This is the archive of version one, made in 2006, launched in 2007, and active until 2012. It’s archived to preserve the original design and its content that was referenced in multiple posts, books and galleries. There’s a holding page before the new site arrives.

All entries from July 2007


  1. Grow Loves Freelancers

    Grow Collective was is inviting new members. If you’re a freelancer in or around Bristol, UK then we might have had something interesting for you.

    Sat, 4th Aug, 2007: We’re bursting at the seams trying to assimilate everyone. Thank you to everyone who replied. Hopefully we‘ll be inviting members again soon!

    Grow Collective

    A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (about 50 miles and 4 years) Charlie Markwick, Paul Whitrow and I got together to formalise an idea that I’d first broached with Charlie in 2001. The idea was that mature professionals with specialist skills who worked for themselves might come together as a co–operative consortium to provide services. Grow was born.

    The principles are simple: Everyone brings their professional profile and specialist skills with them but retains the right to claim any work done under their own name, company or site. Everyone is equal under the parent brand with agreement reached democratically. We would work to co–operative principles, and promote the kind of personal relationships with clients Charlie had been enjoying for over 20 years.

    By allowing everyone to develop their careers personally and anchoring the organisation around personalities, the parent brand would benefit by association: The focus was on people and their skills, not the brand per se. However, everyone would share a common set of ethics and practices. Everyone would be customer facing, with primary project managers agreed jointly on a project by project basis. Project fees would be split based on contribution, agreed in advance between us, but reviewed at project close.

    It was a heady time, forming an organisation that was completely different to the agency model that is so prevalent in our business where, in the worst examples, all the talent is white–labeled and all credit assimilated into the agency brand.

    Since then, Jon Gibbins and Alan Colville have joined us; we’ve proven we can more than just compete with traditional agencies, and we’re going from strength to strength. So much so that we are turning down more work than we take in, by a ratio of five to one. That’s why we’re inviting new members from Bristol or the surrounds, especially interface and graphic designers with a special interest in Web standards, user centred design, information architecture and accessibility. Read the invitation post for more, or drop me a line directly using my vCard, below.

    The Grow Collective model of a technical and creative Co–operative Consortium is something close to my heart, which I know has the ability to help budding and mature freelancers work on projects that may ordinarily not be available to them alone, yet still retain their independence. If you’re considering starting one, or just want to find out more about how they work, please feel free to drop me a line anytime, I’d love to help if I can.


  2. Feeding the Growth Culture

    Experience designer, Alan Colville has just joined our collective. He’s an experienced user centred design specialist who previously designed the interface for Telewest’s video on demand and personal recorder services — no mean feat given the constraints of Web TV so we’re all happy to be working with him. Please head over to Grow and commiserate with him if you wish.

    Alan Colville

    Alan Colville

    In the next few days he’s going to be publishing some great insights into usability and experience design which I’ve been lucky enough to have a sneak peek at. Keep an eye on the Grow feed if you’d like some practical insights into the user centred design.

    I’ve added a Feedburner feed for anyone masochistic enough to subscribe to my special fried spam. It’s hand coded and seems to be valid, but feel free to let me know if you get any problems.

    This is my lo–fi intermin solution. Neat, eh? Apart from sating my natural urge to publish and venting a little verbosity, there’s something appealing about not having to field comment spam, too. We’re old school, baby!


  3. It Never Rains but it Pours

    Sunshine and storm clouds over Bristol.

    Storm clouds can have a beauty all of their own. That is, once I shrug off the yearning glances towards the garden, currently under guard by “cow hair rain” as Chinese people would call it. Coming down in long, straight lines it promises a good drenching to all and sundry. Hiroshige illustrated it well in one of my favourite wood block prints, Evening Shower at Atake from his 100 famous views of Edo series. Bike riders beware; there must be an equation somewhere that quantifies why people on bikes get four times as wet in the rain.

    It’s pouring at work too and has been for a while. There’s too much work to handle and I’m actively looking for designers to work with. If you’re interested in our co–op, have a passion for user–centred design, Web standards and accessibility and are a dab hand at traditional graphic design feel free to get in touch. I’m especially interested in talented folks who are running their own business or thinking of doing so, want to further their exposure and may have been white–labeled by traditional agencies in the past. It’s one reason the agency model is broken — give me a shout if you want to know more.

    Apple iPhone.


    The iphone has poured out of the stores and into the blogosphere too. 1.4% of all blog posts mentioned the iphone on launch day according to Matthew Hulse of BlogPulse. With such unmitigated hype, the parasites have come out of the woodwork too; there’s poetic justice in the video of a woman who paid $800 for the first place in line to try and buy up all the iphones to sell on Ebay, only to be told she could only have one. Oops.

    Old security holes in AT&T’s voicemail service have come to the fore too (via Chris). With 500,000 sold in the first weekend, analysis of all kinds continues apace but somehow it seems like a self–fulfilling prophecy. Across the pond in an iphone–less world I feel a bizarre absence of envy. Back in January the excitement of my first iphone post revolved around a full version Safari running on a mobile device with great interface features. In real terms though without WiFi the experience will be rubbish, and apparently is. Yes, it looks beautiful; yes, the interface is fantastic fun but an actual feature I might use like the camera is flashless and only 2 mega pixels. However, looks and interface can change the world — and already has — so I’m still going to bite the Apple to see how we can best develop for Safari with the pinch and slide touch controls. Just cross your fingers that Europe gets 3G speed to fly by, not another EDGE to trip on.

    So, it’s been a wet and busy few days. In the midst of the commercial mayhem, efficacious product launches and cow hair rain, there have been moments of pure blue–sky inspiration. Hans Rosling’s incredible, amusing and profound presentation on solving world poverty at TED2007 stands out. If there’s one video you take time to see this week, that is my best pick not just for the solutions but as an example of the value of data visualisation in bringing problems to life, literally.