the idiosyncratic musings of a designer

A Side Project: Calendar

A (short) photo based post this week.

Something I have been doing to help my Mum and Dad since 2009 (for 2010) is to create the calendar that they give people for Christmas. This time I documented it, albeit with only four photographs ( I only thought to do it half way through printing them and forgot when I was cutting them).

Step 1: Create the layout in InDesign. The basic layout hasn’t really changed for the past few years. The only changes that are required each year are to change the dates and a photo for each month. The layout may change next year though!


Step 2: Print out all the pages. Managing to fit 2 of the CD case sized pages onto one A4 page meant that for a total of 12 calendars, 78 pages were printed out.


Step 3: Cut the pages out using a guillotine then sort out.


Step 4: Compile all the calendars, and for ease of transportation in this case, I just stacked them all on top of each other.


Ford GT40 and a Single Line

Back at the start of November I mentioned in my post about the Forth Rail Bridge and a Single Line that I had done a Ford GT40 that was waiting to be completed. Fast forward to last weekend and I got around to completing it.

It has been waiting in the wings probably since August, but as previously mentioned, I wasn’t happy with the way the background turned out. This was because I wanted to try and capture the car with the famous Gulf livery. It didn’t work out too well on the solid background so I tried again with the new direction that the Single Lines were taking. Low and behold that didn’t work either (as you can probably tell by the image below). The Gulf livery doesn’t seem to work well in this style because it is too simple and the orange stripe is on the plane you cannot see from the side.

As ever with the Single Line collection, it is available to buy on a range of things on Redbubble.

If there is anything you would like to see drawn as a single line, let me know and I’ll add it to my list!

Ford GT40 and a Single Line

Design by Necessity: Crash Helmets

Note: Due to not having a computer at the moment and relying on my ageing iPad, for the second week in a row, I have not been able to complete the post I had been wanting to. Hopefully next week it’ll be done, in the meantime here is a short post.

As is the case with research and development, most new products are the result of wanting to do better than what has come before. Whether it be gradual iterations of improvements or a completely new take, they help to push technology, materials and even just ideas forward.

A good example of an iteratively designed and developed is the crash helmet. In the early days, they were nothing more than a leather cap, usually accompanied by goggles. Racing changed and it became necessary for driver/rider protection to change with it. More solid materials were used cocooning the head and slowly covering the entire face.

In modern racing, the speeds and forces involved are so great, the helmets are designed to withstand almost any likely impact. The amount of technology integrated is also incredible. Radio communications are a good example of this.

One of the most impressive feature of a racing helmet is that the developments and technology will inevitably filter down into consumer products. This is also likely to happen quicker than in other industries because it is to do with safety.

I was sent an link to an article about modern Formula One helmets and what goes into them. Even in the few years since Felipe Massa was stuck by debris in 2009, the developments have been impressive.

If you have a few minutes, take a read of the original article, there are even a few videos to watch too.

Formula One Helmet Design

Myths About Creativity

There isn’t anything special you have to do to be creative. Anyone can. This in itself is a piece of advice which I have told people (in one shape or form) for a while. On the whole creativity is ultimately subjective. What might be seen as life changing by one stakeholder may be seen as an unnecessary nuisance by another.

Upon browsing the Internet in the last few days, I stumbled across an article on 99u entitled ‘5 Creativity Myths You Probably Believe’. It debunks 5 myths which people from all backgrounds generally believe. Again, whilst each of the points is debatable depending on what your background is, having read through it, I agree with all of them, even if there is a hint of truth woven through.

If you have a spare five or ten minutes, I would recommend taking a read through the article and let me know what you think. The link is below:

5 Creativity Myths You Probably Believe

The Eiffel Tower and a Single Line

This week I did intend to write about something that wasn’t illustrations I have been doing. However, my latest one is quite special so I thought I would do it instead.

A few weeks ago I uploaded a piece I had created based on the Forth Rail Bridge and ever since then, I have received very positive comments on it. I also started to receive suggestions of what to do next. They weren’t cars or objects, but instead they were buildings.

After creating a list of possibilities, the Eiffel Tower was chosen. It turned out to be as complex an endeavour as the Forth Bridge. This was because of the portrait nature needed to complete it, and computer screens are in landscape. Nonetheless, the shape was created and I moved onto the next step. Creating the background.

Buoyed by the way the Forth Bridge background turned out, I saw no need to dramatically change it. It looks quite good.

If you fancy the Eiffel Tower on a print, card, phone case, shirt or throw pillow, please head over here.

Eiffel-Tower 1024

If you have any suggestions for any car, object, building or anything done in this style then please leave a comment and I’ll add it to my list.


Outlines is an ongoing project that looks at the beauty of motor racing circuits and the iconic nature of layouts. Similar to the Single Lines project, the idea of Outlines lies in the use of lines, but instead of one solitary line, there are multiple.

The inner most line is the real circuit shape. Each corner is present and correct in their most recent form. All the details are there from the re-profiled Bus Stop Chicane at Spa-Franchorchamps to the Nouvelle Chicane at Monaco. The outer lines explore how detail could be lost when trying to expand something already so detailed.

The growing range of Outline images is available to buy on a range of products on RedBubble.


Forth Rail Bridge and a Single Line

The Single Lines project has proved an intriguing venture for me. From the very start, I knew the style direction I wanted to go in. The problem I had though, was that whilst cars are a huge area of interest for me, they weren’t able to provide the relevant subject for what I had in mind.

I first realised this when creating a Ford GT40 (still hasn’t been completed yet) that showed the iconic Gulf livery. But try as I might, the single line method for doing this was not possible.

Not long after I had stopped the GT40 Single Line, I had a desire to recreate the Forth Rail Bridge.  A huge difference and challenge compared to the cars, but one that still required a huge amount of forward planning. Eleven attempts later I was no further forward and the bridge was, as per all the cars that had gone before it, on a plain coloured background.  I shelved the bridge and went back to doing cars.

Fast forward a few months and I yet again I wanted to do something other than a car. This time, my subject was an iMac G4. A polar opposite to the GT40 and one that proved just as fruitless. Due to the nature of the G4, it needed to be on a plain white background. No compromises. It was then I began looking elsewhere for inspiration on how to take the Single Lines that next step forward, eventually realising the answer was in paint and painting. A few trials on existing single lines were successful and the Forth Rail Bridge design was restarted. A further twelve attempts later I was happy. The result is shown below.

If you are interested, it is available to buy on a range of things on my RedBubble page. I’m tempted to get a large canvas of it for my wall!

This is the direction I want to use going forward. Maybe not for cars, but definitely for big designs.

Let me know what you think, and if there is anything you would like to see as a single line, let me know and I’ll see what I can do!

FRB-Single-Line 1024

The Website Returns

Way back on the 13th of April 2013, I made a post saying that my website was no longer online for various reasons.

I am pleased to announce that as of last Friday (31st October 2014), my website, is back online.

I underestimated how many people would ask me when it would return. Also, whilst keeping a blog is a good way of documenting how well a project is going, my university projects are a good example of this documentation, it isn’t necessarily a good way to showcase finished projects.

If you have a few spare minutes feel free to take a look, and if you have any feedback, let me know as it would be greatly appreciated.

Single Lines and Outlines

Last year, I posted a piece of work that I had created using a single line. The main premise behind them was to explore the way seemingly complex objects change when you recreate them with a single line.

I received a number of positive comments on them which led me to think how can I take them further. Keeping the initial formula the same (as in create images with a single line), I decided to upload them to RedBubble where people can purchase the designs onto a medium of their choosing. Mostly T-Shirt or prints, they (as of April 2014) seem to be doing quite well.

Whilst this post may be coming across as a heavy advertisement for the designs being for sale, it isn’t intentional. They are a piece of work that I am quite pleased to have done and as I mentioned, they are proving extremely popular.

If however, you do like them, please feel free to take a look at the ‘collection’ on Redbubble and if there is a car or object missing that you think should be there, let me know and I’ll add it to my list!





Three Cars, Three Images

There is only so much you can do without proper internet, so whilst I am trying not to use all the dongle allowance I was playing about with illustrator.

A Focus ST


BTCC BMW 1 Series


BTCC Honda Civic (similar to one I did 2 years ago)



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