All Posts in Personal
This week I was fortunate enough to receive an email from Oscar at Behance to let me know that my work for Scotts had been selected by their curatorial team to feature on the front of their Adweek Talent Behance gallery.
Be sure to visit and check out the other great work on there if you've never done so, and if you want to follow me on Behance, check out my profile.
A few days ago I received an email from the good people at Creative Bloq about a follow-up piece to their wildy popular Designers and their tattoos article. This time the idea being 'Designers as you've never seen them before'.
We've featured a lot of designer interviews over the years on Creative Bloq, but a lot of the time we end up with very similar photographs. Here's a designer sitting at his Mac with Illustrator open and a bunch of vinyl toys on his desk! Here's a designer in her studio, with lots of inspiring artwork on display! Here's a designer leaning against a wall!
I sent over a few tales and the story they wanted to feature was from when I featured as part of the final of the BBC's Junior Apprentice TV show. If you want to read more about and also find out about what 9 other top creatives get upto in their spare time, head over to Creative Bloq.
2014 was the year I finally went premium on spotify, and pretty much ditched my dependence on iTunes. Below are my top 15 artists and tracks played last year as recorded by last.fm and some other interesting stats from the spotify round-up.
|1||Caribou – Can't Do Without You||22|
|2||Arcade Fire – Afterlife||20|
|3||White Denim – At Night in Dreams||19|
|4||Metronomy – I'm Aquarius||19|
|5||Todd Terje – Delorean Dynamite||19|
|6||alt-J – Hunger of the Pine||19|
|7||Caribou – Back Home||19|
|8||Bonobo – Sapphire||18|
|9||White Denim – Corsicana Lemonade||18|
|10||Arcade Fire – Normal Person||18|
|11||Metronomy – Monstrous||18|
|12||Metronomy – Love Letters||18|
|13||Grizzly Bear – Sleeping Ute||17|
|14||Bonobo – Jets||17|
|15||Bonobo – Know You||17|
Based on my 2014 listenings, spotify have created this for 2015. Play it forward.
I love a good iOS photography app, I use quite a few on a regular basis and have experimented with loads. I've recently come across Dubble, a new double exposure app that randomly pairs your image with that of a stranger. Often the outcome is a bit of a mess, but with a little bit of persistance and plenty of luck there are some really nice outcomes. It can be quite addictive once you get in the swing of things.
If you are feeling adventurous, try double dubbling.
The app is easy to use and free to download in the app store.
Check out my profile: dubble.me/bentopliss
You're starting at the bottom - but working as a designer, not just making tea. (Image: Sweaty Eskimo - www.sweatyeskimo.co.uk)
Design portal and sister publication to Computer Arts magazine, Creative Bloq recently asked me to give some career advice for those studying design or looking for their first jobs in the creative industries.
It covers everything from eduction, starting salaries, skills required, agency vs in-house and career progression.
Head over to the Creative Bloq site to read the full article, or read my story and advice below on what its like being the junior.
09. What it's actually like to do the job
Now a senior designer, Ben Topliss explains what it was like being a junior designer
Earlier this year, multi-disciplinary designer Ben Topliss started a new senior designer position at sports and fashion-wear retailer JD PLC that was created especially for him. Since graduating seven years ago, he's been busy honing his skills at the likes of international advertising agency TBWA and developing his freelance career. He explains how he got to here from his first junior designer position, and what it's really like being a junior designer...
Creative Bloq: Your first job out of uni was junior designer at an architectural practice called Prism. What did you study at uni, and how well did your course set you up for this role?
Ben Topliss: I studied product design at university, with a minor in interactive design. I didn't realise until I'd signed up to study for the interactive modules that graphic and digital design were things I was really passionate about and wanted to do after graduating.
The main thing I took from studying design at university was the process of design and problem-solving. I didn't do any placements or internships in agencies or studios, but I did as many jobs as I could get my hands on for local businesses, designing anything they'd let me including identities, branded stationery, websites, booklets, flyers and menus. Taking this also route taught me about the other side of design - dealing with clients, and managing my time and finances - which can be just as important as the actual work.
CB: What was the job market like after you graduated? How tricky was it to get your first job as a junior designer?
BT: It was a struggle to get a job after graduating. It's so competitive out there and it's hard to differentiate yourself, especially when competing against others with graphic design degrees. I wrote a lot of letters but didn't really get anywhere. I had a few interviews and finally got something in the September after graduating. It was great to finally get a job.
CB: Why did you decide to work in-house as a junior designer, rather than in a design studio or agency?
BT: Prism was a small design studio and I got to work on projects for clients including Sainsbury's, Cambridge University and Marks & Spencer. There were only four designers - two senior and two junior - so I got to work on some large projects straight away, as everyone had to get stuck in.
Ben is currently working at TBWA
CB: Talk us through a typical day - what were your responsibilities?
BT: As it was only a really small agency I'd have to do plenty of admin-type jobs like order the stationery, be the IT guy and make tea for everyone. But I'd also get to head out to client meetings and take ownership of projects, which was good as you might not necessarily get that level of trust working somewhere larger.
CB: What was the best part of the job?
BT: Actually doing work and getting paid for something I wanted to do was great. It wasn't groundbreaking stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but I was working in the industry I wanted to be in and gaining experience all the time. To me then, that was amazing.
CB: How long did you work in this position before taking the next step in your career, and what did it take to move up the ladder?
BT: I spent a year at Prism, and another year in my next job - both in small teams so I did get to take control of a lot of projects, but I maybe missed the guidance I would have got from larger organisations.
Stepping up to the next level in a much larger agency was fun: suddenly I was working with a large group of really talented creatives. I certainly had a feeling that I needed to up my game. That's how you improve though. You need to get out of your comfort zone, push yourself to be better and learn from those around you.
CB: How long did it take you to get to a senior designer position?
BT: I graduated about seven years ago, with the last three of those working at TBWA. There I had the opportunity to learn from lots of talented people and gain some good experience working on some great projects, big and small, for clients like Manchester United, EA Games and BP.
CB: What do you love most about your job now?
BT: Getting to work with talented and inspiring people. I've got a busy couple of months coming up, with the launch of at least two iOS apps and a couple of site redesigns on the horizon.
CB: What advice would you give a junior designer for becoming a senior designer?
BT: Work hard, ask questions and soak up as much as you can from more the experienced people you are working with, whatever their job role. Do the jobs no-one else wants to do - make yourself indispensable.
Also, it pays to be nice. The industry is smaller than you think - you never know when you'll come back into contact with someone you used to work with, met at an industry event or even slated on Twitter.
I was fortunate to enough to be interviewed for this months edition of Computer Arts magazine regarding my new job. I have subscribed to the magazine for a number of years I feel pretty honored to grace a full page of the newly redesigned and industry renowned magazine.
Go check it out, available at all good stockists...
Yesterday afternoon I received a random request from someone on twitter that I follow them so they could DM, curious for more details I followed away. A couple of DMs followed before I received a phone call from Kirsty at the BBC, wanting to know if I'd be up for being interviewed on the radio about cycling to work.
It turns out the tweet she found was 14 months old, but nevertheless the next morning at 7:50 is was interviewed for 5 minutes or so on the perils and benefits or cycling verses driving to work.
A bit of random start to the day, but if you want to listen to the show again its on iplayer for the next 7 days: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0195vtk
It was good to see the ad I designed (concept by Adam & Becci) win a silver in the '6, 4 or Smaller Sheet' category at the Roses Creative Awards last night. This was amongst several awards scooped by TBWA\Manchester which included: two golds, three silver and three bronze. Well done everyone involved.
Client: Manchester United
Art Director: Adam Richardson
Copywriter: Becci Tyrell
Designer: Ben Topliss
Speed of Light was a centrepiece of the Edinburgh International Festival and recently staged an event in Yokohama Japan. The night-time work uses light, intentional movement and sound to change the way we see and feel about a chosen environment.
Speed of Light Salford features one hundred runners in specially commissioned LED light suits will create beautiful, choreographed patterns of light flowing through streets, over bridges and around public spaces and buildings. Free and non-ticketed for the watching audience, it can be seen as a piece of abstract art on the grandest scale: monumental but surprisingly quiet and reflective.
The most important part of taking part as a runner was to maintain an even gap between the participant in front and behind you especially as gaps were extended and reduced on the fly.
For Christmas I was given a photography workshop and tour of Salford Quays, which I finally was able to take on Saturday. It consisted of 2 hours with photographer Dan Tyack, and a small group of other participants, as he took us around Salford Quays and the newly completed Media City. He provided us with some advice on how to take better photos in manual mode by understanding the settings better as well as providing some tips on composition and pointing out some potential shots around the Quays.
As a designer I feel I have a good grasp of composition, but it is always helpful getting tips from experts in their field and getting to discuss different ways of doing things. As someone who pretty much always shoots in semi-auto mode (AV = Aperture Value or TV = Time Value/Shutter priority), it was helpful in having someone explain whilst being out using the camera how to best manage all the camera controls and settings instead of adjusting one.
Since then I've had a load of new followers, appreciations and views which has been amazing. Its funny how big a difference a tiny amount of exposure has done for my stats. I used to barely get a single view to my profile and 6 weeks on I'm still getting at least 40 every day. It is also interesting to see how the traffic flows throughout a week, with the obvious low points over the weekends, and then building up gradually throughout the week.
Check out the work.
You can follow me on behance, and thanks if you already do.
Most years I get given a calender for the upcoming year by my family for Christmas. With this year the first time for as long as I can remember when that hasn't happened I decided to make my own using photographs from the previous 12 months. Fortunately last year was pretty good, with loads of great shots/memories to choose from - I now just have to plan some equally cool stuff so that I don't get too depressed in 2013 looking back on last years trips.
During the summer, in downtime we redecorated the agency. Initially the design department and swiftly followed by all the other departments in the agency once they saw what we had achieved.
There where massive clear outs and tidying sessions and St Paul's has been transformed into an even more inspiring workplace. The transformation was finally completed a week ago with the installation of some wall vinyls placed around the building. I designed a couple of pieces, an organic and flowing welcome as you enter the front door and typographic treatment of a famous pangram in the studio.
I'm going to create a proper portfolio page for it all, but I'm still working on a colour version of the pangram statement, but in the meantime here are a couple of snaps.
Here are some more shots of the entire agency.
Along with most of the people at TBWA\Manchester, my summer was consumed pitching for Tesco. We were up against the great and the good of advertising, beating off competition including JWT, VCCP, McCann Erickson, SapientNitro and WCRS, before finally losing out to W+K..
Now that Wieden & Kennedy's work is starting to see the light of day, I thought I'd share the little case study I put together on the evolution of the Tesco marque, and its possible future evolution. Please bear in mind this was a single afternoons work, and it is nowhere near as comprehensive as the brilliant microsoft rebrand done by Andrew Kim. This is meant as more of an evolution in the style of recent high profile rebrands like Starbucks.
Please click on the images below to enlarge.
As you can see from the page above Tesco's branding early on was quite inconsistent, particularly with the advert from 1924 displaying 'Tesco' in 3 different faces and styles. On the image below from 1946, you can still see serious inconsistancies, with both serifs and sans being used in branding.
As you can see on the above image, since the Tesco has gradually refined the logo over, moving from a slab-serif, with the most recent incarnation from 1996 becoming almost a sans-serif.
However, with Tesco's rapid expansion into many other areas and sectors, the various sub-brands lack a visual consistency and cohesion.
The blue stripes, which are reminiscent of the stripes on a butchers apron, made their debut in the 1980s on Tesco press ads, devised by Lowe Howard-Spink. It was so effective that over time, the bars appeared in other areas until they became a permanent element of the Tesco logo. But they are used differently by different parts of the business which I feel is confusing.
Exploring the best way to make that next refinement of the logo can be seen over the next few images.
Should the number of stripes be reduced, or the size of them modified? Looking at the options below, moving to a completely sans typeface seems like a step too far. Getting the level of compression in x-height right, is also a tricky so as with not enough compression it doesn't look like Tesco, and too much and the logotype just looks squashed. Until actually having a look at it, I hadn't fully appreciated just how squashed it actually is.
In the end, we would recommend to lose the bars completely, as they don't actually represent anything. Black as a colour is then completely lost from the logo, with "every little helps" taking on the Tesco brand blue and thus aligning it closer to the master brand. Further to this "Every little helps" has been upweighted, with extra emphasis being placed on "helps", as this was one the core aspects of the pitch strategy.
Below you can see how this would be applied on an individual basis and across the various sub-brands, with each sector taking a slightly different colour.
As I said at the beginning, this was only a quick brand overview and would have been great to get to delve deeper into the details and across the huge range of sub-brands. On a another note its interesting to see W+K's take on "every little helps" in their current ads, and how it wasn't too far away from our own.