Adrian Frutiger


Just a little quote from Adrian Frutiger for a uni project I’m working on; It is ever so important for the thinking behind the world of digital type.

Love minimalism



I got a bit inspired by a little book on Minimalism. I think the yellow version will be hanging up on my wall soon, reminding me to keep it simple!

All about grids and pictograms: Part two

Since my last post here, I have added and changed a few elements. The concept itself remains the same, whilst the grid and the contents have slightly changed. 

The grid itself has gained an additional square mesh grid behind the main grid elements shown in the last post.

This mesh grid has been added to be able to include basic shaped pictograms; for example, the olympic weights pictogram will be placed upon the grid and designed simply as a group of ellipses. The elements mainly align to the mesh grid, and only partly get placed upon the rule of thirds lines simply for composition.

Once I begin working on the body parts, the mesh grid will become a basic tool for measurement, but the elements introduced in the last post all become major guides to ensure the pictograms become well designed, composed and retain a form of similarity. The below icons are rough, and won’t actually be used in the final, as the olympic pictogram will become an image of the lifting platform and olympic weights bar. The weights pictogram might be cut from the collection as it is common in gyms for weights to be located not only in their specific areas but also on equipment and in different forms, meaning they will be easy to find.


This is the concept of simplicity and using only parts of an object to represent the whole. This concept may come in handy when representing the body parts, such as shoulders, where I could focus more on one shoulder instead of framing both. This could be done with legs also, and possibly the splitting of the lifting platform into half, and enlarging the single side of the weighted olympic bar.

A new element of the brief is to add an ideogram to the collection, where my first thought would be to represent stretching of the muscles in an icon. Most gyms have abdominal/core exercise areas which also cater for stretching, which is an important part of muscle health. Not only could it work as a reminder, but it will also help isolate a specific floor area for stretching, which some gyms don’t allocate; Most gyms have the spare floorspace, and members tend to find themselves an area to do it, but it would help to minimise conflicting uses and generate more order inside the gym by having an area allocated by signage.

More on this next week!

Look Upstairs Creative: John Bielenberg


John’s company is Future, which describes itself as a group of people who are “Designers. Teachers. Actors. Disruptors. Artists. Leaders. Storytellers. Improvisers. Strategists. Coaches. Writers. Cajolers. We use this expertise to lead Future Blitzes that quickly unlock the genius of your people to solve your most daunting challenges.” (Future Partners, 2014)

The Make-lab Bamboo bike. (Future Partners, 2014)

John told us that it is important to:

"Be bold
Get out
Think wrong
Make stuff
Bet small
Move fast

This thinking is based on his company which finds solutions to problems; think social issues, and apply design and creativity to the problem solving process. He believes that “rapid ingenuity are in the uncertain realm of challenges and unknown realm of solutions”, which reflects his point about thinking wrong; stop thinking the way you would any other day about any other issue, you won’t get anywhere. Start thinking about future solutions, be innovative and stop looking at the existing ideas for a final outcome.

Go visit the Future website and look into the innovations that John has been part of; you will be inspired.

Project M (Future Partners, 2014)

Look Upstairs Creative: Pino aka Giuseppe Demaio

(Assemble Projects, 2014)

First thing: This man has a beard. Yup, that’s him to the left; the guy with the crazy good beard. Plus, he’s a pretty damn good designer too! In the picture above he sits with his partners in the Assemble projects. Also check out his studio, where he shows off his incredible design background working for major clients such as Nike.

(Local Peoples, 2014)

Aside from his extensive skills and knowledge, which go from graphic design to film, and even Denim, I wanted to share the qualities which he believes a designer should strive to maintain or create:

  1. "Design for tomorrow
  2. Work hard
  3. Deconstruct what you know
  4. Gain some perspective
  5. Simplify
  6. Start with why
  7. Love what you do
  8. Iterate
  9. Empathise with people
  10. Collaborate”

And to finish it all off, he left us with these final words:

"Remember: dream big, work hard, and have fun"

(Local Peoples, 2014)

Look Upstairs Creative: Alex Lehours


This is the kind of design work that I would pay for. It’s totally up my alley, and even though it’s totally different to the design work that I’ve done, it’s the kind of stuff that I look up in my free time; it’s the kind of stuff that I want to be wearing on my tees.

Alex Lehours (you have to check out his stuff here) does some great work in the industry, with his main focus being on murals and t-shirt print design. I especially liked his collaboration with Steen Jones for the Beith Street Project, under the Authority Clothing Label:



This kind of work is highly respected by me due to my short dabble into t-shirt print design for my brand FRNT:


It really speaks to me, and is definitely something I am aiming to revive in the future! The impact of seeing someone wearing your shirt design while walking around in public, is one which outdoes all others. Yeah you can have a billboard print towering over everything else, but having someone wear your design is more than that. Alex commented on this, saying that tee designs are wearable art, a common form of modern expression which are timeless and always relevant. I totally agree with him, and especially on his point about the design being a representation of you. People connect with print design on a very personal level, and decide to wear it to represent themselves; and having someone wear your design to represent themselves is beyond rewarding.


Look Upstairs Day 3: Quotes

So I haven’t had the time until now to sit down and write a bit about day three, and I’m still strapped for time. Instead of detailing one presentation in particular, I’ll just leave you with a number of quotes from various designers. These quotes were quite inspiring to me, and I hope you enjoy them;

The creative adult is the child who survived” - Dani from Pixelbug

"A whole lotta shit"; "A chaotic explosion or colour, humour and absolute randomness" - Alex Lehours on his own design work.

"Don’t have to like them, just gotta light ‘em.” - Francesco Calvi on certain projects.

"The prime minister is a tit, but you can’t have everything.” - Ray Coffey after noting how much he enjoyed Australia.

"The more minimalist you work, the more it matters what you choose." - André Baldinger

"This is the one, this is the one that’s going to make me famous! But no, it’s always the black hole.” - Paul Baudens on his ambitions to becoming a design celebrity.

And my final quote, again from Paul Baudens on his quest to becoming famous:

"Ambition is a bitch."

All the effort that goes into achieving your goals makes you think; why am I putting myself through all of his stress, the lack of sleep and so on? Yeah, ambition can be a total bitch, but you do it for a reason. Paul Bauden was complaining about being too busy to do anything besides work, but at the same time, he made you understand that if it’s your dream, you’ll do it; a part of you says you have to.

Look Upstairs Creative: Alejandro Magallanes

Okay, so this guy is a legend. I’m not going to say too much about this presentation because I was stuck in the moment and felt that taking notes would have ruined it.


Alejandro has humour, he understands life and has a great understanding of the world around him. His visuals are fun, but at the same time present a serious side which most people would be unable to achieve.

One last thing; Is his work inspirational? I’ll just go ahead and leave this here:


No more blood

Look Upstairs Creative: Rowena Curlewis

Wow, this was definitely one of the more information rich presentations which not only provided inspiration, but actually delivered a lot more on the process level, with lots of useful information on the thinking behind design.

Rowena is the co-founder of The Collective Design Consultants; here she works mainly on bottle labels (which are amazing by the way), and has major clients in the wine industry.



House of Cards & The Squeeling Pig

Her (and The Collective’s) work is incredibly detailed and makes the absolute most of limited design real-estate. Rowena believes that design should follow these points of wisdom:

  • Be hands on
  • Keep it small
  • The harder the brief, the better the outcome
  • Limit what you work on
  • Burn the time sheets
  • Sticking your neck out
  • Words can say a thousand pictures
  • Sweat the small stuff
  • It’s not what you think it is

One interesting point which I think gave an amazing insight into the REAL thinking behind design, is the story she shared about the label design for Yabby Lake Vineyard. Right before The Collective were meant to present the new label, they had an issue with the font file, which meant the text defaulted to Myriad Pro; Many designers will understand the annoyance of that happening. The outcome of this however, was that they felt Myriad Pro worked even BETTER. They liked it so much that they presented it and it became the final. To me, this is an insight into the reality of the business, and the fact that design can be a non-linear process; Sometimes you have ideas, sometimes you have better ideas and sometimes you simply fall upon an idea.


Be open to new things, and ask yourself: Does it look good, or am I trying to follow too many rules?

Look Upstairs Day 1


It has begun; and I’m enjoying the inspirational talks. I’ll begin with the quote by M.C. Escher that has driven the focus of this year’s conference:


Speakers displayed works and processes which links to the concept of following your dream, and attempting the impossible. Designs were discussed to bring attention to the entire creative process by showing failures, changes, learning curves and the effort required to develop something successful. I look forward to seeing what the next two days have to offer in terms of the absurd attempts of some of the world’s leading designers.

Designing Look Upstairs



Overall, the event has presented visuals (digital and hard-copy thanks to the 400 page hardcover book for all 3-day attendees) which are quite satisfying and welcoming. Working with illustrations based on strong shapes and colours, the overall impression becomes contemporary and likeable.


Inspiring Designers
I will post more information on specific designers when I get the time; some are incredibly inspiring! Until then I’ll be posting short updates about the conference as a whole.

Fight Obesity: Part 1

Social issues; these issues have been covered massively in the graphic design industry for campaigns, organisations, governments and any groups interested in spreading the word about issues which need more awareness. The key word here is awareness; how do you increase it if the streets are covered in ad materials etcetera that add to the confusion and create visual overload?

Creating a poster that reaches out to people and stands out in between all the mess needs to be original. As a bit of a health freak, I decided to focus on obesity, as I understand the health issues behind it, and understand that it’s a very serious problem.

I created two draft posters which are mainly text based; the reasoning for this is because I wanted to veer away from the standard picture/illustration posters, simply because to me it felt like it would be too much an obvious choice. My drafts use words to try and influence people, however the downside is that they don’t grab your attention as much, as you may just overlook them as just another bunch of meaningless words.

Poster 1
Political correctness is trying to silence the movement against obesity; Society is trying to make excuses for overweight persons by telling us that we should focus on personality rather than weight. This poster simply tries to express that everyone can have beautiful personalities, regardless of who they are, or what they look like, but we shouldn’t sidetrack from the actual issue! We aren’t talking about personalities; we are talking about a serious health problem!


Poster 2
This poster focuses on the financial impact that obesity has on Australia’s collective wellbeing. The idea was based on insurance ads by insurers who claim to be cheaper than their competitors. This poster implies that the insurance company is your health and it’s competitors are obesity. Let’s face it, everyone wants to save money.


As you can see, the concepts are not visual representations linked to obesity, but I believe that I need to try that direction aswell. As the above posters may drown out, my next concept will focus on a photographed object.

Stay tuned for more!

Look Upstairs Week!

The three day AGideas Look Upstairs conference is this week, which I will be attending and posting updates about. If you would like to keep up to date with some of the presentations or designs which I find interesting, follow this blog or my Twitter account @justchrishere. If you are unfamiliar with the Melbourne based design conference, have a look at their website here.

Bring on the inspiration!