Archan Nair / Saltyshadow


Can’t quite believe it: a new local gallery promoting fab graphic art! The only local gallery promoting fab graphic art? The only Yorkshire gallery promoting fab graphic art? Feel free to contradict me if this isn’t so but I haven’t been this excited since I heard they were doing a Blackadder Christmas Special…


Art You Can Touch


clockwise, L to R: Hitomi McKenzie, Claire Loder, Manuel Canu, Ikuko Iwamoto

So what does the term ‘ceramics’ make you think of? Sludgy brown pots made by someone approximately Felicity Kendal in The Good Life? A mass market Next dinner service? Well, unfetter your thinking! Because the world of ceramic art is as dynamic, diverse and exciting as any painting show! In fact, possibly more so, if like me you recognise almost no difference between (‘fine’) art collecting and the football industry: a reductive process of purchase, profit and celebrity in which no-one really cares what they’re looking at/talking about as long as it’s a ‘solid’ investment. Anyway, let’s not go into that right now – its nearly Friday….

Ceramic Art London Feb 27- March 1, Royal College of Art, London: 
Fair, demonstrations, talks and discussions

Custom Print your Clothes


I tried a new online shop system for custom printed t-shirts, hoodies, underpants and the like and was uncharacteristically impressed. I chose a mug, and it took less time than it would take to boil the contents of said mug to upload my image, place it how I wanted it, and pay. It arrived in the post 3 days later and looked very professional.

As a little experiment in ‘quality assessment’ I popped down to my local printshop and had another mug done there. Can a mug be ‘pathetic’, I ask? Can it inspire a sad – and very human – sympathy? Well people, it was a sorry-looking sibling by comparison. 

Anyway, have a go. I was thinking I might try some custom-designed t-shirts for etsy… Clothes from £11.95 (pants)  –  £22.95 (Hoodies + P&P); Mouse mats £8.45; Mugs £9.95; Coasters (x4) £12.95. T-shirts are a reasonable £12.45.

Make a Little Birdhouse in your Soul


i’ve designed some wall stickers (or decals). i agonised over the subject matter for days. i posted the files to the printers. then i thought that maybe it would better to do a simple goldfish in a bowl instead. then i thought that maybe it would be better to have a farmyard set with fat hens and a thatched barn. eventually i acknowledged, after looking out the window and remembering its a vast, largely indifferent, world out there, that a birdhouse would be just fine. 

allowing for more critical indecision, they should be available soon from the website

Emoticon Snobbery


Devil emoticon = Tony Blair

Devil emoticon = Tony Blair

Emoticons: naff, aren’t they? And its so easy for a designer to get sniffy about the primitive graphics (50 seconds in adobe illustrator?). Why is it then that i spent my friday night matching them to celebrities on a skype call to my mum? 

Rob’s my brother. He claims to eat nothing but pizza and curry… in case you were wondering. it makes him feel like a man 😉

Design Vitamins


A couple of days ago I was asked to put together some suggestions for a pitch for a magazine redesign. The content was really interesting, but the design was dire. It reminded me of family planning literature, or some similar NHS paranoia literature, the sort of bumpf you only read when you’ve been left waiting to see a doctor for ages and which manages to convince you almost 100% that you’re dying of heart disease/syphilis/cirrhosis because you get a mild twinge in your right whatsit twice a year…And almost insultingly there’s always some inappropriate stock image on the front of a happy old couple who’ve clearly never forgotten their vitamins, or an impossibly fresh faced young woman looking, well, like she hasn’t got ‘owt! harrumph.

My point? I found some refreshingly well designed NHS literature by Raw Design Studio in Manchester, is my point.