Who do you want your customers to become?

Interesting thinking on innovation and customer focus in this post at Harvard Business Review – Smart companies increasingly recognize that their own futures depend on how ingeniously they invest in the future capabilities of their customers. and transforming your innovation mindset: Shift the focus from extracting value from customers to making customers more valuable. Simply […]

Picasso Ceramics at Sotheby’s

By chance on Bond Street because I needed to take a photo of the Atkinsons building for my nearly finished book on Mrs Dalloway and caught the last day of the exhibition of ceramics by Picasso at Sotheby’s. The extraordinary vigour and certainty of his line, his playfulness and use of colour never fail to enthral. And always […]

Offline and Online Convergence

The partnership between Moleskine and Adobe on a new Creative Cloud Moleskine notebook promises to be a notable step forward in the convergence of the offline and online worlds. The notebook and accompanying app enable you to turn hand-drawn sketches directly into fully workable digital files. How does it work ? You draw in the notebook, […]

Past and present: Design is how it works

The good thing about magazines – I mean the actual, real, glossy paper ones (glossy not mandatory) is that you can sometimes find them, years, long after you’ve forgotten you ever had them, in the back of the desk drawer, under the sofa or wherever. Like this issue of The Word magazine. And that wonderfully […]

“I said No.5 because it’s the truth!’

As the year and the holiday season draw to a close, it’s time to ask – who won the Christmas ad battle? They had an unfair advantage, but the Chanel No. 5 Marilyn Monroe ad, making use of what is unquestionably the best celebrity endorsement ever (and which didn’t cost them a penny), surely knocked […]

The Balkan Wars

Today received the running sheets for ‘The Balkan Wars’, my latest book design project. Always slight trepidation mixed in with the excitement of seeing the printed book for the first time. Happily all in order. This is my first book project with versions being published in three languages (almost) simultaneously – English, Macedonian and Albanian. […]

Are cards taking over the web?

Have you noticed how cards are gaining traction as a new web design standard, a response to the need to make content work across the widest range of formats, from desktop through tablet (landscape and portrait) to mobile – and potential new devices such as Google glass. Benedict Evans pointed to the changing face of […]

Nymphette, I think I love you

It’s getting close to the day I see a printed copy of the Biographical Dictionary back from the printers. As ever, excitement mixed with some trepidation, especially since I have not seen the proof. I was looking for typographic adornments or glyphs to use in the design and found Nymphette. Perfectly named and perfectly shaped. […]

Edward Lear in Albania

Happy Birthday Edward Lear. Google’s reminder that today is Edward Lear’s 200th birthday is a good prompt to get Edward Lear in Albania down off the shelves, a book I had the opportunity to produce for IB Tauris and The Centre for Albanian Studies. It’s one of the book designs I am most pleased with, […]


Eric Gill is far from an example of an ideal parent, but I enjoyed this note (at adobe.com) on ‘Joanna’, the typeface he designed in 1930, released by the Monotype Corporation in 1937: He created the typeface for the printing firm of Hague & Gill, which he formed to give his idle son-in-law an occupation, […]

Aubrey Herbert

The Aubrey Herbert book launch at Portcullis House, with Kate (far right) “looking Albanian.” Aubrey Herbert was one of a kind, and described by John Buchan (who based the character Sandy Arbuthnot in Greenmantle on Herbert) as The most extraordinary combination of tenderness and gentleness, with the most insane gallantry that I have ever known – […]

On beauty

In his review of Roger Scruton’s new book, On Beauty, Sebastian Smee (in the Observer last weekend) begins with a wonderful quote from Updike (see earlier post) that, for most men, a naked woman is the most beautiful thing they will ever see. He continues: He (Updike) didn’t say it was so for all men, nor did he […]

The beauty of good design

… is that it ages gracefully. And stylishly. Because it has integrity. This sign, alongside the Stour at lower Bryanston, says what it needs to say in a plain, simple, appropriate font, and just keeps on geting better as the years pass. Photograph taken during a morning walk with the dog in the present cold […]