Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

Creative Media

Creative MediaMonday, February 22nd, 2021, (7:38 pm)

The COVID-19 pandemic left me with quite a lot of time on my hands, as I think it did for a lot of people. Where I might be traveling or spending time with friends I was now confined to one place and overdosing on screen time. With little else to do, I decided to redesign my work website and logo.

Ethical web developer

I started MELT, a web design company, back in 1997. In financial terms, it didn’t make me rich, but over the years it afforded me the freedom and opportunity to spend a great deal of time traveling and filling my life with stories and adventures from far-flung places.

I generally don’t think my logo is very important. I was never going for world domination or brand loyalty. I wanted my customers to relate more to me as a person rather than just another logo from some company they ultimately don’t care about. With that in mind, I always put more into building relationships rather than logos. I still have customers today that I had in the late 90’s!

MELT always had a logo. It was on my invoices and on one set of business cards I had printed in the very first year of business. The thing is, I never really liked any of the logos I designed for MELT, so while the world was locked-down I decided to fix that.

I’d been using a kind of ‘Batman’ style M logo for a while and I wanted to continue with the M, but I wanted it to be colorful. People often think the stories I tell are perhaps a little ‘colorful’ because surely this thing, or that event, didn’t quite happen like that, did it? (Yes it did actually!)

After months of tinkering with various designs, I eventually had three concepts that felt good to me (below). That was late September 2020. All I needed to do was settle on the design. But then Google unveiled their new logo for Gmail in October.

MELT web studio

When I saw it I was annoyed. If I went with any of my concepts people would be reminded of Gmail, and while I accept that logos can often be similar, I just didn’t want to look that similar to Gmail.

At the same time of creating my logo I had been designing the new website, and feeling a little fed up I decided to just keep the ‘batman logo’ for the time being. The site was finished at I was cleaning up some of the typography late one night when I decided to change the color of the period marks to yellow.

melt logo 2020When I refreshed the page to review the change the idea came to me; what about adding an M to the yellow dot? I opened photoshop and created a simple yellow circle then added the black letter M. I looked at it for a while, then thought; how about adding a period mark to the circle, which had itself come from a period mark.

It was probably 3 AM and I remember sitting back in my chair, looking at my laptop screen and saying out-loud, “Yes!”

Sure, nobody cares, my customers talk to Simon, they don’t talk to MELT, but this logo, that effortlessly fell together in little more time than it takes to create a circle in photoshop, just felt right.

I like it, I’m happy with it, really for the first time I’m happy with my MELT logo. I also moved the website from its old UK domain to the new address which also feels right.

The new site is working too, and I’ve started to talk about being an “ethical web developer” with a view of moving toward using technologies that don’t abuse people’s privacy or trust.

That last bit is a little harder. Being an “ethical web developer” is a bit like being a “pacifist executionist.” But hey, it’s a start. It’s a new start.

MELT web studio

Follow @itsgoodtomelt on Twitter

Creative Media and TravelTuesday, December 8th, 2015, (5:00 pm)

So I have this idea I want to run by you. I want your opinion, your honest opinion, about a podcast idea I have. You can leave those opinions in the comments section, and really, I do want to hear what you have to say.

5 minutes of somewhere

So lets start with a little background. Back in 1999 I recorded an ‘online radio’ series called ‘Reality Radio.’ This was before the days of podcasting and iTunes. I used a handheld tape recorder to capture key moments in my trip to the States that year.

At the end of each day I used a cumbersome setup to get the clips from tape to my hefty laptop, then edited the clips and compiled an episode which I released the following day. The reason for recording audio wasn’t because I was particularly keen on radio, but instead because I couldn’t afford a video camera.

The resulting episodes of Reality Radio are so much more valuable to me than the hours of video tape that I might have recorded on a video camera. Those video clips would likely never see the light of day, and would more likely have become lost in time as video tape quickly became outdated.

Of course, like most of us, my recorded memories are primarily captured in photographs, fragments of time frozen in two dimensions. But back in 2012 as I sat on a cliff in Indonesia watching golden waves roll into shore beneath me and a setting sun, I was struck not just by the sight of those rolling Indian Ocean waves, but by the the sound too.

Uluwatu, Bali : From

It was a standout moment, in a year full of standout moments, but it also got me thinking about how sound is somewhat overlooked in our rampant sharing culture. We share billions of pictures and millions of videos, but sound on its own is a rare format. That’s a little strange really when you consider that the world we live in is anything but silent.

Now I don’t really know anything about capturing sound in the most effective way, but nonetheless I got myself a professional grade sound recorder. I took it along with me and just started recording moments in a similar way to how I had done back in the 90’s with that old $30 tape recorder I got from RadioShack.

This time, however, I was recording the background sounds, no narration, no explanation, just sounds. I’ve recorded all kinds of things including storms in the Himalayas, cafes in Melbourne, singers in the Parisian Metro, humming birds in Colorado, and even the audio assault of Japanese gaming arcades.

The thing is, while I was collecting the clips, I had no idea what I wanted to do with them. A podcast perhaps, but about what?

So here’s my idea, and in all honesty, I am not entirely convinced its a good one. I can always come back to the sound clips at a later date and do something a little more creative, but for now I am thinking about creating a podcast series called ‘5 minutes of somewhere.’

A younger me in the days before podcastingThe premise is pretty self explanatory. I’ll briefly introduce a five minute clip of somewhere and then that’s pretty much it. The listener can just sit back wherever they are, close their eyes maybe, and just listen to 5 minutes of somewhere.

We’re so used to Youtube clips, 24 hour news coverage, and moments we capture using our smart phones, but really, how often do we just listen? How often have you stood somewhere and just listened to everything going on around you?

Maybe that sounds like a boring endeavour, but ask yourself this; If those moments you chose to photograph had been stripped of their sound, how would that have changed your experience of them?

I’ll make a website to accompany the episodes, maybe include a picture or two for those who wanted to get some visual context. I suppose a Google street view link might be cool where relevant, but on the whole this would be about the sound itself, and pretty much nothing else.

So what do you think? Does that sound like a boring idea? Would it be something you might listen too? What would you do differently? I’m honestly interested to hear your opinions. Check out the two minute sample I’ve compiled below. They’re clips I’ve recorded, offering a taster of what’s to come. You can leave a comment below.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=ff9900&auto_play=false&hide_related=true&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Creative Media and GeneralWednesday, November 17th, 2010, (2:08 am)

I need your help choosing my new company logo. From the four designs below leave a comment telling me which one is the best.

MELT web studio

MELT is my web design and consultancy company. It’s been paying my bills since 1998 but has long been in need of a serious makeover. I don’t expect the logo to communicate a great deal as the word ‘melt’ on its own hardly explains what the company does, but I wanted the logo to be cool and modern with an edge of professionalism to it.

I often say that the MELT work ethic has a “20% time” rule similar to Google. The search engine giant is famous for allowing it’s developers to work on their own projects for 20% of their time at work, citing this as an essential part of what drives innovation and creative thinking within the company.

However, I joke that the “20% time” rule at MELT means that 20% of the time at work should be spent doing something work related!

Of course, in reality there is no such rule because I think I strike a very healthy work/life balance. But it’s time to for a little corporate rebranding, so while I rarely post about work related things, I would really appreciate your help in deciding which of the new logos to go with. Please leave a comment letting me know which logo you think is the best.

Final logo design choice shown in comments (Comment #31)

Creative MediaWednesday, June 25th, 2008, (2:01 am)

We’ve all got our favorite movies right? But am I strange for having favorite TV commercials? In a parallel universe I could be one of those creative ad agency people, or as the late comedian, Bill Hicks, would say, I’d be one of “Satan’s little helpers.” But I wonder, do our favorite TV commercials say anything about the people we are, and if so I wonder what my list of ads say about me?

Easily my favorite TV ad of all time is this VW Cabrio ad from 2000 directed by Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris which introduced me, and many others, to the music of the late Nick Drake. I love this commercial because it reminds me of drives that I’ve had that are just like that.

Apple’s much awarded 1997 ‘Think different‘ ad by Jennifer Golub of Chiat Day is just great. Richard Dreyfuss does the voice over which starts “Here’s to the Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.” To this day I still have a ‘Think different’ poster on my office wall and the poem pinned to my cork board.

Points of view is an ad for The Guardian newspaper (UK) that ran back in 1986. I love the simplicity of this ad. A skinhead running toward a man in a suit holding a briefcase leads the viewer to make assumptions, and right there is where I connect with it; people making assumptions. Great ad. (took me ages to find it too!)

I wrote about this 2005 VW Golf GTI commercial before. The work of Jeremy Craigen and Steve Jones of DDB London, the ad shows the late Gene Kelly apparently breakdancing to a club-mix of Singin’ in the Rain. It took months of negotiations with the Gene Kelly’s wife to get the idea off the ground, but to my mind it works spectacularly. Why do I like this ad so much? Because it’s just sheer digital wizardry at its best if you ask me.

Another ad from 2005 was Sony’s ‘Color: Like no other’ commercial by Nicolai Fuglsig for the Fallon ad agency in London. The mixture of the beautiful music by José González and a quarter of a million bouncy balls rushing chaotically down the steep streets of San-Francisco in slow motion was simply a moment of pure televisual art. It’s also well worth watching a short feature on the making of the ad.

Ad agency, 180 Amsterdam, came up with the idea that ‘Impossible is nothing.’ British soccer star, David Beckham, tells history in this great ad. I think I liked the idea of achievement over adversity in this ad. “You will go through tough times,” Says Beckham. “It’s about coming through that.”

Advertising whisky seems like it might be a bit of a boring task, but Andy Fackrell and Richard Bullock of 180 Amsterdam created a truly engaging ad for Glenfiddich in which the message is that ‘Every year counts.’ I like that idea, that every year counts, that all those moments amount to something bigger.

And Finally, from this year, come Vodafone’s ‘Decisive Moments’ by BBH London. Featuring F1 race driver Lewis Hamilton the voice over tells us that life is full of chances with the end message being ‘Make the most of now.’ I couldn’t agree more.

So, when I look at these ads all put together like this I wonder if this reveals anything about me? I’ve only just noticed there are no funny ads in the list at all, and none were even considered. But then I’m not really one for comedy so perhaps that means nothing, I mean sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, right? But then if you’re in advertising that would probably depend on the brand of cigar I suppose.

Making of Apple’s ‘Think different’ ad
Making of Sony’s ‘Like no other’ ad
Making of Adidas’s ‘Impossible is nothing’ ads
A man called Adi Dassler
What do your movies say about you?
Great endings

Creative MediaFriday, April 13th, 2007, (8:18 am)

I’m an Englishman, and as such I love an English breakfast. We’re not a nation famous for food, but no breakfast hits the spot quite like a ‘full English breakfast.’ Tow rashes of bacon, an egg or two, some beans, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, and maybe a bit of fried bread too. Heck, just thinking about it makes me hungry.

So inspired by the Citroën C4 car commercial, the people responsible for marketing Danish bacon came up with this rather amusing TV commercial (below). I’m posting it, not just because it’s funny, but because it is loosely connected to a link I included in my post yesterday to another Citroën C4 ad parody which features a 2cv, the car that my friend Romy drives in Wales.

The more I watch this video the more I want a breakfast. There is a breakfast cafe close by which do ‘full English breakfasts’ for £4 ($7.90). It’s called the Shamrock cafe and is a quite awful place that smells of grease, fried food, and second hand cigarette smoke, but their breakfasts will leave you feeling full until dinner!

Citroën C4 ad (the original)
Citroën C4 ad parody : Featuring a 2cv
Citroën C4 ad parody : Featuring a full english breakfast

Creative MediaWednesday, November 29th, 2006, (1:39 pm)

Flemish weekly magazine HUMO produced a series of ads a while back that I just had to post here for no other reason than to give some of you who might not have seen these ads a chance to do so. The message is that mixing cultures is a good thing and no matter if you agree with that or not, the ads themselves are quite interesting in their depictions of known world figures outside of the boundaries in which we usually see them.

HUMO is no stranger to producing controversial ads and these were no exception to that. Older folk called the ads insensitive and tasteless but as you might expect anything that the ‘older folk’ get upset about only helped make the ads (and therefore the magazine) that bit cooler to their younger target audience.

In fact poster campaign was so successful that it didn’t last long because they were being quickly stolen to be re-hung on various bedroom walls throughout Belgium.

HUMO magazine

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