Advance magazine, Cybersecurity issue launch

I attended the launch of the latest issue of Advance and also acknowledging 15 years of the magazine at Unitec. It was a great opportunity and a pleasure to work with Marcus Williams and Mary de Ruyter on this latest issue which was championing cybersecurity and the research in that field that is being carried out at Unitec.

View project in the portfolio section here… portfolio/advance-magazine/

Design Gods & Heroes – Adrian Frutiger

Design Gods & Heroes

Design Gods & Heroes is my term for either past designers (Gods), or current contemporary designers (Heroes), that I draw inspiration from.

Adrian Frutiger definitely fits the title of Typographic design God.

Adrian Frutiger was a Swiss typeface designer who influenced the direction of type design in the second half of the 20th century. His career spanned the hot metal, phototypesetting and digital typesetting eras.

Below is an article from discussing his lesser-known logo design work.

Adrian Frutiger logos, 1960s-70s | Logo Design Love

While the late Swiss type designer Adrian Frutiger (1928-2015) is best known for his typefaces, many people are less familiar with the logos he designed. Here’s a brief look at some Frutiger symbols and monograms from the sixties and seventies.

3 Essential Branding Lessons From A Rare Steve Jobs Interview

3 Essential Branding Lessons From A Rare Steve Jobs Interview by Jesus Diaz @ CO.DESIGN

Famous Graphic Desingers – Paul Rand Introducing the NeXT identity

Legendary American graphic designer Paul Rand was hired by Steve Jobs to design an identity for his new company “NeXT” that would be of international standard. Read more about Paul Rand:

3 Essential Branding Lessons From A Rare Steve Jobs Interview

The year is 1986. Steve Jobs meets Paul Rand, the genius responsible for branding IBM, UPS, and Westinghouse. Having just been ousted from Apple, Steve asks Rand to create a logo for his new company, Next Inc. Rand accepts the job.

Your website contact page – is it making friends, or making enemies?

Article written by Paul Shadbolt.

When talking to clients about designing their website, I quite often get… “oh, and my site must have a contact page!”, to which I respond… “sure, what communication method do you want to use, what are the hours that it will be manned, and what is the expected time period for a reply?”.

Cue silence, a long pause, then… “can’t we just have one of those forms that customers fill out?”, and there is the first step in turning a potential customer into an enemy.

It is vital when setting up a communication channel for people to contact you that you consider the customer’s experience. It is not good enough to ‘tick the box’ and say “yep, there’s a reply form and email address on our contact page… job done”.

I think it’s safe to say that one of the biggest causes of frustration in our modern world is wasting time. More so, when it is someone else wasting our time. We are all busy, and our time is a precious commodity.

Saving time is probably the reason why most sites have indirect communication methods (reply form, email), as opposed to direct communication methods (phone, online chat). Indirect communication methods are a great strategy for saving time… for the business and its employees, but how about the customers?

Step one: the first point to consider is ‘why’ the customer is contacting you. 

Is it for a single issue or multiple reasons?  Is it regarding something that is already covered on the site? If your business is an existing one you may already have an idea as to the reasons why your customers are wanting to contact you.

Add a subject line to your reply form.

To find out why your customers are wanting to contact you, consider adding a subject line to your reply form, preferably one with a drop-down that is pre-populated with a list of categories.  For example… Product Enquiry, Billing Enquiry, Postage, Returns, etc.  Logging your contact page’s enquires and keeping track of why your customers are wanting to contact you, will allow you to make appropriate changes to your website. Maybe that information on product xyz needs to be moved to a more predominate area of the site. It will also allow you to customise how and to whom an enquiry is sent.

What is the best communication channel for this enquiry?

Many online reply forms come standard with Conditional Logic Fields that will give a certain response when a specific criterion is entered. For instance, a product enquiry may prompt a site-based search field to appear, a postage enquiry may link the viewer to a page on the site, a complaint can be emailed to a certain person and flagged for an urgent reply. Other options might provide a contact phone number for a direct and more immediate response for your customer.

No one is home at the moment, and managing expectations.

Most enquires are created because the customer wants to know the answer to something as soon as possible. Adding a small amount of information as to when the contact page is being manned (Monday – Friday 8:00 – 5:00), and when to expect a reply (we generally respond to enquiries within 24 hours), is a very simple way to manage your customer’s expectations. It is far easier to solve a problem for someone if they are relaxed and open, as opposed to stressed out and defensive because they are feeling that no one is hearing them.

Keep your communication channel current.

It’s a problem if that returns enquiry is being sent to an email address that is no longer current or being manned. Likewise, if a web link is broken. Have someone (preferably outside your business) test your contact page to ensure that the message is getting through to the receiver.

And that’s probably the most important piece of advice here. A contact page is not about setting up a communication channel as a passive timesaver and forgetting about it. It is understanding that your contact page is not only an active communication portal for your customers to interrelate with you and your business, a good contact page is an ambassador as to how you treat and respond to your customers.

a good contact page is an ambassador as to how you treat and respond to your customers.

So go on, check out your contact page and give it the love and attention it deserves.



The new iMac Pro, a mere snippet at $22,439.00

I have been lusting after the new iMac Pro and for ‘shits and giggles’ I customised it to it’s highest specs, which produced this Frankenstein’s Monster of a 2.3GHz 18-Core Intel Xeon W processor (with Turbo Boost up to 4.3GHz), 128GB of RAM and a 4TB SSD.

That’s also including the standard 5K Retina display, 5120‑by‑2880 resolution screen with a Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics processor with 16GB of HBM2 memory upgrade.

Just a mere snippet at $22,439.00. Oh, it comes in Space Grey… great, I’ll take two thanks.

Memorable quotes from Stephen Hawking

In response, and with respect to the passing of Professor Stephen Hawking this week, here are some of the more memorable pearls of wisdom from one of the world’s most famous scientists:


On the reason why the universe exists:

“If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.”

– A Brief History Of Time, published 1988.

On being diagnosed with motor neuron disease:

“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.”

– Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

On black holes:

“Einstein was wrong when he said, ‘God does not play dice.’ Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen.”

– The Nature Of Space And Time, published 1996.

On God:

“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

– The Grand Design, published 2010.

On commercial success:

“I want my books sold on airport bookstalls.”

– Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

On fame:

“The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognised. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away.”

– Interview on Israeli TV, December 2006.

On an imperfect world:

“Without imperfection, you or I would not exist.”

– In Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking, The Discovery Channel, 2010.

On euthanasia:

“The victim should have the right to end his life, if he wants. But I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”

– Quoted in People’s Daily Online, June 2006.

On intellectual showboating:

“People who boast about their IQ are losers.”

– Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

On the possibility of contact between humans and aliens:

“I think it would be a disaster. The extraterrestrials would probably be far in advance of us. The history of advanced races meeting more primitive people on this planet is not very happy, and they were the same species. I think we should keep our heads low.”

– In Naked Science: Alien Contact, The National Geographic Channel, 2004.

On the importance of having a sense of humour:

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”

– Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

On death:

“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”

– Interview in The Guardian, May 2011.

Seeing the world through a surreal lens.

I love the work of Erik Johansson. Eric is a photographer and photo-composite artist (using Adobe Photoshop) known for his surrealistic compositions. I love that he uses a lot of analogue processes and content to create his images which adds to the surrealism of them. He also provides amazing behind the scenes videos showing how he creates his work… often taking many hours and hundreds of Photoshop layers.


Seeing the World Through a Surreal Lens: Erik Johansson | Create

Check out the latest from photo-composite artist Erik Johansson.

Waco TV Series – Intro Sequence

Waco is an American television miniseries based on the Waco siege in 1993. The show consists of six episodes and stars Michael Shannon as FBI negotiator Gary Noesner and Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh. The series investigates the genuine facts of the tragedy right up until and chronicling the standoff told from a variety of viewpoints of those most personally associated with the two sides.

The series is a fantastic watch, but very sobering when you think of the real-life cost and just how totally unnecessary the federal response was to the situation.

From a design perspective, the opening title sequence is very nice.

ANZ GAYTM: Back and shinier than ever.

Though occasionally attracting criticism for stereotyping, the GAYTM project has been widely praised. Brands jumping on the Pride bandwagon are a familiar sight these days but five years ago, when the ANZ bank first started supporting Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, not so much.

This year’s Sydney Mardi Gras on March 3 is the first since Australia’s yes vote on marriage equality was finally approved, so the team took the opportunity to push things even further than previous efforts.

The Glue Society has designed sculptural prisms made of 3M Dichroic Film that frame the ATMs and project rainbow light onto the street.

ANZ’s GAYTMs: back and shinier than ever – Creative Review

Over the last five years, ad agency TBWAMelbourne, art and directing collective The Glue Society and production company Will O’Rourke have helped ANZ Bank celebrate Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and LGBTIQ culture by applying masses of glitter, fur, leather and denim to everyday ATMs. This year’s design takes things up a notch


A new look for Foundation Design.

Hi all, just a quick post to… ‘blow my own horn’ really.

Foundation Design has been providing visual communication solutions to clients for over five years now, so the time was right to clean out the cupboards and throw a fresh lick of paint around the place. The result is a brand new shiny logo. That’s it, sitting in the frame at the top of the page. The website has also received an overhaul (go on, have a look round) and I’m not one to gossip… but Foundation Design’s Social Media has also had a sweep around the corners as well.

Foundation Design is still providing its usual services of identity and logo development, web design and other online services, as well as print-based solutions and publication design. Plus with the job market being very competitive at the moment, I’ve also been designing a lot of CV’s to ensure that candidates are putting their best foot forward.

As you may or may not know, I have also been lecturing Graphic Design at two of New Zealand’s leading art and design schools for a few years now. Reciprocity is the word that springs to mind when I think about this role as it is a fantastic opportunity to give back to the design community. I love working with the students, they challenge me, and I find that working with them comes with its own reward of energising and informing my Foundation Design work.

Which is a good segue way back to Foundation Design and to reiterate the main point of this post, which is ‘Foundation Design provides visual communication solutions’. I’m more than happy to discuss any projects that you may have, and I would also be very grateful for any recommendations or referrals to Foundation Design.

Anyway, that’s my horn solo.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards,






How Shake Shack Made a 70-Year-Old Font Hot Again

Washington DC has its first official font. All of the city’s communications will be set into Neutra, the same typeface used by the beloved hamburger chain Shake Shack.

Lots of cities have adopted official typefaces for their districts or transportation systems. Some, like Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Chattanooga, Tennessee, use custom fonts. New York City’s subway system is awash in Helvetica, and London uses Gill Sans for its Underground. This might all sound like civic micro-management, but a good marketing team knows that a readily identifiable brand can make a lasting impact on the public.

“Whatever we’re promoting, whether it’s summer camp or a public health test, we want to make sure that it looks and feels like a government product,” says Michael Czin, the communications director in DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office. Czin says the city’s in-house graphics team chose Neutra because “it’s a little bit different—common but not uncommon.” In other words, it has clarity without seeming bland.

Shake Shack deserves some of the credit for popularizing the 70-something-year-old font. The sans serif typeface, characterized by pointy peaks and a low-slung x-height (that’s the letter’s midsection), adorns every building, menu, and brown paper bag belonging to the fast-food chain. Neutra also appeared in branding for the 2008 James Bond flick Quantum of Solace, and the HBO hit show Girls uses a tweaked version of it for its opening title sequence. More legible than Futura, less overused than Helvetica, Neutra gets a lot of love from designers.

Designer Paula Scher has much to do with Neutra’s revived popularity. The Pentagram partner chose the typeface for the original Shake Shack location in New York’s Madison Square Park. “It was picked for a very specific reason,” she says. “Danny [Meyer]’s kiosk was a contemporary shed that was very lean and had angles to it. I picked Neutra for the branding because it complemented the architecture so beautifully.” Back in 2004, Scher says she thought Shake Shack would amount to three other lean-to shacks in different parks; she had no idea she was designing for a fast-food chain that would one day have a $1.6 billion IPO. “What’s fascinating is that the public doesn’t know that Shake Shack just re-popularized [Neutra] again,” Scher says.

Neutra is named after Richard Neutra, the modernist architect who used his custom typeface in signage on all his buildings. However, it wasn’t a commercially available typeface until 2002, when type foundry House Industriesdecided to adapt all of Neutra’s aluminum address letters and signs into a type family. Andy Cruz, House Industries’ art director, says the foundry worked on the font because they were fans of Neutra’s architecture, not because they particularly saw the typeface’s commercial potential. “You never plan on writing a hit song, and with Neutra we didn’t,” he says.

Why is Neutra so hot right now? Cruz credits the font’s “certain stylistic but non-descript feel.” “I think it has that comforting authority to it,” he says. Scher doesn’t regard the font as neutral, saying that it harkens back to a specific moment in time—the midcentury—which makes it an odd choice for a city government. “It’s a retro font,” she says. What does it have to do with progress? Then again—this is Washington D.C.”

6 Great Contemporary Alternatives to Helvetica

6 Great Contemporary Alternatives to Helvetica

I have gathered a collection of 6 grotesque fonts that are widely used on minimal designed websites lately. Also, they are a perfect choice if you want something else than Helvetica. All of them are very contemporary, and can be applied in a broad range of contexts and media.

So here is the list:

1. Post Grotesk

Post Grotesk is designed by Josh Finklea in 2011. It is contemporary version of the traditional grotesque sans-serif with very sophisticated and beautiful linear forms with low contrast and generous x-height. Very relaxed fit gives this font elegance in display sizes and it also works very good in a body text. With subtle additions of personality and unique details in letter forms, Post Grotesk reduces the typical rigidness of typical grotesque typeface.

Available in 4 weights in roman and italic — light, book, medium and bold, with built-in small caps.

Post Grotesk offers extensive language support and lots of useful additional characters/glyphs so it can be widely used on different language websites.

2. Akkurat

Designed by Swiss designer Laurenz Brunner and released in 2004 by Lineto Type FoundryAkkurat was very popular in print for several years but lately it is used more and more on the web. Akkurat is a perfectly mono-linear face — having vertical and horizontal strokes of the same visual weight. Very compact, clean and crisp letter forms and characters are making this font very legible even on a very small sizes on screen.

Akkurat is available in 3 weights — light, regular and bold, each with matching italics.

3. Atlas Grotesk

This clear and fresh sans-serif typeface, designed by Kai Bernau & Susana Carvalho with Christian Schwartz and published by Commercial Type in 2012, was inspired by the sans-serifs of the 1950’s. Atlas Grotesk is great alternative to Helvetica because of very similar anatomy of a characters, and because it is not used so commonly on the web yet. Because of bit greater x-height, Atlask Grotesk seems more narrow than Post Grotesk and Akkurat but relatively long ascenders but short descenders makes this typeface very legible and spacious, also very comfortable for extended reading.

It has well considered range of weights — 6 weights from thin to black, all with italics.

4. Suisse Int’l

Suisse is a collection of three OpenType families: Suisse Works, Suisse International and Suisse Neue published by Swiss Typefaces in 2011. Suise Int’l is a neo-grotesque sans-serif typeface designed by Ian Party. Typeface characteristics follow the style of other Swiss neo-grotesques like Univers and Helvetica, and that influence of Swiss culture is very recognizable in Suisse letter forms. There’s clearly a very close connection between the Helvetica and Suisse Int’l.

5. Theinhardt

Theinhardt is typeface based on grotesk, a classic serif font but it’s an updated contemporary and very flexible new take on the classic with very modern look. It was designed by Francois Rappo, published in 2009 by Swiss Foundry Optimo. It was named after German type designer Ferdinand Theinhardt. It strongly resembles the Akzidenz Grotesk, and it is hugely versatile on the web today. Because it has such a broad family, it is good solution for body text as it is for headlines and navigation elements.

Available in 9 weights with italics.
Language support: Latin extended

6. Aktiv Grotesk

Aktiv Grotesk is designed by Ron Carpenter & Fabio Haag and published by Dalton Maag in 2010. It is designed somewhere between Helvetica and Univers, and itself was designed to provide a modern alternative to Helvetica — a fractionally taller x-height than Helvetica, and slightly squarer edges compared with Univers. It is designed to stay true to the grotesque tradition, but also has a degree of neutrality.

Aktiv Grotesk supports 221 different languages such as Arabic, Spanish,English, Portuguese, Russian, German,French, Pashtu, Greek Polytonic,Greek and Hebrew in Cyrillic, Latin, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, and Other scripts.

Minimalist Swiss design in CSS

Swiss in CSS is an animated homage to the International Typographic Style, as well as the designers that pioneered the movement. All of the posters in the collection were created and animated with CSS by Jon Yablonski, with some JavaScript help from Jordan O’Leary.

Swiss in CSS

Swiss in CSS is a homage to the International Typographic Style and the designers that pioneered the ideas behind the influential design movement.