…the rest is smoke – Helen Sear at Venice

Helen Sear: Company of TreesBack in January we were delighted to be asked by Ffotogallery to work with artist Helen Sear to develop a publication, and lots of other things besides, for her exhibition …the rest is smoke for Cymru yn fenis/Wales in Venice, Wales’ contribution to the 56th Venice Biennale. Although we can’t post any of the design work as yet as it’s all top secret at the moment.

So far we’ve contributed:

  • – the publication to accompany the exhibition
  • – vinyl banner and totem design to hang outside the exhibition venue and direct people to it
  • – exhibition invites (print and email)
  • – text and information panels for the exhibition itself
  • – press, magazine and online adverts

Hopefully the tote bags will also be winging their way to Venice very soon too, which we’re inexplicably excited about (probably because we’ve never done one before).

The exhibition opens on 9 May and runs to 22 November.

A quick lick of CSS

Ah, the joy of CSS!

10 years ago, if someone wanted to change the colours on their website to give it a bit of a tweak and a spruce , it would have meant changing interminable numbers of bits of code hidden deep within seemingly infinitely nested tables. In other words, a right pain.

Nowadays it usually means amending a few files, tweaking a few graphics and Bob is pretty much your uncle. It’s good if you’re the person doing the updating, but it’s also good for the client as it can be very affordable (a couple of days rather than a couple of weeks).

As an example, we’ve just finished a quick colour scheme overhaul for mindfulness teacher & trainer, Trish Bartley, who wanted to move away from her old pink and brown colour scheme to something a bit cleaner and more striking. Here’s what we did:

BEFORE

Trish Bartley's website -before

AFTER

Trish Bartley's website - after

Public Relations – book launch

Public Relations - coverWe’re launching a new, limited edition publication by photographers Martin Parr, Paul Shambroom, Sarah Pickering and Dan Holdsworth tomorrow (17th Oct 2012) at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, as part of the museum’s Joan Fontcuberta: Photography in Crisis event.

The publication is large format – 290 x 390mm and comes in seven parts – 4 large scale ( 980mm wide) posters by Paul Shambroom and Dan Holdsworth and two loose leaf magazines by Sarah Pickering and Martin Parr. It’s packaged in custom printed bright yellow polyurethane. The images are accompanied by an essay by curators Russell Roberts and Emma M Price. The publication was supported by University of Wales, Newport, St David’s, Safle and the European Centre for Photographic Research. Printing by Gomer Press in Llandysul.

If you can’t make the launch but are interested in buying a copy of the publication, drop us a line and we’ll find out where they’re going on sale. The limited edition is 800.

The event is free but you need to book. More pictures on our Facebook page.
Close up of spread by Sarah Pickering

Close up of spread by Martin Parr

Website launch – jeremysteward.co.uk

Jeremy Steward's website home pageNew website launched for Wobage Potter Jeremy Steward – http://jeremysteward.co.uk/, with some gorgeous photos by JP Kavanagh. The site features multiple slideshows, an integrated (email) newsletter, Facebook integration (one click posting from the WordPress backend to Jeremy’s Facebook page) and lots more besides.

The large image on the front page changes each time you come back to the site, or you can refresh your browser window for a sneak preview!

Silent Village at Dox, Prague

Paulo Ventura, Silent VillageThe Silent Village exhibition opens at the Dox Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague on 12th Jan, 2012, with a new Czech translation of the catalogue texts. The show features work by Peter Finneomore, Paulo Ventura and Rachel Trezise (and a catalogue designed by us).

We might not make the opening as it’s a bit far to go for a night out, but if you’re in the area, pop along. The exhibition runs till the 9th April.

More on the Dox website.

The Silent Village – Book Launch

sample spreads from Ffotogallery publication, The Silent VillageOver the past couple of months we’ve been working closely with Russell Roberts (Reader in Photography at the European Centre for Photographic Research at Newport), Ffotogallery, Gomer and artist Peter Finnemore on a new, three part, box set, limited edition, blind debossed, bilingual publication. The publication accompanies an exhibition which investigates british documentary luminary Humphrey Jennings‘ wartime film, The Silent Village, a moving and surreal recreation of the Nazi Lidice atrocity transposed to (and performed by) a South Wales mining community (Cwmgiedd near Ystradgynlais).

The publication includes new work by Peter Finnemore and Paolo Ventura, a short story by Rachel Trezise and essays by Russell and the late film historian David Berry.

The book launch is tonight (10th Feb) at Turner House, Penarth. More on the ffotogallery website.

UPDATE: the publication is now available on amazon.co.uk – order The Silent Village on amazon.

Book Arts Fayre 2009

Ffotogallery Book Arts Fayre 2009A quick note that Ffotogallery are to hold their second Book Arts Fayre this Saturday, March 28th at Turner House Gallery, Plymouth Road, Penarth CF64 3DM, from 11am to I don’t know whenish. We’re sharing a stall with Gallery 39 in Cardiff, so if you’re in the area and like to browse an artist’s book or two, pop in for a chat.

There’s also a talk by artist Tim Brennan (who’s currently exhibiting at Turner House) on his recent publication ‘English Anxieties’ plus a load of stalls, zines, other diverse activities and some cake. There’s more info on the Ffotogallery blog.

Great poster too.

Book Design Course for Ffotogallery

Designing Books (with InDesign)As part of Ffotogallery’s Book Arts season, (which included an excellent Artists’ Book Fair at Turner House in Penarth, near Cardiff) I was asked to deliver a short course introducing staff and volunteers at the gallery to print design, and specifically book design using Adobe InDesign. The course ran over four days in December 2008 and comprised a fairly basic introduction to using InDesign in print projects as well as a more comprehensive look at book design. In keeping with the ethos of the artist’s book we tried to encompass very DIY ways of making books as well as how to get books printed using commercial printing services.

 

We’ve uploaded the slides for each day below, as well as our ‘recommended reading list’ for print design and book design. Underneath that there’s a list of links to useful sources of further information.

Course Slides

Day 1 – Setting up print projects, introduction to InDesign
Day 2 – Stocks, getting the most out of your budget, working with printers, more about InDesign
Day 3 – Looking at books, binding options, using multipage features in InDesign, grid systems etc
Day 4 – Sending your work to print, contents pages, indexes and other information management features in InDesign,  using ISBN numbers

Recommended Reading

The Elements of Typographic Style – Robert Bringhurst
Grid Systems in Graphic Design: A Handbook for Graphic Artists, Typographers, and Exhibition Designers – Josef Muller Brockmann
Designing Books: Practice and Theory – Jost Hochuli and Robin Kinross
Adobe InDesign CS4 Classroom in a Book (Classroom in a Book (Adobe)) – Adobe
Japanese Bookbinding – Kojiro Ikegami and Barbara Stephan

More Information

Stock Suppliers – There’s lots of stock suppliers in the UK, some useful ones for getting hold of swatch books include PaperCo and Robert Horne.

Font Suppliers – Again a long list, some of the main ones are MyFonts; Fontshop (who also produce Font Book) and Fontfont

Font Identification Services – I find identifont the most useful – you answer a series of questions about the font (or not if you only have a limited character set in front of you) and get rewarded with one or more ‘best guesses’. There’s also MyFont’s What the Font? service – you upload a jpg or gif image of the font. I’ve never used this one so don’t know how useful it is.

Book design, printing, grid systems – About.com has a good introduction to page impositions and Wikipedia have quite a useful (if incomplete) section about book design.

For grid systems still the best series of articles on the web is Mark Boulton’s simple steps to designing grid systems. The New York Times’ Book Design Review is great on a regular basis too.

Fonts and Typography – Personal favourites are: I Love Typography; The Elements of Typographic Style (Robert Bringhurst’s book applied to the web). The My Fonts newsletters and interviews with typographers are quite useful too.

Secure Contact Form, in Welsh

Mike Cherim’s Secure Contact Form is now available in Welsh (cy). The form is designed to enable visitors to your site to get in touch with you, whilst hiding your email address from spammers.

We made use of the form on the Welsh School of Aromatherapy’s site and needed to offer the form bilingually (Welsh and English) so we thought it would be a good idea to make the language file available to other people. Kevin Donnelly kindly helped out with the translation and proofing of the language file (whilst simultaneously developing a free (GPL) Welsh-to-English translation service – http://cymraeg.org.uk/).

The language file has now been added to the download, so if a Welsh secure contact form is just what you’ve been waiting for, your prayers have just been answered. Or something.

Bilingual WordPress for Aromatherapy Wales

Welsh School of Aromatherapy : Ysgol Aromatherapi CymruWe’re always pleased when jobs come along that require us to stretch our knowledge and learn new skills, so when the Welsh School of Aromatherapy rang to ask if we would be interested in building a bilingual site (Welsh and English) for them, we were only too pleased to help.

We’ve done lots of bilingual websites in the past of course, but this was the first time we’d tried to apply our skills using WordPress as a CMS, in two languages and with direct translation from one page to its equivalent in the other language.

The plugin we opted for in the end was xLanguage by the extremely helpful HelloSam which, whilst our php skills weren’t really prepared for such a steep learning curve (and with several very supportive pointers in the right direction from Sam), did eventually do exactly what we wanted it to do. In the process we also ended up creating a welsh version of Mike Cherim’s excellent Secure Contact Form. There’s a few bits in the welsh language file which still need translating, but once we find someone to do those, we’ll send Mike the finished version to add to the download. In the meantime if anyone wants the incomplete version (it’s just missing a few error messages) drop us a line. You can see the file in action on the Aromatherapy Wales site.

Thankfully, the work wasn’t all coding and we did find time to have fun with some of the School’s ideas for a logo. The first go at this was a graphic version of a narcissus which, whilst it worked fine, didn’t really hit the spot. But salvation came in the form of David Attenborough, as usual, whose beautiful show Amazing Rare Things at the Queen’s Gallery included an illustration of a poet’s narcissus, apparently the first narcissus to arrive on British shores way back when.

We’re also planning to make the theme available along with some instructions as to how to set up xlanguage to work in Welsh and English (if only to remind us how to do it). More on that story later.

Aromatherapy Wales - screenshot