Beer science guy Jamie McQuillan is winning awards for his sour and crazy beers. As the name might suggest, Cell Division is a bit nerdy and a bit dark and punky and music-loving. I help with some labels. Jamie usually has a good design idea for me to work from. Among his upcoming projects is a strong dark malty stout. Maybe. Please. Pretty please.
Painting by Donna Demente
MeenyMo is a place where you can freely make decisions for the dilemmas of everyday life. It's designed to help purchases (or even little ones), dating options, bets, choosing services, holiday destinations, or even boring work stuff. MeenyMo is a more accessible version of the award-winning 1000Minds online decision-making tool.
Alex worked with the team to come up with punchy, usable, responsive design and copy that helped walk users through the main steps and not be overwhelmed by either imagery or the inherent complexity of the product. The key elements of typography, layout and navigation needed to work well on large and small screens to reassure new users and help them concentrate on the way they phrase their own decision-making steps.
Toitu, also known as Otago Settlers Museum, asked Alex to create a new map. The idea was to stylise the plan view and create fun and collection-specific icons to help visitors better navigate the museum. Scale and distance are distorted – the important factors are making things recognisable and simplifying the directional relationships between things.
This kind of process starts with sketching, a much faster and more fluid way of iteration than using the computer.
The icons are also used in other resources for school kids and other visitors.
Logos are usually clean, highly refined picture-marks. Or they can be elegant, simple typemarks – something distinctive, just made of text. Sometimes more flexible approaches are good, like arrangements of colour and texture and icons or illustrations that help comprise a visual brand.
It's not everything, but it is still really useful to have some kind of decent emblem to help shape ideas, expectations and an organisation's design values and strategy.
I love going back to the roots and working in dark pencils and black ink, paint and colour pencils. It's a different way of working and thinking, even if you often end up layering and changing drawn things on the computer.
Hand-drawing is still the best thing for generating ideas, compositions, shapes and identity stuff. Sometimes also for type, structure and navigation, diagrams. It's because you're forced to iterate, and you're not as distracted by all the things on the computer and the seductive precision of perfect shapes and flat colours which can make things seem better than they are.
Sometimes people want a more loose hand-drawn look for the actual outcome too, which is awesome.
A set of icons representing school values for Balmacewen Intermediate
From a set of icons representing school values for Balmacewen Intermediate
From a set of icons representing school values for Balmacewen Intermediate
Blast off! Pencil on pizza box
A cheeky wee illustration for this city council document
Another version (2017) of the ‘Christmas ghost’ for thank-you cards for the Otago Children's Autism Support Group.
A couple of designs for Christmas thank-you cards for the Otago Children's Autism Support Group for recent years.
A wee group of icons for the Vision Port Chalmers group, like for use as a kind of masthead on their website
A layered diagram about natural hazards for the City Council
Gig poster for a Tom Waits covers night
T shirt graphic for the Sunley Band
A sheep on a cross for a now-lapsed café
Part of a little dreamy thing I did called Nor'west Zephyr for DUD Comics
Exhibition poster for a 2nd-year drawing course I used to run at uni
Some icons for Fair Trade Dunedin's cafe guide
A spontaneous bad-dreamdoodle in the living room
A few of the illustrations from Justice and Jellybeans by the late Ron Chambers, the irrepressible ex-proctor of Otago University
Figures for an infographic about City Council assets and spending
A Dog's Life: for an exhibition ages ago
A tattoo design for a couple of friends
Where the Mild Things Are ... a cheeky little thing about technology for in Mazagran
Some home-made calendar pages, with help from one of my kids. Fun to make up a theme, also I like these more than store-bought ones cos of uncoated paper (better for writing on), and you can make your cell size for each day as large or small as you like, so you've better space to write down events.
Easy Way Up. A doodle
A cartoon about alternative ideas for Movember, the month of questionable moustaches
Gig poster for a fun but dodgy covers performance
Seems I wasn't very conservation-minded in 1978!
Alex and Morven McAuley of Tradecraft came up with a sort of 1960s Italian-modernism style figure to use with various collateral for the 30th birthday of Prego, a busy and delicious restaurant in Ponsonby, specialising in traditional Italian food.
Lush photos by Bonny Stewart-MacDonald.
Te Poha o te Titi
We were commissioned to design and build an app for the 'birding' community, who do traditional harvesting of titi (also known as muttonbirds or shearwaters). The emphasis on the app was ease of use, education, and enabling good data recording and presentation to aid in planning and sustainability.
The birders needed to be able to to use the app on far south offshore islands, away from any cellphone towers, so we couldn't use the internet for updates or recording, so we had to opt for a Windows desktop app instead of mobile website or smartphone app.
The design needed to feel warm and engaging for kids, who could encourage and teach some of their whanau to use it. Data presentation, tide and moon data, animation, and other tricky parts of the app worked really well, thanks to the programming wizardry of Julian Moller (Massive Media). Thanks also to Corey Bragg for patient and kind project management.
Dunedin Fringe Festival
Alex helped the 2015 Dunedin Fringe Festival come up with a new look, programme guide and usable website.
We created a responsive site with a CMS, and used the API ticketing website Eventfinder for smooth ticket buying and content management for staff and artists. The system allows the staff and volunteers to re-skin the site each year with their new look .
The waves image – a pink stylised Hokusai wave, flipped and made into a repeat pattern – signalled a departure in style for Fringe design and direction.
Splendid development by Julian from Massive Media, art direction by Josh Thomas, and 2015 logo by design student Laura Benjamin. Thanks also to Greg at Eventfinda.
It's the use of path and point-defined shapes to make stuff that is flat and sharp and beautifully easy to scale and re-colour and so on. Fastidious but fun.
An invitation for a kid's party
Slide for investment pitch for my friends at Thankyou Payroll
I worked with kids at the local primary school to create these illustrated flags for their four school houses: Belford, Dunrobin, Larnach, and Mathieson. The designs are meant to have a bit of a fantasy kinda Harry Potter kind of vibe. So that they are engaging for younguns, and so that they can represent some aspects of the local suburb, environment, history, city and region. We're planning to make large-format hand-stitched ones.
Some ideas for a process document for Boost New Media
The design for the Pōhā o te Titi app and accompanying docs involved many shapes made using Illustrator
Deep breath cards for my boy with autism. Random numbers on the back, which were shown as a reward upon the drawing of a deep breath
The Hippocratic Oafs: a rock band made up of wayward medical students
Michael Joseph Savage (first labour Prime Minister of NZ) t-shirt design
Figures for kids promotional events for the local council when the FIFA U-20 Football World Cup was in town
Product drawings for a locally-made drying rack
A tongue-in-cheek gang patch for an Irish feminist comedy duo
Backpod product detail
A figure for a friend's wedding: he's local, she's English
A detail I liked from a poster I made years ago
Fluent is a new home for a team of experienced Dunedin environmental and infrastructure engineers. Alex helped them hit the ground running, with an integration of branding, web design document design & illustration.
This project is a nice example of the advantages of involving designers in the discussion during the early stages, for a more coherent and strategic process.
Tapestry Trust of NZ
New Zealand: a History in Stitch is a long-term project involving stitchers and guilds from around the country. It's organised by the Tapestry Trust, who meet in Dunedin. I've been doing research, sketching and design on some of the panels since 2011. We also made the project website, and I help with the galleries.
It's a really nice challenge for design and illustration, and involves looking at great old photos and learning a bit about local histories. It's really interesting seeing how things are interpreted by stitchers.
Sketching figures, finding useful motifs, thinking about how things might be stitched, and coming up with a sketch design
The design goes through a few stages before approval, drawing on the fabric, packing up for freight, and beginning the stitching, which might continue for months or longer. These drawings are for the South Waikato guild's Primeval NZ panel.
Members of the South Waikato guild beginning work on the Primeval NZ panel.
Detail from the Thames Valley guild's panel about mining and the gold rushes.
Detail from the Otago guild's panel about the foundation of Otago province.
Progress on the Aoraki guild's panel called Ports, Ships, the Sea Paths.
Showing some nice examples of stitchers working up richer interpretations of the drawn figures.
Detail from the Mid-Canterbury guild's panel From the Mountains to the Sea.
Detail from the Rotorua guild's panel The Eruption of Mt Tarawera.
Port Chalmers Seafood Festival
Back in 2010, Alex and his group of 3rd-year design students helped visionary Port local and builder Peter Cole come up a bunch of ideas, a strategy document thing, and a winsome pitch for the city council and port company.
Then in 2011 Alex worked with Peter and the lovely and hardworking festival committee on a whole bunch of design formats to promote the inaugural Port Chalmers Seafood Festival. To ensure the event was super-visible we made canvas banners, flyers, posters, stickers, coasters, ads, badges, and lots of other stuff. The event kicked off when the Rugby World Cup was in town, it was Spring, the weather was sweet, and the whole thing was a heartening success for Port and Dunedin.
The design was about being lively and warm and friendly and tasty-looking and able to work in a fast and versatile way. We did the website in the same way, making the CMS nice and easy for the client, and just adding to the design as required in an unfussy, scrapbook kind of way.
Alex helped with another successful festival in 2013, then passed the design reigns over to volunteers for the festival in 2015.
New Zealand Young Writers Festival
This new 2015 event, run by the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust, needed something fresh done on a small budget. The design was about cool fonts and nice typography, and creating something that felt contemporary, and distinct from other writers festivals.
The posters looked really cool, and the little A6 programme booklet felt sweet and wholesome.
Paul from Dunedin's beautiful Wine Freedom wanted an online store that was clean, direct and simple, more like the way people buy wine in an actual store, and avoiding the familiar bloated and cluttered user interface of wine stores.
We made a custom store and CMS to work well for simple and clear product management and categorisation. Development by Julian Moller.
Small print things
Labels, brochures, cards and other business stationery, greeting or special cards or invitations, CD or record covers, and all kinds of nice small tangible things that are worth doing well.
A nice logotype for Common Ground with a sweet rhythm, and a nice usable uncoated paper label for their coffee bags.