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Cool articles about tech and the future…

19/09/14

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If you’ve got your mind on your mobile, or mobile in your mind (possible future vision, you heard it here first!) you’ve come to the right blog post. Yes we are primarily web and creativity, but with that comes curiosity, learning, and reading about new things! We love to keep inspired and thoughtful about all sorts. This week we’ve collated some cool articles about tech and the future, spanning from what cities might look like, to how governments run things. Technophobes take a break ‘til next week…

VICE have once again pulled it out the bag with their study of TECHUK’s recent manifesto for 2015-2030; the transitioning governance structure of the future with tech’s heavy input. A digital minister could be present in every authoritative body, increasing commitment to ‘driving the development of the European Digital Single Market’ and long term enhanced productivity growth. Read all about this ridiculously ambitious forward look on Motherboard.

Ever forecast a completely self-sufficient building with zero environmental impact existing? Well don’t because it’s already here. The impressive Binhai Eco City in the north of China aims to have little or no effect on its surroundings. Holm Architecture Office (HAO) and Archiland International (AI) have designed a solution to huge commercial and economic growth, alongside expanding pollution and congestion problems in architecture form. Creepy how we can just pop a city up on demand, right?! More at MSN innovation.

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Another one from VICE’s Motherboard, and again it’s about tech replacing people. The thought-provoking, early millennium film Simone was one thing, then the introduction of Siri a decade was later another, but wait until you learn about this conversationalist. The self-professed artificial intelligence guy Dave Grundgeiger, has be developing a natural-language software that converts natural-language text for human-computer conversation. Meet Sofilia, due to operate on a “semantic triple” database (“triplestore”) that allows computers to “store, manipulate, and reason with meaning.” The man behind the machine says ‘search is just the beginning.’ Sofilia is a platform for machine comprehension. Gosh whatever next…

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In line with technology reshaping the medical arena, we can ask the questions: what happens when people don’t need to see a doctor anymore? What happens when they can self-diagnose? Well here is an article on how gadgets can help the pharmaceutical and healthcare scene. Peita Pacey discusses the timeline transition from the good ol’ traditional GP chat, to nowadays the regular visiting of ‘Dr Google,’ and not so far off, the reliance on devices that monitor and detect what’s happening in our body, advise us of what medication we should take and how we can make lifestyle changes that promote health. Move over NIKE bracelets, welcome holistic health-caring bracelets. Further future insight on Mumbrella.

And last but definitely not least, science writer Ian Sample discusses the connection between AI and humanity, forming a future genre of Homo sapiens, amidst the changing socio-economic climate. If you’re utterly curious about how the latest (not just health-boosting, but body-ability engineering) tech and innovation reaches the hands of the wealthy and creates disparity in society thereafter, read ‘Body Upgrades May Be Nearing Reality’ on The Guardian. We promise pure amazement! A one-line summary: the rich live longer and the poor struggle even more than they do now.

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Intersections between tech and reality

05/09/14

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AHOY there DEN followers. We hope you are still as excited as ever for our weekly, uncorrelated ramblings, because this week we’re delivering insight on some interesting and exciting intersections between tech and reality. You heard, technology isn’t replacing human utility altogether in this list, but in fact endorsing or complimenting it. Not sure what we’re on about? Read on…

Let’s pull out some similes to contextualise, in the historic sense of technology that has aided human life: think the prosthetic leg to human mobility, think the battery to the vibrating shaver, think self-closing devices to kitchen cabinet doors. What all these have in common is that they ease up processes for us, but they don’t remove us from the act entirely. Neat huh? Let’s call it aiding human agency. Now let’s apply this concept to product releases and creative technologies on the market today. Basically how to make our lives easier, from DEN.

Up first- the Moleskin digital notebook that keeps handwriting relevant. ‘Livescribe’ is an interlinked notebook, smartpen and app that allows you to jot down those instantaneous ideas, where they reappear identically on your smartphone or tablet. Long gone are the days of ink smears and sad, dampened pages. Genius work Moleskin- you keep us dexterous but in check. More technews on WIRED.

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Secondly- and now THIS IS INNOVATION as we know it- is the trialling of wirelessly charging buses in London. The capital’s transport network is getting more hi-tech by the minute, but the downfall lies with charging depot’s being miles away. Last week it was announced that 800 hybrids and a handful of electric buses were released during test implementation with TFL hypothesizing if wireless charging could withstand the pressure of the hub’s mobility demand. More news at Engadget.

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SoundHound, a lovely competent little app alternative to Shazam, which snaps up sound bites and regurgitates title suggestions. Get access to instant song lyrics, with additional features including singing and humming recognition. Available on iOS and Android, you lucky consumers.

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Is it an illusion or reality?! Well whatever, it’s figgin’ fantastic. Here’s a self-stirring mug from Prezzybox that’s great for the lazy oafs out there, or just those suckers for gadgets.

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And last but not least this pretty nifty solution to noting those last minute thoughts before bed and an alarm clock! Also from Prezzybox is the scribble writing alarm clock, complete with digital display, a blue hue and four alarm melodies. It’s funky, affordable and you can wipe it clean! Clear that headspace and keep your lifestyle organisation in one- somewhat digital, somewhat real- place. Happy napping!

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Website Awards- The pages we love

27/08/14

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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…

THE FRESH BRAIN PROJECT

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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Nuture your inner self and creativity will follow

20/08/14

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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 headspace.com.  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.

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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 BE RESTED, READ AS MUCH AS YOU CAN, LEARN AND EXCEL’

‘YOU WILL PRODUCE GREAT WORK’

‘YOU WILL GET BETTER AT INDESIGN’

‘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!

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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?

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

Digital sources include: StuffYouShouldKnow.com 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!

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(^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

07/08/14

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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…

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Controversial articles about LONDON

31/07/14

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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 .

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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.

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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:

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‘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.’

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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.

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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?

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Office essentials to brighten up your day

24/07/14

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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!?

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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

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Fascinating photography techniques!

17/07/14

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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.

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

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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Inspirational quotes in graphics

10/07/14

Author

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 UrbanGraphic.co.uk, in the Occasions 2014 collection.

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

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

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

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“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.

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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!

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

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THE ALL IMPORTANT HAPPINESS INGREDIENT LIST:

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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

03/07/14

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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