Continental Drift

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Hello from Berlin. I’ve been asked by Katapult to bring some international flavour to their blogging, from the city at the centre of Europe and the fringes of mainstream creative activity.

But first, the backstory:

For six years I was Katapult’s senior designer and one of the founding directors, until in December 2007 I left the business, Derby, the East Midlands, England and everything else comfortably familiar behind. 2008 was my year of wandering, when I travelled by train, bus, jeep and anything else on wheels from Europe through the middle east to India and China, returning west through Siberia and Russia. The only plane I used took me from Mumbai to Hong Kong, so my online journal was called Uberlandt. This journey is covered better by that journal, so I won’t go over it again here, other than to explain that on my way home from Moscow late in December I stopped in Berlin for a few days.

Throughout the trip I’d had half an eye looking out for places that might have some relocation potential. At various stages along the way, I’d thought ‘I’ll return here and make a life’. Granada, Istanbul, Delhi, Mumbai and Beijing all made a credible case for a long term relocation, whether for tapas and winding streets, vitality and creativity, or cultural and political collision.

Berlin, which I’d stopped in right at the start of the trip for the film festival in February, was my last port of call. I’d made contacts with various Berlin-linked people as I’d travelled, met a few for coffee, beer or soup, and was snared by the feeling of tangible possibility.

My ability with German goes no further than a low GCSE exam grade but is improving slowly, my network is slightly thin at the moment but grows slightly all the time, and the work is starting to dribble in. A profile article on Hort, the design group modelled along kindergarten principles will be in this month’s Grafik magazine, an event I’m helping to set up on international brand reputation happens this Thursday, and given a favourable wind I’ll travel to Amsterdam the following week to talk about graphics for a conference presentation in Palo Alto, California. Although I don’t think I’ll get to travel to the states myself, unfortunately.

I will be continuing my cotribution to the blog so keep an eye on it for my musings on design, creative enterprise and life in the heart of the continent.

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