It was a really rewarding experience, a lot of fun, and the folks organising, volunteering, and attending are all absolutely lovely. Soon after the festival I was honoured to accept an invitation to join the Committee.
The Edinburgh Skeptics' branding from 2012 to 2017 was excellent, and really well executed by Edinburgh-based writer, graphic designer, and former Committee member Terry Rogers.
It was Terry who had the idea for the logo being a backwards question mark (or 'sarcasm mark') contained within a speech bubble, capturing the essence of scepticism in broad a sense. In refreshing the Edinburgh Skeptics' branding, what I've done is very much an evolution of Terry's work, for which he deserves great credit.
The starting point was the initials of the Edinburgh Skeptics: "ES", and the link to "Es" as the symbol for the element Einsteinium in the periodic table. The initials were then set in that style in the Nilland font, and the speech bubble was kept, but squared off, like the squares of the periodic table. The 'sarc mark' was so iconic and fondly thought of that I didn't want to loose it completely, and so I included a visual tribute to it in the new logo by adding a point to the bottom of the "s", which also recalls it's use as the final "s" in the word "Skeptics" in the original logo.
The new logo is designed to be flexible, and look great against different backgrounds and in different contexts online and in print. It is also designed to be modular: In addition to serving as the overarching logotype, the design pulls together the many activities that Edinburgh Skeptics do under one visual identity, through the use of several sub-logos that are variations on the same style.
There was a soft launch of the new identity at the 2018 Science Festival, and I am gradually rolling it out across the society's many strands of work and online presence.
2018 SciFest Promo Vid
Marie Robertson Counselling
I was commissioned to create a visual identity and website for a integrative counsellor, Marie Robertson, a woman who works with people on issues such as bereavement, trauma, abuse, mental health, developing their own sense of self, or relationship difficulties.
The central concept of the identity is a tree. This evokes the archetypal symbols of the 'tree of knowledge', 'tree of life', or 'world tree' of mythology, and so the themes of self knowledge and understanding.
The tree canopy is created by a single, semi-circular, brush-stroke. This represents the encompassing safe space created in the counselling relationship.
The trunk of the tree emerges from the 'M' of the name 'Marie', and this symbolises the anchor-point of support that a counsellor can provide.
The font is simple, and all lower-case, conveying the sense of an informal, non-threatening, atmosphere.
The website itself uses a motif of calming, beautiful, landscapes, that is in places intergrated with variations on the logotype.
The Bow Belly
Two good friends of mine run The Bow Belly, making delicious preserves, sweet and savoury muffins, cakes, power bars and more, from local and seasonal ingredients.
As well as flyers, I produced and managed a series of events for them to help bring in the residents of the complex and others to the canteen, which had a great open loft space: An open mic night called 'Second Floor Sessions', and a retro gaming night called 'Bits + Bites'.
I found some clay deposits on cliff by a beach on the Greek island of Corfu, and decided to take some home with me as a memento and to experiment with.
I went out and found a suitable rock from Holyrood Park and built a little world, inspired by Cycladic architecture (although I know Corfu isn't in the Cycladies!), to sit among the plants on my windowsill.
I started off with the ambition of animating all 142 frames and pulling them together as a video. maybe set to a chiptune soundtrack, but animation by creating GIFs in GIMP is painstaking work, so until I have more time or my animation skills improve, these three frames will have to do.
Above you can see my animated frames, and below the original static versions.
Re-imagining "Risk" With Custom Maps
In 2011 I became obsessed for a while with an online version of Risk called Warlight (now renamed Warzone).
A great feature of the game is the ability to create and upload your own maps for other people to battle on.
At the time, most of the maps were based on pretty standard real or imaginary geographies, but I was interested in playing with the format and creating something a bit more abstract.
My first map was based on the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway lines, an evolution of the famous original design conceived in 1931 by Harry Beck.
I made each major station a "territory", connected along the actual tube lines, and each complete line, and station of more than two interchanges, territory "bonuses". This linear kind of map gave a completely different dynamic to games and made for a new style of play, requiring different tactics.
This was also my first experience working with vector graphics and Inkscape, and my thanks go to web designer Ben Barnett for the tube line SVG files that were the starting point for the map.
My second Warlight map was more abstract still, this time based on a game of chess, where each piece was a separate territory, and the possible moves between the territories was based on the possible moves in chess for those pieces. I liked the idea of this "mashup" between the two games, where the rules of one are superimposed upon the other.
Between the 10th and 12th of July 2012 the Design Museum called for proposals for ‘Takeovers’ of their Riverside Hall that would animate the space with engaging design related stuff.
At the time I was the Artistic Director of Air Guitar UK, the annual competition to find the country's best air guitarist. The trophy for the winner was a fairly standard lump of perspex. I thought we could do better.
I was interested in the possibilities for what a trophy for being the best at pretending to play the guitar could look like, and I wanted to throw that open to the public as a creative problem to solve.
I successfully pitched the idea of an open trophy design workshop, and as people wandered in to the space I explained air guitar to them, handed them the pens and paper, and treated them to a few live demonstrations. You can see some of the results here.