As the disclaimer says, these aren’t all subjects I would claim to be any kind of expert in. Rather, they are all areas I consider either important or fascinating. For example I’d certainly never claim to be any kind of journalist for fear of revealing my huge ignorance of most of that industry, however I do spend a lot of time thinking about related subjects like hyperlocal news, data journalism, freedom of information and how many journalistic standards and practices should be used as a model for bloggers.
I began sketching this diagram out as a personal exercise, hoping that it would reveal to me some great insight into what kind of career I should seek out by thinking about the skills I have and would like to obtain. Then it occurred to me that it would make a fun design exercise and a blog post for here.
Other areas like photography and computer graphics are more my forte.
I still don’t know what I really want to do, but now I’ll be looking for something that encompasses as many of these areas as possible.
A while ago I was put in touch with Nigel Warburton, a philosopher, author and podcaster. I have been a listener of Philosophy Bites for many years and it remains one of my favourite podcasts.
An unsolicited and unused redesign for the original Philosophy Bites podcast
Nigel was in the process of creating a new podcast — Philosophy Sites — about the places associated with various notable philosophers.
I experimented with a number of designs, trying to avoid something too obvious. For a long time I resisted the green colours you see used in the final design above because it implied trekking through the countryside, which wasn’t what the podcast was going to be about at all. But in the end sometimes the most straightforward designs are the best.
After listening to a Hello Internet podcast episode, I thought it might be fun to attempt to re-design the Liberian county flags that were ridiculed. I’m completely unqualified to tackle any of these flags, knowing what I do about Liberia. (Which is nothing.) I simply looked at the original flags, skimmed the relevant Wikipedia articles and tried to come up with nicer-looking designs.
You can compare my designs with the originals at the bottom of this post and read about how — for a brief moment — it seemed possible that these flags could have been seriously considered by someone in the Liberian government!
The Flag of Liberia
My concept was fairly simple: To take the top half of the Liberian country flag, turn it 90 degrees and use that as a canton for each of the county designs. The Liberian flag has a fairly wide aspect ratio (10:19) meaning that the ‘earmark’ I’ve used on each of these flags could be ‘cut off’ and the remaining flag would *almost* be a standard 2:3 ratio. That gives each county the option to use a version of their flag with or without the Liberian canton.
The concept is pretty basic: A primitive tribe of monstrous folk live in the mountains and prey on several surrounding human communities for their food and supplies. They don’t have a well developed written language, so they’ve marked points of interest on their maps using pictograms and other symbols. It’s like a hobo code. They’re mostly interested in food and threats, so the symbols include bread and livestock (farmers), fish, villages and cities etc. They also mark on weapons to indicate how dangerous the people are in those areas.
It’s a small map because they travel by foot and this is basically their whole world and it lacks sophistication because they do.
: I’m happy to report that my map won this particular challenge!
I worked on the BBC’s Doctor Who website during Matt Smith’s first series. Of all the work I produced, I was most proud of this Prisoner Zero wanted poster I created as a downloadable goodie to accompany the episode The Eleventh Hour. Somewhat uniquely, it was approved exactly as I presented it.
I made this stylised miniature football pitch a while ago to be used in an iOS game, but I ended up not being involved in that. Shame really, as I had a lot of neat ideas for different directions the game could have gone.
I was quite happy with how it came out though, especially the textures. Continue reading →
These are a few of the more useful WordPress plugins I discovered while putting this blog together. I’m planning a more comprehensive post on this later.
Editorial calendar plugin – “An editorial calendar is the foundation of strategic blogging; it lets you do the planning that it takes to get the most audience reach from your blog content.”
WordPress SEO by Yoast – “WordPress SEO is the most complete WordPress SEO plugin that exists today for WordPress.org users. It incorporates everything from a snippet preview and page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimization options in between.”
Upcoming posts plugin – Creates a widget that displays scheduled posts or drafts with excerpt and more information.
Jetpack by WordPress.com – Jetpack enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users.
Instapress – Customisable Instagram plugin for WordPress.
Project Argo: Argo Links – The Argo links plugin makes it easy to collect links from across the Web and share them right from your WordPress dashboard.
This link roundup itself was made with with Argo Links.
ChromaFeed.tv was a WordPress blog I designed and curated, featuring cool short films I discovered online. It ran for almost a year (24 May 2011 – 15 March 2012) before I decided to retire it.
The blog theme was bold and colourful, designed to evoke a retro cinema vibe while prominently featuring the videos.
The navigation design was also very important, allowing viewers to explore by top-level category or the more esoteric tags. As well as enabling discovery, the prominent navigation made it easy to see at a glance what the site was about.
You can watch the short films I posted on Chroma Feed on Halfblog.net by browsing the ‘Chroma Feed’ tag.
Those who have followed me on Twitter or this blog for a while may be aware that back in June 2009 I started a Flickr photography group called Thing a Week. The concept is quite simple: To take a picture on a different theme every week.
Made avaliable here as 1000x1000px PNGs, with transparency, under a CC BY-NC-SA licence. Feel free to share and enjoy, but please remember to give credit (to Foomandoonian), ideally with a link back to this page.