CONTACT

If you have got any lovely projects for me to get involved
with or if you just fancy a chat, send me an email using the contact form below.

NEIL RICHARDS
FREELANCE DIGITAL DESIGNER
HELLO@WEBSITESARELOVELY.COM


Melbourne
Australia

DESIGN BLOG

MICHAELS CAMERA

Neil Richards

A few months ago, I had the idea to redesign the Michaels Camera website - the original site (view screenshot) had been the same for a long time and as an avid fan of the shop I wanted to design a site that matched the community that shops there.

The plan was to complete my homepage design and then contact Michaels to see whether they would be interesting in using my services to audit the content, UX & UI and book it as a real project. The last few months have been ridiculously busy in my personal life, so the design was only completed yesterday, in the time it took me to finish, there have just launched a new site!

I would still be very much interested in working with them on the site, whether they would like to use elements of my design or to get in contact about future projects (maybe the Camera Museum needs it's own site?!) - so if anyone at Michaels would like to get in touch, you can email me here.

I based the design on the original navigation, with a few minor amends - but tried to create feature content to steer the user through to the relevant areas of the site. I wanted to have an uncomplicated design, with a clean colour palette, a simple responsive grid system and strong imagery.

I wanted to experiment with the contrast of the product images, so I produced a couple of variants, to see how the page would flow. It's always good to try out different versions of a design, as you can get to engrossed in the details and forget about the overall flow.

122 CONCRETE NUMBERS

Neil Richards

Back in December of last year, I was freelancing at Local Peoples / Assemble Projects on the design of the website for their small-footprint living development 122 Roseneath St. The development will be a mixture of Brutalist design and modern aesthetics, with beautiful finishes and materials. 

I had the idea to make some concrete numbers from the logo, which could be used outside of the building as a sign, or perhaps on a grander scale as seating. As a side project in my spare time, I decided to make a 'proof of concept' maquette.

Firstly, I printed the numbers onto A4 paper, made a cardboard template of the 2 numbers. Then I drew around the cardboard templates onto foamboard and used a scalpel to hand-cut the numbers out. This created a 5mm thick stencil, which would be layered up to create a mold, for casting my numbers in.

Once I had cut out enough layers of the stencil, I used sellotape to bind them together and to create a water-tight seal over the foamboard. Using plaster of Paris, I did a test-run to see if the mold would work. The mixture spilled out at the bottom a little, but it created a lovely smooth surface on the top - with a bit of sanding I got the edges looking good.

Before pouring the concrete, I used screws to fix the cardboard (covered in sellotape) firmly to the mold, so that no mixture could leak out. I left them to set overnight and crossed my fingers.

Although the numbers cracked a little when cutting them out of the mold, I was easily able to fix them with some superglue, the battered nature and textured finish gave a really nice aesthetic.

If I were to make these on a larger scale, I could use laser / CNC to create the mold out of MDF sheets and I would pour a layer of concrete filling the bottom of the mold, then add some steel reinforcement bars into the middle before pouring in the rest. This would give added strength to the numbers to support the weight on the corners. 

LACOCK ABBEY, FOX TALBOT MUSEUM

Neil Richards

While I was back in the UK, I bought a Kodak No 2 Folding Autographic Brownie camera from Cheddar car boot sale for £5. One day my Dad suggested that we should drive over to Lacock Abbey - the home of (William Henry) Fox Talbot - creator of the first photographic negative back in 1835. I thought this would be the perfect place to try out my latest purchase.

Living in a small countryside village meant that I didn't have access to camera shops that would stock 120mm film, so we headed out and hoped to find somewhere on the way (I was hoping that Lacock Abbey would have some in the gift shop). When we arrived at Lacock we stumbled upon a small antique shop, with cameras and photographic paraphernalia - I spotted some expired Ilford XP2 120mm film and snapped it up for £4!

I watched a YouTube video on how to load and shoot with the Kodak Brownie, popped the film into the camera and started to shoot. I found the camera to be quite charming, the way that the shutter speed was explained with 'Brilliant', 'Clear', 'Gray', 'Dull' and 'Very Dull' to accompany the speeds.

The results were really surprising, I was so glad that they came out and maintained that antique feel to them. I think the look of them is a combination of the camera, lens, light leaks and the expired nature of the film. Ilford XP2 is C41 processing, so it meant I could get it developed fairly easily and then scan it at home on my Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II flatbed scanner.

ROOFTOP PHOTOWALK NUMBER 2

Neil Richards

Today I went on my second rooftop photowalk arranged by  Mr James Juranke & Film Never Die.
It was great to catch up with a few people from the first walk (that I attended) and meet some new camera enthusiasts - and chat our way through a cold Melbourne afternoon.

I took with my my Pentax MV 35mm film camera and my Yashica Mat medium format TLR - which I will be getting developed soon, but for now here are a few of my digital shots.

I am really looking forward to warmer / sunnier days to come back to some of the spots to do some shoots. If you'd like to do any modelling, send me a message here: http://www.websitesarelovely.com/saycheese

MODELS WANTED

Neil Richards

I went for a walk with my camera in South Melbourne / St Kilda this weekend, and I found some great spots to shoot some portraits or fashion shots. If you would like to be in front of my camera for some natural, candid photographs, please get in contact with me here: http://www.websitesarelovely.com/saycheese

Ideally I would like to get a group of people together who like to model, take photos and wander around Melbourne in their spare time, using the TFP (Time For Photographs) trade system - where everyone benefits :)

CAR BOOT SALE FINDS MAGAZINE

Neil Richards

For the last few years, I have been documenting all the things that I buy or find at car boot sales, charity shops, vintage fairs or flea markets over on my blog carbootsalefinds.tumblr.com

With a huge back catalogue of 'finds' I have been thinking about starting a PDF magazine to document them, and then one day maybe taking it in to print via a Kickstarter campaign. Ultimately I would love to have the resources to be able to photograph and design a coffee table book, to show off my collection and let people see all the wonderful things that other people discard.

NEW BUSINESS CARDS

Neil Richards

Just before Christmas, I had a set of new business cards printed with Moo Cards. I was testing out their new service, with a bespoke gold foil plate for the front of the card. I have been looking to get my cards updated, with a new 'darker' set of brand colours - ideally I wanted the cards to be letterpressed and gold foiled, but the cost of setting up the plates (and having multiple designs) was too high for me to justify.

The Moo Cards have come back and I am pleased with the results, I went for a halftone design with dark grey on grey and a matte finish, the gold foil works nicely on this combination. I have chosen 12 different images that I have taken in the last few years - so if you see me, ask for one.

IPF PHOTO PRIZE 2015

Neil Richards

Earlier in the week, I went along to the IPF Photo Prize Exhibition at The Good Copy in Collingwood. The Independent Photography Festival is in it's fourth year, and has grown in size and scope since it's inception, travelling around the world with exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, London, Sydney and in it's home of Melbourne. 

You can vote for your 2 favourite photographs to win the 'People's Choice' award and also bid for the artwork in a 'silent auction' - with the starting prices as low as $30 AUD. I would highly recommend getting down there and getting involved, and to take part in other events happening around the city.

The winners will be announced at the Closing Party this Sunday between 7 - 9pm.

ROOFTOP PHOTOWALK

Neil Richards

On Sunday I took part in a photowalk arranged by the talented Mr James Juranke, who kindly showed us his hidden photography spots around Melbourne, taking in some incredible views of the city from car park rooftops.

There were around 30 of us on the walk, we all met at the hub for film photography - Film Never Die, had some free coffees, picked up some film and headed out into the city. It was great to meet so many enthusiastic and talented photographers, and see the vast range of cameras in their arsenal. I opted for my Polaroid 240 (shooting Fujifilm FP100C and FP3000B pack flim), my Polaroid SLR 680 (shooting B&W Impossible Project SX70 film) and my Fuji X20 to document the day.

Here are some of my photographs from the day - I took the B&W Fujifilm FP3000B film with me on a whim, but it turned out to work really well for the day. I want to do more of these walks, but combine it with models and portraiture - if you would be interested, then please sign up on the 'Say Cheese' page of my website.