Posts Tagged ‘nottingham’

New Work: World Cup T-shirts

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

3 lions t-shirt

With the World Cup just around the corner, LeftLion have re-issued the limited edition t-shirts I designed for them the last time the world got temporarily obsessed with kicking a ball around a field. The design pays homage to the iconic original England 3 lions motif, replacing the three traditional lions with a triple rendering of Nottingham’s stone left lion statue in its market square. The ‘England’ text at the top of the crest has been replaced with ‘Nottingham’ so you know where these wonderful garments come from. Here’s a detail of the design…

3 lions england/nottingham badge

The t-shirts are avilable in white as well as the red shown here. Girls’ slim-fit tees are on sale as well as standard men’s fit, all available from here.

They have been lovingly handprinted by local good folks Regenerate and look amazing - the print has been done with an attention to detail you just don’t get on mass-produced items. I’m told they are selling like meth-infused hotcakes, so if you fancy one for yourself, avoid disappointment and order one asap - they won’t be printing any more once they run out of stock, and with people like Ziggy Marley (below) sporting them, I don’t think it will take too long for these to shift.

Ziggy Marley 3 lions shirt

LeftLion Issue 29

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

LeftLion issue 29 cover

The latest edition of LeftLion hit the mean streets of Nottingham this weekend, with a cover feature on the World Twenty20 cricket tournament. The fixtures are being held at four grounds around the country this month, including Trent Bridge (which was host to Australia’s exit yesterday - sorry boys, you just couldn’t cut it, see you when you hand over the ashes…). The tournament is being broadcast around the world on satellite television and is expected to reach an audience of half a billion people!

We came up with a cover concept which depicted the difference in scale of watching a cricket match on tv and being at the real thing, aiming to encourage people to take advantage of the event happening in their own back yard (Nottingham’s a small place).

The idea we ran with was the photo you see above; a shot of two people watching cricket on tv, as if in their lounge, but set up on the pitch at Trent Bridge. I wanted to use a photograph to bring a sense of realism to the viewer’s perspective, giving the impression of being closer to the scene than illustration could have achieved. I like the way it plays with the idea of scale and proximity, reflecting the two viewpoints from which people will experience the event.

It was a pretty simple shot to set up (Trent Bridge’s marketing guy was on side), the only hiccup being having to reschedule the shoot date due to bad weather (English cricket grounds are, of course, used to having such circumstances delay proceedings, so it wasn’t too much of a problem). Second time around we got good weather with an enticing blue sky, so I set everything up on the rug at the corner of the pitch, making sure to inlcude the scoreboard, poured prop drinks for the people in the chairs and was done in about ten minutes.

The coverline in the sky seals the deal, helping make sense of the image and bringing the whole cover together. It also has a bright, colourful quality to it which makes for a nice seasonal progression for this year’s covers so far: white and stark in winter (issue 27), flowers in spring (issue 28) and green grass and blue skies for summer. I think the next issue could be due a far-out cover illustration.

New Work: Graeme Park portrait

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Graeme Park

Last week I held a photoshoot with Hacienda resident and legendary DJ Graeme Park to accompany a magazine interview. It ended up being quite rushed as he arrived late and had to start his set almost as soon as he got there so I only had a 10 minute window to shoot him. Thinking the venue was covered in black drapes, my initial plan was to use backlighting to give him a halo rim light, then light his face with a flash through a brolly.

However, arriving at the venue I realised there were no black drapes or similar backdrop so had to modify my plan. One problem with doing a portrait session like this in a nighclub is that it is too loud to talk to your subject in a comfortable and natural manner. Shouting and picking up every third word is not conducive to developing a rapport, so I had to keep things simple, quick and easy. I spotted the curtain used as a partition to screen off the VIP area and saw an instant backdrop which I could fire a diffused flash through, so set up in this area quickly and got Graeme to sit in a leather armchair and fired a few frames. See set-up shot below.


Reviewing the images later revealed the limitations of such a quick setup - the rear flash is not fully hidden behind Graeme, which causes the hotspot to his right. Also, I must sheepishly admit that I failed to notice my camera was set to ISO 1600, which meant that I burned a lot of pixels unnecessarily and ended up with a noisier, higher-key image than intended. A lesson learned! I’m still happy with the image, given the timeframe and shooting conditions, but it is definitely not as intended. Luckily, the softness of newsprint should swallow the noise up and save my bacon. Thank the lord for poor print quality!

To see a larger version, click on the image.

New Work: Bus Illustration

Friday, May 15th, 2009

pathfinder illustration

Here’s an illustration I did as part of a pitch for a poster campaign on reducing bus fees on a local rural route.

Pen drawing coloured in illustrator.

New Work: Virtually Stolen campaign

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Virtually Stolen campaign flyers

IT SEEMS THAT even with the credit crunch hitting hard, there are still plenty of people out there with more money than sense. As such, it has been noticed that many people seem quite happy to leave their property lying around for lightfingered strangers to help themselves to.

Two of the most popular gadgets people carry with them on a day-to-day basis are  iPods and mobile phones (the iPhone being the must-have model). So, when I was asked by a local university to design some flyers for Virtually Stolen, a campaign to raise awareness about gadget theft, it seemed obvious to incorporate these two high-profile items into the design.

The brief was to design some A7 flyers which could be slipped underneath unattended gadgets to show the neglectful owners how easy it would have been for their precious (or perhaps not-so-precious) property to have been stolen. Luckily, the size of iPods and iPhones made it possible to fit a recognisable portion of their outline at actual size on the flyers. This has the great effect of allowing a flyer to be arranged underneath an offending object without obscuring any of the text explaining its purpose.

It also has the added quality of visually getting the message across when the flyers are seen without the relevant object placed on top of them - the printed outline of a phantom iPhone/iPod accompanied by the words ‘Virtually Stolen’ making it quite obvious what they are referring to.

New Business Cards

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009


My new business cards arrived last week and they look sweet! The front is black on black with a UV spot varnish on the lettering (very 80’s, I know). Printed on heavy stock with a matte laminate finish by Aubergine Print in Southwell, who I highly recommend as a specialist business card printer. Their prices are great, but not at the expense of quality - these things feel even better than they look, and the stock response from people who I have been giving them to has been along the lines of “Ooh, these are really nice - I’ll be hanging on to this”.

I never really expected much of a response to giving out a business card, but it would seem that a well designed card with some thought put into it, rather than just settling for a utilitarian design, can get people’s attention. Besides, as a graphic designer, you’ve got to have a natty business card, right? - it’s a chance to show your skills as well as pass on your contact deets.

New Work - Fairtrade table menus

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

fairtrade menus

I FINALLY GOT AROUND to photographing these table-top menus I did for a local bar a few weeks ago -  A6 cards advertising Fairtrade tea and cakes. I wanted people looking at the menu to be almost able to taste the cakey goodness and smell the tea, so decided to use close up photography to emphasize the sugary texture on the cherry slice (which meant I got to unwrap it; and also meant I got to eat it). Ditto the scattered tealeaves (which is actually a rare instance of me using stock photography) - they help to conjure up the sweet smell of fresh tea. Text is set in ITC Lubalin, coloured to echo the  blue and green of the Fairtrade logo.

LeftLion Issue 28

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009


ISSUE 28 of LeftLion magazine is currently in the hands of the printers and due to hit the streets on Friday 27th March. This is my first issue operating solely as Art Director, with our new designer, Tom Wingrove, taking over page design duties. After the initial editorial and planning meetings, we agreed on the visual ideas for each page and then I left him pretty much to his own devices, offering only minimal advice beyond the necessary technical info.

This was partly due to a hectic personal schedule, but also to see what he did of his own accord without too much input from me. He has done a grand job, designing the mag with a very different personal style to my own. For one, I am big lover of The Grid and white space, using these as the basis for (almost) all my page layouts, designing through the subtleties of harmony, balance, restricted colour palettes and careful font choices; letting the content take precedent.

This issue shows a departure from this approach, with denser, much more varied layouts and use of images. It will be interesting to see in print and I’m also intrigued to see what our readers make of the new look. Ironically, the cover is one of the simplest and cleanest we have ever produced, which stands in contrast to the busy look of the interior pages.

The cover boasts an image of a record-wreath retirement present, styled by Rikki Marr, as a tribute to one of England’s greatest independent records shops, Selectadisc, which is closing its Nottingham branch after 43 years of business. Fact fans take note: the shop began as a market stall before expanding to become a real brick-walls-and-door shop with a branch in London which was immortalised on the cover of Oasis’ LP, What’s the Story, Morning Glory.

This cover is the second in sucession which uses a lot of white space, something we haven’t done traditonally, but I think we were totally right to on both occasions.  I can’t imagine the wreath on this cover having the same stark impact if it sat on a coloured background. Besides, despite what some people say, I think white space will always have a place in magazine design, as it allows the content to breathe on the page in such an inimitable way.

BBC Interview

Monday, March 9th, 2009


BBC Nottingham have an interview with me here giving more info on the exhibition and the artists involved.

LeftLion Exhibition: Our Style Is Legendary

Saturday, March 7th, 2009


A BIG THANK YOU to all of the artists who have contributed work to the LeftLion exhibition currently on show at the Malt Cross in Nottingham. I would also like to extend this thanks to anybody who came down to the opening night on Thursday - it was awesome and had a real buzz about the place.

We had two frenzied nights getting the exhibition ready but somehow we made it, with just three pairs of hands on call for the setup and hanging sessions. Massive thanks to Alan Gilby And Rebi for all their hard work and dedication.


In the end, we have over 90 individual pieces on display by over 25 artists and had over 200 people through the door on the opening night. Thanks for all the positive comments - the art is pretty densely packed on the walls and with all the meeting and greeting it was difficult to take it all in with the attention it deserves.


Rikki Marr also did some sterling work for charity, raising money for Comic Relief by doing live portraits of willing visitors in the bar.

Some of the works in the gallery have already been sold and plenty of people have visited since the opening night, so I think it’s fair to judge the exhibition as a great success.


Our Style is Legendary: The Art of LeftLion is open every day until Sunday 15th March from 11am-6pm and will be open until 11pm from 11-13th March. If you are in town during this time, come down and check it out - it is conveniently located at the bottom of St.James’ Street, just off Market Square.

A scaled down version of the exhibition will be on show at the Golden Fleece from 21st March, but if you want to see the original canvases and installations, hit the Malt Cross this week while you have the chance.