Blog - Graphic Design

Cartoon Collie

This is a recent commission from a client in the US for veterinarians and support staff. The logo is being used on a website and the plan is to use the collie character across some other material.

The collie was a particular pleasure to draw, but the tricky bit was creating a fur effect for the lettering while keeping it as a vector file so the logo remains infinitely scaleable. Had this been created in a pixel-based programme instead, such as Photoshop, then you can only really scale downwards.

Client very pleased with the result!


Interactive PDF Funding Guide

Berks & Bucks FA help football clubs obtain funding, but the funding is so diverse, and sometimes only available to small regional areas or specific projects, so working out who is eligible for what can be a tricky task to navigate through.

Ceratopia were asked to develop an interactive funding guide in the form of a PDF document that could be emailed to interested clubs and take them directly to the funds they could apply for.

The initial guide was laid out in Adobe InDesign and once the design and layout was agreed was converted into a PDF file. Then, using Adobe Acrobat Pro, interactive elements were invisibly laid on that allows for the person reading it to be guided through to relevant pages by clicking on aspects that are pertinent to them. The final page anyone using the file would arrive at is a list of available funding they can apply for, which in turn takes them directly to that source's application page, or shows them what to do next.

Although it sounds complicated, such an interactive document is simple enough to produce as long as all the data it needs to function is gathered beforehand, and as a tool for the end user it saves a lot of time and hassle, and, in this case, presents the BBFA in a positive light too.

If we can help you with a similar interactive document then do get in touch.

Employee Handbooks Designed For Your Business

Small and medium-sized businesses have an obligation to provide employee handbooks, policies and procedures and a whole host of forms and documentation to conform to the letter of the law. The problem is that these are an additional burden of both time and cost, so what is produced is often what a basic understanding of simple in-house software will allow. The result can often be booklets, forms and documents that are poorly laid out using low resolution imagery 'borrowed' from the internet, rendering what's produced difficult to read and understand, and thus defeating the whole object. You may well have ticked that box by creating something, but if it's not fit for purpose then you've a potentially serious problem on your hands.

We were asked to look at the employees' health and safety booklet for Chambers Waste Management PLC to create something that was easy to read and navigate through, and that had graphics and photographs that were clear, crisp, and obtained correctly. Chambers operate a business that contains many risks and potential dangers, so communicating clearly and concisely with their workforce on the company's policies and procedures on health and safety was of the upmost importance.

We created an A4 32-page document with a tabular contents list that allowed the reader to swiftly identify the section and page they needed. The finished job was supplied as a printed booklet and PDF, giving some additional flexibility to how it could be used amongst the workforce.

Do you feel that your business is using employee handbooks and similar booklets that are clear and easy to read? If not, then you're potentially putting your workforce at risk. Talk to us about how we can help you improve the readability with a bespoke design that fits your brand and communicates the information efficiently and effectively.

Contemporary Logo Design For JW UK Ltd

JW UK Ltd are lighting specialists based in Southampton who have used their skills in as diverse and impressive places as the historic HMS Victory and Buckingham Palace. Their previous logo was doing them poor service so we were tasked with giving them a more contemporary design to help them stand out in their competitive marketplace.

Paultons Park Guidebook

Today not only sees the official launch of Paultons Park's Lost Kingdom (go there, it's amazing) but it's also the release date of their brand new guidebook, designed by Ceratopia. 

Paultons are brilliant at understanding their target audience, so rather than going for a dry guide full of text aimed at adults, they decided they wanted one aimed at children. I was given a loose outline of what they wanted to achieve per page, and left with a fantastic amount of creative freedom to deliver something fun and informative on every spread. Not only is it packed with games and activities, oodles of colour and plenty of colouring, but there are things to look out for as you move around the park and a chance to record your experiences of the rides as you go.

The guidebook is A4, and at 44 pages (plus a fold-out map) it was a great opportunity to showcase my cartooning, illustration and graphic design work. There's even a comic strip. So don't forget to pick up your copy when you go to check out the Lost Kingdom!

Visitor Attraction You Are Here Boards

It's not long now before Longdown Activity Farm in the New Forest open their doors for a new season, so they've been hard at work getting everything ready, including the addition of some new You Are Here Boards. 

I put the artwork together using Photoshop and it's a mix or my cartoons, my illustrated map, drawn vector elements and photography. Because of the layering of the elements should anything change in the coming years it's a simple enough matter to move descriptive labels or update pictures as required.

The signs have been produced from my artwork by Splash Display, who also installed them. In the photo above, against the bleak, leafless treeline, I think it stands out rather well. Be interesting if it looks as vibrant come the summer!

Grassroots Football Infographic

Hampshire FA (Football Association) support and promote football throughout Hampshire from the grassroots level and up. This means a lot of people are involved in games each and every week from players to officials, from club staff to volunteers, and to further complicate matters there are a host of rules and regulations regarding younger players that need to be observed. Because a child is so such smaller than an adult it's not really fair, for example, that they defend a full-sized goal, so there are a number of increments to balance out age, height and stamina. Hampshire FA asked me to put together an infographic that drew all this data together into one place so they could easily share it amongst those involved, and this is the result.

Creative Van Graphics

I've created artwork for a number of vehicle wrap jobs, from buses to Smart cars, but I don't think any of them was as much fun to do as the van livery for the Longdown Activity Farm van. Using cartoon elements I created for their leaflets and promotional material, I was asked to come up with a design that reflected the spirit of the farm. The results are really striking against the dark grey paint job and it's certainly going to stand out when on the road. You definitely couldn't sneak off somewhere in it.

The original design that I did was much more ambitious, featuring animals sat with swept-back ears as if in an open backed van with a roof covered in boxes of produce, chickens and chicks, but it was in danger of trying to do too much. The final version simplifies the design and uses the yellow straw bales to add a vibrant contrast to the charcoal grey of the paint.

Any vehicle design has to take in a number of factors, such as placement of door handles and number plates, how the doors move, and where they sit when they're open. Also, as a designer I often need a reality check from the people actually outputting and applying the graphics, in this case Splash Display, because not everything I lay out can be possible when the curvature, or even the material, of the panels is taken into consideration. 

Longdown Activity Farm are very pleased with the result, so if you see it out and about on the road be sure to give it a wave.

Paultons Park Animal House Signage

Paultons Park recently opened their fabulous Critter Creek land and I've been lucky enough to help with lots of different aspects of its design and illustration. One of the things I had to do was the internal signage for the Beastie Burrow, a close-up animal encounter divided into distinct sections. To reflect each section's theming they needed different descriptive signage, so as it's Professor Blast that has discovered Critter Creek it made sense to use the Professor's hand-written notes to connect the three designs together.

Although each section's background is the same, the number of creatures featured on it, the amount of text per heading, and even the proportions of the image, meant that each sign was completely different. I started by building all the drawn elements in Adobe Illustrator and then layered them in Photoshop as smart objects, allowing me to re-scale and rotate as needed. I was also armed with the creatures' scientific names and tasked with sourcing the photography which involved four different image libraries to achieve. Look out for them when you visit!

The Cartoonists' Club New Roller Banner

The Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain are off to The Lakes International Comic Art Festival next week so in preparation I've designed us a new roller banner for our stand. As a social club for cartoonists we're hoping to recruit some new members over the course of the festival, so, all you cartooning types out there, if you've had work published professionally, or are a caricaturist who undertakes regular commissions, come and say hello.

Big thank you to the ever-dependable Splash Display for manufacturing the banner. Check out Splash's website for the enormous range of exhibition, point of purchase and display solutions.

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