Taking a chance on a flyer – CHAMP

Art, Arts, Bristol, Events, Inspirational, Launch, Meditation, Music, Nature

Last night (20th June 2015) I was coaxed into attending an event by a very curious piece of advertising. Picked up at The Island, Bristol, this flyer, with its sparseness and contrast, was too intriguing to ignore.


What I found, in a small, active industrial yard, was a gathering of people brought together for a performance and a barbecue, on the eve of the solstice.

Sam, the main man of the occasion, put the event together prior to the beginning of what he described to me as an adventurous wander of survival without money, a phone or a map. The idea, to leave of without worrying about how much money you have, who you’re in contact with and where you are, is greatly inspiring as a thing to do, and the fact that there was no pretention in the attitude of the friendly, jovial crowd bolstered the moment.

The event itself is tied to a group of artists in Bristol, CHAMP, whose newly renovated garage studio is as I awkwardly put it at one point, ‘nice’. Which is what it is, a well as more valuable adjectives.

It’s the second time I’ve joined the outskirts of a group shepherded by some leader figure called Sam. The first time being the night of my secondary school prom, in the face of rejection I’d gone off to a gig instead, and while there lied to a group of guys about my age so I could feel less insecure. Sam bought me a drink but I’d had to politely decline.

This time around it was homemade wine that I was avoiding for medical reasons and the barbecue, (from which I had a grilled pepper bun) was a happy addition to the performance. A good move. The details of the performance itself is really only for the performance. That it effectively involved a morning ritual with a much heightened intensity, is enough description to honour intentions I figure.

All of that which Sam took on his sojourn of indefinite length today was lain out on the floor until by the end of the performance it was packed away into his bag. In generosity Sam also provided me and others with a free shirt for our engagement, which was a fine thing to do.

Sam, and the rest of those more of the inner circle, were at the allotment mentioned on the flyer this morning at sunrise, to wave Sam away I guess.

It’s a shame I couldn’t be there, but I was more committed to getting to my bed than hanging around for somewhere to couch/floorsurf with the group. So on this, the longest day of the year, I wish Sam the vey best of luck, and am glad that things like this happen, because, if they didn’t, then just how boring would life be?


Wanderings – Exhibition Video

Arnolfini, Art, Bristol, Events, Exhibition
From the 15th to the 29th of October 2014 Young Arnolfini’s Wanderings was on at Be-in Bristol, and for those of you who want to know what that looked like click here…


…That’s a video link don’t you know, take a look, I love it! I did make it, but that’s not the point…

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Books/Comics, Bristol, Drawing, Literature, Reflection

I have recently been thinking more about books, and have been led to the questions of ‘What if designed book covers had never of existed?’

Book covers were initially designed as protection of the pages inside, but they now take on the function of communicating the themes of the pages it envelopes. The design, typography and colours on the cover determine whether we initially select that specific book from the shelves and shelves in book shops.

So what if all book covers were blank, white plain card, telling us nothing of the words inside?

For a start, it would put some illustrators and designers out of business. We would be unable to identify one book from the next. Would we be more widely educated and have wider interests? Or would no-one truly know what interests them?

Would we read less due to a lack of visual stimulants, or would we reading seem like a more exciting past-time – not knowing what your next book would be about?

These thoughts make me question the reasons as to why I select specific books from a shelf, and, as almost shallow as it sounds, how much less interesting reading could be if book covers were left blank.


Paper Scissors Stone

Bristol, Exhibition, Printing, Workshop

Handmade in Bristol

Four walls of beauty and inspiration.

The walls of Paper Scissors Stone, a creative pop-up shop in Quakers Friars, are drenched with a variety of beautiful work from artists and designers based in Bristol and the surrounding areas. From tomorrow I will be one of those lucky few who’s pride and joy (my work) will be up for sale until Christmas!

The items in the shop are all hand made, and come from a variety of people from across the city. They include illustrations, greetings cards, homewares, jewellery, broaches and more. The shop provides unique and beautiful gift ideas for Birthdays and Christmas (Yes the C word is fast approaching). All of the designers and artists featured spend time working in the shop, so you never know you could be served by the creator of the work you’re about to buy!

For a unique shopping experience, head to Paper Scissors Stone, Quakers Friars, Bristol.

http://madeinbristol.blogspot.co.uk/p/paper-scissors-stone.htmlPaper Scissors Stone

The art of ‘intelligent packaging design’ – Darcey Beau


Now, this is my first time posting on the Young Arnolfini blog. I’ve decided to bring more graphics and advertising topics to the Young Arnolfini blog – as a creative graphic designer this Is what I enjoy more than anything! I’ve thought long and hard over the last week ‘what could I talk about’ (I was told I could talk about anything, so here I go).

My daily inspiration intake comes from going to the supermarket. Yes, indeed, the supermarket. I like to appreciate the packaging, advertising and arrangement of the graphics which you look at in the store. And as its my turn today to talk about a topic; over the last few months I’ve stumbled across something quite frankly amazing!

Now, due to fortunate circumstances I’ve managed to have a listen in on a few meetings between ‘certain individuals’ and I’ve really learnt something about a Somerset based company called ‘Ayton Global research’. You’re probably thinking ‘Where are you going with this?’ Hold up. Let me educate you about the company first:

So. This company works with a range of supermarkets, including, ASDA, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s also with (very) big cosmetic companies too. The company is all about researching people’s responses to certain visual aspects of product packaging design. When I say ‘research’ I really do mean ‘research’.

For example, they will give someone a new cereal product which is just about to hit the supermarkets. The’ll then note down their age, BMI, eye colour, hair colour, gender – etc. and monitor their responses by asking questions about the packaging, which they have to answer honestly.

Questions like: 

  • “What do you think about this packaging?”
  • “What do you look for on a cereal box packaging?”
  • “How would you change the packaging if you could?”

Alongside more specific questions like:

  • “What colours would you expect to see on this packaging?”
  • “Name three key visual aspects you would want to see on the packaging…”
  • “What fonts would you appreciate the most to suite this product?” (they’ll then display them a variation of different fonts to choose from).

– With about a thousand more questions. (Okay, maybe not a thousand, but you get the point.)

Ayton Global Researchers will end up filling this chart with all these variables about the person and put it on a huge database alongside their responses. They’ll then give the same product to another 5000 (or so) people and repeat this process, until they find a reoccurring pattern about how they can change the packaging on their product to appeal to a specific target audience.


This was originally an experiment and this photo of the ‘Brand Flakes’ I’ve attached is actually one of their first ‘intelligent design’ outcomes by using all this research they’ve managed allocate. They’ve taken note of the recurring aspects people mentioned from the research and applied it to the product packaging.

The product is actually no different to any other ‘Brand Flakes’ product out there, and this hit the supermarkets last year. Its not particularly jaw droppingly amazing (let’s be honest) – but its nicer than most. However, regardless of that, you will not believe how fast this product has sold. In the first week Sainsbury’s started to sell the product, it actually sold-out and it was the fastest selling item in the cereal section of Sainsbury’s. Ever. (Which proves this research really does work.)

I found this amazing as they’re using intelligent research to inform the artwork which goes onto the packaging to appeal to a specific target audience – to maximise sales and ultimately beat any other cereal products out their to dominate that market.

This is just a small part of their company, which is called ‘intelligent design’. They also do intelligent video and a whole range of other ‘intelligent’ stuff using this research they allocate from people like you and I.

I hope I’ve managed to explain this clearly, I’m rubbish at writing, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re thinking ‘What have I just read, it makes no sense.’ I suppose this post says something about me too, I’m quite interested in the business side of design and advertising!

So when you’re next in the supermarket, look out for this product and perhaps you’ll be able to appreciate how much time, effort and research went into making that packaging design.

Anyway, I hope you find this just interesting as I did.

Thanks for reading.

– Darcey Beau




Why is the use of Helvetica so popular, even in contemporary design?

I have brought together some research of the history of Helvetica, from my design course over the last few weeks. The research pronounces how Helvetica was brought to such design fame as an international type design hero.


The typeface was previously titled ‘Neue Haas Grotesk’, but was soon coined as ‘Helvetica’, because it could be translated into ‘Switzerland’ In Latin.

The design and manufacturing culture of Switzerland allowed the typeface to flourish. Switzerland evolved greater connections internationally, as the Switzerland relied on trade as a main source of income from neighboring countries.

Type designers Max Maxmadinger and Edward Hoffman produced the typeface for the Haas type foundry in 1957.

The typeface was developed for the Haas Type Foundry in Münchenstein, Switzerland to create an efficient san-serif typeface that could be malleable in advertising.

The typeface is believed to be as popular as it is today because of its opportunity to illustrate highly readable letterforms. The typeface is neither sterile and provides a sense of warmth, despite its purity of form.

The Haas Type Foundry used Helvetica in response to the current interest in the modernism in graphic styles of 1957. Helvetica was new and easily recognisable, which would have contributed to its popular use in the print and signage industry.

Designer Massimo Vignelli first used the typeface in the 1969s to create efficient signage display for the New York signage display for the underground transport system or ‘the subway’.

Today, Helvetica has been developed to be one of the most widely used san-serif typefaces. The following letterforms have been created for numerous alphabets including Latin, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Urdu, Khmer and Vietnamese.

Overall, Helvetica is greatly popular because of its malleable usage properties, as the typeface is entirely appropriate and most of all readable at varying pts.

However, the introduction to the Macintosh and windows computer has displayed must dispute. As type rival, Arial was produced for windows to provide an option for a Helvetica look-a-like.

Helvetica had become lesser known; and was reduced to the Macintosh in envy of the popular Arial copycat, provided with every windows computer.