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Graphic Repro

Repro; copying and reproduction of documents and printed material.
Graphics; creating imagery and visual material to communicate significance.

A friend once said, “you just do colouring-in for a living”. Yes, perhaps; but, as I have studied… the graphic Signifier will relay an idea that is Signified; in essence, this is what a Sign is.

As David Carson said, “Just because something is legible doesn’t mean it communicates”.

How can we make the most of a simple opportunity to say something?

“Can you just do a simple ‘One Way’ sign for me?” Or, a sign to ‘Science’… or a ‘No eating in the library’ notice?

Yes, of course, but what more can we do with that opportunity for signification?

We can add value to the everyday. Often print might simply have a utilitarian function, but that does not mean to say it can’t have added value, look smart, and reflect or reinforce the tone and climate of its environment. 

Can you just print me some signs saying ‘Textiles’ and ‘Graphics’? 

Yes, of course, but what more can we do with that sign?

The front cover of a worksheet, the postcard home, the certificate of achievement, or even the punctuality report; all of these can have added value beyond the initial function. Integral to their design, they can reflect and reinforce the values, visions and ambitions of the organisation.

This can be done in part by keeping the style and form of the organisation’s design elements consistent, and adding and repeating form and sub-content that promotes values and reinforces messages.

There’s more to it than that, but again as David Carson said, “It’s not about knowing all the gimmicks and tricks…”… You need to feel it.

As well as small repro works, I’ve recently overseen the creation of some large text signage for interior and exterior walls. 

Our aim was to reinforce ambitions using simple quotes from the school’s poetry canon. Yes, we could have gone bold and loud with colours and imagery. However, in this case it’s just the words themselves using simple consistent typography.

Inside the building the light warm grey colour is subtle and almost a subliminal presence (Expertly installed by Big City Graphics, Leicester).

Outside we’ve gone for a strong yet simple aluminium. (Expertly installed by Focus Signs, Leicester)

In the past, I’ve designed large wall-collage compositions, creating artwork for a local sign maker who installs murals to cover complete walls/rooms in primary schools. 

So, from a one off ‘sign for the loo’, to an energetic topical graphic statement…

Reprographics; reproduction of printed material and imagery that communicates meaning.

It’s part of what I do…


‘Care’ful rebranding

And, another project I’ve been involved in recently is helping with a rebrand for a community care provider in Cornwall.

I’ve developed a bespoke new logo for Pendeen Community Care. I’m also working on a brochure, roller banner, and leaflets etc.

Pendeen Community Care are “a small, family run domiciliary care company, providing high quality, bespoke elder care packages in and around the Camborne and Redruth area.”

PCC Brochure – Initial Draft.

“At Pendeen Community Care all our carers are trained and highly skilled in dementia/Alzheimer care. We guarantee that your family/friend will be given the utmost respect and care whilst our carers are with them. Pendeen Community Care offers a real alternative to residential placements. Many people wish to spend their advancing years in the security and comfort of their own homes.”

Design for print and publicity – it’s what I do.


Massage Therapy #GraphicRepro

Dan at DJS is rebranding. Back in 2017 I helped brand DJS Sports Massage. Over the years Dan has developed and now offers a broad range that focuses on massage as therapy.

Business Cards, Street Signage, Roller Banner… #Graphic #Repro… It’s what I do.

Check Dan out at DJS Massage Therapy DJS Massage Therapy


The honesty of the original.

To Gild the lily describes the process of embellishing something that is already beautiful. Something pop culture often attempts to do (?).

Over-egging the lily

Of course the lily is already perfect and needs no superficial embellishment to enhance it. The phrase originates from a passage in Shakespeare’s play King John (1595): “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw a perfume on the violet, to smooth the ice, or add another hue unto the rainbow, or with taper-light to seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish, is wasteful and ridiculous excess.”

In 1895, the Newark Daily Advocate used the phrase, “One may gild the lily and paint the rose…” and the idiom gild the lily was born.

‘The honesty of the original’
Without going overboard, or over-egging the pudding, discuss…


It is well…

So, my first blog post this year!… I usually collate some thoughts a few times a month, but since the new year things have just happened… that’s momentum I guess.

So here we are, seven weeks in, and a half-term week is with us (one week later than most of the UK).

I got a new bike at chrimble. After twelve years of commuting ~15 miles a day by bike in and out of Leicester, I’m now using an electric ‘pedelec’ pedal assist bike. It takes the strain out of bike commuting. The computer says we’ve done 552 miles in 7 weeks. 

A pedelec is a type of low-powered electric bicycle where your pedaling is assisted by a small electric motor. If you stop pedaling you don’t go faster, read more here. You do still get a cardiovascular aerobic workout, it’s not a moped.

I could go on about how riding a bike transformed my outlook on things, but I have done that before, who cares? Clearly for the authorities, healthy personal travel is not a high priority, because provision for people on bikes is not much better now than it was 12 years ago. Hey ho. They say they are doing some stuff so there’s always hope.

The other thing I’ve been doing since October is a men’s yoga class. I’ve found it great.  What can I say, a tad like my bike riding journey, I am discovering new things. A new perspective and outlook, and experiencing new ‘difference’.

Spring will come… (Image spring 2022)

When the brain is fighting with itself and your input channels are clogged with history, media, hopes, worries, expectations and dreams, remember you are not that stuff. Your heart is well. At the heart of things, all shall be well. It’s the peripheral noise that chokes, blurs, and angers… still angers. Shine the heart.

Where you can, be still… with choice thoughts, words, and intentions…

Over the last few weeks riding to work, despite many days double-gloved against the 7am -ºcold, the light has been getting slowly brighter. We’ve only a few weeks to go before we have more daylight than shadow (March 18th). 

Brighter days…

Some words below from this week’s commutes…


I looked upwards… diversity.
Three geese soar, whooping in formation,
while mallards scuffle below, with a shabby iridescent majesty.
Two moorhens totter across my path,
and a passel of pigeons mob a scattering of grain.
A rat sat beside the path, cleaning her whiskers, unphased.
Two squirrels spiral a tree trunk, as a brazen buzzard, watches from her regular perch.
Coots mending their nest make me smile; flappy feet.
A few swans still sleep, necks curled, dreaming; while others awake with a stretch and a flamboyant flap.
Multiple magpies bounce; joy, secrets, and gold…
New colonist; a little egret… two of them… three!
The old crows crow.
There was a time when there was nothing at all, just a distant hum…

Jules P Richards

As my yoga instructor suggested this week; “shine your heart”.

It is well…

PS: It is well…. It’s usually you, yes you… wonderful people that make it so!

PPS: The next ‘QT Theatre‘ play is in rehearsal.


Thoughts Words Intentions

It’s that time of year, if you’re fortunate, you might find time to consider the glass… half-full, half-empty, tarnished, cracked… or sparkling with promise, bubbles, fizz and excitement…

As Em and I walked the dog this morning across the frozen field we commented on how Christmas changes as things change. Sometimes the glitter of youthful promise is exciting and wonderful. Getting older, the joy of the saged sparkle might be simply… delighting. 

“Anyone who wants to partake in mudita can… In the theatre of happiness, there is no limit.”

“It only takes a second, a flash of consideration…”

“Letting go is a direct route to space (literally) and stillness…” 

“You are the sky. Everything else, it’s just the weather…”

“Don’t be the glass, become the lake…”

“Become more like water than a rock…”

The insights above come from an intriguing book I read recently, by Jay Shetty “Think Like a Monk”. 

The Rig Veda says “When there is harmony between the mind, heart, and resolution then nothing is impossible”

The thinking above, coupled with my fledgling attempts at the local yoga class have brought me closer to something new.

“The only thing that stays with you from the moment you’re born until the moment you die is your breath…” Jay Shetty

Yes, we still have to chop wood and carry water. After Christmas we’ll still need to chop wood, carry water. No matter how much we discover, we are never free of daily details and routines. But noticing some glitter or sparkle along the way might be a way of seeing past the weather.

“Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness… becomes sacred. In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane.” Thich Nhat Hanh

As my yoga instructor shares at the end of a session…

Go, with…
The mind’s good thoughts, 
The mouth’s kind words,
And the heart’s honourable intentions…

There’s plenty of weather ahead… Don’t fear it. When buffeted by winds, we might respond to pressures and agitation by growing stronger, breathing deeper, and standing with renewed intentions.

From the grip of night, let the sun rise free.


This being Human…

One of the many sayings we have at work is “leave your ego in the carpark”. I did so, and it got nicked.

That’s a light-hearted take on the fact that my new pride and joy, that I saved for years for, was stolen in broad daylight this week. Ripped from its highly secured refuge by someone with no conscience, morals or seemingly no sense of right and wrong. Yes, deep down I am still very angry.

I could go on about my bike and #cycletowork but to what end?…

Where I work we have a canon of poetry that we champion. One of the perhaps trickier poems to stomach is The Guest House’ by Rumi.

Before the week’s costly malevolence, I’d discussed this poem with various colleagues. It’s not an easy poem to take on board.

But after the offensive events this week, perhaps the shadows in this poem might be seen as shade from life’s glare. Perhaps we can allow the haze of the poem’s truth to melt the stony anger.

This being human is a guest house.
​Joy, depression, meanness… violent sorrow… dark thoughts, shame, malice…
Be grateful for whoever comes?

That is the reality of humanity, it’s not fair, it’s messy, and that’s the way it is…

Yes, there’s the guest in room 54 that’s spoiled things for the rest, but there’s numerous other rooms… Perhaps after the inevitable messy guests leave, we might delight and appreciate the other guests in our lives. Those that have resided with us for months or years, and those we see daily in passing. Every morning we might greet the familiar guests. We might delight in the frequent guests that pop in and out… There are so many regulars, that perhaps we don’t appreciate the richness of our guesthouse’s joyful community.

As Sara Cox muppetry sings ‘Life’s a Happy Song’ “We’ve got everything that we need, right in front of us…”

As the Greatest Showman sings “It’s everything you ever need… it’s here right in front of you” “From now on…”

Or as the poet wrote… ‘ be grateful for whoever comes ‘.

I’m still not sure about the last two lines… but who knows – Don’t try to understand it, feel it?

I admit, I could wish a perpetual sharp stone in the shoes of the unblessed miscreants, but perhaps the truer, harder wish is to wish them peace? Perhaps that’s what they, and we, struggle to realise, and I sense that’s what’s truly missing from their angry, turmoiled, desperate lives.

It’s not easy but, to misquote Julian of Norwich ‘all manner of things might be well’.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

​A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

And, here’s another poem we consider at work…


Pedal Assist…

**** 26-11-22 UPDATE to the post below ****
**** BIKE STOLEN this week ****

6 Nov. 2022 – I am not getting any younger. Birfday looming…

After 12 years of commuting by bike in and out of Leicester, I have decided a little assistance might be welcome.

You can read about my decision to ‘get my bike out’ ‘A Celebration of Cycling’ From ‘Good, Bad, & Ugly‘, to ‘I sold my car‘, to the BBC and ‘Melton Road‘…

After doing ~15 miles a day for many years, I have been researching the new ‘pedelec’ options for a considerable time.

A pedelec (pedal electric cycle) is a type of low-powered electric bicycle where your pedalling is assisted by a small electric motor. If you stop pedalling you don’t go faster, it will not assist at more than 15.5mph. You can boost the assistance levels if needed, on such as a hill or against wind (more assistance uses more battery).

I love my old belt-drive Gazelle Ultimate bike and I would recommend the setup to anyone; see more here ‘My Gazelle Ultimate‘. but assistance beckons.

After much research the obvious choice was a Gazelle ebike, and specifically the upright Gazelle Grenoble belt-drive ebike. Alas, the supply chain of bikes from Europe is currently very poor – no GGs in my size in the UK til next spring. So I looked for similar. There’s not much similar – Dutch upright style posture, hub-gears, quality components, belt-drive… but…

Roll on the Raleigh Motus GT. It has all the elements I wanted except the much loved Gates’ belt-drive, (but a belt is an option for the future).

It’s a chain driven pedelec. It has Shimano Nexus hub gears, so no derailleur gears to mess with. The seating-handlebar configuration is upright rather than sport. It’s a step-through frame so no crossbar to hurdle. The motor etc is Bosch Active Line Plus. It has eight gears with four levels of assist. To get the most from a charge you would cycle in Eco mode, but for example if the wind’s against you, or on hills, you can boost up the modes.

So, and to came to pass (an early birfday/Christmas present), I am now riding a Raleigh Motus ebike. Using my old ‘Red’ panniers, my old Widek chrome bell, and my well-worn Brooks saddle. We’ll see how it goes…

For the reasons why I bike to work, see here; “Just a person, on a bike…”

And, for other bike related witterings, see here; ‘bike stuff’


Shade from the noise…

As Autumn approaches, I’m reminded that in the glare of the summer we appreciated the shade from the noise.

When all the noise stops, the silence can become deafening. Apart from my annoying tinnitus, I’ve found the shades between distinction and disappointment can be refreshingly arresting.

For a while, again, I have been thinking about the trend of pausing and noticingI’ve tried this before, it’s not as easy as it might seem. Truly stopping and hearing the gaps between the breaths.

On a recent commute, I stopped, on an unremarkable morning, entertaining a wistful intuition, I took a photo from the bridge over the river… Unexpectedly, it had a majesty.

Abbey Park Bridge, over the River Soar, Leicester

I took another moment during a lunch break, and the photo captured some of the natural glory that surrounds us.

The River Soar, from the bridge over Evan’s Weir, Leicester.

To embrace a certain expectation of that not seen. If you can try to forget everything you think you know… a silence, or a different noise, might be something to be treasured.

Language secretly pushes and prods every one of us in hundreds of directions we don’t see, until the only way to be careful with our words is to not speak…

We live amongst noise… both the publicised significant stories that delight and direct our days, but also the chaotic enigmatic bridges over rivers…

Our diarised sounds can be deafening, as bright lights are blinding, making the treasures hidden in our noisy days indistinguishable.

We live by noise and stories… if we might pause, listen and find delight in moments of, iron, gold, thorns, flowers… the smallest enigmatic variabilities we experience, the twist of a glowing neuron…

A chance conversation, an unexpected incident, a meeting or coincidence – the shining particle of experience…

I’ve said it before; IAM… Images, create Assumptions… which in turn create Motives…

Revisit those images, reduce the noise and perhaps resing an old song… ?

Association, memory, echo, correspondence…

Commonplace colours

This summer we’ve been lucky enough to get carried away.

An opportunity to leave the habits of daily life behind. Weekly routines can become spirals… and the familiar can tarnish and jade… I was hoping for some form of maintenance mode.

So thanks to the wife‘s tenacity (again) we got carried away to the pop and glare of the Mediterranean climate. (Only to hear the UK had a touch of ‘heat’ also!)

Boom! ‘Saturation’ is a good summary. The Mediterranean light and colour, hits you; preposterous energy everywhere, bright high-vibrations, vehement light. It was less maintenance-mode more an assault on the senses. Or, perhaps less of an assault, more of an enveloping that enwraps you. When you step out of the ordinary into the bright heat, colour, sights and sounds… Seemingly over-saturating energy!

Here’s a snapshot of commonplace Cypriot colours that surrounded us daily: 

I slumped, sizzled, listening to cicadas singing. A thirty foot palm tree towers over a jasmine bush, lemons fall to the ground, a silk tree’s delicate feathery leaves flutter… the heat is intense… the tone of the shade is an utter delight.

Surely at home, an equally vibrant energy can be tapped into?

Perhaps our familiar native energies are just less harsh, less fierce, covertly accustomed…

Perhaps the overdose of flare and vibrance might make us appreciate the temper of the shadows. Perhaps the shadows we fear might be less shadowy, but more shades…

I guess it’s all about energy and temperament.

At home – When your teenage daughter shouts up “Dad, I’ve made you a fried halloumi and bacon sandwich!…”, the shades become somewhat warmer. The tone of the shade glows and scintillates a hint of a hue of pure energy, to be grasped and cherished with gratitude and then released – energy is never lost, only transferred.

Boom! ‘Saturation’ hits you; preposterous energy everywhere… more of an enveloping that enwraps you…. When you step out of the ordinary into colour, sights and sound… 


Sign Club.

A friend put out a request – can anyone make this look nice?

It’s what I do… make stuff look ‘nice’, I guess. Not just nice, but I as graphic artist – I design the graphics on a page to form a visual that effectively relays a specific message*.

It didn’t take a lot to make this, become this…

Signs – Significance – Signifiers…

They run a British Sign Language ‘meet up’ club at M&S Thurmaston.

A so to further promote the message, we created a few flyers and posters, and a social media image…

It’s what I do.

If you know anyone in and around Thurmaston or Syston that may benefit from meeting up at Sign Club, just send Ineke a message!

*I have previously created a little project about Sign Language here. But that’s another story.