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Designers Toolbox & Inspiration

Type Trumps is a great deal of fun

Before we became Urban Giants, we we’re urban kids spending our nights and break times playing top trumps with marvel characters, jet fighters or exotic cars. This simple game of primitive one-upmanship whiled away many a childhood hour, and is still going strong today.

Type Trumps - Typography based card game

Type Trumps – Typography based card game

As typography nerds we over the moon to find out that you can buy two versions of Type Trumps from Firebox.com, which is every designers dream present!

The card game features a range of well-known typefaces and fonts, with special powers, strange facts and statistics designed to educate, inform and create nerdy enjoyment. We think these are great as a creative novelty item to grace any design studio or creative meeting room.

Type Trumps - Typography based card game

Type Trumps – Typography based card game – Set 1

Type Trumps - Typography based card game - set 2

Type Trumps – Typography based card game – Set 2

The Type Trumps sets are priced at £9.99 each, with free delivery, which is a bargain. We love type and typography!

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, call us on 0191 377 0933 or email us at creative@urbangiants.co.uk

www.urbangiants.co.uk

T: 0191 377 0933
A: Durham, UK

F: /urbangiants
T: @urbangiants

Branding & Logo Design | Graphic Design | Design for Print | Marketing | Creative Public Speaking

 

Fontstruct your own Custom Typeface for Free

At Urban Giants Design we always have a beady eye on the prowl searching for new and creative ways to be unique, and ensure our clients remain unique. As brand identity and brand strategy specialists we are especially looking for unique typeface solutions to really make the logotype stand out from the crowd and communicate exactly the right messages.

We’ve always liked the idea of creating custom typefaces for our clients brands, but the reality of this is hours of hard work with Fontographer or commissioning a typeface agency to produce one for you which is expensive. We may however have found a fantastic solution to the issue with Fontstruct.

Fontstruct Typeface Creation by FontShop

Fontstruct Typeface Creation by FontShop

Fontstruct is a fantastic web-based application which allows you to build a custom typeface with relative ease, for free! The intuitive userinterface allows you to select various creative tools to illustrate each character of the font using a grid system. Once created you can then download your font for use.

The other fantastic element of the site, is that you can see what others have created and download their typefaces too. There are some good professional typefaces available to download from the Fontstruct Gallery.

Fontstruct Typeface Creation by FontShop

Fontstruct Typeface Creation by FontShop

Creating your own typeface is ideal for those who love typography, and just can’t seem to find the perfect face for the job. I’m sure it will also impress our clients to think that we have designed a font especially for them.

We specialise in logo design, brand identity, corporate identity, brand design, brand strategies, brand roll out, brand guidelines, brand consistency and a brand new way of thinking. Can you tell we love branding?

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, call us on 0191 377 0933 or email us at creative@urbangiants.co.uk

www.urbangiants.co.uk

T: 0191 377 0933
A: Durham, UK

F: /urbangiants
T: @urbangiants

Branding & Logo Design | Graphic Design | Design for Print | Marketing | Creative Public Speaking

 

The Face is strong with this one

At Urban Giants Design we’ve always had an obsession with typography and all things type. A lot of years ago now, we even specialised in typography and typographic communications at University because we loved it so much. So we are always on the look out for new typeface resources and inspiring typography artwork and illustrations.

Recently we have stumbled across a great typographic poster series designed by H-57 on The Ads of the World website, which combines a love of type with the obsession for Star Wars.

The series of three posters are very cleanly and precisely executed using purely type to create the distinctive and instantly recognisable characters. The posters feature three of the most iconic Star Wars figures in the Storm Trouper, Darth Vader and Master Yoda, which brings a whole new dimension to the typographic phrase “characters”.

Star Wars Typographic Poster Series

Star Wars Typographic Poster Series

The illustrations are supported with the strapline of … “May the force of typography be with you”, which maybe a little cheesy or nerdy for some, but for others there’s a cleverness to this which will make you envious you never created them yourself.

The element I like about the posters the most, besides the simplistic quirky charm, is the fact that the creator has produced a type key for every poster, outlining each of the characters used, along with their typeface and weight.

Star Wars Typographic Poster - Storm Trouper

Star Wars Typographic Poster – Storm Trouper

Star Wars Typographic Poster - Darth Vader

Star Wars Typographic Poster – Darth Vader

Star Wars Typographic Poster - Master Yoda

Star Wars Typographic Poster – Master Yoda

Typography plays a major role in our specialist area of branding and brand identity design, so it’s nice to see something creative using type in a more light hearted way.

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, call us on 0191 377 0933 or email us at creative@urbangiants.co.uk

www.urbangiants.co.uk

T: 0191 377 0933
A: Durham, UK

F: /urbangiants
T: @urbangiants

Branding & Logo Design | Graphic Design | Design for Print | Marketing | Creative Public Speaking

 

Creative iPhone Apps for Photographers & Designers

At Urban Giants Design we love Apple products, Photography, Graphic Design and generally just being creative. So we thought we’d share with you the creative iPhone Apps which we use on a regular basis as part of our creative process.

Most of us already engage in social media and use App versions of the sites to continue to facilitate our fascination with them when we are on the move. At Urban Giants we are now exception and love to use TweetDeck, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube and we even have an icon on there for this, our studio blog. Most of these we use on a daily basis to obtain research and engage with our clients and creative peers.

Social Media iPhone Apps

We have then widened our search to fulfill our creative desires, and located some more creative Apps which we feel are commercially usable for design studios and creatives.

At Urban Giants we love photography, especially retro styles and interesting exposures, so the following Apps include some fun photography items.

Creative iPhone Apps:

 

hipstamatic iphone app iconHipstamatic iPhone App for Photography

The Hipstamatic App is like having a cool retro Lomo camera in your pocket, it’s great fun!

You can select from a range of lenses, and pick from a selection of quirky retro films to give your shots a really creative twist, with more options available from HipstaMart for a small cost.

We love this App, but the view finder can be a little annoying at times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hipstamatic iPhone Photography App

Hipstamatic iPhone Photography App

 

 

plastic bullet app iconPlastic Bullet iPhone App for Photography

The Plastic Bullet App is a late addition to our creative list, but one which think is great fun! You can get similar results to the Hipstamatic with this, but the benefit is that you can apply the retro film and lens effects to pictures you already have in your iPhone photo library.

Great App, if a little random with it’s application.

Plastic Bullet iPhone Photography App

Plastic Bullet iPhone Photography App

Instagram iPhone App IconInstagram iPhone App for sharing your Photography

This App is great for sharing your creative shots across social media websites, and viewing other peoples creative shots. The retro icon adds to the charm of this App.

myPantone iPhone App iconmyPantone iPhone App for Designers

This App is made for designers. Have you ever been out with a client and started talking about colours but didn’t have a Pantone book with you to go through? myPantone allows you to flick through the Pantone range of colours and finishes and create shortlists, which you can then email through to your Mac. The display allows you to really see the colour, and the interface allows for easy and quick access.

I’d recommend every designer to have this application in their pocket, because it really helps with meetings. Clients also like to see you demonstrating your intelligent use of technology to solve creative problems.

myPantone iPhone App for Designers

myPantone iPhone App for Designers

These are a few of the Apps we use and love on our iPhones, I’m sure we will discover more soon.

Hopefully we have made you aware of some fantastic Apps to fuel your creative urges.

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, call us on 0191 377 0933 or email us at creative@urbangiants.co.uk

www.urbangiants.co.uk

T: 0191 377 0933
A: Durham, UK

F: /urbangiants
T: @urbangiants

Branding & Logo Design | Graphic Design | Design for Print | Marketing | Creative Public Speaking


Lomo are over the moon as their new camera takes off

Photography fans will be well aware of Lomography (Lomo) and their cult status within the world of creative photography. Lomo have a massive range of analogue cameras designed for ultimate creativity and experimenting, which means they are loved by designers all over the globe – and Urban Giants Design are no exception.

I just wish they’d step in and help to get the Holga D off the ground, because that could be the best digital creative camera on the market! (If they haven’t already that is)

Lomo’s latest addition the retro photography fold, is the Sprocket Rocket Panorama.

The Sprocket Rocket Camera by Lomography.com

The Sprocket Rocket Camera by Lomography.com

The Sprocket Rocket Panorama allows you to capture the sprockets and film detail within your shots, in addition to a super-wide panoramic lens, along with the ability and control to wind the film backwards and forwards to create rich and exciting multiple exposures.

The Sprocket Rocket Camera by Lomography.com

The Sprocket Rocket Camera by Lomography.com

Visit the lomography.com shop to purchase your Sprocket Rocket

or visit the Sprocket Rocket mini site to find out more.

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, call us on 0191 377 0933 or email us at creative@urbangiants.co.uk

www.urbangiants.co.uk

T: 0191 377 0933
A: Durham, UK

F: /urbangiants
T: @urbangiants

Branding & Logo Design | Graphic Design | Design for Print | Marketing | Creative Public Speaking

 

Designer Type Resources

For those of you who follow our studio blog regularly, you will know that at Urban Giants Design we love type and typography. With this in mind we are always on the look out for new typeface resources and good typographic design, which we like to share – a font of knowledge you may say.

Recently we brought you a type resource we knew you’d go nuts for, with Font Squirrel, which you all appeared to love, and before that we showed you Sudtipos.

After finding Font Squirrel we thought we’d have a little dig around to see if there are any other designer focused font resource sites out there which are worth a mention, and we’ve found three you maybe interested in but never knew existed.

FontSmith

FontSmith is a well designed, clean looking site, full of good professional typefaces which are clearly aimed at the design and creative sector. These fonts are to buy though. Some lovely touches of CSS and jQuery going on here.

www.fontsmith.com

FontSmith - typeface & font resource

FontSmith – typeface & font resource

FontSmith - typeface & font resource

FontSmith – typeface & font resource

FontSmith - typeface & font resource

FontSmith – typeface & font resource

FontSmith - typeface & font resource

FontSmith – typeface & font resource

FontFabric

FontFabric looks more like a creative portfolio site than a type resource, so most designers will feel at home. This site features a lot of great looking free fonts with some nice visuals of how they look in reality.

www.fontfabric.com

FontFabric - typeface & font resource

FontFabric – typeface & font resource

FontFabric - typeface & font resource

FontFabric – typeface & font resource

OurType

OurType grabs your attention as soon as you open the page, with typeface examples smoothly sliding in and out of the screen. It also has an interesting little touch with the “try” and “buy” options when you hover over a typeface option. Page transitions are also impressive and a joy to navigate, to the point I almost forget what I went there for in the first place. These fonts are to buy, they aren’t free.

www.ourtype.com

OurType - typeface & font resource

OurType – typeface & font resource

OurType - typeface & font resource

OurType – typeface & font resource

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, call us on 0191 377 0933 or email us at creative@urbangiants.co.uk

www.urbangiants.co.uk

T: 0191 377 0933
A: Durham, UK

F: /urbangiants
T: @urbangiants

Branding & Logo Design | Graphic Design | Design for Print | Marketing | Creative Public Speaking

New font resource you’ll go nuts for!

At Urban Giants Design we love good type and typographic design, especially considering we specialise in branding, brand identity, corporate identity and logo design. So we are always on the look out for new and professional font resources to ensure we match the right typeface to the right job, as we firmly believe every typeface has it’s own personality and tone of voice. We don’t think it’s an accident that typefaces are full of “characters”!

There are a number of free font sites available to designers and creatives alike, the most commonly used of which is DaFont.com. However, it is often time consuming to trawl through pages and pages of typefaces in order to sort the more commercial typefaces from the amateur and less professional fonts.

A website which shares this view is Font Squirrel. They have hand selected the best commercially licensed freeware typefaces with graphic designers in mind, and offered them as an easy download from one website. You will be amazed that some of the typefaces on offer to download are actually free.

Font Squirrel - Commercial Font resource

Font Squirrel – Commercial Font resource

Thanks to the people at Font Squirrel for this fine resource!

www.fontsquirrel.com

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, call us on 0191 377 0933 or email us at creative@urbangiants.co.uk

www.urbangiants.co.uk

T: 0191 377 0933
A: Durham, UK

F: /urbangiants
T: @urbangiants

Branding & Logo Design | Graphic Design | Design for Print | Marketing | Creative Public Speaking

 

Middlehaven nets giant eyesore

Middlehaven has become the venue for Britain’s largest sculpture. Longer than a 747 jumbo jet, and standing as tall as Nelson’s Column, Temenos contains half a mile of steel cable at a staggering cost of 2.7m!

The so-called Tees Valley Giants series brings five “world-class” art installations by internationally acclaimed sculptor Anish Kapoor, and leading structural designer Cecil Balmond. As to who gives out the title of “World-class” is beyond me.

Temenos, based on a large butterfly net, was unveiled on 10th June 2010 as the first in a series of what Teesside will lay claim to as the biggest public art  in the world. Whilst many will claim it to be the biggest waste of money in the world.

Given the current economic climate of the country, and in particular the North East, I personally don’t think it’s anything to be proud of shouting about a 2.7m expense for a couple of giant hula-hoops and a bit of old net. It’s not pleasant to look at in anyway, and isn’t something you can admire once, never-mind again and again.

It’s also ironic that with all of the looming job cuts across the public sector, that the same public sector has funded this project which has a name deriving from the Greek verb τέμνω meaning “to cut”. I just hope that David Cameron steps in with a bit of reality and stops the other four, before Kapoor gets rich and people lose their jobs.

Where exactly does the reported 12m for this whole development go? How much of it goes directly into the creators pocket? I think the detailed accounts for these sculptures should be printed for public viewing in the press, just to clearly define where every penny for the 2.7m sculpture went before we give them any more money to create the others.

The vast amount of money for Temenos was funded by government initiative The Northern Way, Regional Development Agency One North East, the Arts Council England, the Northern Rock Foundation, Middlesbrough Football Club and BioRegional Quintain.

Apart from football supporters and old sea dogs, who actually visits Middlehaven Dock anyway?

I just don’t get this piece of “art”, neither can I justify it’s cost. Apart from Kapoor, and those who have to defend the fact they approved the funding for this, does anyone actually think this installation is a positive thing? I’d be interested to know peoples opinions on twitter.

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, call us on 0191 377 0933 or email us at creative@urbangiants.co.uk

www.urbangiants.co.uk

T: 0191 377 0933
A: Durham, UK

F: /urbangiants
T: @urbangiants

Branding & Logo Design | Graphic Design | Design for Print | Marketing | Creative Public Speaking

Amazing crayon carvings… tick!

As a designer and creative I’m always looking for something different and new to stimulate the senses and inspire me to stay creative. It’s interesting to see what other project briefs agencies are working on, and how they resolve creative issues.

Whilst I was searching around the internet the other day, I stumbled across an interesting project for Nike. The sporting brand giant commissioned design agency Wieden +Kennedy , along with sculpture Diem Chau to create an amazing box set featuring beautifully hand carved crayons.

A metallic set of 66 Crayola crayons provided the humble, raw base with which to carve out some of the worlds most famous football stars as part of a World Cup 2010 promotion. I didn’t know that you could even buy metallic crayons, so this amazed me before I’d even seen the carvings. Unbelievably, Diem hand carved nearly 70 detailed crayons in a staggering 18 days.

Crayola Crayons

Crayola Metallic Crayons

Hand Carved Crayon Players (photos by Wieden & Kennedy)

Hand Carved Crayon Players (photos by Wieden & Kennedy)

Custom designed wooden inlay box (Photos by Wieden & Kennedy)

Custom designed wooden inlay box (Photos by Wieden & Kennedy)

Custom designed wooden inlay box (Photos by Wieden & Kennedy)

Custom designed wooden inlay box (Photos by Wieden & Kennedy)

Wieden & Kennedy are a high quality creative agency with offices and design studios across the globe, and you can see why when you look at the quality of these presentation boxes, and the creative concept which sits behind it.

As a design agency owner, I can’t help but feel a sense of envy, as we’d love to be involved in a project such as this.

More photographs and information on this project can be found on Wieden & Kennedy’s blog, or on Diem Chau’s aptly named “The Pleasure of Tiny Things” blog.

Following the success of these creative little figures, Diem Chau has been commissioned by others to create custom pieces based on the Crayola Crayon colour of your choice. Who knows, she may create one of you if you ask her nicely enough?! She’s a talented lady.

Private commission carving by Diem Chau

Private commission carving by Diem Chau

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, call us on 0191 377 0933 or email us at creative@urbangiants.co.uk

www.urbangiants.co.uk

T: 0191 377 0933
A: Durham, UK

F: /urbangiants
T: @urbangiants

Branding & Logo Design | Graphic Design | Design for Print | Marketing | Creative Public Speaking

Websites with character

Internet technology moves at an alarming rate, with both techies and designers refusing to settle for the here and now, competing to develop the next best thing and push the boundaries of possibility.

As a designer myself, and a massively obsessive fan of typography and type design, I can happily confess to having always been frustrated with browser text’s design-sapping blandness.

The problem has always been though, that we a reliant on what fonts are installed on the users machine. The other big issue is accessibility, ensuring that your website is enjoyed by all.

A solution to this issue is now pooping up in various guises, but all based on the same principles. Which basically means that you can select from a much larger range of typestyles and typefaces, which renders your browser text as rich typography.

Google appear to be launching and adopting this technology, along with many others. The trick with this will, who intelligently designs and markets their first with a big impact, and who offers the cheapest service with the best range of fonts.

Being a designer, I’m naturally drawn to sites which are designed well and customer focused, and after all it’s designers this product/development is aimed at. A site which appears to do this well is http://typekit.com/

typekit.com - website typography

typekit.com – website typography

sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement) is one of the options available. The technology basically works using a mixture of CSS, javascript and Flash. Now I know at this point you maybe questioning the involvement of Flash, but let me try to explain.

Put simply, for those who are interested, your webpage loads in as normal to begin with. Once loaded the browser has a quick check to see if Flash is installed and javascript is turned on, if it isn’t the rest of the process is ignored, and your page runs as normal with boring old browser text.

However, if Flash is installed then the clever bit begins. The javascript sweeps through your page and sizes up any elements you’ve specially tagged for the occasion. Once it knows your vital statistics it then creates and overlays a Flash file, matching the original dimensions. The original browser text is copied and dynamically fed into the new Flash as a variable.

Once in Flash cleverly formats the text as per your selected typestyle, before self adjusting the text to fit perfectly within the area, from it’s original starting size of 6pt.

The original browser text on the html page is hidden, as the newly created Flash file takes it’s place beautifully.

All of the above astonishingly happens in seconds, without any of the workings becoming visually apparent to the user. Amazing really.

Long live typography rich, accessible websites!

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, call us on 0191 377 0933 or email us at creative@urbangiants.co.uk

www.urbangiants.co.uk

T: 0191 377 0933
A: Durham, UK

F: /urbangiants
T: @urbangiants

Branding & Logo Design | Graphic Design | Design for Print | Marketing | Creative Public Speaking

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