Real-time times two

Recently I have been hooked on two websites which are (un)related real-time updates of digital (mis)communication.

The first is a site created by Norse, an internet attack intelligence agancy (very Neuromancer but without the rastas in space). The site is a real-time visualisation of a small percentage (apparently <1%) of cyber attacks. It shows where the attacks originate, where is being targeted and the type of attack. It is pretty incredible. If you watch it for long enough you’ll see the map quieten down and then, boom, a massive coordinated attack will fire off. Usually against the USA.

The second site is a real-time visualisation of every emoji being used on twitter. I find it mesmerising. It follows on from an article I read in The Observer last weekend which was interested in the popularity of Emoji and how it has become a ubiquitous virtual language, with pictograms replacing words and combinations of these symbols replacing whole sentences but adding a multitude of increased interpretations. As the author of the article writes at the end of the article, “Barthes would have had a field day.”

Both of the sites are socially interesting and although at first glance I think it seems that the Norse one is the more ‘important’ of the two, I am fascinated by the Emoji one and by the questions it raises about how we communicate digitally, why are we always more drawn towards using pictures (pun intended), what does this mean for words and writing, is the majority of written language superfluous to communicative needs, can we call emoji a recognised language in its own right, and how would a shift towards a pictorial-based language system affect things like journalism, poetry, books etc, and physical interaction? Its a highly unlikely thing to happen but it is interesting to think about.





Kirstin Kerr

Great to see the work of viscomdes person Kirstin Kerr featured on Grafik, with some great images, and interesting back-stories to some of the projects.

Educational Type

The Sandberg Instituut discusses its new typeface and website, quoting Herman Zapf (1968);

“Electronics will soon force its claim on letterforms, and let us hope it will liberate us from the dust of the past.”

Turning Time into Space

The Walker design blog provides an extensive write up of the recent exhibition of the work of Muriel Cooper, graphic designer and pioneering technologist.


GSA illustrators in The Guardian

Great to see some GSA illustrators featured in The Guardian this weekend.







Compressor for smaller files online

A tool for getting good looking really small files for online work.



«Approaching a practice then means approaching it as it diverges, that is, feeling its borders, experimenting with the questions which practitioners may accept as relevant, even if they are not their own questions, rather than posing insulting questions that would lead them to mobilise and transform the border into a defence against their outside.»

Isabelle Stengers, «Introductory Notes on an Ecology of Practices»

via — LGRU Reader, (via a tip-off from Com Des person Gareth Lindsay), and with contributions by, amongst others, OSP.

J & M. Craig, Ltd., Kilmarnock

Makers of White and Coloured Glazed Bricks, Sinks, &c.


This exquisite enamelled brick is to be found at Rothesay’s Victorian public conveniences. My thin research on J. & M. Craig, Ltd. suggests that Messrs. James and Matthew Craig purchased the Hillhead Fire Clay Works in Kilmarnock 1861. Enamelled bricks were produced in a variety of tints with the brilliant white ones adapted for lining back walls and “wells” often seen in the centre of Glasgow where the reflection of light is valuable (see the exterior of Rennie Mackintosh’s Daily Record Building, Renfield Lane 1901). The letterforms have a gentle cross hatching technique giving them a warmth and solidity – it reminds me of doodling with a blue Bic biro. I love the idea that a process by which raw, worthless-looking clay, can be transformed into a beautifully enamelled building material.




Old shop fascias visible again

Allison Street

Allison Street

special A_2

Pollokshaws Road

Pollokshaws Road

I noticed a couple of old shop names revealing themselves recently in Pollokshields. I am drawn towards them because they are so fleeting – once the refurbishment is complete, they are hidden again for years. I am particularly fond of the Art Deco A from THE CLASSIC CAFÉ shop entrance (“HOT FOOD CONSENT” suggests permission to return to its former glory may have been granted?). By rendering the A, I could enjoy the hand painted sign writing skills.

What Not to Do

Now that the following ‘trends’ are in a Creative Review list, they kind of operate as a what-not-to-do of typography. I am currently designing 2 jobs using Optimo’s (very nice) Stanley typeface, and its important to know that these jobs were started a while back, before being listed here. Very very important to know that. Trends seem to move so fast now, that its possible to be both ahead of, and behind, the curve – all within the lifespan of a project.


Singapore is a unique blend of Chinese, Malay and Indian culture. This permeates to the local language commonly known as Singlish. Although often viewed negatively as an incorrect use of English, it is one of the most authentic and genuine facts of Singapore. Singlish is built upon the subtle nuances of the Singaporean personality and reflects the daily life in the country.

One of my favourites /

talk cock [Eng.talk cock]
1 To talk rubbish, spout nonsense, make an unfounded statement.
2 To engage in casual banter, chit-chat or small talk.
“Roger Federer lost in the first round at Wimbledon? Don’t talk cock lah.”
“Sorry I’m late. I met Jack at the coffee shop and was talking cock with him for a while.”

As we wave off 66 ComDes GSA Singaporeans, I would like to thank them for their charming good humour and humility over the past three weeks. They have brought a smile to all of our faces here at GSA after what has been a turbulent time for everyone. I would also like to thank the student ambassadors for their patience and unrelenting support – take a bow Penuel Smith Yr1, Jessica Taylor Yr3, Calum Douglas Yr3, Trudi Hannah Yr2, Dawn McCance Yr3, Roisin McAuley Yr2, Fiona Hunter Yr2, Ross Galloway Yr1, Juliette Duffy Yr1 and Sam Walker Yr3. A final group hug for Kim, Emma, Stuart, Jo, Moira, Cherylann, Stephen, Irene (for being so accommodating in The Haldane), Tiernan, Lynne, Craig, Megan, Michael and Ross.

A final mention for the YELLOW group who asked to donate all the one pence pieces from their installation towards the Glasgow School of Art fire appeal. A touching gesture from KJ, Leonard, Melissa, Wilson, Christine, Jiaxin, Georgina and Joshua.

See the GSA Singapore group blogs HERE.

6 17 32 34 35 5 12 42 2014-06-18 10.11.322 38 49 36 51

Women in/of Graphic Design

Women of Graphic Design - About

“Although the Graphic Design department at RISD, where this project began, is 71% female, only 6% of the designers students learn about in Graphic Design history are women. This is a severe imbalance in the curriculum, and it’s not the problem of just one institution. Though there were and are many men to impact the history and world of graphic design, there have been great female designers right along side them. In fact, the National Education Association reports that 54% of working designers are women. But why is a whole group being ignored in institutionalized design history?”

via Women of Graphic Design. On a similar topic, this book is good. Available for lends.


GSA COMDES  Degree Show 2014

GSA COM DES Degree Show 2014 will come to you. If you’re in London. On the 26/27/28 June. Amazing Pecha Kucha on Friday 27th with speakers including; Hamish Muir, David Pearson, Tomas Leach, Michael Sacco, Alice Rooney, Cliff Andrade and more. Please circulate.

Prix Pictet / / Consumption at V&A


The Prix Pictet at the V&A : : Consumption

If you can not make it down to see the Prix Pictet: : Consumption exhibition at the V&A you might enjoy this review form Monocle at the link below;


Form and Function

Information: Information for all students here. Buildings to remain closed until 30th May, please read link in full for comprehensive information.

Thankyou: It’s difficult to comprehend what happened yesterday. In the first instance we need to thank the staff and students of the Mackintosh building, who evacuated the building safely and tackled the blaze in the first instance, and the firefighters who brought the blaze under control, remarkably emerging with a building that is “90% structurally viable”.

The loss of artworks of graduating students and rooms of historical significance is terrible, and it’s been amazing to see the support coming in from people throughout the world. And the reason people have such strong feelings about the Art School is that it has currency.

If the Mackintosh Building had the same architectural form, but it’s function had been something other than an art school, it would not be regarded in the same way it is today. It is a form that is completed by its function, where it’s raison d’être is to support the making, experimentation, and reflection that goes on inside it. Its cultural impact and influence, and the pleasure it brings people, is a direct result of this powerful combination.

It is a building that has, throughout its history, been used, wholeheartedly, by its inhabitants. The Art School will undoubtedly recover from this, on the back of all the friends and all the support it has, from around the world – and in the short term our work should be about supporting this graduating year in whatever they want to do to mark their time at GSA. Thanks to everyone for their support.

GSA Pecha Kucha XXI

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 13.09.43

GSA Pecha Kucha turns 21 on Wednesday (14th May). Come along for the usual eclectic and uncoordinated collection of talks, and also, I hear, some birthday cake. The speaker line-up, comprising of students, staff, alumni and guests, includes; Rachel Mimiec, Art School I/O, Arne Wern, Fraser Birtwistle, Adam Benmakhlouf, Shona Paul, Robyne Calvert and more…


Ivor Williams, vis com des person and visiting tutor, launches Uji. Using the wall-clock archetype, this device responds to the heartbeat of the owner/user. The project stems from Ivor’s work and research at Fabrica, and he talks about the project on Dezeen, here.

With Us


Come join 2nd Year Com Des for an end of year exhibition at the Old Hairdressers, opposite Stereo, in Glasgow, in Scotland, at 6pm on Monday 12th May.


Just taken delivery of HOLO magazine, and it’s available to loan for anyone who’s interested. I’d say the accompanying review on WMMNA is a fair one, but it’s quite an undertaking for a start up that came out of the Creative Applications blog. One particularly nice feature is the ‘stream’ at the end of the magazine charting notable digital events of recent months.