Design China Now

Whenever I hear the word 'China', I think of sweat shops and communism. I've never really looked into their sense of modern design. I was in London last year visiting some relatives and I stumbled on an exhibition called China Design Now.

The exhibition travels along three coastal cities and their take on design. Each were impressive in their own right but the jewel in the crown was Beijing. The Olympics was a major effort in both the stadium and the opening ceremony. This exhibition unveiled conceptual drawings, behind-the-scenes photographs of the construction of the Olmypics, as well as present day examples of Beijing's impressive architecture.

Sadly, I wasn't allowed to take any pictures and when I attempted to I got some pretty scornful eyes and a stern telling off. I've searched the best images off the internet that can hopefully give you an idea of how good this exhibition was...


Hard-hitting Advertising

This campaign was part of Women's Aid - a national charity whose sole goal is tackling the domestic abuse of women and children. This advertising strategy took recognizable faces and made them unrecognizable. In a manner, it hinted the idea that not even the rich and famous are safe from this threat - a very powerful oxymoron as we usually see these A-Lister's living their lives in First Class splendor, shielded from the harsh reality.

Domestic abuse is no happy scenario so why should its advertising be?

I'm currently working on a piece aimed at encouraging members of the general public to donate their free-time volunteering for the Samaritans.



I've always found a website that requires your input and interaction will always leave an impacting and lasting impression. As a response to a previous blog, I was given a link to a song promotion from Placebo's latest album (Thanks Matt).

The mouse movements control the different environments for the duration of Placebo's The Never Ending Why and as a result, I enjoyed the interaction and ended up humming said tune over the next few days: good design.

With any design that I like, I instinctively have to find out whose responsible for its inception and creation. In this case, it's Random Studio.

As soon as I entered the website, it became clear within a second what they do: interactive fun that performs a purpose. Soon after, I was sheltering the navigation bar from falling cursors - a nice touch was that the weather changed so distinctively that you could work out what type it was.
Their work is highly inventive and engaging, so much so that I've spent the past hour happily going through the websites that they've designed.

Lipton / Pioneers / FIFA


I Heart Vectors

Everyone enjoys a vector every now and then, their lack of detail makes them somehow more pleasing to the eye. Best example? If you've seen Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy then you'll know what I mean.

Absolutely stunning to watch.

So when I saw Neubauwelt on the shelf solely devoted to the things that I love, the purchase was a no-brainier. It's concept? Gather the greater majority of objects in the big wide wide, capture them in their simplest form and provide them all on a CD with a catalog.

Some of the MANY vectors below. There's a wide range of different categories: clothes, chairs, vehicles, fruit, mammals, plants, leaves etc.

When I first bought this, there were over 1,000 highly-detailed vectors available for me. Since then, I've been adding vectors of my own to the collection - you never know when they may come in handy.

Buy from here.


Stefan Sagmeister

There are many guilty pleasures out there: the smell of petrol around the gas pumps, stepping on dried autumn leaves to hear them crunch, new car smell. My main vice is new book smell coupled with an exquisite design. They don't get much more well-designed than Stefan Sagmeister's Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far. I'm a sucker for a good-looking book, so when I came across a book made up of smaller books, and ones that you can interchange to create different covers: it was a winning combination.

This 'collection' is a result of the man in question taking a 12 month sabbatical in 2000 from any projects or clients in the hope of seeing how work will change. He kept a diary of his progress; this would later provide the title for his collection of works and what each piece of work would be based on. Each small book is based on a specific phrase that relates to his thoughts during his idyllic break from the professional advertising sphere.

His work is so enticing. By no means, there isn't a single one that is legible or easily interpretable but that is what makes his work quite special. He makes you work hard to decipher what's in front of you, and as a result, you begin to see the smallest of details that help the overall impact. His work isn't clean or composed but rather chaotic (some are quite disgusting to look at). It's for these reasons why I will happily look at the work he does because he offers something that is hard to find anywhere else.

Patrick Hughes

One of my favourite artists. His work may not look dazzling or rival the Mona Lisa, but what he does offer is an alternate method of viewing art - Reverspective. In essence, he creates a sculpted painting. Using the technique of perspective, his paintings take on a life of their own.

I was lucky enough to see this exhibit in Birmingham a few years ago and loved the fact that an optical illusion was the foundation of all his pieces. It also made for interesting viewing, as quite a few people collided into each-other trying to see the perspectives from different, often opposing, directions.

This influenced me for my submission for the D&AD 2009 competition, where I played on perspective to promote a Lloyds TSB student account.