Signs on the Street

24.05.22

In a recent visit to my old stomping ground Norwich, I stumbled across some slightly odd signs dotted throughout the city. After initially thinking I was seeing things, or maybe a member of Norwich City Council was using any means necessary to talk to their ex, it turns out these signs form an art installation by Hester Stefan Chillingworth as part of Norfolk and Norwich Festival: this is the sign you’ve been waiting for’.

With the crazed determination of a child with a treasure map, I searched for the rest of the signs – desperate to unearth every line of love, hope, and heartbreak that I could find.

And here they all are. Seven in total, they’re scattered around the city – behind churches, in parks, through alleyways. Hidden in plain sight, this intriguing insulation is easily overlooked. Their recognisable layout and symbols encourage you to nearly walk straight past them, maybe take a quick glance and double-take before questioning what else you might have missed.

There’s a real sense of bringing one’s innermost, heartfelt emotions into a starkly mundane public sphere. Like pages of a diary plastered on a noticeboard, they feel almost shamefully honest in a way that I truly can’t get enough of.

As is the case with the most interesting art pieces, the more you see, the more questions you have: is there a timeline to them, or a conclusion to the story? Does the order you read them affect their meaning? Is it the same speaker, an unspoken conversation between two voices? Should I call them? And so on.

None of these questions are answered, of course, but wondering is all part of the fun.

-Eli

 

Book Week Scotland’s 10th Anniversary

21.01.22

After the success of last year’s campaign, Scottish Book Trust came to O Street to design the identity for Book Week Scotland 2021: their 10th Anniversary.

Scottish Book Trust have been bringing the joys of reading and writing to everyone in Scotland for 23 years, and transforming lives in the process. One of the ways they fuel Scottish arts and culture is through Book Week Scotland: a hefty programme of events and resources championing Scotland’s finest authors, poets, playwrights and storytellers.

Our goal was to parallel the creative enthusiasm and excitement of the week with playful designs and character illustrations packed with personality.

In line with Book Week Scotland’s 10th Anniversary, this year’s theme was ‘Celebration’. Think birthday cakes, confetti, and balloons galore. With a parade of illustrative character designs, an abundance of flags and banners, and joy all round, this direction captures the uplifting party atmosphere of the anniversary.

This route lends itself to lively motion and application on a range of assets. From social media posts to bookmarks to posters in shop windows, these cheerful characters can pop up all over Scotland. Have you spotted any of them?

Gathering Inspiration

19.11.21

Where do you find your inspiration?

Here at O Street we like to tackle it with a bit of fresh air. For years, we’ve been keeping our eyes open for visual oddities out-and-about, then sharing them in an aptly named collection: Ospiration. It comes in many forms: the typography on a takeaway menu, a brick wall covered in peeling posters and graffiti, book covers, foreign registration plates, scattered light on a city skyline. Even some quote-unquote old junk found in the attic can be creative fuel (see: Label O’ Love).

Some of our favourite pieces of Ospiration take the shape of aged shop signs, with their effortlessly timeless typographic flair, weathered paint and battered colours that have faded over time. We’re surrounded by a rich history of design, with creative beauty wherever you go.

If you’re ever feeling uninspired, taking your eyes for a walk can do wonders. To get you started, take a look at a few of our top bits of Ospiration collected over the years:

Period Pain

04.10.21

We were allocated 28th April for the annual design publication Fedrigoni 365. Our piece was inspired by the average menstrual cycle of 28 days. Our motivation for creating a design which contributes commentary on this topic was to stimulate dialogue and to open discussion around the many ways in which menstruation affects our lives.

Periods are considered a taboo subject, characterised by misinformation and hushed tones, making it hard for those struggling with period poverty to get the help they need. People who menstruate shouldn’t be shamed for basic bodily functions. Everyone deserves access to the products they need.

We want to talk about periods. They can be a pain to have and a pain not to have. But the worst pain of all is the shame and stigma surrounding the discussion of them.

28 Days:

Periods are pain.

Pain in the gut.

Pain when at work.

Pain in the pocket.

Pain when you have it.

Pain when you don’t.

 

Useful sources:

Fedrigoni 365 is an annual publication by Fedrigoni paper manufacturers featuring 365 UK-based creatives, with each participant creating a piece that interprets the numeral of a date. Any visual interpretation is welcome, whether literal or abstract.

We’re Back, Baby!

30.08.21

Last week was our first week working back at the studio, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Remote working was getting old, Eli was even starting to offer their houseplants cups of coffee and biscuits. So with a little gentle corralling, we made it into the studio bright and early on Monday morning. Fuelled by consistent tea breaks, great company, and some funky ambient tunes, working in the studio beats working from our bedrooms by a long shot. Even if the studio cups were not 100% spider free.

Some of us hadn’t worked in the studio before, so we were even more eager to get stuck into a new routine. Learning how to fit into a team is particularly hard through video calls, so us newbies were desperate to work with each other in person and soak up all the learning experiences we could.

George hasn’t worked in the studio since his internship back in 2019, despite being with us for over a year now. He spent that year working from his living room, scheduling meetings around his flatmate (also working remotely in the living room), so he was more than ready to get back into the office. He’s excited to be back in this gorgeous space, surrounded by reference materials, photography equipment, and some high-class inspiration. The ease of communication between the team is also a massive plus for him, being able to easily keep us all in the loop and help out our interns out with only two metres and a mask between us.

It’s also Eli’s first time working with the team in person, and they’re loving being able to pick everyone’s brains on design terminology and offer helpful (some might say irritating) reminders to fill out the timesheets. Having been working perched on the edge of their bed in a tiny bedroom for the last four months, they’re thrilled at the prospect of a proper office chair and half-decent posture. The workplace mindset was a bit lost working from a cramped flat, so having a dedicated space to be productive has been a massive bonus for them. Losing out on that extra 45 minutes of sleep is totally worth it.

The general consensus is that we’re delighted to be back in this beautiful studio. We feel more like a team than ever, and the boundaries between work and home life are super helpful for both productivity and our personal wellbeing. And having Cottonrake Bakery just down the road only sweetens the deal.

Onwards to many more happy weeks of working in the Studio!

We’ve Got New Photos

23.06.21

It’s been a while since the O Street crew last touched base at the studio… and we’re all missing it. We’ve even had a couple of new recruits since we started working remotely: Eli joined us a couple of months ago, and George who’s been with us for almost a year still didn’t have his very own O Street portrait.

So we knew it was about time to get reacquainted for a new matching look—for most of us, at least. It’s a tricky job to physically reunite across the Atlantic (and even the Scottish Border right now).

After frantically crossed fingers and nervous glances at the sky, we couldn’t have asked for a better day. Sunshine as ordered and Glasgow’s trademark breeze acting as a natural wind machine.

Our favourite photographer and good pal Peter Dibdin kept us all in line, getting some great shots in the process. All we had to do was avoid the oncoming traffic.

We all brushed up pretty well, with sunlit smiles and hair blowing in the wind (well apart from Neil though his beard did move at one point.) However the real star of the show was the yellow chair. We wanted something a little different for our photos. Something offbeat yet on brand for O Street.


Cue a bright yellow office chair in the middle of the road. After a spot of bother laying hands on the aerosol during a local paint shortage, studio dad Neil managed to paint the chairs himself without annoying the neighbours too much. So our perfectly odd prop was set to steal the scene against the greenery and fortuitous matching graffiti in the background.

Yup, it was great to finally get back to the studio (or at least down an alley around the corner) and meet the team again. Plus we have these smashing new headshots to show for it. With so much of our time spent working remotely, it’s easy to feel far apart—even while we’re working online every day. So these photos really bring us together and that feels good.

All professional photography by Peter Dibdin.