Inspired by... blog

22 posts categorized "Photography"

30 September 2013

Webinar series for creative businesses with The Design Trust

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I've come across a lot of creative businesses run by small teams or one individual. It's a common challenge for these businesses to create new work and take care of the business side.

Elizabeth Carrick, designer of womenswear label Blonde + Ginger, said her biggest challenge is "Needing to do everything yourself and trying to be good enough at it all! I love the designing and the creative side of the business but I need to develop my skills in other areas, such as marketing. You are never going to be great at every role you need to do but you can’t afford to not try your very best."

This afternoon I ran into Eleanor Lewis-Bale of letterpress label Marby & Elm. She's been so busy doing business admin like invoicing and packaging that she hasn't had time to explore and be creative. She finally made it to the Library to look at our typography collection for inspiration.

To help creatives get organised, learn business essentials and stay sane(!) we've partnered up with The Design Trust to deliver a FREE webinar series. These are perfect for pre-start and start-up creative businesses including freelancers, sole traders, practitioners in design, crafts, fashion, photography, video and film.

Webinar 1: Create your business plan for your first year
Thu 17 Oct, 11.00 - 12.00
You can write a business plan to get finance or funding, but also to plan ahead and prioritise your workload.  Think of a business plan as a roadmap for your journey. In the end you will have the tools to create a business plan that you will be proud of and will be using regularly.

Webinar 2: Your first 10 steps in marketing
Thu 31 Oct, 11.00 - 12.00
We'll look at how to do practical market research and why niche marketing is essential for small businesses. You'll get loads of practical tips and marketing actions that you can use to help get your business started on the right track

Webinar 3: How to cost and price your work 
Thu 7 Nov, 11.00 - 12.00
Pricing your products or services isn’t easy. You might not know how to do the maths, or you find it hard to put a value on your creative ideas. This is a step-by-step session on how pricing and costing works. Learn about different models, international pricing, discounting, premiums and more. 

*Webinar 4: First steps to creating your brand and choosing a business name 
Tue 19 Nov, 11.00 - 12.00 
Choosing a business name is a big part of the creative and business process. But naming your business (or even just a new collection!) can be tricky.
We'll cover how to create your own brand based on your values and ideal clients.  We'll share case studies and practical tips. *Part of Global Entrepreneur Week  

We'll end the series with an event at our Business & IP Centre on Selling creatively online (save the date 7 February, booking link coming soon). 


27 September 2013

Enter our short film competition on British accents and dialects with IdeasTap

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The British Library has one of the largest sound collections in the world, covering the entire range of recorded sound from music, drama and literature, to oral history, accents and dialects and wildlife sounds. 

We are opening up these collections for filmmakers to play with as part of our annual Spring Festival short film competition. 

In partnership with the wonderful people over at IdeasTap, we'll be launching The Sound Edit: British Accents and Dialects short film competition at the London Film Festival on 16 October at the BFI. You are welcome to attend!


 The brief:

Calling filmmakers, photographers and animators!  

We are offering you the exclusive opportunity to write a treatment for a film or multimedia photostory, working with a selection of sounds from the British Library's accents and dialects sound collection – with cash prizes for the best project ideas. 

The VoiceBank was created between November 2010 and April 2011 as a result of the British Library exhibition, Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices. During the exhibition visitors to the gallery were encouraged to make a sound recording to help the Library capture contemporary English voices.

Contributors recorded  a word or expression they felt was special in their variety of English (the ‘WordBank’) and/or reflections on their relationship with their accent (the ‘VoiceBank’). In total 15,000 recordings were made and  the Library is now in the process of cataloguing and making these sounds available for research. 

You will have exclusive access to a selection of 24 downloadable sound recordings. From a Pakistani/Yorkshire accent to saying "code" for "cold" in Nottingham to the word "meekin", defined by a small group of friends as being indecisive, there is a wide variety of accents and words to play with. 

We want you to use the sounds to create a new short film celebrating Britain’s rich landscape of regional accents and dialects. Challenge stereotypes, focus on local  identity or our present day-to-day lives. Force us to listen, concentrate and connect meaning to voices. You can use the sounds directly in your film or as inspiration for your narrative. Your film cannot be longer than three minutes. 

A shortlist of 10 IdeasTap members will be awarded £500 each to create their film. The final 10 films or multimedia photostories will go before a panel of industry experts, who will select one overall winner to receive £1,000 and a screening at the British Library Spring Festival.

You can download the sounds and find out more on the IdeasTap website. The deadline is Friday 29 November 2013.


Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices British Library exhibition

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16 August 2013

British Library and Artsthread Propaganda design competition: Winner and runners up

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I am thrilled to announce the winner of our Propaganda design competition in partnership with Artsthread (drum roll please): Kingston University graphic design graduate Olivia Twaites and her portrait series Shred Heads.

In celebration of our current exhibition Propaganda: Power and Persuasion, we set a brief to create a new design, short film or illustration to influence the British public to change their attitudes and behaviour around their health. It was open to creative students, graduates or anyone who has been working for less than three years in the design industry.

Olivia's portrait series comments on depression in the workplace. She explains: "The stress and pressure of our modern day working lives has become increasingly acknowledged as a predominant factor behind many cases of mental illness, specifically depression. Open plan office layouts and soulless corporate working environments can sometimes lead people to feel a distinct lack of privacy and individuality that may negatively impact their mental health."

We thought her design was innovative, skillfully executed and persuasive - a key propaganda technique. Congratulations Olivia! 






We received a lot of great entries. Here are the runners up:

Aya Arden-Clarke
The Future of the Future is the Present - A short film underlining how we harm our bodies through unhealthy diets.


Seanna Doonan
Georgie Doon - A short film about the short and long term effects of binge drinking.

Adam Weekes
Life's Little Helpers - A book and poster series illustrating the goodness and the remedies healthy foods can bring you.

Life's-Little-Helpers-1   Life's-Little-Helpers-2

Thank you to all the entrants. We hope to see you and more creatives using our collections for inspiration. Keep following this blog and @BL_Creative for announcements about future competitions. 

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22 July 2013

What they're wearing - British Library Readers

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I hope you're all enjoying this sizzling hot summer weather. I was curious to see the sartorial landscape of our piazza so I snapped these photos of some Readers. No doubt they will be relieved to return to our chilly Reading Rooms after their lunch break!

British Library Summer_Reader Tim  British Library Summer_Reader Natasha

L: Tim is preparing a conference paper on gothic fiction. I love his spotted shorts and classic leather satchel.

R: Natasha is using our Business & IP Centre to help grow her social enterprise. She's also sporting spots!

British Library Summer_Readers Sergio and Roger  British Library Summer_Readers Neda and Areej

L: Sergio, in those wonderful canary yellow trousers, writes about film and his friend Roger, with those thick black-rimmed glasses I hope never go out of style, writes about 18th century music.

R: Neda and Areej are both doing their masters in management of innovation at Goldmiths. I spotted their fiery orange-red outfits from across the piazza.

 British Library Summer_Reader Chantal  British Library Summer_Reader Jessica

L: Chantal is doing her masters in photography at Goldsmiths. Her jeans look great with her orange socks and two-toned brogues.

R: Jessica goes to The School of Oriental and African Studies and is writing her dissertation on gender violence in Colombia. The pretty print on her dress has a slight South American feel to it.

17 July 2013

Inspired by Italian mosaics

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Greetings from sunny Italy!

I'm in Sicily surrounded by the beautiful mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale. I can imagine the fun Romans where having here in the fourth century - it is really a palace of luxury! The mosaics illustrate a wide range of subjects including mythology, animals, plantlife and scenes of every day life - like these athletic "bikini girls".

Bikini Girls_Villa de Casale

When I searched "Italy" and "bikini" in our Images Online collection this photograph of a beauty pageant popped up: 


Our Images Online is a great resource for designers, but I encourage you to become a Reader and see the originals. Throughout the year I'll be hosting some Inspired by events where you can view a selection of collection items hand-picked by our expert curators. You'll be able to ask them questions and gain a more in-depth understanding of our vaste collections. Hopefully you'll walk away inspired to create something new.

Follow me on Twitter @BL_Creative for event announcements. 

21 June 2013

Photos of our Propaganda 'The Party Rules' LATE

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To celebrate our Propaganda exhibition, we ran a spectacular LATE at the Library.  We had DJs Alexis, Al and Felix (Hot Chip), band-of-the moment Public Service Broadcasting. If you couldn't make it, here are some of the photos. You can also enter our Propaganda design competition.

British Library propaganda LATE 1

British Library propaganda LATE 2

British Library propaganda LATE 3

British Library propaganda LATE 4

British Library propaganda LATE 5

British Library propaganda LATE 6

British Library propaganda LATE 7

British Library propaganda LATE 8


13 June 2013

Enter our British Library and Artsthread Propaganda design competition

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60's Czech matchboxes

We’re celebrating the latest major exhibition at our St Pancras site in London, ‘Propaganda: Power and Persuasion’. It’s the first exhibition to explore international state propaganda from the 20th and 21st centuries from around the world.

Propaganda is all around us. It is used to fight wars and disease, build unity and create division. Whether monumental or commonplace, sincere or insidious, propaganda is often surprising, sometimes horrific and occasional humorous.

We’ve partnered with Artsthread to run a competition for creatives with a cash prize of £1,500, promotion via the British Library news and blog websites, marketing channels and on the Artsthread website, e-newsletter and magazine.

Entry is free and the deadline is 31 July 2013. It’s open to creative students, graduates or anyone who has been working for less than three years in the design industry.

You can enter on the Artsthread website

Rabies D40087-58

The brief

Cut back Fat! Stop Smoking! Exercise is good for you! Choose less Booze!

Create a new design, short film or illustration to influence the British public to change their attitudes and behaviour around their health. We want you to identify a problem that you think we are facing in UK society that is having a real and damaging effect on the health of the nation and come up with a piece of communication to address it.

Throughout the centuries, countries from across the world have used posters, films, cartoons, sounds and text to try and influence their citizens to live healthier lives. Whether it’s to improve road safety, encouraging you to eat your greens or to stop smoking.

Your solution

Create a piece of graphic design, illustration or film (less than 5 minutes) along with 150 words of text to explain your idea.

The judging panel

John Overeem, Senior Designer, The British Library & Kissley Leonor, Creative industries Marketing Manager, The British Library

Steven Anderson, Creative Director, Smith & Milton / Charlotte Beckett, Head of Digital, The Good Agency / Darren Wallace, Head of Design, BMI Healthcare / Stephen Gaull, Designer & Art Director, Imagination / Justin Earl, Creative Director, Seven Stones / Steve Russell, Head of Design, Shelter.

Find out more and enter on the Artsthread website


Coughs and sneezes advert

01 May 2013

British Library photos of the month: Unexpected Colours

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This months photos come from anonymous donor, iC3N1. It might not be entirely natural, but I love the colour contrasts in these photos. They make the Library and even Newton look like they're glowing with an almost iridescent nature, a lovely image to start summer at the Library with.


Ic3n1 (b)

Have you taken a great photo of the Library?  I’d love to hear from you at

Please note: You can take photos in the public areas of the Library, but not within our exhibition areas or Reading Rooms. You are also not allowed to bring in a tripod.