A Beacon of Hope: A Guide on How To Create One

a beacon of hope

A Beacon of Hope: It started off as a nice idea– then turned into a great idea!


I said to myself, yes that’s a simple one, just do a little cutting there and a bit of gluing and there you go… an amazing piece of work! Its never quite that simple though when doing something for the first time, there are learning hurdles to jump over and some of them are pretty high…

The plan was to make a sign of our logo by combining two layers of MDF and then back-lighting this with LEDs which come with a funky remote so you can change the colours around. When I put it into words it seems simple and the plan was ok, but you know what they say about even the best laid plans…

It was Time to Start Cutting

I started by printing out two templates to be cut by a jig saw to make the two layers of the sign: the bottom layer would be plain white and would outline the slightly smaller coloured layer when brad-nailed together. The complexity of the curves were the hardest part of the logo to form, to make sure I hit the correct curve I cut around 3mm away from the template line with the jig saw then I sanded down the edges ’til I met the line. I collected the print of the coloured element of the logo from the printers (which looked great) and I was very happy at this point, right up until I tried to stick the print to the MDF and the print was destroyed by the epoxy.

Lucky I had a backup! Having no experience working with the type of PVC banner material that the print was printed onto I did a google search and it seemed like Epoxy would be the right choice to attach it to the MDF backing and would NEVER come off. Well I was right, the print would not have come off but the epoxy melted it so much that the material distorted. I had to scrap the first print and started again with a backup using a normal contact spray adhesive.

Unfortunately the second print didn’t perfectly match the template I cut. This threw me off, I had put in a lot of time and effort to try and avoid this but the proportions were off, I don’t know if this was because this backup was printed on a different machine or if my template was distorted before cutting, but I had to spend a lot of time patching and re-cutting areas of the MDF to match the print.

Beacon of Hope

At last the top layer was done and looking great, the edges at this point were not looking so great, all the patching I had needed to do was not kind on their aesthetics and they needed to be hidden. I found some PVC edging on my travels that you would normally use in your bathroom, and used this to cover the outer edge. I got a bit creative next and used bathroom sealant to finish off filling in the loose gaps.

After this series of problem solving I wasn’t going to make a fuss about about how to mount the sign to the wall so to keep things simple I bought a TV wall bracket and offset it from the back on the sign so when I mounted the LED strip to the back of the sign it would glow from the back.

Fingers Crossed it Looked Good on the Wall

I was surprisingly impressed with the outcome and the rest of the team seem to like it. (Note from the team: we LOVE it! But Sam’s too modest to tell you that.) It hangs proudly in our lobby and has had a warm reception so far from people that come into the studio space. The space where you work and how you present yourself is important and adding assets like these and other things like infographics is important to encourage productivity and open new doors to new business. I’m now looking forward to finding what else I can do for the team space, I’m just hoping they won’t all want 20ft high sculptures of themselves.

Sam Grigg – Graphic Designer & Craftsman, The Like Minded

Beacon of Hope Sign

Watch Me Disappear: Behind the Scenes

watch me disappear : behind the scenes

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”5980″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”5979″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”5981″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]‘Watch Me Disappear’ is a short film-noir animation that we were privileged to have shown at three international film festivals last year. 

1. Pre-Production – Getting the Creative Juices Bubbling

I’d been mulling over the idea of a noir-inspired animation for a while. I’ve always been a fan of the brooding atmosphere and ambience created by the genre – more so than the usual who-done-it plots of the source material. In this animation I set about to recreate this iconic mood as best I could, with the video game LA Noire being one of my most recent interactions with the genre.

Another idea I’d been experimenting with was the strong use of high contrast light and dark and it just so happened that the two interwove perfectly.


2. Production – Illustrate, Animate

Although I had reference material in the back of my mind like Frank Millers iconic ‘Sin City’ comics, I tried not to look at any direct reference artwork to try to limit my influence from others’ work.

I knew I wanted something fairly stylised so I went for an angular aesthetic for the illustration style. In part this was to create something with a distinct look but, to be honest, I also knew this would be a more forgiving style to animate as I didn’t have to worry about everything being realistic and smooth.

Despite my previous confession, the animation wasn’t easy. Working out where the light and shadows would react when assets in the scene moved was a particular challenge. It just so happened that due to the theme of espionage, subtle movements were generally more effective – result!


3. Post-Production – Tweaking and Tinkering

‘Watch Me Disappear’ wouldn’t be complete without the striking soundtrack (‘Watch Me Disappear’ by ‘Hinterland & Andy Rantzen’). The track fits so well that you’d be forgiven for thinking the animation was created as a direct result to the track or vice versa – but you’d be wrong. Originally I’d trawled the Free Music Archive for something jazzy that would closely link to the noir vibe of the piece. I stumbled upon the ‘spoken word’ section of the website and found Hinterland & Andy Rantzen’s track, leaving me stunned at how perfectly it suited my work.

Finally, some polish was added to the animation and spot sounds were layered on top to add atmosphere.


4. Video Launch – The Final Push

Once the animation was complete we set about promoting it across various social channels gaining decent traction. We submitted the animation to a variety of short film festivals. We’re pleased to say that it was selected for showings across the globe including ‘IndiEarth Animation Festival’ in Chennai, India, the ’60s Or Less Video Festival’ in Maryland, USA and ‘The Shortest Nights’ festival in London, UK. We were lucky enough to be given 3 tickets to ‘The Shortest Nights’ and it was a great experience which proved both entertaining and educational (yes it’s possible!).

You can check out how we got on here.


Thanks for reading,

Tariq Al-Ani – Lead Animator, The Like Minded