And Start Here

Seven months into the pandemic and I’ve finally launched something I hope will help the thousands of people suddenly starting something new. Having begun life as Prop-up Store, a pop-up consultancy to help my local businesses survive the UK’s first lockdown, And Start Here will be a mix of courses and consultancy for founders who want to take their startups and small businesses to the next level.

The microsite’s currently up; I’m consolidating my mailing lists; I have 7 (yes 7) followers on Instagram; and unusually for me, I am documenting everything. The wins, the failures, the lot. Then, at the very least the journey will be entertaining.

#The50 things every creative should know (part 1)

#The50 things every creative should know (part 1)

Many years ago I thought I knew everything.

To absolutely no one’s surprise it turns out I didn’t, but that didn’t stop me snorting a big fat line of Paul Arden and writing a list of 50 tips for students entering the creative industry.

#The50 was the most popular post I ever published. By squeezing every tip into Twitter’s now defunct 140 character limit (you’ll notice a couple of odd sentence structures here and there), the list quickly went viral. It crashed my site and brought in thousands of Twitter followers ready to be disappointed by my aggressively inactive account.

So with the benefit of hindsight, I thought it would be fun to revisit the list and see if any of the advice still holds water. For clarity’s sake I’ve split the list into two parts (you can read tips 26 to 50 here), so get comfortable and enjoy part one of #The50 things every creative should know.

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Lessons from a 15 year old business card

The infamous business card

I’ve designed many things over the years, but nothing’s made an impact quite like my growing business card.

Conceived when I was a student, the card was designed to sprout alfalfa when exposed to water and sunlight. The big idea was for potential employers to keep my business card on their desk and not in their pocket. It was a fun little project that opened a few doors (cleaners would often throw them out prompting a flurry of apologetic emails), but on getting my first job and updating my portfolio I consigned the project to archives.

However, 15 years later I’m still fielding enquires about it.

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A perfect design?

TfL’s Rail Transport Network at 2019 | Image: Transport for London

Many years ago I attended a fantastic lecture on information design delivered by the author and journalist Mark Ovenden. Organised to promote his book Transit Maps of the World, Ovenden presented a deep-dive into transit maps’ common infographic ancestor, Henry (also known as Harry) Beck’s 1933 map of the London Underground.

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The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given

Bob Gill | Image: Phaidon Press

If I told you that by the end of this article you’d be a better designer would you believe me? It’s a bold statement, but I want to share with you something that totally changed my approach to design.

Recently I was asked to deliver a talk on the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given. Thankfully, this is one of my favorite things to talk about since the experience really did change my life. In fact, I’d go as far to say you can pretty much divide my career into two halves around this piece of advice — it really was that important.

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