Recently, I was pointed in the direction of the latest Ikea advert… and I think it’s a brilliant piece of advertising. It obviously references ads by Apple and other big technology providers and turns things on its head. It’s very clever, very well done and it got me thinking.

We live in a world where technology has to be bigger, better, more. This, let me hasten to add, is not necessarily a bad thing. I’m always looking forward to when Apple release their latest iPhone, iPad or new bit of technology. I love technology. For one thing – I could not do my job without it. But I love it for the way it helps me stay connected to the people that matter most. It helps me be more efficient, better at what I do and help me realise the creative concepts I have for my clients. But there is an inherent danger with this technology: it can take us away from the basics.

I was chatting with a colleague the other day who says he rarely speaks to his wider family outside of family gatherings – all communication is done via email, text or Facebook messaging. They communicate on a very regular basis – they just don’t actually talk to each other! We live our lives in a digitally connected world of text, social media, email and messaging but we can often fail to truly connect with the world and people in a very real, tangible and tactile way.

Which brings me neatly on to what this Ikea advert got me thinking about: design.

It’s very easy for me, when working with a client on a visual identity project to dive straight into Illustrator and start mocking up, doing concept work and playing with shapes and colours. I’ve been really busy lately and have fallen into the age-old trap of getting stuck in with the software before starting with the simple things in life – a mug of Lapsang Souchong tea, a small snack of mixed nuts and a pencil and paper.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a great artist – far from it. But there is much pleasure and delight from sitting down and just sketching – letting my mind wander where it may and sketching all the different ideas that come into my head about a particular visual identity design. It helps me relax, focus, and I can sift the wheat from the chaff. I can be far more responsive, instinctive and creative and it means that, when I do load up the software, what I design had already gone through the first stage of the refining fire. I can scan in my sketches and build over the top.

And so I have been inspired and challenged by the concept of a BookBook to get back to basics, put a smoky brew on and get back to the simple delights and joys of a pencil and paper.

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