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Retiring an old workhorse


It’s a fitting coincidence that in the week that Apple celebrates 30 years of the Mac I replace my ageing MacBook Pro – I say ageing – it was brought in 2009 but in computing terms it’s a pensioner. So I’ve given it to my daughter to enjoy a gentle retirement doing nice things like playing Sims and watching YouTube cat videos, rather than huff and puff over a 1Gb Photoshop file. It’s replacement is a much leaner thing, very eager to please and galloping along with it’s Adobe chums.

I’ve added my first Mac, a Classic II, (I still have it and it still boots up too!) to Apple’s Your First Mac celebration and realised I’ve been using one for over 23 years – the attic is turning into a small Mac museum – interestingly I’ve always spent the same amount of money on each machine over those years!


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Falling in love with Esmeralda


Esmeralda Pro is a beautiful Open Type font which I discovered while browsing the excellent ‘I love Ligatures’ website.

To quote the designer Guille Vizzari:

“Esmeralda was born with a strong influence of the classical “capitalis monumentalis”, carved in stone. In the same way, the origin of this majuscule writing emerged from the brush, from a way of writing made merely by hand. For this reason, these two universes were intended to lie beneath the shape of each letter, redefining them. And this combination of styles should also be reflected in a lower case set that also allows to open up the spectrum of usage possibilities. Foundational calligraphy represented a solid base for the development of lower case glyphs, ensuring proper interaction with the upper case letters.

“Esmeralda” features a great number of ligatures that mix classic structures with a more contemporary impression. With more than eleven hundred glyphs, it provides a multiplicity of uses across a wide combinatory of ligatures, alternative signs, initial caps, miscellaneous and connectors; each one of them accessible through Open Type.

“Esmeralda” is perfect to speak with a classical yet fresh, modern – and a little bit bold – tone of voice.


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Making resolutions #2


As I’m increasingly living an analogue life (listening to vinyl, letterpress printing etc) I’m planning to start a ‘scrapbook’ this year – I already have a pile of scribbles on my desk and bits pin on my noticeboard so I’m just being more organised! I do have Pinterest but I wish it was a physical thing in my hands (same way I can never really get into ebooks despite having designed a few). I think to marry things together I will occasionally scan pages from my book and post them here. I’m a big fan of all things Moleskine but also wish Scoutbooks were sold in the UK – I could always make my own too – one of my books for Christmas was the incredible 500 Handmade Books – so watch this space!

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Buying iconic chairs


Having moved from an Edwardian terrace to a 1970s dormer our ‘period’ furniture looks out of place – especially the dining room. If I had the money (and didn’t have cats) I’d buy original modern classics, (as an alternative to a pension), instead I’ve gone for copies – the chairs are Arne Jacobsen’s series 7 – the butterfly chair – made from a single peice of moulded plywood, first designed in 1955, originals cost around £300, ours (in brown leather) cost £40!

The chair is perhaps best known for the prop used to hide Christine Keeler’s nakedness in Lewis Morley’s iconic portrait of 1963. However this chair, like mine was a copy!

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Making Jam – Part 3


Having successfully made my first lot of jam I was keen to label it up, being a graphic designer meant of course I would have to design my own! I’m a great fan of those 1950s fruit crate labels and so tracked down some inspiration. I’d taken a digital pic of a hastily arranged basket of apricots before I made the jam, so using the Watercolour filter in Photoshop I quickly turned it into an illustration before adding some period type, Underground font from P22 along with a really nice script font Liorah. Think I’ll use the design as a templte for all my other jams, just change the image each time.

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Enjoying the new Marmite ads


Some great work for the new Marmite Squeezy by DDB. The illustrations are cool and a simple idea you can run everytime something topical crops up in the media. Brilliant!

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Enjoying my daughter’s art


Our daughter is constantly drawing and making things so I was quite delighted when while helping me make dinner she started making a picture out of bits of vegtables on the chopping board! Think she’s been watching that excellent art programme ‘Smarteenies‘ – the modern equivalent of ‘Take Hart’, they even have the same music!

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Enjoying Etched in Time


George Vlosich has mastered the humble Etch-a-Sketch to an amazing extreme – his sketches take between 60-70 hours to complete – bear in mind an etch-asketch is a single line is work is amazing!


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Enjoying The Word on the Street


The National Library of Scotland’s ‘The Word on the Street’ is an ‘online collection of nearly 1,800 broadsides lets you see for yourself what ‘the word on the street’ was in Scotland between 1650 and 1910.’Broadsides’ were the tabloids of their day – pinned up on walls these single sheets carried public notices, news, speeches and songs.

You can search the collection and download PDFs of the broadsides. A fasinating history, made better by a great website.

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Enjoying the new Jasper Fforde covers


The four Thursday Next books have all been given the pulp fiction cover treatment by Mark Thomas – following the style for the recent book ‘Something Rotten’ the other three look fantastic – of course now I’ll have to go and buy them again!

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