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I didn't choose this lifestyle. It chose me.


Welcome to my blog. Instruct is the design agency of graphic designer John Owens, based in Central Manchester.

My main work site can be found here:


Shaw & Shaw Calendar

Inspiration Posted on Sun, January 17, 2010 21:08:55

Bristol Flags

Sometimes you see a piece of print that not only makes your draw drop, it makes you green with envy. This happens less and less now with budgets being cut and clients preferring a more digital route but now and again a real gem comes through that makes you fall in love with the process all over again.

I was delighted to see Christoph Shaw last week who kindly handed me one of their latest calendars which in true Shaw&Shaw fashion made you smile as well as made you envy at their creativity. Designed by Music this gorgeous calendar is printed/embossed onto heavyweight stock with lots of clever die-cutting giving you a choice of using the months image as a postcard. So much attention to detail has been given to the folding and printing which is trademark of Music’s craft for design.

This is married with Shaw&Shaw’s beautiful photography, some very simple but catching the essence of Britishness and some from other projects they have worked on. One of these projects being Lakeshore in Bristol which I had the pleasure of working with them both on.

If you have never seen or heard of Jo Shaw & Christoph Shaw then go and have a look at their website, again designed by Music.

Talented Bas***ds!


Inspiration Posted on Wed, December 02, 2009 13:00:22

Counter-Print Mailer

Counter-Print Poster2

Counter-Print Poster/SM4

Counter-Print Poster1

Just received some lovely goods from Counter-Print including this free poster illustrated by Robert Hanson. I’ve been waiting ages to buy something from Counter-Print and first spotted this SM Atelier 4 in Tokyo but didn’t have enough to buy it, luckily Counter-Print has loads of old gems like these.


Home Grown – The story of UK Hip Hop

Inspiration Posted on Thu, October 15, 2009 12:38:41

I went to the launch of Home Grown last night at Urbis here in Manchester which features the story of the emergence of UK Hip Hop and its current place in the music industry today. A subject close to me being a fan of UK and US Hip Hop this exhibition shows our own take on what was happening in the Bronx back in the early 80’s, taking in breakdancing, graffiti and turntablism.

It was great to see old B-Boy crew videos and the whole mixtape culture which reminded me of searching though my mates older brothers tapes when I was younger and them teaching me to crab on sheets old old sheets of kitchen lino.

Everything is put together really well with design by Leeds own Peter & Paul, lots of sleeve art/graphics and flows chronologically to now with labels such as Big Dada, If your around it’s well worth dropping by and is on until March 2010.

More images on my Flickr

Home Grown – Urbis

Peter & Paul Website


Inspiration Posted on Sat, September 26, 2009 14:40:06

I own many boxsets, limited edition 12″s and quite a like a lot of designers a hell of a lot of sleeve art so when I heard Warp were going to release a boxset for their 20 anniversary I knew it would be something very special.

Looking at all the records I own, Warp stand out as one label that have no only inspired me graphically but introduced me to so much good music. When Warp do something special they really do something amazing, Autechre’s last album showed that in an age of downloads the sleeve can still rule and make people want to own an object rather than data.

So this boxset is fitting in many ways, the music ranges from fan chosen tracklists to unheard rarities all packaged together as you would expect from a quality label who knows their audience well. One of the big highlights of the package is the book which documents every single single/album sleeve from Warp including a great foreword from Steve Beckett. Being a big tDR/Build/UE fan it’s interesting to see the development of techniques and packaging over the years all lovingly put together by London design studio YES.

I’ve uploaded some images to Flickr and they can be found here

Warp20 Boxset information/tracklist here

Futuresonic – Environmental 2.0

Inspiration Posted on Thu, May 14, 2009 11:49:55

Managed to attend the opening of Futuresonic last night at the Cube gallery in Manchester so thought I would upload a few pictures from the night.

In its 14th year Futuresonic has carved itself a strong reputation with this year being it’s biggest line up to date.

The exhibition at the Cube was focused on ‘Environmental 2.0’ with a lot of interactive and thought provoking installations, but the fun to be had was downstairs!

RCA & Yamaha have collaborated with some really interesting interactive pieces, including a Knitting piano, Paper turntables and something resembling Steven hawkins audio dream. Well worth a look at just to have a go at the chair!

The festival runs from today until Saturday 16th of May and more information can be found at:


Cube Gallery

James Jarvis & Shynola

Inspiration Posted on Tue, April 28, 2009 20:09:45

This is simply beautiful, two talented creatives collaborating to produce this well crafted animation. I’m a massive fan of both Jarvis and Shynola so it made me smile watching these organic sketches come to live, I’ll stop trying to explain and let you see for yourself:


James Jarvis / Shynola / Taken from CRBlog

Airside by Airside

Inspiration Posted on Tue, April 28, 2009 19:41:54

Amazing insight into the making of Airside’s 10th year anniversary book:

Airside Blog

Pete Fowler

Inspiration Posted on Sun, April 26, 2009 13:09:09

I’ve always loved Pete Fowler’s work and like most people who admire his work I discovered him through the Super Furry Animals sleeve art. Inspired by Japanese art, folklore and myth his work has been featured all over the world. Above are a few of my own toys (There’s too many to feature on here)

Pete Fowler

Monsterism Myspace


Inspiration Posted on Sun, April 05, 2009 17:40:32

Like many designers/studios I like, I have discovered their work through my obsession of collecting music and packaging. Farrow or Mark Farrow’s designs can be found in many of my record boxes and cd racks, some collected well before I even knew what graphic design was. I remember buying all of the early Deconstruction label series, from the classic Felix – Don’t you want me to Sasha’s legendary Xpander EP.

Farrow has always produced beautifully clean, conceptual design with his design heritage firmly routed In the UK’s early 90s dance scene.

Farrow’s website has recently been updated, including his award winning work for Spiritualized and tasty packaging for Dave Clarke


MARK Studio

Inspiration Posted on Tue, March 31, 2009 22:43:44

Manchester’s own Mark Studio has a web-revamp, some great work from around the city


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