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November 15, 2016 - 2 comments

Charnwood Typeface

Charnwood is a typeface inspired by a routed sign I saw at Chatsworth House in the Summer.  The sign was sat in front of a 40-piece orchestra, from Loughborough. The routing of the sign gave the font a rounded, yet angular quality, with odd thick & thin areas, which I thought were really nice.

I'll be working on the full typeface, with 3 weights – Soprano, Tenor and Bass, for release early next year.

If you like the typeface, or have any ideas around a specific use for it, I'm all ears.

Charnwood Bespoke Typeface Charnwood Bespoke Typefacecharwood_font_3charwood_font_4charwood_font_5 charwood_font_6charwood_font_7 charwood_font_8charwood_font_1

August 5, 2015 - No Comments!

100 Glyphs Project

Back in April, we set ourselves the challenge of taking part in the 100 day project. We set ourselves the task of creating 100 glyphs - 1 each day for 100 days, made however we liked. We learnt some new process, refined ones we'd already tried, and created accidental results we never set out to create.

Here are all 100 glyphs. Enjoy!





































































































July 2, 2015 - No Comments!

Keep learning — Introducing Skillshare

Hello. Luke here again.

I wanted to introduce people to Skillshare. An online resource for creative learning. They mostly stick to design based things but recently have been branching out into loads of creative areas. All of the classes are quite good quality. You can sign up for free for a month, and then it’s fairly inexpensive after that.

On the site you can download an app and take the classes with you offline. I like to learn on the train. Sometimes I don’t specifically look for a certain thing and I just watch any class that takes my fancy.

The good thing about Skillshare is that they have some really cool designers contributing to their site. What I love about it, is that the designers really do share their ideas. Key is in the name people, key is in the name.


Listed below are some of my personal favourites. Some of them let you download resources they use which is also a good bonus. You get a months free when you sign up, here's my code which gives you 1 free month.

Good Skillshare classes —

Aaron Draplin

James Victore

Jon Burgerman

Martina Flor

Simon Walker

NB: If you are looking for more digital web, how to stuff then check out Codecademy. It’s free, I personally found it a bit too hard to stick with but it may come easier to others - Codecademy.

February 2, 2015 - 2 comments

No Man’s Sky Fan Art

Time to geek out here for a moment.

I am a huge gamer slash Sci-Fi slash science slash space fan and soon those worlds will collide in the form of Hello Games 2015 release 'No Man's Sky'.

Not much is known about the game apart from the fact that it's an exploration based space travel game full of awesomness that you do all the things you dream of as a geeky kid like explore planets, get into dogfights and be a general space cowboy bad ass.

What's awesome is that it uses a procedural generator to build the universe around you. If you don't get what that is then get your self on google. Essentially the game generates as you play it, giving a huge potential amount of planets to visit and explore. Believe me it's huge.

How huge I hear you say?

18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets huge all for you to explore.

If you were to discover a planet every second it would take you about 584 Billion years to log them all.

Each user starts on their own planet on the edge of the universe and the broad aim of the game is to travel to the centre of the universe. According to the game developer this will take roughly 40 hours of playing if you don't mess about which I am highly likely to do.

Oh yeah you also get to name planets you discover.

Get me this game!

As a celebration of the year that will change the landscape of games I have done some fan art posters. Most of the info I have deduced from the game demos online as they still haven't released much at all about this mysterious game.

For more info see:

Luke-Obrien-No-Mans-Sky-01 Luke-Obrien-No-Mans-Sky-02 Luke-Obrien-No-Mans-Sky-03 Luke-Obrien-No-Mans-Sky-04 Luke-Obrien-No-Mans-Sky-05 Luke-Obrien-No-Mans-Sky-06

June 10, 2013 - 2 comments

iOS7 iPhone App Design is just awful

After writing the blog a few weeks ago on the end of skeuomorphism I was keen to see what Apple had up its sleeve for the new iPhone iOS7 redesign. I didn't love the old design, but the new one is just awful.




The Apps look like they have been designed by 18 different designers. In separate rooms. With access only to as a source of 'inspiration'.

Let's take a look through some of the above Apps:

Messages Looks like the old one, but chubbier.

Calendar The font's too thin.

Photos I liked overlapping colours, two years ago.

Camera Why are the lines so delicate?

Weather Remove the blue gradient background and you've got the only decent looking App.

Clock Yawn.

Maps Toy town?

Videos I think I've seen this before...

Notes Super simple. Doesn't match, and the lines are not equally spaced.

Reminders Are those dots glowing?

Stocks Angry, angry App.

Game Centre What the? Where did this 3D one come from?!

Newsstand Why is it so busy?

iTunes & App Store Circles are too close to the edge of the square.

Passbook The 3 colours are too similar.

Compass Back to being super complicated, odd.

Settings What are you?

Phone Yawny yawn.

Mail Detailing is too thin. Gradient hurts my eyes.

Safari Circle is again too close to the edge. Fine detail is again lost/pointless.

Music Makes me want to drink a cocktail in Benidorm.

Try again Apple. Rant over. 

June 6, 2013 - No Comments!

Silly Advertising

The use of humour in advertising is becoming sillier and more unpredictable than ever. To the point where their products / services are taking a back seat. Instead the emphasis is being placed on building the brand's personality. I love it.

Finally advertisers are responding to the times. Consumers are buying into brand-lifestyles.

£Millions are now being spent on interacting with customers on an emotional level. And it's working. Whereas the brands that are choosing to sit behind statistics and rational thought are being left in the wake. We're bored of being told why we should like something!

If a company makes me laugh like a little girl, it's going to put them on my buying-radar. I'll talk to my friends about them, I'll share their advert across Facebook, I'll even write a blog on it.

On demand TV has changed the way we watch programmes. I love nothing better than fast forwarding through the breaks in Ramsay's US Nightmares. BUT, if there were more adverts that connected with me emotionally I'm sure I'd be tempted to watch them.

Below are some silly adverts that have had me chuckling recently: 'Our blades are F***ing great'

AO Appliances 'Dave's first day'

Old Spice 'The man your man could smell like'

Polycell 'No more unsightly cracks'

Unexpected random silliness works for me. I love programmes like Monty Python and Family Guy, and on a separate note, this video is bloody funny:

April 14, 2013 - 1 comment.

Advertising Nostalgia

I had the TV on in the background a few days ago. It was half time in the Barca vs PSG match and the adverts were on. The usual audio drivel of car insurance, quick cash and double glazed windows ads were on loop - You know the one you buy one one get one free, I say YOU BUY ONE GET ONE FREE. Then it went quiet, there was a sound of rain and then bird song. No Z-list celeb telling me how easy it is to borrow £500 and repay £30000 over the next 3 years and no 'we buy any car' song. This made me look up.

As soon as I saw it I smiled. It was the Kit Kat dancing Panda's ad. Now I wasn't smiling because I love Kit Kats or Pandas (Double Decker and Crocodiles if you're wondering), but it made me feel like a kid again. I watched it, smiled again then went back to my work as Asda starting telling me how crap Morrisons and Sainsbury's are.


This advert obviously had an effect on me, as a few days later I mentioned to Dave if he'd seen the ad. I wouldn't normally choose adverts as the subject of conversation so why this? I looked into the ad and it was first aired in 1987! It was re-used in 1996, 17 years ago, which would have made me 9. I watched the ad again on youtube - it's so simple compared to todays efforts. No talk-over voice, no special effects (yes I know it's 26 years old) 2 blokes in Panda costumes on roller skates and an underlying slice of humour. It's funny, memorable and sells the product.

So why did Rowntree's recycle the ad all this time later? The nostalgic effect. They could have created something similar using modern technology, but that wouldn't have made me feel like a kid again. These days, there are hundreds of different chocolate bars to buy, 17 years ago the choice was a lot more limited. You walk into a shop and are faced with a wall of different choices. A normal Kit Kat isn't the most exciting of options (Kit Kat Chunky is a different story) but the nostalgic response could quite easily lead me to buy on impulse.

The king of nostalgic advertising has to be Coca Cola. People use their advert as a benchmark of when Christmas has 'officially' begun! Now Coca Cola have been clever, as they have created newer digital versions, but the core stays the same. 'Holidays are coming' song, same bright trucks, same warm glow inside.


So what's the point of all this? Well it's an excellent method for advertising. Playing on a persons emotional response is key, especially with low value impulse buys. If you're buying a new TV, you're not going to be persuaded because Sony started rolling out a 15 year old ad - you spend a bit of time researching something of value, but when you're out and about and buy a snack or a drink, you may subconsciously choose a product through advertising.

We've just done a very similar thing for Fancie Cupcakes. How do you add some fun and humour into choosing a flavour of cupcake - Fancie fortune tellers. Back in the day you'd mess around with these at school - nostalgic response.


This method of advertising isn't for everyone, but when done right is a welcome change to what everyone else is doing.

Right, I'm off for a Snickers and a Pepsi.

March 22, 2013 - No Comments!

The Lego Movie Logo

So there's a new Lego Movie on the horizon. Excited? Well I am now I have read the plot (an ordinary Lego chap gets mistaken for a hero and puts a gang of acting legends together to help him save the day; Ferrell; Neeson; Freeman; Prat; Banks, to name just a few). However I wasn't upon first glance of the movie logo. As a child I loved Lego. I would go as far as to say that a few blocks and an overactive imagination kept me from turning to crime and heroin. Well maybe they didn't have that much effect. I do love heroin.

What disappointed me most was that the familiar red, yellow, black and white of their logo had been replaced with greys, shimmers, shines and gradients. Yes it needs to be epic, yes it needs to be Hollywood, and yes it needs to relate the the viewers (who are probably 5, and don't give a toss about history, values and brand) but I simply don't care. I want chunky sausage text. I want bobbly bits that hurt your feet. I want just a glimmer of what I loved so much as a kid. After all, is it actually me who's the target audience? 6 year olds don't have money. So sell to me Lego, I'll borrow a child to take to the cinema.




Now there aren't any trailers out there yet, it's not out until Feb '14. But I hope the film doesn't go too 3D and 'Ben 10'. I want it to look like the extras on the 2 disc edition of Monty Python's Holy Grail:


Or to a lesser extent this version of Summer Nights I found on Youtube. (Bear with it, when they did 'shooda bop bop' I fell in love).


Past Lego advertising has been fantastic, so I'm holding out hope:


I won't jump to conclusions this early on, watch this space.
Here's hoping for greatness, but preparing for a few lost pieces.

February 1, 2013 - 1 comment.

The Chip Shop Awards 2013

Our Entry for the Chip Shop Awards 2013. A rather silly award that does not mean a great deal, but is rather fun. Take a look and if you like it, give it a vote!

The Chip Shop Awards is about fostering and recognising creativity with no boundaries and no rules. It's an international creative awards, open to anyone with great ideas.' Or so it says on their website. As we see it it's just our way of showing we are funnier than other Design Agencies. If you would like to vote for us in our 'Best use of shocking copy' category please pop over here: Our Chip Shop Entry