A Personal Record of Design – The Designer’s Scrapbook


I received a magazine from Vauxhall a couple of days ago and loved some of the images in it. I tore them out as I reminder that it was about time I updated my design scrap book. I have been keeping a scrap book of design bits for about 15 years. I am in no way a prolific collector hence I am just reaching the end of my second book but every now and again I will see something in a magazine, a greeting card, a leaflet etc that I like and will keep it to put in my scrapbook. When my design magazine shelf gets overloaded they go to the guillotine too. Sometimes I don’t even like the piece that I stick in the book, but there is an aspect of it that could be a useful reference, maybe the text is tipped at an angle or enclosed in a shape.

I thought you might find it interesting how design and illustration has changed over my scrapbook years. These are some of the first pages from my first book.


Notice below the Walkman ad, I thought this was great at the time (now I feel really old!). I think this must have been circa 1995. I remember futura was one of the “IN” fonts around then too.

old scrap2

My latest scrap book definitely looks different, some of it obviously down to changing fashion but I guess also to my changing taste.



Scrapbooks are a great source of inspiration. In effect you create your own graphic design book.

Do you collect anything or make scrapbooks to inspire your work?

How Creative Should a Designer’s CV Be?

cvI was flicking through one of my old design scrap books earlier today and came across an old image entitled Dave on the Dole. The image was of a magazine style curriculum vitae belonging to an out of work Lancashire Designer, Dave Towers. To try and get himself noticed he had created, designed and printed his CV on found paper such as P45s (a form you get in the UK when you leave a job). The image was shown in Creative Review Magazine so it certainly got him some publicity, I wonder if it got him a job? Dave if you’re out there let us know (and I hope you don’t mind me showing your old CV).

This got me thinking: What does it take to get a designer noticed for a design job, especially a graduate with no proven design experience? I cringe to look back to when I had just left college (all those years ago) and made myself a pop up CV with my face on it 🙁 . Mind you I think it got me a couple of interviews, even if it was just out of amusement. A friend of mine from college who really struggled to get his first job started to make individual brochure CVs targeted at the individual company he was writing to. This eventually landed him a job (would he have got it otherwise – who knows, but initially it got him an interview).

Another unusual curriculum vitae – a man screen printed his resume on to a t-shirt and wore it at a tradeshow, while handing out copies of his resume. This resulted in 5 interviews and 3 job offers, you can read about it at www.ideasitefor business.com.

Now everything is online, perhaps an online CV is the way to go, or does this just get lost in the crowd?

So what is the answer, I’m not sure, how creative do you think a designers CV should be? What are the most creative resumes or CVs you have heard of?

New Design Resources Section Added

I have just added a new section to this site called Design Resources. Here I have put some downloads which I hope will be useful. For new design freelancers I have added a downloadable job book page, design brief sheet and sample invoice. For students I have included the sample design brief I posted previously.I have also included some lorem ipsum. I will try to keep adding to these downloads along with adding in some links I think may be of interest. If anyone has any suggestions I would be happy to add them.

Student and Real Design Briefs Compared


I was interested to read Sean Dinners – The Real World vs Student Design Briefs in response to my post Sample Design Brief for Students.

As he points out his student brief, which you can download from Seans blog is significantly different to my live brief. The student brief is 3 pages long and has full details of requirements, logos, images, size, essential design elements and technical specifications. This rarely happens in the real world, well not for anywhere I have worked anyway, maybe for some of the big City Agencies. It would be a real luxury to have such a full complete brief for a job.

As I mentioned before usually the briefs I take are verbal, which in some ways is good as you can try and really get to the bottom of what the client is looking for, but you do then have the problem of misinterpretation. A written brief means everything is in black and white and there can be no disagreements on what you should or shouldn’t have done.

Sean also has mentioned before, he gets about three weeks to do a project, this just wouldn’t happen in the real world, unless the client had a huge budget. Some of this is obviously so the student can develop to their full creative potential.

My thanks to Sean for sharing a student student brief, it’s a great comparison. It would be interesting to hear any one elses views.

Any suggestions for the type of “real design briefs” you would like to see are welcomed in the comments below.

Sample Design Brief for Students: New Battery Brand and Pack

For tips on learning design straight to your inbox click here


As promised I have created a sample brief based on a brief I had a couple of years ago to create a new brand of batteries – including naming them, creating a logo and designing a look for the brand. For the initial stage I had to come up with three design options for a clam pack holding 4 batteries. The chosen design was then through the other clam packs and boxes and also on to a POS dump bin for use in DIY stores.

The brief (PDF) along with a cutter guide (illustrator eps), fictitious logo (illustrator eps)(similar to to the real one that I was supplied) and a couple of images of competitors designs(jpeg/gif) can be downloaded as a zip file from here. I have also include notes as to how I supplied the visuals and time allocated for the initial design.

The Challenge here was trying to fit a lot of information into a small space, coming up with a name and look that would work well at a small size

I hope this is of use to students, wanting to see some real every day briefs. I am happy to post more if they are of interest.

Any suggestions for the type of “real design briefs” you would like to see are welcomed in the comments below.

Looking for more sample design briefs have a look here.

Real Briefs for Graphic Design Student’s Reference


College projects often allow a lot of room for interpretation and can be very open which is good but they can lack the substance of ‘live’ work matt mcarthur

After seeing the above comment from Matt McArthur from my post about an HND in Graphic Design it got me thinking. When I was at college I had no real idea of what live design briefs were like or the budget or time allowed. I think if I had, myself and fellow students would have found it a real eye opener.

I wondered if it would be of interest to any graphic design students if I posted up a few of my old design briefs (with clients names etc changed) with a guide to how long I would expect to spend on them?

Often briefs are are very vague and a writen brief is a luxury, usually, I just take notes from a verbal design brief.

If anyone would be interested in this drop me a comment below and I will start to dig out a few old briefs and write them up for you as soon as I get time. If any other designers have old briefs (no rude comments please) they are prepared to share email me – mail @ graphicdesignblog.co.uk (remove spaces) and I will post with your link.

Anu suggestions for the type of “real design briefs” you would like to see are welcomed in the comments below.

Update: You can now find sample design briefs here