Paula Bailey

May 29, 2012

All sewn up

As if to remind me that I need to get a move on with my decorating (I’m going to make the spare room into a cat-free zone so I can make things in there), this May has had a bit of a sewing theme.

Earlier in the year I created a logo for Swinky Doo of County Kerry and this month I’ve been working on some leaflets to promote Karen’s beautiful handmade work.  She makes stunning personalised pictures and bunting for children, adults, babies, weddings – anything you like. She has also just launched her brand new website and I’ve been making banners for that too.

As with the logo, the leaflets and banners echo the style and the mood of the Swinky Doo brand. Karen says:

At Swinky Doo we love the idea of using up odds and ends of fabrics, old summer dresses, torn denim jeans and broken bead necklaces – transforming them into beautiful, unique and colourful gifts that will be treasured by their new owners.

Why not check her out. She ships to most places and you can be guaranteed a unique gift or keepsake. She’s on Facebook too.

Today I got some exciting news from fellow Southsea resident and maker of wonderful things, Georgina Giles.  Every month, Georgina picks the name of one of her subscribers out of a jar and the lucky person gets a present in the post. This month it was me! I am so looking forward to receiving these lovely hand stamped, fabric covered buttons.  Take a look at her blog – and why not subscribe? You might be next month’s winner.

I don’t know what I’ll do with them yet, but I’d better get on with sorting out that sewing room!

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Update: Georgina delivered the parcel to me today. So beautifully wrapped, and the buttons are gorgeous.

January 11, 2012

Typographically speaking

'Old Type..' by Marco Filinesi

If you make a quick search for the use of typewriters in graphic design you may be dismayed to find the returning results lean heavily towards compilations of typewriter fonts – whether to download or to recreate using Photoshop. This is not what I was looking for when I began research for this post, but maybe my search terms are to blame.

I suppose that in the vast majority of cases, paper-based items of graphic design are intended for multiple reproductions, and the use of a real typewriter would be prohibitive for all but the most limited of editions. Unless the hand-typed words were then scanned or photographed, we’re probably looking at other areas of design and art.

I’m going to have to do a lot more research for a future blog post it seems. I know the work is out there, I just need to find a way to get past the proliferation of sites whose owners have worked so hard to make the search engines work for them. In the meantime I would like to share with you some of the gorgeous photographs of old typewriters that I found during my search. If you like them, do click through to Flickr to tell their owners.

And watch this space for another post on the subject. Thanks for visiting.

'let's type' by |vvaldzen|

'Underwood Typewriter II' by Geof Wilson

'sQWERTY' by Troy Paiva

'writing...the old fashioned way' by Darwin Bell

'UPPERCASE Typewriter Event' by Janine Vangool

'Typographer' by Ed McGowan

'Underwood Typewriter' by RiaPereira

'Royal Quiet Deluxe' by Janine Vangool - click image to read her blog

'we regret to inform you' by Andre Govia

March 11, 2011

CMYK: The rainbow for geeks?

CMYK style

CMYK style by Mitra Mirshahidi

OK so it might not be a full rainbow, but it’s our rainbow and we love it.

As many of you will know, CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK (more properly known as Key) and these are the four colours used in the CMYK printing process.  You may have noticed them on the uncut edges of magazines or newspapers as a series of circles or squares.

On the other hand, the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colours are what happens on our computer screens. You can read more about all that here.

But who cares about all this? Well apart from printers, designers do. And these days that can extend to photographers and others interested in the visual arts.  Not because of the use of CMYK in the printing process, but because it’s cool.

You might be wondering what on earth could be cool about four colours that don’t seem to go together, that don’t flow from one to the other like a rainbow does, or that, on reflection are actually three colours and a tone (if we’re getting technical here).

This is where the print people sit

This is where the print people sit ... by vintagedept

It seems that CMYK has become a universal identifier for design and print geeks and their friends. Just take a look at some of the CMYK inspired logos that designers make for themselves, or the CMYK t-shirts that are out there to buy. It’s like a badge. It says “I am a designer” or “I work with print”. It’s a social signal for geek-to-geek coolness.

And then there’s the inevitable bandwagon. A couple of years ago, on the wave of renewed interest in lomography (essentially photography with cheap plastic film cameras) which extended, naturally, to the design world, the Diana F+ CMYK was launched. It was nicknamed the ‘Smeek’ because they thought CMYK was too cumbersome to say.  Basically it was another edition of the very popular Diana series but with extra cool. I still want one.

CMYK

Unplanned coincidence - when we realised what we were all wearing, we just had to do a photo

I think the colours look great together. They don’t jar even though they are very bright. I’m not sure of the dynamics but my guess would be that they work together because between them, all colours can be made.   It’s not a rainbow but if you’re working in print, it’s where your rainbow comes from. Having said that, I wouldn’t want a room done out in CMYK, and if I wore it then I’d definitely restrict it to a small size (like many of the t-shirts shown in the link above).

What do you think? Do the CMYK colours all in one hit appeal to you? Or do you hate them? Feel free to share any links to CMYK images of your own when you comment.

And in case you were wondering what inspired today’s post, well it was my newly painted CMYK fingernails of course.

CMYK

Are these the ultimate geek girl fingernails?

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February 4, 2011

Yellow Fever

It seems that everyone’s moaning about the winter at the moment.  The problem is, I think, that they started moaning about it in December when we were just getting over Autumn.  No wonder everyone’s so fed up.

So I thought I’d put out a cheerful and encouraging post today.  Spring is on its way! Yes I’ve seen the signs – little flowers are starting to pop their heads through the hard soil and buds and catkins are appearing on trees.

Yellow is a colour that is prevalent throughout the spring, summer and even autumn, and yet it is perhaps most closely associated with the onset of spring.  It may be because of the “host of golden daffodils” that appear in our woodlands, parks and gardens, and even on the high street outside florists, greengrocers and petrol stations.

Yellow is seen as a positive colour.  To me it lacks the warmth of orange, but it certainly does brighten things up.  On the other hand it can be a warning. We use it on our signs to bark instructions, warn of danger and send out signals at a distance. In nature it can mean poison, particularly when teamed with black.

Traditionally its ‘opposite’ (on the colour wheel) is purple or violet, but this pairing often jars the senses.  The orange/blue pairing works well, but yellow/purple and the red/green do not seem to share that harmonious relationship.  However yellow is complimented well by blue, as can be seen in the centre image of the yellow flower against a blue sky.  It’s all about light rather than colour wheels.

Yellow has a broad range of ‘types’ as with all the colours I’ve discussed so far.  It can veer towards orange or to green in hue. It can be a subdued ‘mustard’ yellow (supposedly the fashion colour this season) or scream at us with fluorescent versions.

Whichever way you perceive it, you really can’t miss it and I hope you find the collection below cheerful. Spring’s not far away.

Yellow Fever

I have curated a Flickr gallery to accompany this post.

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November 19, 2010

Oranges Poranges

I find orange a wonderfully warm and joyful colour.  I love red, but that sometimes can be a little cool or harsh.  Yellow is fabulously uplifting but for me it is a definite spring/summer colour and I am definitely not a spring/summer person.

Orange is rust and the beauty of fire; it is the colour of thousands of vibrant flowers; it is my favourite late afternoon autumn sunlight on a warm terracotta wall.  With its counterpart, blue, it really pops as part of the most successful pairing of complementary colours.

As mentioned in previous musings about colour, orange is no stranger to disagreement.  Is it yellow? Red? Brown?  That might depend on your mood or your outlook.  For some it is school dinner carrots, for others it’s golden syrup pudding.  I know which I prefer.

Native Americans associate orange with kinship and it is the preferred hue for Hindu swamis and Buddhist monks.  It has associations with Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving (is this because of the colour of pumpkins?), and is often regarded as a positive and optimistic colour.  There are some who would say it is merely the part of the spectrum that exists between 585 and 620 nanometres. #FFA500 to them!

Orange is also the favourite colour of fellow photographer and Flickr friend Jennifer König.  She is moving house and that’s why I’ve chosen orange today.  And if you’re wondering about the title, you may be too young to remember H R Pufnstuf!

I’ll let Wassily Kandinsky have the final word:

Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.

Orange

I have curated a Flickr gallery to accompany this post.

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September 6, 2010

Arsenic Green

‘Arsenic Green’ is not an easy colour to describe but for many years it was the very green which, according to John Lloyd and the late Douglas Adams was “supposed to make you feel comfortable in hospitals, industrious in schools and uneasy in police stations” (from The Meaning of Liff, 1983).  I’m not entirely sure it is even called arsenic green – but that is what I call it (and so do a company called Farrow & Ball it seems – actually check out their paint colour names, they have one called Dead Salmon too).

Pantone call it 557 U.

Many years ago, copper acetoarsenite was used to colour things green.  The resulting greens were variously called emerald green, Paris green or Scheele’s green (which is, in turn, also known as copper arsenite).  It was used to colour many things including wallpaper, clothing, paints, even children’s toys and as a face makeup to reduce redness. Of course it was very poisonous.  People died and often in quite alarming ways, frequently in green rooms, and usually by inhaling the toxic fumes that were emitted, particularly in damp conditions.  It has even been suggested that this green pigment was the cause of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte.

And we were worried about lead in paint?

For me, this colour (or more correctly range of colours) sums up dusty old school rooms and sensible books, soft furnishing materials and old biscuit tins at my grandmother’s house, and the thick layers of green paint peeling off my grandfather’s old zinc shed, showing the faded versions of the same colour below.  It’s a definite nostalgia colour – not only for my own childhood, but also for the earlier childhoods I read about in my story books. Faded summers.

In design work I would use it to convey a ‘classic’ feel, particularly in book cover design.

What does it mean to you?

Arsenic Green

I’ve curated a Flickr Gallery to accompany this post.

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June 13, 2010

Turquoise is all in the mind

Business Card

Is this turqouise?

My sister-in-law recently asked me to make her a business card.  I asked her what she would like and she replied “simple butterfly, turquoise shades”.  So I started to look at ways of designing her card.

After a while, and when I was ready to send some ideas to her, it occurred to me that what I thought of as turquoise might not be what she thought of as turquoise.

How many times have you discussed the colour of something, only to have one person state that a thing is blue, and another to argue that it is green?  Does that make it turquoise by default?  It seems not.

Turquoise is a recognised colour related to the turquoise mineral, Pantone has declared the colour of 2010 to be 15-5519 Turquoise, and yet I have heard people declare that colours as blue as cobalt are turquoise.  So do we wrongly call something turquoise because we cannot decide if it is blue or green?  We may never know.  As my friend and fellow designer Naomi Finn has discovered through her recent research into colour, visual perception is very personal.

We will all have to agree to differ from time to time.  Oh, and my sister-in-law loved the card design.

Turquoise is all in the mind

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May 21, 2010

When it’s all over

Interview Day

Not miserable, just concentrating on getting the sign in the shot

Just over three years ago I went to the University of Portsmouth for an interview for a place on the Communication Design BA Hons (now Graphic Design) degree course.   I was delighted to be accepted on the day of my interview.  I don’t look very happy in the photograph, which I took just afterwards, but this was my third or fourth attempt at getting the sign and myself in the shot.

Three years later and I have just handed in my final project work and done my viva presentation.  That’s it.  It’s all over apart from our summer show which we will start working on in June.

I have had a brilliant time at university.  In some respects I wish I had done it years ago, but I know that I would not have had the same experience as I have done if I’d done a degree when I left school (in nineteen … I’m not telling you!).  I didn’t know what I wanted to do then and I would have ended up taking a subject because I was good at it or choosing a university because of the city it was in.  Nothing wrong with that, but I know I wouldn’t have got the best out of the experience.

As a mature student I have loved every minute – now that I have a vague idea that I might know what I want to be when I grow up.  I had always felt that making images was meant to be a ‘hobby’ and not something I could have as a career.  It’s a shame that people are sometimes made to feel that the creative path is not worthwhile.  It is.  And I’m so glad that I made the decision to take it, even though I waited a long time to do so.

Steep Climb

It's been a steep climb at times but I've not been on my own

That’s not to say it has all been plain sailing.  Not at all.  It’s been hard work and at times very stressful, but most definitely worth it.  And I’ve been lucky enough to make some great friends along the way.  In most cases I am old enough to be their mother but that doesn’t make any difference.  We’ve all been on the same journey together and it’s going to be hard to say goodbye when our summer show is all over and everyone goes back to wherever home is.  Hopefully we will keep in touch.  There is always Facebook these days and at least we will get to hear some news from time to time that way.  Some I imagine will go on to work together, and some of us will be back for more!

I’m not ready to give up being a student.  I have decided that I want to continue and do the Masters degree.  I have some ideas about what I would like to do after that but I am very aware that plans too far ahead are not always a good thing.  So they’ll stay as rough ideas for now.  I have some definite outside interest in some of my degree work so I’m hoping to develop that further, which is very exciting, and I have some personal projects on the go which I can now spend a bit more time on over the summer.

So it’s mixed feelings at the moment.  I’m glad all the end of year stress is out of the way and my work is in, but also I know I am going to miss being there.  I’m still trying to switch off, but find that I’m still on the lookout for anything related to my projects.  One minor annoyance was that after three weeks of almost daily visits to supermarkets on the lookout for early cherries to photograph, I drew a blank, only to find they arrived in the shop three days after hand-in.  They weren’t essential but I had hoped to include a real cherry with the variations that I had created for my logo cherry.  Such is life.

Cherries

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