And for good reason.
Do you know what I like about this site? Apart from everything? It’s the site’s pure simplicity.
All too often, you get websites that are so bloated and over designed that you scream for something that doesn’t deploy parallax scrolling, that isn’t swathed in gradients and that isn’t filled with stock image after stock image after stock image. The new gov.uk site is the antithesis of pretty much everything you’ll see on the FWA (not saying that all those sites are awful, they’re not) – it’s clean, it’s considered, it’s flipping brilliant. It does what it needs to do effortlessly, and without all the fluff that most of us add to every single bit of design; the drop shadows, the bevels, the textures – the dribbble essentials if you will.
I love that it takes it’s influences from the right places (taken from Creative Review);
Government projects that are well designed, that have stood the test of time and are copied around the world. The Festival of Britain, Kenneth Grange’s work on InterCity, the tube map – in that style of diagrammatic design, it’s obvious to me that it is ‘user-focused’. It’s so effortless that you ignore it now, you don’t even notice it’s designed.
And I love that it takes those influences and brings them bang into the now;
…it explicitly cements a relationship with the achievements of the past by making use of a new version of the classic 1950s typeface Transport, originally designed by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert for use on British motorway signs. Calvert worked on a new version of the face for GOV.UK with London studio A2/SW/HK.
Just as good is the process behind the site. If you follow Ben Terrett’s blog, you’ll have seen little snips of the day to day workings in the Government Digital Service. For me, hiring Terrett was a master stroke, he’s so switched on – the More Ideas, Less Stuff article he wrote for the Guardian back in 2009 is great. Read it.
Anyway – less about my design crushes, and more on the site, and the example it makes about THE IDEA being the most creative thing about a project and not the finished article itself. I love that this site is being championed as ‘good design’, this will hopefully cause a bit of shift in the day to day acknowledgment of what good design actually is. It’s not about throwing a load of semiotics with more Photoshop effects than you can shake a stick at applied to it, it’s about answering the brief the right way without clogging up or diluting the original idea. I don’t think ‘less is more’ I just think it’s more a case of if ‘less’ is what it takes to work, then ‘less is enough’.
You can read more about the GDS here.
This is great. Combining e-learning with some old school drawing, Drawnimal motivates children to draw around iPhones or iPads (or paint around, if you’re not arsed about the well being of your Apple device!) – encouraging them to really think outside the box. Once the drawing is complete, a tap of the screen brings the animal to life, helping the child learn the alphabet and giving the parent a little giggle (seriously – the Cat is hilarious!).
I spent about half an hour last night going through each animal with my Son. He’s a bit young for the drawing bit, but loved running around scaring his Mum with the Lion face! Totally worth a download for the following two things. 1. When you download the app, the progress bar makes it look like the app has a mouth. 2. Once it’s downloaded, the ‘New’ banner on the app makes it look like a pirate. Seriously, it’s the little things…
You can read more here.
You may have heard – Paulo Di Canio, the ref-pushing, spectacular-goal-scoring, fascist-saluting, Mussolini-admiring ex-player, is the new manager of Sunderland Football Club. It is enough to give any self-respecting club press officer quite a severe hernia. Indeed, judging from the media reaction to the appointment, aided and abetted by David Milliband’s high profile resignation in protest of Di Canio’s historical inclinations towards extreme right wing behaviour, it would seem that the Premier League club’s whirring PR machine has had a serious malfunction.
Read the full story
Camilla Brown knows how to gather a crowd (see Morphsuits flashmob here) but she caused a right old stampede last Tuesday when she asked if any of us wanted to go to a wine tasting in The Longroom, conveniently located minutes from Manifest London offices.
If you’ve ever been to a Manifest London Thursday club session you’ll know we like our wine but we’ve also recently discovered a love of the food at The Longroom, described by Jay Rayner of Guardian fame as a “bunch of big, male, fatty, salty things”. There was nothing we didn’t like about that sentence.
Camilla with just one of the lovely wines on offer
There were cheesy puffs, chunks of hot salt beef, deliciously melty manchego and ricotta grilled sandwiches, seranno ham clubs, hot beef sliders and some salted caramel tart to balance out all that meat and cheese.
We were taken on a magical ‘wine flight’ from prosecco to Riesling, learning about blended wines, tannins, tasting notes and techniques along the way.
Sorry you couldn’t be there, but here’s what we learned:
1) Match the intensity of the food and the wine
2) Try to match acidity, how tingly your mouth feels after drinking the wine, with the acidity of the food
3) Pair wine and food from the same region
4) Don’t sit beside Lauren. She might spit wine at you.
Whose line is it anyway?
As you can imagine, or as you already know if you were following us on Twitter and saw our tipsily written tweets on Tuesday night, it was the usual lolfest of memorable quotes and we were even mistaken for a girlband called ‘Manifest’. Lauren, Cam and fantastic organiser Mark Schneider of Bibendum wines are responsible for the classics below, but whose line is it anyway?
On the excitement of being at a wine tasting event and finding the wine does indeed complement the food: “Wine matching. It’s like SCIENCE!”
On the third bottle of wine: “Jump Stump wine, sounds like something Oscar Pistorious would drink!”
On red wine hangover mouth, which we now know is caused by the tannins: “It’s like licking a badger”
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got some wine to taste and some PR to do.
Part 6: Bigging up Bourgeois and her Maman (1999-2000)
Back in the 50s, when Nev and Shaun were young and we were glints in our own Maman’s eyes. Louise Bourgeois, A French-American artist who reached world wide acclaim in her 70s (there’s still hope yet), began creating an artistic concept that would later scare the hell out of millions of unsuspecting Londoners in the new millienium. Yes, Madame Bourgeouis was the creative genius who manifested and delivered a bloody huge spider sculpture to London and plonked it outside the Tate Modern.
But, mocking aside this is, in my humble opinion, one of the best art sculptures of all time. Maman is a monumental steel spider, so huge in scale that it can only be installed outside or perhaps in a very large shed. Held up on eight long, thin and rickety legs, its body hangs high above the viewer, enabling them to walk underneath it (would you dare!) and all around it. Each of the eight legs finishes in a cutting point and are made out of two crafted pieces of steel. Balanced below the suspended body of the giant spider is an egg sack containing seventeen marble eggs that hang above the viewers head in a mesh sac. Most charmingly Maman actually demonstrates the strength and beauty of Bourgeoius’ own mother. This paired with the fact that Maman is so disgusting it’s quite beautiful, is why it is the greatest sculpture of all time.
So, let’s all take a moment to appreciate the giant spider with a little song: