Tag Archives: design

THE RHYTHM OF PROPORTION

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One of my jobs (and sometime bete-noire) doing design work and other creative projects is getting to grips with the rhythm of proportion. Shoud be simple right? Not so much. Proportions vary (obviously) depending on what you are working on and as I find myself designing all sorts of different kinds of things in my job, means that you are constantly shifting the proverbial, proportional goalposts.

In order to achieve the desired outcome of proportional simplicity requires either a) mathematical devices (I do on occasion) or b) a finely attuned eye (my preference). By looking, looking and looking again you get the picture. Without a visual input there is no chance of just guessing what works, it needs to be seen.

For design work, when figuring out the layout of a brochure or poster for example, I am searching for a rhythm, a punctuated space or a proportion that, when placed correctly, sings back at you YES! THIS IS THE ONE. The rhythm of a page or wall or whatever, despite me using a musical reference, is purely visual, it allows your eyes to glide across the beat of a visually pleasing scene. If something clunks you feel it like a bum note or an out of tune voice.

For me to get to this point of golden proportion takes time, patience and self-confidence. And when you can’t quite get it right, it’s time to walk away, have a break and come back to it the next day. The walking away technique never fails to work no matter how you might feel at the time. And here’s the truth, despite what some people may expect of a designer, creating proportionally pleasing, new and interesting work takes time, enforcing a period of reflection that cannot be rushed, sometimes making this job feel harder than perhaps it should, but when it works; it really works.

PAINTING STRIPES

STRIPES

I have been thinking [read: over thinking] just what to do with the bedroom wall to give it that little extra oopmh. The thought process went as such: wallpaper or not to wallpaper, paint stripes or not to paint stripes… The argument was pretty much that and to be fair VERY boring. So here’s the outcome. I bit the bullet, I decided to paint some yellow stripes on the wall in a kind of retro futuristic headboard vibe and as it turns out, I’m pretty pleased with the results.

The great thing about painting a feature wall in your home is that it’s a great value way of adding impact on a small budget. And of course the golden rule, if it looks rubbish, you can always paint over it.

To get the look you’ll need:

  • a metre rule or a long straight piece of wood
  • ALOT of masking tape (good quality)
  • base colour paint
  • your chosen stripe colour paint
  • pencil, ruler and rubber
  • a lot of patience and a small amount of OCD

First up was picking out just the right shade of yellow which took some time. Yellow can be quite a tricky colour on a wall and I didn’t want a mustard custard egg yellow, I wanted something translucent, slightly neon and light which doesn’t exist in your average range of paint tester pots. I ended up mixing my own colour using a neon yellow paint mixed with a lemon and white after testing some unsuccessful shades at varying times of the day. Being a light and sunny room, the yellow I chose warms the room nicely but be warned; certain yellows have the effect of making you feel like you are living inside Big Bird, and no one wants that no matter how much you love Sesame Street.

I wanted the stripes to act like a headboard but not to envelop the entire wall so I chose to sit them within the bed border and to go all the way up to the ceiling. This sat nicely with mirrors either side of the bed, any bigger and I think it would have looked overwhelming.

I marked out the edges using a piece of string with a weight attached to the bottom for an absolute straight edge and then taped it out. I then chose my angle and width and marked out the stripes (see pic) using a very feint pencil line (using anything heavier will end up with you seeing the lines forever so I advise a light touch here).

In order to prevent the paint from bleeding through the masking tape (note – less likely the better quality masking tape you use) I painted over the masked out stripes with the wall’s base coat (white) so that if any paint was to bleed through the tape you wouldn’t notice. With the masking tape was now sealed down and dry, I painted the yellow over the white making sure to paint the right areas with right paint.

When the yellow paint was fully dry (no cheatin’) I removed the masking tape (gingerly to avoid plaster being ripped off too) and saw my stripes in all their glory. The impact was marvellous.

Next stop, a striking piece of monochrome art to sit on top… the mission for a little more oopmh continues.
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CHRISTMAS CARD DESIGN

I thought it might be nice to share a few of my  Christmas card designs as we approach the big day.

This year I chose the 3D reindeer template (below) as my favoured festive greeting. I think I may have started a trend……. I’ve already had requests for more DIY templates. Stay posted for more free cut-out downloads and remember have a Happy Christmas! X

Wallpaper Part One

WallpaperI’ve been toying with the idea of wallpapering or repainting my bedroom for some time now. Having lived with bright white walls for over a year I think the time has come to add more colour and pattern.

When it comes to  choosing the right wallpaper or paint colour it can take time. Being visual is brilliant, but it can sometimes be a hindrance when it comes to making decisions…

As I am pretty sure I’m not alone in this ridiculousness, I thought I would share my solution to mocking up wallpapers / paint colours of choice to SEE what works best. It was super easy to do if you have access to photoshop (if not search for free photo editing software online).

I found my wallpaper choices online, saved the images and then pasted multiple images behind a photo of my bedroom to see what colours and patterns would look like.

So many choices, but here are some of the highlights:

I also quite like to the idea of painting a stripe, thick or thin, bright or pale yellow, on the walls, inspired by my fellow blogger, Lucy Tiffney‘s studio wall as seen below, with its beautiful pale pink popping stripes.

So far so good, I love being able to see my choices come to life, but now here’s the tricky part, actually making a decision…

Autumn Colour Pops

I’ve been adding a bit of Autumn colour to my bedroom of late. With its bright white walls, it can sometimes feel a little stark, but with the addition of warm, colourful soft furnishings, graphic prints and some bright flowers, the colours really ‘pop’ against the background.

I wanted a colour palette of grey and yellow and these work really well with small amounts of pink and orange sneaking in!

The resulting look is something bright and bold to cheer up a grey Autumn day.

Club Tropicana

I’ve been checking out some tropical graphics and vintage posters for a forthcoming design project and what with all this sunshine we’ve been enjoying, it seemed like I just had to share some of my club tropicana themed inspiration. Note – I’m thinking less ‘Wham’ and more ‘Glam’. Enjoy the sun! X

Bowie Pot

Bowie Pot

I love David Bowie ALOT. And in the spirit of all things Bowie, I decided to paint an old white pot (from Ikea) as a little kitsch tribute to the man himself, inspired by one of my Bowie Pinterest board pins (follow me here!). And now I shall use my Bowie Pot in my studio not only to inspire me, but also to keep stuff in his little lightning bolt face.

Studio ShelfOn a separate note I used Posca Pens to do the painted detail of the highlights and eyes and they really are JUST SO GOOD. I love them a little too much. There are all sorts of things you can do with Posca and ceramics to which I will dedicate another post completely as they are too awesome not to share.

Planning Your Gallery Wall Layout

Gallery Wall LayoutPlanning how you layout your gallery wall is the next step before *actually* hanging the thing. You might not want to plan it out and just go for it, but I found I needed to get some idea in my head of how it would look before getting the drill out (that combined with being a graphic designer and making my approach to these sorts of things erring slightly on the obsessive…)

I drew some rough sketches out first of what I wanted where. At one point I even considered uploading all the pictures on to my laptop and designing the layout on InDesign before realising I was going mad and this, even for me, was a step too far..

Instead, like a normalish person, I ended up laying the pictures out on the floor and arranging them as I would like them to be on the wall, it was so much easier to actually see what was in front of you and shuffle ’em around like tiles. I took photos for future reference (SO helpful later on) and messed about with how the main central images would sit. It was crucial to get these right as they are both orangey-red and bold (see photo) and would dominate the space.

I wanted colours, frames and themes to be balanced across the space, I wanted to offset the boldness of one image with a lighter style next to it. I wanted to punctuate with colours that repeated themselves but didn’t overwhelm. I also want to add things in the future so I had to make sure there wasn’t a distinct end or structure to suggest a finishing point.

I’m pleased with the end result and it was worth the wait and planning, though no doubt I will change some of it in the future and I will definitely add to it, but whilst I still live a television-less existence the images provide, for me at least, something as entertaining and probably more meaningful to look at.

Some top tips from me:

  • Get the pictures right first – mix it up but get it right
  • Plan it out on the floor to see how it’s going to look on the wall
  • Start with the strongest images and work around them
  • Don’t overwhelm with strong colours or strong frames
  • Take photos!! They’ll provide a handy reference later on