Choose Life – A George Michael Diary

As we say a fond goodbye to George Michael, Andy Royston remembers the hairspray days. Enjoy What You Do. “Do you, enjoy what you do? If not, just stop – don’t stay there and rot…” It had been a mad year. I’d spent most of it living in a South Manchester bedsit, wasting time on a year out of college. Way too many nights had been spend on dank dance floors and working (badly) on my day job running...

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Colour Notes: Fast food

Colour notes: Fast food The study of colour is a huge subject. Researches have shown that certain colours affect us in different ways. Some of these are obvious; blue – the colour of a sunny sky and a clear ocean – is a soothing colour. Red, on the other hand, creates excitement – and hunger. Just think about how many fast food logos use red. McDonald’s of course, Wendy’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos,...

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Mobile Art is Worthless.

Photographer, artist and iPhoneography pioneer Andy Royston considers the wisdom of sharing his art online and the trials and tribulations of the mobile artist (those who create art and photography entirely on mobile and cellular devices). Today, I found a bricks-and-mortar business was using a familiar image to promote an art gallery exhibit. Three artists were featured in the show, yet there was something all too familiar about the...

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The Jewellery of Wallis Simpson

The Duchess of Windsor’s jewellery When the Duke of Windsor died in 1972, he had specified that his wife’s jewellery -most of which he had lavished upon her – should be dismantled and broken down after her own death. He did not get his way. For on April 2nd, 1987,  less than a year after the duchess’ death, her collection went to auction in Geneva. Even though the gems were fabulous, a major part of the...

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Design Classic : The American Fire Hydrant

When visiting a county for the first time, travelling around and feeling the essence of place what is it that remains in the memory. What stays with you as a signifier of that country. What brings back the essence of things. In places like London it can be easy; the red phone box, the black cabs and the double-decker buses. In France it’s safe to say that it is the food – the baguette, the fromage and the bottles of wine....

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Dada : Buffoonery and a Requiem Mass

Andy Royston takes us back one hundred years to the very birthplace of meaninglessness. The Cabaret Voltaire, opened on 5th February 1916 in a back room of run down old cafe in the city of Zurich, Switzerland. Freedom: Dada Dada Dada a roaring of tense colours and interlacing of opposites and of all contradictions, grotesques, inconsistencies; LIFE. Tristan Tzara : Dada Manifesto 1918 “What we are celebrating is both buffoonery...

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A Soap Opera – The Invention of Sunlight

Andy Royston gets all in a lather about a bar of soap. “I know half my advertising isn’t working, I just don’t know which half”. W.H. Lever Before Victorian times hard soap would be made at home – a simple mix of ashes and fat, with dry weather and salt to set the soap. If you bought, you would buy a piece cut from a block. In the 1800s block soap was simple stuff. There were about a half dozen basic...

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Mason Jar Solar Lighting

Beautiful, practical, sustainable solar lighting. I could carry on and use even more words to describe these wonderful solar lights. They look fabulous, work brilliantly and provide jobs and education to the artisans who create them. These fabulous lights were originally developed for use in Africa in areas where traditional lighting fuels are unavailable, in short supply or prohibitively priced.  The lights use solar power and will...

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Berlin’s beloved Ampelmännchen

Andy Royston tells the story of Berlin’s best loved street characters – the Ampelmännchen. Angels over Berlin My own first visit to the city of Berlin came after the re-unification of Germany, at a time when the city was going through a period of great changes. I wanted to visit the city before too much of the ‘old’ east had been wiped away, and see some of the city that I knew from my favourite film of the...

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Best of British – Night Mail

Andy Royston celebrates Night Mail, one of the most influential documentary films of all time. “If you wanted to see what camera and sound could really do, you had to see some little film sponsored by the Post Office or the Gas, Light & Coke company.” J.B. Priestley For much of the time between the wars the General Post Office (GPO) was the largest employer in Britain. It was at the leading edge of business practice...

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Ampersands: Working with Text

The best ampersands for graphics. When you’re working with text, especially for decorative graphics, the chances are that you have some  beautiful ampersands installed on your computer. Don’t simply use the ampersand that comes with the font you are using – experiment. Below you’ll see some examples and these will give you some idea of how a couple of words in a basic sans serif font can bring the ordinary to...

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Create a logo in minutes

Create a logo in five minutes or less. There may be a time when you need a logo, or a symbol to represent a part of your business or event, fast. For example, a magazine or website wants to write about you and asks you to email a logo – by return please. But your business is just getting off the ground, you don’t have logo yet. Create one quickly and easily. You have hundreds of hidden logos on your computer Don’t...

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Create & print photographic business cards easily & quickly

How to create quick business cards. Even today, business cards are still in use. The problem is though that we don’t need to order hundreds as we used to in the past. But how can this be done economically? In the days when we lived offline things were different, but today few of us need hundreds of business cards but we don’t want to a) employ an expensive designer and b) buy in bulk. There is an answer. You don’t...

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Beach out your Dorm Room

Bring the ocean along, wherever you go If you have a student going away to college soon, you will know how important it is to find a comfortable style for their personal space in a dorm.  Something stylish, something that reflects their likes and their taste, and something cheerful yet relaxing. Since beach is synonymous with relax, what better atmosphere for a college dorm room? Soothing colors, the sound of the ocean, will help a...

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Graphic author resource boxes

Graphic author resource boxes: Why and how. Why should you have a graphic author resource box? If you’re an online writer, you know how important it is to have a ‘signature’ for your articles. In addition to other considerations, it’s a valuable aspect of the brand you are creating. Mostly, this will be a text resource box (see the bottom of this page) but there  are several good reasons for having a graphic...

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Formatting print pages: Quick and easy

Formatting print pages: Quick and easy Transform boring print – fast If you’re a designer, you’ll be familiar with the client who sends you a Word document and a photograph and expects you to transform it – in no time. Can you please make this look better? No colour please, we can’t afford colour printing. Speaking of which,  the printer has a huge workload – can it be ready within half an hour...

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Working with text: Tables

Working with text: Tables Format a menu using tables I have several clients who are restaurateurs and they know the importance of well-presented menus. Therefore, I often find myself working on them. When working with almost all text jobs, creating tables and cells is an important way of layout out the information. They keep the text in a regular, tidy form with nothing to distract the eater from the menu offerings. Oh, and I always...

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Save the red telephone box

Save the red telephone box When you think about British icons, what comes to mind? Maybe red double-decker buses, perhaps Big Ben, possibly the city gent in a bowler hat. But for many, it will be the iconic red telephone box. And they are now an endangered species. In their heyday, there were over 92,000 scattered throughout the UK. In cities they were in rows, in the countryside there’d maybe be one per village. Today, there...

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Colour notes: Perception

Design and colour Colour selection is extremely important. And professional designers don’t choose colours that simply ‘look pretty’. Colours have meanings; colours evoke moods. Colour has been the subject of many expensive and extensive research projects. Colours can also fool you. Colours mean different things to different people. White, the symbol of purity in the western world, signifies death in eastern...

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Is your kitchen designer a professional?

Ten ways to check your kitchen designer’s skills If you’re remodelling your kitchen, you’ll more than likely be using a professional designer. After all, it’s an expensive home improvement and you want the best. The cliché tells us that the kitchen is the ‘heart of the home’ but it’s also the most dangerous room in the house. Every kitchen has electricity and water – which can be a...

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Colour notes: Do we all see the same colours?

Do we all see the same colours? Probably not.  You and I might look at a rose and describe it as ‘red’ but that’s because we’ve been taught that’s the name for that colour. But if we looked through each others eyes we might see completely differently. Remember, not everyone sees colors the way you do. In fact, one person is twenty is medically classified as colour-blind. Most of these people are men...

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Glamping: Back to Nature in Comfort and Style

Glamping: Back to Nature in Comfort and Style What is it about this photograph that calls to me? The outdoors? The beautiful setting that makes me feel like I’m alone in the wilderness? Staying in a tent, as I did when my family would camp? Or perhaps it is simply how comfortable the bed looks. If I were to choose a romantic getaway, it would be to a spot like one of these. I’d find one set apart, sweetly isolated, and enjoy the sound...

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A Room Fit for a King or a Queen

A Room Fit for a King or a Queen Royal Blue is one of my favorite colors. Growing up, my mother always had some part of our home décor as Royal Blue. At different times through my childhood it could have been a Royal Blue carpet, or curtains, or a Royal Blue sofa. Whatever the decor was, my mother added a touch of Royal Blue somewhere in the house, and she was a true master at color coordinating. It was obvious that this was my...

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Creating the perfect bedroom with Frank Fontana

Let Frank Fontana help you create the perfect bedroom Please don’t misunderstand when I say ‘creating the perfect bedroom with Frank Fontana’. All I mean by this is that this designer can help you, via his tips, to create your perfect sleeping space. I do understand though. If you’re familiar with Frank’s TV show then you’ll know that Mr Fontana looks as though he would be the perfect addition to a...

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Stylish Marimekko for your home

 Timeless Finnish design by Marimekko   My Marimekko umbrella lives hanging by my back door on open display. Yes, that’s a convenient place to keep it but that’s not truly why I keep it there. It’s so lovely that I don’t want it stashed away in a cupboard – I want to see it. The Marimekko team have been well-known and influential designers since the nineteen sixties. Beginning with textiles, the...

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