Archive for the 'Print' Category

Classic Toys Stamp Series

The latest stamp collection from Royal Mail has been released and it commemorates 10 classic British toys from the last 100 years as designed by creative agency Interabang.

I have very little to add to what Design Week have already published on these, other than wow – aren’t these just a stunning collection of stamps!

Each stamp is beautifully laid out, evoking pure nostalgia and childhood memories capturing what these toys were all about.

Each of the toys was sourced in the original packaging from the likes of eBay (and private collectors) and formed a prime source of inspiration for each stamp.

A mix of apt photography with period style graphics and text makes them an absolute joy to look at.

“The stamp design is about the toy, but capturing the essence of the world of the toy as well.”

Interabang director Adam Giles

If you have to push me for a favourite I’d have to say Spirograph, though both Meccano and the Stickle Bricks aren’t very far behind.

Fantastic job, Interabang!

The Classic Toys stamp sets are available from Royal Mail and in Post Offices, with the presentation pack top of my list!


Free Telescope

I’ve had a tough week, and so as it’s Friday I’m going to give something away!

Print this out on A4 and follow the instructions.

Free Telescope

Happy spying this weekend!

Image via IFL Science.

3D Printed Sugar

3D printing is becoming more and more popular in our lives.  Technology moves at such a rate that we’ve swiftly left behind the early days of 3D printing where the machines were too huge and too expensive to be of any real use to people.  Nowadays, almost anyone can buy a home 3D printer for around £1000, and there’s both incredible and worrying breakthroughs being made with it from bicycles and jewellery to clothing, and even a transplant jaw.

Then there is the incredible Thingiverse containing a whole plethora of open source files to print.  Broken glasses or shower head?  Just download, customise, and print yourself a new one!


And now food.  Not printing food from scratch per se, though that concept isn’t in the too far distant future (as revealed at CES 2014), but printing with food as the material rather than the more traditional polymer.



Raising the bar in the world of complex and intricate 3D printing is LA-based architectural duo The Sugar Lab who, in the process of making a birthday cake for a friend, were inspired to produce a printed cake.  Several experiments later and they can now produce things like this.



Using a water and alcohol mixture they very selectively wet, and thus harden, the sugar to produce both organic and geometric shapes in a completely unique way.



Beautiful structures.  Endless possibilities.

Roald Dahl Stamps

I spent much of my childhood reading Roald Dahl and gazing at the beautiful illustrations by Quentin Blake. Timeless as they, Magpie Studio have used them as the basis for designing a new set of stamps for Royal Mail to celebrate 30 years in print for The BFG.

As the original book was only ever illustrated in black and white (which doesn’t translate to stamps so well), I was particularly pleased to discover some brand new illustrations that Quentin Blake was commissioned to do (in colour!) just for this stamp set.

Snozzcumbers and Whizzpoppers and Whangdoodles.

I couldn’t have put it any better myself.

Featuring in amongst the BFG designs are some of Roald Dahl’s other well known characters, all drawn in the distinctive hand of Blake.

Pick up your own copies of the stamps and other Roald Dahl items at the Royal Mail Shop, the 11 card set particularly caught my eye.

Good Morning

As soon as I saw this poster I fell for it straight away.  I’m a huge fan of phosphorescent ink anyway, but when used to enhance an already clever design it’s delectably brilliant.

Prints available from design studio Dolce Press in their shop, they’re limited to 100 editions so be quick!

Fantastic attention to detail in the little ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ illustrations making their way into the text too.  I think I may have to put this on my ever-increasing ‘want’ list.

Plenty of other great work on the Dolce Press site too, so be sure to check it out.

Double Entendre Graphics

IBM have come right out of their rigid corporate shell and commissioned graphic designer Noma Bar to design a series of beautiful and clever illustrations to support their Smarter Planet campaign.

The Smarter Planet campaign is for technology giants IBM to welcome us to “the decade of smart” where “the planet has grown a central nervous system”.  Cool or what eh?

Technology has advanced incredibly over the past few years, remember that UI in Minority Report that we all gasped at?  Well only a matter of weeks ago a real life working example of this was presented by John Underkoffler on TED (skip to about 6mins30 for the really amazing stuff), demonstrating that we’re only a whisker away from infusing intelligence into systems that we build.  Designing more complex products will provide richer customer experiences and that, ultimately, is really what we’re all after.  Plenty more worth reading on the campaign site by cruising through the icons at the bottom of the page.

The humorous and witty posters use part negative space, part optical illusion to hide an image within the image, a somewhat elegant and surprising solution that big IT corporations traditionally tend to stay away from in favour of more linear and straight edged adverts.  Maybe this, deliberately or not, is hinting at future products and technologies.  Not necessarily hiding, but combining products within products, technologies within technologies, and more!  The future is almost upon us, so, for now, let’s just sit back and enjoy the graphics that go along with it.

Along with the initial image this is one of my favourites, combining a classic pen nib with a cheeky little USB.

A great series, well done Noma.

Keeping Print Alive

Now I regularly read Creative Review, both the CR blog and the magazine, but with the increasing digital age of iPads and (perhaps) “BlackPads” you wonder how long the age old printed magazine can hold out.

Then you see the latest Creative Review magazine and realise that this is the kind of stuff keeping print alive.

The aptly named “Bumper Summer Fun Issue”, reminiscent of those 6week school holidays you used to get, filled with annuals, comics of Desperate Dan and Dennis, and bumper puzzle books.  With some colourful safety scissors and a pot of PVA glue I could be kept busy for many an afternoon, and this experience was no different (although my tools have since graduated to a scalpel and spray mount).

The desire to provide a tangible product is something I really respect magazines for, by offering a product that you simply can’t get online (no matter how good UIs are becoming!).  Yes, by all means embrace the digital era but don’t forget where you started.

Print is something tangible, it needs to become something online media cannot replicate, and, most importantly, something that means I continue to buy the magazine in addition to reading the site.  Other companies have begun to realise this too, Wired recently offered a limited edition fold out cover, new stock covers and some lovely print techniques within the magazine itself.

I’m all for online media, it makes information more accessible, and certainly for some elements it can offer a rich and immersive environment for reading and experiencing the data.  Still, there’s nothing quite like holding and perusing the real thing, opening the cover and folding it back to make that first crease, and the slight scent of “new” that comes when you flick through the pages (oh, just me?).  This particular mag kept me occupied for an entire afternoon of true “bumper fun”, cutting, making and sticking my way through it!

In addition to the usual excellent content, interviews and grids you are immediately offered hands on activities in this issue, from the DIY 3d cover illustrated by Stefan G. Bucher (of The Daily Monster fame)

to finding all the cheeky monkeys in Johanna Basford‘s intricately inky illustration.

The first dot to dot took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out what I was drawing, but I redeemed myself with the spot the difference and was back on track with the next couple of dot to dots.

London 2012 Olympics logo

British Rail and The Designers Republic logos

And to the Office I-Spy, of which I narrowly missed out on a silver medal!  Damn you illusive Japanese stationery.

Then plenty of intricately cut and fiddly pieces later and I had my own Dress Up Designer.  Now I don’t own a Freitag bag (as much as I’d like to) but everything else is a pretty good representation of me, even down to the colour of the bicycle.  Now I guess I’m either a very typical designer, or CR tailor made this article just for me… hmmm.

Expect to see much more of this little guy over the next few months, he’ll probably be turning up in all kinds of predicaments on Twitter.

All the way to the back page you are kept busy, and I completed the mutilation of the magazine with Peskimo’s monster mask!

The final article that I’ve not mentioned from this issue was the DIY pinhole camera.  I’ll update on that when I’ve experimented and actually managed to take some pictures with it.

A very enthusiastic two thumbs up to you Creative Review!

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