Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Pomoan Cubeecraft

The project I'm currently working on as part of my course, is essentially to use graphic design as a means to promote a dying language. It's a four week project we've just hit the halfway mark on and I thought I'd post some info on the stage I've gotten to.

My research led me to the Pomoan settlement tribes of California, some of which are now extinct. I wanted to find a prodominantly english speaking area and aim my promotion at children in primary/elementary school around the ages of 9-11. Stumbled upon the art of papercraft (it is what it sounds), and a bunch of cool design toys created by other designers/illustrators. I've posted a few below:


Nintendo Diorama


I'm currently developing some models based on the cubeecraft template, allowing the kids to build small Pomoan figures. My plan at the moment is to have cultural and language related facts on the back of the nets (preferably to do with the characters they're putting together), and therefore take in the information as they build. Then the model can act as a constant reminder to be aware of what is lost when a language becomes extinct etc.

Here's a shot of a test net I'm fiddling about with. I'll post some final models once the project ends. I'm planning on making them a little less cubelike.

...I've just noticed how lame my actual work looks in comparisson to the fun and exciting colour fest I just posted above it.

Saturday, 24 January 2009


Just finished this short two day project in the studio yesterday. We were given a list of forgotten words in the English language and had to find a means of presenting them. The novelty sized, burdensome badge would have looked better had I had more time to design it/decide a style etc. Really like the concept though.

Next post I intend to be all about the project i'm currently working on, all about dying languages.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The GDArch John Mayer Epic

Those who know me are aware of my musical allegiance to John Mayer. In a non-indulgent way I won't go too much into why I like John Mayer's music, and instead focus on the graphic design orientated things I've produced in the past that holds a John Mayer theme. In chronological order...

Winter 2005:
The Blues Mix

'Try!' by the John Mayer Trio is a great album, I appreciate a lot more now for some reason (probably maturity and a greater enjoyment out of blues music), but I felt that a lot of the tracks on it didn't do some of the 2005 winter tour the disc was made from the justice it needed (the subjective thoughts of a 15 year old). The previous live release 'As/Is' compiling the best performances of the 2004 summer tour was (and probably still is) my favourite official Mayer release. The Trio tour was when I first discovered and audience taped shows. I managed to collect all of them and was inspired by the slight disappointment of not having all the performances I wanted in the one place (on 'Try!') to make my own.

The artwork was made from one really high-res promotional shot I found online. Embarrassed to look at the front cover now and my awful choice of font. The back cover remains not as embarrassing...

Download The Blues Mix here.

Summer 2006:
2006-04-06 Hotel Café - West Hollywood, CA (Secret Show!)

Not really a story behind this one except for someone asked for some cover art on the MSM (mystupdmouth) forum. This was a "secret" intimate show in a 140 person-capacity venue previewing "Continuum" material. John Mayer was publicly billed as "Bill Buchanan." The show has a brilliant atmosphere and credit to the taper who not only managed to get to the venue with equipment at such short notice, also made a really clear recording. I'd definitely change things on the cover if I were to make it again today, but it does the job well enough.

Download the show here.

Winter 2006
Webster Hall DVD


This was a really great piece to do. Byran Opfer (again from MSM) takes charge of capping a lot of TV performances and shows, and made a request for some DVD cover and menu artwork for the DVD of this show. I was excited about this piece because as I made it I knew anyone who downloaded the DVD would see my artwork. At the time my photoshop skills were limited and my obvious use of some filters can be seen in the menus still. I pushed myself to do something I wasn't familiar with though, and despite some visible errors I think the composition of the cover still holds today.

This is harder to find these days. The bittorrent tracker occassionally has it but it's rarely seeded (got uploaders).

AOL Music Session 2006
This was a web performance done for AOL Music Sessions, promoting Continuum. I capped the audio from the online stream and put some artwork on it. At the time JM had tonsilitis he got from Jessica Simpson...apparrant in some places...classic.

You can download the AOL Session here. NOTE: The acoustic first half is in fact the 2003 AOL music session that Mayer did when 'Heavier Things' came out.

Stripped: Raw & Real

Another internet promotional performance (considerably better than the AOL Session above). The artwork was rushed and I personally don't like it anymore apart from the colour scheme. This recently got uploaded onto a Bittorrent tracker which I thought was cool due to it still being traded around places. What was great was that the filesizes didn't match my originals, meaning it had been burnt and rerippd from CDs who knows how many times...

You can download Stripped here.

There's Something About Sheryl

Another best of compilation accompanying the co-headlining tour with Sheryl Crow when 'Continuum' first came out. I had trouble on the Blues Mix getting permission to use recordings from certain tapers (which I still haven't got despite its obvious release online) so stuck with one taper who had been to most of the first leg of the tour (Debbie Ocoboc...though I later discovered that Vultures was taped by 'Geneva).

The mixes were edited in Acoustica mixcraft. All the shows were traded in lossless flac which I encoded into 192kbps mp3 to listen to. When I re-edited the tracks with fades in and out I essentially transcoded the track and it lost more quality. Not the finest hour of audio encoding. As all the tapes were from the same taper, and my experience with the software was basic I didn't change any of the sound levels on the tracks. It's a varied listening experience.

The back cover is basic and quite poor, but the front cover I still really like. I spent a while making sure I was using all the right fonts that matched the 'There's Something About Mary' poster.

You can download There's Something about Sheryl here.

Summer 2008
Channel Hopper

What I thought would be another two disc compilation mix became a much greater undertaking though a really good way to pass the Summer by. Out of about 35 shows, 32 were taped and the number of different songs played totaled at 45. I always insist on having one of every song in my mixes so I dug my own grave deciding to keep the same on this release. The final product came to five discs and every track was mastered from the original lossless into the highest quality mp3 (no transcoding this time!). It's easily the best JM release I've made and the time that went into it really paid off. The people who download them are always really appreciative which is a nice drive.

I was lucky to get a really nice high res photo online taken by a fan at one of the shows (got permission to use it never fear) which I used accross all of the artwork I made. The set is simply and is nice and consistent.

You can download Channel Hopper here.

Winter 2008
2008-12-06, John Mayer On His Own - 2nd Annual Holiday Revue, Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

This was a really last minute release to go with the 2nd Annual Holiday Revue show JM did this year. There was talk on the MSM boards about making a recording from the live stream and I thought I would make my own as a backup in case others had errors or encoded it at low bitrates. Live streams i've found always need the exact same birate as broadcast otherwise you're losing quality from an already low bitrate source (it varies). Mayer came on stage at 5am (UK Time) and then played a 2 hour show. I made the artwork whilst the support act was playing and I was poised over the 'record' button. There's a few different copies of this floating around but I hope people eventually find their way to mine...though I'm biased in saying mine's the best.

The cover art was inspired by one of the t-shirt designs that had been put up on the John Mayer blog. I found the same logo and a t-shirt label and things went from there.

The show can be downloaded here. (my copy ^_^)


That's everything to date, apologies for length. If you want high resolution cover art (as the versions in this post have been lowered in size/quality for web upload purposes) just leave a request in the comments and i'll get it to you when I get a chance.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Q1 Promotions: Blizzard

A friend of mine organises under 18 nights in Oxford, and this is a flyer I made just before Christmas for his latest event.

Time was short on this hence there being less continuity on both sides than I would have liked. Was pleased with the outcome though...


Back:The highlight of making posters for Q1 Promotions is being able to see the photos of the parties afterwards. I was never as cool as some of these kids...

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Made this last term to advertise for one of the Christian Union events. The main title font was made of thick chocolate sauce, photographed and then brought into Photoshop...good times ^_^

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Planet Pont des Art

Some friends of mine from Paris recently got married and this is the wedding gift I gave to them. The image shows a 360 panorama of the Pont des Arts, (Paris) made up of four different photos from varying times of the day. I can't claim credit for the original photos unfortunately.

The piece was made in photoshop in two stages. The first was the creation of the 'planet', which was done using my four images and use of the 'Polar coordinates' distortion tool in Photoshop. The second stage was the creation of the background, and was done using Photoshop's displacement mapping tool.

I have yet to hear whether they liked their present or not...


GDArch is a design blog i've started to run/maintain, displaying a lot of the work I get up to when spending far too much time in front of a computer screen.

Work to come soon...