Seán Flanagan's

Design Blog

Contemporary Callcards Project – PART 1


Rationale and Logo

During the late 80s and early 90s in Ireland, prepaid cards for Telecom Eireann phone boxes were in common use and were popular collectors’ items. These cards fell out of circulation as mobile phone usage became widespread. I’ve decided as a design exercise, that a series of payphone callcards if they existed today would be an interesting project to tackle.

I’ve begun by rationalising a broad fictional background for such a scenario to serve as a basis and jumping-off-point for my design strategy; Perhaps if the Irish state remained as isolationist and insular today as it set out to be during its first decades, expensive mobile phones might not be quite as commonplace and many might still be taking the option of using static public phone boxes, keeping them in popular use. These phone boxes might therefore have features more akin to smartphones, allowing users to access the internet and apps such as Facebook via a touchscreen, and the callcards used by them might have the additional function of saving a user’s app account details.


As such I’ve begun by going back to an Irish design sensibility of over twenty years ago, drawing inspiration from past identities of state-owned companies such as RTÉ and Telecom Eireann, and seeking to update it to reflect its real-world rebranding to Eircom in a manner that remains somewhat old-fashioned and in keeping with the perspective of the project – that of a fictional modern-day interpretation of an out-of-date product, with a classic graphic design aesthetic that brings the project full-circle in its rationale.


I explored the motif of the St Brigid’s Cross – a distinctive design woven from straw with offset arms, that was used in early RTÉ branding that reflected the more heavily Christian associations of the Irish state in the twentieth century, seen also in the Post & Telegraphs logo designed by Kilkenny Design Workshops. However I decided to drop it as a starting point, as I realised that I was very mindful that an offset cross may call to mind a particular fascist emblem.


Instead I found the tightly-wound celtic spiral, in particular the examples from the site at Newgrange, to be a more promising direction to focus upon. The circular shape calls to mind both the old Telecom Eireann identity and its newer Eircom identity. The widely spaced use of Helvetica also reflects examples of former Irish state-owned identities.


This current iteration of the logo makes use of the spiral form to incorporate the letters E, C, and O from EIRCOM, while also making reference to the @ symbol, now commonly associated with internet interactions such as email and Twitter. The spiral form also calls to mind a bundle of cable.


There may be further adjustments to this logo, but the next stage in this concept exploration will be to design a callcard template incorporating this new logo that will serve as a frame for a series of design images that fit the theme of this ongoing project.

Stay tuned!

SEO Success Factors – Brave Media


A periodic table inspired chart listing important considerations for optimising web content for search engines.

This is intended as a quick reference guide of SEO success factors and negative SEO factors, designed for circulation on social media and formatted to be readable for printing on A4.

Personal Typeface and Typographic Poster

KYOOB typographic poster in magenta
KYOOB typographic poster in purple and blue

A status update on a typographic poster project that I’ve started.

I’ve been working on a personal typeface, as an extension of my logo design, for use in large header text throughout the website, and other typographic applications such as business cards. As is the case with the logo that it is based upon, the cubular aesthetic of the typeface is intended to reflect my multi-faceted design skillset. The only letter that I feel isn’t quite recognisable yet is the X, which I shall revisit before going forward; my plan is to import the Adobe Illustrator vectors of the characters into BirdFont, and output them as a functional typeface file.

This KYOOB typeface has a geometric, futuristic appearance that wouldn’t look out of place adorning the spaceships of the pulp science fiction paintings of Chriss Foss. I feel it works best used at large scale in short lines of text, staggered horizontally so that they fit neatly into each other.

This typographic poster detailing the typeface, in two colour variants, is currently a work in progress. Once its finished I’d like to get a reversible edition printed onto a thick stock.

Logo Experimentation


I’m currently playing around with my logo with the aim of creating a broader and more fun identity. I’m taking inspiration from the pattern work of Daniel Eatock and the explosive idents of MTV. Here’s a few rough examples from my working process.

Video Header


The header has been updated from a scrolling image slider, to a video incorporating my finished KYOOB logo. Over time I plan to continually improve upon the video but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out so far. I’d also like to work on bringing elements of the motif throughout the website to create a more in-depth site identity.

8-bit Movie Poster

8-bit blue ruin gif

I decided to go one step further from my previous project and as an experiment, do a full image in 8-bit style.

This is an animated poster for the recent revenge thriller movie Blue Ruin, depicting an off-camera event referenced throughout the film. The aesthetic is based on the typical appearance of retro video game title screens. I worked within the limited Nintendo Entertainment System colour palette, at a working width of 256 pixels – the same horizontal resolution of the console’s output – with the length scaled to an “A” format. The gif was simply animated within Photoshop.

This project was fun, although after a couple of hours of drawing my eyes felt like they were turning square. I might just do a whole run of these, I already have a list of more movie posters planned out.

Retro 8-bit Superheroes Illustration

8-bit superheroes illustration

I illustrated a motley crew of comicbook superheroes and villains in an 8-bit video-game style for an infographic.

These superhero illustrations were done for a Brave Media infographic on digital marketing, intended to be used across social media platforms.

This was a fun project, with a challenge in capturing identifying features in extremely low resolution. I began by creating a tiny 64×64 pixel canvas in Photoshop. I used the pencil tool to pick out individual pixels, then exported the final illustration with the scale magnified by several thousand. This allowed me to preserve the sharp outlines of the squares.

The characters appear in a lighthearted infographic, in which they are juxtaposed against various internet marketing tools.

The Kyoob Logo

I’ve never really had a logo – branding yourself seems to be one of the tougher things to work on – so at the moment I’ve been modelling a slick logo in Cinema4D and Illustrator, a motif that will go towards informing the wider site identity. Currently its not quite finalised yet, but the end result will look halfway between a cube and a tesseract, and will represent my multi-faceted skill-set of design, illustration, motion design, and animation.

I’m looking forward to having an animated hero unit in place, with an eye-grabbing video of some really neat motion things involving the cube that are inspired by some of my favourite ident examples.

Out with the old, in with the new!

After a long time, I’ve finally gotten around to updating my personal portfolio website and setting up a working blog. The site is currently a little rough around the edges at the moment, but it should be complete very shortly.

This area is where I will be posting my thoughts, progress updates on personal projects, doodles and experiments too minor for the portfolio section, and more.
Stick around!

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