Dazzle and digital camouflage

Camouflage is the art and design of staying hidden. But there’s more to camouflage than blobs of muted green, yellow and brown – just look at the modern Marpat patterns and WW1 dazzle ship designs. Seeing patterns in things is one of the most basic instincts we have. It is a survival instinct, something that…

Focaltone colour secrets

Sometimes, when you need to get something done, the simplest approach is to cut to the chase. Colour matching is a case in point. This stuff is important but it can also be annoyingly, sometimes mind-numbingly, complex. What I’m about to say may sound a trifle heretical, but hear me out. Forget science, forget abstract…

Microsoft logo design history

Back on August 23rd (note: this was written in 2012) Microsoft announced something new. It wasn’t software, and it wasn’t hardware: it was a new corporate logo, launched officially as it opened its new store in Boston, Massachusets. Technically it appeared in July on new keyboards and mice, but a slight fudging of the unveiling…

Video vs text? Fight!

What’s the future of text? I’m going to be talking about this at a seminar in October, and it’s a fascinating subject. But right now I’m thinking about something a bit different: as things go increasingly digital, will video take over traditional magazine content? Strange question. Here’s where it came from: an ex-student of mine…

Tattoo design

Would I get a tattoo? I don’t have a specific thing in mind, but the concept is an interesting one: can I come up with a design that I’d like to apply to my body? Something that I can’t change, at least not at all easily? That’s a tough one… as a designer I’m used…

Digital skeuomorphism

Skeuomorphism is probably not a word you’ve heard much in your life. Not until summer 2011, anyway, when it took the Mac world by storm, thanks to Apple’s design retro-realism in key parts of Lion and iOS5. A skeuomorph is, in a nutshell, something that retains ornamental design cues to something that was necessary in…

Signage design is a creative challenge

Where are you going? I don’t mean in the metaphysical sense, that’s too deep for right now. I mean do you know what direction you’re facing, where you should be heading, that sort of thing? When did you last glance at a sign or a map? Some people have what’s called a ‘good sense of…

Book binding tips, tricks, advice and secrets

I love what’s possible in digital design and production, but the truth is there’s something that digital products lack when compared with print. This missing quality is tactility, the effect of touch and physical behaviour as a part of the overall experience. Even in print this is all too often forgotten as a part of…