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.

The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-29The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-38The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-22The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-6The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-16The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-5

 

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.

The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-4The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-21The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-28The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-44

 

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.

 

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-3

A homage to the classic pocket rockets.

 

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-5

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.

 

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-4

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

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-6

The Firecracker party pack packaging above.

 

S115_fireworks beer labelsS115_fireworks beer labels3S115_fireworks beer labels2

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

S115_fireworks beer labels5

Party pack packaging artwork.
firecracker beer flag
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.