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!
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!
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.
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 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 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.
There's certainly a lot less printed material being used since the arrival of the internet, but that doesn't mean there's no longer a requirement for print, nor does it mean that what's used online doesn't need designing. What it can mean is that people are more careful about budgets and the danger there is that by cutting corners you can damage your brand and how you are perceived by your customers.
I was asked to create some posters for Volleyball England that could be utilised over email but also be printed and displayed to advertise up-coming taster sessions to attract people to the sport. The posters required a generic design where the venues, dates and times could be altered. This could be done by setting a template in Word or even an Adobe Acrobat PDF form, but both those methods are very restrictive design-wise and it means you have to compromise the design with the limitations of the software. The best result for Volleyball England would be to be able to maintain their corporate identity with a professional looking design, so as part of the design cost for producing the posters I've offered to make the text amendments for future events. This way they get a professional looking poster rather than a compromise at a price they don't need to worry about.
If I can help you maintain a professional looking image with your graphic design then please do get in touch.
The new entrance sign I designed for Longdown Activity Farm has been put up ready for their new season which starts tomorrow. Looks like the weather may be a little kinder, so if you want to see it in situ you should be dry!
Here's a recent design for a roller banner produced for the Hampshire Dyslexia Association, a very worthy charity supporting people with dyslexia and those who assist them. You can learn more about their work here.
Roller banners are everywhere nowadays because of their versatility and immediate impact. A good quality roller banner with a strong image is an excellent promotional tool that strengthens your brand and draws the eye.
Roller banners shouldn't try to say everything that you do, but be succinct, bold and colourful. Use them to get you noticed and draw people in to learn more.
Equally, there are many grades of the physical banner itself, so if you're aiming to use your banner several times then don't go for a cheap banner that won't stand up to repeated use - invest a little more for a good quality, well made one. For sound advise on the topic talk to Splash Display.
If you're interested in learning more, or would like your own banner designed, then do get in touch. We'll be happy to help.