Posted in design,illustration,news by Mark on the December 23rd, 2008

My copy of Bastardised arrived some time ago – it’s a sturdy bloody thing! Has all the submissions to Bunch’s Made in Bunch project including my own wee contribution. Unfortunately I didn’t get to go to the get together they organised as it landed smack on my birthday (plus it was in London).

bastardised cover
my bastardised submission

Made in Bunch

Tree & Sea Poster
Posted in design,doodle,illustration,news by Mark on the October 13th, 2008

Or lake if you’re so inclined.


Something I’ve been working on every now and again for quite a while, has finally been printed up and posted out to the wide world to act as a little hello :)

I also posted a preview on DT and had a few requests for prints folks can buy, so if anyone does want a copy comment away and I’ll eventually get around to sorting a print run :)

Beard of Ages & Yellow River
Posted in design,doodle,illustration,news by Mark on the May 17th, 2008
beard of ages poster
beard of ages poster

The two posters above I created for DT‘s monthly poster competitions – I won their first competition with my robot poster a while back. The beardy poster won also whilst the yellow river poster came a joint second :)

Christmas Cards 1988
Posted in design,doodle,illustration,news by Mark on the January 17th, 2008

Bit slow of me posting this in 2008, but wanted to show them :)

I won the competition for my design to be used as the school Christmas card at my infant school when I was seven (back in 1988 scary eh) and had them reprinted this year as my Christmas cards to send out :)

Christmas 2007
Christmas 2007
Christmas 2007

Thanks to Karen over at Entwistle for the insanely fast turn around (left it a bit late!).

Two Thousand & Eight
Posted in design,news,random by Mark on the January 3rd, 2008

Well a year on, scary stuff. Well it’s been a challenging year :D But it’s been a good one, where I managed to do all three things I wanted, go freelance or find a new job and move somewhere groovy and easy to work from.

Left my job.
For a thousand small reasons back in April.

Went freelance successfully.
Working out well, it’s a big change but great fun.

Moved to a shiny lil apartment in Manchester.
Only just managed to sneak the move in December though, but it still counts ;)

A huge thanks to everyone who has helped and been supportive in my first year of freelance, and 2008 looks set to keep getting better. Hmm other news, this blog has been featured in the book Web Design Index by Content 3, which is very brilliant :D Will post some pictures up later this week.

Do it yourself robot poster
Posted in design,illustration,news by Mark on the December 27th, 2007

Hi all, another delay in posting! I moved early in December and only just got internet back.

robot poster

This was my winning entry to DT‘s first poster competition. Was a fun little competition, you can see the other entries here, there were some great posters entered, my favourite was Emil’s.

With the move I’ve missed the second competition but hopefully will find time to enter the next :)

Have a bits of news and shinies over the coming few weeks so check back soon!


I… forgive Helvetica?
Posted in design,random by Mark on the November 8th, 2007

I’ll start off with an apology to my friends who aren’t designers who just skim scrapbook for my doodles, sketches and random pretty things – sorry but this is about a typeface.

So why am I muttering about Helvetica? Well I like many people who either couldn’t be bothered to see it, or plain had no intention to watch a movie devoted to Helvetica, the very idea of which seemed a little bit like attending a lecture on the joys of beige paint (an analogy the film itself makes at one point) did manage to catch the shortened edition aired on BBC1 the other day. And it was most interesting to me (I’m as surprised as you) because it was informative and even handed. It wasn’t anything incredibly special, was a decent quality documentary at the end of the day, the key point being that it was – gasp – about a font.

I’ve often been involved in silly arguments with other designers about the use of Helvetica, me pretty much always being against its use, always preferring something more emotive, artistic, striking – less common.

And that’s been my view for ages really, I’ve recently experimented using it strikingly and do quite like the fact I can make design with the almighty font that looks just as professional as everyone else… In fact it looked just like every other bit of Swiss-homage masturbatory Helvetica design out there. It was nice to do, but it left me pretty cold. I’d probably enjoy taking some time out to do something with Helvetica which actually interested me for personal kicks; certainly Si Scott’s work on Orange granted him license to bring Helvetica to life in a new light.

So that’s my recent experience with Helvetica, I generally shun it out of habit. What have I been told before about it, well lots of things, that you can’t go wrong with Helvetica (what’s the fun in a typeface if there’s no risk of it not working in every situation?), that its strength is its neutrality, that it’s like air, that it’s pure communication – the heart of design, message transmitted, received acknowledged without making you feel you need to be *** insert demographic here *** to get the message. Purest generic elegant messaging. Which to me, doesn’t sound particularly very fun. Which is just where a difference of opinion lies.

It’s not that I feel designers need to use hundreds of fonts, I have lots, but probably only use a small handful a great deal, and I have a fondness for serifs anyway. So why do I forgive it?

Hmm I suppose the film showed every designer is a product of the time and upbringing, their personal tastes are going to differ, the old giants still worship Helvetica for its no nonsense clean and precise design, as a backlash against the frivolous emotional script affairs of the 50s – encapsulating no-nonsense, honest design cutting through that woolly touchy feely look. Some designers of the 70s associated it with corporate culture and supporting “the man” I suppose, and all that was followed by a pretty intense backlash against clean and precise design. And lots of designers I’ve learnt from directly, are of a culture after that, where they went back to the basics, and saw the appeal of the cleanliness and strictness and structure.

Not really sure where I fit in that mix, I agree with the basics, that type should be more often than not, be very easily legible, have room to breathe, and be appropriate for the message – to sound very like a portion of an opening paragraph of any number of design agencies.

Beyond that? I doubt I’ll shun Helvetica any less, it’s still simply too commonplace, and there are perfectly competent alternatives for neutral and legible. But I forgive it now, because I feel sorry for it slightly (compassion for a font, hmm yes I am this weird), it’s a runaway success story, meticulously crafted, gone from idealistic no nonsense honesty to background noise. Being trotted out to meet several criteria with ease.

Before the movie’s official release some time ago, there were I love Helvetica and I hate Helvetica badges made, and I obviously wanted some of the I hate Helvetica ones, and a lot was made of the Marmite love/hate feel it generated amongst designers. But on seeing the documentary, I don’t hate it anymore. I don’t love it either.

Helvetica badges

You can’t necessarily go wrong with Helvetica, it is its own worst enemy, and that’s why I forgive it.

(My) business cards
Posted in design,illustration,news by Mark on the September 19th, 2007

After far too much chasing I finally have my cards back from the printers. – And breathe out.

Mark Dormand Business Card
Mark Dormand Business Card
Mark Dormand Business Card
Show me the way to Perdido
Posted in design,illustration,news by Mark on the August 19th, 2007

The rebrand is getting there, will have my business cards printed this coming week, you can see the new style of my stuff now on sreski’s entrance page although it’ll be quite a while before my portfolio gets treated to the new look.

I also found time to enter into one of The Serif‘s redesigner challenges, with a recover of China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, and also my recover of Paul Cornell’s British Summertime which I posted on scrapbook a while ago.

You can see what folks over on The Serif thought here.

I also did some poster designs using the full map of New Crobuzon (the metropolis in China Mieville’s series of books).

That’s all for now,

©2006 - 2009 Mark Dormand
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