Category Archives: Infographics

Mythical Creatures From Folklore That Live In and Around Your Home

If like us you’d love your very own house elf, there’s actually a good chance that you might already have one.

For centuries, the presence of house spirits and mythical creatures that live in the home have played a prominent role in folklore around the world, with many cultures embracing the age old tales and superstitions that are passed down through the generations.

Some are known to be positive, while others… not so much.

If you’re in France, you might be privileged enough to share your home with a Matagot, a mythical creature that takes the form of a cat or sometimes a fox, rat or dog. Matagots are said to bring good fortune… but only if you treat them well!

On the other hand, if you’re in England, you might be unfortunate enough to live with a Boggart (or Bogeyman as they’re affectionately known) – said to be the manifestation of all your fears, the Boggart is fond of mischief and wrong-doing; rattling doors, moving your things and they may even go a step further by stealing your children!

So, which mythical creatures do you share your home with? Check out the funky illustrations we’ve created below and let us know if any of them seem familiar…

Brownie

Ever wonder where the inspiration for Dobby the House Elf came from? Lots of the characteristics of a Brownie were used to create the character, which is understandable given J.K Rowling’s Scottish roots.

Found in Anglo-Scottish folklore, a Brownie is said to come out at night and perform various tasks and chores around the house while the owners are asleep. They are however easily offended and will leave the house forever if they’re upset, or they might even turn malicious like the Boggart.

Their appearance can vary depending on the region, but usually they’re ugly with mottled brown skin and somewhat hairy, with old rags as clothes. In older folklore tales, they’re usually human-sized or larger, but over time they became smaller and wizened, almost frail in stature.

Domovoy

The Domovoy originated in Slavic culture and is rooted in ancestor worship, with the mythical creature being the personification of kinship. They are said to protect the well-being of a house and those that live in it, being especially protective of children and animals by constantly looking after them. If however a Domovoy is angered by wrong-doing and bad behaviour, he might quit his duties as protector, leaving the kin open to illness and disaster.

They’re often depicted as an old, grey-haired man with a long beard, but the Domovoy may decide to manifest in different ways; this could be as a cat, dog or even as one of the families ancestors.

To keep the Domovoy happy, the family it protects with often give gifts such as food and maybe even the blood of a sacrificed animal if they’ve made him really angry.

Baku

One of the more bizarre looking creatures, the Baku has its origins in Chinese folklore dating back to the 17th Century, but it can also be found in Japanese culture too.

It’s said to protect against bad dreams and would scare away evil spirits, therefore health and good luck are said to follow the Baku wherever it goes. As a result, the Baku was often carved into pillars above temple doors and sewn onto pillows and bedding to protect the person sleeping. The Baku is one of only a few holy creatures to be honoured in this way.

It’s said that the appearance of the Baku came to be when the gods were making animals and once finished, all of the left over pieces were put together to form another creature. With the head of an elephant, the body of a bear and the legs of a tiger, it’s an unusual creature but considered to be a favourite among the gods.

Matagot

Throughout many cultures, the black cat has its place in superstition with many negative connotations. But in French folklore, the Matagot is traditionally a wealth and luck-bringing creature that can be of great use to a household if treated right.

It’s said that a Matagot can be lured into the household with a fresh, plump chicken, and then carried home by its new owner without looking back. A comfy bed and the first mouthful from every meal should be given to the Matagot to keep it happy and content and it will repay it’s owner with riches and good health. Failure to do this will upset the new house guest and unfortunate things will begin to happen…

It’s said that the story of Puss in Boots is loosely based on a Matagot; who went out and bought his master food and riches to say thanks for his shiny new footwear.

Nisse

What we might consider to be the image of a Christmas elf, the Nisse hails from Norwegian folklore and the word itself is derived from the name Nils – which is Scandinavian for Nicholas.

Cheeky and mischievous, the Nisse will watch over the home or farm, tending to chores and the care of the farm animals – particularly horses. Hard working and industrious, the Nisse will work for very little in return, demanding only the respect and trust of the farmer and a bowl of porridge with butter on Christmas eve. If the farmer doesn’t meet these demands, it’s said the Nisse will leave the homestead and the farm will not thrive, reducing the farmer to poverty.

As is our usual perception of Christmas elves, the Nisse is described as an old man, small about the size of a child with ragged clothes and a long beard. Some tales from Scandi folklore also describe them with a single cyclopean eye… Not something you’d expect to see on your Christmas card from your nan.

Boggart

The stuff of nightmares, the Boggart has been scaring children the world over for centuries.

Originated in English folklore, the Boggart (or Bogeyman as it’s known) is a monster-type creature that would scare children into good behaviour… or else. Not one to shy away from causing mischief and terror, the creaking of floorboards, the dark shadows on the walls or those footsteps on the stairs would all be attributed to the Boggart.

It’s suggested that the term Bogeyman came to be as a result of the black plague and the men that were responsible for removing the dead bodies. They were often very sick themselves with dark skin and sunken eyes, a fearsome sight to say the least.  Of that, the appearance of a Boggart is varied but often recorded as being very ugly with bestial attributes, large and imposing with a menacing presence.

Banshee

If you’ve every heard the expression “wailing like a Banshee“, you’ll probably understand to some extent what that means.

Banshees originated in Irish folklore around the 8th century, they were “born” as a result of the “keeners”, who were women that were hired to mourn outside of the house of someone who was expected to die. As this tradition died out itself, their legend lived on in the form of Banshees. Banshees are said to appear before someone dies in their designated family, they’ll weep and wail uncontrollably, which they say can be heard for miles, chilling the heart of anyone that hears it.

Banshees are noted as looking dark in appearance and not particularly friendly, despite their good intentions. They can take the form of either stunningly beautiful women or old hags that are dressed in shrouds with flowing dresses. They would have long, wind-blown hair that would shimmer like wildfire and their eyes would always be red and sore from weeping.

Zashiki Warashi

Fond of mischief and loved by everyone, the Zashiki Warashi is a house spirit that originated in Japanese folklore. They’re considered to be a guardian spirit and will bring luck to a household. It is said that a house with a Zashiki Warashi will prosper and become rich, whereas a house that doesn’t will fall into decline and ruin.

Particularly drawn to the children of the household, the Zashiki Warashi are child-like and fun; enjoying songs, games and nursery rhymes. For households that don’t have children, such as those of the elderly and infertile, the Zashiki Warashi are often treated like children themselves. Gifts such as sweets and toys would be left for them to play with, along with a bed to sleep in and food to eat.

Zashiki Warashi are often depicted as a ghost-like five or six year old child with a blushing red face and they’ll usually be wearing traditional clothes; a child-size warrior outfit for boys or a patterned kimono for a girl. Their hair would be short and bobbed or long and tied back neatly.

Classic Childhood Pastimes Re-imagined as 8-bit Video Games

Like us, you probably have fond childhood memories of playing Pooh Sticks in the sunshine with your friends, or dodging cars while you play Kerby. And if you’re of a certain age, there’s a good chance you remember the delights of Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt too.

The mid 1980’s were a turning point when it came to how kids spent their free time. 8-bit games consoles such as the NES from Nintendo and the original Master System from Sega revolutionised game play forever.

Recently, there has been an influx of nostalgic reboots of these classic games consoles, allowing a generation to relive their childhood by revisiting some of their long-forgotten but much cherished retro video games.

With that in mind, we thought to ourselves… why not combine the traditional with the not-so-traditional? So, we’ve taken some traditional childhood pastimes such as conkers, musical chairs and tag, then “redesigned” them as 8-bit video games… because who said a jump rope and pat-a-cake couldn’t be super cool, right?

Conkers Kid – Playground Revenge II

There’s a war going on and it’s all about survival of the fattest [conker]. Defeating the evil bully is the only way to become king of the playground. So polish up your best conkers, practice your swinging technique and get smashing!

Jump Rope Master

This game is a real test of endurance. Mastering the art of jump rope skipping with the added dangers of fireballs and flame throwers isn’t something you can take lightly – unless you have ninja-like reflexes and some rather nifty jumping skills of course.

Mega Kerby – Sidewalk III

Cars, cyclists, pedestrians… so many dangers and so little time! Not only do you have to dodge all the things without getting a telling off, but you need to beat your opponent in a game of skill too. Get your throwing arm prepped and ready!

Musical Chairs in Space 2020

Intergalactic tensions are growing. Every move you make is controlled by the mystic music from far off worlds. Listen carefully and pay full attention because tactical moves are the only way to keep your seat at the table. There is one constellation (ha, see what we did there?) prize though – when you do lose your seat, you get to watch it explode into a million tiny pieces.

Pat-A-Cake Wars

Cake, fire, and a chance to prove your god-like dexterity skills. The aim of the game is to bake a cake as fast as you can – but watch out for that nasty head chef, he’ll do anything to sabotage your baking so he can take all the credit!

Pooh Sticks Racer

Rev up your engines and learn how to ride the tide with Pooh Sticks Racer. Unpredictable and a game of whits, the only way to win is to navigate the rapids without losing your head. Make sure you remain eagle-eyed at all times too – rocks, waves and the occasional swirly-whirly will do whatever they can to end your race.

Tag-Man

Tag-Man is the name and not getting caught is the game. Duck, dive and do what you can to avoid the chaser, find power ups to run faster, but watch out for the road blocks – getting stuck could mean game over!

50 Shades of Urban Decay: Colour Palettes Inspired by Abandoned Places

Have you ever stumbled upon a derelict building and though about how much of an eye sore it is? What about that dilapidated old park bench that could do with being replaced?

If you’re into urban exploring, finding beauty in something that you’d ordinarily find grotesque can be a magical thing, and looking deeper into what these spaces offer can open up a whole new world, especially from a design perspective.

When decorating, it’s common to work out a colour scheme before you start. With that in mind, we’ve decided to take those unloved buildings and spaces, and draw inspiration to create a stunning set of 10 unique colour palettes. In addition to this, each colour palette comes with its own set of Hex codes, perfect for those designers looking to get creative and delve into the world of rust, overgrown structures and exposed brickwork on a more granular level.

So, if you’re looking for some design inspiration, check out our colour palettes inspired by abandoned places below. You never know, urbexing might just become your new favourite pastime too!

YARD

Something as simple as an old, wooden bench can tell a thousand stories. Who sat there? What thoughts were those that sat there thinking when they gazed out in contemplation? The weathering of the wood and the life that’s sprung from it over the years, provides an array of natural hues which are perfect for those looking for an earthy, muted colour scheme.

TIME PLEASE

Popping down the local for a swift pint on a Sunday, might seem like a distant memory for many. The surprisingly comforting scent of tobacco-aged decor and the dust from an open fire providing a somewhat smoky haze, are long gone as times have changed. But what’s been left behind provides a plethora of classic tones that are familiar and cosy.

RUST

When metal starts to oxidise, the changes in structure and colour can be fascinating. The stark, cold surface transforms into what looks like a birds-eye view of a barren, sun-dried landscape. The corrosion causes craters and pits to form; adding a new dimension to the shades of lush orange, red and yellows, providing you with a warming, fiery colour palette.

RECLAIMED

There’s something quite magical about man-made structures being overwhelmed by nature. New life sprouting from the forgotten, blanketing the foreign object and rightfully reclaiming that space as its own. In an almost firework fashion, an explosion of lush greens and subtle browns create the perfect colour palette for anyone wanting to reconnect with the earth.

GRAFFITI

You’d be hard pushed to walk though a city and not find a burst of graffiti adorning the walls of an underpass, building or bridge. While many might see it as a random act of vandalism, the shock of bold colours and dystopian scrawl wrangle a sense of passion and youth; creating a colour palette that’s ideal for anyone looking to inject some energy into their design.

EVACUATE

A once much-loved home now left to ruin. Dusty memories fading away to nothing more than a wilted mess. A sad yet beautiful image of a quickly forgotten past, sun bleached and weary with mellow tones of blue and yellow, creating a feeling of calm after the storm.

DRAINED

A place once full of colour and fun, the cavernous, empty space of an old swimming pool is monotone and quiet. The colours drained like the pool itself. Hollow blues and shades of grey are understated and neutral; fitting background colours for anyone that would like to accessorise their space in a more ostentatious way.

CLOCK OUT

Busy and industrious, the tea breaks and idle chit chat with much loved colleagues now a distant memory. A shell of the machine it formally was, the exposed pipes and bare walls leave a milky, dream-like colour palette. Luxurious and inviting, the colour palette inspired by an old warehouse is far removed from the toilsome environment it once was.

BRICKWORK

Almost skeletal, the deeper inner layers of a building exposed for all to see. The bright orange clay of bare brickwork is harsh against the years of dull, grey rendering. The mix of colours is striking and allows you to add depth to your design.

BETTER TIMES

A grand old house, emptied and deserted with nothing but a piano for entertainment. A reminder of the good times passed and a secret treasure left for someone new to discover. Light and airy, the mix of cool blue hues and nostalgic caramel create a calm yet tentative colour palette.

What If… Smart Home Technology and The Transformers Joined Forces?

Smart technology such as the Amazon Alexa and Philips Hue are fast becoming a staple part of many homes, providing a convenient and often novel way of doing day-to-day things that would otherwise be more complex.

Say you fancy turning the heating up just a little so it’s nice and cosy when you return home, the Nest Learning Thermostat will allow you to do that remotely via your mobile phone. Or, if you’re planning on having a relaxing night in, you feel like getting funky with some chilled out tunes and subtle mood lighting… then Google Home has you covered.

Now imagine you could take these incredible inventions one step further. What if they got smarter? Like, really smart… Not only could they make your day-to-day life that little bit easier, but what if they could sense when you needed them? What if they could go and fetch your slippers for you so you don’t have to rely on the dog?

So we got to thinking… Technologically speaking, who or what is the most reliable of all? Why, it’s the giant, sentient robots of Cybertron of course. The Transformers as they’re lovingly known are noble, compassionate and chivalrous – those Autobots certainly know how to look after us human folk (forgetting the Decepticons, obviously). Add to that their ability to shapeshift and we’ve got a force to be reckoned with.

We then got creative. We wanted to see what a smart technology/Transformers mash-up might look like and we’ve got to say… We’re quite impressed.

When Smart Home Technology Meets The Transformers

Below are our very own versions of the Transformers, all of which are based on smart tech that has become an integral part of our lives. What do you think? Would you fancy owning one of these rather cool little critters?

Alexatron

 

Smart, sassy and just generally a bit of a diva, Alexatron is a transformer who loves to help others. Whether you need a shopping list creating or you just don’t fancy cooking dinner tonight, she’ll always be there to lend a hand. Based on the Amazon Alexa, she’s sure to become a big part of the family in no time. She can be a bit chatty though.

Chronos

Sleek, sophisticated and a little bit on the pretentious side, some might say that Chronos is engineered to perfection. Based on the Apple Smart Watch, he’s known for being the smartest companion when it comes to keeping your life on track while on the go. A data whiz kid, not only can he help you maintain a busy schedule, but he can shout at you when you don’t get in your daily exercise requirements too. Who needs a personal trainer when you’ve got Chronos to keep you in check, right?

Lightwave

Possibly the sweetest of the smart bot bunch, Lightwave loves nothing more than to help you see clearly (literally and figuratively). Based on the Philips Hue, he knows exactly when it’s time to help you chill out with some delicious mood lighting… or if you’re feeling all of the disco vibes, he’s there for that too! Almost like an emotional support bot, if you will…

Switchblade

If you need to kickback and chill but you need a gaming companion too, then Switchblade is your guy. Based on the Nintendo Switch, he’s a bucket full of fun and one of the most easy going smart bots, he’s also more than happy to go wherever you go. He does have a tendency to be a little feisty though, especially if he’s losing a game…

Fitbot

Strong, fierce and not willing to let any challenge stand in her way, Fitbot is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to health and fitness. Inspired by the FitBit, she’s the perfect yoga partner, where she’ll be a constant source of motivation and ready to mop your brow when things get tough. She’ll also be there to smash that cheeky doughnut out of your hand when you start to let things slide. Be careful though, she can be a bit bossy if you don’t do as she says.

Questor

The brain box of the smart bots, what Questor doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. You want to know why giraffes have long necks, or how toilet paper is made? Just ask Questor, he’s full of answers and he’s not too bad with directions either. Created with Google Home in mind, he’s sharp, quick-witted and just a great chap to have around the house. He’ll even help entertain the kids when they start to grate on your last nerve.

Thermo

Never before has comfort been so important to a smart bot. Thermo is obsessed with ensuring her humans are suitably warm (or cool if you’d prefer it that way, she aims to please). Based on the Nest Learning Thermostat, she makes every effort to know what it is you need, even before you do. So, if you fancy a nice hot bath after a long day at work, Thermo will have it ready and waiting for you… and maybe even a glass of wine or two if you’re lucky.

 

How Much Pizza Do You Get For $1 Around The World

Ever wondered how the price of pizza differs around the world? We’ve put together a graphic looking at how many slices of pizza you’d get for $1 in a variety of countries around the globe. We’ve compared the average prices for a large Margherita to keep things fair and consistent. The graphic also includes information about any unique or interesting pizzas you can get in the region because as well as price differences, some of the toppings were very intriguing.

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Pixel Scale Buildings Around the World

Pixel Scale Buildings Around the World

At a lofty 830m high, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. It cost $1.5 billion to build and took almost six years to finish, which is almost as long as it took us to recreate these magnificent pieces of architecture as pixel art (I joke, but seriously, it took a long time!).

Thankfully, not all the world’s iconic buildings are as complex as the Burj Khalifa! They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and we hoped to capture, and compare, them in a new and interesting way.

Sure, illustrations or photos might have made our lives easier, but in the end we opted for a pixel art approach, at a scale of 1 pixel : 1 metre squared. And believe us when we say, each pixel felt like reconstructing the original brick-by-brick!

The actual Taj Mahal took over 20 years to build and looks just as impressive at dawn as our pixel version does.

Even a low-detail process like pixel art can capture the essence of each building, no matter the size. The huge 830 x 150 pixel Burj Khalifa is impressive, but there’s beauty in the smaller buildings too. In fact, recreating all these structures gave us an opportunity to study their form in intimate detail.

St Basils Cathedral Pixel Scale

Saint Basil’s Cathedral may only reach a tiny 48px high, but there is beauty in those blocks.

Take some time to admire the pixel-patterning on the domes of Saint Basil’s, or bask in the digital sunlight drenching the tiny Taj Mahal.

Pixel Scale Buildings Around the World

For greater detail simply hover over the image on desktop, or tap and hold to use the zoom tool on mobile and tablet. Please enjoy and share!

Want to download them as a resource for your website or next design project? No problem, download the set here (please include attribution to Climadoor).

How to beat your family at board games EVERY TIME!

We all know how competitive we get when it comes to playing board games with our family. You could be having a lovely Christmas Day, lots of lovely new gifts, a nice wholesome dinner, a few glasses of bubbly, feet up on the sofa with the tin of chocolates next to you… it’s all going well until someone suggests a game of Monopoly. Board games are a fun tradition but let’s face it, we all want to win. Monopoly had to create a hotline in recent years, where experts were on hand with the official rule book, after it was revealed 51% of games end in a row.

But it’s not just a Christmas problem, you never know when someone might next suggest bringing the board games out of the loft… after a Sunday roast, when you can’t find anything to watch on tele, when the kids have gone to bed… Board game gate could happen anytime and unless you want to spend the rest of eternity being reminded by Uncle John about that time he stole all your money and left you bankrupt, you better get clued up.

We’ve created some fun graphics to show you the sneaky tricks that will help you win at the most popular board games, every time! Say goodbye to losing and get ready to watch the smirk disappear from Uncle John’s face…

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Star Wars Family Crests

When it comes to Star Wars, it’s ALL about the family and the big family reveals: Darth Vader to Luke: “No, I am your father”, Leia is Luke’s sister [shock: spoiler!]. Kylo Ren is Han Solo’s son and Vader’s grandson (Ben Solo) etc etc.

Whilst we know some of the backstory of our characters, there is potentially a lot left to be revealed in the new movies.

Will we see an appearance from Boba Fett, or one of his kids? Is Jar Jar Binks a secret Sith Lord (or even, dare we say it Supreme Leader Snoke). Who are Rey’s parents?

Fett: Boba Fett and his father Jango are technically related to every single clone trooper ever created. Arguably the biggest family in the galaxy. Proud of their Mandalorian roots, where family means a lot, but a collected bounty means more. “MORTUS VIVERE: DEAD OR ALIVE”

fett-family-crest

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Life With Pets Summed Up In Hilarious Charts

We’re all a bit weird when it comes to our pets – it’s fine to admit it.

Despite the fact you probably spend most of your time cleaning up after it, you still love it – and why wouldn’t you? They’ve got so many lovable traits, as we explore below…

 

“You alright? Did you miss me? Have you been a good boy?”

How you talk to your pet

 

“I might be a rottweiler, but I really need to show that chihuahua who’s boss.”

How big dogs think they are

 

Tasty, but definitely not fun.

Will you regret buying fish?

 

You’ve just been warned. Why do those fish look so tempting now you’re in the pet shop?

How fun pets are when you're choosing them

 

We hate to say we told you so.

How fun pets are when you get home

 

I didn’t like the new sofa anyway.

When your pets do something wrong

 

Just…why?

owning an African land snail

 

90% of the time those eyes are filled with nothing but hate.

How your cat looks at you

 

“I did play with it when I first got it, but then it bit me.”

Should I get a pet hamster?

 

We hope we haven’t offended any of you animal lovers out there. Please don’t take these images the wrong way! They’re just a bit of fun – unlike your African land snail…

Be sure to check out our range of internal bi-fold doors that will make your home much more beautiful for your family – including your pets.