Aestheticodes Success!

After a lot of hard work from the Aestheticodes team, their stall at the London Design Festival over the last four days seemed to be quite popular. Loads of people had a go at drawing their own codes and we covered the walls behind us in aestheticodes with ease!
I have spent the last two days at the stall drawing and explaining the encoding process. I got to meet some really lovely people in between figuring out some of my own encoded illustrations.
People have generally been really interested in the concept of being able to use an illustration as a replacement for a QR code, everyone agreeing that QR codes are ugly and spoil the design of a page. I'm hopeful for the team that it will take off, why would anyone choose a QR code when they can have an aestheticode?!

These are the drawings I worked on over the weekend (minus one that I forgot to photograph!).

And there's Emily teaching people how to encode their drawings while I'm busy illustrating my own. Plus there's the stall filled with aestheticodes at the end of the weekend.

The Aestheticodes app is available for download on iphone and android. Visit for more details!

Aestheticodes at the London Design Festival

Over the summer I met up with the Aestheticodes team to talk about some plans they have for the London Design Festival. I was quite excited to be presented with an opportunity to explore a new interactive field of design.
A team of researchers have been developing a way of encoding designs which can be interactive in just the same way as a QR code but much more visually pleasing. It's a really exciting concept as it can be applied in so many different ways; perhaps the code might be hidden within a picture in a magazine taking anyone who can find it to a meal voucher...imagine scannable wallpaper or clothing!
I was asked to design an encoded postcard that could be given out at their stall at the festival. After talking with the team, I began work on my 'Koi Carp' design as a development of a sketch I produced, inspired by Chinese ink drawings, during an encoding workshop.
As a contrast to the bold, blocky QR codes, I wanted to create an image that felt soft and flowing, something that would unexpectedly be a code. I began by painting regular images with inks, softening them by adding water and building up the layer, incorporating the codes by picking out key lines right at the end. I felt that this allowed me to be free with my painting and for the code to become part of a natural image without looking contrived.
So here's the flyer to advertise the stall...

With the right app, the illustration will scan just like a QR code.
I'll be at the stall this Saturday and Sunday to show you how to make your own codes...come along!