This week, we unveiled our latest piece of Jigsaw24 artistry, our own coat of arms. Featuring all our best assets, zebra included, it got us thinking about our favourite and most memorable heraldic works (we’ve got odd hobbies). Here’s what the team came up with, including Canadian, local and magical coats of arms…
Visually stunning Canadian coats
First up, we’re marvelling at the brilliance and slight madness of the coats of arms of the Canadian states. Whereas us Europeans like to keep our coats traditional and feature lots of lions and medieval shields, we were thrilled to find the Canadians not taking things as seriously and thinking more creatively. Who wouldn’t want their coat of arms to feature bison mermaids, flying polar bears or rainbow jaguars?
Looking more locally now, we’ve been investigating Nottingham’s changing coat of arms. Our current coat of arms has been standing since 1933, and features a pair of stags and a castle. Missing is any reference to our beloved outlaw Robin Hood, who was removed from the coat way back in 1905. We’d quite like him to be reinstated, maybe in his Disney fox form.
We couldn’t talk about coats of arms without mentioning the wonderfully detailed and artistic coat of arms of our favourite magical school, Hogwarts. We love the school motto, which translates to ‘never tickle a sleeping dragon’ and the royal gold colour scheme, and who could forget the Hufflepuff badger?
Carrying on from Hogwarts we thought we’d mention another one of our favourite things, pubs. While pub signs might not be the main reason we visit such an establishment, we all enjoy a good bit of pub signage, especially the example below, a hand-painted sign from artist Andrew Grundon.
Our final piece for this week is a collection of Game of Thrones-inspired coat of arms for the Seven Kingdoms’ houses from Russian designer Ivan Belikov. We particularly like his illustrations for the House of Stark and House of Targaryen.
This week, we’ve scrapped our usual design inspiration poll, (where we vote for our top five pieces of inspiration) and have decided to do things a little differently. Instead, our 11-strong creative team met and each shared a piece of work that they’ve always felt personally inspired by. Warning: We’re delving into our childhood and things are about to get philosophical. Here’s what the team thinks…
Paul, on the Chrysler building
“I’m not sure why I love this building, but every time some one asks me ‘what’s your favourite piece of design?’, the Chrysler building always pops into my head. I don’t want to try and analyse why I’m drawn to it because I like the idea that it just appeals to me – a child-like instinct.
“I do have a love of art deco and the crown on top of the Chrysler building is magnificent as it changes colour in the varying light conditions, as are the gargoyles based on Plymouth bonnet ornaments. It may have only been the tallest building in the world for 11 months, but it has stood out as one of my all-time favourites since I saw it as a boy.”
“A firm favourite for many, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ was, I think, instrumental in my formative years of creative writing. The simple narrative, helped along by Sendak’s captivating and enduring illustrations, completely transported my young reader to a magical world. Classic!”
“I guess I like the London tube map because it’s stood the test of time, helps thousands of people every day and has been easily adapted as the whole network grows. I also think it’s a great example that design can be clearer or easier to understand when not (geographically) accurate, so (cliché alert!), think outside the box or look at things from a different point of view, hence inspiration from circuit boards and Mondrian.”
“For me, recycling is not only necessary, but pretty inspirational too. I’m utterly fascinated by the pioneering study of environmental history, which in essence calls into question the relationship between man and our surrounding environment, and how in turn our environment can tell a multi-faceted history. Recycling is environmental history in practice, telling a tale via reusing unloved ‘junk’ to make something beautiful, engaging and in some cases usable. If anything, making a chicken out of an egg puts a whole new spin on the ‘what came first, the chicken or the egg?’ debate.”
“Some say it’s a concrete monstrosity, but once you’ve been to the National and experienced the environment, you understand that it was built as a blank canvas for some of the best arts in the country. From the fly towers jutting out of the top to the balconies that are used to host events, it’s given so many artists the ideal platform for expressing themselves over the years. It’s literally cutting edge theatre, art, photography, scenic design, live music, education all under one roof and I’m yet to find another place in the world like it.”
“Iron Man became the inspiration for my university dissertation and a motion capture project on how to speed up traditional hand posed animations. Iron Man fermented my love of comic books, superheroes, 3D CGI, animation and most importantly, the futuristic heads-up displays based on the works of Jayse Hansen.”
“This year the Hubble Telescope turns 25 years old, and as a space enthusiast I’ve always been fascinated about how we’ve been able to build a telescope capable of capturing such beautiful images of things thousands of light years away. This is my favourite image, taken of the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation, it’s hard to even begin to imagine how things like this happen, let alone how we’re able to take images of them.”
“I love the Liberty of London department store building inside and out. I love how old the building is, yet it’s beautifully decorated with a mixture of traditional, original and brand new features. I also love how it encourages new designers from all manner of disciplines.”
“In 1970, someone told Bruce Nauman that authors had no control over their audiences, so he built a horrifying tunnel full of cameras that disorientated and panicked everyone who walked through it, just to prove people wrong. This sort of sinister mind control is always at the forefront of our planning here in the Jigsaw24 copywriting department. You do want an iPad. You do. You do.”
“Bob Gill’s use of humour and wit in graphic design has been an inspiration to me since my university days. A good example of his style is a point of sale dog illustration, where he injects fun in what could have been just another boring slipper display. A quote I love that sums up his work is, ‘there is never a dull brief, only a dull designer’.”
Seeing as we’ll all probably still be in bed this time next week, we’re bringing Easter forwards a week and compiling our favourite picks of Easter inspiration now. We’ve found some lovely, techy and downright creepy Easter projects to share with you. Take a look, and don’t forget to send us yours…
Hidden Adobe CC Easter eggs
We’ll start with a serious one (well serious, for us). We’ve been looking at the hidden ‘easter eggs’ software developers hide within their programs. It’s all an element of jovial fun and can be anything from a hidden message, joke or full-blown game. Adobe have followed suit and built in a selection of useful and comical hidden tools into the latest update of their Creative Cloud applications. You can make coffee and toast in Photoshop and unlock hidden strokes in InDesign. Our Senior Designer, Paul, is particularly tickled by meeting the InDesign friendly alien. Take a read of the article on highlander.co.uk and try them out for yourself!
Co-op has teamed up with creative agency Amaze to produce an Easter egg promo site which is a wonderfully light-hearted Apple parody. It really is a ‘triumph in ergonomics’. It features everything from an Easter egg comparison chart to a section on ‘your local Easter Egg-sperts’ – there’re so many egg puns, you can see why we love it!
We class this next piece as Easter inspiration simply because there’s an egg involved. Simon, from our design team, presented us with a review of the best free egg timer apps on the market, resulting in ‘Egg timer app’ from the ‘Egg Farmers of Canada’ coming out on top. If you’re sick of hard-boiling an egg that was meant for your soldiers or you keep drying out your scrambled eggs, you need this free app. The only downside from us was that we expected some sort of chicken miracle graphic to appear when our eggs were done – not to ruin the surprise, but it’s just your standard ‘your eggs are ready’ notification. You can download the ‘Egg timer app’ from the App Store here.
Chances are, if you put an iPad in the front of your store, we are going to play with it. This is exactly what Harrods have done this year as part of their Easter window display. They’ve teamed up with jewellers Fabergé (who are currently hosting a pop-up egg bar in the store) to get customers to design their own Fabergé egg using the iPad in-store. Their designs are then projected onto a 1.5m-long egg in the shop window. Take a look at the installation video below – we’ll certainly be paying the Knightsbridge store a visit to check it out!
Easter bunnies more terrifying than a crucified man coming back from the dead
We should warn you, this next piece might scar you and ruin the Easter bunny for life. Here we present a collection of images of various Easter bunny costumes throughout the years – seriously, how were people allowed to take photos with children looking like this?! Some of the costumes mysteriously remind us of one specific mask in our staff room…
If you’re feeling slightly uneasy after that last set of images, take a look at our final Easter-inspired image. Here’s Madison, our Marketing Assistant, after winning her first Easter bonnet competition (deep down, she really is thrilled).
– Missed last week’s web-themed design inspiration? Catch up with it here.
Drop back in next Friday to see more inspiration from our design team. Found something you think should have made it into the list? Pop it in the comments box below.
Our design inspiration theme this week is the web. We’ve been looking at our favourite examples of web design, creativity and history– we’ve even tried to be a bit topical, with the Solar Eclipse having just taken place and slip some space themed content in their too. Our web inspiration features some darn cute transitioning animals, a trip to Mars and a website that tells you how many times you flush the toilet at work (we’re not here to judge)…
We start off with this lovely CSS-based interactive exhibition celebrating evolutionary distinction. There are 30 animals (all endangered) to work your way through – the Pygmy three-toed sloth looks very jovial, look at him waving away! This is a really great concept and website, the only slightly disturbing element is when you click “what’s the threat’ and the animal appears to explode – poor three-toed sloth. We’d recommend a read of the ‘How it’s made’ section, to see how the animals are being manipulated through a set of co-ordinates with CSS transitions to link up the movements.
This morning we all stood outside with our mugs of coffee and waited patiently for the moon to get a jog on and cover the sun. When you think about it, space is pretty inspirational, so we were loving this neat little website that put into perspective how far away Mars is, by using an Earth 100 pixels wide. In case you were wondering, if the Earth was only 100 pixels wide, Mars would be 428,000 pixels away, and the Moon 3000 pixels away. We particularly like that during your trip to Mars you’re entertained with a selection of fun space trivia.
Who said black and white was boring? There’s certainly plenty to look at and keep you occupied for a good 15 minutes on creative agency Sid Lee’s website. Broken down into a grid, the website features the activity in the office, including the temperature, number of coffees poured and even how many goals are scored on the table-football. At first we were adamant that this wasn’t genuine, but after watching the company’s accompanying video – we are genuinely baffled! Do they seriously record how many times the toilet gets flushed in a day and put it on their website? You can click on each of the elements to open up a graph of when the activities were carried out – apparently at 4am this morning the water fountain was proving popular.
6 totally wrong early predictions about the internet
In 1969 a series of predictions were made about the future of the internet, and while we may laugh at them now, at the time, these seem perfectly legitimate things to claim. The list includes ‘people will never just sit and stare at a screen all day’, ‘no one would ever buy a damn thing over the computer’, and our favourite ‘the Internet will end…in 1996’. There’s also a video to go alongside these statements – take a listen, we guarantee you will be slightly amused!
Our final piece of inspiration for this week is a good one; we’ve definitely saved the best till last. The One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age is attempting to capture and archive the few remaining Geocities out there, and their Tumblr includes screenshots of home-coded masterpieces that have, sadly, fallen in the maw of Yahoo Small Business. For those of you not aware of the wonder of Geocities, you need to take a look at how we were making websites in the 90s (apparently you can still make Geocities in Japan). Here’s a selection of our favourite…
This week we’ve turned our attention to Adobe’s social network and creative sharing hub Behance for our inspiration. We love how easy it is to search for quick inspiration when you’re having a momentary blank. We could happily spend all of our Friday afternoon on Behance, but we’ve restrained ourselves and selected our top five projects to share with you this week – we’ve got plenty of branding ideas, origami, wonderful drawings and of course, twisted Disney…
Fish and chips branding
First up, we all agree on how lovely this project from STUDIOJQ is. It developed after they grew tired of the outdated branding of their local chippy and decided to visualise how they would make it look better. They’ve come up with their own logo, packaging and signage for the chippy (which we definitely think they should pitch to the owners). We are particularly fond of the fetching rubber stamp and the icon based logos. The packaging is lovely too, really great work – we aren’t at all craving a battered cod right now.
If you ever need a good way to store a map, we’d recommend you check out this Google Maps origami project. The purpose was to encourage smaller businesses to register on Google, so naturally B.A.Bakken made an origami pineapple out of a map. Part one of the project focuses on the shapes being created, with the aim to produce items popularly found in various small businesses (how did lobsters make the cut?). Part two of the project focussed on adding colour and incorporating maps onto the designs. Quite frankly, who knew a map would look so fetching in the shape of a pineapple? We can’t wait to see what part three is going to look like.
This next piece took us all back to a few years ago when the Logo Quiz app was in full swing. This project from London based Alvin Ofori-Brown is made up of a collection of popular logos that have been switched with their competitors’ logos. This is certainly harder to explain than it is to look at, so we’ll leave you with the real thing – go get yourselves an afternoon hot beverage and try to work out which company logos have been switched…
As much as we think original Disney is fantastic, we can’t help but be amazed and a little intrigued by these slightly twisted and dark collections of pencil drawings of popular Disney characters from PEZ Artwork. The hardcore look certainly suits Buzz Lightyear, but I will forever more be haunted by that Krusty the Clown.
If I was wearing a hat I would doff it to London based illustrator Greg Coulton for his stunning drawings of owls, which were commissioned for Hoot Watches. The detail in these drawings is staggering – especially the ‘Great Horned Owl’. The drawings on their own are beautiful; we almost think they’re too good to be used on the packaging for a watch – we want it on wallpaper! If owls aren’t your thing, Greg has also done a wonderful fox called Rebecca who is just lovely too.
This week has been a long one, with the wait for payday seeming endless. We’re all still bickering about THAT dress (we can’t agree on the colour), and still watching the video on repeat of Madonna’s trip at the BRITs (seriously though Madge – we’re glad you’re OK). This week our inspiration has come in the form of childhood fears, CSS puns and some really lovely street photography…
Coffee foam art
These wonderful pictures of foamy goodness, by Japanese barista Kazuki Yamamoto, have just further fuelled our coffee addiction. The 26-year-old has turned the bog-standard cappuccino into a work of art – can we convince him he should come work for us? Personally I wouldn’t want to drink my coffee if someone had gone to the effort to sculpt me a giraffe on top – I would delicately try and sip around it, but would most likely let it go cold, take pictures and social media the hell out of it.
Now for a serious one. This week we’ve all fallen in love with American Street Photographer Vivian Maier. Her story is amazing – we can find no other way to describe her than a real-life Mary Poppins – she spent most of her life in financial difficulty and worked extremely hard as a carer, taking photos in her spare time with an SLR camera using 35mm film. We strongly recommend you totake a look at her website, read her story and marvel at her pictures. Here’s a snapshot of a few of our favourite pictures from her Street albums and self portraits. Just for the record, Kim Kardashian has got nothing on Vivian’s selfie-taking skills.
Want to find out more about Vivian Maier? Head on over to Arty’s website for loads more pictures and history.
If there’s one thing we love more than coffee, it’s mini golf, and this indoor miniature golf in San Francisco looks amazing. The whole course is pretty fancy, but we’re fascinated by one hole which requires the player to drop their ball into an entrance in the wall, with the purpose being to find a way of getting it out with a helping hand from a Borrower-like creature. Watch the video below to see how the ball is released – its mind-blowing stuff!
We’re letting our lovable geeky sides out this week and sharing with you a collection of puns and jokes collected by Saigo George from Reddit and DesignerNews told in CSS code form. They’re hilarious – we can’t get enough.
Finally, we’re ending the week with this amazing collection of comic strips from illustrator Fran Krause, telling the fears that roam around a child’s brain. We have to admit, some of these are really weird, and certainly not thoughts we’ve ever had (or will admit to having), but some of them are bang-on, with the illustrations matching completely with the thoughts in our heads.
This week we celebrated Photoshop’s 25th birthday, Pancake Day and revelled in the joy that we now know who killed Lucy in EastEnders. Here’s a round up of some of our favourite creative inspirations from our celebratory week…
1. 25 years of beautiful, fake images brought to you by Photoshop
Happy 25th Birthday to Adobe’s much loved digital imaging software, Photoshop. Now, whenever I’m feeling old, I can seek comfort in knowing that Photoshop has been around for longer than I have. We’re enjoying Matt Novak’s homage to Photoshop and his collection of his favourite Photoshopped images. The CCTV camera outside George Orwell’s house is one of our favourites, with George Bush not far behind.
A nice topical one for this week. On Tuesday we all gathered in the kitchen for a mid morning pancake. As much as we enjoyed being able to bring our Nutella and maple syrup jars into the office, our pancakes were nowhere near up the the standard of Nathan Shields. Meet super-dad, maths teacher and pancake artist Nathan Shields who certainly wins the award for most creative design for a pancake. His Disney princess collection is particularly charming, as is his African animal series.
In late January NASA released this stunning high definition image of the Andromeda M31 Galaxy. It’s been described as the “sharpest large composite image ever taken of our galactic next-door neighbour”. The image itself has a resolution of 1.5 billion pixels (1.5 gigapixels) and has a storage size of 4.5GB. What you’re looking at is a 48,000 light-year long stretch of galaxy and over 100 million stars. I don’t even think i could imagine what 1 light-year looks like, let alone 48,000, i’ve only just mastered kilometres. Take a look at the zoom-able version of the image here.
We love this series of 25 images by Canadian artist Rob Gonsalves. His paintings are drawn from his interest in drawing from the imagination and “magic realism”. His paintings are utterly breathtaking, we really could never tire of looking at them (except maybe one or two, which we can’t decide whether we find fascinating or creepy).
The nominees have been announced for this year’s Design Museum ‘Design of the Year 2015’, and they’re all amazing. It’s hard not to feel inspired by such creativity. We were going to pick out one category and highlight a few of our favourites, but in truth there’s so much captivating work (some you might recognise from our previous blogs) that we really couldn’t pick a favourite.
We were trying to be impartial, but obviously we’ve picked our favourite. Taken from the ‘Fashion’ category, our winner goes to Kate and Laura Muleavy’s series of Star Wars-inspired dresses. Not sure how we’d accessorise a C-3PO dress though…
This week we are all about illusions. A lifelike painting of Morgan Freeman, photos made to look like 2D paintings, everyday objects transformed into other everyday objects, and a few good examples of trompe l’oeil. First up, though, a good bit of Lego…
TARDIS: Coming to a christmas tree near you
There are two things that literally could not be more popular right now; Lego and Christmas. Well, Christmas is kind of a given, but Lego is going from strength to strength, and these tree ornaments aren’t going to do anything to damage that. Designed by Chris McVeigh, these are create-your-own kits that can be bought from his website. Everything from Death Star baubles to a hanging Doctor Who TARDIS are included. All that you need now is a Lego christmas tree to hang them on.
No, this isn’t a case of mistaken identities, but we couldn’t resist a post about everyone’s favourite voiceover actor, Morgan Freeman. Especially when it also concerns iPad. Believe it or not, the picture below was created by artist Kyle Lambert using Apple’s tablet device, the app Procreate and a bit of tactical finger painting. Once you’ve finished admiring the portrait, take a look at the video below to see the creation process. 200 hours of painting in three minutes. Absolutely incredible!
OK, we’re going to stop doing this to you. No it isn’t. This time photographer Alexander Khokhlov has teamed up with make-up artist Valeriya Kutsan to create what appear to be 2D portraits from photos of models faces and a bit of post-production work. Below is just one example of where this has worked incredibly well, but there are plenty of examples at the link below. To see the artists at work, take a look at the video below.
These Instagram experiments by graphic designer Javier Perez turn everyday objects entirely on their head to create new scenes. Using a simple line drawing, syringes become mosquitos, paper clips turn to trumpets and notebook rings are transformed into dinosaurs. That’s my afternoon sorted – I’m going to think of as many ways to transform a pen lid as I can. Let us know which is your favourite!
We’ve all seen the forced perspective paintings that appear to turn a pavement into a gushing waterfall or an erupting volcano, but these examples of tromp l’oeil illustrations are a massive step up. With whole buildings, lorries and library walls covered in paint, in a lot of cases it’s actually pretty hard to tell the difference between reality and fiction.
Following a brief hiatus last week (sorry about that – technical issues!) here’s our latest round-up of design ideas, tips and all-round awesomeness. In this week’s top 5, we have a look at how they made the motion graphics for Adobe Creative Cloud’s marketing campaign, your five a day in digital form, paradoxical art sculptures, Barcelona meets typography, and a TV world like no other.
The Creative Cloud stinger motion graphics
The launch of Adobe Creative Cloud earlier in the year was a landmark event. With boxed software left behind in the dark ages, and a world where software is solely downloaded from the internet ahead, it was a big change for most creative workflows. To mark the launch, Adobe reached out to artists everywhere to come up with new imagery to represent each of the Creative Cloud tools. With the imagery sorted, they approached Studio B films, with one request: create a stinger video to introduce Creative Cloud. With motion graphics aplenty, I’m sure you’ll agree, the result is stunning!
Well, they may have decided to up the recommended number of fruit portions from five to seven, but this nice page called “Scroll for your health” by Tomer Lerner must have been created before that! Still, this is a great use of the scrolling web page format, which looks at five different fruits and the benefits they have for your diet and on your body. With smooth transitions between each of the fruits and simple graphics, it’s a great use of this relatively rare style. You might even learn something new: I, for one, didn’t know strawberries make your teeth whiter…
It would indeed be a paradox. And that’s exactly what all of these sculptures by Nancy Fouts are – paradoxes. From the stunning example in the image below to a broken badminton shuttlecock that’s half egg shell, there are some really great ideas that have clearly spawned from Fouts’s background in advertising.
Barcelona – known for its beautiful architecture, world-renowned artists, football and typography… Alright, the last one might not be entirely truthful, but it should be if this fine typographic example is anything to go by. Designer Simon Prades has combined his love of architectural drawing, type and Barcelona to create BCN Type. It’s well worth following the link below to see some examples of the creation process.
There’s something a bit strange about seeing a familiar sight taken over by the fantasy world of TV, but that’s what wearedorothy.com have done with this street map that is loosely based on a 1960s’ Washington map. Over 700 TV programme locations and streets have been used to replace the real locations, from TV classics like Coronation Street to newer hits like Parks & Recreation and Downton Abbey. Head on over to wearedorothy.com to see more images, and to see other examples of their work – there’s even a London map made entirely of book titles.
Feeling blue without your weekly dose of design inspiration? Well, we don’t want to disappoint. This time there are colourful cows, ways to use the old typewriter lurking in your cupboard, more cake and a couple of animations that will have you drinking coffee by the bucket-load.
Oh, and one more thing…pinch, punch, first of the month.
29 ways to stay creative
Suffering a momentary lapse in creative flair? We have the answer! Well, the guys at @tofu_design do with this handy little video that includes 29 different ways to get the creative juices flowing. I can’t say I agree with all of them – singing in the shower, for example, is more likely to get me thumped than a design award – but that said, there are some nice bits of advice in there. I, for one, will be using this as an excuse to throw away everything on my desk as soon as I’ve finished writing this article.
Another video here. This one is from the multidisciplinary design studio, N9VE, who have have created an animation that runs through 26 of their favourite fonts. The video is called ‘The Alphabet’ and each character featured is the initial letter of a font name – definitely one for all typography fans!
We’re still in denial that this year’s series of GBBO has ended – we event went as far as locking Liz and Liana in the kitchen and telling them they couldn’t return to their desk until they’d produced a perfect selection of petit fours and a croquembouche. They failed, but we have come across this look at the work of Tom Hovey, Bake Off’s resident illustrator, who puts together the drawings you see of the proposed bakes each week. Take a look at his website for more examples of his work.
OK, so we’re never going to actually give you that advice. However, these incredible pieces of work by Keira Rathbone show that sometimes a bit of inspiration can go a long way. She uses an old typewriter to print artwork entirely composed of numbers, letters and symbols. Check out the example below, but her website is well worth a visit – if only to see what happens when you start the day with the intention of creating a typed version of Grace Jones.
You can’t get more to the point than that. If you’re a bovine enthusiast this one’s definitely for you, because body paint artist Emma Hack has taken to the fields with her paint brush to design some fetching new coats for these cows in South Australia. Obviously, our favourite is the jigsaw piece – very this season.