Last week, my partner Gemma and I took a trip up from Portsmouth to see the fireworks display at Battersea Park. As these days I seem to have a pervading sense of guilt whenever I take time out from work and don’t utilise it to do something productive, I decided to make a visual diary of the trip from a designer’s perspective. The end result being this blog post.
I’m actually really glad I did it because not only was a good exercise for me to critique the work of others, but it should give you, dear reader, a good insight into how the mind of designer processes the constant stream of stimuli we are all bombarded with everyday. Especially those of course, who live in London.
I hope enjoy reading it.
From Southsea to Fratton
The first piece of design that caught my eye was this beautiful lettering on what I assume is still a pub in Goldsmith’s Avenue. When I think about it, I can’t ever remember seeing the pub open so may be it’s been converted into flats. Regardless of that the building is now used for, I’m really glad the owner has still kept this lovely original sign. Portsmouth is actually blessed with quite a nice array of beautiful examples of signage typography, so perhaps at some point in the future I’ll try and collate a few more pictures for this blog.
South West Train to Clapham
Whilst I usually try to take in the views whenever I travel anywhere, the route from Portsmouth to London is not exactly awash with new and exciting scenery at every turn. Because of this, I figured I’d use the time to make a bit of a dent in my ever-increasing reading pile that sits next to my desk. Having just finished ‘Studio Culture’ (which will form the basis of a new blog post soon), the next book on my list is ‘Just My Type’ by Simon Garfield. I haven’t read that much of it yet, but what I have read is surprisingly revelatory. Without giving too much away, who knew a book about fonts would contain tales of incest, rape and bestiality? Not I, that’s for sure.
Clapham and West Norwood Station
All throughout the day, these ads were everywhere, seemingly taunting me. From what I gather they are adverts for a new newspaper launched by the publishers of The Independant simply called ‘i’. The paper is effectively a scaled down and condensed version of it’s older sibling aimed at busy workers and younger readers who don’t have the time to sit down and read a complete quality broadsheet from front to back cover, but still wish to keep abreast of global news developments. Whilst I think the paper itself is a great idea, I really can’t say the same about these ads.
In many aspects it’s the visual equivalent of the Timbaland song ‘The Way I Are’ – a reasonably witty concept utterly ruined by the fact that the idea itself only works through the use of terrible grammar. In my opinion, that bad grammar makes the concept null and void. If an idea can’t work without the use of proper words then theoretically it doesn’t exist at all.
I find it interesting that this ad is also used for a paper that is aimed at intelligent savvy individuals. The kind of people who would scoff at the poor use of grammar and think less of the paper for stooping to that level of linguistic idoicy. The kind of people like me I guess.
After lunch at West Norwood, our next destination was to head for Kingsway Square for a roof-terrace view of the fireworks over in nearby Battersea Park. Whilst the fireworks were amazing, I was probably more impressed with the building itself. From what I gather Kingsway Square used to be a former College that has been completely turned into beautiful modern flats. Whilst walking through the huge corridors reminded me a little bit of the hotel in The Shining, there was the odd bit of beautiful typography to admire and of course, the roof terrace would be worth the (probably quite considerable) rental costs alone.
Unfortunately I had to take all these pics with my iPhone 3G which is hardly known for it’s crisp photographic images, especially at night. Because of this, I decided to take a few pics of the fireworks through the Hipstamatic app because for some reason dark images come out better through that. Anyway, I hope you can get an idea of just how amazing a view the roof-terrace of the building has.
The long way home
After a rather sleepy and tipsy train journey journey home, I spotted the advert pictured below and liked the concept. It’s a bit hard to make out but the tagline at the bottom reads “The new Sportage. A little bit more adventurous.” Pictured above it is what I presume is a photo of said car with the clever addition of a couple of unicycles (as opposed to standard bicycles) attached to the bike rack. Yes, ok, the design is not exactly pushing any envelopes and the concept will hardly win them a yellow pencil, but on a day where good advertising appeared to be very thin on the ground, this advert stood as a coherent idea, well executed. For that I think it deserves a bit of praise for that simple premise seems to be beyond many an advertising agency in 2010.