Sunday, February 24, 2013


Ha. Well. My girlfriend just told me she'd read my blog and liked my comments about SND.

I was like, "WHAT? ... that was published? I only meant to save it and look at it later before publishing," because I'd written it late at night after a few beers with a mate and like a lot of people, I learned a long time ago never to send dunk, late night emails.

Anyway, it's had a lot of hits, altho no comments. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. 

It also explains something on Friday. One of the girls in our department, Jane, said she'd seen my comments on SND and then saw my blog. I said, "You shlda seen the entry I didn't publish." She gave me a funny look - now I know why.

She must've been thinking "If that's what he published, what on Earth did he leave out?"

ANyway, I guess that's what a blog's for yeh? To paraphrase the Dude from The Big Lebowski, "It's just, like, my opinion, man."

And I'd say we will be back next year although after my spray I don't expect we'll do too well!!

Also I am realistic about them. A few years ago we were coming into award season and I asked the then editor what was the better film, No Country for Old Men or There will be Blood? He started prattling on about There will be Blood then stopped and asked, "Hang on ... Why?"

I told him, "Because there's no correct answer, you'll say No Country for Old Men, I'll say There will be Blood and there's no telling what the people at SND are going to say."

On that note, enjoy the Academy Awards tonite!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

SND awards

Yesterday the SND awards were announced (I'm about to have a whinge). Massively disappointing. And for mine not making any sense what-so-ever. 

Last year we won 6 awards. I know in my bones we did work at least to the level we did that year, last year, and i think better ... and much more of it. I can't understand why we were rewarded less.

To add insult to injury, three of the four awards we got were for page design. Fortunately the graphics we won for were full page graphics and the guys that did them also designed the page. So at least the award went to the right person. It cld've easily gone to the wrong person.

Imagine if the graphic was an element of the page and some layout person put the page together. It cld've easily have gone to them.

Never mind that the artist came up with the concept, did the research, executed the job, refined it, bounced it, got it right, did all the heavy lifting .. the award goes to the presentation. Having done both, I know that's the easy part. Not to take away from design - because it is an art but seriously, why is design so comparatively easy to win a gong for design compared to graphics, illustration and photography? As my predecessor wld've said, they hand out design awards like smarties.

It's seriously not right, but at the end of the day they're design awards. Society of Newspaper DESIGN. I've already had a spray on their website abt how biased it is - esp for illustration. xxxxx. 

Next year I just don't think we're going to enter. The design department can, but i don't see the point for graphics and illustration doing it. Maybe it's worth our while to enter full page graphics in the design category. Other than that, graphics can be entered into Malofeij. Illustration? I don't even know how you can judge illustration. It's so subjective but one thing I know is, I don't want to be judged by a panel of designers that can't do what what we can do.

And that's my main point. There is good design. I respect design. But I don't respect this idea of letting people judge us on things that they can't do.

In my honest, albeit biased view, illustrators shld be top of the food chain, followed by graphic designers, photography then design. But what we have is all arse-backward. 

If you really concentrate you can be a designer in 6 months.

For graphics - Simon help me here. A lot of tools to use, understanding data, talent. 3-5 years?

photography? get a camera, point, snap, crop. Be in the right place a the right time. Yves's gonna blow up at me but i've been a commercial photographer's assistant, there's tech to learn and ability to take the right shot. But the same amount of time to become an illustrator? No way.

Illustration. 10 years. you need to be able to draw... that takes time, dedication, ability, practice. PLUS  come up with ideas? more time, ability. there are illustrators that can do the drawing but can't come up with the ideas?  To get both is a rarity. It's an effort. To move text around a page is comparatively easy.

I think SND needs to work out where the real effort comes from and award accordingly. 

It's a huge expense and effort and unless yr a designer, simply not worth it.

We did well last year. This year we should've done better. Somehow that didn't happen. Your mistake. And I'm not interested in letting this collective effect how we're perceived. Of course they have, but never again.

So goodbye SND. You might make changes, introduce sub-categories to illustration .. but it's not good enough. We need real change and real evaluation. artists judging art. graphic ppl judging graphics, and design not getting such an easy run. 

As they say where i come from, harden the f••• up.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Simon Scarr

Of course Adolfo isn't the only one in our department to win a silver award. Simon won our first ever silver at Milofei last year with his 'Iraq's bloody toll' graphic. (amongst many other awards)

The graphic coincided with the US removing all troops from Iraq after almost 9 years. The dark red indicates coalition casualties while the lighter red indicates civilian deaths, it tells a story, yeh? 

In this copy from a pdf it looks streaky but in the real version the reds are huge, dominating blocks of colour. 

The red chart at the bottom of the page that looks like pools of blood indicates cause of deaths.

While the grey charts down the side show the number of US troops in Iraq, breakdown of coaltion deaths by country and comparison to Iraqi security forces and finally, a breakdown of coalition fatalities by areas in Iraq. 

The grey was a deliberate choice so as not to fight with the stark red statement.

This graphic appeared as a stand alone back page for the South China Morning Post. For more work by Simon, follow the link at the top right hand side of this page to his blog.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

More Adolfo

Adolfo is very handy with vector graphics but where he really comes into his own is with his illustrated graphics. His preferred program is Coral Drawer. It gives a very hand-drawn feel  to his work. 

As you can see he's never shy about including a little detail ...

The renovation of a Chinese medical centre, the different levels plus some treatments explained.

Layout of  Chinese opera house plus props and how to apply make up

Illustrated look at events in the original Olympic games. Done as a lead up to the London games.

All published as full page graphics in the South China Morning Post

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Adolfo Arranz

Some great news yesterday. Adolfo found out he won a silver SND award for his wine tasting graphic. Great result and a very appropriate subject for him to claim a win with! 

For more of Adolfo's work visit his blog .. link is to the right of the page. (I'll be putting more of his work up later on too.)

Some photos of Adolfo celebrating with a fat cigar. Good onya Majo, well done!