Blackspike Design Ltd

Archive (150 posts)

BC Trees responsive WordPress theme

BC Trees asked Blackspike to come up with a custom built Wordpress theme to include BC Trees’ new branding and to be fully responsive from mobile to tablet to laptop to desktop.

Rejected logo concept

We recently rebranded a London based company, and supplied them with a series of logo concepts. These are some of the rejected ideas that we are too fond of to hide away! Made entirely in Blender 3D.

Agenda View – Windows Phone app site and icon

Visit We created a new site and icon for our friends at – they built a handy calendar app for the upcoming 8.1 release. We first designed the logo, making it really crisp and to be as ‘system default’ looking as possible. By designing the logo in Illustrator and using the vectors embedded […]

Blackspike accepts bitcoin

Blackspike Design has been accepting bitcoin since 2012, either as tips for miscellaneous tech help or code samples in our tutorials, our first bitcoin tip was when 1BTC = 10GBP The great thing about accepting bitcoins is that it removes the transaction fees when paying internationally across currencies and it is much quicker to deposit. […]

Summit Radio flyer design

We created a promotional flyer for our local radio station – Summit Radio – for a ski jump competition.

Leicester Council Microsite

Blackspike was asked to design and code up the new front end for their Love Clean Streets microsite

Data Center Garage logo

One of our favourite logos that we’ve designed, an industrial feel for a digital company

Encore WPF Desktop App

Briefed to create a desktop app that looks and works like Modern Windows was a fun challenge. Fortunately, WPF and Blend mean that is achievable with animations, transitions and rich vector graphics

Monkey Chamonix – Responsive website design and build

A labour of love for our local bar, we’ve designed and built a very customised new wordpress site for them. The client was very easy going and happy for us to lead the design and choose the technology to showcase the content. Here are some of the cool features we used Bilingual – using localstorage, […]

ReadSpike v2 – news aggregator

We soft launched some time in 2013 mostly for ourselves, but more and more people are heading about it and users are growing daily. With more users comes feedback, mostly useful! Readspike v2 now uses localstorage to remember column states and we’ve added a re/code feed as requested. We have updated the logo and […]

The Messenger v2 website redesign and rebuild

We built and launched v1 of The Messenger, the Chamonix nightlife guide, 18 months ago in 2013. With a new ski season we rebuilt it to be more responsive and usable, surfacing more news and events and showing off the interviews and content. Built with WordPress, it has an events calendar, filterable local business section […]

Motion logo and branding

These are a load of working and submitted logos for a client, whose name subsequently changed, leaving these in limbo! We are putting them here for posterity and getting on with some new ideas…

Logo design and stickers for The Messenger

Fun logo design job for The Messenger, Chamonix’s nightlife guide, with only one stipulation — it must be a pigeon We drew a pigeon in Illustrator and used a sine wave for the wings They look great on skis and boards!

Joule 2 WPF Trading Gateway

This was a huge piece of Silverlight and WPF work that ended up really well – a high performance trading gateway with a huge feature set. We originally built it in Silverlight, but converted to WPF for perf reasons

MG-ALFA Windows 8 Dashboard Metro App

Our first Windows 8 Metro app in the Windows App store. We helped Endjin & Milliman with the design and build of a seriously impressive touchscreen app for managing and monitoring very large Windows Azure clusters.

Adobe Edge for HTML5 animation

Blackspike was asked to help with some animation for Endjin – something we would normally have done in Flash (or less frequently, Silverlight), but the brief was for it to work on mobile, which meant using HTML5/CSS/Javascript.

Credit Suisse ForEx trading Silverlight dashboard

Blackspike worked with the brilliant digital studio UsTwo to help Credit Suisse build a comprehensive and market leading Silverlight dashboard to control, analyse and trade from both the browser and out-of-browser.

Joule – Energy trading platform

Blackspike was hired to make the Joule Silverlight app look great and feel slick and responsive, but not only did we design the app look and feel and build the XAML assets, we also helped out with a PhoneGap mobile site and the HTML5 help system, amongst icons and animations.

The Messenger – Chamonix nightlife guide

Blackspike helped build the online version for the existing Messenger weekly print guide, a great flier promoting all the events and parties in Chamonix Mont Blanc, a large ski-town in the French Alps. It needed to have a calendar updated by a Google Calendar feed for ease of use, and it needed to be responsive […]

QX logo and branding

We produced a couple of logo ideas for QX, and we’re glad they picked our favourite!

Bespoke Pet Portraits is a website we made for our good friend Evelyn Parker-Stow. She is an incredible photo-realistic artist, a quirky yet skillful Royal Academy of Art alumni, her work has to be seen to be believed. We took her great art and created a fun single-paged website, which shows off her diverse abilities while cleanly explaining the process and costs.

Peer Perks website

We built the front end for peerperks from artwork they supplied

Blackspike business cards & iOS branding

Using the wallpaper we created last week, and the fantastic ‘printfinity’ (a service that allows you to have up to 50 unique card backs), we knocked up some dope new business cards.

Also, we made lock screen backgrounds for our iOS devices, with contact details added in case we misplace them.

Windows Store IPTV app

Microsoft asked us to mockup a Windows Store app to demo to ISPs, we happily supplied the artwork

Windows Store Concierge App

This was a POC Windows Store app for a hotel that the customer would use to manage their stay

Blueyonder Website 2012 Redesign

This is a visual refresh of the Blueyonder Airline site we designed in 2010 to bring it up to modern standards and trends

MCW Tech website redesign

We originally designed their original site, and a couple of years later they asked us to give them a refresh in a more modern Metro-style. We were happy to oblige.

Angry tree Blender Illustration

Found this lurking in dropbox, a quick and simple model of a tree character. Free .blend model file attached, under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons license.

Lehman Brothers WPF trading simulator

Before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and almost took down the worlds economy, we designed and built them a WPF trading simulator

Silverlight Web App

We designed and built the front end of this Silverlight airport booking system

Fabrikam logo ideas

A selection of logo designs for Fabrikam – a tech support agency

Procter and Gamble PixelSense app

Procter & Gamble wanted to create a multi-user moodboard app so their focus group sessions could be more interactive and archived. As PixelSense experts, we built an app to easily display and manipulate photos

Blender 2.5 Particle video

We’ve had a quick play with the improved particle system in Blender 2.5, and we’ve found it much better with the new UI. Your browser does not support the video tag. You should update your browser for crying out loud. Try Google Chrome or FireFox. It’s 3 light meshes applied to one plane emitter with […]

The joy of CSS3

We’ve been looking at CSS3 a bit this week, particularly the webkit implementation of it, and we’re amazed. This is going to be great for progressive enhancement to sites viewed in modern browsers. We had no idea it was possible to keyframe and then trigger animations within CSS! Some use cases that spring instantly to […]

Silverlight 4 theme brush packs

Back in March we released our award winning free Silverlight 4 theme, which provides control styles & templates, and a set of brushes to customise the look. We’re not sure that we made it clear how simple it is to change the brushes to make the theme fit your style. Therefore, we’re going to create […]

3D Bot Model

More practising of materials and textures, a simple robot model with a skin taken from a fighterjet fuselage. All made in Blender. bot in situ Free .blend model file attached, under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons license.

Ordnance Survey Get-A-Map

This was the first mockup for the Silverlight web app we built for Ordnance Survey Get-A-Map service

DocVek Website

The one and only DocVek asked us to design and build a WordPress theme to showcase his absolutely stunning artwork. His flyers, posters and even shoes are all fantastically creative works of art. We were happy to build his site for him, and he’s promised some artwork in return – can’t wait to see it!

DJ Irk – the hardliest-working man in no-business

We met DJ Irk earlier this year in Chamonix, a great party DJ as well as a top snowboarder, he asked me if we could redesign his site. We both redesigned it and recoded it, this time as a custom WordPress theme. It uses fantastic artwork from DocVek (who’s website we also built!) as a […]

Blueyonder Website

This is an html site for the fictitious airline, BlueYonder, to be used for demonstrations of Visual Studio 2010. The site was mostly designed in Illustrator, with bitmaps, effects and slicing done in Photoshop. We wrote the html and css by hand using Expression Web, which is actually not a bad text editor. You can […]

POC PixelSense Ski App

We knocked up a proof of concept ski resort PixelSense app to demonstrate the abilities of our unit to clients

Blender 3D Kitchen model

Andrew price (@andrewpprice), who runs the excellent Blender tutorial site, has released a new modelling tutorial, creating a kitchen and appliances from scratch. The tutorials are always very well produced and part one is 45 minutes long. we picked up some great tips and it was really useful to see how the real Blender […]

Character modelling in Blender 3D

Continuing with character development with Blender 3D, we’ve seen two amazing portfolios this week, and we thought we’d learn from them by trying to duplicate their work. Still a long way to go before we’re at their standard! First up is the fantastic teodoru badiu (twitter: @teodoru) – we saw this image in particular and […]

3D Character rigging and animation

It’s been a long time since we tried to rig a character in Blender, so we thought we’d give it another go. Rigging involves creating a skeleton of armatures (bones) and attaching them to a mesh, so you can animate or pose the object in a fluid way. Your browser does not support the video […]

Blender 3D Nodes and Dupliverts

This is a test of Blender 2.5’s Composition Nodes, to see how they differ from the 2.49a release. We saw the incredible music video ‘Particle Garden‘ by David Tilman that he created in Blender, and gave away the source files. Taking a peak through those, he uses a mesh with dupliverts to map the spheres, […]

Custom bookmarklets

This is a very simple & specific bookmarklet to hide the annoying footer banner advert on the otherwise great website — we love the site but for some reason we find footer adverts very annoying.* After seeing this new Smashing Magazine tutorial: Make Your Own Bookmarklets With jQuery the other day, we thought we’d […]

Mix10 – 10 things we’d like to see announced

We’re missing out on Mix in Vegas tomorrow for the first time in a long time, but here are a couple of things we’d love to see announced. We love Microsoft design technologies like Silverlight and Surface, but they have a lot of catching up to do to equal Adobe CS4 quality. Microsoft Surface 2 […]

Free Silverlight 3 skin

This is the much requested Silverlight 3 version of my Blackspike theme – same rules apply, you can use it for any project personal or commercial. Let us know if you find any bugs in the comments below. Released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales. You are free to copy, […]

Free Silverlight 4 beta skin!

Update: The skin has been upgraded to Silverlight 4 final! Update 2: This theme won an award! We are playing with Silverlight 4 beta a lot at the moment, and one of its best features is the new Implicit Styles. This means that we can design a Silverlight theme for all the controls, and all […]

Display Google Docs spreadsheets in WordPress Pt2

Following on from our post on how to use Google Docs as a lightweight CMS, this is how to include editable tabular data with custom fields in your WordPress theme. Edit core WordPress theme files You will only need to edit two files in your theme: header.php single.php Copy the contents from the source code […]

Google Docs as a lightweight CMS Pt1

We created a website for a friend, who wanted to display a lot of tabular data. We couldn’t find a way to make it easy to update on a regular basis, so we cooked up a simple CMS using a little PHP, jQuery, HTML and Google Spreadsheets. Part 2 shows how to integrate Into WordPress. […]

Witty Twitter Silverlight Skin

We were asked to look at designing a Silverlight skin for Witty – a WPF Twitter application for Windows. We mocked this up based on the current WPF version: This project never ended up happening, so for anyone interested, here is the source and Illustrator files should you want to breathe some life into it!

Technics 1210 3D blender model

Since the sad news of the end of Technics 1210’s, we thought we’d upload a model we made of one when we started learning blender. The materials are rubbish but the arm model was pretty cool :) .blend attached

Free Silverlight and WPF loading spinners

Here’s some free spinners I’ve been making with Blend and Illustrator that you can use as indeterminate loaders for Silverlight or any WPF app, all that needs changing to suit is the storyboard trigger. Enjoy!

MSN Music Flash Promo

A cool flash/jQuery mashup to expose cheap albums on the MSN Music website, lots of animation and vibrant colours, this was a fun mini site I built at Nokia Music.

Helix Stone Carving Website

A quick site and business card for the talented stone carver Tom Brown. We wrote a php script that loops through a directory for images and thumbnails and some jquery to make a lightbox, a very primitive CMS system in a couple of files. Check out some of his amazing work here:

Vigilante Bespoke Website

PSD to HTML, this was a build only job from artwork supplied, this is a tight site heavy on jQuery with some bullet proof HTML/CSS too. For all your web security needs check

XAML Ninja Website + Branding

Rich G from Conchango went solo this year and needed a web presence and some branding work, this is the site we built him, WordPress as a CMS and a shuriken style ninja logo. Check the live site here

WildFire Bookings

A website for our friends at Wildfire bookings, a hip hop PR agency in Bristol. The supplied photos were awful, so collage was the way to go, and pretty successfully to we reckon.

Tesco WPF Touch App PDC08 Keynote

PDC08 – Microsofts Professional Developers Convention is where they bring out all the big tech news, like Windows 7 and its new touch awareness. Microsoft hired Conchango to build an app for Tescos using WPF to take advantage of the native touch capabilities.

Smithmonger Flash Site

Breakbeat superstar producer and DJ asked us to design him a logo and website, something a bit different. So we created him this site, we cobbled together enough php and flash to create a primitive text file based cms system which was cool at the time. One of the earliest releases of his site […]

Smerins Anti Social Site

Awesome band Smerins Anti Social (catch them when you can) called in design hero Radim Malinic of Brand Nu to do the artwork and us to build their new site. It looks fantastic and was a joy to work with graphics this good.

Free Silverlight Beta 2 Skin

As worthless as it comes, here’s a theme we made when Silverlight Beta 2 came out. Of course, Silverlight 2 turned out to be incompatible with Beta 2, so we threw it away. For posterity, you can download the source below. Maybe grab some XAML out of it. Update – check out our new Silverlight […]

Setanta Sports Silverlight IPTV

The biggest Silverlight piece we have ever built – and one of the biggest Silverlight 2 RIA’s ever made was a fantastic, global project to work on. It took all the live and pre-recorded Setanta sports feeds and displayed them in a fantastically rich web browser app. It had everything from TiVo like programming and […]

SearchTower WPF App

This WPF app scours your hard drive for indexed content and displays it back to you in a variety of interesting ways. Fully touch friendly and with 6 different themes, this app will be great when it launches… We also designed the icons and branding, one of our first forays into Blender 3D

PixelSense Scrum Poker

At Conchango, some bright spark [edit – the bright spark was Howard van Rooijen] came up with the idea of making ‘Surface Planning Poker for Scrum for Team System’ – an Agile/Scrum planning ‘game’ on our Microsoft Surface so that spring planning would be less of a chore. Stuart Harris programmed it and we designed […]

Phantom Beats website

Now this is an old site (look at the tiny fonts!) that we designed and built in 2003

Redesigning the Microsoft Visit Mix site

Early last year we entered a redesign contest to win a free trip to Mix in Vegas. You had to take their HTML page and without touching it, totally redesigning it using CSS and images only. We really enjoyed the challenge, both designing and building it, and were happy with the final result. The judges […]

OD2 Logo and Branding

We launched our own white label music store at OD2, and as well as designing the store for multiple platforms, we were asked to produce some concepts for branding as well, eventually the internal client picked the weakest one of course, but it went into production nonetheless.

OD2 Music – Web/TV/Mobile

The music download stores we designed at OD2 (pre Nokia Music) were interesting in that each store was rolled out to web, TV (via mediacenter) and mobile – each with device specific constraints. It was great experience, and we learned a lot about usability dependent on situations (more than just interactive TV needs enormous buttons). […]

O2 Music online shop

Before Nokia bought OD2, the digital delivery network started by Peter Gabriel, we used to be the lead designers and it was our job to design and sometimes build the storefronts for clients such as MSN, Coca Cola, Oxfam and many others. This was the last one we designed, the O2 music store, long before […]

Nokia – Comes With Music WPF App

Working as lead designers at Nokia Music, the key project was the iTunes-like WPF app codenamed ‘Euphoria’. We were responsible for designing and building the front end with Expression Blend.

Sheepshape furniture brochure and website

John Neusinger needed a brochure to sell his exquisitely hand made wooden furniture, and a small brochure site. A great example of cheap and simple design which is low maintenance, long lasting and cost effective.

National Rail Enquiries POC

This was a Proof Of Concept Silverlight 2 app we helped build for Microsoft/National Rail. In just 3 weeks we created an app that would track all trains on the network at any time, and display their status and position on a map in browser., artist gallery and shop

This website was for the super talented artist, Jo Conlon, who wanted a blog to promote her exhibitions and new work, and a shop to sell pieces online. Rather than using the clunky zencart which would be a bit overkill, we used WordPress with a custom theme and the (also somewhat clunky) cheap plugin wp-ecommerce. […]

DJ Cheeba website

The incredibly talented VJ/DJ Cheeba has been bugging us for a site for ages, so finally we whipped him up a custom themed site using WordPress as a CMS and blogging platform. See the live site here: It’s definitely a step beyond most blogs and dj sites, and contains the following features: Flash video […]

Ecoshiz – zencart shop and branding

A friend asked us to build her a full ecommerce site for her ethical goods business, so after our success and experience building zencart site,, we thought we’d build hers with it too. Sadly, it never took off, here is how it looked anyway, with their logo we designed

Gig posters

A couple of posters for various Bristol bands, PressPlay and DJ Cheeba

DJ Shadow Flyer

An old bit of print design but a nice bit of typography. This flyer has lasted a lot longer than the Hyphy Movement.

Conchango Labs

Before Conchango was bought out by EMC, we were asked to create a beta labs site for all our test projects. This never came to be but we were always fond of the design, so here it is saved for posterity. It was also the first time we’d dabbled in real 3D using 3Ds Max, […]

BC logo

Welding company logo

BlowersWorld – not as rude as it sounds is a site originally thought up by DJ Pete Kraymon, to document the phenomena that is ‘doing a blower’. The strapline explains it best: “From this point on expect vast improvements in quality of life. All you need is a camera and a loose set of cheeks. The enjoyment will come naturally.” Anyway, we […]

BL.APP WPF desktop notifier application

Just an idea for a WPF desktop notifier, the idea being that you’d enter a set of blogs or web services, and when you click on the task tray icon an array of new or recent items would erupt over your desktop using Kevin Moores WPF bag of tricks to display them on springs, the most recent being the biggest.

The Apple Christmas Party Poster

One of our rare forays back to our print design days (we were print designers for several years in the mid-late 90’s), our friend DJ Cheeba asked us to design a poster for their Christmas party on The Apple, a Bristol floating cider boat. The tasteless and fun theme was ‘Dress as a celebrity you […]

Adidas Motor Sport WPF app skin

Scott Hanselman was building a WPF app with his friend John Batdorf for Adidas motorsport. Essentially they wanted a flash-like desktop app showing raceday conditions and selling official merch. Where Scott and John fell down was when they realized they had to turn a Photoshop mockup into XAML. This takes a designers eye for layout […], google docs and wordpress

This is a site I built from a friends artwork. It uses a cunning mix of live google spreadsheets pulled into wordpress, and dynamically formatted with CSS and jQuery. I’ll do a tutorial on how this is done soon :)

Hanselmans BabySmash

babySmash is a WPF app written by one of the worlds most highly respected blogger/geek/Microsoft shills to showcase the Microsoft interactive design and development stack and to entertain his apparently already tech-savvy spawn. Hanselman bigging up blackspike Your browser does not support the video tag. You should update your browser for crying out loud. Try […]

Rhino Man

Made with Blender 3D

Noisy Flash Game

This was a fun flash game we knocked up in about 2001 for a conference. It’s awfully noisy and was quite attention seeking, but a good learning experience all round. The idea is to click as many ‘goobers’ as you can to rack up a high score – ostensibly to amuse attendees, but really to […]

Windows 7 Gadgets

Windows 7 released with new desktop gadgets, we designed and created a computer management widget in 3D and HTML/JS

MCW tech website design

We often collaborate with the great guys at MCW on a variety of web and Windows stack work, they truly are experts in their field. When they asked us to design their new website we were happy to pitch in with mockups and HTML

ReSkin – Ian Griffiths blog

The Who What Why Ian Griffiths, a well respected developer, speaker and author who literally wrote the book on WPF amongst other his many other projects (he even helped write Artworks for the Acorn Archimedes early 90’s – the first Illustrator-like app I ever used!) and an all round good bloke. His blog gets ~23,000 […]

Creating an iGoogle theme

Use igoogle? Here’s how to create your own and get it published. Get your artwork thousands of daily views for free by just making your own homepage not suck with a homemade igoogle theme

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