Tabloid redesign

Yes, I’ve been a bit quiet. In the weeks before Christmas (also our busiest time of year), I led the redesign of Church Times. As a cost-saving move to tabloid format necessitated some layout tweaks, the opportunity was taken for a general freshen-up.

Everyone agreed we should honour the design of our revamped website, so each section has corresponding colours. These are picked out in the running heads (now also with previous footer details), tint panels, and various typographic elements. The introduction of heavy horizontal lines using these colour codes indicates the separation of articles as well as sections.

Although I wanted heavier rules, along with bolder dots for the verticals, for yet more emphasis and a lively feel, the editor wasn’t convinced. I chose my battles wisely and instead earned a small victory in closing up the space between pictures and captions. We were trying to save space after all.

I sourced a lovely font, Whitney, to replace tired old Gill, and we’re all happy with its versatility and easiness on the eye. It looks serious but friendly and I believe it will age well. Unfortunately, we weren’t let loose with the masthead, which looks a bit tired – and wonky! I was confident we could do something to smarten it up without losing identity or authority. Instead, we have retained it within a sharper front page layout which allows for dynamic images and text that won’t interfere with each other as before.

Enough waffle, see for yourself.  I’ve now seen the new tabloid format for The Guardian, launched just days after Church Times (we had several months less time and fewer staff to work on ours!), and was interested to read about their process. There will be revisions along the way, of course, as we respond to readers and the constraints of the new format. So far I’m pleased to say it feels like we have gained more than we have lost.

mockup redesign copy

Challenge set, challenge met

After deciding I should create a cohesive collection, I think I’ve achieved it with this lot. The brief was to create a pattern under the title ‘Centre Stage’, being a theatrical theme, thinking ‘under the spotlight’ and so on. I had the velvety red curtain in mind, as well as a literal star as my focal point. The lead design in this (the busiest one) contains most of the elements which I’ve then leaked out into more than a dozen coordinates. Spots and stripes are represented, along with a garish floral, a loose tartan, and some bold geometrics. I could go even further with this but the colour scheme started to wear me out. I might revisit this later in calmer blue tones and add some curvier shapes.


I keep meaning to delve into the art world outside of my four walls and report on that. Or learn a new creative skill and share my progress. But I’m still distracted by making repeat patterns (and it’s proving lucrative) so for now here’s yet another promo post.

There’s a 10% off Gift wrap offer at Spoonflower, and I have a good haul of festive designs. If you’re already thinking about getting your presents wrapped, here’s a peek at my seasonal stuff, all available in my shop.

Marketed Up

The recent extra mention on Spoonflower has definitely encouraged an upturn in sales. I’m pleased to say I’ve been included in another promotion, with a (much older) pattern of mine was suggested “for the handyman” in their ‘50 teatowel designs for everyone on your list’. Christmas shoppers get busy!


Marketing assistance

4AF48703-695F-4A47-B81C-08E5A4E6712B.jpegSpoonflower have another 2-for1 deal on fat quarters, and have featured my botanical Block Print design in a small selection of promoted designs. It will be interesting to see if this has an impact on sales in the coming week. Have a look in my shop for a bargain!

I recommend

I’ve been a bit quiet because I was on holiday in Sicily. There is so much graffiti in Catania – arty pieces, political slogans, tags, messages of love, expressions of ire, and plenty I couldn’t decipher. With the peeling paintwork of predominantly baroque architecture there’s a scruffy charm I ought to have photographed. But I was busy eating too much and drinking plenty of cheap delicious wine.

In the absence of a decent visual record of my time away, Here’s a somewhat unrelated link to Unsplash which is a great resource of free-to-use photos that don’t all look stock library ish. Be sure to give credit with any use – we wouldn’t want to lose willing contributions from talent deserving of recognition.

Oh, also! In Sicily we saw a fab Escher exhibition which is on until Nov 5 if you get a chance to see it. Here’s my son looking cool on cue.AE579167-95F5-4861-8765-3FED37F88BD8

Top ten winner!

58EAC7AD-9915-4EF2-A630-28FD1AC5E29CI’m very pleased that my hard work paid off in the Botanical Block Print contest at Spoonflower this week (just snuck in at number 10). There were around 430 entries and loads of really great designs so I am extra happy to do so well in light of that. I’ve been credited with $20 to spend on the site, plus they’ll send a tea towel featuring my design from their sister site Roostery. Thanks to all who voted for me!


This week’s Spoonflower contest has been fun, and I got carried away creating different designs. With a set colour palette to adhere to, and a theme of ‘Winter Mod’, I’ve summoned up a 60s vibe, have 6 possibilities, and can’t decide which! There are 3 ogee baubles, 2 abstract lights, and one Miro-inspired jumble of illustrations. What one wins?


Scattered Thoughts

I couldn’t settle on a clear process today. The brief was to create a repeat pattern on the theme of “farm to table”. To get into the flow, I started on a fruity still life. It wasn’t really happening, despite a few switches in style and method, so I got onto Illustrator and worked on some vector images. I like the eggcups and the ogee design, but still it didn’t really say local produce to me. Finally I used my Wacom tablet to draw some seasonal fruit & veg and settled on a multi directional toss. I suppose a salad would’ve been better to toss but there you go.