Design Thinking U101

I’m coming to the end of my design module with the Open University, and I wanted to keep an online record to show my work.  

My first assignment was to design a T-Shirt using these theme of ”Hands. 


I have designed here a T-Shirt with a typographical image. I wanted to design a t-shirt which said something a little bit about me, would be something I would wear, and something I could develop into a genuine saleable product.

I admire designers who use type in an inventive way, and also hand written/drawn typography is also something I admire and aspire to do.

My T-Shirt is designed for the target market of 20-30 something creative that would shop online maybe at or

I am happy with the way the design has come out. The type was sketched out and moved over into Adobe Illustrator. From there I have aimed to retain the hand-drawn aesthetic whilst making the design look right on a T-shirt.

I have integrated the design of the words with the design of the hand image by allowing the pencil to go through the ‘O’ of the word On. I believe that this shows where I have put further thought into how this design works overall. I wanted the design to have a complete feel by using many different elements and bringing them together.

I feel that this is also an aspect of design that come through in the T-shirt.

It was my goal to design a typographical slogan which was a play on words, and also meant something to the end user.  The double meaning in my case was that to draw on one’s experience is to use the knowledge you have gain in the past, and part of that knowledge, as a design would have come from the use of sketching and drawing.  I hope that creative people and designers could find something to relate to in this t-shirt/slogan. 




No. 4

OK, so here are some pictures of the new house.  We got the keys just over a month ago now, and looking at these photos, I can hardly remember it like this.  We’ve totally stripped it back, to the brick in some places.  It’s coming on nicely, but there is still a long way to go.

It’s an old Edwardian terraced house, built in 1925, probably to house workers from the local pit.  We’re based in Philadelphia, a small mining village near Sunderland, UK.  Pretty much opposite is the old engine works that service the local Dorothea Pit.

Anyway, check the photos out and I’ll post some of the work we do as soon as I can.


lumley front

So, I bought a house…

Buying Houses, oh yeah – I do that now!

After 1587 episodes of Homes Under the Hammer studiously watched, and 8 months of solicitory nonsense, I have finally bought a house.

Built in 1925, she has been untouched since January 1926, probably.  15 Different types of wall covering in each room.  I shit you not, Tartan wall paper in the bathroom, black orange and yellow in the living room to name my own personal highlights.

We’ve found vintage cameras, Which magazines from 1974 in immaculate condition, and some home living mags with some very dodgy recipes in them.  Also found within my new home were invitations to Buckingham palace, no less, for a Garden Party in 1969.  I’m happy to say that I got this back to the previous owner’s daughter, owing to it’s emotional value… But there’s no way she’s getting that camera!!

The cherry on the cake though was the cast iron fireplace found in the front bedroom behind some boarding.  Plans to have it restored are afoot.

I’ll be posting some of the pics of the work done so far, and I’ll update the work we do to bring the old girl into the 21st century. 

My web design journey…

I’ve never written a blog, or anything for that matter – other than assignments or essays or any other work-related emails or letters, or anything other than the normal stuff that non-bloggers write.  So, I’ve grabbed my thesaurus and jumped the non-blogger ship. . .

Why would I write a blog?

I’ve thought about this for a little bit before taking the plunge with this post, and the more I thought about it, the less I wrote, so I’m just going to begin.

I’m always looking through blogs, but rarely read 100% of the article, (please, feel free to scan) so I know that it needs to be a punchy and entertaining, whilst having some sort of theme.  Or maybe I should go down the whole ‘controversial’ route and throw in a lot of anger and some random obscenity at the end.  Whichever the chosen route, these are some substantial requirements for a novice blogger to fulfil.

I’ve looked at who I think my target market is for the blog and narrowed it down to prospective clients and fellow web-workers/peers of the internet.  As I’m going the whole self-taught route, I’m not going to sit here and try and blag my way through a bloated post on advanced computer systems – it wouldn’t wash with the people who know more about that.  I know what I know, and as long as I’ve learned something every time I leave the desk, I’m happy.

My strengths (I think…) lie in marketing and communications, creative solutions and a desire to grow my Coalfield Studio into a genuine competitor.  I’m looking forward to blogging about struggles with PHP and general site design and gaining knowledge, and hopefully readers, as the blog develops.

As far as prospective customers go – I feel that honesty is the best route to take.  I run a very small web develop development service from my home.  I don’t give people the run around, I’m up front and wouldn’t begin a project that I didn’t feel I could complete.  If I was approached for work that I wasn’t ready for, I’d refer it on to someone I thought could do a good job.

Since I started, I’ve struggled to pin down a suitable term for my experiences learning how to code and design websites.  ‘Journey’ is the one that nauseatingly comes to the top of the pile each time I think about it.  At any rate, since I began mine, I’ve been amazed by the quality of the support and help I’ve received ‘on the way’.  Twitter and direct emails aside, I’m excited about the goings-on at, and the good work done by Tony and Co., and definitely see the forum community growing under their guidance.

I’m looking forward to blogging more now, but know that I have to develop and get better.  I need to start looking through the news for something to have some sort of genuine commentary on, so that people will keep reading.  That’s a little interesting – testing my ability to be interesting.

So if you’re thinking about starting your own blog, I hope that you have found a little inspiration in my waffling.  On the other hand, if I’ve put you off, think how much time I’ve saved you – you owe me thanks (You’re welcome).  If you’re thinking about it, just do it.  They’re only words out of your mind, tapped out with your fingers.  Nothing bad will happen.  Trust me.


My design blog

Hey, I’ve started (or re-started) this blog as outlet for my thoughts and work on design.  I’m currently studying towards a degree in Design & Innovation with the Open University, and I’ve previously graduated from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Business & Enterprise management.  I have an interest in all aspects of design, but in particular graphic, web and sound design are among my favourite
Creativity is the thing I admire most in people and aspire to make a living out of my own creativity.  However, I’m restricted by time and skills, while I’m working to increase my skills, my time is decreasing.  So, I’ll be keeping a record of the things I produce for uni here, I’ll also be blogging about my thoughts on the course.
I’ve just bought a house, so will hopefully be posting some success stories of our little interior design project on the site too. 
I try to take inspiriation from everywhere, but having recently been looking through a lot of Nordic interior design blogs for the afore mentioned project, I’ve come to love the straight lines, and grey scale they offer along with the contrasting vintage furniture and futuristic light fittings.   Yes, I seriously just said all of that. 
Anyway, thanks for reading 😀