Frilly Lizards’ Thoughts


Inspiration & Feedback on Art & Design. Please participate, share your views on any works of art or design; the artists and designers work you admire that give you inspiration in which ever form or discipline. Thanks you for taking time to read this. I’m interested to hear everyone’s opinion please share yours.

Liverpool Design Symposium ’09

Yesterday I attended the Liverpool Design Symposium, initially I was a little intimidated and unsure of what to expect (when I booked the tickets and registered I was unsure if anyone I knew was attending), but such is life, my rule in life is to have a go, if you don’t try it how can you have a realist opinion and view about it. So with this in mind I booked and headed off on my own to embrace the career path I hopefully will be entering should I be fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to continue.

Whilst waiting for the talk I’d registered into I wandered around and found a magazine for The Chip Shop Awards highly amusing and worth a look, some very clever and simple entries, have a look.

The first talk I attended was by Ian Thompson-Creative Director Thompson Brand Partners, Leeds.

The Liverpool Design Symposium website gave the following description of Ian:

Ian Thompson

Ian is the founder of Thompson and has been in charge since its inception in 1984. From the outset, his specific expertise has undeniably been in brand development.
He has accumulated experience in a fairly broad range of sectors – from financial brands such as HBOS, Barclays and National Australia Bank Group, to retailers like Harvey Nichols, The Arcadia Group and Debenhams.
He also enjoys the particularly complex branding issues of the public sector, and has worked for The Department of Health, Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward and more recently NHS Direct and standards Board for England. On the business to business front, Ian has managed the brand roll-outs for global healthcare company Smith and Nephew and has developed the brand for furniture group Symphony.
Ian is still an active designer and is a campaigner for the power of design in business, especially in Yorkshire and his hometown of Leeds.
Ian sits on the board of Metal, a major Arts company headed up by Artistic Director Jude Kelly OBE. He has also spearheaded re-brands for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Watford Palace Theatre, Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre. He also played a role in the 2012 London Olympic bid, developing the proposition for the Culture and Education section.
More recently Ian has headed up branding programmes for ‘Inspired’ The Science Museum Swindon, The Dartington Trust, Robert Horne Group, and The National Media Museum. He is currently developing the brand for London’s Southbank Centre.

What to expect…

How to make good money doing what you love.
Designing effectively to get the best jobs.
This session is all about getting all your skills and passion focussed in one direction –designing effectively.
As designers, we’d all like to work for the best companies, on the best projects, for the most high profile clients, with the most creative briefs. Well, it does happen. But the people who get there all understand one key thing – that the companies who pay good money for design want results, results, results. And, they’re usually financial ones. And if you’re thinking that all your creativity will be squashed flat by the need to be financially driven, think again. The companies who commission the most design often demand the highest creative standards because they often understand that it’s the best way to differentiate their products and services.
Using examples from several major design consultancies, this talk will give you a real understanding of how design works in the world of business and how to get your own way when you want that great idea to really happen.
Oh, and it’s pretty good stuff to know when you’re out there looking for a job.

Ian covered why companies should invest in design, he used various case studies to strengthen his argument explaining that this is the process he uses to show clients how effective design can have a strong influence on the success of a business/product.

  • Firstly identify the problem.
  • Secondly outline the primary and secondary objectives, using the SWOT method – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Ian used a live case study and showed the target numbers initially forecast by the client against the achieved numbers actually achieved.

  • Yr1 – Target 65,000
  • Yr1 – Achieved 110,000
  • Yr2 – Target 110,000
  • Yr2 – Acheived 136,000
  • Yr3 – Target 140,000
  • Yr3 – 25% ahead of target forecast estimate 175,000.

Ian then continued to discuss re articulating the brand, explaining the most valuable aspect is to create the clients own territory. The most successful re branding is often very subtle and the retail outlet often allocate more space to new or re branded products the example shown was Durex and Durex ‘Play’. The re branding costs were recuperated by the client in 5 days.

So how do you make money?

What are employers looking for in an employee?

  • An insatiable desire to learn
  • Freshness
  • Skills, skills and more skills
  • An idea of what you can bring to them NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
  • A willingness to work
  • No fear of doing the boring stuff for a while
  • An outlining understanding of why people pay us.
  • Be interested in the world not just design
  • Demonstrate real interest
  • Show your self sufficient
  • Ask questions
  • Want your work to be effective

We were left with two quotes (not Ian’s):

‘Genius is excellence plus constraints’

‘Quality is the best business plan’

Ian finished with some advice on portfolios he explained that presentation is everything and a narrative is important.

The second talk I attended was by Andy ChambersDirector, Digit, London

The Liverpool Design Symposium website gave the following description of Andy:


Andy Chambers is co-Founder of Digit, one of the UK’s longest established digital design companies, now part of the WPP Group.
Andy’s experience in Brand Development dates back to his early professional experience at Sainsbury’s during the early 1980’s where he worked in their new store and hypermarket offerings. He also developed a deep understanding of consumer behaviour from the emerging use of loyalty data, launching the UK’s first Store loyalty card. Subsequent international experience gained at IBM afforded Andy the opportunity to work with many of the world’s leading Brands advising them in all aspects of how technology acts as a channel to understand people’s reaction to, and requirements of, a Brand.
Most recently Digit has been working closely with a number of leading Brands including MSN, Shell and Marks & Spencer on the next generation of online Brand identity and the role of content in building Brand equity and most importantly Brand reach to increasingly savvy & demanding consumers. Andy is a passionate believer in the role consumers play in promoting the Brands that they love and their increasing influence in shaping the behaviour of Brands they want to be better. He is a twice-BAFTA winner for pioneering online work launching MTV2’s Brand identity, for online design for Habitat and a D&AD Black Pencil holder for the National Gallery’s Grand Tour.

What to expect…

Why Brands must be in flux to be interesting.

Andy started his talk explaining the companies’ philosophy ‘Simple Human Interaction’ but highlighting that technology will always let you down be prepared, keep it simple and make the moment of interaction matter.


Filed under: Professional Practice


You have to see this, amazing the new video for MIA, Born Free by Romain Gavras:

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

Filed under: Uncategorized

4 Designers Conference, London 2010

This week I attended the 4 Designers Conference in London and as with previous years I’ve attended the speakers chosen were inspiring and offered practical relevant advice. The conference Chairman and founder of 4 designers, Patrick Baglee was really interesting; on this occasion he reveled a little about his background in the design industry and how he entered the industry (I had been a little naive and not conducted my research on his career) I was fascinated to discover his early roots stem from studying learning processes… This is an area which touches on my dissertation subject  which I have just finished, and is the basis for my next practical project. I decided to approach Patrick to ask advice and found him to be an extremely pleasant gentleman who offered to assist me should I require any help. Thank you Patrick, this is very much appreciated.

A little about Patrick’s design career:

Patrick Baglee is Director of Creative Strategy at Navyblue, a strategic international brand development agency with offices in London, Edinburgh and Budapest. Before joining Navyblue he spent two years as Executive Creative Director at EHS Brann, one of Europe’s largest direct marketing agencies.

He has written off, on, through and above the line for print, digital and TV and worked with Audi, British Gas, Barclays, Cambridge University Press, COI, Diageo, Diesel, The FA, Gilbert & George and UK Trade & Investment. His writing on design and advertising has appeared in eye, Campaign, Grafik, Graphis, Creative Review and u&lc. He is the former Chair of The Typographic Circle, and Founder of 4Designers, an annual student conference held in London and New York.

The first speakers of the day were Stuart Price & Chris Jefferys from Manchester based company ‘Thoughtful’. Thoughtful was set up by 3 former senior designers from ‘The Chase’ Stuart, Chris and James Graham. I really enjoyed the presentation from Stuart and Chris, they truly appeared to understand people and how to connect. The presentation was insightful and delivered in an professional yet amusing fashion which perfectly fitted the audience and kept everyone interested. Thoughtful has been running for 3 years. The presentation started with Inspiration;

‘The Mill’ Logo:

Daniel Eatock; Big Brother:

And of course Daniel Eatock’s Alarm Dance 3.

The best packaging:

Many of the Inspirational people who Thoughtful admire are personal favorites of mine and who’s work I’m very much aquatinted with:

David Lachapell

Hype Williams

Spike Milligan

Chris Cunningham

Jonathan Glazer – Nick Cave’s ‘‘ one of my all time favourite music videos (if there was a piece of work that you wished you had been responsible for this would probably be mine).

Droga 5

The presentation progressed and the conversation was directed to the idea of marrying two unrelated items to give an interesting take on a design idea.

A video clip of an early Oasis interview was shown to highlight the importance of passion for your work. It has to be said that even if Liam Gallager can be consued as arrogant at times you have to admire his sheer self confidence and belief for what he does.

Various innovative designs were shown but my favourite has to be the hamster wheel paper shredder:

Bic Cutlery:

And Rice Baby:

Various tips to the creative industry were offered:

  • Keep interested
  • You cannot communicate
  • Keep scrapbooks of everything.

The latter part of the presentation was turned over to interviews with some of the most prestigious names in the industry to offer their advice to students, fantastic advice.

Paula ScherPentagram

  1. Can you learn something from the place your working.
  2. Don’t assume that your work can effect the rest of your life.

Greg Quinton – The Partners

Persistence – Earn it … To do great work.

Micheal Wolff

  1. Inquisitiveness
  2. Never fear your imagination.

Jonathan Baldwin – Dundee University

Connections – What could design have to do with this?

Adrian Shaughnessy

  1. Be prepared to learn
  2. Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

James Corazzo


Michael Johnson – Johnson Banks

  1. Click through portfolio site
  2. PDF under 5MB.

Lise Brian The Chase

Lise started the presentation from a very personal angle of her own experiences in the design industry; from early influences and interests, her studies and subsequent placement and successful career with Ben Casey at the ‘The Chase’. The presentation used many examples of Lise’s work and this formed the narrative to her very practical advice about how to approach an agency. Just some of the tips given were (Lise explained that many of the points were common sense yet many people fell at these hurdles):

  1. Get the name right and spell it correctly.
  2. Don’t attach too many files to emails.
  3. Follow any emails up with calls.
  4. Be nice to the receptionist (they are all close in the office and do talk).
  5. Try not to be too nervous.
  6. Know something about where your going.
  7. Know something about where you want to be.
  8. Ask about placements.
  9. Turn up unannounced.
  10. If in a placement don’t forget to ask ‘Can I help’.

With regards to your portfolio Lise offered some helpful advice:

  1. If you don’t like it take it out or redo it.
  2. Have a good mix of work.
  3. Keep your folder spotless.
  4. Treat your portfolio like a job.
  5. Mock ups are lovely.
  6. Don’t ever put foam board in your folder.
  7. How much time do you have?
  8. When given advice don’t take it to heart.
  9. Practice talking.
  10. Start & Finish with your strongest work.

David Kester – Design Council

David was appointed Chief Executive of the Design Council in May 2003. He has refocused the organisation as the national strategic body for design, leading central government policies and regional programmes that strengthen competitiveness, drive innovation and support growth in the creative economy.

Prior to the Design Council, David has held senior leadership roles within business, design and the environmental sector including nine years as Chief Executive of D&AD and four years at the pressure group Friends of the Earth. His tenure at the design and advertising organisation, D&AD, is associated with a turnaround in performance and reputation, including internationalising its award scheme and building its education programmes.

He is a council member of the Royal College of Art and The Royal Society of Arts, a trustee of the Kingston Rose Theatre, board member of the Design Business Association and regular commentator and advisor to government on the creative economy, enterprise and innovation.

David started his presentation with statists of what the students will be facing when entering the industry:

  • The UK has the largest design industry in Europe.
  • It’s a 11 billion £ sector.

David moved the presentation onto innovation lead by design, he used two examples of this. The first example was a small easily identifiable problem and uncomplicated to rectify:

A Doctor who had designed and made medical equipment (he held all the patents no other parties were involved) but no body was interested in buying the product. The problem was identified as an anesthetic issue the equipment was redesigned and relaunched – problem solved (extremely successful after a redesign).

The second example was much more complex. The client was the large employer; NHS, the issue to be tackled MRAS C. difficle. The desision to use design right at the beginning was taken. Students from RCA were enlisted to help identify and discover unique insights. The areas highlighted included the bedside area being cluttered and hard to clean effectively, so students designed new stations for the bedside areas in addition to other avenues that had been explored.

David discussed the design process as a double diamond shape in which there are four specific phases; discovering, developing, defining and delivering. This diagram (which is shown below) is a framework to think about your project and its process. The double diamond shape is generic throughout projects though can be stretched and morphed depending on the phase a project is concentrating on.

David explained that very often in the design industry the last thing we do is design. This is something I personally have discovered during the last 2 and half years of study at art school. David ended the presentation with some interesting comments:

  1. Creativity – we ALL have it (everyone).
  2. Innovation – the commercial sector.
  3. Design – the link.


Simon Manchipp, Gary Holt & David Law started the presentation with the engineer’s project triangle:

They explained how you can achieve two but never three of the options. Their advice centered on ‘Don’t be Boring’ . They outlined the 3 things which are important to SomeOne:

  1. Do good work
  2. Have fun
  3. Make money to continue.

But ALL must be carried out with an opinion.

1. They explained what they called the upside down process:

  • the creative first stage / pitch
  • creative adjustments
  • detailed design
  • artwork & guidelines

2. Continuing to explain that ‘Branding’ is a business. Know that business, it’s homework that will NEVER be wasted.

3. Be creative everywhere including in the deals:

  • Fee
  • Equity
  • Exchange

Do good work / DO GREAT WORK.

The presentation continued to discuss the world of ‘Branding’ and if logos are now a passed life? They are very much embracing the brand world as opposed to logos – using colour, type and identity not a logo more a brand experience. But I personally still consider this to be a logo, am I wrong? Have I misunderstood? I appreciate that it is not the common logo idea image or image/type but it is still an identity of a company something that makes them identifiable.

Mike Dempsey

Mike, I found extremely interesting for many reasons in his opening speech he reveled that he is indeed very dyslexic something that I’m interested in as I have spoken about earlier in this post and highlighted his highly visual strengths.

Mike took the audience on a journey through his career starting with how he first became interested in the industry. One of his first tools in the trade was Josef Muller-Brockmann’s ‘ The Graphic Artist and His Design Problems” (1961):

His early career in publishing and many of his designs including work for the London Chamber Orchestra (LCO) and English National Opera (ENO):

Mike broke logo for ENO down and explained how he had decided to go with the final decision. It was really interesting and I loved this element of his presentation idea was simple and effective (the best ones always are) a typographic representation of an operatic singer, the image shown was Pavarotti. The ‘O’ is the singing mouth, the ‘E’ and ‘N’ are the eyes (shown in different weights) whether this is to add emotion or character I’m not sure but I like it, it works.

Many samples of Mike’s inspirational work was shown; but one of my favourite pieces is the classic album covers stamps:

The presentation continued with 12 words from Mike to help with our journey:

LOOK: really see.

READ: the copy your designing with.

IDEAS: always endure, styles fade.

HISTORY: absorb everything.

PASSION: it’s infectious.

CURIOSITY: stay curious.

NO: be persuasive and push.

RULES: learn and then break.

WORDS: some times words are more fruitful.

VOICE: articulate, never underestimate.

EGO: don’t grab all the lime light.

REJECTION: learn from it.

To all the designers that took time out from their very busy schedules to pass on their words of wisdom and share their experiences of the industry thank you. I took an awful lot away from the experience and appreciated your time and honesty.

Filed under: 4 Designers


Haptic technology moving forward.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Jeff Han

Jeff Han shows off a cheap, scalable multi-touch and pressure-sensitive computer screen interface that may spell the end of point-and-click.

Filed under: Uncategorized

YouTube – Augmented Reality by Hitlab

YouTube – Augmented Reality by Hitlab.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off

This was really interesting to watch; this practice is something I used to do to rejuvenate and glean ideas; it has amazed me that Stefan Sagmeister and many organisations carryout this practice. Since being accepted on my Uni course I had lost sight of this activity and finding this talk has reinforced the importance of giving yourself a break and allowing you to discover other avenues.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Ask PM Rudd to break his silence on climate finance | Oxfam Australia

Ask PM Rudd to break his silence on climate finance | Oxfam Australia.

Filed under: Audi - Sustain our Nation

UN Climate finance appeal

Ask Rudd to break his silence on climate finance (this is an Australian Oxfam link, but were all in this together).

The latest round of UN climate change negotiations have just started in Bangkok and the lack of action around climate financing to assist developing countries is proving a key hurdle in reaching an effective, just and binding global climate treaty being signed in December in Copenhagen.

Urge Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to do more.

Climate change is already here. Drought, flooding, storm damage, tidal surges and coastal erosion are damaging fisheries, crops and water supplies. Yet world leaders (including our Prime Minister) still made little progress on this issue at last week’s G20 meeting and UN Climate Summit.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd could play an important role to help boost much needed trust and kick start these stalled negotiations. If he’s to do this however, he must make an announcement on climate finance well before the Copenhagen climate meeting in December.

With just 69 days to go, the clock is ticking…

Read the latest information from the UN negotiations.

Filed under: Audi - Sustain our Nation

An interesting thought whilst enjoying breakfast.

Reading the paper and enjoying a danish pastry or two I came across this article which got me wandering. I am not trying to make giant assumptions by the comment I was just curious.

I am currently undertaking my dissertation looking into whether the cognitive process associated with dyslexia have impact on art and design. During the research I have been concerned with the both the positive and negative implications of this. The following article made me wander if Annie has dyslexia (diagnosed or undiagnosed) and if her attitude and working practices were a consequence of her condition. I have started to discover that many creatives care more about achieving perfection and the desired result and the financial side is not irrelevant but defiantly secondary to the art.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz $24M debt deadline looms closer

World famous photographer Annie Leibovitz has US$24 million in debt to pay back. Photo / APWorld famous photographer Annie Leibovitz has US$24 million in debt to pay back.

Annie Leibovitz’s portraits of celebrities, which regularly grace the covers of magazines such as Vanity Fair and Vogue, have made her as famous as her subjects and earned her millions.

However, Leibovitz now risks losing the copyright to the images in her entire life’s work if she does not pay back a US$24 million (NZ$34.8 million) loan by Tuesday (local time).

Art Capital Group (ACG), a New York company that issues short-term loans against fine and decorative arts and real estate, sued Leibovitz in late July for breach of contract.

“We have clear contractual rights and will protect them in any scenario,” said ACG spokesman Montieth Illingworth on Friday. “Our preference is for this to be resolved.”

Some experts say filing for bankruptcy reorganization could be the best option for Leibovitz (59), who put up her three historic Greenwich Village townhouses, an upstate property and artwork as collateral.

Leibovitz bought two of the townhouses in 2002, embarking on extensive renovations to combine them into one property.

This sparked protests from historic preservationists and a US$15 million (NZ$21.7 million) lawsuit by a neighbour after a common wall between their buildings was damaged.

Leibovitz eventually settled by buying the neighbor’s property for $1.9 million.

Leibovitz’s images of musicians, presidents and Hollywood glitterati are considered cultural touchstones by many.

One of her earliest photos is of John Lennon curled up naked in a fetal position with Yoko Ono, taken just hours before he was assassinated in 1980.

To many, her decision to gamble the rights to her work seems inexplicable. “Jaw-dropping,” Arts Lawyer Peter Stern said.

Leibovitz’s editorial agent, Contact Press Images, has declined to comment on the case, saying it is a private matter.

Her spokesperson, Matthew Hiltzik, has accused ACG of harassment.

“There has been tension and dispute since the beginning … For now, her attention remains on her photography and on continuing to organize her finances,” Hiltzik said.

A reorganization filing would suspend all litigation against Leibovitz and place her finances under the protection of a federal judge, said bankruptcy lawyer Paul Silverman, who works with Stern.

Neither attorney is involved in the case.

Last year, Leibovitz put up her homes and the copyright to every picture she has ever taken, or will take, as collateral to secure the loan to pay off her mounting debt created from unpaid bills, mortgage payments and tax liens, ACG said.

While no one has suggested publicly how Leibovitz got into such desperate financial straits, the mortgage debt on all her properties – including the townhouses in Greenwich Village and a sprawling estate in Rhinebeck, New York – totaled about US$15 million.

This includes the $1.2 million loan she took out on two of the townhouses, and another $2.2 million three years later, according to New York magazine.

In addition to her mortgages, court records show that she piled up years of federal, state and city liens and judgments from vendors for unpaid bills – all presumably now satisfied with the $24 million she borrowed.

Federal records show that Leibovitz owed a total of $2.1 million in unpaid taxes for tax years 2004, 2006 and 2007.

She also had New York state tax liens of $247,980 for six years, including $135,915 in 2007.

Leibovitz also owed New York City several thousand dollars.

Moreover, in 2008, a design firm that did work on one of her Greenwich Village properties claimed that Leibovitz owed it $51,000.

Leibovitz was also accused that year of refusing to pay $386,000 to a photo stylist during a 2007 shoot Leibovitz did for the Disney Company in 2007.

“Annie is working to resolve the situation so it would be inappropriate to comment,” Hiltzik said.

ACG, which consolidated all her loans in September 2008, charged in its lawsuit that Leibovitz breached the contract by refusing to allow real estate experts into her homes to appraise their value and by blocking ACG from selling her photographs.

ACG has estimated the value of the Leibovitz portfolio at $40 million while real estate brokers say her New York properties are worth about $40 million.

Leibovitz also owned an apartment in Paris, which she bought for her longtime companion, writer and feminist Susan Sontag.

Under the sales agreement with Leibovitz, Illingworth said, the company would get 10 per cent commission on the sale of Leibovitz’ real estate and 15 per cent on the sale of her portfolio.

Leibovitz would get the remainder after paying off the $24 million loan, interest and other fees, he said.

If she defaults, the company would get a net 12 per cent commission, after paying approximately 13 per cent for costs and fees.

Leibovitz’s Vanity Fair salary has been reported to be about $2 million, according to New York magazine.

She also has done work for Louis Vuitton and American Express and charges $100,000 for private portraits.

Filed under: Uncategorized

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