Christmas Flickr Meet 08
Posted in news,photography,random by Mark on the December 24th, 2008

flickr christmas

My first Flickr meet – I’m hidden somewhere towards the back what with being tall. My friend Matt or monsier Coxy as he is more widely recognised was there, he’s mentioned them quite a bit over the years but I never managed to time it well enough to go before. Plus I have a slightly less embarrassing camera finally and have been wanting to do a bit more photography in my spare time.


So yup yup it was quite good fun despite the extreme cold, met lots of lovely random photo type people, and Eleanor D even managed to take the above passable photo of my good self when I wasn’t looking. Plus it was an excuse to visit the Christmas markets yet again :)

Some more if you clicky. (more…)

Let it glow
Posted in news,niceness,photography,random by Mark on the December 22nd, 2008

Ok ok you have permission to shoot me for that post title :D Anyway I’ve been slacking off with my blogging so apologies, as my friends know I have a magpie-esque love for things that glow, and have all manner of lights and things. I’ve photographed some of my favourites, along with the new wonderful toy I got for my birthday.

living color
living color

This is my new toy, a Philips LivingColor light. Looks pretty doesn’t it, it also and this is the bit which makes me giddy, changes colour according to a small remote control which lets me adjust the colour using a colour-wheel, the depth, intensity, brightness. Basically like letting me have a bit of Photoshop in the real world, terrible idea… ;)


My Christmas tree from last year which I bartered with Habitat staff for as it was the last one in stock. Pretty glass red thing.


Assorted glittery lights.

Philips LivingColors on Amazon
Philips LivingColors Homepage

Oh and also – I’ve recently upgraded scrapbook to WordPress 2.7, the admin interface is now very sexy indeed – however my fancy font titles have stopped working, not sure if it was a recent Flash update or the WordPress upgrade – will fix it when I get a moment hopefully!

Live and Let Die
Posted in notmine,random by Mark on the December 3rd, 2008

Not actually even my favourite Bond movie, but certainly my favourite watch from a range of Bond villains released by Swatch to tie in no doubt with the launch of the tedious new Bond movie (before anyone moans, I haven’t seen it, I don’t plan to – I’m sure it’s excellent and gritty but I like my Bond ridiculous and feel good, not reinvented.)


Of the range, this seemed to be the one in the UK totally sold out, helped by it being one of the cheapest of the range probably, plus it’s simple illustration is cute as hell :D Plus did I mention it glows in the dark? But anyway, it’s mine now, hurray. Cue me running into about 50 people with the same watch but oh well :)


Links below to see the rest, also a test to see which villain you truly are… I repeatedly ended up being Elektra King – just because I’m practical and think champagne and shoes should come ahead of grenades… Sheesh. ;)

Swatch – Villain Range
Swatch – What’s Your Villain Test

Posted in 3D,niceness,notmine,random by Mark on the November 20th, 2008

Nothing to do with me, but I ran across it on good ol’, and think it’s lovely. A low poly CGI German movie. Lovely doomed plot talkover towards the end of the trailer. Some of the physics grates slightly, but love the look and feel.

ryu offical site
ryu high res trailer (90 meg wmv)

Quick look busy!
Posted in news,random by Mark on the March 10th, 2008

Oops another month slipped by.

Busy working on some shiny stuff which I’ll post as soon as it’s done, but for now, some shiny links and things that have entertained me in the last few weeks :)

Japanese flash-light animation group Tochka’s PiKAPiKA the movie.
Ice Penguins in São Paulo.
Both found on the brilliant

Ten Thousand Things’ entry on how to be a nicer designer.
Which is incidentally a very pretty blog which is doing the rounds ever since the chap won Veerle’s competition, but I found it at Styleboost.

And a big thanks to all the different portals and sites which linked up the new version of Sreski, there will be some nice new updates for that in a few weeks :)

Ice Lego! Magnetic Lego! Lego Lego!
Posted in news,niceness,random by Mark on the January 28th, 2008

Yes it’s fifty years since the birth of Lego, Google’s Go Lego Logo (say it three times fast I dare you) is still up, and I received my lovely belated Christmas/house warming presents of Lego ice trays and magnetic Lego blocks :D

Behold! :D

Lego Ice
Lego Ice Water
Lego Magnets

In other exciting news my site has relaunched with lots of lovely new work, with more due to go up in the next month :) Take a peek :) –

The site was designed by me, and developed by Rihards Steinbergs.

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.

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.

Pixel fun and festive hats
Posted in random by Mark on the November 22nd, 2006

I’m trying to balance out having something worth posting on here every week or so, so I’m unlikely to ever post daily like my good coder monkey friend Rihards is somehow managing, but anyway onwards with the imagery!

I’m again raiding my archives this week, favicons! 16 by 16 pixels of personality. They’re fairly frivolous, Internet Explorer users will be barely aware of them, these little icons only appear to them in their bookmarks list (not sure about the new IE7) in Firefox of course, or Shiira (my preferred mac browser du jour) they are the lovely icons next to the web address of the site you’re visiting. Lots of sites, especially design agency sites seem to not bother with them, which I find a little strange as its just a nice little way of customising the view and showing you’re thinking about all the ways your site will be seen.

Anyway below is a handful of ones I’ve made, I’m not a web designer, which is probably why I think about these things more than how to code properly ;)

And yes I promised hats! Miserable weather in lovely Manchester the other day as usual at the moment, but these things brought a smile to my face when I went to grab some food at lunch, all the Innocent smoothies had these hand knitted hats, all different. It’s a nice little campaign, charitable too.

©2006 - 2009 Mark Dormand
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