A collection of adverts from my time at Crown House Publishing

I have been working for a magazine publishers for the past six months as a Junior Designer. A large portion of my tasks include generating adverts that fill the six different trade magazines that are distributed nationally. I frequently work with companies to make their advertisements in line with their brand’s specifications. Below is a selection of some of the adverts that I have created in my time here. 

River Oak Free Font

River Oak is a free font consisting of all Uppercase letters and is available to download below.

I've been meaning to try my hand at creating a font for a while now. My intentions during the design process were to try and imagine what Futura Bold might look like, if the typeface had been carved into wood.

I hope you enjoy my work, and I would love to see examples of the free font in action if you end up using it. To let me know, get in touch with me over here. Thanks!

River Oak Free Typeface Letters
Download free font RIver Oak

Daily Drinks

This entry is coming to you from the not so very sunny Huddersfield. As I mentioned in my last blog post, the closure of the company I worked for has resulted in me moving back to the UK.

While looking for employment to try and start saving up some money so that I wont have to work part time during my last year of uni (I have worked part time all the way through college and Uni - so it will be nice not to worry about fiances so much and focus on my course) I am left wanting to continue exploring new areas of design that I haven't already been exposed to.

I have recently become more aware of how many motion graphics we are exposed to; even as I write this in the library, screens are showing me a minimalistic 'pop-art' style animation about the different services available. So, I have decided to try and learn some basics of this increasingly popular style.
I have found a talented animator on YouTube who has made a series of easy to follow tutorials - the account name is Mt. Mograph, which you can check out here, or on his website. Through following one of his videos, which he titles Slick Object Transitions, I have attempted to make an animation of different drinks transitioning into each other.

My approach to using tutorials in order to learn new software is to try and watch the video as little as possible - to not copy what I'm watching, but rather imitate the techniques in my own work.  I know this is far from perfect, and probably takes me way longer than it probably should, but for a first attempt at animation I am happy with the outcome. Have a look for yourself below:

Daily Drinks

What I like about this animation is how in each stage of the image, a single element of the drink morphs fluidly into the next - for example, the green circle used to denote the Starbucks coffee cup jumps up, changes colour, and then falls to form the orange juice in the next drink.

The simplicity and minimalism of the drink designs is what makes the animation work well in my opinion. By limiting how many individual elements make up the illustrations, it allows for some of the character to come through via the animation.

starbucks motion graphics
Orange Juice motion graphics
Milk Motion Graphics

By taking the Starbucks cup as an example, the illustration is made up of four shapes: the white cup, two separate shapes to make the grey lid, and the green circle. By keeping the total number of elements low, I can animate them all individually without the overall image getting too busy or distracting. The cup appears from the bottom of the screen, growing upwards and outwards, followed by the lids popping out at separate times to add more character to the illustration. Finally the Starbucks logo pops out from the centre of the mug from nothing, revealing the final image.

This project was a fun challenge and I'm anxious to experiment more within the field of motion graphics. Keep your eyes peeled!

Running A Shoot

As part of the Denim guide, I had been assigned with the duties of producing the video to then make content for the blog. This videos would consist of the model walking in and out of screen, walking across the screen (which then will be edited in post so each step would be a different pair of jeans) and other different movements in the jeans that will then be turned into Cinema-graphs.

This was my first time running a shoot hat involved models and other people. But I felt really comfortable going into this. Especially when i walked into the studio to see the lighting set up, and seeing that it wouldn't work for what we wanted to do. And as I was in charge of running this shoot, I managed to get new lighting in from a rental company so that the lighting would be consistent between film and photography, which was a really nice feeling as an intern having this kind of responsibility.


Trying to Scanimate

I don't really like to write about a project while its still on going, but for this one I will have to make an exception.

This Brief that Hannah and I where tasked with is probably one of the best i have received within my internship at Mexx and one that I felt passion about. The task was to create the new denim fit guide that will be printed and sent across all stores. The new guide would have to follow the new style of window displays of perspective, with the brand wanting to bring more emphasis on its denim quality.

After a while of different ideas and research, the idea of using some form of scanimation in the design. By using scanimation it plays on the idea of perspective.
Scanimation is an adaption of an Moire pattern. A moiré pattern is a secondary and visually evident superimposed pattern created, for example, when two identical patterns on a flat or curved surface are overlaid while displaced or rotated a small amount from one another. (I definitely didn't take that from Wikipedia). The Moiré pattern can be used to animate images. An acetate overlay containing vertical stripes is placed over the image and slowly moved from right to left to create a second image beneath.

The inventor of this pattern Rufus Seder has a video on his website. And has also released a video explaining his technique and where his idea came from.

The idea to use this technique as part of the denim fit guide meant the guide will come out of a sleeve which will have the black bars necessary for the animation to work. I created a lot of different test experimenting with this technique to see if this would be an except-able medium for us to portray the message we wanted.

One of the original test would be to have an animation of an attractive lady in a pair of jeans doing a slight bum wiggle. But unfortunately there are limitations to how much detail can be included in the animation due to the technique being relatively destructive to the original image, and the shapes had to be simplified to work successfully. So the idea was taken back to just using text as part of the animation.

As you can see in the image, when the black lines move, it reveals some of the image below. By using static text, it allows for higher quality of clarity to the text, but also allows the design to work outside of the black stripes. With the design still being legible outside of the black bars, this technique could be used. This denim guide would bring more attention to a customer as it has an element of playfulness to it and allows an element of interactivity.

This project still has more to go, including Photography for the inside of the denim guide, and video which I will be taking for using on the website.

Amsterdam Fashion Week

Working with the idea of surrealism, Hannah - the new senior designer and I where tasked with coming up with a new save the date for a Mexx event at the Amsterdam Fashion.

With being shown some original concepts and imagery for the new line that will be part of the show, it was decided to include imagery based of lights to make the Mexx's iconic XX's.
After a few trial concepts and different feedback, it was desired to to physically remake the XX's with lights to then make an animation of the lights flashing on, and when the lights reach full illumination, the information will reveal it's self.

The way we used the lights to set up for animating at a later point, by taking images of every different combination. Then later in post by editing the images to imply the X's are turning on.

This was one of the first pieces animated work that I have set up from start to finish including all the post work, I think it went really successfully which makes it more upsetting that the event was cancelled which meant that the work I had put into this project.
It's starting to feel a little cliché to say that I learned a lot form this project, But at the moment it is true. I am being exposed to a mix of new projects that I might not have necessarily have done before hand. So even though I am displeased that the work won't be used, I am still grateful for chance to make these pieces of work.

Cocktails at a Speak Easy

As the party season is coming upon us soon, this week I received a brief to make some cocktail making tutorial videos for the fashion and lifestyle blog at Mexx that will also be co-inside with a fashion shoot of a bar party.

This shoot meant I got to go to a very exclusive bar in Amsterdam which models it's self as a speak easy bar. With you needing to say a password to get in and only by appointment. Here I met a really nice bartender who was a friend of someone from the office which is the only way we managed to get to do a a photo shoot in such a luxurious place. 

The shoot consisted of making 3 separate videos of different cocktails being made. The shoot went relatively without any hitches and I thoroughly had a good day. Especially with one perk of the job being that somebody had to drink the cocktails, so it might as well have been me.

Unfortunately the photo shoot side of this project was taking place after my filming, and as I had a flight to catch I couldn't stick around to see it take place.

Working for the DJ

Well we have done it, we have finished our work for our first client, and what a nice person to work for. James Holland a Dj from Huddersfield UK required his branding redoing- so that's what we did. 
For his logo we wanted to introduce elements of DJ'ing into his mark. By using a record, pause and a play symbol to replace the O the two L's and the A - we can achieve this.

Halloween Make up

Well this week I got to do something really exciting. I got to go to a high brand make up studio in Amsterdam city to make some videos of some different Halloween make up tutorials. The make up included characters such as Maleficent, Effy Trinket, a vampire and a zombie. This project involved working with different models, art directors and photographers and also make up artists as part of the shoot.

I truly enjoyed this day of shooting, being in control of all the lighting and the camera work. I am happy with the turn out on the videos with one of the videos coming up to near 5,000 views in youtube. This project also gave me a chance to improve what video editing skills I have. This has given me some ambition to pursue video a bit more in future projects.

Once upon a time Vampires were perceived as dusty, ugly old men that hid away in crumbling castles and terrified villagers, then came The Lost Boys; leather clad, motorbike racing punks who lived in a subsided seaside hotel.

The Make up videos where part of a Halloween promotion on the blog, to be co-inside with a photo shoot with the new in house photographer at Mexx. on this shoot, I got to be involved as a photography assistant.

To check out one of the blog post click here.


Stationery , stationery everywhere.

Our branding is now ready. From mailing tubes to t shirts, stickers to sketch pads. we are aimed with paraphernalia to help us rid the world of dodgy design.

It has been exciting making all the different Let Me fix This items. If you want to see the whole lot go over to our Behance page.

Let Me Fix This

I am happy to announce that I and my fellow Design Inter Frederick Coulton have started to new project we are calling Let Me Fix This.

This project has come about from us wanting to expand our design portfolios and also experiment freely with designs and brands that we might not normally have the opportunity too.

We are Let Me Fix This.

Set up by a team of designers that are currently studying at the University of Huddersfield. We plan to proactively replace design that could be improved with their own designs within the city that we live in, Amsterdam.

Our aims by setting up Let Me Fix This is to show that good design is available to brands and businesses that might not previously have considered a design agency.

Armed with stickers and a hatred for dodgy design. We plan to highlight where their is bad design - while also generating possible replacements. So look out for us. If you ever see one of our stickers - feel free to show us where you saw it.

If you ever see some design that you feel needs fixing - get in touch

— www.letmefixthis.com

Mexx Concept Store

This week Mexx opened a concept store in the heart of Amsterdam in the nine streets. As part of the new store the other Graphic Design Intern and I were involved in helping plan some of the visuals of the store, which included the window design. This were to be a large number four painted across the door and the windows. This painting would be Fred’s task and mine.
As you can see below me managed to pull it off after a lot of planning and debating if the lines are straight or not. Which is harder when it seems, as the problem with Amsterdam is that the buildings are not straight.

 The store opening also included an evening street party for the Mexx employee’s in the street. But being the only two male interns we were asked to run the bar at the event. But hey free Heineken is always welcome.

Shooting for Social

This week me and the other graphic design intern Frederick, were briefed on generating some content for the social media such as Facebook, Pintrest and Instagram. We needed to capture some flat photography of sets of clothing. This was an interesting experience as we got to use the photography studio downstairs.
But with the equipment we have available we ran into some difficulties of being able to fit all the clothing into the shots, as we couldn’t get the cameras high enough (the wide angle lens was being used else where).

We where also not shown any of the lighting, which would have been hugely beneficial to know how to use, prior to setting the shoot. But we did the best we could, and the results from our attempts where used. I receive great joy in seeing these go live, as it was a a chance to see my work used and shared in the public domain.

With Fred and working on different images within the same brief it created a sense of competition on whose images got the most likes, shares or favorites.


Second week in

During my second week, I have all ready noticed what kind of work I will most likely be doing for the rest of the year as the print designer. Point of sales, oh so many point of sales - were I will be following templates and simply copy and pasting copy into these InDesign files. Although this gives me chance to improve on my InDesign skills, there isn’t much creativity involved in these tasks. One benefit of this, is the knowledge of, that these little posters I am making will be sent to almost every store around the world. Which did produce a strange feeling - when i walk into a store and saw something I designed a few days before printed and hung.

But I got some respite from the POS this week when I were asked to make some mock ups for some potential promotional material. This was a fun little task that allowed me to show some skills off that i have and haven't had chance fully to show it yet. 

I also got the opportunity to look around the photo studio this week. A Photo shoot for the E-commerce department of Mexx were taking place so I got to find out a little about how this process takes place. This is an area that i would like to discover more of.

Big Boy Job

It finally happened, My first official day as a ‘Graphic designer’ (intern).

I started my first day of my year long contract with the Dutch clothing brand MEXX.

All though I have been studying graphic design in Huddersfield for over 2 years now and done various small freelance jobs, I suppose I have never really called my self a graphic designer – but more of a design amateur. But now I have sat down at my own desk and I crave a coffee before even starting my brief,  I think now might be a good time to finally label my self what I am. I know I am far far away from the kind of designer I want to be. But you have to start somewhere.

The company I have moved to Amsterdam to work for, Mexx. The company started out in Amsterdam in 1986 when Rattan Chadha took two brands, Moustache, his men’s brand (M), and Emmanuelle, his women’s brand (E), and joined them to create a new one. He sealed the match with two kisses (xx): Mexx.’ Mexx has got stores in over 46 countries around the world, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, the Nordics, Russia, Ukraine, Canada and Asia Pacific.


For my first brief, it consisted of taking pictures of a promotional item, packs of origami paper that was planned to be given away with orders over a certain amount in store. This was then extended to time-lapse gifs being created for the  online website. And POS (point of sales) made for in store.

I am surprisingly pleased with the outcomes from this task. As I were trusted straight away to be left to get the required material and to edit it in post. And for my first task, I am glad to see that i am producing work that will be used across many stores and even on the website. I just hope this kind of work gets to continue.