Sunday, 23 February 2014


Measuring energy's contribution to climate change

Emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) strengthen the greenhouse effect, accelerating global climate change. Generating electricity is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

The contribution of an energy source to climate change is measured by calculating carbon emissions over the lifetime of the generating equipment. An energy source's carbon footprint is measured in grams of CO2-equivalent  per kilowatt-hour (gCO2e/kWh) of electricity generated.
 Carbon commitments
Every energy source has strengths and weaknesses, such as its inherent carbon footprint. To meet its carbon-reduction commitments, the UK has to phase out the use of carbon-rich fuels to generate electricity, and to replace them with low-carbon equivalents.
Wind, solar, hydro and nuclear power stations all operate with close to zero CO2 emissions. Any emissions they do produce come largely from building the power station and, in the case of nuclear power, manufacturing the fuel. These emissions are amortised across the long life of the power station.
Carbon capture
Power stations that use fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, produce significantly higher levels of CO2 emissions. In the future, this problem could potentially be mitigated by fitting carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to coal- or gas-fired power stations, but this is not yet proven to work on an industrial scale and they would still produce higher emissions than generating from renewable sources.
Furthermore, CCS will make fossil-fired power stations more expensive to build and less efficient to run, and could lead to issues in the future around storing the captured CO2.
Energy mix
In 2009, about 22% of the UK's electricity came from low-carbon energy sources. The Government recommends that by 2020 this figure should increase to around 40%, and the Committee on Climate Change recommends that by 2030 almost all the UK's electricity needs to come from low-carbon sources. Hence the UK Government favours a transition to a diverse mix of low-carbon generating technologies where the strengths of one energy source compensate for another's weaknesses.


Whilst looking more into the effects of certain climate change issues and how we can help, I came across the following information on planting trees to remain carbon neutral. 

Plant in your region of the UK.

Planting trees is a great way to offset your carbon footprint and become carbon neutral. Through photosynthesis trees absorb carbon dioxide to produce oxygen and wood.

Tree Planting in action

We are working with tree planting partners to be able to provide an opportunity to individuals and organisations to plant native British broad-leaved trees in your region of the UK. Most of the planting takes place in school locations and all are high quality cell grown 'whips' (year old saplings) that are tagged with unique identification codes.

By planting trees you will not only be offsetting carbon emissions, but also helping provide wildlife habitat for many hundreds of years, and passing on to future generations a fascinating and highly valuable ecological heritage. 
Trees and plants sequester (i.e. absorb) the atmospheric carbon as part of the process of photosynthesis, which enables them to grow. Through this process, carbon dioxide is converted into stored carbon, and this is why trees are sometimes referred to as ‘carbon sinks'. 

  • Health and environment,
  • News,
  • 11.07.2013

Cycling for a climate you like

But how much CO2 does cycling really save?

The “World You Like” campaign aims to promote existing climate solutions in Europe. Indeed, there are many of them. Saving the climate makes people creative. Yet, one such climate solution indeed already exists all over Europe – the bicycle.
Cycling to work, spending your holidays cycling, or using your bike to transport stuff and groceries is something almost anybody, anywhere can do right now. But just how much CO2 can you save using your bike?
Knowing how much greenhouse gas you are releasing into the air using different modes of transport is possible. ECF has calculated and compared the carbon dioxide emissions of cycling, driving a car, or taking the bus.
Let’s start with the car, still most Europeans’ preferred mode of transport. As it turns out, unfortunately it is also the most environmentally unfriendly one. It starts with production. Producing cars is a high-energy industrial process that uses lots of raw material. On average, the production of a car alone accounts for 42 g of CO2 emissions per kilometer driven.
But actually driving your car is what really bumps up greenhouse gas emissions, of course. Considering the average road use of European car drivers, different fuel types and average occupation, and adding emissions from production, driving a car emits about 271 g CO2 per passenger-kilometer.
Taking the bus will already cut your emissions by more than half. Buses have longer life spans and can carry more people, which means that producing them accounts for less emissions per passenger and kilometer. A bus ride will only blow 101 g of CO2 per kilometer into the air, which is less than the majority of even the most modern cars available.
Yet these numbers are based on average occupation, and if twice as much people took public transport regularly, the emissions could be reduced even further.
But what if you wanted to reduce your emissions to an absolute minimum? Enter the bicycle.
Some might think bicycles are not producing emissions at all. No fuel, no tank, and no exhaust, so where would the carbon dioxide come from? Yet bicycles need to be produced as well, and while they are not fuel-powered, they’re food-powered – and producing food unfortunately creates a certain amount of CO2 emissions.
The question is, just how much exactly? And how much is it compared to cars and buses?
And here comes the good news. The production of a bicycle sets you back only 5 g per kilometer driven. That’s about one tenth compared to the production of a car. Add to that the CO2 emissions from the average European diet, which is another 16 g per kilometer cycled. In total, riding your bike accounts for about 21 g of CO2 emissions per kilometer – again, more than ten times less than a car!
And there is room for improvement as well. Europeans still eat quite a lot of meat, which needs up to 1500 g of CO2 emissions per 100 calories produced. Climate-friendly, vegetarian and local food produces much less CO2 (11 g for corn, 23 g for potatoes, for example). If more people changed their eating habits, the bicycles’ carbon record could be even better – not to mention the health benefits of both cycling and a healthy diet.
So if you are the owner of a bicycle, one personal climate solution is right there in front of your door or in your backyard. Why not start leaving the car at home this summer, and begin cycling into a world you like?

Thursday, 20 February 2014


Sam and I are wanting to use different textured stocks to create imagery and type with, and to gain a different, interesting effect, we wanted to try paper marbling as part of our experiments to see what the results are like when made yourself and not bought.
Marbling is a printmaking technique that basically looks like capturing a galaxy on a page, except it requires neither subatomic particles nor superhuman skills. Nowadays you can find video tutorials showing you how to marble everything from silk scarves to fingernails, but I primarily make marbled paper, which you can use as backgrounds for collages or photosto decorate journals and notebooks, or to wrap small gifts. If I weren’t such a DIY advocate, I would probably buy a marbling kit with step-by-step instructions (and no disrespect if you opt for that!), but I prefer to experiment, because the results are more unpredictable!
What you’ll need:
  • A set of oil paints
  • Turpentine
  • A few sheets of uncoated paper—regular printer paper will work, as long as it isn’t glossy.
  • A shallow rectangular container (like a baking tray) that is bigger than the size of your paper
  • Smaller containers for mixing paint (like jar lids)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Utensils for mixing and spreading paint. These can be brushes or straws, or you can make your own marbling comb with toothpicks, cardboard, and scotch tape (see below). Just make sure the length of the comb is smaller than the width of your tray, because you’re going to use it to drag the paint across the surface of the water.
Since you’ll be working with paint, you might want to wear old clothes, and cover your workspace with newspapers or a plastic tablecloth to prevent stains. You’ll need relatively easy access to a sink for clean-up, and if you can work near a window, the fresh air will help with the drying process.
Now on to the marbling:
1. Pour about an inch of water into the tray. Then choose the colors you want to use, and squeeze the paint into small, separate containers (I used the lids of the paint jars). Add some white paint if you want to get pastel shades.
2. Add some turpentine to the paint and mix. I suggest doing this in a well-ventilated space and wearing rubber gloves (even though I didn’t), because you don’t want to breathe in the fumes or irritate your skin. The proportion varies depending on how much paint you are using—I use about a teaspoon of turpentine for every ½ teaspoon of paint. You want the mixture to become liquid and smooth, but not too watery, like so:
3. Now comes the fun part. Create your design by pouring your paint into the water. You can just dump it all in, or selectively distribute the colors where you want them. You can add more turpentine if you want to thin the mixture out in places.
4. If you’re happy with the design, you can skip this step, but otherwise, you can redistribute your colors by swirling the mixture gently with a toothpick, blowing on the surface through a straw, or using your marbling comb.
5. Carefully lay a sheet of paper on the water. To avoid submerging it, start at one end and move slowly down the length of the paper—don’t just plop the whole thing down at once. (It’s OK if the face-up side gets a little wet, but keep it as dry as you can.) Get ready to pick it up right away, because step six comes RIGHT ON THE heels of five!
6. Remove the paper as soon as it’s flat! Starting at a corner, gently lift it out of the water. Again, you might want to use rubber gloves.
7. Lay the sheet out flat on a clean, protected surface. Once it’s been drying for a while, you can lay a heavy book on top of it to keep the edges from curling (slide a piece of paper in between to protect your book).
One tray of water is usually enough for three to five prints. Each one will be different from and lighter than the last, as the paint dissipates. It can take a few tries to get the desired effect, but every attempt will be mesmerizing. When it’s done, you’ll have a map of your own undiscovered galaxy—or some decorative gift wrap. It’s whatever you choose, so enjoy! ♦

Alternate Method:

Description: ivider
Written by:  Contributed by small hands big art
Date: August 8, 2011

This is guaranteed to be the cleanest, best smelling art project you'll ever do – shaving cream paper marbling!  Print pretty swirly patterns on paper to give as gifts, use as wrapping paper, or on gift tags.  Trim and frame the prints as a single piece of art or arrange in a series of prints.  It's a crazy fun mess, but the clean up is a breeze!

You Need:

 Shaving cream
 A large tray or baking sheet to hold the shaving cream
 Liquid Watercolors, food coloring mixed with water, or thinned acrylic paints (acrylics not recommended for children they stain clothing)
 Eye droppers or spoons to place the paint on the shaving cream
 Popsicle sticks, paintbrush handles or similar "devices" to stir the foam to create the swirls
 Large squeegee or other scraper
 Watercolor or drawing paper, or blank greeting cards, etc. -whatever type of paper you'd like to transfer the design onto
How to Do It:

1. Squirt a lemon meringue pie size amount of shaving cream in the center of the tray

2. Using the eye droppers or spoons, squirt or drop several colors of liquid watercolor or food coloring on the shaving cream.  It is recommended not to put the colors right on top of each other – leave a little bit of room in between the colors.

3. Gently stir the foam with a popsicle stick.  Caution – do not over-stir as it will make brown!  Make pretty swirl patterns or circles with the stick.  The more you stir the smaller the lines in the swirls will be when it is printed on the paper, so we recommend only stirring 3-4 big circles and swirls so that the colors are gently swirled but not too mixed together.  What you see in the shaving cream at this point is what will be printed on the paper.

4. Place a small sheet of watercolor or other heavyweight paper on the shaving cream and let it sit for 5 seconds to soak up the paint, and then gently rub the paper with your fingertips, applying a very light pressure.  You do not want to press too hard and squeeze all of the shaving cream out from under the paper or squish the foam around underneath.  A little experimentation may be needed to achieve the right amount of pressure.

5. Take a corner of the paper and lift it out of the shaving cream to reveal a pretty pile of shaving cream stuck to the other side of the paper!

6. Use a squeegee or plastic scraper to apply firm pressure on a flat surface, start at one end of the paper and scrape all of the shaving cream off of the paper.  Use one fluid movement from one end of the paper to the other – any stops and starts will cause the paint to transfer to the paper in lines.  Get creative to find the perfect "squeegee" for this part – our favorite device is a plastic wall paper smoother  - two work well together because you can use one to scrape off the other.  We've also used pastry cutters (with a long flat surface), long spatulas, stiff cardboard, or any handy hunk of solid plastic (like a clipboard!).  You want to apply pressure on a flat surface as you are scraping the foam off the paper to ensure that it is all removed.  Scrape off the shaving cream from the squeegee into a nearby garbage can.

7. Voila!  Revealed under the shaving cream will be a beautiful swirled pattern on the paper!  Let the paper dry thoroughly before trimming.

small hands big art is an art studio in South Charlotte that offers classes, camps, & parties for children & young adults.

8025 Ardrey Kell Rd.
Charlotte, NC  28277

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After discussing aesthetic styles and children's graphic design, we thought of the common book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and focused at the construction and ideas behind their illustrative style and approach taken which is sophisticated, smart and very clear. This style has become synonymous with this book, and we were intrigued to look more into it before deciding on an aesthetic route which we should taken when designing for a young audience as well as being serious with the content.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children's picture book designed, illustrated and written by Eric Carle, first published by the World Publishing Company in 1969, later published by Penguin Putnam. It features a caterpillar who eats its way through a wide variety of foodstuffs before pupating and emerging as a butterfly. The winner of many children's literature awards and a major graphic design award, it has sold 30 million copies worldwide. It has been described as having sold the equivalent of a copy per minute since its publication. It has been described as "one of the greatest childhood classics of all time." It was voted the number two children's picture book in a 2012 survey of School Library Journal readers.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar uses distinctive collage illustrations (Carle's third book, and a new style at the time), 'eaten' holes in the pages and simple text with educational themes – counting, the days of the week, foods, and a butterfly's life stages. There have been a large number of related books and other products, including educational tools, created in connection to the book. The caterpillar's diet is fictional rather than scientifically accurate, but the book introduces concepts of Lepidoptera life stages where transformations take place including the ultimate metamorphosis from 'hungry caterpillar' to 'beautiful butterfly', and it has been endorsed by the Royal Entomological Society.
 A green baby caterpillar hatches from an egg, and from birth he experiences a perpetual craving for food. He eats through fruits on five days, one piece on the first, two on the second, and so on up to five, then experiments with a wider variety of foods. Soon enough he overdoes it and nauseates himself. After recovering he spins a cocoon in which he remains for the following two weeks. Later, the caterpillar emerges as a bright, colorful butterfly with large, gorgeous, multi-colored wings.
Foods eaten:
  • 1 apple
  • 2 pears
  • 3 plums
  • 4 strawberries
  • 5 oranges
  • 1 piece of chocolate cake
  • 1 ice cream cone
  • 1 pickle
  • 1 slice of Swiss cheese
  • 1 slice of salami
  • 1 lollipop
  • 1 piece of cherry pie
  • 1 sausage
  • 1 cupcake
  • 1 slice of watermelon
  • 1 green leaf
The book has been translated into at least 40 languages, including Dutch, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Italian, Swedish, and Russian. It has been used by elementary school teachers, librarians, and parents, as a teaching aid, with activities developed which use the book.
It was used by former first lady Barbara Bush as part of her campaign to promote literacy.
The book received renewed attention when in 1999, Pizza Hut asked 50 US governors to name their favorite books from childhood. Presidential candidate George W. Bush "opted for the Caterpillar. It didn't take long for gleeful commentators to point out that when the book was published, Bush was nearly 23."
In 2011, the American Academy of Paediatrics sent out special copies of the book, with associated learning tools, to health providers, to promote healthy eating in the U.S.In 2009, Google celebrated the book's 40th anniversary by changing the logo on its main search page to the style used in the book.

A variation of images showing the cover, the illustrations and collage style aesthetic, as well as educational products. 

The story and illustrations have also been turned into educational products.

Google illustration for the books 40th anniversary.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


For the first edition of Vogue The Netherlands, special editions were made and boxed or bound in matte and foiled boxes, giving a clean cut, simple, smart and luxurious packaging to their equally so magazines.

Collborated with Global online shopping mall WIZWID, a graphic design studio mykc, fashion brand MUNN to make demin tote bags, named 'NOTE BAG' and diary note 2014. They're all packaged in glossy silver bag stitched with white thread.

The above packaging has been created from 2 pieces of silver card,  and then stitched at the top, allowing for it to be ripped at the top to open and reveal the contents. Innovative, smart and appears high-end. An idea like this could be developed further for the Vogue research booklet, adding further classiness and luxury to the book.

The previous two sets of imagery show a more relaxed approach to packaging, in the form of screen printed tote bags. These could also be used with coolflex vinyl to achieve a different aesthetic overall. The two bags shown above are fair trade, whilst Vogue claim to use materials which are recyclable, so this could also be a possible route - a free re-usable bag with the booklet.

The above gift bags aim to make a statement by the statement used, the designs and the format and materials used. An organic, rich looking gift back available in portrait and landscape format. A detailed, or illustrated gift bag using screen printing for instance could work nicely also for this brief, using different materials and stocks to highlight different elements of the design visuals.

A simple fold-up package shown above for a cv. A folder style adapted to hold the contents securely. Something to this size and scale is a viable option for the Vogue-style booklet.

Die-cut self-promotional pack, encasing a CD. Not apt for this brief, but the aesthetic is something I am keen to work with and experiment with in terms of die-cutting and pattern.

Hand-made gift bags reflecting different styles and cultures. Again this could be appropriate as well as a basic style slip-case as shown below.

Book cover and packaging design for Ken Kesey's 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'. 

The book itself is contained behind a sheet of glass, inside a white box. Cover information is screen printed onto the glass, which must be smashed in order to access the book. 

The glass acts as a window looking out on to the open country photography, breaking through the window becomes a metaphor for the stories narrative.

Laser-cut wooden slip-case for a hand bound book. Delicate and elegant.

Expanding packaging.

The only fashion magazine packaging which I could find other than a cellophane wrapper. The magazine above is boxed, with a die-cut window to show the issue, and wrapped like a present. Not overly keen on the combination of styles used - butterflies, wooden beads, plastic window style view?

A more conceptual approach to packaging, using vacuum forming in order to create a transparent box showcasing the logo and the magazine/contents/supplements at the same time.