I design sites mainly for my own entertainment, in other words no-one's ever paid me (although if you'd like to I'm sure my rates will be ridiculously reasonable...). All of these have been for myself, friends or family.
Anything marked '(deceased)' exists only in archive form, so in general you'll only be able to look at the front page or so and many links won't work, particularly if the content exists in a newer version elsewhere.
If you're interested in the specifics of my design and typographic choices, I always try go for simplicity, and favour 10 or 11 pixel Verdana for HTML text, and (in general) DIN (the FontFont version) and Interstate for graphics.
Infinite Monkeys vers. 3
The latest version of my personal site, hosted by HotChilli.com.
'Trees' are sub-sites within it that exist, 'saplings' are projects yet to be created. I designed this to be very simple yet striking, and I'm very fond of the stark yet cartoonish style of the graphic.
It does what it's meant for -- links you to my sub-sites -- but I think I might add some sort of overall site update news to it in future, which might require a bit of a redesign.
The part of Infinite Monkeys that deals just with me, Bachman is basically an online CV of my writing, acting and design work. But hey, you'd know that, wouldn't you, given that you're looking at part of it right now.
It may surprise you to learn that the design is very loosely based on the cover of Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A Changin' album, a marvellous marriage of stark photography and fat serifed lettering.
The picture is one that my sister, an amateur photographer, took of me one day. I kinda liked it. Why is it upside down? Because it's the only way I could deal with the straight edge on the bottom.
I had become bored of the strong colours of the original version of this site and decided that it was about time to include something photographic from my own life, hence the top. I had also convinved myself that text should be black on white for readability. The external links are included as graphics rather than text in order to make me limit myself to those that I actually recommend, as opposed to the huge lists of occasional reading that I previously included.
It uses server side includes to keep the design consistent -- index.shtml is the frame, and the blog itself and Six Degrees of Tom Hulce are Blogger files inserted into it by the server. I've a feeling it's getting a bit messy. Perhaps it's time for a re-design.
Funny Ha Ha was (and indeed still is; it's just resting at the moment) a collaborative weblog about comedy on both sides of the Atlantic as experienced by myself in London, and Rory Ewins in San Francisco. Unfortunately Rory was unable to find work in SF and had to return to Australia, but we still plan to continue with it at some point, after all the differences between comedy in London and Melbourne are perhaps just as interesting.
The design is very simple, very text-based as that is the primary content of the site, and I must admit it was partially inspired by the redesign of Jason Kottke's weblog, kottke.org, at the time. It was also designed before I moved Infinite Monkeys to Hotchilli and, as the design of all the pages are the same, would benefit from being streamlined with server side includes.
This is the personal site of my friend and comedy collaborator, Mark Evans.
I designed it for him when, after many months of procrastination, he finally decided what domain name he was going to have from Freenetname (where I originally established infinitemonkeys.co.uk, although it has since been transfered to my own control). It doesn't actually have any content, as he has never provided any, but he likes it nonetheless.
The posterised photo came about from messing around with an old version of Adobe Streamline that I've never really used, and the graphic nature of it really appeals to me.
In Mark's defence, the text is all my own.
The beginnings of a site I designed for my father to publicise the house he has available to rent in Rhode Island.
I don't know whether he liked it that much. Perhaps it looked 'too professional'. It's still a great deal better than the original though.
The map in the background is a nautical chart of the area around the island where the house is located.
This is the second version of the site that I made for these comedy double act friends of mine. The intention was to create a 'business card' feel, but I don't think it really works, particularly as it was designed in HomePage (not the most sophisticated web design tool known to man) and before I had started using CSS, and it suffers from a lot of problems with most current browsers particularly when it comes to text size.
As with most sites I've made for friends, it has little or no actual content because I can't be bothered to invent it for them. I've got better things to do. It may blossom this summer though, as the pair are making their way to the Edinburgh Fringe with a new show (that I'm directing) and will probaby want to give themselves some sort of proper internet presence.
Three Three Ten was originally the site of a film script development collective formed by myself, and two other actor/writers, Robert Thorogood and Theo Fraser Steele, but it didn't last long after we realised it was a little pointless.
Robert has since co-opted Three Three Ten as his own personal site, and worked on this design one evening with me as a place to exhibit the screenplays he has written. Visiting sites such as eyesaw and k10k I had just gotten into Mini7 or Sevenet or Silkscreen at the time (I can't remember which) and as a result all the text is rendered in this tiny, pixelated typeface.
I like the cleaness and the whiteness of it, but as there's no actual HTML text it's rather difficult for Robert to update, and you may notice that he has 'polluted' its minimalism with some rather unpleasant orange links on the righthand side.
Perhaps I should redo it for him.
The Shitcom Project was an idea Mark and I had one day working on The Priory, when we each wrote the worst sitcom proposals we could muster. Initially just for our own entertainment, as we spread it to friends it began to develop into a Henry Root Letters style wind-up, the intention being to collect these awful ideas and then email them under assumed names to producers we didn't like to see what kind of response we got. It blossomed for a while, but then everyone just gave up, and we never did send any of it out.
It still exists on the remnants of my old freenetname site, even though they said they would remove it, so please do take a look. Someday I may resurrect it on Infinite Monkeys. Designwise, I think it's pretty shit. Nice use of Dreamweaver's pop-up menu behaviours though.
This is a sight that only exists as a relic of a single moment in time. A moment when some friends of mine were organising a ten-year reunion at Uppingham School and when I had just got Dreamweaver and Fireworks.
The design is pretty uninspiring, although it is plain and simple and serves its purpose; the colour scheme for example is based on the school colours. As far as the actual text goes, the look is not mine.
This is the first site I ever made for myself, and though I say so myself the design of the front page is quite sophisticated, particularly considering as it was all sliced up in Photoshop 5 put together in HomePage with the aid of a pen and lots of grids scribbled on bits of paper.
My only real problem with it is the black background (mainly used by hackers and porn sites these days) and the fact that the graphic is slightly too big for a 800x600 monitor. Otherwise, I quite like it. The internal pages leave a little to be desired, but it has served well as my main internet presence for a couple of years.
I was born on the 24th of February 1972, hence the title of this second version of my personal site, hidden within the original.
I'd been in the Underground waiting for a tube home and had noticed two things:
I went straight home and stole the essence of both, and learnt a bit more about Photoshop while experimenting to achieve the same effect.
I have no idea why I haven't killed it off. Most of the links don't work, and these days nobody needs to use frames.
The first version of my weblog, created with the Blogger template understanding help of Rory Ewins who was over in London at the time. It's dead now but exists as part of the archive of my One Day Soon.
It lasted for quite a while, and many people commented about how much they enjoyed the peas, although the two halves of the graphic didn't line up in Netscape of Internet Explorer on the PC. But I never let that worry me. It's a strangely Christmassy colour scheme, and was one of my first experiments in manipulating tables using Cascading Style Sheets.
I redesigned when I moved my internet presence to Infinite Monkeys, but the thin/thick Helvetica titles still appeal to me and may well be something I return to in future.
Infinite Monkeys vers. 2 (deceased)
I'd just started looking at weblogs but hadn't worked out what the point of them was, nor how to run one with something like Blogger. This is the result. A strange sort of bulletin board, littered with random links based on the word linked from. Rather pointless.
The design is meant to be jungly (Infinite Monkeys -- geddit?) hence the greens, yellows and browns. I'd also just got hold of a copy of the Harlem typeface that I'd coveted for some time, indeed my hard drive is littered with alternative homepages made entirely from this font.
The link sidebar is totally stolen from the design of Blogger which I'd recently discovered, and for some reason I had decided to include animated GIF banners real (at the bottom) and 'amusingly' fabricated (at the top). If you can put if with the load time, you may chuckle. If not, I apologise.
Some experimentation with CSS layers on the left though, in an attempt to include my own version of the currently reading/listening link lists many people had on their blogs. Works quite well too.
Infinite Monkeys vers. 1 (deceased)
The initial idea for Infinite Monkeys was to provide an online home for jobbing writers such as myself (hence the name) including CVs and extracts of work, both to read and listen to. The plan was I would then email the URL to every TV and radio producer in the country, they'd come here to find people, and I'd take a small fee for the service. Moments later I realised that this would not only involve a lot of work, but also effectively make me an agent, and I put an end to such foolish ideas.
My next plan was to create a kind of online magazine for myself and the writer friends that I new. This version of the site was the result. The only piece of writing I ever put up on it was the beginning of a short story by Mark. After that I got bored.
The Shitcom Project (deceased)
The first version of this site.
I like the graphic.
Very Sixties. Very Saul Bass.
Otherwise rather poor.
Three Three Ten (deceased)
Now this I like. The splash graphic, at least. Very keen on that red, black and duck egg blue colour scheme; and I remember the Fifties TV nature of it with great fondness. The right aligned text is admittedly a bit of faux-pas, but hey, we all make mistakes, don't we?
It didn't take Robert long to point out to me that we were supposed to be developing scripts for film not TV, and this got put to bed.
Mitchell and Webb (deceased)
The first version of their site, which Rob and David both prefer to the newer one. They're Philistines. And how quickly Rob forgets that he said to me on seeing it, 'it's the colour of shit'.
It is indeed. And in new browsers is totally buggered. Interesting as a curio though, eh?
I've always been interested in type and design, and seem to have some sort of vague natural flair for it. My grandmother used to paint ads in the Thirties, my mother paints and my sister is a graphic designer and art director, so I suppose it makes sense. I think once or twice at college I offered to design a poster for someone's show to brush up my Quark and Photoshop skills, and people liked them so I've carried on.
These are all posters and fliers for comedy shows that I or my friends have been involved with. What's my design style? I don't know. Generally influenced by what I've seen at the time. Take a look at these and decide for yourself.
Garth Marenghi's Fright Knight : poster and fliers
A comedy show about a pulp horror writer written and performed by some friends of mine that was one of the surprise hits of the Edinburgh Fringe in 2000. It got nominated for a Perrier Award. I hope my poster had something to do with it; it looks very impressive printed up at A2.
The photo was taken by the director, Paul King, in his flat lit by the light from the window, and messed around with extensively in Photoshop. Note the way I have attempted to remove the shadow of his glasses, but given up just at the bottom of his eyelid where it got too difficult. No-one seemed to notice.
Garth Marenghi's Fright Knight : discarded designs
Initially I was given free reign to do what I wanted with the design for this poster, and I still really like my first attempt, particularly the decision to leave in the flock wallpaper in the background. The problem was it looked less like a poster, more like one side of a magazine spread.
The other two were requested by the people involved with the show. They wanted a trashy bookcover feel and I tried as best I could to swallow the rising bile and produce what they wanted. The first attempt is a little Andy McNab, don't you think? More satisfied with the second, but I was glad when I roughed up what became the final product (above) and convinced them that they were wrong to want anything else.
The Mitchell and Webb Story : poster and fliers
Photos by my sister, manipulated by me. Not my favourite of the designs I came up with, but Rob and David were very pleased with it and it got a lot of praise when posted up in Edinburgh during the Fringe of 1999. Very pleased with the clean, simplicity of the flier back.
The Mitchell and Webb Story : discarded designs
Three more designs based on the same overall look as the final poster, but using different photos and colour schemes drawn out of them. I particularly liked the first one -- the inflatable chairs, the mirroring of the colours in their shirts, the way the image bleeds off the bottom, the fact David isn't looking at the camera -- but Rob and David thought they looked too moody -- not 'comedy' enough. In my opinion 'cool' is good. That's quite a lot of what celebrity is about these days.
Stephen Fry's The Liar : poster and fliers
Publicity design for a stage adaptation of Stephen Fry's novel that myself, Rob and David, and Robert were in at the Edinburgh Fringe 1999. Not much to say about this really, as I co-designed it with the producer and director and it was a bit of a compromise. The keyhole is supposed to indicate secrecy and spying, and the highlighted boy was supposed to have a bright blue shirt to mirror that worn by the main character on stage, until I pointed out to the director that no-one would know that until they were actually in the theatre so what did it matter.
Everyone said the title looked like it was meant to be a nod to the Guardian. It wasn't, but there you go. The back of the flier is neatly done, I think. The photo, incidentally, is a portion of the prep-school photo of the producer, and we have no idea who the precocious kid is. He just stood out perfectly, and embodied the character of Adrain exactly.
Stephen Fry's The Liar : discarded design
There were many versions along the lines of this design, and this one particularly I liked, but it was decided it looked too much like a Faber and Faber book cover. I'm not sure I agree, in fact I still prefer it to the final version, but you've got to do what the people who pay you say, don't you.
Thank your lucky stars you haven't got to see the one with the giant pair of flaming pants on it. (Liar, liar, pants on fire, d'you see? Do you? I think perhaps you do.)
Shoes : poster and fliers
One of the first posters I did that I really liked, and that other people complimented me on, this was for a comedy show I did with Matthew Holness at Cambridge after I'd left and we'd been to the Edinburgh Fringe with some success. In my mind it definitely confirms the sense of having a short name for a show, and it really stood out amongst all the other posters stuck up in the bars and JCRs of the university.
I would have liked to do the colour version but we couldn't afford it so it's here just for curiosity value and to show the fliers (the two-colour one had similar fliers down the side which were cut off by the printers). The typeface is Font Font's Kosmik and suited the in-your-face nature of the whole thing. The photos of the DM and other shoes were taken from a book also entitled 'Shoes'. Funnily enough, the show had nothing to do with them.
Shoes : discarded versions
Two early versions of the poster included for curiosity value only. The first was obliquely influenced by a Creation Records (?) compilation album cover I'd seen in Virgin Megastore, and the second looks a bit like a Rolling Stone magazine spread. The full colour/no money thing would have been a problem obviously. Nice though.
Shoes : unused posters designs
Matt and I had planned to do a London run of Shoes at the New End Theatre in Hampstead. It never happened. I still designed some posters though, using old photos we'd taken for our previous show.
Why did we never do it? I've no idea. It was a very good show, if I say so myself. Luckily other people do as well so I don't come off as too pompous.
tba-2 : fliers
Mark, Robert and I ran a sketch comedy club in a theatre in Battersea for twelve weeks a few winters ago. These are a couple of the fliers I designed.
The theatre's designer took them and fucked them up. Ah well.
Back from Wipers : unused poster design
At one point Matt was going to do his own one man comedy show in Edinburgh about a guy who'd just come back from the trenches at Ypres on leave during the First World War, so one day when I was bored I designed him a poster. I include it only because it is the most complicated thing I've ever designed (all done in Photoshop) and the only time I've ever done collage. The back is a burnt picture of some wood bark, overlayed with some deliberately bad Wilfred Owen type poetry.
Do excuse the anachronistic helicopter. It should have been a picture of Matt in First World War British uniform, but I didn't have a picture of that. I did however have a picture of a helicopter. Don't ask.
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