I'm working on a report for the lovely folk at Target TB today. It will show how they are helping to improve the health of pregnant women and children in Malawi.
The sun is out and I've found my new happy place. Elbow deep in homemade goat compost! So on the fruit front this year we're aiming for homegrown apples, plums, blueberries, raspberries, currants and fingers-crossed a quince or two!
Ellie and Willa were making the most of the rare sunshine today and having a blast across the floodplains. I love watching them do what makes them happy.
In other news, we have a few new additions to the family: Frank and Charlie – our two rescued pgymy goat boys who are full of mischief, and beautiful Willa, our new WhippetXSaluki lurcher who has moved around an awful lot in her first two years of life but is now finally settling with us and big sis Ellie :)
So the last thing I said was I'd keep the updates more regular... oops. Well, it's a good thing really as it shows I've been a busy bee. Work-wise I have been involved in some really nice projects including:
Setting the style of the printed material for an exciting new contemporary art gallery at the beautiful Hestercombe Gardens and working with mental health charity BasicNeeds on a quarterly report dashboard.
So now it's back to reality. After an exhausting... I mean blissful few months I am starting a part-time freelance graphic designer life with a new, greener view from the window and a new little friend to keep Ellie and I company in the home studio. I have already started to reconnect with some of my wonderful charity clients and am starting to look for new projects and new folk to work with too... and I promise I will try to keep the updates a little more regular ;-)
So it's been a while since I wrote anything here. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that we moved house - from city living out to the sticks. Hurrah! We like to think we are living The Good Life. In reality we have a small veggie patch, an apple tree, a plum tree and glorious views of the South Downs. I spent the end of last summer picking, cooking, eating and preserving the fruit from the garden as well as blackberries, elderberries and sloes from the hedgerows. This is a new world for me and I love it (so does Ellie).
The second reason for my absence is... I gave birth to an Eliza. She is my first baby and perfect in every way. She has been doing her best to keep me busy and deprive me of sleep for the last few months and I have loved every delirious minute of it.
Last weekend I ruthlessly sorted through my wardrobes, drawers and long forgotten boxes in the loft and accumulated a fairly large pile of clothes, shoes and bags that although in a perfectly good and wearable condition I knew I would never wear again. This is all part of 'The Great Clear Out' ahead of (fingers-crossed) moving house in a few weeks. So what to do with it all? It seemed to me I had 3 options:
1) Spend the day in a local carpark trying to flog my gear for tuppence in the English wind and rain at a Car Boot Sale.
2) Give it to charity
3) Sling it in a textile recycling bank
And then I googled and found Sussex Textile Recyling. Genius. I phoned and booked a collection time and they just came and took it all away! They collected it all for free and even better – they paid us 50p per kilo!
Once the clothes are collected they are cleaned, sorted, packed and then sent to Eastern Europe and Africa to be reused. Not only does this reduce the amount of perfectly usable but unwanted clothes ending up in UK landfill but it benefits people in need around the world. I used a company local to me but I know there are lots of others offering similar services. I think it's a great idea and would highly recommend it – go on have a clear out, make a few quid and do something good at the same time :-)
A friend sent me these today. Aren't they lovely? They were created a couple of years ago by Amy Fleisher for Penguin's 75th Anniversary. I am a bit of a Penguin geek. I think Pinocchio is my favourite.
Looks like it's not just me talking about using infographics to help charity fundraising! Check out this article via adviceforgood about how infographics can improve fundraising.
'And here’s an infographic to describe the success of infographics. It’s shocking to see just how much of a difference infographics can make in responses and donations. As you can see in the example with African Wildlife Foundation, using an infographic for an appeal to supporters increased response rates by nearly 900% and increased donations by over 250%! Fundraisers might want to experiment with using infographics in campaigns and compare to traditional messaging. Based on these numbers I would say it’s worth a shot.'
Just read an interesting article about a recent study carried out by New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) on donor motivation. The study revealed that donors find it hard to understand where their money goes and whether the charities they support make a difference. It says that donors care about impact. Three in five pay close or extremely close attention to how their donation will be used. "If charities improved the way they communicate impact and explain how donations are used, they could potentially attract around £665m more in donations" (Dan Corry, chief executive of NPC).
Pretty interesting huh? If donors want to see where their money goes, I say show them. But show them in a visual way that is immediate and easy to understand. Infographics are a great way of visualising numbers-based information such as how donations are spent and the impact that they have. Today more than ever it is essential that charities communicate with their supporters in a way that is current and compelling.
How can infographics be used to help charities communicate with their donors?
To demonstrate impact. Showing how the charity has made a difference.
To demonstrate spending. Helping supporters to understand exactly where their money goes.
To demonstrate key issues. Making it easier to visualise the scale and type of issues the charity tackles.
Where can infographics be used?
On blogs and websites. They tend to be shared widely via social media and therefore reach a huge audience.
In campaign literature. Delivering powerful statistics in bitesize chunks can have a strong impact.
In newsletters and reports. Visualising statistical data can make it easier to understand and more interesting.
Visualising and quantifying a charities impact, spending and key issues can show current supporters how important their donations are whilst showing potential supporters how they could help make a difference too.
If you're a charity or non-profit organisation and would like to use infographics to communicate with your donors and supporters, get in touch and let's have a chat.
I have recently been working on graphics for the fabulous WWF Earth Hour Campaign.
At 8.30pm on Saturday 23rd March people in 152 countries across the world will switch off their lights for just one hour as a massive show of concern for the environment. Earth Hour is the single, largest, symbolic mass participation event in the world. MAKE SURE YOU SWITCH OFF FOR EARTH HOUR!
Here's a little visualisation I did of the Cronquist System which is the taxonomic classification system of flowering plants. Each 'plant' represents a different subclass within each of the systems two main classes. The lines reaching out from the centre of each plant represent the orders within each subclass and the dots blooming from the end of these lines represent each of the families. I love projects like this. A perfect combo of nature and data.
A perfect afternoon. Walking along Brighton beach in the winter sun, just my hound and me.
Loving the maps used in the titles and throughout the new Ch4 series on plants and our environment. Maps and plants – a beautiful combo.
Here's a project I did a while ago – loosely based on something I did for my MA but I've played with it a bit since. It's a set of postcards with designs based on the natural colour pigments extracted from green leaves and vegetables using paper chromatography. Different pigment molecules react at different speeds to the proess of dissolving in alcohol and being absorbed onto paper. A colourful striped effect is created that shows the variety of different pigments present in each type of leaf or vegetable.
I love them because not only are they individually lovely cards that would brighten someones day in the post but they also make a nice framed collection that appeals to geeks like me that love collecting things in sets.
I'm thinking about doing a set of seasons – maybe with flowers or trees or seasonal veg. Wouldn't that make a great promotional project for a garden or conservation charity or even organic veg suppliers? Email me if you'd be interested in a collaboration.
Well here we are. A new year (I'm only a couple of weeks late), a new website and a new job – well sort of. Actually the same job I've been doing for a while but now with a much more specific focus on working with charities and non-profits and ethical, sustainable, social organisations… basically people that do nice things for other people/animals/the world/the universe. I think you get the idea.
So what's happening to my old life? Well studioam.co.uk is very much still alive and kicking. It will always be my business baby and a really exciting adventure that Matthew (co-owner and friend) and I set out on together. I couldn't just walk away and nor would I want to. So, for now Matthew runs the day-today side of things supported by a great team and I remain a director, designer, dabbler and interferererer but on a part-time basis. What do I miss the most so far? Cake Mondays. Definitely cake Mondays.
I've never had a blog before so I'm not sure what sort of stuff will end up on here but I'm guessing a mixture of work and play. Definitely some food talk and definitely some photos of my assistant Ellie (Miss Ellie-Bean Hayes the Lurcher) and probably a random mix of design, maps, data visualisation, food, green living and of course more dogs. Enjoy :-)