First blog post of the year! There's nothing worse then a blog that hasn't been updated in years, but I don't think I'm that bad yet, and at least I managed to make five posts during 2016. To be fair, I've not had that much to say. I've been busy working, while slowly updating the design work in my portfolio section, one project at a time.
At this time of writing my website may be going through something of an identity crisis. I’ve revamped the design a couple of times – and changed my mind quite a bit. My site is currently on a black background, which I’m still undecided about. It may make reading the white text too hard on the eyes, but it does make the images of my work look good against it. It also looks different enough from what I’ve had before. I do have a white version but any of my work on a white, or neutral, background gets lost against it, which doesn’t help since a lot of my design work is editorial layout based. I’ve come up with a solution to fix this but it will involve re-uploading a lot of images, so that may take some time.
I’ve been concentrating on updating the portfolio section, with new design work added, some retired, and a couple that have been combined. The descriptions for each project have also been extensively rewritten, which took a while. I wanted to give more details about how I approached each design brief. I’ve also revamped the text for my ‘services’ and ‘about’ pages.
The featured images for each of my design projects have now been replaced. I’ve used ‘3D’ shots on the main portfolio page, and the selected and related work sections.
The contact form has now gone from my contact page, since it only seemed to attract spam messages. I’ve now included my studio email address on the page, so ‘potential’ clients can contact me directly.
Finally, I switched web hosts. After a year of issues with my last host – including a week in which I was unable to access my work emails – I got around to switching to a new provider. Ironically, it turned out that my site was already hosted with them, as my old host was just a reseller. Anyway, my site now seems to run a lot faster and my new host, TSO Host, has been really fast at answering and fixing any queries or issues I’ve had with my site. Hosting with them directly is also a lot cheaper.
Design work update
My design work, over the past year, has included a number of book covers, some magazines and an annual report, along with a bit of typesetting.
Melville House UK
I’ve designed the book cover of the UK paperback version of The Reflection. I also worked on some cover designs for the UK edition of The Mirror Thief. Sadly, in the end, they chose to go with the US cover but I got to typeset the insides of the book. Eurovision! has just been published. I designed its cover, a picture section, a promotional poster and some P.O.S stickers. I also typeset the inside pages.
Canterbury Christ Church University
I’ve designed some more issues of their Inspire and Arts & Culture magazines. I got to follow up my 2015 redesign of the Link magazine with the design of the 2016 issue. I’ve worked on a leaflet and a brochure for them, and I also got to design their annual report.
Duckworth Overlook publishers
I’ve designed the following book covers for them: Arcadian Nights; Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks; How the Chicken Crossed the Word; The Nine Lives of John Ogilby; The Bonjour Effect; and One Kiss or Two?: In Search of the Perfect Greeting.
I designed book covers for Alexander and a reprint of Suffragette: My Own Story. Ben Hurr finally saw a release, so I got to finish the full cover for that. I also typeset the inside pages of Alexander. There’s a couple of other covers for them that I’ve worked on.
I updated the design of their website, having originally worked on their site redesign back in 2012. This time around I made the site fully responsive and removed some clutter: I moved the sidebar to underneath the main text and added drop down menus to stop their menu bar from getting too crowded. Davian wanted to promote their latest holiday and coach tour offers, so I worked on making those entries as accessible as possible for the customer and easy for the client to update on their own.
Other random stuff
I’ve watched quite a few TV shows – there really is a glut of quality television at the moment. I’ve recently enjoyed watching The Trip to Spain, Legion, the final season of Black Sails, the second season of Fortitude, and I’ve caught up with Veep and the first season of The Leftovers. Riverdale has been a guilty pleasure. The first episode of American Gods, based on the Neil Gaiman book, was promising. Twin Peaks finally returns this month. I still can’t quite believe it. I rewatched seasons one and two during the course of February and March, to get myself in the right mood. I’ve also learned how to bake my own cherry pie.
There’s been some more DIY work on the house. The front bedroom has now been replastered and painted. It’s nice to finally get rid of the cracked ceiling. I’m currently working on the back bedroom, which has also been replastered and now, finally, has a proper staircase to the loft. The ‘temporary’ steel loft ladder solution, which has lasted for ten years, can finally be retired.
I’ve also completed a couple of online courses, one for writing, and one for editing. It’s been good to learn some more new skills. Although, it does now mean that I would like to rewrite a lot of my previous posts.