
When we first told people we would be attempting to crowdfund this project we had really mixed feedback. Some people loved the idea, I guess these were the people that had signed up early to our pre-orders list and really wanted to see this project happen. Other people were not so keen, Kickstarter for most people brings up past memories of being pestered everyday to pledge, pledge, pledge, and just incase you’ve forgotten, pledge some more.
Our main reason to attempt crowdfunding is because we want to try and retain control over this project that we both care so much about. I first got involved in Alma’s project last year, we made a very limited edition of pop up books by hand. We learnt so many lessons along the way, it took longer than we both expected but the books we produced were full of care.
Just after this release we talked to a few publishers, most of whom would have wanted to be involved in the re-design of the book, which is completely understandable as designing a book is the most exciting part of book making. Others were looking at the books as a business opportunity (not an easy feat with a pop up book) meaning production costs had to be minimal. We entered competitions and were shortlisted by a few, but most competitions come with terms and conditions that again could have quite easily broken the collaboration between the people involved.
Crowdfunding, if successful, gives us complete control over the project. We get to design it how we want to, choose printers and a team that we want to work with, make our own decisions about money and also stick to our own morals when it comes to producing something ethically. It also means that everyone that has pledged is helping make this project happen and people are trusting us to do an amazing job.
To everyone who does decide to pledge, thank you, it means so much to us. I'd also like to thank Gordon at GOST for his amazing generosity when it came to advising us along the way. Now, to a day of refreshing the Kickstarter page just a few more times.
- A spring and summer spent hiking and camping. Scrabbling up rocky faces to reach the top of England at Scafell Pike.
- Learning so many lessons in map design.
- Working on some incredible projects with some incredible people. Seeing books come to life, learning how to make pop ups and making sticker books and exhibitions happen.
- Being part of the Bowndling team and for a brief period feeling like we could change the world just a little bit.
- Do Camping weekend. A weekend being inspired by the most lovely bunch of people, eating, talking, walking and swimming in freezing cold ponds.
- Being involved in Two Knocks for Yes, hopefully the first of many future events.
A sneak peak at the paper goods designed for Two Knocks for Yes.