I used to love smoking and I'd often get through 3 packs a day.Read More
Roy Scherer Jr and Doris von Kappelhoff star in the Pyjama Game! – doesn't quite have the same 'snap' to it as Rock Hudson & Doris Day. Would Ziggy Stardust have been an alter ego too far from David Jones? The entertainment industry is littered with pseudonyms that are more glamourous, more memorable or easier to pronounce.
In the literary world many writers have adopted different names in order to be anonymous – allowing their work to succeed or fail on its own merit – Robert Galbraith's crime novel wasn't quite the success of Harry Potter!
I worked anonymously for quite a few years under the pseudonym, Gary Hoppty (an anagram of typography), originally created as a means via design projects to raise the entry fees to run in marathons. It was a win-win-win idea, that produced high calibre design work for friends and deserving causes with small marketing budgets; it raised money for charities and allowed 'Hoppty' to enjoy running in major marathons in New York, Chicago and London.
After over 40 years in the design industry, I have always preferred to remain anonymous. When Horseman Cooke (1983-1999), merged with another agency, a new name combined with 2 others, one hyphenated proved too much of a mouthful, I was happy to become anonymous under the Open Agency brand.
In 2011 I decided to go alone, in search of succeeding or failing on my own merits doing things my own way. Working on my own has been a fulfilling but lonely time and so I'm currently looking at various opportunities to collaborate and work with others on various creative and business projects.
Now felt the right time to resurrect Gary Hoppty, without the pressure to succeed, merely for fun, to fill the need in me to specialise in one area of design I've always loved – typography. And perhaps it's time to get back in training and create some more win-win-win scenarios.
As kids, every Saturday morning, my sister and I were dropped off at the Odeon Cinema Club, where the highlight for me was a Zoom ice lolly during the intermission. The only way I was persuaded to go to church on a Sunday was the bribe of an ice cream float at Sabini’s Ice Cream Parlour after Mass. The jingling Greensleeves melody announced the arrival of the ice cream van on our street – “Mum, Mum, the Ice Cream Man’s here, can I have a cider lolly, they’re my favourite, pleeeease Mum, Pleeeeeease?” An Oyster Deluxe, a 99 with raspberry syrup, frozen Jubblys – memories of summer – the summer holidays – when six weeks off school promised an eternity of adventure. I’d leave home on my bike straight after breakfast to ‘explore’ and home at night for tea with an ice cream from Mister Whippy – the perfect dessert.
June is just around the corner – the sun will have his hat on, hip hip hip hooray!
One Saturday morning at a local cafe before her ballet class, my daughter Indigo, who is of course the brightest most beautiful 2 year old in the world, designed her first logo.
While I imbibed my caffeine hit for the weekend – a large Americano with an extra shot, Indigo scribbled away in her carefree abstract way (she has yet to get distracted by having to draw things that are meant to look like something).
"For YOU Daddy" she said handing me a slip of paper (which happened to be our receipt).
She'd found in the bottom of her pencil case an old blue felt pen (minus top) and scratched out what looked like letters (although she can't actually write – or maybe she can). Picking it up I was amazed to see she'd spelt 'YOU'.
Phill's work remains a great legacy.Read More
Drawing my first typeface in 1974 with a Rotring Rapidograph on CS10 artboard was a painstaking, time consuming exercise that took up most of my summer break from college.
It was therefore a thrill for me as a young student when it won a Mecanorma* international typeface competition and have Garbo (GAry/BOld), reproduced as sheets of rub-down transfer lettering.
As a student royalties from sales of Garbo paid for the occasional night out but didn't make my fortune, though it was always fun to see it used – on everything from an ice cream parlour in Thailand to giant neon lettering on a café in Paris.
Looking at the typeface today I cringe at the ugliness of many of the characters but I still feel proud of my first font when I see it dragged from the past and used in a contemporary/retro way – most recently on a V&A holographic poster celebrating their Bowie exhibition and as the masthead on Swedish fashion magazine, Bon.
* Along with Letraset, the French company Mecanorma was one of the major vendors of instant rub-down lettering. Along with licensing typefaces from other vendors, Mecanorma commissioned original typeface designs.
How important is it, with so much technology at our disposal that designers should be able to draw?
When I started out on my journey in art and design, you had to be able to draw. All designers could draw. There were no Apple Macs or Adobe software programs to help out. And being part of a small studio, there was no Art Department. Designers were expected to come up with great ideas, visualise them, art direct photographers, mark up type, etc., etc., etc.
But drawing wasn't just a mechanical process. It was a process where ideas were explored, designs developed. Having to hand draw and trace type gave me an extensive knowledge of letterforms and typefaces. Crafting the way something was going to look was a great discipline.
Technology is a great tool but I believe a lot of the skills that are so important in creating great work are rapidly disappearing. Online Photo Libraries provide ready-made images – photographs and illustrations. Many young designers have become technicians, assembling components from various online resources and making an idea or concept 'fit' whatever they can find or afford.
'Strategy' has become the be all and end all. If the strategy ticks all the boxes, who cares what it looks like.
I once posted a comment on a Linkedin Group – Creative Design Pros
Call me old-fashioned but I think it's a shame so many designers can't draw anymore. Ideas and problem solving are massively important but the best designers are those that have all the skills.
The response I got back was very enlightening. Those who don't or can't draw were very vociferous and defensive. On the other side of the fence were those that used to draw a lot but had become a bit lazy, perhaps because technology had made things too easy.
I used to draw all the time. I was a good drawer, my first degree was in illustration, but I too have become lazy. My drawings now are very rough scribbles and not things of beauty! Even writing by hand is difficult. I'm thinking so fast my hand can't keep up, and whatever I write is illegible.
After my post on Linkedin I received many responses from designers who were keen to start drawing again, to dig out their Caran d'Ache crayons and get back to basics.
Originally posted on cookewithane.com in 2011
For 3 months I wore the same T Shirt every day!
When you have to carry everything on your back around the world, then you need to travel light. I bought seven Rohan quick-dry T shirts and screen-printed my 'when one day runs into another' design. Now it's a pretty common idea you see on socks and underwear. Back in 2001 I'd like to think it was original.
The word ‘jog’ conjures up the image of someone plodding along with a more upward than forward motion and getting nowhere fast! I therefore always like to think of myself as a runner, even though over the last few years, since I became a Dad, my marathons and long runs have declined to two or three short runs a week.
It's a well-known fact that physical activity can lighten your mood and increase creativity. Running for me is important because it’s when I’m aching, sweating and panting that those elusive endorphins are flushed from their hiding place and start buzzing around my head. As if by magic, ideas and solutions start coming thick and fast. At the end of even a moderate 3 miler, I need to grab pen and paper so as not to let all my thoughts escape.