The best websites for royalty-free images

As a business-owner, a cohesive brand identity is paramount to creating a brand that clients’ and stakeholders can recognise easily and trust. So often, a beautiful website can be let down by poorly-curated or stock images that start to confuse the identity. Stock images can be expensive for a start-up business, but thankfully there a few amazing websites that offer beautifully-curated selection of royalty-free images that are free for commercial use. If you can, however, please credit the photographer when using their images (encouraged, but not required).

Favourite artists on Instagram

The trend for line drawings and nudes continues into 2018 and I’m loving it. Here are some of my favourite discoveries and artists you have to follow on Instagram at the moment:

Christiane Spangsberg

@christianespangsberg

Caroline Walls

@carolinewallsart

James Wilson

@byjameswilson

Jessalyn Brooks

@jessalynbrooks

Ines Longevial

@ineslongevial

As ever, Matisse (Blue Nudes series) and Picasso remain some of my favourite artists of all-time. The artists mentioned above are most likely to have been inspired by them too.

If you love the work here, then eras to explore are Late-Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism.


 
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Weekly moodboard: Jan week 3

Happy Monday to you! This week’s moodboard is based on some of my favourite bloggers and a neutral palette.

L-R (clockwise):

  1. This picture is from one of my favourite bloggers, Alice Catherine. I love the beautiful clothes she wears, a hint of vintage paired with modern pieces. Her Instagram feed has a strong brand identity and she loves playing around with different textures and gold jewellery.

  2. ‘The world needs what you got’. What a great sentiment. I am loving this signature-style font at the moment. I think there’s something so effortless about it, yet it’s still legible. This design is from Tanya Val.

  3. Peeping behind is a beautiful little illustration of some leaves. The thin lines hear are beautiful against the beige. This illustration is from Alannah Kiarah.

  4. Alice Catherine appearing again. Very much #stylegoals.

  5. This beautiful print series is from Studio 1850. I love the simplicity and the Matisse-inspired line drawing. The serif font and the texture of the background lends this composition to a have a vintage feel.


 
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Website scrapbook: January 2019

New monthly scrapbook exploring some of my favourite sites ready to inspire my designs for January 2019. As ever, my favourite place for website and typography inspiration is Typewolf. It’s the bible for beautiful website design and the latest trends in UI and typography. Carefully curated, you can easily spend hours getting lost in some very exciting and inspiring website design. It’s definitely an integral part of my design process when looking for type, colour palette and UI inspiration.

I’ve also used Pinterest and websites that I’ve come across myself for this list.
See Pinterest for more of my influences.

The Day  Fonts : Majesti, Gotham (ScreenSmart)

The Day
Fonts : Majesti, Gotham (ScreenSmart)

Unspoken Agreement  Fonts: Morion, Karla

Unspoken Agreement
Fonts: Morion, Karla

Spindle  Fonts: Sporting Grotesque, Caslon

Spindle
Fonts: Sporting Grotesque, Caslon

Épione Les Libaux  Fonts: Self Modern, Raleway

Épione Les Libaux
Fonts: Self Modern, Raleway

Isabelle Fox  Fonts: Orpheus, Mabry

Isabelle Fox
Fonts: Orpheus, Mabry

Benjamin Guedj    Fonts:       Saol Display, Agipo

Benjamin Guedj
Fonts: Saol Display, Agipo


 
 

Weekly moodboard: Jan week 2

Happy Monday to you! This week’s moodboard is based on some of my favourite colours of the moment. As mentioned in the colour trend pridictions (read here), you will begin to see blues creeping into the neutral trend. I love the pop of colour to break up the burnt oranges and beige tones here.

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L-R (clockwise):

  1. This picture is from one of my favourite bloggers, Monikh, wearing a fluffy red/orange jumper paired with a satin blue skirt. She’s full of interior and style inspiration - definitely one to check out!

  2. Beautiful typography that I’ve found on Pinterest and is by Mel Volkman. I’m loving the signature fonts at the moment and the colour combination here is so beautiful. Adding a texture to the background adds depth.

  3. This illustration is by artist and graphic design, Cocorrina. This illustration is called, ‘The Body you Live in’ and encourages you to love your body, I love the brush she has used here and the sentiment is a fantastic one.

  4. This photo is one I found on Pinterest and unfortunately struggled to find the original blogger - let me know if you know her! I love the lines the satin is creating - great inspiration for an illustration or two.

  5. The Maria Black branding is so beautiful and cohesive. The design and art direction is from Girls on their way home Studio, who is so creative and definitely worth having a look into.

  6. Again, I’ve struggled to find the designer unfortunately. I love the colour palette and fonts used here.


 
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Weekly moodboard: Happy New Year 2019

I’m so excited for what already promises to be a great year. I spent last week creating and scheduling a lot of content ready to get the ball rolling for today. I’m now into my third year of trading, which brought about the need to develop a business strategy, with the all-important marketing plan and financial forecasts. I want to create more content, push all my social medias to showcase client work and really step everything up. Alongside my personal plans for the brand to push my creativity by pairing my love for painting with branding and packaging design, I have some very exciting projects ahead for amazing brands and websites. As ever, I am incredibly lucky with my clients and looking forward to continue to work with my growing client base.

Here’s to a great year!

L-R (clockwise):

  1. This photo is one I found on Pinterest and unfortunately struggled to find the original blogger - let me know if you know her! I love the lines the satin is creating and the beautiful dark red - great inspiration for an illustration or two.

  2. How great is this? Unfortunately, I didn’t take note of the artist, but it’s such a beautiful composition and colour palette. I saw this image and it was the inspiration for the whole mood board.

  3. This logo is from one of my favourite designers to follow on Instagram: Stylishcreative. Nicola offers beautiful designs and a well-curated Instagram. I love the composition and use of shadows in this image.

  4. I love the colour palette and the beautiful art in this room. The rug is such a clever moment, adding depth and character. Source unknown.

  5. I am still loving stars after the Christmas trend! I love the tones in this image and the size of the stars and the little moon. Source unknown.

  6. I love the colour of the satin here and the pop of colour in this blogger’s heels. Paired with gold jewellery and a oversized jumper for a perfect composition. Source unknown.

  7. This is one of my favourite print designs for a while. I love the illustration and the colour palette. This is by Lise Mailman for the Ruban Collectif.

  8. Finally, a mix of handwritten and serif fonts for a beautiful design. Seems that that combination is going to remain one of my favourites for a while longer! I am definitely favourite the more signature-style fonts, however, as opposed to the more traditional calligraphy and modern-calligraphy styles. I like that they look like you’ve scrawled it down on a piece of paper in a hurry! They add a bit more personality to the design. This beautiful logo is from Manon Pontillo.


 
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Must-see Art Exhibitions in London, January 2019

Hope you had a lovely break and Happy New Year to you.

Art galleries are the perfect day or night out in January. One of these events is free - perfect if the purse strings are a little tight after a festive Christmas! I’ve listed a few of the exhibitions that I’m excited to go to this month:

Tate Modern: Uniqlo Tate Lates

25th January 2019 at 18:00-22:00
FREE

I’ve been to a Tate Late before and they’re really great. Walk around the museum after-hours with a drink in your hand - what’s not to love? Tate Modern runs this event on the last Friday of every month with a mix of art, music, film and workshops. You’re not allowed to take drinks into the art galleries, but they have a lot of events between the galleries that you can get stuck into, as well as a DJ in the bar area if you want a dance.

This is a great event to take those friends that may not see the appeal of a normal art gallery, but fancy getting creative. The January Tate Late has the amazing Guerilla Girls member Aphra Behn talking through her latest publication. PUSH/PUSHBACK gives an inside look at the posters, protests, fax blitzes, speak-outs and street theatre actions used by the Guerilla Girls to attack and expose sexism and racism in the arts.

While this event is free, you have to book into some of the talks ahead of time.

Tate Modern: Pierre Bonnard

23rd January 2019-6th May 2019
£18

Henri Matisse is one of my all-time favourite artists. Matisse once described Pierre Bonnard as ‘the greatest of us all’. However, Bonnard is often forgotten. You can see the impressionist influences in his work, but uses colour in the most amazing way. One of the trends of 2019 is predicted to be how we use colour to create a unique voice within brands. Pierre is another amazing resource to inspire colour palettes, patterns and creativity within graphic design. I’m so excited for this exhibition.

Nude in an Interior, 1935 by Pierre Bonnard.

Nude in an Interior, 1935 by Pierre Bonnard.


RA: Klimt / Schiele: Drawings

4th November 2018-3rd February 2019
£18

I have such a soft spot for the Royal Academy of Arts. A few years ago, my godmother gave me an art pass, which allowed myself and a guest to visit the events for free. I have such a habit for meaning to go to see exhibitions, but before you know it they’re over and you’ve missed it. Having the art pass meant that we were more committed to going. Every exhibition was amazing and reestablished my love for them. I did a previous post about my trip to see the Ai Weiwei exhibition, which you can read here:
https://lucyelliottdesign.co.uk/perfect-conditions/2016/9/17/for-a-little-culture

The Klimt / Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna exhibition has been running since November and ends in early Feb so this is a priority for me. Klimt paintings, especially, are quite famous but I don’t know much about Schiele at all so hopefully it’s a good introduction. This exhibition explores over 100 drawings produced by both artists. It includes the first sketches of Klimt’s ‘Standing Lovers’, one of his most famous paintings.

Yellow Waistcoat by Egon Schiele

Yellow Waistcoat by Egon Schiele


National Gallery: Courtauld Impressionists

Now-20th January 2019
£7.50

While The National Gallery is not always my favourite museum (simply because it offers more classical and renaissance paintings that aren’t too my taste), the Impressionist era is one of my long-time loves. I saw the Monet Water Lilies last year and they were absolutely incredible. This smaller exhibition celebrates some of the major Impressionist paintings, including works by Cezanne, Manet, Degas and Renoir - a perfect introduction to the era.

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère by Édouard Manet

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère by Édouard Manet

Museum of Brands

£9 for Adults

I’ve just heard about a small museum near to Portobello Road, called ‘Museum of Brands’, which celebrates 150 years of brands, packaging and advertising though the permanent exhibition the ‘Time Tunnel’ created by consumer hisotrian Robert Opie. Looks really interesting!

Museum of Brands

Museum of Brands

 
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Website design trends for 2019

Trends are a bit of a guesswork, and by nature we should be using these trends to inspire our creativity and push boundaries. They’re great for understanding the current design culture: what we love, what we hate and what we’re trying to achieve and move towards. As ever, design should be user-centred so understanding trends and emphasising with them are important in achieving this. Design trends should always be used thoughtfully and appropriately, as opposed to being used for the sake of following a trend.

With that all in mind, here’s some exciting and innovative trends from designers pushing the boundaries of Website design in 2019:

Bold and unique typography

Using bold, maxi typography a la Brutalism (read more in my Graphic design trends for 2019), is set to become more and more embraced within website design. Designers are using it to create strong visual identities and it’s becoming more actively involved within the design.  Combination of different font weights and density values, combinations between vertical, diagonal, and horizontal orientation, and even messy typography looks will be the norm in 2019. Outline typography is set to become more popular, too.

Art and illustrations

Art and illustrations were increasingly used throughout the end of 2018 to establish a strong identity and point of difference for brands. Mailchimp had a large rebrand towards the end of last year and particularly embraced the use of hand-drawn illustrations and visuals:

image30.jpg

Alternative art: strokes, doodles and annotations

Annotations and doodles are a great, creative way to help a good user-experience and add feedback to a design. I used it for a website that will be launching early 2019 and I loved how it allows you to be creative with elements that are traditional and not often experimented with, such as add a circle doodle to a button instead of a border. 

Gradients

This is one of those trends that I used to struggle getting on board with, but there’s some amazing examples of using gradients as a throwback to the nineties clipart days. See examples of current sites adopting the use of gradients from Spotify, Stripe and Apple:

You can use the following online tools to help you create the perfect gradient tools:

https://mycolor.space/
https://cssgradient.io/

Sources:
https://www.bluecompass.com/blog/web-design-trends-to-watch-for
https://webflow.com/blog/20-web-design-trends-for-2019


 
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Graphic design and Art Direction trends for 2019

Shadows

Shadows add an element of depth and character to compositions. They create an atmosphere of elegance for a design mock-up or layout. This technique started trending late-2018 and will take full swing in 2019.

Cheetahs

This is a fun illustration trend that we’ll begin to see more of. Just look at the creative way Cheetahs are being used as inspiration for these amazing illustrations.

Brutalism

Brutalism is a step away from the clean and minimal approach, and embraces using bold typography and compositions to push design. While it’s been championed for the past couple of years (particularly in 2016-17), it looks like it’s here to stay. By using carefully chosen type and embracing the bold colour palettes & black and white colour trends that I’ve spoken about here, creates some exciting designs. This trend needs to be used carefully as it’s important that the function is not lost for design, i.e. a poster designed uses Brutalism techniques still needs to be legible.

It’s not my normal style, but I’m definitely inspired by the creative use of space and typography. One of my favourite designers with this style is Caterina Bianchini Studio. I love the bold compositions, illustrations and fonts that she uses - so creative. It really encourages you to think past the normal layout of print and I find it particularly inspiring for pushing website design, which is traditionally more limited and grid-based. Collection of Caterina’s work:

Open compositions

Traditionally, designers put a frame around designs so that they appear ‘finished’. However, lately there’s been a trend towards only showing part of the picture, with elements going off the page. This trend allows the designer to play with composition by embracing the space on the page, adding intrigue and interest. This trend for print has been inspired by website design, where you scroll to see the full picture.

Have a look at my blog post about trends in Website and UX design for 2019 here.


For more inspiration, find my Pinterest boards here: pinterest.co.uk/lucyelliottdesign/

 
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Colour trends in 2019

Neutrals

Neutrals are still very much following the big trends in 2018. This is being pushed by art and textures so pair the neutral colours with interesting typography, patterns and materials for personality and character.

Combine with pinks and browns, and ground designs with darker colours, such as oranges, navys, greens and mustard yellows.

Light blues

Light blue will start bridging the gap between the neutrals trend and the bright colours trend (see below). In the examples, you can see it being used as a secondary colour in a neutrals palette to create a point of difference and a pop of colour! This is a colour we’ll start to see being increasingly used through design.

Bright colours

This neutral/muted trend means that some designs are pushing colours as a point of difference. Other colours that are beginning to push through are:

The Pantone colour of the Year 2019, Living Coral;
Purple;
Bright colour palettes a la Matisse.

L-R: Camilla Perkins Illustration, Yellow Odalisque Henri Matisse 1937, Pantone colour of the year 2019, Pantone 9344 U, Matisse Blue Nude II, Illustration from Frankie Magazine Calendar.


For more inspiration, find my Pinterest boards here: pinterest.co.uk/lucyelliottdesign/

 
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Is your website GDPR compliant?

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect on 25th May 2018, it’s important you know how to make your website GDPR Compliant.

This new law is designed to offer individuals greater protection in respect of their personal data whether as an employee, a customer, a supplier or a potential client. The new law applies to businesses or organisations in the European Union. Those outside the EU who offer goods and services (whether paid or not) to people living within the EU, or monitor their behaviour, must also comply. GDPR becomes the global standard for data protection.

You can use this great checklist to help you get your business ready for the new GDPR regulations: https://ico.org.uk/media/1624219/preparing-for-the-gdpr-12-steps.pdf

 

Website changes

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on GDPR but have made the following changes to clients’ websites following their requests. I have done a lot of my own research and consequently made all of these changes to my site in an effort to be GDPR compliant. I accept no responsibility for any consequences you have following this advice; you should always do your own research. 

 

What do the regulations mean for your website?

Essentially, you need to be transparent about how you process and use personal and sensitive data.

 

1. Update privacy and cookies policies

GDPR will mean you’ll need to have clear statements and policies in place with regards to data processing within your business or organisation.

You’ll need to inform your website visitors what sort of data is being collected from them, what it’s used for and how it is stored. Most of this can be covered off in a detailed privacy policy. You should already have one of these on your website so in most cases it will just be a case of updating it.

You should always tailor a privacy policy to your specific business. There are lots of templates out there, but it’s important that the information is all correct and relevant to your website specifically. You can also find mine here to get an idea of the information you need to include.

 

Google analytics

Here is an extract from a GDPR compliant website privacy policy statement with relation to the use of Google Analytics. It clearly explains what type of data gathering this is (visitor tracking), what it is used for and how to opt out if you wish:

"Like most websites, this site uses Google Analytics (GA) to track user interaction. I use this data to determine the number of people using my site, to better understand how they find and use my web pages and to see their journey through the website.

Although GA records data such as your geographical location, device, internet browser and operating system, none of this information personally identifies you to us. GA also records your computer’s IP address which could be used to personally identify you but Google does not grant us access to this. I consider Google to be a third party data processor.

GA makes use of cookies, details of which can be found on Google’s developer guides. My website uses the analytics.js implementation of GA. User and event data is held on Google servers for 38 months. You can read more about Google Analytics Data Retention here.

Disabling cookies on your internet browser will stop GA from tracking any part of your visit to pages within this website."

 

Contact and sign-up forms

You need to document your internal policies for processing and erasing the data you keep.

 

Other privacy policy requirements

You also need to provide users with a way to withdraw consent and purge personal data collected on them; i.e. the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’. The easiest way to do this is to have a dedicated email (gdpr@domainname.co.uk, for example) for them to get in contact with you.

You’ll need to appoint a Data Protection Officer for your business who’s job it is to manage these requests alongside other GDPR related admin.

It is also a requirement of GDPR that you verify requests to remove or edit data via email.  The easiest way to manage this is to ask your customers/users to send their email to you using the email account that they subscribed/enquired with so you can verify their identity and right to edit the data you hold.

 

2. Add a cookies banner to your site

What are cookies?
When you visit a site that uses cookies for the first time, a cookie is downloaded to your browser. The next time you visit that site, your browser will check to see if it has a cookie that is relevant and sends the information contained in that cookie back to the site. The site then ’knows’ that you have been there before. It helps to load your pages faster if it remembers the information from a previous visit. 

Your site is collecting information every time someone visits your site, i.e. cookies (you can turn this off on your browser). To remain transparent under the new GDPR regulations, you need to add a banner to ensure that people are aware of the information that you’re collecting when they are on your site. This should have a link to your updated policies and a continue button.

Example:

Cookies-banner.jpg

 

3. Contact and sign-up forms compliance

People will need to confirm that they have read and agree to your terms and conditions before proceeding to submit the form. It will no longer be acceptable to use pre-populated check boxes (check box already ticked).

Example:

 
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Note that the Google re-captcha is not a GDPR requirement but helps to ensure that your new subscribers are real people, not robots.

 
 

...to streamline the design process: tips and tricks


I love being a freelancer because you get to do everything from drawing to full development and design and I even love the business side of it! This does mean, however, that time is money.. literally.

 
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Here's a few shortcuts and tips to streamline and automate the tasks that don't require you spending hours for a great design:

 

Pindown

Problem: As designers, we spend (way too many) hours on Pinterest. I love this part of the design process and I actually believe that it's so important for inspiring you. I'll find create a board on Pinterest and download the images to design a moodboard for my client. However, saving each individual picture from your board will take you ages to do manually! 

Solution: downloading the FREE Chrome extension 'Pindown' is a life saver. You simply click the little icon at the top of the board you want and it will download each individual image on that board! AMAZING.

 

Illustrator scripts

Scripts are a great time-saving tool for designers. There are some amazing free scripts that you can find to solve a manner of Illustrator sins. They really can save a huge amount of time and it's well worth searching for ones that can streamline your own process. 'John Wundes' and 'Hiroyuki Sato' are both leading developers in creating great free scripts. Here's a few that I really cannot do without: 

Export each layer as a seperate file

Reset image to horizontal position

Merge overlapping anchors

 

Photoshop Etiquette
 

 
 


Check out this amazing website, all about the best Photoshop practices: Photoshop Etiquette. Easy-to-read guides, some of the tips may seem obvious but it may get you to actually start implementing some the practices. My favourite few:

- Always use masks for your layers - never edit directly onto a layer.
- Rename all of your layers and group them to keep your Photoshop files clean. This will save time if you re-visit a file months later.


 
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...for the equipment every graphic designer should have

 
 


I officially have an obsession with all thing stationery. As a designer, having the right equipment makes your design process so much for enjoyable and efficient. Here's a few of my must-haves!

Hope you find something useful here! Hope you have a great week, L x

...to appreciate some beautiful print

I was recently invited to London Fashion Week by a client. It is now run in Brewer Street Car Park, and the LFW team did an incredible job ensuring that every aspect of the event was beautiful and premium - including the LFW preview book we were given on arrival:

I have always been fascinated with digital design and the endless possibilities that technology can create for a brand now, but sometimes there's nothing like finding an old book in a vintage shop or picking up a magazine that has been beautifully designed to make you appreciate the beauty that print can bring. Check out 'People of Print' on Facebook for lots of amazing articles & interviews.

Have a happy Sunday! L x

...for a beautiful camera

I volunteered in a Oxfam shop for a couple of months and found some amazing treasures.

Volunteering in an Oxfam shop proved to be an exercise in self-restraint! However, I saw this camera in the shop, and immediately fell in love. I tried to stay objective, however, and do some research before I gave in. I nearly bought an SLR for Christmas but they are so expensive and I'm very much a novice. This AV-1 Canon, includes the original box and all the original manuals for an incredible £12!

Researching the camera prior to purchase was very important. For many of these vintage cameras, the cost of the film and developing the pictures is the expensive part. Luckily for me, not only does the camera have some great reviews, but the films (35mm) are fairly cheap and Boots will develop the pictures! Ideal.

So when someone came into the shop asking whether it worked, I was terrified that I had waited too long. They didn't buy it because it was 'untested', but I immediately ran off to grab my card and bought it right there and then. All cameras sold in Oxfam shops are tested by a professional before being put on sale. 'Untested' means that it is in good working condition, but the photos weren't developed so they can't guarantee that it works. Charity shops really have some amazing gems, if you're willing to dig a little.

Have a happy Sunday! L x

Edit: It works beautifully!

...for beautiful interiors

Tom Dixon has been one of my favourite brands for a while now. His products are always elegant and beautifully designed, with perfect injections of bold metallics. It was just announced that Tom Dixon has been sold by its Swedish owners to a British investment company. Hopefully, this won't affect the design as Tom Dixon himself remains in a similar position as before.

Here are some beautiful images from the Tom Dixon store recently opened in Manhattan (his first showroom outside London):

Tom-Dixon_First-New-York-show-room_The-Shop_Manhattan_dezeen_936_5.jpg

I recently saw his showcase at the Clerkenwell Design Week, where he had decked out a beautiful church! It was incredible. I was literally in heaven!

I'd love to hear what you think :) Have a happy Sunday! L x

...for a little culture

My godmother bought me a Friends subscription to the Royal Academy for my birthday last year and I loveeee it! It allows you and a guest to attend any of the exhibitions free of charge - and you don't have to pre-book.

The Ai Weiwei exhibition was running from 19 September-13 December 2015 and I loved it. The collection is thought-provoking, poignant and extraordinary. I think the success of this exhibition also lies with the message is clear and simple, appealing to everyone.

1. Straight, 2009-2012

After the devasting Sichuan earthquake in China, Ai Weiwei set about uncovering the truth behind the number of students that become victim to the poorly erected schools. The Chinese government had tried to hide the true number, which Weiwei discovered to be more than five thousand school children. Since the discovery of their corruption, Weiwei has undergone much intense scruinity by the chinese authorities and was incarcerated for 81 days in 2011.

Straight is composed of 150 tons of steel rebar, which Ai Weiwei retrieved from the sites of the collapsed school. He then spent many years straightening each and every one of them, producing this amazing piece of art in provokes an overwhelming feeling of loss for China.

2. Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995

In this piece, Ai Weiwei has captured the act of dropping a Han dynasty urn (worth approximately $1m). He is seen with the same facial expression, and one of mild disinterest. I think the piece portrays a clear message in such a clever way. What is the real value of the urn? He is defying against his Chinese heritage in such a blatant way.

Coloured Vases, 2015

Priceless urns were painted over to question where the real value of an object comes from.

3. Bicycle Chandelier, 2015

A beautiful display of an object that is ingrained into the Chinese modern day culture.

Hope you love them too! Have a happy Sunday! L x