Graphite design on matchbooks

There is street art, that you either like or hate but there is also graphite design, which is a detailed/accurate illustration.

Krista Charles is a talented and certainly patient artist.

The procedure is in fact straight forward but can be time consuming. Here is how it works.

Krista takes a matchbook with an address on it – usually a promotional product from a random business.

The second stage is to browse the internet in order to find on Google Maps and more precisely Street View the company concerned.

From there on, Krista will draw ON the matchbook inside cover, the actual image published by Google of that actual firm, retailer, trader, restaurant…etc

Each work is unique, in other words a limited edition.

Promotional matchbook with business address

Promotional matchbook with business address


Google Street View image of matchbook address

Google Street View image of matchbook address


Krista Charles illustration on matchbook

Krista Charles illustration on matchbook


Graphic design is everywhere

A few years back most people would create some illustrations by simply drawing with pen and papers.

Then illustration became graphic design. Something sounding slightly more creative and trendy. Equipment was needed.

With the options to draw, delete, restart and retouch and adjust on a computer screen everything became faster, more detailed and with a multitude of options, that pen and paper didn’t give.

New generations and media agencies were able to develop a new way of selling and advertising. The visual effect was and became important.

Nowadays, pupils in primary schools learn how to use computers and most families have embraced electronic devices and owning a tablet is something common.

Then, colleges and other schools are directing students towards creative fields. Being part of a digital media agency is now seen as something prestigious. Even libraries have a section dedicated to IT and access to software allowing the exploration and discovery of a new dimension: working digitally is the norm in the 21st century.

Being employed or getting a job in the media world is not that easy because skills, knowledge and being able to adapt with the constant evolution of technology is essential too.

There is the other “thing” of having a website.

Being online with a great design and visual identity is something to study in depth, because there are so many means to build a site. There are also different costs.

Buying a cheap template won’t bring the same results and have the identical impact as a bespoke digital presence.

It is all about the budget and the target audience you want to reach.

Defining the layout, colours and navigation will – almost – need a close study to make sure that everything blend with a smooth synergy in a  perfect manner. It is about looking good but essentially being user-friendly too. No one wants to struggle when reaching a homepage or it is an inevitable disaster.

Social media and your ego

Social media and your ego

When working for a marketing campaign it is vital that the message portrayed through the drawing is immediate. People have no time to think twice when seeing a poster – it needs to be unique with something distinctive.

Agencies are using various techniques to get the message to the public rapidly and efficiently: London Underground, Instagram and social media participation too with a specific hashtag where the users are directly involved by posting their own photographs according to the guidelines given in a short brief by the company. It is usually a big success as everyone likes to be part of something different and eventually win a prize or be featured in a magazine (whether hard copy or digital).

Golfer and music notes

Golfer and music notes

With the availability of touchscreen smartphones and possibility to take photos rapidly on the move and then share them with the World, our Society is changing and everybody wants to be considered and seen as a “creative“.  Is everyone a photographer? The answer to this question could bring a long debate similar to “what is art“.

No one is interested in being ignored or hidden in a mindless job. Are people daydreaming and having high hopes which will never be fulfilled?

An illustrator can be a graphic designer because it goes from paper to screen. What is essential is to have the right foundation to then expand on another level and outreach the digital jungle. Arrogance won’t win, but respect, patience and open communication will bring success.

Newcomers must stop to think that becoming number one is obtained by just showing a certificate/diploma. It is about the attitude and ethic as well. Learn from others and adapt then choose/develop your own style in order to be accepted and noticed into that nearly private circle.

A lot of individuals would like to become THAT graphic designer in demand. A normal thought applicable in the entire creative industry including:

  • music,
  • dance,
  • acting and writing,
  • photography.

It is by working thoroughly and constantly that a positive outcome is possible. What we see when taking public transports is the fruit of clever minds who mix the right fonts, shapes and colours giving the right balance to a finished design. A visual cocktail with the right ingredients can make your commute more enjoyable.

Tube Map covers by creative artists

Tube Map covers by creative artists



Culture, Design

Finding the inspiration

Most jobs are now related to “something online“. There have been new vacancies because social media has taken a valuable place in our lives.

Let’s take a first example concerning logo design.

In the past, the person commissioned to deliver a new logo, whether for a new or existing company who wants to have their image re-branded, started work on a piece of paper. Most of the great ideas appeared on a sketch book.

Nowadays, everything happens on a screen: from a large iMac to a small tablet or smartphone. In fact, mobile browsing is one the rise – not a real surprise, is it? All these devices have the possibility to give great results. But, putting onto paper your initial ideas is certainly the most important. Similar attitude with musicians and singer song writers. The so-called old fashioned way still works.

Logotypes CollectionOnce the actual design is satisfactory enough, it can be scanned and eventually be retouched.

Ten years ago (2004), it is was something special to have a home computer with an internet connection but mainly to have a website – whatever the size and content.

The second example concerns online presence.

Nowadays, everyone is connected. This can take the shape of a photography platform such as 500px or Flickr. Some prefer to clip already existing images on Pinterest. Others will go further and have a custom made website (not a basic template) which can involve important expenses, depending on the requirements.

Once all completed it is rather exciting to see the finished product and being able to access it from almost anywhere. To see something fruitful and getting that traffic, an expert can be required; as this has nothing to do with website design.

Finding the inspiration is essential because clients always want something new, fresh, unique and different but not too cryptic. It has to be seen, remembered and politically correct too.

A lot of boxes to tick for all good reasons.

Digital visits are also tracked – a bit like the geolocation when tweeting or checking your GPS/SatNav on your smartphone.

“…You can ask Google what do they have on you and they do actually provide a pretty comprehensive answer…” Source

It really shows that web users are doing various and almost random searches from a new pair of shoes a minute to some trousers the next one. As if our minds don’t want to focus on one subject but on many at the same time, because there is so much to discover at our fingertips either from our comfortable sofa or during our office lunch break. A constant quest of getting new information or visual stimulation.

The 21st century is without a doubt the era of digital awakening and website design has a major role for all businesses.

This quote published by Wired says it all:

“…At the close of 1998, there were 23 known weblogs on the Internet. A year later there were tens of thousands. What changed?…”

Bloggers evolution

It is also about linking our lives with some celebrities. Interacting via Instagram and using all the relevant hashtags.

Being famous for 15 minutes (to quote Andy Warhol) because “retweeted” or “reblogged” by someone with a name and a worldwide exposure keeps this all-day everyday buzz going.

Everyone is also a photographer (or at least believes so) as some MP3 players and most phones do have a camera giving that extra option to share some snaps on social network.

Should we actually worry about such technology making us almost addicted to those touchscreens and forgetting to communicate directly with our (real) close friends and families?