Monday
Oct022006

Scrap books good

taboo scrap.pngJust come across this fantastic blog: Ace jet 170. set up by a graphic designer in Belfast. A collection of found type and graphic images. (seen via typepads featured blog section - normally the preserve of 'fudge fairy' makers in Baltimore)

Scrap books are the great guilty secret of creatives and compulsive hoarders. This book 'inspired' was plugged by Russell Davies recently for the same reasons.

Are we losing something with digital scrap books like mobile Flickr and del.icio.us etc. There is a certain randomness to turning the pages of an actual scrap book pondering inspiration that the ordered neatness of tags misses. The balance of course is to use both.

Creative inspiration is so random at the best of times, (interesting view here from Greg Turner-Rahman) I am cautious of digital scrap books. mind you having seen the amazing Delicious Monster software, I have a certain secret geek need to see all my CDs/DVDs/Books pictorially catalogued. I just know i would never get round to doing it.


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Friday
Sep292006

Soichiro Honda

IMG_5510.JPGThis quote formed part of the F1 exhibition I saw last weekend. It reminded me what a top chap Soichiro Honda was. Having spent a number of years working on the Honda account you get used to reading about him, but it's a great story of bloody mindedness, engineering prowess and cheap dentistry. read more here. In the first few years after W+K won the business. A number of quotes were used on large banners at the motorshows of '02/03. The cavernous NEC was full of bombastic corporate over statement, and here was a brand (the former Eastbourne chariot) trying to shake off its past by introducing the thoughts of a man exposing failure as a means to succeed. Outside of sports cars (Colin Chapman, Enzo Ferrari) passionate single personalities are not felt within modern automotive brands. Recent Honda films both broadcast and online make Soichiro's influence and achievements much easier to understand.

When we pitched for and won the Honda DM business ('02), I used an anecdote about the Honda's first F1 car the RA272, and how as a child I had lusted after the Tamiya kit of it, I knew it was different I just didn't know why.  It took awhile to 'get' Honda in the way W+K did, but when I did it was like unlocking the mystery of my childhood fascination. Direct mail gave us the wonderful opportunity to explain the legacy of Soichiro. In doing so we avoided making bland models* sexy and grey plastic interiors* desirable. We extended the themes W+K had begun but completed the story with invitations to visit a local dealer. This fab recent piece encouraged owners of older Honda's to return to main dealers.

** New models like the Civic address this.

You can download the award winning APG W+K Honda presentations here. (click 'downloads' +scrowll) also ex-W+K planner and fab blogger Russell Davis talks about Honda here.

Wednesday
Sep272006

Stencils? just say no.

Slide1.jpg    Youth marketing short cuts part 4. Stencils = street cred. Wrong. Banksy's work has spawned so many imitators. marketing agencies do really need to move on. Or at the very least there creative departments be issued with these new T.shirts.

Typography** and live music are both in very rude health at the moment, with such a vibrant resource, stencilled fonts as shown above really won't do. There's a bunch of flyers in your local pub that will  be more arrestingly new than these.

yes, yes, I do realise it was only last week I was praising the 'Children of men' poster, but that was before I considered the above and the Dirty Sanchez movie et al. 

** = scroll down 4 for the myspace masterpiece


Sunday
Sep242006

Just add water

jakes feetNew corporate developments talk about the harmony between public and business use. The reality is often a sterile environment that actually amplifies the difference between those high up in glass towers and those being blown around in stone clad canyons at there base. The new More London Riverside. Looks rather dull from afar but has really sweet human features at ground level, namely a stream running down one side and water sculptures like this at the main entry point from the tube and train. Just about every one I saw today either brushed there hands along the side of the sculptures or skipped across the stream with a smile. That has to be  a better achievement than how many Starbucks/Cafe Rouge/AllBarOne/et al are signed up at opening. If you do get a chance to go inside 2More Place, the view is stunning. Visit London on the 6th floor, have  a corner meeting room that looks out over HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge. The spare floors below are being used for a fair amount of location filming. I believe so far an intriguing mix of Andrew Marr and Footballers wives.

Thursday
Sep212006

Web 2.0 v Pubs

outsidemont.jpg

Like so many I've banded the phrase web 2.0 about in meetings with a slightly hazy idea as to a definitive meaning.

Steve Rubel has attempted a very simple one here, and the following comments posted kinda nailed it for me so web 2.0 is "Sites that derive there value and growth from the actions of there users" or to put it another way, a decent pub. 

So rather than clogging up message boards with convoluted technical dictates, just remember; web 2.0 = The Bread & Roses.

Wednesday
Sep202006

Sorry

Just re-read yesterdays post, bloody dull, sorry about that. I guess the key message was that: the best festivals are chaotic, noisy, messy and filled with the air of unpredictability. Where as most brands despite what they'd like to project to there audiences are not any of the former.

The  added disappointment is the general lack of creative innovation coming from the marketing agencies that are responsible for seamlessly blending brand / festival / audience.

For the moment I won't list best / worst. However this year I have noticed some grand work, with fab ideas coming from the following agencies: Iris, RPM, Cake. 

 

Tuesday
Sep192006

UK Festival inc2

festival_ad_looking_down.jpg  festival_ad_red_stage.jpg   Neil Boorman wrote a piece in this weeks Time Out (page 123) about the nature of corporate sponsors and there behaviour having matured over recent years. (he also plugged his brand burning event, which i'll skip but Russell Davis does that proud here) Neil is right most festivals this year were pretty full on 'brand experiences' BUT they had (on the whole) cleaner loos/better security and managed capacity compared to five years ago. A few other thoughts.

Most brands still do little to really imbed there values with the audience they have spent so much money attracting. The exception is Innocents Fruitstock where every detail reinforced the attitude of the brand. -Including leaving 'thankyou' tags on peoples bikes.

Southern Comfort had pretty much the same event presence as previous years (Big Chill/Bestival) but ran with some great new ads and promotions in the run up.

Carlings Reading/Leeds events caught the mood of the year with out any technology or branding gimmicks, For them an added bonus was Muse playing out of there skins at Reading, causing a mini stamped the following week to ebay for the bootlegs. Compared with the ham-fisted V festival Virgin brand antics, I imagine the Carling boys are feeling pretty smug.

Ben & Jerry's had a second go at there Sundae event, which with a £5 ticket price was always going to be oversubscribed. They did host an extra day to cover demand, but value is a precious thing and with such cheap tickets most punters had had enough mellowness and were heading for the bright lights of Clapham High Street long before the end.

Sunday
Sep172006

Proportions

COM dps.jpg COM a4.jpg

Alfonso Cuaron's new film Children of men starring Clive Owen has some great typography in the publicity. BUT who ever laid the ads out only works in landscape format. The DPS is great, looks new and has the feel of an 'event' movie. The single page portrait however is a mess of type. To much information trying to say to many different things. Plus the dark tint at the bottom means you lose the futurist feel of the DPS. In fact the portrait ad reminds me more of historical conflict like Enemy at the Gates.

Sunday
Sep172006

Full colour broadsheets

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Since the upgrading of print technologies for broadsheets there has been a steady improvement in the use of colour in ads. I am quite taken by the  subtle use of full colour bleeds. These two appeared in yesterdays Observer. both really stood out, not by being shouty but simply disrupting there host environments enough to catch the eye. An added bonus is readable body copy on both.

Wednesday
Sep132006

Working Enviroments

wo cafe.jpghomeshot.jpgI am working from two different new offices this week, An intriguing view of contrasting attitudes to ways of cultivating creative thought. Russell Davies rather excellent blog covered similar thoughts recently. I feel every creative task could do with a slightly different environment so therefore any designed space will compromise. (That said I am going to spend a day in a Scottish field with a herd of cows next week, hopefully to resolve a number of rather specific creative challenges. ) Recent experience does prove that when agency directors spend large amounts of time with floor plans its a sure sign territory and not new ideas really matter. This weeks experience has made me consider a top ten of all the places I've worked, which I'll post soon, If I can really be arsed I'll put any pics I can find to prove a point about some of the grimiest places produce the best work, while the anodyne wide open spaces of a new build hi-tech curtail some of the wilder flights of fancy. Might also be something to do with the atmosphere created by in-house catering versus the pub over the road. The former producing lovely food at a subsidised rate, but the latter encourages more robust creative critique.