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Book binding

 As part of my print making degree I learnt book binding but didn't love it till I started working at Keir Lusby in their graphics department that's where I really developed a passion for it. I remember the first book I did at Keir Lusby's was an American passport, I admit it was a bit of a disaster and I had to remake it twice. It was a steep learning curve but with every book I grew more confident and I especially loved doing the historical books with lots of tooling and now I love nothing better then on a quiet day to settle down and make some books.


I was given a leather sample book and have spent about a year deciding what to do with all the beautiful coloured leather. It was not quite big enough to make a decent book but too lovely not to use somehow. This year is my and some of my friends 40th birthday so what better way to celebrate then to give them all a little notebook with the year we were born tooled in gold on the front (there is something so satisfying blocking onto leather). I haven't sat down and made 10 books in one go for some time and had forgotten how slow it can be, but once you get into a rhythm it soon gets done. It was more work then I first thought but worth it and I hope my friends appreciated it.


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Any way onto my next book project.....

Creating graphic prop labels for Film and TV

Sat down today to create some beer and champagne labels that can be used as props in film and television royalty free, which means they can be used without having to worry about copyright fees for the artwork on the labels or paying to use a trademark.

The hardest part can be trying to find suitable name for the item that doesn't exist in real life yet still sounds realistic enough for you to believe it. The last thing you need in a scene is the audience trying to work out what it says on a label, unless it is part of the plot you want them to know what it is without thinking about it.

So once I had thought of a name, then did a product search, then thought of another and another I finally found one I was happy with. Many things come to mind while you are trying to create the name for soemthing, often it's something from the things around you. Then came the design, a beer label that needs to look like sonething a bit familiar but it's a new design that doesn't infringe on someone else's copyright. With this one I deliberatley choose a font that a product designer probably wouldn't choose, it's a great typeface but not legible enough at this size for it to stand out or to ask to be read if you like.  It's a tricky balance! Did I get it right?

Most of the time I design labels with names that are given to me by the production company, a production will have it's own set of ideas or names that go with the script and colour palettes to work with. So it was fun to design something to my own set of parameters.

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A question of legitimate font use on graphic props?

When you want to start a graphics business there are many things you need to get before you start, some of them are obvious like graphics software, decent printers and a range of paper medias. However some software, like fonts, are a grey area indeed. You get a certain set of fonts with your software obviously and there are hundreds of free fonts on the Internet. However the quality of these is hit and miss at best, especially the free fonts, because obviously they want you to buy the full version, and why not, creating a new font isn't just a five minute job.  Free fonts come with certain restrictions on use, but how many people actually read those notes attached, a font labelled as free isn't necessarily going to be free to use commercially. When you're going to be selling graphics these are the points you have to consider. 

We're just starting out with our own business, being part of bigger companies previously meant not having to worry too much about software licensing that was all taken care of.  Now we're responsible for everything and it's a little scary. It's obvious that if you use someone's artwork or photography without permission, that person can come back and demand any price they want from you after use. But font licensing, how does that work exactly?

There are many websites that sell fonts, great easy we'll just pay for it. Hang on which sort of license do you need? And have you read the terms and conditions? I took some time to read through the terms and conditions and the differences between licenses, and where certain points make perfect sense others were left unclear.  Did I need a law degree to understand this? Being a small start-up company means access to lawyers is a luxury we can't currently afford. So does it really need to be this hard? 

First define 'Font', well it is actually the software used to create the typeface, so to use one you must obtain a license from the font foundry (the creators) you don't actually purchase the font. The license sets out how you may use the software and for what purpose, it may say how you can use it commercially i.e. Sell no more than 250 units/ printed items per year. When designing for film and television the pound signs usually start to get way higher. Most 'desktop font licenses' which is your standard type of license (web licensing is a whole different ball game) say that they are not for use in motion pictures and television. However here is where it gets complicated, does that mean that a film/TV production company may not use it without a special license on the film (i.e. credits on screen graphics). We are not a production company, we are selling prints to a production company and do not pass the software on to them at any point, so where do we stand? Special font licenses cost way in excess of what we can charge a client for a graphic prop, for example a bottle label.

On the web site myfonts.com in their EULA (End user licence Agreeement) they state "You agree that you may not use the font software or portion of it (unless you obtain additional licensing) in the following cases: as part of broadcasting video or film. Broadcast and film usage refers to the use of the font software in titling, credits or other text for any onscreen broadcast via television, video or motion picture." But also state a special license is required for commercial use, while another font website 'Hype For Type' says you can sell up to 250 units.

We bought some fonts from 'Hype For Type' who state that it can't be used by motion pictures and tv, as well as saying you can sell up to 250 units per item, which would suit us. I contacted them to clarify whether their non use for film and tv meant on screen graphics as that would be a font and once printed out it becomes a typeface, to my understanding anyway. Despite saying on their site that they are happy to answer any questions, they did not even acknolwledge mine. So I am left back in the grey, but with a better understanding of EULA, fonts and typefaces at least.

The research will continue and I'll report back.

Get Well soon

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Last summer we worked on Get Well Soon for cbeebies (BBC), there was a very specific colour palette, a very tight deadline, it had to be children friendly and of course costs to think about.

Click here if you fancy singing along with some of the songs and playing spot the prop!

We enjoyed making the graphics for this and looking back at these images brings back happy memories of long hot summer days designing posters, packaging and books.

 


Crashing

Last year with had the pleasure of creating and making graphics for Crashing, here are some of our favourite ones.

We were asked to make the logo for the property protection company and then had fun designing loads of generic posters for set dressing. 

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We made and developed a restaurant logo for 'we don't give a fork' and created signage, menus and set dressing for it. 

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We also created an events company logo and again made all the dressing for the scene.

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And we designed a vinyl logo for a non specific coach company. When it came to making the coach graphics and creating the print file for the printers it was a huge mathematical problem especially without having direct access to the coach to measure it yourself. Luckily it all worked out ok and fitted perfectly.

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