Taking Stock: Paper, Book Design and a Place Called Kenema


Choosing the right paper for a print project can be tricky. The tactile nature of paper conveys tone, quality and character before a single word is read, and especially applies to designing a book (which we happen to be doing).

O Street Kenema

As you may have seen flying around our various social media channels, we are currently working on a stunning portrait photography book by British photographer Peter Dibdin. He has been working to capture community life in Kenema, Sierra Leone. This book will seek to capture the powerful photographs taken by Pete during his visit to the newly built girls school, run by Swawou School Foundation.

O Street Kenema

To represent Pete’s journey and experiences of this vibrant culture, we have worked with him to develop a design that allows the photography to do the talking. We chose a minimal colour palette inspired by the earthy brick used in the development project itself. Handwritten text—Pete lent his own hand—is used to note the subjects of each portrait. Alongside these design choices sits the ever important selection of paper stocks and finishes.

O Street Kenema

In some ways, its a designer’s dream to be sitting surrounded by piles of paper samples, stacks of photography books and heaps of beautiful inspiring pieces of print. In other ways it presents a challenging process. With Kenema, we want to bring the warmth of the people into the tactile aspect of this book as much as possible—think ivory, cotton rich, textured pages. On the other hand, we need to allow the photography to sit on crisp clean white spreads to really express the colours and lighting by Pete.

O street Kenema

All in all, this has lead me on what can only be described as a paper trail *ahem* to end all paper trails. I’ve gone from Mohawk and Crane’s Crest to Tatami and Woodstock; from Shiro and Biancoflash to Conqueror CX22 and recycled Keay Kolour. In a very short space of time I’ve gone from a samples novice to the new studio paper guru…okay, not quite. But if Ed is Yoda then I’m definitely Luke. And in this analogy our huge studio bookcase is Dagobah. I’m getting side-tracked. Either way, I’m feeling a lot more knowledgable and excited for how this lovely piece of print will turn out. And that’s not even taking into account all the foiling, finishing and bindings I’ve got in mind…

If you would like to get your hands on your very own copy of the Kenema Book then simply follow this link and pledge some money to help us produce this stunning photography book. If you can’t pledge all that much, even a small amount would be appreciated to support its production and make it possible. Once published, all profits from the book will be going to the Swawou School for Girls to help them carry on the amazing work they do.

We’re super proud to be part of such a great project and we hope you’ll join us to continue the story.

Seven Art School Life Drawing Disasters


In advance of beer x All the Young Nudes, our noggins have been full of memories from art school’s past. Of particular abundance are disasters we all seem to have experienced at some point in life drawing class. A rag-tag bunch of hormonal 19-year-old students, a nude model, and a three-hour session in a dimly lit studio: what could go wrong? Well, a lot. Here’s a few of the classics:

O Street — Life Drawing

1. The instructor make an example of you and narrates in extreme detail your inadequacy in drawing a particular body part.

O Street — Life Drawing

2. The model falls asleep after 10 minutes. No one wants to be the one to wake them up.

O Street — Life Drawing

3. You keep making eye contact with the model and then you start to worry that they think you’re a creep when really you just wanted to do a good job drawing their eyebrows.

O Street — Life Drawing

4. The model fancies themselves to be a revolution in the profession, and rather than just sitting there, thrusts their body into various yoga and dance postures that are excruciating to even look at let alone draw.

O Street — Life Drawing

5. The instructor puts one of your break-up trigger albums on the ol’ CD boombox and you spend the afternoon quietly crying while drawing a naked person.

O Street — Life Drawing

6. Your drawing has fingers that look like penises and a penis that looks like a thumb.

O Street — Life Drawing

7. You forget your assorted range of drawing materials and instead spend the afternoon exploring the various shading techniques of a biro pen, which then runs out after half an hour anyway.

O Street — Life Drawing

Bonus: the model walks in…and you know them (not in the way that either of you are happy about you seeing them nude).

We’ll be drinking, life drawing, listening to music and hopefully not reliving these disasters this Friday. Join us if you’re about the West End and feeling adventurous!

Glasgow Zine Fest: What’s On


Glasgow Zine Fest 2016

Glasgow Zine Fest

When he’s not GIFing, tweeting and eating snacks at O Street, Josh P is doing these things for Glasgow Zine Fest, a self-publishing festival he co-founded with GSA grad student Lauren Davis. GZF is a grassroots DIY festival that champions makers and doers of all sorts, namely old-school self-published fanzines and comics. The festival also places an emphasis on championing equality and accessibility.

Glasgow Zine Fest Glasgow Zine Fest

This year’s zine fest is this weekend (30/4–1/5) and features a full programme of creative, feminist, LGBT & equality-centric events. Here’s what’s on Saturday:

Glasgow Zine Fest

Artist Trudi Lang brings drop-in art workshops for young grrrls to Mono with Grrrl Stuff, which she says is for everyone with an interest in feisty feminist fun. A must for aspiring Kathleen Hanna’s.

Glasgow Zine Fest

Jane Stockdale’s Yes/No , a photographic chronicle of the Referendum; on exhibition at The Old Hairdresser’s. (photo: Jane Stockdale)

Glasgow Zine Fest

Feminist zine TYCI will be leading a discussion on zine content and curation, and really, nobody does it better.

Glasgow Zine Fest

Good Press is putting on That’s Life!, a crazy day of creative frolicking with plenty of food and lo-fi 90’s tech. Bring a hunger for the obscure and change for a slice of pizza.

Glasgow Zine Fest

Online feminist magazine gal-dem is screening their interlude series at CCA, followed by a discussion and podcast recording.

Glasgow Zine Fest

The UK premiere of Vega Darling’s Lost Grrrls: Riot Grrrl in LA is Saturday night at CCA.

Glasgow Zine Fest

Sunday 1 May brings us GZF’s bread-and-butter; a good ol’ zine fair. Zine makers, distributors and artists of all sorts will be digging in at The Old Hairdresser’s to show and sell their wares.

There’s also (free) on-site zine and badge making for curious people who’d like to learn on the fly, a GZF zine library and a zine library from Women’s Library. Keep up with GZF on the socials @glasgowzinefest. Alright pal!



o fishin’ 2015



Last week we hung up our macs a wee bit early and piled in a van destined for Loch Fyne. After the usual pit stops at craft breweries and Waitrose breakfast foods aisle, we settled into our loch-side bothy, baited our hooks and tried not to drink ourselves too sick to fish.

When it came time to hunt the waters, we followed our noses (and wily know-how no doubt provided by Neil and David’s magic fishing caps) and happened upon a school of mackerel ripe for the picking. From there it was all sushi, fried fish breakfasts and a bit of swimming in the icy cold waters—not a bad price to pay for a handful of hangovers. Here’s to next year!






ofishin8-2 ofishin4-2







The O Team Crew

solid gone


One of those little moments when you chance upon something astonishing and it stops you in your tracks. It wasn’t the rock, just a photograph of it.

Smith Journal (smithjournal.com.au) is always a welcome arrival with its rich and eclectic mix of whatever takes them. So no surprise thats where this image was. Or that it brought on a hushed ‘wow’.

The rock lives in Tayma, a long settled oasis town in northwestern Saudi Arabia (saudi-archaeology.com/gigapan/al-naslaa-tayma). Archaeologists believe the almost perfect vertical fracture to be a natural phenomenon but are not altogether certain how it came about.

The opinion in the studio here is split too. The quasi-magical majesty of Nature versus some sort of James Cameron-esque-alien-death-ray-from-space. Either way, rock on!


orkney camera amateurism


I must confess, I am not O Street’s finest photographer. In fact I am really shit. Since a student I have been told all about f-stops and shutter speeds, but it’s gone in one ear and out my arse. Every time I pick up a camera it’s like my first time. I am not proud of this, in fact good photography skills is something we look for when recruiting designers.

Last week I was on a trip to Orkney as part of a research project I am working on with the Glasgow School of Art’s Institute of Design Innovation and I really, really needed to take photos of the people we were speaking to.

I rather sheepishly asked Ed if I could take the studio camera. ‘Sure’ he said, ‘no problem’. Well that’s where he was wrong, there was a big problem, I didn’t know how to use the bloody thing. I thought I could bluff it on auto mode, but all my shots came out with a blue tinge and that really cool blurry background thing I always ask other photographers to do for me didn’t work.

I did eventually throw in the towel and phone Ed, ‘Can you tell me how to work this camera man?’ he laughed. He talked me through it while I played around with the buttons and dials in a pub, I mean café. Here is my finest mastery of the blurry background thing (depth of field!), its an empty chair in the pub …café, and that’s where I peaked at that particular technique.

What does help however is stunning things to take photos off, and that certainly wasn’t lacking in Orkney, it even looks like I did that lens flare effect on purpose (*ahem).

The killer shot was at the end of the trip, the view from the top of the hill of the island of Hoy and the lighthouse just as the last of the sunshine was breaking through the clouds in what my grandfather once called ‘foal’s legs’. I needed to charge the battery though as it was really low. I plugged the charger into a socket in the office we had commandeered… damn the socket didn’t work! I yanked it out and the top pin of the plug snapped off. It looked quite funny, I picked up the camera to take a photo of it, but the little screen at the back said ‘Camera Battery Exhausted’.

…me too! (Here is quite a nice shot I fluked earlier in the trip instead)