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Berlin Tacheles


In November I visited Tacheles in Berlin. It is an absolute must. I love old buildings that have been taken over by artists and at one time wanted to live to in an artist squat.  My friend Carson had a an amazing space on Queen West that was 2,000 square feet and so much fun to hang out. He had these amazing horse swings hanging from the ceiling that I used to ride on. An indoor swing what could be cooler than that? My own attempts at loft living were not so successful.

I rented a loft as my studio at 500 square feet but it would not have been a great living space. The illegalness of most lofts meant you could find yourself on the street quite quickly. The buildings themselves usually lacked in mod cons. Then there was the locations. Usually this meant your entrance would be off some dark alley and in a quiet part of town with poor security.

You had to be incredibly lucky to find a really great place. I can sympathise with them on losing their beautiful old building to development. They loved and used this building when no one else did. I think the problem is in part to not many places where artists can live and work. It is very difficult to afford a big enough home. You have to be prepared to let your life be taken over by art. As a painter myself I know the challenge well. I am limited to doing smaller paintings and painting less often. Cleaning brushes in either the bathroom or kitchen sink is messy.


Awesome Flickr Gallery Error –
307 Temporary Redirect

307 Temporary Redirect



Odd Molly Loves Ya

I am really loving Odd Mollys S/S collection and have already placed my order. It was a tough decision as I wanted to buy it all. This is pure Swedish style at its best. I have been a devout Odd Molly fan for 5 years now and the pieces are easily wearable each year. Some clothes look dated but never Odd Molly.

Working in an environment wear you can wear anything you like as long as it is black, grey or  navy and means business, it is no wonder I look so forward to the weekends!  So many yummy colours and patterns to drool over.


My favourite Odd Molly Purchase from the F/W Collection

Odd Molly





Proenza Schouler pleated skirt
$735 – net-a-porter.com

Odd Molly knee length skirt
$108 – yoox.com

Trasparenze black stocking
€5,69 – pret-a-beaute.com


Fleur wood book cover

The Vintage Cool of Peacock Chairs

I had to do it. I needed a chair for my desk for my jewellery making and it had to be the peacock chair to give my office the Boho-Vibe.

In the US  these go for $2,000 for the quality version. There is a real cheap basic version that are more commonly found in back-alley Odds & Sods shops in Florida. In the UK these have yet to become trendy again.

There are stylists that are on the look out for these and snap them up in an instant So if you do spot a good one be quick! If anything these could really go up in value as they are rarer in the UK. And for good reason. Wicker is not known for tolerating UK weather well.

Boho Style


vintage peacock chair

The Glamorous Life

Huey P. Newton, Black Panther

Huey P. Newton, Black Panther






























The Way We Live Now

Terrance Conran turns 80 and to celebrate his transformation of the British way of life. The exhibition shows his design approach and inspirations from post-war austerity to the present day. His design legacy his huge and this is a fantastic exhibition.

Terrance Conran: The Way We Live Now

16 November 2011 – 04 March

Design Museum


Talks and Drawing: Sunday 19 February, 1.30pm
Free with museum entry, no need to book.
This one hour gallery tour will be delivered with a creative twist. Be guided through the exhibition with the opportunity to compile your own sketchbook of drawings responding to the objects in the show. An experienced tour guide will describe the work in the exhibition and a drawing tutor will be at hand to support you through your observational or fantastical sketches. Sketchbooks and materials will be provided.


Old Turquoise Jewellery

Tribal Jewellery - Old Pawn

Tribal Jewellery – Old Pawn

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Wave Goodbye to the Old Kings of Creative


I started my career in the late 70’s as an illustrator, while I studied design. My first clients were those cartoon maps, posters to get into clubs and some books for FitzHenry & Whiteside aimed at children. I was successful to earn enough to live on but it was a bit hand and mouth compared to corporate design which I moved in to.

I won awards for designing logos, books and annual reports. I drooled over the paper samples the paper companies gave me. Getting a budget big enough to buy some incredible paper to make my designs shine through was fundamental. Getting a big enough budget to be able to print on a metalic or glossy finish would give my designs the finishing edge for victory.

You worked blind. You needed to imagine what it would look like as a finished product. There was no way of seeing it until it rolled off the press and the ink dried!  The absorbency of the papers would have an impact. I used to swap out the standard yellow for a fluorescent yellow when I wanted to give the colours an extra pop. I back filled black with 100% cyan. Another other trick was double printing black and mixing gloss and mat. On an annual report that was costing $250k to print I gambled on printing faint blue lines to help hold a metallic silver and dark grey over tint.

I remember another AD printing using a 85 dpi screen on heavy textured raw paper and having a font that had a .5 pt outline text to be overprinted on images. I cringed when I saw the comps and tried to tell her it would be a mistake. On a glossy cast coat paper at 200 dpi + it may have worked. Unfortunately for her, she was a Mega-Bitch. After working too many late nights and weekends as her junior-slave I gave up. What a disaster! I did have a small smile at seeing her comeuppance of not taking more care on how it was going to be printed.

Thee paper companies themselves sponsored a lot of the print awards. Coffee table books were huge sellers and you could make a name for yourself designing these.

Logos were big business. A 1/4 million for a logo? No problem. Top designers were almost Godlike with their name on the studio door.  G. Ryan Design. G was for Gerald my hero and boss. His collection of Jaguars was eye dropping and it was fantastic to work in an old warehouse in a crumby part of town with a 150 of the coolest hipster designers you could meet. The other thing to getting that award was hiring a top notch illustrator and again that was down to budget. It was a repeatable formula.

When it comes to design and print the budget to spring for innovative printing techniques and cool papers are almost everything for creating The Kings of Creative.

In the mid- late 80’s I got involved in adverstising. It was also about budget. Working with Pete at BBDO on the TV spots for Colubmia music we knew we were onto a winner when we were given carte blanche with a massive budget. The budget was so big we had a 32 piece orchastra to entertain us (and provide music) for 4 consecutive mornings along with our morning glory cocktails. We felt like Kings.

BBDO had the biggest brands (and budgets) and BBDO grabbed a whopping 40% of all the awards that year. The King pin of them all was Mike Rutherford, the CD. The parties for advertising art and directors were legendary. A lot of these would be hosted by photographers (we each had our favourites) and these would be filled with models, advertising execs, creatives and out clients of course. We used to use the company limo to run errands like pick up more sushi. Sandwiches yuck!

I was an Art Driector and very ambitious but I got a wake up call when I was told point blank by Mike, that because BBDOs biggest accounts were cars (Crysler), beer, sports shoes (Adidas) and computers (Apple, Hewlette Packard) I could forget ever working on those on the account of having breasts. Not that he would remember me by anything another other than the one with the tits.  The fact that I had already won an award for Hewlette Packard for some direct mail work did not count because that was when I was a designer and was not in the same league.

In advertising cars, beer, sports brands and tech products create kings because they have the biggest budgets and the noisiest presence.

Eventually I tired of 80 hour weeks and having team meetings at the Brass Rail (a strip bar in Toronto) on Wednesday afternoons watching the lap dancers writhe on the laps of my male co-workers and decided to go into digital. Digital didn’t exactly set the world on fire at first and was looked as career move DEATH . There were no awards, limited creativity and not a lot of clients.

To the creative minded and visionary digital with the constant change offers unlimited potential.

The world of digital is more complex and has become almost a game of two halfs. The first half is the agencies that have sprung up in the guise of marketing, communications or advertising and believe it is the message that matters. Content is king. The (content) message of course is about ensuring that bigger brands get an even bigger market share and consumers consume more. This still the the world of the Old Kings of Creative. The creative and art directors (mostly white males)  are still coming up with ideas for bog roll and winning awards (sponsored by companies within the same industry as their own). It is also not surprising that clients who give their creative teams carte blanche and healthy budgets also have a clear advantage over those less fortunate and having less scope.

The second half has been what is happening in the Enterprise Sectors – Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay… etc. The game changers. Here functionality is King. You cannot compare the success of Facebook (which is still a website) with a site for toilet paper. It is the game changers that have made the biggest impact. We would still buy toilet paper whether there was a website to promote a particular brand experience.

Now as the web has truly grown up it is no longer digital media. It is digital life. Functionality and experience are inseparable.

Creative now sits under User Experience in most of the bigger companies. Customer experience is also merging with user experience. The message is all about the user and bridging the gap between what the Brand or services deliver and what end users expect.

User Experience is not about coming up with ideas and throwing it to a wall to see if it sticks. User Experience is about applied insight and becoming the new R&D lab to test ideas and push innovation that predicts what users need.

It is all about performing research, analytics and analysis to deliver a great experience. I certainly for one am glad I am no longer working blind. The AD that did not forsee the 85 dip problem with a .5 hairline got sacked and rightly so. The design may have cost $10k to produce but the high volume printing would have been £250k+.

The old kings of creative are on the way out and so are the titles CD and AD eventually as
UX continues to evolve.

If you want to know who the new Kings are, it is the end user sitting in front of his Internet TV (or mobile, tablet, browser etc).



It is always about the future

This week I am doing two talks on the subject, The Future of UX. It is a very broad topic and you cannot do it justice in 20 minutes. It is both open for debate and a moot point, because UX is always about the future. You cannot predict everything. Content is so ubiquitous that users can find similar two clicks away.

User research has been mostly about historical information and that needs to change. The internet is dying as we know it. It is about to be replaced by a web of things – devices, services, agents and all manners of interfaces.

10 years ago content was a destination and websites were about creating and retaining users. The web is now more distributed. Less than 8% of users enter from the hope page. Yet many websites are designed top down. I remember having this argument at an Agency in Chelsea when I was working on a large hotel, entertainment, restaurant chain, leisure services etc. project. A top down system with narrow user-journeys would have been missing the point.

Users are also touching the brand in a lot of different ways. We finally got to the point where silos generally though of as bad idea, only to replace them with chanels.  This now goes further with ECRM gurus and Social Media wizards. Looking at eBay the apps are leap frogging Is there anyone in the organisation that is responsible for the over all user experience? When we talk about multi-chanel we still tend to talk about it as one chanel at a time.

A couple fellow UXers and I were listening with intent at a debate at the next table about Ubuntu and how they are switching application menus as well as their forays into TV.


Yeah it is always about change. In case you have missed it. The web as we know it is dead!

The web as in browser based dominance of IE on  PC or lap top is becoming extinct. The only people who seem to spend any amount of time browsing the web on those are “locked in office workers” using as their escape window to the outside world.

The world of the consumer is likely to be interacting on mobile devices, internet TVs and tablets as well as the glasses which are coming out now. The world now is a world of gestures, language and thought. We have truly moved into the Creative Age.

please install flash

Star Hud Augmented Reality Glasses

No UX person finds this scary, UX people are natural explorers. It is our job to do the research and create experiences.

I for one welcome this news.



digital leap

Digital Leaps Forward & The Department of Disruption


This year on Leap Day I will be giving a talk on the future of User Experience at LBi. LBi certainly knows their stuff and has put together a fantastic panel. I feel very privileged and honored to be a part of it.

Digital Leaps Forward – What is next in Experience Design

Please come along. It is going to be a fantastic day!

The Department of Disruption

The move to federated platforms, multiple devices, open data and the web of things has created the perfect storm. We must be able to face challenges that we can’t even imagine yet. How do you get a single view of the end user or customer when they are no longer limited to web pages or the devices that we design for? We often talk about trends like Social Media or Gamification as though they happen in isolation while at the same time telling our clients not to let their internal structures operate as silos. Who owns the user experience when it there is no overall authority across all the user touch points of a multi-channel system design?

It is an understatement to say that convergence between computers and consumer electronics is escalating, creating challenges and opportunities for both businesses and consumers. New devices that operate using gestures and augmented reality glasses are not pipe dreams of the future they are happening now. User Experience is moving from a tactical discipline about ensuring usability, into a strategic discipline about creating move pervasive experiences and creating, evaluating, researching and prototyping new business models.

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The Social Media Governance Forum


This February I will be speaking at The Social Media Governance Forum, which I am really looking forward to.

The Social Media Governance Forum, in association with Capgemini and Sidley Austin is delighted to bring together six speakers to share their stories about social media governance.

  • Nina Barakzai (EMEA Privacy Counsel, Dell)
  • Lee Bryant (MD Europe, Dachis Group)
  • William Long (Counsel, Sidley Austin)
  • Windahl Finnigan (Head of User Experience & Creative, Capgemini)
  • Ben Page (CEO, Ipsos Mori)
  • Richard Sedley (Commercial Director, Foviance)

The six speakers bring very different perspectives on the notion of social media governance reflecting, perhaps, the many varied challenges and opportunities that are being faced daily. The way business is conducted, customers communicating with each other or knowledge shared is changing.

As The Cluetrain Manifesto said in 1999:

‘A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter – and getting smarter faster than most companies’

Different currencies are emerging in response to this ‘global conversation’, requiring people and organisations to draw on or learn new or different literacies. Sharing stories is one way to help all of us learn these literacies.

The event takes place

17th February, 9.30 – 11.30

Venue: Capgemini, 40 Holborn Viaduct , London EC1N 2PB, 8th Floor