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15 August 2018
Friday, 06th May 2011
Call me old-fashioned
A post on a linkedin forum that's started people drawing
I'd never ever posted anything on a forum before, but after getting bored with Facebook, I started to look at linkedin and joined a few discussion groups. A couple of months ago I was watching the TV (not really watching it but doodling ideas and browsing my iPad) when a thought struck me – in my experience, so many designers (particularly younger ones) didn't draw. If they ever picked up a pencil it was to scribble a 'shorthand' idea on a scrap of paper and many didn't even bother but went straight to their Macs, sat and waited for inspiration! Of course this is a slightly exaggerated scenario but only slightly! 

I reached for my Ipad and posted: Call me old-fashioned but I think it's a shame so many designers can't draw anymore. Ideas and problem solving are massively important but the best designers are those that have all the skills. 

The response I got was immediate, varied, passionate and even scathing, but it was certainly a subject that got people talking and thinking – many even vowed to start drawing again, some even setting up drawing classes and starting campaigns.

Last year I lectured at a college where the graphics studio resembled something from Stanley Kubrick's 2001 – a pristine white space with immaculate rows of flat screens, each space had a scanner, wireless low profile keyboard and Magic Mouse. How could a young student not be tempted by this sparkling seductive technology! In comparison a pencil and a pad must seem dull and boring.  The lecturers were keen to point out that students weren't allowed on a computer until they had an idea. But I suspect the thinking and drawing process was a small proportion of time, to that spent at the Mac. Maybe this is the problem.

As a youngster at Foundation College I sat and did life-drawing for at least an hour every day. As you can imagine my drawing improved enormously. Older artists friends I knew, said that in their day they had to draw skeletons and plaster casts for a year before they ever saw a life model. I know the world changes and there's no such thing as the 'good old days'. I too love my Mac but I do think if drawing were a part of the curriculum at colleges, they'd produce better designers.

If you want to see what over 400 others think on this subject visit: linkedin discussion.

When there are 500+ responses I'm going to print a limited edition T shirt (see above)

Monday, 02nd May 2011
On the day Osama Bin Laden is killed, my thoughts went back to that fateful day
We all remember where we where on 9/11. I was headed for New York on the QE2, just over a day out of Southampton. For the next few days we crossed the Atlantic without any TV, our only news, a black and white A4 flyer, courtesy of Cunard. We were diverted to Boston and bussed down to New York – it was a Sunday, five days after the tragedy – the skyline was missing it's famous landmark but a cloud of debris still hung in the air where the twin towers had once stood.

It has taken nearly ten years to catch up with the man responsible, and at last Osama Bin Laden has been killed, at a fortified compound on the outskirts of Abbottabad in north-west Pakistan.

I was in New York in March this year and for the first time I visited Ground Zero – now a building site with new skyscrapers rising from the devastation. We visited the 9/11 Memorial Center, where we saw the plans and models for the Twin Towers' replacement. I liked the idea of the two waterfalls that are to be built on the footprint of the original towers, but the thing that got my attention was the 9/11 Memorial logostyle. It was clever, but my wife and her family who were visiting with me failed to see the 'idea'. And I started to think how it could be made more obvious without losing the integrity of the original design.

Now I can almost hear Landor, New York throwing up their arms in horror and shouting "What the...!" I know, but I couldn't resist. I felt the cleverness of using the 11 to represent the twin towers was overshadowed by the strength of the other elements and so I 'tweaked' the idea. Apologies to Landor.