Monthly Archives

January 2015

Design, Lifestyle, Projects


January 28, 2015

Can you define yourself in four words? The English language is full of beautifully descriptive vocabulary, so there’s almost too much choice when you’re trying to sum yourself up. My words might be… DETERMINED. SPONTANEOUS. OPTIMISTIC. TASTEFUL. But catch me on a different day, and I might give you a different answer.

It’s different for a business. Finding these key words, sticking to them and using them as a mantra is important to establishing and growing the personality of your brand. When meeting a new client, one of the first things I do is ask this question, not of them, but of their business. What image do they want to give the world, what are the characteristics of their product, what is their message? It’s a challenging exercise, but once you’ve got your words, they not only form the foundation of your brand, but help to shape your identity as you grow.

Callie & Co is summed up by these ones… FRESH. FRIENDLY. VERSATILE. CREATIVE.

Perhaps your words are… SUBTLE. ELEGANT. HANDCRAFTED. INDIVIDUAL. Maybe… ETHEREAL. ORGANIC. LIGHTHEARTED. PRETTY. Or they could be… FOCUSED. TRADITIONAL. HONEST. SECURE. In any case, the words start to paint a picture of the personality of the business, and are one of my key tools in establishing the logo, colours, fonts and other visual tools.

I’ve had some fun creating and photographing these word tags, which are a great tool for mood boards. What are your words?



Colour, Lifestyle

Shades of Grey

January 26, 2015

One day, I will have a view like this every morning, but in the meantime, I’ll just take colour inspiration from this peaceful beach photograph I took in New Zealand. This is why I create a mood board for my clients at the beginning of the process. A collection of images not only sums up a feeling, personality or style, but also creates its own colour scheme.

I’ll accessorise this view with a grey cashmere sweater and scarf, a warm mug of freshly roasted coffee, crazy dog and sandy children. There. All cobwebs blown away….

Branding, Design

Stained Class

January 18, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.06.42 pm

I came across a very simple and very effective brand today on one of my internet meandering sessions. This is hand finishing at its best. Imagine receiving a sommelier’s business card and it actually smelling of the best red wine? Studio Caserne in Canada have achieved olfactory success by printing simple high quality stationery and marking it with unique wine marks. Have a look at their process. Simple. Genius.Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.27.35 pm Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.27.43 pm Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.27.57 pm Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.28.05 pm

Projects, Stationery


January 10, 2015

I’ve been playing with some stationery ideas recently, and hope to get some of my ideas off the drawing board and into print by the end of the year. 2016 calendar, Christmas cards, invitations, greetings cards… It’s just a question of nailing down a few designs and actually doing it! In the meantime, here are some pics of a set I worked on last year. True to form, my endless boxes of “stuff” collected over many years include a lot of old royalty-free photocopies of architectural drawings and old calligraphy that I found at the Oxford library.

Black & white photocopies don’t inspire on their own, but the original purpose of getting these was to print them onto acetate and use an old overhead projector to project some words onto my bedroom wall and trace them, before painting them. This turned out quite well, so I made a collage of some of the images and stuck them onto a wallpaper frieze in my living room, painting them with old tea to age them, and highlighting some of the letters in gold pen, a bit like medieval illuminated manuscripts. I wonder whether I have any images of the finished products? I’ll post them if I find them…

Bringing them up to date, I made another collage in Photoshop and saturated them with three different colour-schemes. They became cards, writing paper, gift tags and envelopes and may yet make it into my stationery shop.


Design, Illustration

Stamping Their Feet

January 9, 2015

I thought it would be interesting to design some stamps that might be used by Australia Post. The specifications are precise and the images have to work at a very small size, so this was a challenge and involved a lot of research and modification.

ANZAC soldiers have been the feature of many stamp issues over the years, but these designs commemorate four conflicts of the last century in which ANZACs have played a part. My stamp illustrations have been inspired  by Australian artist Will Longstaff’s mesmerising piece, Menin Gate at Midnight (on display at the Australian War Memorial here in Canberra) and the colourful outline work of Jon Cattapan.

Menin Gate at Midnight by William Falstaff 1927 artwork by William Falstaff 'Setting Out (Maliana)' 2010


I created four ghostly illustrations to represent the soldiers of Gallipoli, Tobruk, Vietnam & Afghanistan. They were placed on colour-themed backgrounds with appropriate typography and partnered with a first day cover.

stampfour stampmen