This blog is moving!

Hello there loyal readers, and confused googlers, it’s been a while coming but I’m pleased/saddened/angry (please delete as appropriate) to announce that I will no longer be adding fresh nonsense to this blog.

I’ve finally got round to (sort of) updating my personal site and from now on I’ll be posting my ramblings over on alanofford.co.uk. Please update/delete your bookmarks as appropriate.

I’ll be leaving this blog here, for the time being at least, just so you can relive some of it’s memorable highlights.

First up my all-time, most read blog-post (which I guess would be people accidentally finding it on search engines), New Banksy spotted in Norwich.

There was the post I wrote in response to InternAware’s campaign, The design industry’s secret shame.

I’m particularly proud of my chronicling of my whirlwind tour of India and Nepal, and this post especially: Beggars and Snake Charmers.

And who could forget my in-depth analysis of political party campaign flyers in the run-up to the 2009 European elections?

I could go on, but it’s far more fun for you (and less work for me) to flick through the many, many high-quality posts. See you on my new site!

A Print Odessy

A little belated I admit, but last week I went along to the private view of the Stew Print Room’s Print Odessy exhibition in which I was luckily enough to have a piece in.

The night was spectacularly well attended, with dozens of young folk, swigging beer and taking part in Luke Smith’s live t-shirt screen-printing which looked to be very popular.

Jo and Vicki (the organisers) even printed their own newspaper for the event, with a full list of artists, a pretty mammoth task when you consider they were hand-printing some hundred (or more) A2 sheets with multiple spreads!

The work itself was of a VERYhigh standard with ton of beautiful prints hanging alongside my own effort.
Some stand out work was from the peeps of Mesh Collective, a print group based at the Stew Gallery.

Anyways, the exhibition is still up so why don’t you get out of the sun for a bit and go see some lovely print work? Photos and info on the Print Odyssey website.

The wall as a canvas (or Flock you!)

The unexpected is always awesome, unless of course the unexpected is a pigeon shitting on your head when you’re walking to work, which did actually happen to me the other week, true story. Anyway I love coming across things I didn’t expect in places unseemly, but there is a particular alley in Norwich that has surprised me on several occasions. I’m talking, of course, of art.

Did you see it there? I almost missed it, in fact I did a comedy double-take worthy of a cartoon. Some artistic soul has hung a small framed picture of a man with a sheep’s head on the wall. Nice work you.

Spring round-up

(image by pirate057 on flickr licensed under Creative Commons Attribution)

With the ancient British ceremony of the forgetting-to-turn-the-clocks-back properly observed and Spring almost upon us, which will presumably herald a change in the weather from dark and miserable to just plain miserable, it’s time for a quick catch-up on what I’ve been up to over the past month or so.

I attended my first wedding of the year, which also happened to be the first wedding of friends of mine from university (congratulations Chloe and Mike), a joyful and also slightly terrifying occasion as it represents another milestone along the bumpy road towards becoming an adult. Of course it was a fantastic booze-up with much dancing and posh nibbles. I do love a good wedding. I’ve also been back on the internet getting addicted to another game from those talented Aussies at Iron Helmet, Blight of the Immortals, a considerably more friendly and less all consuming experience than the equally excellent Neptune’s Pride. I’ve also been pondering on the internet and notions of privacy and openness, but more on that in another blogpost.

Away from the computer screen I’ve been getting my hands all inky doing some screen-printing for an up-coming exhibition at the Stew Gallery, scratching an itch to do some more pure typography, but you’ll have to wait to see the finished piece when it’s exhibited next month. Finally I pottered along to the brilliantly eccentric and eclectic Shop Art Live, a celebration that culminates a month or so of art works being put up in empty shop windows around Norwich city centre. The exhibition included a man discussing a robot he built to play the part of Juliet in a play without actors, children’s face painting, and a paper machee tunnel which you had to crawl through, made by Guy Jarrett and Liam Clark.

Well, dear reader, what have you been up to?

They should call it Neptune’s Time Sink

If you have the misfortune to follow me on one of the social media outlets I frequent you may have been wondering why I’ve been so quiet of late. I can almost imagine you sitting there at your computer scratching your head, pondering why I haven’t replied to your poke, @reply or email. Possibly you haven’t noticed my absence. No matter, because I’ve been very unproductively engaged in a spot of inter-galactic warfare courtesy of Neptune’s Pride, a free online 4X strategy game (whatever that means) which one blogger called “the most dangerous game ever made”

He’s not far wrong. I’ve dabbled in online games before, you might remember my foray into Urban Dead, but generally I resist these kind of games as I’ve always found them exciting at first but ultimately unrewarding and unable to satisfy my goldfish like attention span. Neptune’s Pride is different because it’s continuous and very, very ponderous. Sending a fleet of spaceships to another planet takes hours, even days and it happens in real time so there’s a limited amount you can do at any one time, then you have to wait for things to very slowly happen.

The real intrigue and interest in the game comes through the chat and messaging systems where you can talk to the other players, and use to plot and scheme against each other. I like to think I’m normally a nice person (doesn’t everybody though?) but whilst playing Neptune’s Pride I had an uncontrollable urge to stab the only other player who was decent to me in the back as soon as I was able. And it felt great. The simplicity of the graphics coupled with some gorgeous avatar illustrations all add to the incredibly immersive experience.

(Artwork copyright of Iron Helmet, I only put it here because they are so lovely)

I’ve only completed two games so far and I’ve decided to stop, for a while at least. It’s the kind of game that gets into your head, I feel a compulsive need to check back on it every couple of hours, just in case the purple player has broken our truce. It consumes far too much of my mental energy and gives my girlfriend way too much ammunition for taking the piss out of me.

Oh hang about, I see the developers of Neptune’s Pride, Iron Helmet, have got another online strategy game you can play called Blight of the Immortals. Maybe I’ll just start one little game to see what it’s all about…

Cold at Christmas time

Having a bad cold leaves the victim wallowing in a state not dissimilar to that of being a designer. Whining and self-pitying, constantly comparing yourself to other people (well I’ve got a hacking cough, an oozing nose and my feet hurt, what have you got?) and a deep down suspicion that no-one else really understands you, sometimes ‘designers disease’ can turn you into the most irritating little <insert swear word> on the planet.

I’m not being very fair, but as you’ve no doubt guessed I am suffering from a nasty cold, the dreaded man flu, and fair just doesn’t come into it. I’ve lost my sense of taste so the rainbow of different soups I’m swallowing twice a day all taste like liquid newspaper and I can’t think in a straight line for more than five minutes without needing a lie down. Incidentally I don’t know if there’s such a thing as lady-flu but I guess girls have to deal with the mucky business of periods once a month so maybe it’s just the lads trying to leverage some sympathy by inventing a male-only affliction. Like getting a football to the man vegetables.

What I dislike most about having a cold is the pathetic lethargy it enforces on you. I don’t want to watch 6 hours of day time tv in my pyjamas, I went to university, I’ve already done it. I even made it into work one morning, so fed up was I of endlessly boiling the kettle at home to make lemon squash (one of the few highlights of having a cold is being allowed to drink hot squash) but, shamefully, by the time I arrived I was sweating like a pig despite there still being snow on the ground outside and to return home with my colleagues words of ‘just rest up’ and ‘relax’ ringing heavy in my ears.

Now you might say, “Haha, you moppy sack of potatoes, you’re clearly well enough to write a blog post, get your arse out of bed and back to grindstone, if you’ll pardon the confusing metaphor of arse to grindstone”. Well thanks for that voice from the internet, but consider this, the only things I’ve written over the last couple of months have stayed largely on my laptop and in my lemsip addled brain and it’s more a testament to how much free time being sick affords you that I’m able to write this now. Maybe I’ll write two, just to spite you. Also small children and politicians keep blogs although this is clearly never going to win a Webby award, you don’t need to be Pulitzer prize winner to be able to write stuff on the interweb. You don’t even need hands.

Enough whinging, I’m off to see if there’s a repeat of Come Dine With Me on, I think I’ve still got a tin of Cream of Newspaper soup kicking around the place too.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Making Christmas (cards)

When it comes to design the computer is an unrivaled tool but staring at a screen all day, even doing something as creative as designing takes it’s tole so it’s always fantastic to take a break from it and get my hands dirty with some traditional mark-making techniques. That’s right dear reader, I’ve been screen-printing my own Christmas cards.
Continue reading ‘Making Christmas (cards)’



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