Mark Boulton

Weeknotes 19

  • Christmas was a washout. What started as slightly elevated heart rate 10 days ago turned into the worst chest infection since I had pneumonia in 2016.
  • My GP just called me. On a Sunday. A Sunday night. During Christmas! She was reviewing case notes and wanted to know how I was feeling. I’m no better, so I’m off to a priority appointment in the morning to pick up a course of oral steroids.
  • I’d like to say my time in bed over Christmas was productive in the film watching department, at least. But it wasn’t. I haven’t watched a thing, really.
  • Actually, I tell a lie. Emma and I have started watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I thought I’d hate it. But its rapid fire script, amazing set design and costumes, and blossoming characters makes me feel like I’m watching a play. After all the epic TV I’ve been watching recently, it’s refreshing to become absorbed in character struggles without the distraction of dragons or spaceships.
  • I suppose the benefit of being sick over Christmas is that we’re not travelling anywhere. No sitting on the M6 for five hours to then sit inside for days eating my dad’s amazing shortbread. That last bit makes me sad. Oh, and not seeing family and friends for the first Christmas since Emma and I were in Australia twenty years ago. That’s not a bad run, I guess.
  • Emma bought me Designing Japan by Kenya Hara for Christmas. I’ve only read the introduction so far but already it’s very, very good. Some amazing insight into Japanese culture as it relates to design.
  • Vaughan Oliver died today. I had a quiet moment earlier thinking on how some of his work influenced me. I haven’t really thought of it in 25 years, yet, hearing of his death this morning, several of his well known designs immediately jumped to the front of my mind. Vivid images, full of detail and colour. Brains are amazing aren’t they? Visual recall of stuff from 25 years ago within milliseconds.
  • It got me thinking about exposure to design work. Visual hoarding and recall. Collecting design work, both good and bad, then storing those images mentally to be recalled at a later date. It’s an important skill for any designer to develop, I think. It’s what I call ‘purposeful inspiration’: the act of collecting, studying, storing and recalling designs of all sorts. It can result in a rich melting pot from which to be inspired. The added bonus of this - depending on your point of view, of course - is you end up with an eclectic library of stuff both physical and mental. You will need shelves. Take care of it. It is one of a designer’s most prized personal assets. And it’s yours alone; no two designer libraries are the same.