OK, this makes it official: I'm giving up on this blog for the time being. Mainly because I'm trying to find as many ways as I can to stay away from screens. And I do wish this TypePad software was a lot less clunky to use. Maybe one day they'll get round to bringing it up to date. Maybe.
And maybe I'll return one day. After all, there is unfinished business here. But we'll see.
Until then, take care of yourselves. I've met some great people through blogging. And to all of you who have ever read anything here, thank you. Thanks for taking the time.
And before I go I just ought to mention two books that I was sent to review, but I just never got round to it. But they're both worth checking out. The first, if you're considering going freelance, is David Airey's Work for Money, Design for Love. And the second, when you get to the stage of setting up a serious design business, is Eric Karjaluoto's The Design Method.
And so, until we meet again, farewell. Peace and love, as Ringo Starr would have it.
One consequence of saying goodbye to celsius was that all of the links to my pantone past became obsolete. Which means that some of you arriving via Google might have got a little lost. So just for you I've been through all of my Pantone posts and updated the links. Manually. And tediously. One by one. Because there was no other way. So, not so clever as they'd have us believe, are they, these computers?
If you've known me for a long time, or known of me for a long time, or maybe been a long-time reader of this blog, then you might have once known me as celsius. Or, to be more precise, known the design company I once ran as celsius.
I can't remember precisely when celsius was created, but it was some time around 1992 (I'll have it documented somewhere, I guess) – but, hey, who remembers the 1990s anyway? And we had some good times, you know. And created some great work along the way. And when I say we, celsius employed some great people (you know who you are). And, dare I say it, one or two who came and went without much trace (unfortunately that's part and parcel of running a business – it's nothing personal). And we even created our own font (see above), when that was much more challenging (technically speaking) than it would be now.
But fast forward nearly 20 years, and by 2009 I reached the point when I fealt that celsius had run its course, and it was time to move on. And thus I transformed overnight into StudioHyde.
And that could have been the end of that story. Except that I never gave up the celsius web domain (somewhere in the back of my mind I fancied that I might one day relaunch the site as something completely different – a site selling chillies, perhaps). But yesterday someone came knocking. Someone who wanted the domain and with a price that they were willing to pay, and one that I was willing to accept.
So celsius is no more, at least as far as I'm concerned. Am I sad about that? I thought I might be. But, no, I'm not.
One of the first friends I made via this blog was the Dutch designer Ko Sliggers. We've never met of course (though maybe one day we will). But Ko pops up in my in-box every couple of years to tell me about the next exciting project that he's involved in: usually connected with food or typography, and more often than not, both. Anyway, I have news of Ko's recently-published book – and I'll tell you all about that soon.
But in the meantime, Ko has asked if I could introduce you to one of his former assistants – an A** young Italian designer, Simone Bertini. And when I say A**, there can't be many designers out there who achieve a final mark of 100/100 with honours for their degree.
Simone is now looking for a job or placement: somewhere where he can both design as part of a team and improve his English at the same time. Ko explains: "Simone wants to learn English (Italians don't learn it at school mostly) in England. He likes to make a combination of working as an assistant and improving both ways his competences, in the design field and communicating more internationally :-) Now he speaks very very little English but is rather good in working out typographical and design concepts."
You may well think that this blog is dead. But it's not: it's merely resting. Just waiting for the right moment to return with a vengeance. Although that might not be for some time yet. I'll keep you posted though – you can be sure of that.
But meanwhile life goes on. And it might surprise you that I've been having some very interesting chats with designer friends. Virtual friends that I've met on here: albeit friends that I've never met. Perhaps one day I will.
Anyway, one of those chats involved my giving some advice. I'm always happy to do that, if you ask me nicely. But I don't force it down people's throats. God forbid that I should ever turn into one of those "you don't want to do it like that, you want to do it like this" fellows. There's enough of them already. Particularly among designers (or, should I say, a certain type of designer). I'm sure you've met them, too.
But back to the advice, which was this: when you first become self-employed (and if you're a designer, you almost certainly will, one day, become self-employed) the best advice that I can give you is to always follow your first instinct. That's about the people you meet and the work that you'll be asked to take on. That is, if it feels right go for it; but if it doesn't, proceed with caution.
It was advice that was given to me on my very first day as a solo artist. And it's always stood me in good stead throughout my career. I'd like to say that it never failed me, but that wouldn't quite be correct. Sometimes something happens, something that you couldn't have foreseen. Something that is beyond your control, and which spirals towards disaster.
So let me take you back to 1984. A time when you might well find me listening to:
I was working in Covent Garden (OK: on the fringes of) at workplace number 6. Alongside some very talented and like-minded folk. Good times and happy days. The office had two secretaries: for it was a job share (yes, we were ahead of the times). Now the afternoon secretary did a morning shift at an architectural practice based in Chelsea, and come early 1984 they were in need of a freelance graphic designer to help them out on a particular project. Would I be interested? Damn right I'd be interested.
So arrangements were made and an appointement set: I would meet one of the partners who would sound me out and tell me all about their requirements. The date: 28 March 1984.
But this was the Thatcher era, remember. Turbulent times. And on 28 March 1984 there was a London Transport strike. So, no tube trains and virtually no buses anywhere in London. But I was lucky, I managed to hail a cab in Shaftesbury Avenue that delivered me straight to Chelsea for my 2pm appointment.
And so I met one of the partners, Peter N. A nice chap, and we had a lovely chat. Mostly about the narrow boat that he'd bought and fully restored somewhere in the Midlands. We seemed to get on well and the job was outlined to me: designing the display panels for a new UNESCO-funded museum in the Middle East. Fantastic, I thought. So it was a yes from me, and a yes from Peter N. Terms were discussed and agreed, and we arranged that I should start work in two or three weeks time. We'd keep in touch by phone and arrange the exact date once other team members had been consulted.
And so it was that I found myself back on the streets of Chelsea. Mid-afternoon on the day of a transport strike. Not a free cab to be found anywhere. And to top it off, it had started raining.
What a long and miserable trudge back to Covent Garden that was, I can tell you. And I should have realised that that was the omen. But I didn't.
I don't know about you, but I've begun to notice that brown cars are beginning to make their presence known on the highways and byways. Well, I say brown, but more usually the colour might better be described as sludge. In various shades of, depending upon the manufacturer.
Now each to their own and all that. And I admit men do reach a certain age (let's just say that it's when we're past our procreational best) when we answer the call of corduroy in just such a colour. In trousers mostly, although the designers amongst us would prefer to go the whole hog and we hanker after a suit. Preferably from Old Town.
But to choose to have your car that colour – that's altogether on another scale, isn't it? Now I know from recent experience that manufacturers only offer a very limited range of colour options these days, and that not all of us want the liability of pristine white or the anonymity of silver. But it completely mystefies me why anyone should go into a car showroom and think "that model would look so much better if it were the colour of diarrhea".
So, if you should be so tempted, I'm here to remind you that brown cars (and all shades thereof) were a bad idea the first time round: