Clear workspace, happy workspace

I don’t know about you but I like my workspace clear. I like my mac and my paper notebook on my desk, occasionally my sketch book comes out of the draw but generally that is it. There have been times where paperwork has devoured my desk and this usually happens when clients provide me with more than enough info to be getting on with. I like all of this in front of me just in case I need to quickly read something that I am going to interpret onto the screen.

I love looking around at other awesome workspaces and have collated a few favourites below.











Don’t hold back, surprise yourself

Are you good at what you do?

It’s a big question to ask yourself. Have you sat at your desk and said “I’m the best designer/developer there is…” or “I’m better than that guy…” ?

It’s very hard to be the best at something when you never stop learning, the minute you hold back or stop you’re in trouble. If you don’t embrace change you’re hindering the production of something you could be fantastic at. My daily routine is full of thinking, designing, coding, sketching and proofing. All of those things I know I could be better at. I started out when I was a small boy drawing pictures by copying them, knowing how to draw curves in the right place on a piece of paper. This was way before I was sat in front of a computer. Even before the computer I was used to sit and read magazine after magazine after magazine I have a slight OCD with magazine and newspaper designs and because I used to love them so much when I managed to get my hands on my first computer I used to print off various typefaces and draw my own newspaper front pages by hand and tracing text to make headlines.

As I progressed the time came to switch fully to a computer and the web took over my life. There is so much you can learn. Apart from design in photoshop, I knew I had to code. I was never going to be a programmer so XHTML and CSS was going to be my thing. I learned the basics of both in around 6 hours putting together my first website. I surprised myself, it was something I knew I had to do so I went and did it.

I still read magazines, blogs and watch videos of design related content because I want to learn more. Don’t hold back, surprise yourself. Keep doing this and you’ll be better than you ever imagined.

a .net pro magazine?

I subscribe to .net (@netmag)and Computer Arts, two very good magazines which I love reading. Computer Arts for the Arts and .net mostly for interviews and the like. I the first half of .net most than the second as the latter is made up mostly of how-to’s. I don’t take much notice of these as they are directed to the beginner web design as opposed to the professional designers and developers in the industry.

A little while ago someone wrote in to .net asking whether there would be a .net pro magazine, Dan Oliver (@danoliver), editor of .net responded positively and I thought it was a fantastic idea. There is a Photoshop Creative and Photoshop Pro magazine, so why not a pro .net?


Two weeks ago*ish* I tweeted about the possibility of a .net pro magazine and a few hours later, Oliver Lindberg (@oliverlindberg) replied to me asking my thoughts on what could be included in a .net pro magazine. After my horrific chest infection I replied with the following thoughts;

Subscribing to .net I look forward to it dropping through the door every month and always know the content will be great, however an area where it is lacking is the Pro side. A lot of it is still targeted towards beginner/novice and the likes of myself and other designer/developers mostly skip the tutorials section at the back due to them being common knowledge for someone working on the web day in day out.

  • Personally I would like to see more difficult, larger tutorials with more programming languages. These could be anything from Jquery, javascript, Ruby, more in depth advanced CSS techniques.
  • Reviews of software i.e. email marketing systems, project management systems, new web apps, font management software.
  • Reviews of frameworks and how they fair up against each other.
  • More book reviews.
  • Maybe more on the graphic side of things, whilst this is not web, .net is still picked up by a lot of designers including myself.
  • More interviews with high profile personalities or group interviews with a few big name personalities.

I believe, like Photoshop Pro, there could be a lot more content produced for a pro .net. The downside to this is a money issue, could .net sell enough copies to cover their costs as a lot of how to’s and interviews are already online? I still like sitting down and reading a magazine and getting away from the computer screen for just a few hours.

Others thoughts on whether this is a good/bad idea are welcome.

Logo Design and Stationery for Aspire Hypnotherapy

Aspire Clinicial Hypnotherapy

The logo design project was completed as part of a full branding and web project. Aspire Clinical Hypnotherapy is the trading name for Judi Butler, a clinical hypnotherapy from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

From setting up in business, Judi had originally ran her business under the name ‘Gosforth Hypnotherapy’ which restricted growth and defined her to a certain area within Newcastle.

As part of the project we went through a name generation phase to accompany the new logo and stationery. Like Photographers, Hypnotherapists tend to use their name for their businesses whilst this is perfectly fine Judi wanted something different but in keeping with the work she does. Four name ideas were presented to Judi;

  • Believe Clinical Hypnotherapy
  • ‘Utopia’ – Meaning an ideal place or ideal life.
  • ‘Elysium’ – Meaning Paradise
  • ‘Aspire’ – Meaning to have a fervent hope or aspiration (Dream).

Judi chose Aspire after a little thought as this best suited her business.

Out with the old, in with the new…

Judi had never used a logo as part of her business, she requested that the new logo to be clean, clear and tasteful.

Brainstorming, doodling and sketching…

Brainstorming at the start of the design process

A few sketches to work with, I'd already chosen a favourite from here.

Logo Options

I presented two logo options.

Logo Option 1

Logo Option 1

Using just the word ‘aspire’ in lowercase to produce a calmer and fresher approach to the logo. The the two bands crossing were to emphasise a hope of getting from where you are now to where you want to be, an accomplishment of sorts.

The typeface used was Y2K Neophyte.

Logo Option 2

Logo option 2 uses the full company name. The icon is an abstract view on looking down a long road. The perspective shows you at a starting point on a journey to where you want to be. The soft gradient produces depth and a clear indication of length.

The typeface used was ITC Slimbach Regular.

Final Logo

I had a ‘favourite’ right from the sketch and brainstorming session. Logo Option 2 worked for me the best. Judi chose option 2 straight away and asked for a few changes to be made. Below is the finally logo.

Fincal Aspire Clinicial Hynotherapy Logo


The stationery is still being finalised and will be posted up later.

A joy to work with…

Judi was an absolute joy to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed myself working on the project. Your thoughts are welcome on this project.