For many office dwellers, home working has at last provided the chance to break away from the old nine-to-five. Personally I’ve loved mixing up my day to maximise working when I’m in peak creative flow and getting outside to recharge when I’m not feeling inspired. So it was fascinating to discover this infographic showing that many successful creatives were working to the beat of their own drum many years B.C. (before corona). Who’d have thought that Flannery O'Connor only worked for three hours a day? That Picasso would lie-in till 11am? Or that Balzac would pick up his pen at 1am? It’s a great reminder that there is no right or wrong way to approach creative work. Fancy a post-lunch nap? It worked out alright for Charles Darwin.
Paper Ren is an Instagram feed and soon-to-be blog run by Ruth. The feed shines a light on the best and brightest in children’s literature and picture books. In this beautifully curated feed, Ruth highlights books, authors, artists, and sellers that are trying to convey important messages to children; whether that’s about ecology, race, education, gender, or sometimes just plain fun. There are so many amazing books out there now, and if you have a little one, this feed is definitely a good place to look if you’re in need of something inspiring or entertaining for their developing intellects and imaginations.
I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to signage and wayfinding that is directly influenced by the space it sits within. Pentagram has designed a beautiful modular system for the Bibliothèque Nationale du Luxembourg, with a direct nod to the building’s architecture. The flexible signage plan, consisting of 25,000 resin cubes, 6,000 tableaus and 2,400 numerical shelving characters, enables staff to independently customise information as the library’s collection fluctuates. A great solution to an ever-changing moving content problem. Bravo.
The BBC has teamed up with Headspace (which created the popular mindfulness app) to develop a series of films combining imagery of the natural world with immersive mindfulness experiences. Each of the four films will be narrated by Andy Puddicombe, who co-founded Headspace, and will cover the themes Breathe, Change, Joy and Rest. I’m looking forward to seeing how the collaboration pulls together and think the concept is incredibly timely with mental health and wellbeing coming to the fore in society. Here’s a link to the series on BBC4, if you’re interested, and if you miss them they are due to be added to the Headspace app later in the year.
During recent months, many of us have spent more time outdoors, beating isolation and cabin fever by finding freedom on foot. With more time to look around and a new-found appreciation of my local landscape, I was fascinated to read about the work of Tristan Gooley, The Natural Navigator, who teaches people how to “read” the clues within nature. Who knew that a patch of nettles could point the way to the nearest village? Or that a glance at birds could help predict a coming rain shower? If you fancy the idea of becoming a natural landscape guru, check out Tristan’s podcast, The Pursuit of Outdoor Clues.
New Rules of Work is a series of typographic posters and animations that satirise everyday things we encounter when working from home during the pandemic. It's great fun, and a nice way of finding humour in the little things.
I recently discovered Amazon Smile and I couldn’t believe I had never heard of it before. It’s exactly the same website as Amazon, but Amazon donates 0.5% of the price to your chosen charity. It can be done via the app or online and it’s super easy to set up. I’ll definitely be making all my future Amazon purchases through this and support one of my favourite charities: Coppafeel!
Perhaps it is just the type of people I follow on Instagram, but since March I’ve noticed a huge increase in not only the making of banana bread (seems everyone on furlough had a go at that), but also the growing love for indoor plants (pun intended…). This seems particularly popular among those who are in their twenties and thirties, and I keep seeing more and more interesting ways of displaying them around the home. With the lockdown period earlier in the year, indoor plants are an easy way of bringing a touch of nature inside. They also bring a sense of wellbeing, are good for your physical and mental health, and provide a great respite from too much screen time!
But the loveliest part has got to be how artistic you can get with indoor plants, and I have seen some gorgeous displays – this article gives a few ideas on how to start with plants indoors. I particularly love the idea of hanging plants for 360-degree displays and using trailing plants to create a living wall.
A quick search on Instagram for hashtags like #urbanjungle, #plantsofinstagram and #plantsmakepeoplehappy gives some really inspiring ideas if you fancy creating a piece of living art in your home.
For some, remote working has been something we’ve been putting up with, rather than embracing, papering over the cracks until we’re allowed back in to the office. But now it looks as if it may be here for longer than we thought, perhaps even becoming the new default way of working for many companies. If you can’t get your head around being away from your desk and colleagues, or have just struggled to find your rhythm at your makeshift desk in the spare room, head on over to remoteteams.org. It’s an online resource for employees, managers and owners, packed with articles, tutorials and workflow recommendations, to make the transition from office to home as easy as possible.
I’ve recently discovered that the entire Cornish peninsula rises and falls by as much as 6cm a day. It’s a fairly unique phenomena caused by the gravitational forces and how the North Atlantic moves around our coastlines. This interesting video explains why.