Rope & Oak

Kony 2012

Kony 2012

So Skip posted this on my wall this week, and I finally got around to watching it. I have never been moved to act on something so quickly by anything. Continue Reading…

a few our our favourite things

Top 2011: A Few Of Our Favourite Things

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s we drag ourselves through January and make our way into 2012; a year that, with the Olympics (which as a Londoner is likely to be spectacular and disruptive in equal measure – rumours are it will take the average person about 1hour to enter Oxford Circus tube at rush hour in central London), a US Presidential election and the predicted end of the world, promises to be particularly busy, I believe it’s customary to look back at the ‘best of’ the year gone by.

So here we have it as the creators of R&O, we’ve put our heads together to give you our best bits of the year past… look out for more of our posts, we might just make them a regular occurrence…

a few our our favourite things

Tintin The Movie

Graham: I’ve been a Tintin fan for a long time. In fact, it’s usually my ‘go to’ DVD when I’m feeling hung over. So I was naturally super excited to see Steven Spielberg’s imagining of the classic. the reason this one makes it into my top 10 is because it had the potential to go so wrong, but what appeared on our screens was nothing short of cinema magic. It was visually awesome, well written and really managed to capture the feel of Tintin, with everything that’s good about Spielberg’s cinematic style making it pretty much perfect.

Glitch Mob

The Glitch Mob haven’t just suddenly appeared this year, but 2011 has seen them produce some stunning material. We saw them at the Electric Brixton in October, and they were beyond incredible live. They have managed to blend sounds together in what can only be described as a form of audible alchemy, and the result is some truly spectacular tracks that have an incredible amount of replay value. This has been the soundtrack to a lot of my design work this year, and I can’t wait to see what they come out with in 2012.

My personal favourite is ‘We Can Make the World Stop’, and the live version of the the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ is sublime. Not necessarily everyone’s taste, but even if it’s not your usual scene, give it a listen.

The Icon Handbook

This one only just makes it into the list being released only a few weeks before 2011 bowed out, but thoroughly deserves a place in the list. Hicks design have a well founded reputation for excellence in design (John Hicks had a hand in designing the Firefox icon that graces millions of desktops worldwide), and this book represents a reference, showcase and piece of eye candy all in one. What it promises is a great deal and perhaps tries to deliver too much in one beautifully designed package, but it impresses on all counts. It’s a study in well executed design publication, and without sounding too evangelistic, one that any self respecting designer who even thinks about icon and UI design should have on the bookshelf.

Frozen Planet

Sir David Attenborough has been producing incredible documentaries for decades, but for me Frozen Planet took this to another level. Perhaps it was the remarkable reality of life in such a hostile environment, combined with breathtaking visuals, but I watched most of the series with my jaw on the floor.

The seminal moment of this series had to be polar bears play fighting during a snowless summer, and this series captured moments that no natural history programme has ever done before. Years in the making it’s as much a testament to the skill and dedication of the BBC natural history unit as it is to the tenacity of life in such an inhospitable climate. And the pervading message throughout was that this is a snapshot of a part of the world that is fast changing due to the global effects of climate change.

Pure television magic.


As far as Pinterest goes, this social media sharing site is no small fry. It is based on an online pinboard or ‘virtual pinboard’ as they coin it and, although it’s only been around for a year, for the week ending on December 17th attracted nearly 11 million visitors according to Hitwise… and, as such, is one of the site’s top 10 social networking and forum online destinations (it even beat Google + and Tumblr in November). Told you, no small fries here.

You have to be invited (and we were thanks to the lovely Kay Montano who uses it for her artistic mood and reference boards – see hers here but it’s worth it if you need some inspiration or just need a bit of order for that creative brain of yours…

NB: if you comment on this post we will select a random winner to invite to Pinterest if you are interested in trying it out…

Nintendo 3DS

Graham: I got one of these for my Birthday this year, and I hadn’t really entertained the idea before then. I rarely have time to actually sit and play games, but I was blown away by how addictive this little 3D console is. The quality of games is awesome, and I started with the 3DS version of the classic ‘Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time’. It’s brilliant, and to be honest you just have to try it to really understand what I mean. Another highlight is the new Supermario instalment, which manages to capture the brilliance of the original Game Boy title whilst bringing some of the innovative elements of Supermario Galaxy.

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

Emma: If Graham’s getting to post a film, so do I and (as I haven’t caught Tintin yet) it didn’t get much better than Rise Of The Planet Of Apes for me this year. The TV show and preceding films were a personal childhood favourite (I know, don’t judge me. I did like Super Ted and the Fraggles too so give me some credit) so I was excited to see what the director, Rupert Wyatt, visual effects company, WETA, and the amazing cast, James Franco, Andy Serkis and Freida Pinto came up with.

Andy Serkis played Caeser, the main ape that leads the revolt in the prequel, and true to style and his aptitude for acting in CGI gear (he also famously played King Kong and Gollum), the effects were amazing. Check out the trailer at

Although I loved these videos on more… they show how they studied the apes movement. Just try not be creeped out by the ape playing a video game documentary >

There’d better be a sequel… and Franco had better make an appearance. Am publically offering myself to play Pinto’s role.


Emma: It’s a well known fact that the library of Youtube videos I store in my head at any one time rivals the British library’s own collection. Go on, ask me anything and I’ll have a vid to back it up. However this year I was introduced to Vimeo, a really refreshing video sharing portal that seems to move away from the home movie/ viral pull that Youtube is famous for, and instead indulges a far more digitally creative crowd. There are graphic designers, film makers, photographers and so much more, presented in a much slicker player than Youtube.

It’s searching system is not nearly as good as Youtube but you can find some really amazing videos if you have a browse. I also love the way you can embed and tailor the player to suit your site’s theme… very cool.

My current favourite?

The mountain of course >

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.