Tag Archives: design

Reasons the Internet is Brilliant #2B

penciltalk.org.bruynzeel.1

Here’s a reason, right here: http://www.penciltalk.org/. It’s a website about pencils. I like pencils. Actually I kind of love pencils in a strange sort of a way. But this guy loves pencils more. More than me. More than everyone I know.

Proof:

The two design pencils write quite nicely (much better than the High Grade), while the Triple Grip unfortunately is just average. I would say the 8815 stands out as another rare example of a high quality round pencil.

I thank him for sharing his love. And I thank the Internet for making his love of pencils a global thing. And I thank the always inspiring Ace Jet 170 – a blog we should all look at as much as we possibly can.

Jonathan From Spotify Ruined Your Playlist

Jonathan from Spotify...

http://jonathanfromspotifyruinedyourplaylist.com/ is my favourite website of today. If you don’t know Jonathan from Spotify, he’s the guy who interrupts your listening pleasure with his little adlets.

I’m sure he was forced to do it, so I’m not confident that we should all be picking on him. However, what I love about this site is that I think the level of insults pretty much fit the crime.

Jonathan from Spotify...

Jonathan from Spotify...

But that’s not the reason that I really love the site. The real reason is that it’s driven by Google Docs. That’s how we should all be rolling. Use a Google Spreadsheet as a CMS – that’s how we should be rolling in 2009!

I suggested this to one of our developers a few months ago and he said that I was some kind of fucked-up freakish alien techno-idiot (I think those were his exact words) – having seen this I feel vindicated, marginally.

via: the wonderful It’s Nice That

FS me from FontSmith

I rarely blog about stuff that I get sent in the post, because most of it isn’t very inspiring. But this booklet that I got this morning worked for me on lots of levels…

Here’s why I liked it:

  1. It’s a lovely booklet
  2. They’ve developed a font (in concunction with Mencap) to be super accessible – which is a good thing
  3. In the lovely book I learned some stuff about why it’s super accessible – and some other things about type that I never knew before
  4. They make a donation to Mencap for every license of the font sold

Maybe if you’re actually a designer and not just someone who likes a bit of nice type now and again you wouldn’t be as impressed as me. But I thought this was v. good thing that I wanted to share.

Visit fontsmith.com and check out FS me or a bunch of their other nice work too. Well done chaps.

Adverts Restored My Faith in The Internet

bud302

I’ve been a bit down on the internet since I got back from holiday. It’s been as if someone deleted all the good stuff ;-)

Then I accidentally stumbled on this site through a Google image search. It’s one of those sites that’s just bloody fantastic. It’s got archives of adverts, magazines, packaging and loads more beginning at 1900. If you’ve been touched by Mad Men it’s a great spot to check out some of the real deal from that era too.

Visit the Ad Art Gallery

There’s 15,000 magazine covers, 10,000 movie posters, 8,000 transport ads, 4,000 soda ads, 3,000 beer ads and countless other gems.

Just a snapshot of the random brilliance…

200806021023458
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Re: 20080711132038815

An absolutely amazing resource for designers, advertisng folk, and anyone with an interest in things – check it out.

Things to do to escape your computer (or TV)

bike_hire

…hire a bike or roller skates or a boat.

Please help by adding to this in the comments.

Following on from this weekend’s activities. I’ve been thinking about what a great bunch of things Jason set me to do. All could be done with little investment, they were all quite fun, and thankfully all legal.

Asi seemed to suggest that I was lucky – and I think he was right. If he’d been in charge I’d have been:

deer-hunting, try nude modeling, kidnap a kitten, learn ballet, minor shop lifting, etc…

A totally different, and much harder, set of challenges.

Anyway, here’s the first few things that popped into my head:

Go into a pub you’ve never been into before and order a drink you’ve never tried before.

Yes, that's Pernod and Black

Paint one wall of your house a totally new colour.

Pink Wall

Go to a record store and buy a CD you’ve always thought you should have heard but haven’t. Then go home and listen to it. Properly.

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Buy an ingredient from a ‘specialty supermarket’ and make something with it.

Wasabi!

Gamble £5 at a local arcade.

Family Leisure Arcade

Go to a class in something you’ve never done before at a local leisure facility (this may be more scary for some of us than for others).

Cryptic Symbols

Like I said before I’d love people to add to this list in the comments so we can compile a bunch of interesting things to do when the computers are off.

It also got me thinking that this is quite similar to a show that’s been on the BBC (radio and TV) called I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. Where they take famous people and get them to do stuff they’ve never done before.

For example:

  • Comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor buys his first pornographic magazine, tries some unusual seafood and listens to his first hip hop record.
  • Magician Paul Daniels reads feminist literature for the first time, learns how to swim, and experiences the film The Great Escape.
  • Stand-up comedian Arthur Smith watches Top Gear for the first time, eats his first Pop tart and watches Les Misérables.

All good inspiration for the start of this list of things.

Over to you… :-)

Earning Eternal Respect In 48 Hours The Twitter Way

I had a fun weekend this weekend. Thanks to a number of things.

1. Weekends are good anyway.
2. The weather was pretty nice.
3. I did normal stuff with Sophie like have nice lunches. Laze around. Drink a bit of wine. Get some chores done. Etc.

But in addition this weekend was a bit more exciting because of something that happened on Twitter on Friday night.

I was trying to decide whether to spend the weekend catching up on emails and that kind of thing. Or whether to go the other way and sod it all, so I posted:

Iain Tait (iaintait) on Twitter

To which Jason replied:

Twitter / @iaintait

And Andy provoked me with:

Twitter / @iaintait

Which is pretty much the same as a double-dare, and being the child I am I thought. I’ll show them guys. I’ll go offline and I’ll do them things. Then Andy will have to respect me, and not just for a bit. For the rest of eternity!

And you’ll never guess what. It was fun to do a bunch of freaky things. And it wasn’t just the act of doing the things. It’s was the other stuff around doing them that was interesting. Like having to go and acquire knitting needles and wool. Or spending time in the heavy dairy section of the supermarket.

So here’s what happened…

I started out with a shopping list.

Challenge Shopping List

Task One – Learn to Knit.

Acquire wool and needles first. I went to the Open Market in Brighton which is quite a place. I think it deserves it’s own post so watch out for that.

Here’s the wool stall.

The Wool Stall

And as you might have noticed on my shopping list I also needed knitting instruction. Which I got like this.

Absolutely brilliant! I’d have never had a knitting lesson off a geezer if it hadn’t been for Jason’s challenge. Although, to be honest, I did have to cheat a bit later on and look up a couple of how-to videos on the internet. The bloke’s instructions were too fast for me.

And here’s me with my sorry-raggedy-ass knitting.

My Pathetic Knitting

It’s too tight. There’s dropped stitches and all sorts. But fact is I’d learned how to cast-on and to knit (a bit). So in my book that’s task one passed.

Needles and wool cost about £2.50 and it was quite fun after I’d got past the initial frustration. I reckon I should have got bigger needles and bigger / sturdier wool to make it easier. Would I do it again? Maybe.

Task 2 – Make Your Own Butter

Then I went shopping for some cream so I could make butter. And here’s what happened when I got home and tried to make it.

But you know what, after that minor fuss it tastes pretty good. And it didn’t work out to be stupidly expensive either. I made loads of butter out of 2 medium cartons of double cream. I might even do that again one day. I’m guessing you could do flavours and all sorts :-)

The home made butter turns up again during the Cheese Eating Task.

Task 3 – Make a Weapon

Simple. A throwing device made out of various sized screws and foil.

My Weapon

It may not look much. But during this photo:

My Weapon In My Hand

It rolled off my hand and onto my bare foot. It hurt. Therefore it works as a weapon. Task 3 – complete.

Task 4 – Make a Fort

I quite enjoyed this. I think if I’d been making it with more of a purpose it would have ended up better. To be honest as a 30-something guy making a fort on your own is a bit of a sad and lonely thing so I just wanted to get it out of the way really.

Here it is.

Fort Close Up

The close up perhaps disguises the overall lameness of the fort:

Fort in All Glory

But it’s a fort. And I made it. So Task 4 is technically complete.

Task 5 – Eat Cheese

Both simple and fun.

Here’s the cheese board.

Cheese Feast

Here’s cheese + chutneys + home made butter.

Cheese Feast Plus

Here’s me eating some cheese.

Me Eating Cheese

Task 5. Smashed it!

Task 6 – Paint a self-portrait

Here’s the one task where I may have technically ‘failed’ but I think it would be a tough judge who failed me because of choice of media, especially under the circumstances.

Here’s my excuse. I didn’t want to get out loads of paints and make a mess because we were trying to tidy up the house at the same time. So I decided to do a self-portrait in charcoal.

If you think this is a cop out on my behalf you are very much wrong. Art was my lowest GCSE subject and I’ve never been good at drawing or painting so even trying to do any kind of self-portrait was a big ordeal.

And here it is:

My Self Portrait

Here it is next to me:

Me and My Portrait

So, self-portrait done. The rules didn’t say it had to be good.

UPDATE: Shit, Missed the poem writing thing!

Task 7 – Write a Poem

Arse. When proof reading this post I realised that there was ‘write a poem’ snuck in the middle of the Tweet. Oh well here goes…

Writing poems is never easy,
Specially when I feel this cheesy,
I enjoyed my time making a fort,
A little more than perhaps I ought,
Making butter was a lot of fun,
But my weapon wasn’t quite a gun,
I suprised myself by learning to knit,
And home-made butter didn’t taste that bad,
I’m afraid my portrait weren’t in paint,
But it’s clear an artist, that I ain’t.

It might not scan quite right, but it’s late and it’s an emergency last-minute poem.

Anyway like I said it was fun. I learned a few things and it snapped me out of a few bad / lazy weekend habits. Like spending it doing pseudo-work on the internets.

So next time your not sure what you’re going to do at the weekend why not get some friends to give you a bunch of stupid things for you to do. You might enjoy it. And you might earn their eternal respect. Right Mr Whitlock ;-)

I guess this is kind of connected to the whole Mental Detox thing – which looks like it’s coming around again soon.

Judging Books By Their Covers (and Page Edges)

I’m terrible for judging books by their covers. It’s precisely how I make my first decision about whether or not I’m going to enjoy them.

This technique may have been around for ages, but it was new to me on Saturday. It’s using coloured page edges on paperbacks. The first one I saw was this, with jet black pages:

Jet Black Pages

It looked quite lovely with the deep red and gold. And when you turn it edge on it’s such a deep powdery black that it almost removes light. It’s a really nice effect.

Jet Black Pages

Then I came across this blue one which I also liked a lot:

Beautiful Blue Pages

I wondered if it was just a thing that Canongate had done for Scarlet Thomas until I saw this:

More black pages

For Penguin in a totally different book shop.

I’m probably well behind and everyone’s been rolling out coloured pages for ages. But because I normally get books from Amazon it’s rare that I get to see books that I don’t own edge on.

I’ve been missing out.

Urban Play Amsterdam – Moving Forest


I was in Amsterdam at the weekend and was lucky enough to pass through a bunch of things that were going on as part of the Urban Play festival.

I particularly liked the mobile forest.

Trees In Trolleys - Urban Play Amsterdam

Trees In Trolleys - Urban Play Amsterdam

Urban Play Amsterdam - Moving Forest

I’m not sure it was supposed to be this mobile…

Trees In Trolleys - Urban Play Amsterdam

But when I spotted this lone tree in a courtyard it all seemed to make sense for a brief moment…

Trees In Trolleys - Urban Play Amsterdam

Also liked the Cycle Recycle Cycle thing where you could pimp your old bike Bollywood style…

Cycle Recycle - Urban Play Amsterdam

Cycle Recycle - Urban Play Amsterdam

And then there’s the sad story of Sagmeister’s coins…

Urban Play Amsterdam - Sagmeister Was Here

If you want to see the whole story you can check out this video…