5 things that got me gingered up this November.

Autumn leaves are a falling. The green leaves have relented, exhausted from this summer’s growth and have now given way to the incredible autumnal rainbow of colours. Oranges, flame reds, lime greens, ochres and every shade of brown imaginable now adorn our gutters, car roofs and pavements.

Trick or treat has knocked on October’s final door and run away. Bonfire night has whiz, banged and ooh’d and aah’d in the usual explosive manner. Finally, we commemorated 100 years since the end of WWI.   

With no more celebrations or commemorations on the near horizon, it now looks clear for full speed ahead to the rapidly approaching festive season! I’ve already had my first warm mince pie and mulled wine, my Christmas list is growing by the day and I’m not quite sure how we suddenly arrived so close to Christmas. Every year is the same, the pace seems to suddenly pick up and I never have enough time to do the things I want to. So take heed, take notice, now is the season to plan.  

This now brings me to my five things that have grabbed my attention this past month. I hope you find them as fun and as useful as I did. If you would like to leave any comments, please do at the bottom of the post.

Until the next time – Enjoy.

 

No.1 // Creative thinking – James Victore

James Victore is an artist and designer who also teaches creativity and personal growth. James recently brought out a great video on how to ‘Feck perfuction’ and improve your creative life and work. You can hear his words of wisdom over on Vimeo where he explains The Five Things You Must Know About Being In Business. Some sage words of wisdom indeed from a master. 

No.2 // Grammar – Grammarly

I heard about Grammarly a while back but for whatever reason never got around to taking it any further until recently. My grammar ain’t the best around here, however, after installing the app it now helps me make sure I produce copy in a clearer, more accurate, and error-free way – fingers crossed.  

No.3 // illustration – Russell Ayto

Russell Ayto is an award-winning children’s book illustrator and author. His books are illustrated with many fun, imaginative and fantastically drawn characters. Russell has a very distinct graphical style to his illustrations which help his books stand out on the shelves. I discovered Russell while searching for children’s picture books for my son and his particular graphical illustrative style certainly grabbed my attention. The first book I bought was Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? which is still my favourite illustrated children’s picture book. It didn’t take me long to discover other books Russell had illustrated, all of which take prime real estate on our bookshelf which include; The Somethingosaur, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, Dustbin Dad, and Whoops!

No.4 // Photographer – Benedict Redgrove

Benedict Redgrove’s career began in graphic design and you can clearly see this influence in his work with his clean, graphic and refined stylised images. He works for major automotive, aeronautical, technology and media brands and his work is stunning. 

No.5 // Marketing – Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the best selling author (more than 18 best-selling books), entrepreneur, teacher, speaker and THE Man who thinks about the marketing of ideas. He’s brilliant at simplifying complex topics and delivers it with great ease. He conveys and explains in a non BS way his thoughts and ideas. Not much more to say about Seth except that his blog (one of the most popular in the world) and website are a goldmine of inspiration. Now, go start digging and start a ruckus as Seth would say!

How I create my holiday photo books

Overview

When creating a holiday photo book or any other photo book for that matter it really pays to think and plan in advance (and I’m talking, even before you go on holiday). This blog gives some key principles (in no particular order) I apply to new projects. At the bottom of the blog I have attached a pdf and a hires version of a workflow I use when working through a piece of work. Hopefully you can apply a few of these ideas and principles into your own future projects. 

Tell a story about the trip

First impressions count, so jot down your immediate thoughts on arrival! Then, as each day passes, note down what you got up to. By the time you get back home unless you’ve written all of this down you’re going to have a tough time remembering what you got up to and in the order you did it! 

  • Describe your: location (countryside or city) /accommodation/atmosphere/people/local area (modern or old)/weather/restaurants/food/bars/costs/beaches etc.
  • What was the local food like, best restaurant, was it reasonable or expensive, how much were taxis/hire cars, a glass of wine/beer? 
  • Did you do any activities or travel to other locations? Did you travel by car/bus/train/plane/boat?

Workflow

This is the workflow I use after I come back from holiday.

  • Create a folder in Lightroom naming it with the location visited, the month and year.
  • Download all images from cameras into the folder above.
  • Import all files into Lightroom.
  • Start the picture culling process. Be brave, be bold, there’s no room on the HD for all those second rate images – Reject all that don’t make the cut. Delete all over/under exposures, blurry/out of focus shots. Get rid of all the rubbish and if using bracketed/continuous shooting modes, pick the best one out the bunch. I do this three to five times on average until I whittle it down to about 10%-30% of the original import.
    I delete the rejects and save the rest in readiness for the book.
  • I think about the format of the book I want to create and then make the decision as to portrait or landscape and the physical size (page count doesn’t matter at this stage as it’s really easy to add or subtract pages as you layout the book).
  • I start editing pictures and then flowing them into the page layout. 
  • Type-up my journal I kept on holiday and decide whether to keep it in one section of spread it throughout the book.
  • Creating the map and infographic is next.
  • Organise book into sections if needed.
  • Once everything has been flowed into the book and I am happy with the layout I will go through captioning all images that require a description.
  • First proof stage. I create a pdf version of the book and print a hard copy. I then use this to markup any issues needing correction such as typos, spelling, layout and and further image editing requirements.
  • Make all corrections as marked upon first proof, create pdf, print off a hard copy and markup any additional amends. On average this could take anything between two to five times but it’s an essential part of the proofing process.  
  • Once the above is complete I am happy to proceed to print. I will choose the quantity, paper stock, and cover type before uploading online a hires pdf to Blurb’s website for them to print. I can then relax and start getting excited about receiving my very own unique holiday photo book.

Book sizes and finishes

There’s a diverse array of sizes and finishes to choose from. Think about:

  • Size: do you want to create a pocket book or coffee table book.
  • Orientation: portrait or landscape.
  • Cover: hardcover image wrap, hardcover dust jacket or soft cover. 
  • Paper type: lustre, matte, uncoated or pearle (this will not only affect how the images will look on the paper but it will also have a big impact on how the book will actually feel. We’re talking tactile, Personally, for me I love the look and feel of an uncoated paper.

Create a holiday map

Create a holiday map showing your location in relation to the local area/town/city or country visiting. You might want to include:

  • Location of the hotel.
  • Places of interest/visited.
  • Use a recurring theme of the area to incorporate into the map such as colours/typography/textures/architecture/shapes and plants.

Applications used to create photo book’s

  • Adobe Lightroom: for storing, editing and creating the photo book.
  • PhotoShop: for finer editing control over images, creating montages and other images that can’t be created in Lightroom.
  • Illustrator: for creating graphics for the infographic and maps.
  • Blurb: for producing photo books.

Create a holiday infographic

Creating an infographic is a great way to visually show, at a glance, key important information about your holiday. So we’re talking about:

  • Accommodation details and places visited.
  • Flight details: carrier, airports, dep/arrival times.
  • Cost details: flights, accommodation, and spending money.
  • Exchange rates.
  • Length of stay.
  • Equipment. Technology is cracking along at a pace! It’s interesting to look back over time and see what equipment you took on a trip and how it has evolved over time so make sure to include cameras and lenses.
  • The total number of pictures taken (it’s an eye opener to see the comparison between the number of pictures captured, compared to the keepers! 

Layout, theme, and flow

You can choose from template-driven layouts to get started or go all freestyle and created your own unique look. Incorporate the essence of your holiday in the form of colours and typography. Don’t forget how much of an impact the type of paper you print the book on will also have. Consider the following:

  • Fonts.
  • Colour.
  • Page numbers: Bottom or top centred/left or right, or middle of the page.
  • Page layout: Clean/creative/portfolio or travel inspired.
  • Use captions for pictures.
  • Write an overview of the holiday.
  • Create sections describing accommodation (inc bedroom, bathroom, living room, balcony, grounds) pool, local area, trips etc.

Equipment used

I used to travel with a DSLR, at least two lenses (a wide angle, 10-20mm and telephoto, 28-135mm), filters and all the usual accessories. I got so fed up of constantly changing lenses, equipment being too bulky, awkward and rather heavy to carry around with the other usual holiday essentials stash in my backpack. And finally I really didn’t want to take it out at night.

There’s no one camera or lens that does it all. The camera I chose to fulfill my particular travel photography needs was the Sony RX system. It’s so small, lightweight, the spec of the camera and quality of images are amazing. I also take a GoPro along for the same reason but with the added bonus of being waterproof and having an amazing wide angle lens!

  • Sony RX 100 IV.
  • GoPro Hero 6.
  • Gorilla Pod.
  • A6 notebook.

 

Below are six pictures showing some of my holiday photo book covers.

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The below three images show the different types of introductory text I have used to describe the overall holidays.

Below are examples of holiday maps and infographics from various holiday photo books.

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Below is a slideshow showing various spreads from different holiday books

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Below are pictures showing the different layouts of sections I have used for the various photo books. The sections range from Accommodation, location, tours, the pool to road trips.

 

Below are two hires images detailing my workflow process. You can also download a free pdf which describes and shows you the creative process I go through when creating a holiday photo book.

S121_How to create a holiday photo book

 

 

The beer with a bang is back for bonfire night.

The explosive big bang home-brew trilogy is back in time for bonfire night. 

Big Bang, Short Fuse, and Pocket Rocket, my home-brew beers have made a welcome return this October just in time for bonfire night. 

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-1

The trilogy is back this October!

I haven’t made a home-brew for a while now and since we’re heading into deepest and darkest autumn I thought it was time to get the beer making kit out and start the brewing process in readiness for the long winter nights!

I have always loved watching fireworks but I also get just as excited by looking at the brilliant designs, typography, vivid colours, packaging, shapes and sizes of the actual firework themselves. The graphic design plays just as an important role to me as the explosive bang it produces.

Last year I wanted to pay homage to these British iconic symbols for my latest home-brew project underway at the time. For this autumn I wanted to create a just as suitably appropriate label. I thought to myself why not resurrect last years version instead of trying to reinvent the wheel!

And so I dusted off the printer, inserted ink cartridges and breathed a new lease of life into one of my favorite beer labels. CHEERS.

For full details on the fireworks beer label design process, click here Firecracker beer.

 

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A homage to the classic pocket rockets.

 

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Light the fuse and stay well back! A close up of the tissue paper used to cover the bottle top, designed to look like the classic tough papers on top of fireworks and rockets.

 

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A closeup of the beer labels showing the three distinct logos, typography and colours used to reflect the classic firework packaging

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The Firecracker party pack packaging above.

 

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Artwork for Pocket Rocket, Short Fuse and The Big Bang beer labels.

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Party pack packaging artwork.
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Artwork for the party pack stick flag.

For previous beer label creations click the links for FlipperooneyThe Wonky Woo Wa and Spring has Sprung

5 things that got me gingered up this October

Can you believe we’re almost halfway through October already, where does the time go? Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to get to a balmy 23 degrees in London – in mid October! I know, crazy right? Anyway, apart from the weather grabbing my attention, below are five creative hot topics that have my curiosity all fired up.

I hope at least a couple of these links will ignite your inquisitiveness nature and you find them as thoughtful and as useful as I did. Until next time, enjoy the late seasonal sunny weather.

 

No.1 // Typography – Wieden + Kennedy London

A typographic treat for the new Honda Civic  created by Wieden + Kennedy London.

 

No.2 // Topography – The National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland has a brilliant site where you can view old maps overlaid on current views. You can flip back and fourth seeing in an instant what it used to be like over the years – fascinating.

 

No.3 // Podcast – Hurry Slowly

Hurry Slowly is a podcast about how you can be more productive, creative, and resilient by simply slowing down.

Now in it’s second season and hosted by the curious mind of Jocelyn K. Glei. It’s a great podcast on ideas for finding more creativity and meaning in our daily lives. There’s some great interviews covering a diverse array of topics that have really made me think about the way I work and spend my time.

 

No.4 // Newsletter – Dense Discovery

Dense Discovery is a weekly subscription newsletter edited by Kai Brach who is also the publisher of the super duper Offscreen Magazine. Dense Discovery is a curated mix of practical and inspirational links to inspiring technology, design, philosophy, psychology and culture. Some other great links take you to useful apps, tools, and websites,  accessories for the office/home, inspiring art and design projects and some great content covering Thought-provoking things to read, listen and watch.

 

No.5 // Illustration/illustrator – David Tazzyman

If you have young children and you like collecting some fine art children picture books I can highly recommend the illustrator David Tazzyman. I have a couple of his picture books at home (You can’t take an elephant on a bus and Eleanor’s Eyebrows) and love his loose illustration pen style. His whimsical freestyle approach of the characters in the books are excellent and I love the graphical treatment to the backgrounds. Even if you don’t have kids I’m sure you will appreciate the magnificent illustrations David creates.

I don’t surf and I don’t ride custom-built motorbikes… but I do LOVE this brand.

Deus Ex Machina is the company and I’ve followed this Australian brand after discovering it on the internet and immediately fell in love.

The Shortbread Shed-Deux-05098I was fortunate enough to be on holiday in Bali this year and knew Deus has a flagship store on the island near Canggu, not too far from where I would be located. Intriguingly called the Temple of Enthusiasm, with a name like that who could resist the temptation to go and seek out the hallowed temple and check out first hand, why I have developed such a crush on them.

Deus ex Machina (god from the machine) was born in Australia back in 2005. It’s more a philosophy than a brand, it’s one incredibly creative company. Founder Dare Jennings and Co-Founder Carby Tuckwell wanted to build a company that represented the things they loved without exclusion. It started with their passion for motorcycles and a desire to build custom bikes and parts.

Still located within the original building from back in the day, the company has transformed from a small two hoist garage with a shop attached to the now global headquarters of this creatively diverse multidisciplinary house of fun, known as The House of Simple Pleasures!

The thing I really love about this brand is that creativity seems to flow through its veins like petrol through an engine. So not only do they do amazing custom built motorbikes they also produce surfboards, pedal bikes, clothing, artwork, Vinyl, apparel to movies, events, cafe’s and restaurants.

So, on a hot sunny sticky day, I set out in search of the Temple of Enthusiasm. The Temple can be found on JI. Batu Mejan No.4 Canggu, on one of the many tributary roads flowing down to the beach, some 15 minutes walk away. It’s not just a surf shop, it’s more of a compound, a hub for selling and exhibiting their creativity. You have the usual surf gear, apparel, clothing, flip-flops, wallets, t-shirts and surfboards but then you have an exhibition space, a restaurant, a cafe, a barbers, a custom surfboard workshop, a custom motorbike workshop, a photo studio, a bike show area, an outdoor eating/drinking/events area and an office, oh and don’t forget the skate park!

The Shortbread Shed-Deux-3The Shortbread Shed-Deux-5From an empty space the Temple rose and from two sides, rice fields frame the multidisciplinary complex layout. They even imported traditional Javanese Teak wooden houses to form part of the facility which is incredibly beautiful in and of themselves.

On entering, I immediately got that young boyish excited feeling like walking into a toy shop and being overwhelmed by choice and possibilities, it was a designers dream come true.

Deus have put their creative stamp on just about everything within the Temple. From beer coasters and sugar sachets (I managed to liberate a couple as a memento) to the large hand painted motorbike murals adorning the inside and outside walls.

Art is an intrinsic part of the brand. Yes, they make amazing custom built motorbikes and surfboards and thousands of other cool stuff, but it’s everything in-between that makes this amazing creative brand who they are.

I absolutely loved the whole Deus brand experience and philosophy. Their message is spreading and temples are beginning to appear around the globe from Sydney Australia where it all began to Bali, France, Madrid, Milan, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. “The stores are all different, a seed that grows into a different tree depending on the local soil it’s planted in, but they all ultimately share the same routes”.

Quotes that got me thinking. – No.13

Everything takes longer than you think it will even when you account for the fact that it will take longer than you think it will!

Jocelyn K. Glei’s take on Hofstadter’s law (It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law)

Firecracker beer

The Big Bang, Short Fuse and Pocket Rocket. An explosive trilogy of Big Bang home-brew and beer label creativity!

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-1

 

Hot off the back from recently creating the Flipperooney home-brew project I was eager to get another one out in time to help celebrate fireworks night.

I have always loved fireworks (in this context I’m referring to the physical firework rather than watching a display from a far) especially the graphic designs, the vivid colours, shapes and typography that the fireworks of yesterday had. I wanted to pay homage to these iconic British symbols for my new beer labels.

Following on from previous beer label creations I would adhere to the tried and tested route below:

Stage 1. Come up with a name for the beer

Stage 2. Design a logo

Stage 3. Create label

After a fair bit of on-line research into names of fireworks I just couldn’t make my mind up as to what to call the beer! However, why settle on one name, why not have more? And then it occurred to me that I could have a trio of fireworks, something like a pack of fireworks or rockets that you can buy in shops rather than individually.

My favourite three names I came up with for the explosive beer were The Big Bang, Short Fuse and Pocket Rocket which I thought perfectly summed up what I was trying to achieve for the beer labels.

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-1The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-3

I would create three separate designs for the beer labels. The more I thought about the rockets the more excited I became. What if I turned a bottle of beer into a rocket! Eureka! I looked at various shapes and sizes of bottles that would roughly look like the shape of a rocket and found that a small 330ml bottle did the trick. So all I had to do was create the logo and artwork around the shape and size of this beer bottle.

My fireworks colour palette would be made up of bright greens, yellows, oranges, blues and reds utilising bold graphic typography and imagery. I would have a different typography treatment for each of the names but keep the same font to maintain continuity so they look part of a family.

 

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-5

After many design iterations I eventually settled on my three favourites which included dynamic, distinctive and colourful backgrounds. Although I was happy with the way the labels were looking I thought I could push it even further and make it even more distinctive. A rocket isn’t really a rocket if it doesn’t have a stick you can put in the ground to hold it steady ready for launch. Off I went to a DIY store to see what I could get. I found a long Pinewood dowel that looked about the same thickness you would find on a real rocket. I bought it, took it back home and cut it down into three even lengths. These were then taped to the side of the bottles with the labels secured over the top. This was looking more like it… but I could do better. How about adding some touch paper like the fuse at the top of a firework which you need to ignite to set the firework off.

Back to the shops to buy some coloured sheets of tissue paper. Brilliant, this was the icing on the cake! This was the missing detail that brought everything nicely together. They looked great, however after a bit more research I found out that you could buy rockets in a pack as well as individually. So why not create a simple device to hold the three bottles together as a pack. To hold the sticks securely at the top I came up with an idea of a small flag that would wrap around the sticks and hold them firmly in place. I then created a large label that could wrap around the three bottles holding them nice and tight. The three logos for each of the beers were placed in three sections so every time you turned the bottles around you would see the names of the beers included within the pack.

This was a real fun creative project to work on, now all that remains to be done is to chill the beer and enjoy on fireworks nighty – Cheers.

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The Firecracker party pack packaging below.

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Artwork for Pocket Rocket, Short Fuse and The Big Bang beer labels.

 

Artwork for the party pack packaging.

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Artwork for the party pack stick flag.

firecracker beer flag

 

For previous beer label creations click the links for Flipperooney the The Wonky Woo Wa and Spring has Sprung

Flipperooney!

Flipperooney logoSo September saw me creating another batch of home-brew beer which gave me a great excuse to design and create another beer label for the new creation.

First challenge, to come up with a name I would christen the beer with. This is my third batch of home-brew and the third beer label I have designed and created. I still wanted it to be lighthearted and a bit quirky such as the previous two which were named The Wonky Woo Wa and Spring Has Sprung! (click links for details). After many ideas and  shortlists I finally came to one I really liked the sound of and so Flipperooney was born! Flipperooney is the name I give to the summersault my son performs. To perform this dare devil manoeuvre I grab both his hands by my thighs. While he’s facing me he uses his feet to walk up my legs until he his feet are by my shoulders. He’s now in an upside down vertical position and then after a count of three I flip him over back onto his feet and et voila there you have it the Flipperooney manoeuvre. Well, it was as good a name as any and it had a certain friendly excitement I wanted to portray in this beer label.

So now I had a name, the logo was next. I wanted a to use a font that would really represent the word Flipperooney, show playfulness, was fun and dynamic and full of energy. It had to be bright with a hand drawn/crafted feel to it. I did a tone of research on various font sites and eventually settled on the Changing Medium typeface by pintassiloprints from myfonts. I loved the font and it was perfect to bring Flipperooney to life. The font comes with many automatic interlocking pairs which just ads to it’s character bringing out the added quirkiness and playfulness.

The main colour I chose was for the logo was a vivid red, I added two solid drop shadows beneath, the first being cyan followed by yellow, slightly offset to give it a modest depth and a 3D stereoscopic type effect to the lettering. I wanted an image or illustration to show the Fliperooney but I could’t find any that represented it as much as I would have liked. I found as close a match to representing a Flipperooney as best I could on the  image library iStock.  This then brought the whole logo together and I could start adding the beer text beneath the logo and start creating the label itself.

The beer label was pretty straight forward. I created front and back artwork on the same piece of paper. I chose a pale blue background colour and added a slightly rough worn paper texture on top to give it some depth, character and to add to that home made/home brew crafted feel I was after. The labels were then glued to the bottles at an angle to add some dynamic visual quality to them.

Now all I have to do is stick them in the fridge, relax and enjoy not only the pleasure of the creative and production process, I can now enjoy the taste of a magnificent Flipperooney!

Cheers.

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The Shortbread Shed Flipperooney Beer label

The Wonky Woo Wa and Spring Has Sprung beer labels

For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I’m into my real ales, especially coming from Scotland I loved the odd pint of ‘Heavy’ (A Scottish term for the English equivalent called Bitter. Usually dark brown in colour, smooth with a good bubbly or creamy head, pretty flat with little to no gas/bubbles) on a night out. 

Last year my wife got me possibly one of the greatest birthday presents ever! A home brew beer making kit! It didn’t take me long to set everything up and get cracking with my first brew.

It’s remarkably easy to do once you have the basic equipment and all of which is completely re-usable, ready for the next batch.

For my first few experimentations I bought pre-made beer kits from a local store. All the ingredients are premixed together and come in a one litre tin can, which when emptied looks like a dark sticky gooey molasses.

Thankfully there isn’t much technical or chemistry ability required. Basically all you need to do is pour the ingredients into a large 25 litre plastic bucket, add one kilo of sugar, three litres of boiling water, followed by about 19 litres of cold water. Sprinkle the magic ingredient yeast over the top, give it a good stir, take an initial reading with a hydrometer, whack the lid on and leave it in a cosy dark spot for about 7-10 days until it reaches a specific gravity (alcohol content). Once this process is complete it’s then onto step two and the bottling. Syphoning out the beer into either bottles or barrels. I like to do a bit of both so I’ll pour about half of the contents into 500ml bottles and the rest will go into a pressurised keg. Bottles and keg are left in a warm environment for a further three days before being transferred out to the garage for stage three – the maturing part of the process. The bottles and keg are stored in a cool, dark place for at least another three weeks so the sediment can settle and the beer can clear ready for drinking. Part four, the easy part – drink!

The Wonky Woo Wa

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The other great part about making your own beer is having the opportunity to create beer labels to show off your home brewing skill.

The initial label I designed was for my first home brew, a cheeky dark bitter of around 4% ABV, it wasn’t too bad for a first attempt! I asked my son to name the inaugural brew and he came up with ‘Wonky Woo Wa’ which I thought was a cracking name for a beer.

So now I had a name for the beer all I had to do was design, create and produce a label. I wanted to create something unique, eye-catching, something a wee bit different that had an independent crafty and artisan look to it. Not only did I want it to look good, I also wanted to come up with an unusual way to affix the label to the bottle and make it visually and tacitly attractive.

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After trying out numerous options I came up with a typographical treatment only design. I chose hand drawn fonts for the Wonky Woo Wa name and logo type as well as a font for the details of the beer. I limited the colours to just two, red and black for maximum visual impact. I chose a heavy kraft card to print on for an authentic ‘crafty independent artisan’ look. I didn’t want to glue the label to the bottles so I came up with the idea of using rubber bands and thin bamboo kebab skewers cut down as the fastener to hold the labels in place securely around the bottle. I punched holes through the card, folded the edges over for more strength and security before binding multi-coloured rivets into the card to help prevent tearing when the rubber bands were threaded through and attached to the bamboo sticks. Finally I hand stamped a limited edition of 18 bottles with a unique reference number just to give it an extra level of detail, authenticity and uniqueness.

Spring has sprung beer label

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So the Wonky Woo Wa was last years winter beer and in March this year I decided to do an Easter special. I followed the exact preparation and brewing process as before and then started to think of an appropriate name so I could start to design and create the next beer label. It didn’t take me long to come up with a seasonal name for the beer. It was obvious really, it had to be called ‘Spring’, well, I slightly changed it through the design process to ‘Spring has sprung”.

I wanted to stay clear of the obvious visuals such as Daffodils, Bluebells and snowdrops. I was after something a bit more tongue in cheek. However I really liked the green and yellows of the daffodils, the purples of the bluebells and the crisp white of a snowdrop and decided to incorporate these colours into my design. I wanted to have fun with the name and incorporate that into the label so I came up with the idea to use a metal spring within the logo. I chose the same fonts as the previous beer label as I wanted to create that home-brew, artisan crafty style I was still after. I wanted the the label to also have an eye catching element so I designed a small tab to pop out from the side. This was coloured bright orange with the image of the spring down the centre and gave a real uniqueness and stand out appeal to the bottle.

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Again I did a mix of bottles and keg to store the beer in. So was it any good? Did the beer taste as great as the label looked? Yes it did!

I really enjoyed my first home brew experience and the creation of the label. It motivates me to keep brewing, coming up with unusual names and create visually appealing beer labels – its a win win situation for me.

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My intriguing book on doors

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The book was originally put together using Apple’s Aperture application where the curated images were stored and placed into the Book part of the application. When Apple stopped supporting Aperture I had to migrate everything I was doing over to Adobe Lightroom which is now my current default when creating photo books. I used an online company called Blurb to print the book who I have used several times before and love what they do. The finished format was as follows: 10x8in landscape, 117 printed pages with a hardcover image wrap, printed on ProLine uncoated paper.

 

A self initiated project book on doors

I was once stuck in a boring in-house corporate job for far too long. I wasn’t having enough creative input at work and it was slowly driving me crazy. I wasn’t quite ready to quit my safe mundane job for a more fulfilling creative career. I had an idea to come up with a self initiated project that would at least, keep my design skills alive until I managed to break free of my shackles of security! The project needed to be creative and involve design, layout, typography and photography which would hopefully bring back my excitement, passion and enthusiasm for design that was lacking –
this would be my escape plan!

The following images show a few of the spreads from the book.

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So after weeks of searching for the perfect creative and fulfilling project that would really float my boat I narrowed it down and finally came to a decision – it would be a photographic coffee table book on…
… DOORS!

The Plan

I would photograph ancient, modern, intriguing, mysterious, functional and decorative doors. The knackered, falling apart, recycled has-been varieties. Each one with a story to tell of power and wealth, protection and incarceration. After photographing the doors I would then use the pictures to create my very own coffee table book.

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The more I thought about it, the more excited I became about the creative possibilities. The varieties on offer and the intriguing stories that lay behind the doors became my inspiration and drive to take on the challenge.

I started this project back in 2004 and initially gave myself six months to complete it. Originally started as a simple project it gradually became a somewhat global obsession. Whenever we were away on holiday it suddenly became an excuse to search out some exotic doors to photograph. So now instead of a few domestic home grown varieties my global search opened up a whole new perspective. I have taken pictures from as far as Bali and Malaysia to Croatia and Poland.

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I absolutely loved the thrill of coming across some sort of unusual door on my travels, taking a picture of it and knowing I could use it in my book.

I had great intentions of printing and publishing the book within a short period of time from starting out on my adventure. However, every time I thought I had photographed the final door for the book I came across another one and so on and so forth. I lost momentum and enthusiasm and with a healthy dose of procrastination thrown in over the years stopped me actually producing a book at all. I almost got there several times over the years. I managed to curate all my pictures down to a nice collection, lay them out and incorporate them into a book for all to see.

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And so the unfinished non printed book remained on my hard-drive gathering pixel dust until now. 2017 is my year for actually ‘doing’ and ‘completing’ stuff. No more thinking about it, putting it off or sitting on it. It brings me back to this quote from Hugh Laurie which I am firmly putting into practice for this year. Take it away Hugh –

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”

If you would like to purchase a copy of my book, head on over to Blurb or click on the this link http://www.blurb.com/b/7733024-entrance

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Exit. The end of the book and perhaps the beginnings of a new self initiated project!