A lot of projects in the public sector require some element of community engagement or consultation. I worked with Kāpiti Coast District Council on their Waikanae Library and Community Hub community engagement. They wanted to find out what was important to people and which of three possible options the community preferred. Here are five simple […]

Yay, I’m able to give blood again. As a ‘mad cow’ it’s been a few decades since I gave a donation, so I was interested to see how things are done these days. It reminded me that some organisations, like the NZ Blood Service | Te Ratonga Tata o Aotearoa, have to engage across a […]

As a graphic designer, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that the more outside inspiration that goes into the creative process – the better the creative output.  This means the more collaboration, teamwork, and communication I have with my clients and colleagues, the better the final design will be. Being curious, open […]

Are you starting a new business? Well, you’ll need a name then won’t you! Starting a new business and think you’ve come up with the perfect name? How do you know it’s available to use and won’t cause you headaches in the future? Recently, one of my clients came to me for help with this […]

Where to find authentic New Zealand stock photography As it’s Te Rā o Waitangi – Waitangi Day this week (6 February) I thought I’d highlight five local stock libraries that might be useful. We’ve all seen it. The generic stock photo of smiling professionals or the “general public” looks decidedly staged or from somewhere other […]

The Pukerua Bay Bookshed just had its 7th birthday. I’m delighted it’s been successful and (as you can tell from the picture on the right) is popular and packed with books. While it was created as a fun family project and a community experiment, it also demonstrates something relevant to business. A) Something simple can […]

Painting practice. This year I’m EXPLORING (more about that here). As a result, this weekend I’m selling some of my paintings at the local Market.     Painting is something I’ve come back to in the last couple of years (thank you Covid!). It’s a long time since art college and I’ve found approaching it […]

Some years ago, I was involved in one of the first bilingual traffic signs in Aotearoa New Zealand for Porirua City Council. It got some media attention at the time and I’ve noticed that bilingual signage is becoming much more common.     Some of the examples I’ve seen are council signage by Porirua City […]

Silhouette of person looking out to sea from a clifftop at dawn

EXPLORE: my ‘word of the year’ for 2022. The concept of having a ‘word of the year’ is something I’ve played with for many years. Sometimes I’ve picked one and promptly forgotten all about it, but more recently I’ve been more intentional. For example:   2020 was ACCEPT… which turned out to be prophectic. Covid-19 smashed the […]

Letter a with macron in different bright colours on a white background

Kia ora. Te Reo Māori is the indigenous language of Aotearoa, New Zealand and one of three official languages of the nation. Its use is increasing in professional and everyday life. As a designer that means designing with fonts that can accommodate macrons as they are an integral part of the language. I’m going to share some […]

A hand holding a community garden fundraiser on a dark background.

In business, and in life, you’re often encouraged to consider your “Why”. This is the concept of having a purpose, belief or cause that is a driving force in what you do and how you do it. Simon Sinek describes the concept in this TED talk. Like many simple ideas I found it easy to […]

Three file icons on a pink background with a question mark on the front of each file

Every now and then I’m asked; “Did you work on this?” Each time, I’m reminded that the extra bit of effort required to number, name and file a job properly is worth it for those occasions when I’ll need to retrieve it. Recently, I was asked this question about a project that had lots of […]

The words ask more questions as a framed picture on a wall

If you’ve got a project coming up that needs some design input, I recommend you ask yourself these simple questions before talking to a designer. Not only will it save time (because you’ll have a lot of the preparation covered) it should also save money spent on design. The designer will have the information they need […]

This month I celebrate 14 years working for myself as Pogo Design.   While it doesn’t seem that long, in many ways a lot has changed. My driving motivation to start a business – wanting to find a way my son could attend the local school and manage school holidays – is no longer relevant […]

Communicating information rather than driving sales What if your aim is to impart information to an audience that isn’t particularly engaged? Or the data is technical, complicated or copious? The answer is often to simplify where possible and cherry-pick the most pertinent or surprising facts. In a previous blog I talked about the quirks of […]

abstract map of wellington with pie charts and percentages showing travel types into the city

We live in an increasingly complex world and are bombarded with information 24/7. To have any chance of catching and holding a customer’s attention it helps to be very clear about what you want to say and present that information in an eye-catching or easy to digest form. Infographics (or information graphics) is described by […]

Colour illustration of a prawn

When I got involved in producing a book project recently (see my blog’s about this here and here) I thoroughly enjoyed creating some collage illustrations. During the process I revisited some favourite stock libraries for images and even discovered a new one! There are heaps of stock libraries, but I like the following ones for […]

Different design projects require different colour systems depending on how they are being produced. In a brand guide for example, there will be usually be CMYK and RGB values for the different brand colours. What’s the difference between them and why do we need both?   CMYK is created with ink A full range of […]

Pages from an open report on a grey background

Factors driving a public sector design project can be quite different to those in the corporate or business world. This is because: of accountability to rate payers and tax payers projects are often community-based and grassroots which can require accessible design and different languages it’s about communicating information rather than driving sales things take time […]

We’re all human, and it seems emotion and unconscious thought is what really drives decision making, and by extension our spending choices. Colour is an emotional cue and has a major effect on buying behaviour. How does colour influence emotion and by extension your customers and sales? I look at: Psychology of colour Unconscious decision […]

As mentioned in my recent blog I’ve recently become involved in a project to co-author “The perfect recipe for creating awesome web content”. As the title suggests it’s a book about writing content for small business websites. Angela Bensemann and Iona Elwood-Smith approached me to contribute to their project. What started out as just a […]

3 smiling women sat at a white table. The middle woman is holding a book.

It’s a cliché but I believe we do business with people we know and like. As a small business I focus on building relationships with others that have complimentary skills and I enjoy working with. But I never imagined I’d be co-authoring “The perfect recipe for creating awesome web content” book this year! I’ve worked […]

Jane smiling standing at a gate with a hand painted sign that says Pukerua Bay Community Garden and Food Forest

As the Covid-19 virus re-emerges in our communities and we are back into the restrictions of Level 2 and 2.5, our need for inter-connectedness is highlighted. I believe strongly in building relationships between people and strengthening communities, this is really important both professionally and in life in general. Image: Three promotional poster designs for my […]

While there are no absolute rules, there are some common practices for numbering a document that will be physically printed. 1) Position of odd and even page numbering Start the numbering on a right-hand page so odd numbers (1,3,5…) always fall on the right-hand page of a spread and even numbers (2,4,6…) are always on […]

It’s that time of year again when organisations start to think about their annual reports. It’s a busy time for us graphic designers as we embrace the challenge of making these documents look enticing and easy to read. What is an annual report ? “The report on an incorporated company’s affairs that must be sent to shareholders […]

Large format display sizes compared to a human silhouette

Sometimes bigger actually is better. Many occassions, like trade shows, construction projects or events, may require larger format displays to be designed. These tend to be less standardised that the ‘A’ paper size system and may differ slightly from each supplier. Pull-up banners and flags can vary so it’s important for you, or your designer, […]

Standard poster sizes in relation to a person's silhouette

Most of us are familiar with an A4 sheet of paper, but it can be harder visualising how large an A1 poster will look or how an A6 postcard might fit into your hand. Here’s a handy collection of all the ‘A’ paper sizes together measured in mm, as well as a standard business card. […]

Today’s challenges are making us all take a look at our businesses and what we need to be doing differently. It’s shining a spotlight on our weaknesses and maybe giving us the motivation to take action on changes that have been on the to do list for a while. Which is why I said ‘Yes’ […]