Personalised Christmas Cards

Christmas Opening Hours

Personalised Christmas Cards


Cloud 9 Design will be open as usual on the following days over the festive period …

Wednesday 23rd December 2020 – OPEN 9.00am-4.00pm

Thursday 24th December 2020 – CLOSED ALL DAY

Friday 25th December 2020 – CLOSED ALL DAY

Saturday 26th December 2020 – CLOSED ALL DAY

Sunday 27th December 2020 – CLOSED ALL DAY

Monday 28th December 2020 – OPEN 9.00am-1.00pm

Tuesday 29th December 2020 – OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm

Wednesday 30th December 2020 – OPEN 9.00am-1.00pm

Thursday 31st December 2020 – CLOSED ALL DAY

Friday 1st January 2021 – CLOSED ALL DAY

Saturday 2nd January 2021 – CLOSED ALL DAY

Sunday 3rd January 2021 – CLOSED ALL DAY

Monday 4th January 2021 – OPEN AS NORMAL 9.00am – 5.00pm

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas and New Year


Photos Sold


I am happy to report that at long last my photos are beginning to get noticed after recently selling 25 photos of Nottingham, Newark & Southwell to Marketing Nottingham UK together with the following testimonial, which was very pleasing indeed …

“As the official tourist board for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, we were impressed by the images from C9 Designs, which really showcase the very best of our city and county. The huge variety of striking and high quality images of some of our most famous and beloved landmarks is ideal to help us promote our region. Julian himself is very friendly, responsive and professional, and we intend to continue using his services in the future.”

- Sophie Milne, Communications Executive, Marketing Nottingham UK.

Discover my extensive photo library for yourself where you will find many more categories including Places, Trains, Boats, Animals, Entertainment, Nature available to buy now at

Find out more about Marketing Nottingham UK at



Do you want to improve your photography work?


There are plenty of photography courses and helpful free videos available online to improve your own photography, maybe too many when all said and done! However, I’ve been heavily involved with photography for the past 14 years or so and believe it or not I’m still learning myself!! That’s the problem with photography, there’s just way too much to remember, so you’re bound to forget something here and there!! 
When I bought my first digital camera – a Canon 20D, I read the instruction booklet from front to back and back again, but I just couldn’t process all the information in my head. It was the same when I upgraded to a Canon 50D and then to a Canon 7D MKII. With so much to learn, how am I going to possibly start taking decent photos, photos that I am proud of, photos that other people will truly like? The hardest part was taking photos that pleased me as I’m my own worst critic and I still am!!
In the beginning, I was buying books, DVDs, Lighting, Backgrounds, All kinds of filters and other equipment I really didn’t need. I spent a lot of money, which could have gone to better uses in the end. But being eager to learn I just kept on spending! 14 years down the line, and there are a few valuable lessons I have learned and this is the advice I would pass onto anyone just starting out or taking your photography to the next step.

Learn by your own mistakes

  • Watch YouTube videos where you can find out about your own camera model, lenses, lighting and all sorts of different things!
  • If you’re out on location, look at different angles and different levels and how that changes your photos.
  • Forget the rule of thirds, do things your own way and learn by your own mistakes. Not everyone takes exceptional photos by obeying the rules all the time!
  • Experiment all the time that way you will find your niche and the way you prefer to shoot. Never be afraid to try something new and be confident in your own abilities!
  • Join a local photography club and ask advice from other more knowledgable members.


You don’t need a lot of fancy gear to take a decent photo these days and the latest mobile phones can take some amazing pictures. Check this out 
There are also compact cameras that are lightweight and easy to carry around – Take a look at and
However, if you want to step up to a decent digital camera then look here
Before you spend any money, go to a local dealer and weigh up your options, but be careful that the salesperson doesn’t sell you something you really don’t want. A salesperson will always try to sell you the ‘monthly special’, stuff they want to get rid of quickly even if it’s not what you want, so stick to your guns and go into the store focused on what you want. Make a list of questions to ask and make sure you get the best deal. Remember, you don’t have to buy anything there and then so take your time, take a few days so you know you’re making the right choice.


Unless you’re thinking of becoming the biggest and best photographer in the world, only buy equipment that is absolutely necessary. With most compact cameras you buy the camera and usually a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger. That’s it! If you choose to buy a digital camera, you can easily get carried away like I did. In the early days, I was buying expensive flash guns, lenses, lighting equipment, backdrops, plus numerous other add-ons. 

"The best advice I can give to anyone purchasing a digital camera right now is to only buy these essentials" ...

a) A Maximum of Three Lenses
If you buy a digital camera it will normally come with the standard 18-55mm lens. However, if you’re adding on other lenses then think carefully when buying:-  Canon and Nikon lenses are expensive, some may cost more than your camera! However, being a Canon user, I find that Tamron – and Sigma make lenses that are fit for purpose and a lot cheaper too! Because you already have a standard lens, then I would only add a macro lens, a zoom lens and possibly a sports lens – that’s it!! Anything else you’re just wasting money! If you’re lucky, you might find a decent second hand alternative on e-bay or gumtree.
b) A flash gun
You will need a flash gun that can cover bigger areas. A flash that you can tilt and turn to create more light where you need it. Canon and Nikon makes will cost you a pretty penny, but here are some that fit within everyones budget :
c) A Tripod
A decent tripod that isn’t going to weigh you down, but is also easy to transport from location to location.
c) A decent waterproof bag to put all your equipment in.
Whatever you decide to buy make sure it’s waterproof and shockproof. There’s plenty of choices on Amazon, so check them out here:
d) A few memory cards
You won’t get far without a good memory card as your camera stores your photos on them! I usually carry 3-4 depending on where I am shooting and for how long! I prefer Sandisk Extreme Pro memory cards, but there’s plenty of choice out there. It might be as well to purchase a good shockproof case to store them in too!
d) A good cleaning kit for your camera and lenses:-
e) A UV protection filter/UV graduated filter for each lens.
Amazon make their own Basics range which are really cheap (under £5 each) or you can go for something a little more expensive, but generally they all perform the same task. You’re bound to find something here:

Well, I hope that has answered  a few of those questions that were rattling around inside your head. If you liked this article, please do share it on your social media platforms too! 


The amazing world of CGI

The Amazing World of CGI


WHAT IS CGI AND HOW IS IT USED? Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) is the application of computer graphics to create or contribute to images in art, printed media, video games, films, television programs, shorts, commercials, videos, and simulators.

CGI has been used on a multitude of films notably in the earlier years … Star Wars (1977), Alien (1979), Tron (1982), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Total Recall (1990) Terminator 2 (1991), Jurassic Park (1993), Forrest Gump (1994),  Titanic (1997) and The Matrix (1999). Lots of animated films such as Toy Story (1995), The Polar Express (2004) and Frozen (2013) plus many, many more have all followed suit. The list is endless and ongoing, but certainly adds to our watching enjoyment and our thirst for more and more knoweledge to improve CGI techniques year after year!

WHY DO I LOVE CGI SO MUCH? I have always been amazed by CGI, what it has achieved in the past and what is to come in the future. Despite all the movies where CGI has been used, I am still to this day blown away by the two TV commercials below. The first is the fabulous J’Adore advert (2011) starring Charlize Theron who running late for a fashion show enters a backstage dressing area to be greeted by Grace Kelly, with fellow icons Marlene Dietrich and my own personal favourite Marilyn Monroe in attendance. 

What blows me away about this is how perfectly CGI has been mastered to bring these former movie stars back to life in such a real and believable way. The same goes for Audrey Hepburn in the Galaxy chocolate advert (2013). They all look so amazingly realistic and as beautiful as they all were in their prime. These two adverts really show how much CGI has been perfected over the years. 

When you look at recent films that have used CGI technology, ie Avatar, The Lord of the Rings, Transformers, The Jungle Book, Blade Runner 2049, I’m positive that CGI will only go on to amaze us even moreso in the not too distant future – let’s hope so!



Another amazing fact: 2D CGI was first used in movies in 1973’s Westworld, though the first use of 3D imagery was in its sequel, Futureworld (1976), which featured a computer-generated hand and face created by then University of Utah graduate students Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke.


Another amazing fact: Money for Nothing by Dire Straits was the first music video to incorporate CGI technology way back in 1985.


14 Graphic Design terms that quite a few designers get wrong!

14 Graphic Design terms that quite a few designers get wrong!


Most amateur designers really don’t have a clue  what the difference is between a font and a typeface. They tend to use the two terms interchangeably. 

A FONT is a variation of typeface weights, ie Bold, Thin, Italic, Expanded, etc.

A TYPEFACE is a family of fonts like Helvetica, Arial, Roman Times, Avant Garde to name but a few.

Another example is a Backdrop and a Background. 

A BACKDROP usually refers to a sheet or cloth hung at the back of an object or person, mainly used in a studio for fine art or portrait photography.

A BACKGROUND is usually referred to as a part of an image that appears the furthest away.

Think Design created a fabulous infographic that explains the differences between 14 commonly used design terms that most novice designers seem to get confused about or get wrong. Check it out below and see what you can learn …

14 Graphic Design terms that quite a few designers get wrong!
14 Graphic Design terms that quite a few designers get wrong!
14 Graphic Design terms that quite a few designers get wrong!


Supplying your own Artwork for Print

Living the Perfect Dream: How I Became a Graphic Designer


How I Became a Graphic Designer

We all have a decision to make on what career we want to pursue when our schooldays are done. For some, it’s a difficult decision for others it’s pretty straight forward. Back in the late 1970s, most people in Mansfield would end up in the coalmines or in factory work, but I had bigger dreams!

This is how I became a graphic designer.

I was due to leave school in the Summer of 1979, and I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer. I had always been good at art and for me, it was a real passion – I didn’t want to do anything else! I’d already enrolled in the local art college to move this forward, but sadly after a few weeks I was called into the Principal’s Office and told my exam results didn’t live up to their expectations, so I now had to rethink my future!!

I had to go and sign on the dole which for me back then was £7 a week. At least 2-3 times a week, I called into the Job Centre to filter through the jobs that were available. At least once a month, I had to report in to see the Disabled Employment Officer who was a nice lady called Evelyn Bagshaw, who knew I was restricted to what jobs I could do because I couldn’t stand for great lengths of time because of my artificial leg.

Before you knew it a year had passed and in January 1981, I signed up to join a group of local people looking into problems disabled people had in accessing shops, cinemas, pubs, etc. This did me a world of good because it brought me out of my shell a lot and gave me a chance to get out of the house 5 days a week too, which was a Godsend for both my mum and me ‘cos we were driving each other barmy!! 

It was a government scheme that was supposed to last for 12 months, but it eventually came to an end in April 1982, where we finally produced a report with our findings for Nottinghamshire County Council. However, I must say I enjoyed the experience and met some wonderful people too. After that, it was back to the Job Centre and Mrs Bagshaw, to renew my search for becoming a graphic designer! 

I remember it was on a Thursday morning, I had another meeting with Mrs Bagshaw at the Job Centre. I think it was towards the end of May 1983. As usual, we’d speak about various office jobs, but I would always end up talking about graphic design. She bluntly told me, as she did on many previous occasions, there wasn’t much call for graphic designers in Mansfield, so I asked her to persevere and she said she would.

I’d caught the bus home as usual and I’d barely stepped through the door when the phone rang. My mum shouted me and said that it was Mrs Bagshaw on the phone. She wanted me to go straight back down to the Job Centre as she had something I’d be interested in!!

So wasting no time at all, I went back into town on the bus to the Job Centre. Mrs Bagshaw saw me coming in and called me straight into her office. She said that she didn’t want to tell me anything over the phone as such, but gladly announced that a graphic design job had come in within minutes of me leaving the Job Centre earlier that day! Who could believe it?

As I took a seat, she announced it was for Mansfield District Council, but it was only a 12-month government scheme. I didn’t really want to go on another government scheme, but it was graphic design and £50 a week – what did I have to moan about?

At this point, I have to mention that a pint of beer was only 50p and a pack of 20 cigarettes were only £1, so £50 a week was a princely sum to me! Mrs Bagshaw got straight on the phone and arranged an interview for me the following Monday afternoon. 

As far as I was concerned, the interview could not come soon enough. I had to go to see a certain David Denton, Head of Leisure Services who was based in the Old Children’s Library at the side of the alleyway that leads to Mansfield Museum. My interview was at 1.30 pm and at first, I was a little nervous, but everything went really well.

After getting home later that day, I received another phone call from Mrs Bagshaw at the Job Centre, who told me that she received a call from Mr. Denton who said he was ‘blown away’ by my interview and wanted me to start the following Monday. He also told Mrs. Bagshaw that he didn’t want to interview anyone else because I was ideal. I was thrilled to say the least.

I remember my first day, as if it was yesterday. I reported for duty at 8.30 am and was greeted by Mr Denton who introduced me to all the staff before leading me out of the office and into a dark and dingy side room, which was full of old council ledger books which he wanted me to tidy up as they were scattered everywhere!

He then pointed to a pile of hardboard sheets and to a room further down where I’d find a joiner who would lend me a jigsaw and a drill. So there I was stood in a suit with a shirt and tie, etc and my first day on the job was spent sawing up all these hardboard sheets and drilling holes into them!!

In fact, it wasn’t until later that first week that I actually got to do any graphic design work and one of my first tasks was to produce a poster advertising a Fun Run. This poster would then be printed off and glued to all the boards I had made earlier that week which would then be tied around lamp posts as route markers! It was at this moment, I knew that I decided to dress down to go to work in the future, ie jeans and a t-shirt as you never knew what your day would involve!! 

Also, back then creating something as simple as a poster was not as easy as it is today! There were no computers or anything. I started off with a few packs of Letraset (transfer lettering) and as much paper as I could eat!!

how I became a graphic designer

Thankfully, we had just acquired a photocopier that could reduce and enlarge, so this made life a little simpler because I could create larger headlines and sub-headlines without too much bother. Once I’d got these, I could sit at my desk and map out my design and paste it all into place including drawing my own illustrations!!

From there, the final paste-up design was put onto the photocopier and enlarged to print A3 posters or reduced to make A5 leaflets usually on some bright coloured paper. That was the old way, that was how it was done before computers arrived on the scene in the late 1980s.

Before I knew it, my year at the Council had flown by and it had encompassed many different things including producing a local poetry magazine called ‘Musings from Mansfield’ and to top it off I even got to stage monthly poetry evenings too! 

Whatever I did that year paid off. I was taken on temporary contracts for another 3 months before I was made a permanent employee, but not at Leisure Services!! 

My services were courted by Robert Salmon who was employed as a printer at the Manor House depot of Mansfield District Council. We had met within a few months of me arriving at Leisure Services and he always wanted me to come and work alongside him, so eventually, in June 1984, he got his wish. 

I HAD MADE IT. MY DREAM OF BECOMING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER HAD COME TRUE! So much so that I spent 24 years working for Mansfield District Council until redundancy forced me to leave on 26th January 2007. 

Armed with a year’s wages to go with, I decided there was only one thing I wanted to do and that was to continue as a graphic designer and so Cloud 9 Design was born and I was on my way to becoming self-employed.

13 years+ down the line and I’m happy to report that I am still here doing the job I was born to do, the job I will always love doing until my dying day! No qualifications, no college, just self-belief, hard work and the ability to learn new things on my journey. But in saying that, I will always be eternally grateful to Evelyn Bagshaw at Mansfield Job Centre and Robert Salmon at Mansfield District Council for always believing in me!

To give you a clearer idea of what graphic design was really like in the early 1980s, watch these videos ...


blonde woman with camera

What is Royalty Free Stock Photography?

blonde woman with camera


Stock photography is photography or imagery that is used repeatedly for commercial and noncommercial purposes. Often stock images depict common situations, concepts, landmarks, and people.

Stock photography use is very popular with designers, graphic artists, art directors, advertising agencies, and marketing professionals, in magazine ads, websites, and marketing brochures.

Instead of hiring a professional photographer to create an image, a buyer licenses an image and the photographer is paid a commission. Photo researchers can save valuable time and money by searching for stock photography through online databases. Images are delivered through direct download or email to the customer.

Cloud 9 Design Limited and similar stock agencies are often called image banks or photo archives, referring to the vast electronic data stored online. Other data such as digital illustrations may also be stored.

Images stored at an agency are licensed on behalf of the photographer or artist and the agency retains a percentage of the sale. Pricing may be set by the photographer or agency as the needs of the audience require. Prices are set  per photo, which gives the purchaser the right to use the image in any credible publication.

Stock photography is commonly sold as either rights managed or royalty free. With rights managed, an individual licensing agreement is negotiated for each use of the image and offers exclusive usage rights at a higher price. 

Royalty Free stock photography offers the buyer unlimited uses under a single license and less expensive fee. Classical agencies have offered rights managed for many years but the more popular trend with buyers today is royalty free.

Cloud 9 Design Limited offers royalty free images licenses with the option to purchase additional rights such as extended royalty free and exclusive buyout. Both of these additional rights allow a customer to sell products with the image and in the case of exclusive buyout be the last customer to purchase the images.

Stock photography is a cost effective method for customers to purchase high quality images, and is a great way for Cloud 9 Design Limited to project their own photographs that cannot be found elsewhere on the worldwide web.

Cloud 9 Design have a fantastic range of Royalty-Free Stock Images for sale. More images are being added week by week, so be sure to check them out!