latest news from the den. keep up. yeah.

Website Awards- The pages we love



Keeping in line this week, with the backbone of our company- web design- we’ve decided to go on an independent meander around the web, find some goodies and compile a collection of sites from the website awards- the pages we love. It’s not all coding and SEO in the DEN, we have a fab creative team to hand that can help personalise your your online presence to your website needs. This week it’s about inspiration so, see something you like here- let us know and we’re sure we can work with you!

In the art and illustration category, we adore the following…


Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.53.22

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.54.20

Combining digital art, graphics and interactive elements, this site has an Honourable Mention 2014 Awwward. Go check out this communication and brand planning company’s style.

In the food and drink field, welcome ‘MARTIN AUER.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.58.12

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.58.21

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.58.30

This exquisitely crafted outcome looks well planned down to the very last detail. It gives off an air of austerity, has some beautiful, quality food photography spread across the main pages, AND retains light-hearted levity. Combine slick sans serif font with clean-cut squares and strategic white space and you get a great combo! Scroll down to reveal the full story…

Thirdly we hit the realm of music and sound! Let’s see what this category can show off.

Check THIS OUT. Think you couldn’t find anything to combat your boredom- well we’ve got an instant solution for that! AND IT’S OH SO ORIGINAL! For those musical creatives out there, or even those willing to experiment with their tuneful side, this site is where it’s at. It has to be one of our faves for the pure technological skill, contemporary sound quality and dexterity involved! PATATAP produces some instant visual fireworks as you create music on your keypad!




Up next in the sports section, we have TRANSFERWINDOW.INFO!

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 14.39.10

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 14.39.24

Now this is a nifty, concise and interactive little creation. With fine pixel graphics on screen, comprehensive league information and an all-round easy to navigate page, no wonder it received a ‘Site Of The Day’ award. AWWWards state: ‘Signal Noise designed a rich user experience website across multiple devices that visualises transfers and gives users in-depth analysis…’

And on an endnote, here’s an example from the wonderful world of mobile and apps. Visionaire claimed a place in this list primarily due to the app idea and how simplistic the website is! It creates a calming, inspiring user experience and leaves you wanting to learn more. Our favourite feature has to be the animated hand and phone using the app. Find it as you scroll down the company ethic from the initial home screen. Genius! Got an idea? Visit Visionaire.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 14.51.17

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 14.51.32

Nuture your inner self and creativity will follow



As a bit of a TLC post this week, we thought it was about time we took it back to basics. ‘Nuture your inner self and creativity will follow,’ is our motto! Below are some cracking, DEN-proven tips on how to make yourself great on the inside, with some wellbeing and positivity tips in order to foster that ever-important creative glow and outward produce. But really these tips are transposable for multiple industries, so why not have a gander?!

It’s not all knee-crossing, floaty-gown-wearing mediation stuff, but drawing from experience of others and research we’ve read it is a good angle to start from. A really informal, less daunting tool for calming yourself, allowing yourself to rest better, achieve mindfulness and set firm foundations for a good work head ethic is  It can be downloaded in app form, streamed audibly on Youtube and subscribed to for updates and info. IT REALLY IS GOOD. What is more, the animated videos really secure the messages of the narrator.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 15.31.42

Cut out the self-doubt- that’s a biggun! It can be all too easy to worry yourself with stresses of work life- ensuring you finish the best piece of work to your ability, but sometimes worrying about it can be damaging and illuminate weaknesses. Get out of the mind-set that ‘you won’t achieve’ and recognise what you can- acknowledge your fortes and put them first. Therefore, from a psychological direction, our second tip to making yourself confident in your ability, is to clarify it to yourself. It’s great thinking it- that’s the start- but it’s even better if you concrete it! Grab some A4 plain paper, some chubby, colourful felt tips and get writing down your goals with positive affirmations.




‘YOU WILL MAKE SUPERB LUNCHES FIVE DAYS A WEEK (and allow a slump/cr*p day at the weekend to self-indulge in doing nothing) TO ENERGISE YOURSELF IN THE DAY!’

Examples like the above can remind you of the good you want to achieve everyday, so slap ‘em around a common environment you occupy and keep an eye on them. Subconsciously these messages will seep in and bury themselves into your mind. Keep them bold and bright, because as all the kids know from GCSE revision, the brain can absorb and retain organised information better. Style it to suit your learning style. Heck why not even record voice notes and play them to yourself as you sleep?! Notice the change happen!


Moreover cut out distractions and things you probably shouldn’t do as much as you would like. Recognise what hinders your performance or triggers your mind-set (whether it be lazy, stressed, anxious, bored etc.) and manage that thing. TV, can be a huge one for children, so what is your vice inhibiting your innermost creative power? It’s always more easily said than done, we know, but things like your phone, or unproductive habits can be changed. For example, on the commute to work, instead of playing a smartphone game or checking mindless celeb goss, why not subscribe to a podcast about a subject of interest, listen to classical music, or buy a book on bettering yourself at work?

happify app

(^Screenshot of the Happify app, listed in article below)

Digital sources include: or The Brilliant Idiots (for a more explicit giggly learning experience), or The Complete Guide To Everything. Here is Huffington post’s advice on brain training apps, to improve performance.

Next up- WRITE STUFF DOWN. If you keep a notebook, well done, if you don’t buy one. A little place for your scribbles whereever you are, whatever you think. It can not only help you log your thought process on a creative project, but also help to release some information caught up in your head. Or just let out a rant, either way. Free that precious mind!

etsy book

(^Find this little scribble book on Etsy, handmade for less than £13! Image taken from website Aug,13, 2014)

And finally the last one- LAUGH! We cannot recommend more, the power of laughter as a natural tonic. Fill your boots (more than likely your soul) with laughter, as often as you can. Get hold of those weird friends who chat about dancing poo smileys (and don’t say you’re too lethargic to meet after work, because this can really help!), book a comedy show, or make fun of yourself by signing up to an abnormal activity, like overages high jump club (or whatever…does that even exist?). Anyway, expel that energy laughing and this can also tire you out, if you work that bellehhh enough.

Laughing babies: the ancient practice of forcing strangers to look at pictures of your children basi

We hope this helps. DEN LOVE creative people. Get self-boosting and then you’ll receive a boost you back when your creativity is BOOMING.

5 Fab things since sliced bread



Opinion-heavy but still utterly worth a read, we’ve introduced a blog post entitled ‘5 best things since sliced bread.’ This post contains some rather fabulous, innovative and occasionally useful things that quite frankly make bread look even more beige than it already is. If you’ve got a fancy for cool stuff, great ideas and how to better your lifestyle, you’ve come to the right place…There’s no theme, other than RANDOM FUN.

So not only are we throwing in some delightful food stuffs (obviously, rude not to really) but we have sought the web for creative things you didn’t even know of. All in all very niche but none the less- valuable for some of you out there. Bare with us chaps…

In top stop: Gemma Correll’s illustration, full of stark humour, linearity and puns. Her work comes in many forms making it even more fabulous, so you can enjoy her witty simplicity in phone case, pillow, or poster mediums. Discover what else there is here on Ohh Deer.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 21.38.23

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 21.38.47

PEANUT BUTTER IS AMAZING and it is even better in a REESES TOPPING SAUCE! ARGH let’s calm down now… Squeeze it over everything from your sandwiches to your soufflés (more likely the former, as no one even eats soufflés on the regular, so that wait wouldn’t be half as fun). Pop it in some wholemeal bread with banana segments and special up your Friday lunch times. It’s probably your entire sugar intake for a fortnight, but worth it as an awesome kitchen condiment. Find out more on CyberCandy and browse an expansive selection of vintage and niche treats, satisfying for the fatties inside us.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 21.43.42

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 21.43.56

Personalised pork pies! Can you get more heart-warming than that? Perfect gift ideas from NotOnTheHighStreet., so pop your favourite name or phrase on these meaty treats. If your dad’s a pastry pest, this one’s for you.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 21.46.09

Ahhhh, solving the problem of getting to work swiftly, cheaply, hacking down the burden on traffic and environmental pollution, and looking top dog and contemporary while you’re at it. It has the added bonus of being nifty and foldaway and fits snugly into a bag…what could it be?! THIS FOLDABLE BIKE by Lucid Design. Watch more on their video via Dezeen.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 22.05.51

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 22.05.59

And last but not least, we are giving you the gift of a reference site:

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 10.17.15

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 10.17.44

Not only is it a platform for inventives all over the globe to pitch their ideas to them, take part in the deciding of the next big product to ’make it’ into the market and then influence its creation to manufacture, they also have a shop full of innovative and life-bettering goodies. Why not go see what you can do!? Or better yet, buy a Pivot Power Pop- every office’s dream…

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 10.18.36

Controversial articles about LONDON



This week we’re getting’ all up in the grills of some of the most recent ruthless, cocky or careless writers, seemingly confident enough to bust their opinionated balls all over the internet on the capital of the UK. We’ve collected a beautifully written mound of content from a variety of online sources, that aren’t afraid to display their controversial articles about London. Think: angry residents, creative publicity and how London is a cauldron of crap sometimes…

Don’t worry the city has plentiful prosperous perks too, but we find these are just too entertaining not to blog about. We are huge London fans don’t mistake the previous (somewhat) sniggering tone, but please appreciate the quality of opinion punched out in this lot.

First up VICE and how ‘Starchitects’ use London as a playground. This article is founded on the notion that these self-titled industry rockstars enjoy cashing cheques and creating buildings that resemble futuristic abstraction, or ‘probably sculpts models of perfectly normal buildings in butter then has to queue up behind Jenson Button’s McLaren to run them through the wind tunnel for a couple of hours.’  VERY much worth a read in contrast to all the starlit media- it is clear the tone sways towards the ‘glass half empty’ life ethic. Article by Gavin Haynes .

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 10.42.57

Alex Proud says the future is dull. To explain more fully ‘dull’ means populated by rich kids, sanitary streets, £3000 chandeliers, more rich kids and socially cleansed centres. Right… * deadpan facial expression * #Can’tWait.

‘Cool’ London is dead apparently, appropriates The Guardian.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 10.54.54

Soap fans this one’s for you. Discover the talent of one of the grittiest, popularised weekly UK soaps set in a fictitious London location of Walford. Big Narstie, emphasis on ‘big,’ emphasises the importance of the east-end character bunch. We’ve added this one due to the sheer humour of BN’s expression, and the shameless, blatant admission of reality links to the storylines. Expect more of this:

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.07.52

‘I’ve got an emotional attachment with Phil, I respect man because he’s been a crackhead, he’s been an alcoholic…he’s done everything and he keeps it trill and never likes to smile. If I ever met Phil we would fight straightaway, because real recognise real. I’d punch him in the face.’

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.35.37

Here’ is Big Narstie’s guide to Eastenders on Noisey. He’s real.

HEY CREATIVES, STOP FETISHISING ESTATES on VICE once again, is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Whether you’re an artistic type interested in regeneration and abolition issues, or simply love reading about angry, art-ignorant locals swearing about whimsicalness, this is uwwhhhh-some. Obviously set around the east and west poles of the capital, with those huge estates in the foreground of controversial art today, these sites are ideal for modern day metaphors, such as throwing a piano off of a 24-storey tower…

Please read on.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.17.22

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.36.44

This guy^ didn’t like the idea at all, explaining he’d ”sooner see the artist dropped off there and see what damage they’d do, because a piano would do more…”

And to end this July compendium of London’s controversy, check out this: The Bureau of Silly ideas. An arts council support, Lottery funded organisation set up in Brixton, to do silly things, encourage us to start asking questions about conventional city life and occasionally organise pie-throwing campaigns. A bit different- less controversial in literary type, but controversial in content all the same. Cute though right?

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.27.14 Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.29.29


Office essentials to brighten up your day



AHOY there DEN readers! This week we’re bringing you several amazing office essentials to brighten up your day. We’re not referring to the conventional, absolutely beige objects that every corporate environment has, such as a coloured paperweight or an opaque egg lamp that some people think are ‘super quirky’, snore…NO Way you should know us better than that. Click here to discover some unusual and fascinating work environment additions. We’ll give you one incentive to start with: a miniature greenhouse!

Solar powered motion toys! OMG you can stare at these for wayyy too long and become totally besotted. Check out The Wharf’s dancing Hula girl- she dances with the sun’s rays, how much more poetic can you get than that!?


Why not boost or ruin someone’s ego on a report you work together on? Nah that’s a bit harsh actually, but perhaps you can use these ‘like’ /‘dislike’ stamps on post-its for your most and least favourite peers, sticking them to their laptops. #OfficeJokes


As promised a miniature greenhouse for your desk! And the best thing about it is that it will soon be producing snacks to gorge on. This little contraption adds some greenery and adds some fresh viewing in the technology-clad, enclosed spaces we work in as designers! Find out how it all works at CreativeBloq.

underneath_1000x660 greenhouse

Oh why the hell not, let’s max out on the zen, nature vibes while we’re at it. CreativeBloq once again showcase some awesome product designs and this little edible garden will rock your office space. Ditch what your mumma used to say ‘don’t play with your food’ and get your teeth around some stones and sand…

zen garden

If you want to add even more screen-based distraction, why not ensure your mobile phone is ‘up in your grill’ with this poignant iStuck bubblegum phone stand.


Last but not least, one for the foul-mouthed, angry types- an instant f*ck you snow globe from KnockKnock. Described as an ‘ideal gag gift for misanthropes and haters’ and the ‘hardest-working globe in snow business,’ why not get three?! Shake for instant irreverence.


If that’s a bit too hardcore for y’all, there’s a more light-hearted option: An instant party snow globe for your desk. TIP: best to use from 5.30pm onwards, ideal for Thursdays onwards.

party globe

Fascinating photography techniques!



Hi GANG! We’re feeling super inspired for the on-going summer months, with awesome ideas captured by the camera on the brain. And we’re not just talking any photography- this week it’s about the unconventional and unique works of the underground creatives. Lately we’ve come across some fabulous shot styles, so we thought we’d compile an inspirational list of fascinating photography techniques.

From surreal horror scenes to mouth-watering landscape shots, we’ve included artists with that extra little bit of zing. Pulled from a range of sites on the web, this list’s primary theme is the achievement of an unusual, effective and bold execution that probes an emotional response. None of that colour opposites malarkey- think powerful scenes with simple ideas!

Up first on Creative Boom, ‘surreal worlds’ have been created by blending photographs…Now these are mega cool.


Mirror mirror… This reflection photography in Copenhagen is by Morten Nordstrøm and it makes the city look oh so crisp and romantic!


How many times can you morph a man’s head into various wild and differing scenarios, getting creepier by the shot? You got 110 % WAY out the box in this series of surrealist photos by Martín De Pasquale.

surreal head

Yay to nature and yay to bees…but not just any bees! Check out Sam Droege’s macro views of a bug’s life. Bees are just so frickin’ cool aren’t they? AND they have rather interesting hair arrangements…


This may be the wildest in content, with the juxtaposition of human portraits neighbouring their donut doubles. It may sound strange, (it did to us first time round) but have a peruse at a few of these and you’ll get what we mean by uncanny people-confectionary likenesses.


Find more of Brandon Voges’ quirky work on Behance.

Lastly, probably the most innovative execution yet- MatCloud’s BEEN THERE DONE THAT series. These images have a whole lotta attitude, capturing some marvellous vertical panoramas of magical city moments.



Inspirational quotes in graphics



After perusing the web’s creative sphere, we thought a blog post on inspiration quotes in graphic design form would be in order. NO they are not ‘Carpe Diem’ and the regularly overly and ignorantly quoted, but actually some rather weird, cute and touching phrases. There seems to be only a limited number of ways you can express your feelings to another person, but through specially crafted art and graphics you get that all important uniqueness element of keepsake or wall decoration and that ever-welcomed batch of enthusiasm!

 Get a bit individual and try making your own after absorbing some inspiration from this lovely lot we’ve collected for you! Some of these are from freelance creatives from about the globe and others from established companies –either way they popped into our periphery for a reason- they strike a smile J Simply portraying a message in visual form can create a much larger impact, slide into a nice memory crevice for longer due to the memorable elements and pull in a variety of techniques other than purely type. See what you can decipher from the following other than just the word content itself…

Duncan Noack-Cox with ‘Congratualtions’ from, in the Occasions 2014 collection.

you did it

Again from Urban Graphic, Rob Hodgson with another Congratulations. Who doesn’t like a pun? Same link as above kids.


Courage comes in many forms, so don’t judge everyone by the same standards says


Naomi Elliot has our top spot so far with this entry. See more of her humbling and quirky style on Behance. Mmmm pastries…


“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.”
Walt Whitman, by Sanja Pavlovic. See more on Behance.


This beautiful little tale is from ClassiclyAmber. So let’s just all change the way we think and feel more blessed than that happy little bird!


These last few are just some we couldn’t resist plucked from our Pinterest explorations, with sadly, no creator named :(





two sides

We hope you enjoyed the ride! Keep your eyes peeled for more of the like in due course. We love indulging in design and reading in the DEN, corrr!

Animation in Music Videos



Proceeding from our week of cartoon illustrations, this week we are advancing into the animated music video world. Now it is no word of a lie that we are huge music fans and even more so when artists get collaborative and creative within their videos. So this week check out what we’ve been listening to and visually chomping on in terms of animation in music videos….

Up first it’s KARN-YAY. This video is animated by Bill Plympton, depicting the story of Kanye West – Heard ‘Em Say ft. Adam Levine. Its sketchy, child-like style portrays some of the deep content in a more approachable and sympathetic manner. Essentially the song is about how everything happens for a reason and look at bad times optimistically because they are set out to make you a more well-rounded person.

 Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 17.57.06

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 17.56.50

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 17.56.42

Next we have Sara Lim – Todd Kessler: Put you in my pocket, whereby Sara Lim has a fab website of her own. This one is again, a cute, playful sketchy visualisation of the song, but this time with a more definite monochrome theme, less to do with people and more about shapes, objects and line.

 Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 18.48.53

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 18.48.37

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 18.48.04

Again we can’t, ignore another Kanye special. He manages to pull it out the bag with his engaging music videos. This time Heartless is colourfully animated in cartoon style, with a shockingly, bright colour palette and flashing lights…excuse the pun. Check out this visual parade of a love story, incorporating those life-like human movements, emotions and sass.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 16.34.28

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 16.34.09

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 16.33.55

Now this next video for Twice by Little Dragon is so mystical, adorable and weird at all once! It may not be fully animated but it is creatively constructed to present a type of anonymous objective reality, depicting the song with puppets, light and silhouettes. Again the lyrics are about the twists and turns of a relationship, but with a deeper poetic style- that’s Little Dragon! It’s like viewing an art gallery motion picture of edginess…We heart it.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 21.11.40

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 21.11.29

This video is even stranger to look at- it’s startling as soon as you realise the characters have something going on with their proportion… Not conventional animation but humorous all the same, Chiddy Bang’s video emphasises the notion of childhood-adulthood difference. Here is the ‘Opposite of Adults,’ with some cool wiggly animated typography appearing at the beginning.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 21.22.14

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 21.22.06

Obviously we have to include a Daft Punk video. Enter ‘One More Time,’ a track of their album ‘Discovery’ released in 2000, that use a 1970s anime style of depiction. If you enjoy characters with oversized, dough eyes, subject to Avatar blue skin and hang out in what looks like a psychedelic, disco Narnia, you’ve come to the right place. We think it matches the track beautifully, sharing those ‘out of this world,’ fizzy vibes and blatently embodying the newness of the millennium.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 21.27.43

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 21.23.57

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 21.23.44 



June Cartoon Illustrations



‘Ello folks, happy Summer’ing and all that jazz. This week in the DEN we are taking it to the 2D animated world and focusing on the fun you can have with a bit of wit, colour and enthusiasm. Get ready for our June cartoon illustrations, from World Cup 2014 depictions, to the adorable delights of our childhood. Cartoons make life a bit less serious so cop’a load of these!

The Oxford definition of cartoon is: ‘a simple drawing showing the features of its subjects in a humorously exaggerated way, especially a satirical one in a newspaper or magazine.’ They can illustrate a narrative in a comical way and simplify information and ideas, making them approachable and digestible for people of many ages through the visual sense. Here we are going to focus on animated human beings rather than inanimate objects, ideas or design, just cuz’ well, people are fascinating and a concept to which we can all relate, so why don’t we mutually appreciate the various extents of cartoon expression.

The strangest most perfect cartoon fusion yet- Mr Men x Breaking Bad. Ever wondered what the gripping series story line would look like transposed into the infamous and jolly characters of Mr men? Look no further and check out Shortlist for this fab video by Johnny Mang and Jason Burke of Eager Beaver films, imagining Mr White in this brightly-coloured, linear narration.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 17.15.04

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 17.14.54

It would be rude not to throw a World Cup 2014 gem in really wouldn’t it? On Behance we have discovered a series of exclusive posters showcasing geometric, crystal design talent, representing some famous football names. Here is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Creative Director: Raunaq Mangottil and Graphic Designer: Karthikeyan aka Seyon.



Ever heard of the app ‘iMadeFace’? An entertaining little creative app that allows you to create yourself or your friends as cartoon characters. Well if you haven’t you know now (download it for about an hour of fun) and this reference is spot-on in comparison to this next piece of work. Maria Sara from Chile has been cartooning daily, on subjects of personal interests. The best thing about splurging what’s in your imagination is sharing it with others, regardless of how weird you think it is!

maria 2

maria 1

The following has to be probably our favourite entry, just because it’s so frickin’ CAYUUTE. Reminding us of Hello Kitty style illustrations, here are princesses and girls in the story tales of our youths by Wirin Chaowana. Oh how they made our childhood wonderful, but now we can see them re-imagined as 2D, modernist, block shape and colour cartoon interpretations.



So on a more serious note of contemporary society, Kikuo Johnson illustrates some current issues of politics, masculinity and the modern day dating game. If you are interested in current debates, various types of humour and unjustness of present day civilisation, check out these witty comics on It’sNiceThat. His style of work also reminds us of an old, French comic favourite ‘Tin Tin’…



And ending on by far one of the most cited names in the public eye right now- Beyonce. We visit Design Taxi for the lyrics of her songs illustrated. Why not have a peek at what ‘My body’s too bootilicious for ya” looks like from the mind of a freelance artist in the world of visual media marketing. That isn’t it- no these are not gloriously-framed, empowering, beauty-focused cartoons either- these ones are finished with a twist; depicted as battles against zombies. Check out this random, but cool series by GrArG Media aka Ali Graham.

bey 2


Ways to analyse design



Ahoy maties, we hope you are splendid! This week in the DEN veering away from the usual inspiration content to the more insightful. We have compiled an educated, (hopefully) enjoyable account about ways to analyse design. Included are alternative approaches you can use to view design, such as logos, graphics, art and objects, in order to come to new findings or be enlightened in a way different to your habit approach! Don’t be shy, this is for everyone to try from students to pros, if you’re feeling a bit unenthused and fancy a new avenue to meander along, with grounding from some other fields.

From experience, growing up absolutely frantic for as much creative stuff as I could get my hands on, I noted it can often be confusing and difficult to know which way is the ‘best way’ or ‘right way’ to go about design in the initial stages. There is in fact, no right or wrong way to design, it’s what originates from your gut, mind and self, where everyone ever born, has the potential to ‘create’ something, but clearly not everyone is confident enough to embrace it. Every individual has their way of creating.

Whether in the idea creation stage, researching stage and the ‘communicating your work to others’ stage, it can be hard to be fully satisfied that you did all you could up until the final product, ensuring all areas and perspectives were covered. From the position of the creator and designer, this is a never-ending problem of self-turmoil- there is always more that can be done, but sometimes you have to be straight with yourself and just say ‘enough is enough, it’s finished now!’ Time is not an exhaustive tool unfortunately, and especially not to people you work with, whom simply can’t grow a beard waiting…(as much as we would like to perfect our own works). *cue dancing beard gif*

It is a tentative and tough skill to crack immaculately, to ensure others understand most of (well merely some of if you’re lucky nowadays, with the design world so vast and minds so wonderful) what you’re trying to achieve with design. It is an oh so difficult, shifting and innovative language to master. But know also that EVERYONE IS IN THE SAME BOAT and all creatives acknowledge this and sympathise with one another. Chill.

Enough of the contextual rambling; the following are metaphorical lenses you can put on from the final stage, reflection stage of design, to ensure you have thought about different things, or perhaps as an objective reader of another’s work, to decipher various conclusions.

From the view of sociocultural anthropology:

By studying the meaning of humans and their social relations through symbols language, objects, music, material culture and technology, we can investigate what the design tells us of the creator, culture and their life.

photo 1

For example questions towards this Instagram image could be- what is it made of? How was it made- by hands or with man-made or technological tools? What’s in it? This could generate answers such as…

1. The fruit is artistically arranged, suggesting that the owner sees this meal in a delightful, celebratory manner, and whereby she is in control of it. It takes longer to create than the usual ‘throw it altogether’ breakfast procedure, which shows this creator cares about eating and takes enjoyment from the making ritual.

2. It is framed from a bird’s eye view where she is looking down on it. This portrays power, status relations between the person and food, whereby the power’s power is communicated by the towering stance over the bowl.

3. The picture is bright, retaining the subject matter’s true colour richness, revealing the appreciation for the fruit’s natural richness.

4. The circle bowl makes the picture appear complete and shows the creator’s appreciation of organic shapes, relating the subject matter. No poncy square plates here, thank you.

5. It appears to be taken with her smartphone, which is an accessible device to people in their everyday lives and thus, we can view this picture as a capturing of a daily, basic part of her routine. A professional camera would suggest the moment requires a more prestigious capturing mechanism, which could be seen to praise it or pay homage to it.

We learn from zooming out and reading the account biography that this person is in fact recovering from an ED and is optimistic about life and seeking happiness. Check @Coconuttysara’s page for extra fruity, wholesome, frolicking!

photo 2

This approach is somewhat tricky for contemporary material or mass-produced things, that pass across such a vast network of people at different stages of creation, with no singular, clear or intended identity attached and shaped by a multitude of influences, processes and societies (e.g. Apple Macbooks or the Coca Cola logo- keep this in mind).

From a sociological perspective:

Questioning how it is used, how people interact with it or how respond to it, can reveal invaluable findings on society, the broader picture and human, intuition relations.With the same Instagram picture, we can decipher:

1. Instragram is a social media network where people represent snippets of their life, things they achieve, what they’re interested, inspired by and proud of. Therefore it is applicable for that particular owner to showcase the above through an image-sharing platform and communicate through visual as opposed to uploading them to perhaps a less concise, relatable word-based platform.

2. Others respond to show their appreciation or opinion towards content, which could cause owners to feel greater satisfaction and happiness from sharing their work and encouraging them posting further. Others could also learn something and be inspired by this, flavouring others work. It could go the other way due to negative response and also act as a deterrent for independent thinking. This opens up the debate of whether people are actually original, thinking for themselves, or just being fed by one another. The social media platform could be seen as a way to dilute individual creation and thought processes. Therefore one could infer that society is easily-led or get their meanings/understanding from a social media platform, especially amongst younger minds…

3. It also displays that people communicate in the modern day more commonly without voices, and frequently without words even, but by ‘liking’ and ‘sharing.’ Could this change the paradigm of communication and get us more lost in what people mean when they create something or speak? Or even worse, how to respond in real life…Hmmmmm

4. From the wider, technological picture, we can see images, smart phones and social media have been created to spread art and information with speed and ease to a large audience. It can be seen as less direct communication means and less personal, but also encourages people to perhaps think more deeply about how to reach the greatest number of people and to better posting/creation each time. Two sides to every story eh?

What can you decipher from this picture from reading this? Creatives- what can you learn from looking back on your own work using this insight?

These approaches still essentially ask when, what, why, how and for whom, but with a grounding in a type of approach. For example, in technical, natural science approaches, meanings can be seen as more literal, but like seen as above, these more social lenses open analysis up to broader conclusions.

Lastly, bear in mind that these lenses aren’t always so applicable for every design or creation and some illuminate more than others, depending on what clues have been excluded from or unaccounted for in the design. Happy reading, fellow Sherlocks!