Guiding Clients

i'm not a big fan of providing 'how to' guides for clients. i generally think if an agency needs to tell people how to work with them, then their methodology is not clear enough. that said there is a good article on the new vgroup blog.

it's a very comprehensive overview of branding in general. i am biased as i used to work there, back in the days when it was 'Vision'.

Thanks Noisy Decent Graphics

My inspiration from others post has appeared on ben's noisy decent graphics blog. All part of his cool idea to hand his blog over to it's readers.


this wednesday i spent the morning in ian parson's studio shooting new work. It's been a few months since i've been out on a shoot and i really enjoyed it. Ian is a detail master and we both strove to get the most beautiful shots possible. Some came out better than i could have hoped for. His studio is fully decked out with everything you could ever require. It's really great when you get to work someone at the top of their game.

the new shots will be unleashed on our new site soon, as well next month's wired sussex's online showcase.


Gordo to the rescue

Gordon Brown's government has unveiled 'new' plans for the creative industries.

I have to say that when i saw this headline i was keen to see his new plans. but once again i was left feeling that the 'brown era' is not as good as we all hoped. the idea of more conferences doesn't flip my switch and creating more vocational qualifications and apprenticeships has been worked on for years. sadly it looks more like a chancellor's plan for commerce, than a wish to create anything of social value.


Portfolio night Global

This looks great. I wish they did this when i was a recent graduate. Some really good agencies under one roof, for one night. Shame it's really ad industry focussed, but it's still a good idea. If it wasn't paid ticket booking i'd be tempted to go and have a sniff around. Site is a bit cack though.

Portfolio Night

Inspiration from others

People are my biggest inspiration. i take a lot from reading about people, their approach to work, their struggles, their achievements and thier inspirations. Who and what inspires me changes constantly but these are the people influencing me today...

1. Jonathan Ive, Apple. It's not just that he designs surpisingly beautiful products, it's that he stuck with Apple through a shitty time and came out on top

2. Stanley Kubrick. He had the unflinching support of a major production company. He lived comfortably and securely with his family around him, yet a short distance from his work. Completely free to make the best films he possibly could.

3. Frida Giannini, Gucci. She is slowly but surely bringing the Gucci brand forward and in to the future. Very intelligent, very stylish.

4. Ross Brawn, Honda F1. Formerly Tech director at Ferrari and widely known to be the brains behind their success. Now he has set about building Honda in to a leading team. I have no doubt he will do it.

5. Jamie Hewlett. Tank Girl, Gorillaz, Monkey, Phoo Action - all his work, looks like his own, but each project is totally different from the last. Comics, Videos, Live performance, Opera costumes the lot.

6. Coco Chanel. She is cool. Look at her. Still looks awesome.

7. Christopher Nolan. Main stream and still highly intelligent with his integrity in tact. A very difficult balance to achieve. He seems he is in total control of his projects.

8. My Wife. I know this is cheesy, but as much as i like to look at famous people for inspiration, no one has ever given me as strong a steer through the world as she has. It's handy living with a genius.

- excuse the poxy image size. it's resized in one of Blogger's unreported features. rubbish -


I'm going to Attik

I am so excited it's hard to type without doing stupid keyboard things whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa like that.

Towards the end of last year, after a series of flukes, i got the opportunity to meet Poke's creative director and discuss clients, pitching, building creative teams and general life as a creative director. It honestly was one of the high points in my career and i valued ever minute of it. In fact everyone here is utterly sick of hearing about it.

So i thought 'that was pretty amazing, who else can i meet?' well top of my list was James Sommerville, Founder and Global Creative Director at Attik. For those of you who don't know who Attik are - are you stupid? They are only one of the leading creative agencies in the world. They have a truely unique story and a completely different approach, which has made me a fan since back in the day.

I emailed James and simply asked if you could spare a little time to give me advice on being a CD and remarkably he said 'yes'. So in a couple of weeks i'm going to get my arse on the train and go up to his Leeds office. I'm cacking rivers of excitement and anticipation. I really need to get some good questions and topics worked out. I'm contemplating taking a camera, but that might be too sad and creepy, even for me.


Benetton, Africa Works Campaign

Fabrica have launched a new campaign for Benetton called Africa Works. I'm not normally a fan of Benetton's approach to advertising, but i do really like this because it's authentic. When i first saw the ads i assumed (like many will) that it's models drafted in a made to look real, but you can see here that the crew just rolled up with a portable studio and shot the subjects right there and then.

beautifully shot and treated images. not sure about the clipart in the footer or the contrived eroded font, but it must have been a logistical nightmare to pull that off. hat's off to the fabrica team.

Start an agency, start a blog

while back i was thinking up genius new ideas for design books, after i had my 'how to be a designer' book idea scuppered by someone much better writing it first. i thought it would be great to detail the first 18 months of an angency. A full warts and all account of how an agency comes in to life and the road to establishing a business. wicked, good idea. how the f**k do you start writing that? keep a blog i thought. write a blog about how it all goes and include photos, you could then trot off to a publisher and say "here's my very popular blog, give me an editor and we'll publish it".

once again, someone has beaten me to it. well to be fair they haven't published it yet, but still it's a great blog about three founders taking the plunge and trying to start an agency from scratch. good luck to them all, i shall stay tuned to see it unfold.


New Newsletter

Today we are redesigning our email newsletter. Like many companies we have a monthly newsletter that goes out via email and let's our contacts know what we have been working on, talking about, going to etc We've also produced quite a few of these email templates for clients.

Pure360 are the Don when it comes to email marketing so myself and Wes have been sucking up every bit of advice they have to offer. Once we reviewed our own email, we soon realised how wrong some people can get it. It really is one of those digital outlets that gets chegged up people (mostly designers) thinking it's similar to creating a printed newsletter.

For some good tips on creating email newsletters check out their email marketing manual


More presents

Nothing better to take your mind off illness and fatigue than a surprise present arriving at the studio. I haven't dug in to it yet, but it looks like a great book. A really interesting choice of stock and finishing for the book itself.


Brighton Digital Job Fair

I went along to check out the Brighton Digital Job Fair this week. It was a unique mix of companies who took part. Alot of software developers and some games companies added to the usual mix. I managed to pick up some samples from each of the exhibitors and got some new ideas for Preview's event material.


D&AD Students and Lectures

our copy of the D&AD student annual arrived in the studio today. it's another mighty publication and well worth some dedicated time. the quality of work is pretty high this year and there is a decent spread of universities mentioned. It's designed by Pentagram, which i think is an odd choice for a student annual. They don't exactly have a big reputation for nuturing young talent. Quite the opposite in fact. Overall the design, layout and choice of finishings is weak. If i were a student in the annual i'd be disappointed.

Also released today is the latest batch of President's lectures. Simon has pulled together an unexpected mix of names for the lectures. We've opted for the Pecha Kucha night. Not because we are particularly interested in digital lectures above anything else, but because it provides the opportunity to see a number of different people at once.

Should be a good night out.



I was following links around the web on my lunch break and i came across Noisy Decent Graphics. It's a good blog to read for designers. There was a particular post that stood out to me. Ben, the blog's writer, has entered his tenth year as a designer. It's also my tenth year in the game and i've been doing some reminiscing. When i graduated i really didn't know very much about working as a designer or how design agency worked, but i did know that's what i wanted to do. Not every step of the way has been fun and fullfilling, particularly when the recession came along and levelled the creative industry. The past three years have been the hardest, but certainly the most rewarding. Today i feel very lucky to be in the position i'm in and i have high, high hopes for the coming years.

I've learnt a great deal and i've often thought about how i'd like to pass on what i've learnt, but i guess that makes me sound like i rate my opinion quite highly. I know that if i could tell the 1998 version of me a few things i certainly would.

zombies, monkeys, kung foo, music.

when i was growing up i wanted to be a comic artist or a graphic designer. for a long time i was moving towards the comic world. in those days i fanatically followed 2000ad and from there i started reading Tank Girl. the art work stood out as much as the attitude and chaos of the stories. Skip forward to 2001, i'm sitting there in my brit pop blur tshirt when i hear about damon albarn and jamie hewlett working together on a new cross media project called gorillaz. needless to say i shit my pants.

the combination of damon's tireless musical progression and jamie's uniquely twisted artwork worked perfectly. not only did it look and sound great, but the entire approach to the project appealed to me.

so far i've got the two albums and the cd/dvd remix set. i've got the two dvds and the book. i've yet to see them live in any capacity. but it doesn't stop with the gorillaz albums. Jamie and Damon worked together a stage show called Monkey and are on the verge of releasing a documentary based on footage of them working together.

I'm hooked i love following the collaboration and i wish more visual and musicial would come
together, bringing what they are best at. Back in my Victoria Real days we shared a building with Jamie Hewlett and it wasn't until i was about to leave that i realised. Needless to say if i had the chance again i'd be hanging round his studio like a bad smell.


Seeking Artworker

we are changing some things around in how the studio works and to accomodate our new account wins we need another pair of hands.

We are looking for an experienced Artworker to join our design team. We are looking for someone who knows the print process backwards and forwards. This role will require someone with in-depth knowledge of Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, experience of working with designers and printers to ensure everything which leaves the studio is technically flawless.

Any experience of laying out brochures and catalogues would be a distinct advantage.

Knowledge of producing graphics for the web would be very nice too. This job is for a highly organised individuual looking for a new challenge in a busy, but friendly studio environment. If you know your overprint from your cutter guides then we would like to hear from you.

It's a new role so at this stage we are flexible about the set up. We would be happy to hear from full timers, part timers, freelancers, contractors and permanent applicants.

more info here

Things bubbling

I'm impatient. I hate waiting. I want changes and i want them all immediately. I hate waiting.

There is loads of things bubbling away on the stove at Preview. Sadly nothing going live. Still waiting. We are working on three new sites, a full rebranding, a travel brochure, a roll fold company brochure. We have a quite a few outstanding proposals, but nothing signed off. Still waiting

On another note. I have started actively pursuing my mentor objective. I basically wrote a list of designers and creative directors who i think are amazing. I've started at the top and i'm working my way down. Nobody has been able to confirm anything yet. Still waiting.


preview workspace™

this is my desk. i rearrange it every few months. i've always really liked seeing people's work spaces. it gives you a sneaky insight in to their working practices.


Please send me advertising

Genius idea of the month...

Matter is a new project from Artomatic and The Royal Mail.

You sign up, they send you a box of nice things. Simple.

It's a chance for brands to talk directly with consumers without aggressively advertising.

The first box to go out included a calendar from Virgin Atlantic, Shampoo from Sauce, Wristband from Wii, Sony Ericsson phone pendant and (my favourite) some PlayDoh from Sony Bravia. All nicely made and beautifully packaged.

Direct mail that you actually want to receive. Making customers want to be marketed to. Genius. I've signed up.

(image and link found at creativeinlondon - cheers)


In the club

There are loads of 'business clubs' around. Groups you can join and share achievements, ideas, ask questions, get advice, socialise etc but there really isn't anything around for designers or creative directors in the South East.

I can't see why Creative Directors from all the agencies around here couldn't benefit from rubbing shoulders with other Creative Directors. Maybe its something i should be setting up. It would need to be based around an activity like eating, drinking, smoking etc and it would need to have a great venue. Nick is a member of the Supper Club, which is an ideal template for how to run an organisation and share knowledge.

I wonder if everyone would be too tentative to share any information about themselves or their agency.


Finding Frida

Over the past few years the Gucci brand has quietly begun to re-invent itself. When Tom Ford was Creative Director it seemed in line with it's power fashion, but since he left and Frida Giannini stepped up, it's really moved itself forward.

In fact the more i read about Giannini, the more i find her role and what she's achieved so far fascinating. I'm always obsessively interested in Creative Directors who bring about change in their organisations.

Her effect on a long standing fashion house has been so great there is even an area of their global site dedicated to her biography. It would appear the Creative Director has become part of the label's USP.