31 March 2011

A Recent Project...

Check out one of our latest projects, pictured here.

The brief was to create some promotional cards for a builder, who wanted to promote his home & garden services. The target audience was primarily the elderly and less able, who find it hard to maintain their house and garden, but not excluding middle aged professionals who have busy lives and a general lack of time to do odd jobs.

We came up with this highly typographic design, inspired by 1940's - 1950's poster design, which is instantly recognisable to the older generation and is seen today as 'vintage'.

The quirky and playful manner of the typography has a warmth to it, which is essential to get across the personality and reliability of the builder in question.

We so much enjoyed creating this piece of work, as it was so different and really an adventure to do. I almost want to blow it up and hang it on the studio wall, like a poster!

To view more pictures of this project, follow this link to go to the gallery on our website and select the project to view: www.leaffdesign.co.uk

30 March 2011

The Glorious Guildhall

We have just learnt something very exciting indeed....

Worcester's beautiful Guildhall - the spectacular Queen Anne style building - will now be playing host as a music venue to a whole range of talented international music artists.

The sumptuous and atmospheric assembly rooms, which are situated on the top floor of the building, will be the rooms that will host these shows. As you can see from the picture, the ceiling is adorned with the most intricate plaster work and great golden chandeliers that cast a warm, atmospheric glow over the room. On the walls hang large, impressive royal portraits, and at the far end, the stage sits perfectly framed by two great pillars. It really is magical.

Even from the outside of the building, standing at the foot of the grand black & gold gates that guard, you can catch a glimpse of the stunning chandeliers through the large majestic windows. This view right here is what drew me into the hall the very first time. I just had to look inside.

This building has such history, with a royal patronage which dates right back to 1788, and aside from the cathedral, it is (in our opinion at least) perhaps the most impressive building in Worcester.

It is so great that Worcester has a really special and unique place for more intimate musical shows, which we hope will attract a good variety of very special artists. Artists like Agnes Obel and City & Colour would be magnificent in this venue, and we will be informing them of The Guildhall right away!

This photograph was taken by Karl Bungey at folk singer Deborah Hodgson's show in 2010. Deborah unveiled in an interview that as she stood on the stage, she looked up to find the words 'music, poetry and drama' inscribed in the ceiling. It is as if it was always meant to be.

28 March 2011

Down a cobbled lane, was a magical adventure...

On the weekend, we visited the most magical and inspiring place that Leaff - or I - have ever discovered. Hidden away down a cobbled little lane in Ledbury, is a wondrous place by the name of Tilley Printing, which transports you back in time.

From the antiqued little sign fixed to the wall at the entrance to the lane, we were given a subtle clue to how special this place was going to be. We carefully walked over the uneven cobbles of the quaint little lane, unsure of where it would lead us to. Creeping along with wide and excited eyes, I turned my head to see another weathered sign, signifying the entrance. We had arrived!

Slowly and carefully, we mounted the steep little steps. As we approached the door, we were greeted by a jolly faced gentleman, by the name of Martin. With long white hair, black inky hands and a gentle, kind face, he welcomed us in. And so the adventure took full swing.

Stepping into the worn out building was like being in a time warp. Hundreds of years old, it told it's age so well. With flakey walls, old beams overhead and the most enormous cobwebs I have ever seen, it was full of character that seemed almost unreal. I will say it was cold and dark, because it was, but these were the things that made it special, and at the same time it was so unbelievably cosy. The soft lights that glowed here and there made it feel so magical. Martin apologetically commented on the mess, and I threw it back - it was just perfect the way it was.

The room was packed with old furniture that was crammed full of the most amazing old letterpress materials. Off this room branched other little quirky rooms, some higher, some lower and each with old wooden steps that I felt could give way at any moment. The creaky floors, the nooks and crannies, all just added and added to the character. I was in my element!

We oohed and ahhhed over the hundreds of letterforms, plates, and equipment that Martin showed us. We marvelled over the architecture of the building and how long it had all been there. My favourite room might have been where all of the actual letterpress machines sat, and one particularly magnificent beast - the Heidelberg letterpress. As you can see in the picture, it is a beautiful piece of machinery - German made, as the name suggests. I love it's dark metal, mixed with the bright shiny silver - and the smell of the ink.

Martin is a master of his trade. It isn't just a job to him, it is his passion - a feeling that is so familiar to me. I could see it in the way that he talked about it, on the ink stained hands that he shook mine with, and I could feel it in the very walls that surrounded me. I really felt connected to him and his work, and I struggled to leave, feeling the most inspired that I have felt in a very long time - or maybe even ever.

Needless to say, I hope that we have just begun a very long and special relationship with a lovely man and his magical workshop.

25 March 2011

The Mexican Walking Fish!

These are the cutest and most amazing things that I have discovered in a very long time. They are called Axoloti Salamander (Ambystoma Mexicanum) - also know as 'Mexican Walking Fish' or 'Mexican Water Monsters'. Apparently endangered by a number of factors, like pollution, scientists are looking to build a sanctuary for them.

I have never seen anything like it - they have hands that are almost foetal looking. It is like someone has taken a cartoon character and made it real! Absolutely adorable and utterly unbelievable - so much so, that I actually had to read the whole article that I discovered them in, just to make sure it wasn't a joke! It doesn't seem to be, but it is still hard to believe that what I am looking at is real.

It is very sad that they have the potential to go into extinction - what an amazing creature for our planet to lose. If you fancy a further read about them and a look at some more pictures (worth it!), then here is the link to the article that I found them in: www.treehugger.com

22 March 2011

MacTod's Handpainted Linen

MacTod's Original Designs are wonderful clients of Leaff, who create beautiful handpainted table linens, for any occasion. Above is an picture of one of my favourite linens, that they created for a wedding.

If you are looking for a special table runner for your wedding tables, or even a table cloth to brighten up your home, they are really worth checking out. With Mothers Day around the corner, these linens would also make a lovely present!

MacTod's have the flexibility to create a bespoke commission, if you want something personal, or you can simply browse their 'originals' collection for an off the shelf purchase.

MacTod's will be exhibiting at Malvern's Three Counties Showground, this Sunday (27th March), at the 'I Will' wedding fair, so why not pop on over for a browse? Entry is just £2, and there will be catwalks and competitions galore! The fair runs between 11.00am - 3.30pm.

21 March 2011

Wedding Adventures

As some of you already know, I am getting married in October this year. So on top of the pile of projects that we are currently working on, I also have our invitations to do, which we are working on at weekends.

A very different project to any other, seen as I am my own client, and this perhaps in some ways, makes it more challenging. The creative scope is vast, and we get to experiment with so many different techniques, so it really is one big adventure for us.

Inspiration wise, there are lots of things that inspire me. The weather, the garden, various topics of conversation... nothing typical really. But then there are my books, bursting with visuals of other artists work, which I can lose myself in for hours at a time, until I am fit to burst and simply must put pen to paper!

Then there is Style Me Pretty - the mother of all wedding blogs. An american blog, it spares nothing, and is absolutely packed with inspiration on pretty much anything wedding related. I manage to draw inspiration from it no matter what the project is, so whether you are thinking 'weddings' or not, you should definitely take a look: www.stylemepretty.com

Yesterday we spent some time experimenting with the copy, and creating some illustrations. Our main concern is to stay close to our venue, as everything is spinning off from that. I don't want to say too much too soon, but I intend to give snippets of information away on here, every now and then, and perhaps with the odd picture too for sneak peeks. It will make a good diary of our progress with them, until one day soon, when they are released into the world.

Time is ticking away, and it is hard because I really think I could spend months and months working on these. It is an amazing journey into us as a couple, matched with complete freedom of our imaginations - with no rules, and no constraints. It is just us, in this space, where anything is possible.

Sunny Spring Swans

Saturday truly marked the arrival of spring (weather-wise) for us. We took a stroll around sunny Worcester, along by the river. It was picture perfect.

The swans were out to feast on the bread from passers by and fellow strollers, and they looked magical against the glittering river. Like hundreds of tiny diamonds were strewn across it. Everything was bathed in sunlight, and the swans dunked and splashed about in the water, enjoying the warmth that had finally arrived.

18 March 2011

Leaff's Furry Friend

We had a visitor to the studio this morning. A big furry ginger cat, by the name of Jasper! He lives just down the road, but regularly comes to say hello, and has recently discovered Leaff's studio. He just loves to roll around and rub against the carpet, furring us out completely! This is his favourite spot, by the bottom step, where he can push against the step with his little paws - which were very cold this morning - and purr to his heart's content!

17 March 2011

Our Look Book

We are currently working on a 'Look Book' to showcase our wedding stationery services. The creative possibilities are endless!

We have come across a company who make high quality books, and they look really rather nice! You can download the software from their website, and you are free to design the book yourself. Great for designers like us, who are looking for a high quality book that we have full design control of.

The service so far seems simple to use and hassle free (we are all up for time saving!). Check them out at the following link. We will be sure to post pictures of the finished books!


08 March 2011

Pancakes and Innocent

Happy pancake day!

I got up extra early today to make them for breakfast. We also opened a bottle of very special orange juice this morning...

After receiving a very nice little card and voucher from the folks at Innocent, we used it to buy some great big family bottles of orange juice to enjoy with our pancakes. It was like drinking happy!

Their very spring-like card is proudly sat on my desk, and I smile every time I look at it!

A HUGE thanks to Innocent for making our week!
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