kimberley crofts


an information and communication designer living in London

Migrating to a new site

Please adjust your bookmarks/feeds/etc. I am migrating this blog to a new server. The address will now be

My new website is also there at


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Upcycle Christmas!

I am taking part in Folksy’s Upcycle Christmas project which will raise money for Sue Ryder Care, a charity devoted to helping those with end-of-life or long-term care needs. The project involves 200 participants who will find something from the Sue Ryder charity stores and ‘upcycle’ it into something new which can be sold at auction. All proceeds will go to Sue Ryder Care.

Today I visited my local Sue Ryder store and bought a fabulous 80s tartan jacket from Jaeger. It is 100% wool and feels lovely on the skin. Think it will become a more cropped jacket. Something with some lovely draping. Stay tuned for updates.


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Blog Action Day ’09

This post is part of Blog Action Day ’09 which hopes to raise the awareness of climate change in the lead up to Cophenhagen.

Rather than talk about the science of climate change (of which I know very little), or the doom and gloom of our current wasteful and energy-rich behaviour (of which I unfortunately know a lot) I am instead going to focus on the local. Think of it as a return to the “think global act local” mantra of the early years of the environmental debate (oh how I wish that we had begun acting then).

I have been following the wonderful progress of the Transition movement since I moved to England last September. People involved in Transition Culture educate themselves in ways to improve the local community now, and well into the future. Transition groups across the country are working out ways to embrace sustainable farming, transport, energy sourcing, and financial practices as a way to move beyond peak oil and into a carbon-free future. Transition Culture has seen the birth of Transition Town Totnes as well as the Brixton Pound which I have posted about before.

I like what Transition Culture is bringing to the table, but at present I am not really able to contribute in a large-scale way to helping develop any initiatives. I do hope that will change. What I do want to do is to live more locally.

In November we will be moving to London and I am excited to read about many local initiatives in areas that we are thinking of living. Locally organic grown food has many obvious benefits like less carbon released through food miles and having no pesticides in your food, but it is also wonderful for the community. I have met some friendly local people here in Reading at the True Food Co-op and I am sure that it is the same throughout the local food community. If you haven’t tried it, go do it! (those in Australia should check out the Live Local Challenge)


Plums picked from a tree in my back garden

Here are some of the London food groups I have found just today:

Growing Communities is in Hackney and delivers organic vegetables to local homes and sells them at local farmers’ markets. They also have their own market garden which you can volunteer at and hold a fantastic sounding food swap event where local people can swap some of their homegrown produce (and get rid of the excess courgettes from their allotment!).

There are of course the Borough Markets for generally delicious food, but produce from the Islington Farmers’ Markets (held every Sunday) are certified by FARMA (National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association) as being grown in a defined local area by the farmer themselves. If you’d like to find a real farmers’ market in your area, head to Farmers’

Anyone living in the borough of Islington and who wants to grow and distribute their food should investigate Edible Islington, set up by the Council and managed by the Capital Growth folks. The Council are providing financial aid to anyone who wishes to set up a community food growing project in the area.

And what should you be buying now from your local farmers’ market? Fresh herbs, peas, broad beans, carrots, courgettes, patty pan squash, runner beans, all sorts of tomatoes, red/black/white currants, gooseberries, red, white and black cherries, raspberries, Discovery apples, new season Bramleys, sweet corn, puff ball mushrooms, cherry plums, marrows. Thanks to London Farmers’ Markets for that info.

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Keep Britain Tidy

I was recently taking a walk to town via the Thames Valley University when I saw a teenage girl drop a half-finished pack of chips on the ground in front of a bin. More disturbing than the fact that she was eating deep-fried chips at 10am was that she seemed to be littering to impress her friend. Now I know that littering is probably fairly low on the list of priorities for the modern-day school, what with the current ASBO culture here in Britain, but if we can’t rely on teenagers to respect their immediate environment, what hope do we have of teaching them to respect the global environment?

I called the University and had a pleasant conversation with the officer in charge of security and student behaviour. He said that it was difficult to control the behaviour of a student body which comes from “all walks of life” and that there were insufficient security staff to police the problem. Why their students, no matter what their background, cannot be taught to be tidy is beyond me. To add to this, it is regrettable that they need to use security to deal with this behavioural problem.

It might instead be more prudent to use more collaborative exercise to affect behaviour change. For example, the Big Tidy Up is a campaign organised by the Keep Britain Tidy folks. Similar to the Clean Up Australia Day programme, the Big Tidy Up encourages people to respect their environment and take a more active part in making their community a better place to live. Perhaps I will suggest to the school that they conduct something similar with their students.

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English village names and car share schemes

The novelty of laughing at the names of English villages will never wear off I think. Today we hopped in our Commonwheels share car to take my parents, recently arrived from Australia, around the Cotswolds. This sign was one of the best of the day:


We have been part of a car sharing scheme and have really only used it three or four times since January, mainly for when our family has come over and we have wanted to see a bit of the English countryside. Our bicycles are more than sufficient for everyday life—including the weekly food shop—but having access to a car is sometimes a good thing.

If you are a car addict (or just need to use one every now and then) I highly recommend investigating car share schemes. The way it works is that you pay a small registration fee and then book a car online. The car sits at an agreed location in your community and each car share scheme member has a pass card that allows you to gain access to the car. The keys are in the glove compartment. All bills arrive online.

In the UK you have ones such as Commonwheels (that we use), National Car Share, Zip Car, Street Car.

There is also Liftshare, for those who would just like to share a ride with someone who is going their way.

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I am in the midst of creating a new website/portfolio. In the meantime you can check out some of my work on my Flickr site.

Here are some images of my exhibition for the MA Information Design final show.

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Research found

A quick search on the authors suggested to me by Rob Waller has uncovered the following (most I cannot locate electronically):

Factors in the Design of Experimental Graphic Displays William A. Kealy

Component skill comparisons across reading level and processing demand James M. Fletcher in the Reading Psychology journal

Display and Interaction Features of Instructional Texts and Computers Duchastel, P
Discusses whether techniques found useful in text design can be transposed to the display of computer-assisted learning (CAL) materials. Highlights include differences in interaction between books and computers; problems in learning from books; text displays; computer displays; and possible future developments.

The Use of Summaries in Studying Texts Duchastel, P
Presents a scheme for comparing the text-learning outcomes derivable from study of either text or a summary of the text and considers some practical study strategies students might adopt when summaries are available and when they are not. The value of summaries in instructional situations is discussed.

Evaluating a Text for a Special Education Technology Course Wissick, Cheryl (2002)

Using Assistive Technologies to Ameliorate Reading Difficulties (2007)

The Development of Accessibility Practices in E-Learning: An Exploration of Communities of Practice Seale, Jane (2004)

New Directions in Research: The Role of Instructional Design in Assistive Technology Research and Development Boone, Randall; Higgins, Kyle (2007)

Assistive Technology as a Self-Management Tool for Prompting Students with Intellectual Disabilities to Initiate and Complete Daily Tasks: A Literature Review Mechling, Linda C.  (2007)

Project LITERACY-HI: Hypermedia for Readers with Hearing Impairments. Horney, Mark (1995)

Evidenced Based Practices that Promote Transition to Postsecondary Education: Listening to a Decade of Expert Voices Webb, Kristine W.;  Patterson, Karen B.;  Syverud, Susan M.;  Seabrooks-Blackmore, Janice J. (2008)

Learning with Technology. 1998 ASCD Yearbook. Dede, Chris, Ed. (1998)

Special Education Technology Addressing Diversity: A Synthesis of the Literature Jeffs, Tara; Morrison, William F. (2005)

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Tapestry captions

Tapestries; Their Origin, History And Renaissance by George Leland Hunter

An important feature of many story-tapestries are the captions. In the long, narrow bands of the XIV and XV centuries, they are often on scrolls that frame the personages (See plate no. 329). On many of the immense XV century panels, there are inscriptions at the bottom in Latin or French, with names and other inscriptions in the field of the tapestry. In Renaissance historical and Biblical sets, the Latin captions usually occupied the middle of the top border. In the XVII century, cartouches occupied the middle of the top border and bottom border, the top cartouche carrying a coat of arms or a shadow oval, the bottom cartouche the descriptive caption, with sometimes another inscription in the side border. An extreme example of long inscriptions is Charles V’s Tunis set, with Spanish in the top border, and Latin in the bottom border. On the whole, captions tended to disappear from the panel of tapestries with the approach of the Renaissance, and altogether with the increased dominance of paint style in the XVII century. But a very pleasing feature of Charles Coypel’s XVIII century Don Quixote series are the descriptive captions in the lower part of the panel.

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Designing useable texts

Duffy, T. M., & Waller, R. (1985). Designing usable texts. London: Academic Press.
Pat Wright p66. Editing: Policies and procedures

Quotes herself (1980: processing visible language 2) “readers interaction with technical material is subdivided into: locating relevant material, interpreting it, and applying the newly acquired knowledge.”

So how do captions facilitate this?

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PhD studentships

The University are offering scholarships for PhDs about some interesting topics, including information literacy.

Functional literacy and document design: A considerable proportion of the population is reported to have low levels of functional literacy. We would be interested to receive proposals for an investigation of the use of document design techniques (such as clear language, typographic features, design and testing methods) to make documents easier to use by people who perform poorly in literacy tests. This study would be a crossdisciplinary study that would take account of theories of literacy, reading processes, learning, and document design.

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