Thoughts On – Eighty-Eight

The number eight, for as long as I can remember, has always been my favourite number.  I am not sure why it was, but if I were to think about it…it would probably be to do with the fact that it’s pleasing to the eye.  It’s really two circles placed on top of one another.  Eight has no hard edges and is a friendly, warm shape.  A friend of mine, who was involved in analysing handwriting for large companies and police bureaux, told me that people who favoured the number 8 were generally very kind and approachable people; the kind of people you would want to hug.
Eighty-eight in Gill Sans font

I have always loved handwriting, but many of my friends have noticed that when I write a number 8, I don’t do it it as one continuous movement.  I have always drawn one circle and then the other below (rather like the duckling diagram).  I have only ever met one other person who has done this and she was a graphic designer, called Kylie.  Another friend, Jennifer, told me that this form of writing out the number 8 is often used by technicians or draughtsmen, so perhaps I am in the wrong job!
Eighty-eight in Times font

Now, if you’ve read my earlier posts, you will know that I also love same-digit double-numbers, so it’s no surprise that the number 88 should find favour with me.  You may also be aware that today is the 88th day of the year!  So, today I printed out some 88s and had a little play with them, doodling and colouring them.  Today my friend, Marie, has just given me some rather nice Easter gifts and this probably led to the fact that two of the doodles are ducklings and rabbits.  The third doodle is of girls with rather 1950’s looking beehive hairdos and make-up.

Eighty-eight in Giddy-Up font

Everyone will no doubt know that in bingo-calling terms that the number 88 is often referred to as ‘two-fat-ladies’, but here are eight rather interesting facts about the number 8 that you may be interested to read and may not have known…

  • 8 is a composite number and it is also the first number which is neither prime or semi-prime.
  • 8 is the base of the octal number system, which is mostly used with computers and digital media.
  • The ‘figure-of-eight’ is often used in sporting terms, such as skating, but can also relate to the way that bees fly and communicate messages.
  • 8 is symbolic of new life, the final Resurrection and the anticipated resurrection that comes from baptism.  The number 8 in the Bible represents a new beginning, meaning a new order or creation, and man’s true ‘born again’ event when he is resurrected from the dead into eternal life.
  • There is also a visual resemblance between two digits, “88”, and 囍, the “shuang xi”  (“double joy”), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (“xĭ” meaning “joy” or “happiness”).
  • Infinity is shown as a figure 8 on it’s side and symbolises a never ending cycle, as there is no start or end to the shape.
  • 8 is an auspicious number in many Asian and Chinese countries and is the number associated with wealth and abundance.
  • The summer olympics in Bejing commenced at 8-seconds and 8-minutes past 8pm on 8 August 2008 (08.08.08).

Perhaps I should issue this blog post on the eighty-eighth day of the year, at 08:08pm and watch the money and abundance come rolling in!  Watch this space…

Poirot and Me…

You may ask yourself (quite rightly) what this post’s about.  What have I, an illustrator and graphic designer in the North East of England, got in common with the renowned fictional Belgian detective?


It’s NOT that I have got to have a tisane at 11 o’clock every morning, It’s not that I live in Whitehaven Mansions.  I don’t have a black cane topped with a beautiful silver swan (sadly) and it’s not that I have a remarkably efficient secretary called Miss Lemon.

But I DO…have the same fetish, as Poirot does, for same-digit numbers.  I was watching the episode (last night) – ‘The Lost Mine’ when Poirot visits the bank to sort out a problem.  Finding that he is overdrawn, he states to the cashier that it is a point of principle that he always keeps his balance at four hundred and forty-four pounds, four shillings and four pence. A point of principle!  I was amazed and astounded the first time that I heard this, as I have a similar fetish for symmetry and in Poirot’s words “order and method”; particularly when it comes to numbers.  My favourite numbers all contain the same digit, such as 11, 22, 33 etc and my personal favourite 88.

Whatever Hercule has got stirring around in those ‘little grey cells’ concerning same-digit numbers, I am under the same persuasion too. Perhaps I should have turned my hand to crime detection.  I might have been the next Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes (I am almost tempted to include Miss Marple too!).

Perhaps my unseen affinity with Monsieur Poirot allowed me to be the delighted winner of the signed David Suchet book ‘Poirot and Me’ competition that I entered last year (with little hope of winning).

So, I still query this number fascination and leave you with the query as Mr Poirot himself would utter, “c’est quoi mon ami?“.