Posted by Megan Oldcorn
21 December, 2017

For the last time this year, we've gone round the studio and gathered up the team's quarterly thoughts. Enjoy, and merry Christmas.


I’ve been filling my ears with words.

With an 18-month-old daughter and insurmountable housework, I hardly find time to read. Which is a problem for a writer; all us writers really do is eat up words and spit them out in a different order. Without a wellspring of new writing to feed us, we begin to dry up.

So, a little late to the party, I’ve gotten into podcasts – literary podcasts in particular. My four favourites are KCRW’s Bookworm, presented by Michael Silverblatt (whose voice is an acquired sound), and three from The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice, Fiction and Poetry. Listening to authors, poets and editors read and discuss writing is giving me the literary sustenance I need. Whether I’m on my lunch-break walk, roaming around town with my daughter asleep in her pushchair or doing the dishes, my world is full of words again.


Brussels sprout season is here! Whenever I see these glorious green nuggets I think of the lovely girls at Sets Appeal who painstakingly glued thousands upon thousands to a foam tower for the set of the Morrisons Christmas advert. The result is spectacular!


I cheated and here is a link to 24ways, a yearly advent calendar targeted at designers and developers.


Robert E. Jackson is a serious collector of American snapshot photography – he’s amassed more than 12,000 photographs, with an eye for the unusual and eccentric. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., even exhibited his collection in a special show called The Art of the American Snapshot.

He’s expanded into do-it-yourself family Christmas cards predominantly from the 1950s and ’60s. Take a look at some of the amusing pet-related cards he’s collected, or follow Jackson on Instagram.


I like some of the top picks of the year that are appearing online now we’re running to the end of 2017. Design Week has some nice ones; it’s always interesting to review the year creatively.


In early November I was fortunate enough to be invited by the lovely folks at Newspaper Club to ModMag17, the one-day conference organised by magCulture

The Conway Hall in London was packed to the roof with aficionados of magazines and journals from all over the world. We were treated to a line-up of some of the most interesting figures in magazine publishing, all of whom provided fascinating insights into both their own practices and the state of independent publishing in a digital world. 

The highlight for me was the last speaker, Creative Director of The New Yorker magazine, Nicholas Blechman. He entertained us with a tour around The New Yorker offices illustrated with his own pared-down but highly descriptive and humorous illustrations. Given the time of year I thought you'd like to see some covers with a festive feel from the past; click here for more.


Justin Su’a is a performance and leadership coach who works with elite athletes and personalities. On his podcast he talks about mental toughness and battling everyday obstacles and motivates listeners to become better versions of themselves on a day-to-day basis.


I’d like to ramble about another magazine for the quarterly thoughts. Anxy is all about mental heath and provides a unique platform for people to share their personal stories. The first issue, Anger, is filled to the brim with poems, visual stories, personal opinions, illustrations, captivating essays, and an interview with Margaret Atwood, all discussing the ways in which people respond to anxiety, stress and the world around them.

The first issue made me laugh, rage and very nearly cry; I will undoubtedly be ordering issue two.


From 60,000 music fans chanting the name of a certain lefty to the silence-breakers of the #MeToo movement, activism in both design and marketing became a force to be reckoned with in 2017. Of course it can always go spectacularly wrong when brands attempt to cash in on the movement. Pepsi’s sideways nod to a friendly riot featuring Kendall Jenner was pulled amongst a barrage of abuse and rightfully so. A sobering reminder to all brands to never work with animals, children or riots, and to always be authentic.


It’s always good to discover companies like Wyatt and Jack that are creating well-designed environmentally friendly products, especially when they’re selling something you need. In my case, a waterproof bag. Such a clever idea: simple, sustainable and stylish. It’s made from a broken bouncy castle and I just smile when I use it. Living so close to the sea we do see first hand the irreparable damage from all the plastic waste that ends up in our oceans. To keep it seasonal and to prove my point, here’s a Christmas tree I made from stuff washed up on our local beach after a stormy day. Merry Christmas.

A bag made of recycled bouncy castle, by Wyatt and Jack.
Washed-up rubbish on a beach used to make a Christmas tree.


Every year some of the most talented digital artists on the web get together and turn the creativity knob up to 11 to produce a special kind of advent calendar. Previous years have given us games, animated shorts and even breathtaking works of art, so I’m excited to see what 2017 has to offer. If you’ve got a few minutes to kill over lunch, I would highly recommend heading over to their website and seeing what’s hidden behind some of the doors.