Ten Questions 038 – Thomas Blankschøn

October 1st, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

Thomas Blankschøn is a designer whose work manages to cover a wide variety of styles and approaches, whilst still remaining consistently his. Abstracted, disjointed illustrations sit alongside playful type treatments and fluid, textured sketches to create a characteristic and individual style. Thomas works for himself in his Berlin studio, before which he attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and The School of Design in Copenhagen.

He took some time out to answer our Ten Questions.

Keep reading…

Creativity Decoded

July 18th, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

We all have differing opinions, and with good reason. Life would be pretty dull if we all goose stepped along to the same thoughts and views. But surely there’s some things we have to agree on, so that we can determine right from wrong, black from white? This is the conundrum Aaron Yeboah has been contemplating recently, as he tries to define ‘what is creativity?’

Keep reading…

Ten Questions 034 – David Foldvari

May 1st, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

David Foldvari is a London-based illustrator. His dark, distinctive (and often very funny) style will be recognisable to many from featuring weekly in the Guardian and Observer. His illustrations have been
regularly featured alongside articles by columnists such as Charlie Brooker, David Mitchell and Stewart Lee.
Alongside his editorial work, David spent a large portion of last year working on the ‘Dickens Dark London’ series for the Museum of London and is now in the midst of illustrated book about the life of Picasso, a project for Laurence King.

He was kind enough to take some time out of his day to contribute his answers to our Ten Questions.

Keep reading…

Good Housekeeping

April 17th, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

Every designer has one client who gets a bit neglected. One who all other clients are treated as a priority over. The projects for these less important souls invariably get pushed to the bottom of the pile in favour of work for the ‘special’ people. So who are these mistreated folks, and why are they letting us get away with treating them so badly? Well, they’re ourselves. You and I. Try as we might, the vast majority of designers have a tendency to postpone creating or updating their own design work in favour of spending time on ‘proper’ clients.

Keep reading…

The Key To Failure Is Trying To Please Everybody

April 8th, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody”
Bill Cosby

To state the obvious; any designer worth their salt wants to do great design work. Work that can stand the test of time. Work that gets noticed. Work that they can be proud of and get recognition for.

The only real way of knowing that the work we’re producing is good, is when others tell us so. Design is a strange, subjective thing and most designers at one time or another have had to deal with a concept they thought was brilliant being rejected on the grounds that it simply wasn’t all that good. For a piece of design work to be really good, other people have to agree with you we’re afraid.

Keep reading…

Paul Arden already said it better than us…

March 13th, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

Creative briefs are, by their very nature, problematic. They are a challenge set out to designers – ‘Here is a problem, solve it’. Sometimes the solution is blindingly obvious, sometimes it’s a little more elusive. Every now and then, the answer simply seems to be impossible to pin down. At these times, the best approach is often to forget what you know, ignore the supposed parameters and do something that doesn’t obey convention. Something you haven’t been asked to do and perhaps even something which strays into forbidden territory. Taking these creative risks is easy to talk about, incredibly difficult to actually do and the majority of the time will create the most interesting results.

Keep reading…

All Work and No Play…

March 6th, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

At Mat Dolphin, we mess about. We work hard on client work, day-to-day admin, finances, quoting, invoicing and endlessly hunting for new business, but an important part of the way we work involves playing, experimenting and trying out things we find interesting for the sake of trying them. The process is often as important as the final result and the fact that these experiments have no real ‘point’ (in terms of financial gain), is the thing that makes them worth doing.

Keep reading…

Valentines Giveaway – The Winners

February 15th, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to pen romantic verses for our Valentines poster giveaway. We had a huge number of submissions to choose from – some beautiful and creative, some ridiculous and funny, quite a few creepy and vaguely worrying, but all very much appreciated.

We’ve gone through the lot and are pleased to announce the following lucky winners. Our judging process was pretty simple and based on one simple question; which ones did we like the most? Apologies to those who contributed work and weren’t chosen – we would love for all of you to be winners but there could only be a lucky few, and (in no particular order) here they are…

Keep reading…

…You get love

February 14th, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

** UPDATE ** The competition has now closed, we’ve been overwhelmed with a huge number of brilliant entries, and will be announcing the winners soon!

The time has finally come to announce the details of our Valentines poster giveaway! Let’s get it on…

If you’d like the chance to receive a copy of our A2 Valentines print delivered your door anywhere in the world, all you need to do is get in the mood for romance and follow these three simple steps:

Keep reading…

Ten Questions 032 – Non-Format

February 6th, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

Since long before starting Mat Dolphin we’ve been hugely inspired by Non-Format. The two man studio is run by Jon Forss and Kjell Ekhorn and the work they produce is beautiful, interesting, boundary pushing and, at times, a bit weird. The pair have created a style that is both completely unique and instantly recognisable for a pretty impressive client list. Since establishing the company in London in 2000, the pair have gone on to work with the likes of Nike, Coca-Cola, K-Swiss, Gap, Sony, Adobe, EMI, Orange, Rick Owens, Nokia and The Economist as well as a number of small independent record labels – music packaging being one of the things for which they’re best known. Now based in Minneapolis (Jon) and his native Norway (Kjell), their incredible typography, design and art direction has spawned a host of imitators but by the time most people have caught on, they’re already two steps ahead.

They were kind enough to spend some time answering our Ten Questions. Here’s what they had to say.

Keep reading…

It’s 2013…

January 9th, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

With love

Phil and Tom


Yours Truly, Angry Mob

December 18th, 2012 by Mat Dolphin

Recently, the University Of California unveiled a new logo. The general reaction in the studio was relatively muted. Clearly they’ve attempted to update their previous mark – pictured below – with a more contemporary look. The result, whilst certainly not horrendous, is also not amazing. It’s pretty inoffensive and basically ok. It would seem that others had stronger, more negative opinions about the rebrand, and weren’t afraid to let their feelings be known.

Keep reading…

Scathe We Wright*

December 13th, 2012 by Mat Dolphin

Weight Watchers recently unveiled a new identity, designed by Pentagram’s Paula Scher. There are a few things we wanted to mention about the identity, which lead on to a slightly bigger, more complex point.

Keep reading…

Work, rest and Playboy

December 5th, 2012 by Mat Dolphin

Don’t ask us how or why but recently, we stumbled upon this (obviously NSFW) online archive of Playboy back issues. The collection spans from the first ever issue all the way back in December 1953 to the present day. The early days of the magazine show some great examples of inventive and well considered editorial design. Creative, elegant and much better than most of the tat that fills newsagent’s shelves these days — Top shelf or not. We love them. So we thought we’d share some of the best we came across. Fnar.

Keep reading…

Jonathan Ive already said it better than us…

November 22nd, 2012 by Mat Dolphin

Approaching each and every design brief as a new challenge which therefore deserves a new solution should be standard practice for a designer. Each problem we’re asked to solve presents its own unique obstacles, questions and stumbling blocks. Using a tried and tested method you’ve used before (or, even worse, seen someone else use before), is hardly going to result in the most original final product. Being different is a necessary and important part of allowing your work to stand out from the rest. But it’s not enough to merely do something others aren’t.

Keep reading…

The Colour Purple

October 9th, 2012 by Mat Dolphin

As you may already know, Cadbury has won the exclusive rights to their own shade of purple. The win is the result of a four year legal battle with rivals Nestlé. Cadbury now ‘own’ Pantone 2685C purple for use across all of their chocolate bar and drinks packaging. More importantly, they can bring legal action against other brands using the colour who they see to be infringing upon their copyright.

Keep reading…

Repeat Performance

September 24th, 2012 by Mat Dolphin

Picture the scenario: You get given a great logo design brief from Client A. You take on the project and submit some ideas. One gets chosen, developed and finally delivered. The client is delighted with their new logo and your work makes a positive buzz in the design press. Everyone is happy and the project was a success.
High fives all round.

Keep reading…

BUG 32

August 30th, 2012 by Mat Dolphin

To the uninitiated, BUG: The Evolution Of Music Video is an ongoing series of bi-monthly events at the BFI Southbank in London, celebrating global creativity in music video. The shows are hosted by Adam Buxton — the funny, petite, bearded half of Adam and Joe — and have become an essential forum for fans of music videos and aspiring film-makers alike. If we can get tickets we try and make it along each and every time, it’s that good. It’s not just about getting away from our desks though, Adam literally has everyone in stitches, and the music videos aren’t half bad either. It’s sound and vision at it’s best.

It’s normally a packed out event, so for those that couldn’t make it along, or for those that didn’t even know it existed, we’ve compiled all the videos shown at last nights event. Watch / listen — have them on in the background. There’s dubstep, there’s throat slitting, there’s weird horse dancing and something a little perverse. So, something for everyone. Just think of it as your Mat Dolphin Friday visual playlist.

Keep reading…

Ten Questions 028 – Sam Green

July 10th, 2012 by Mat Dolphin

It’s been a long time since the last installment in our regular Ten Questions series. Too long. With this in mind, we got in touch with the brilliant Sam Green and asked him if he fancied getting involved.

Thankfully, he was up for it.

Sam is a London-based illustrator who creates stunning, abstract, dreamlike images. Since graduating from Central St. Martins, his work has attracted a client-list which includes 55DSL, Big Chill Festival, Dazed & Confused, The New York Times, Nokia, The Times and Wallpaper* amongst others. We love what he’s doing and can’t wait to see what he’s up to next.

Keep reading…

Keep it Real?

July 4th, 2012 by Mat Dolphin

For a number of reasons, we look at a lot of online design portfolios. The ‘work’ sections of designers and agencies websites are daily fixtures in our browsers and conversations. We sometimes look for a bit of inspiration, we sometimes look to check out what our peers in the industry are up to, but the majority of the time we simply look because we’re really big fans of good graphic design. And there’s plenty to look at.

Most decent portfolios feature multiple images in an effort to show a broad overview of the work. More often that not, a website project will show more than one screenshot, an editorial project will show more than one spread, branding projects will show various applications of the brand in-situ. Showing these is a big part of getting across the thought process behind the work and, if nothing else, makes the portfolio that much more interesting to look at.

Keep reading…