more notforcommercialuse dot com

more beautifully crafted work emerging from generation press and their not for commercial use project. if you haven't got your hands on any of this work yet, i suggest you sign up and take the opportunity to see one the country's finest printers at work with some very talented designers.


south coast design forum

Yesterday i got the chance to escape from the studio and head in to brighton to meet peter spence. peter is the founder and director of the south coast design forum, which has successfully launched two branches in portsmouth and chichester. i met peter to talk about the forum's next step which is to set up a committee in brighton.

having spoken to peter about his plans and the ways in which the brighton branch can operate, i've signed up to join the steering committee. i can see there are some really good opportunities to influence the regional design community and how it plugs in to groups like the dba, the design council, the d&ad and csd. it may also create opportunities for us to help bring more business in to the area and provide some really valuable training and events for designers in the area.


Rip off!

it feels like every time i open a trade publication there is at least one new story about an ad agency that has been caught ripping off some thing.

I think youtube was the worst thing to happen to advertising. I know there are great creative teams out there, so why just hit the search button when you get a brief!?

It really pisses me off. Particularly when it comes from larger agencies. I have come to expect people taking short cuts when they are in small agencies scratching about, trying to climb the ladder.

a recent role call of bad behaviour looks like this...

fallon's much awarded gorilla viral

sugar puffs does mighty boosh crimping

wcrs's think campaign

fallon (again) bravia play doh ad

people say 'there are no new ideas' but if your going to take an old idea and make something new of it, then you need to make sure it is something new and not a sad cover version. the people involved in these campaigns are well paid and should be fired for releasing such blatantly lazy solutions. If i was the client i would be ripping heads off.


Ok i've changed my mind. Slowly i have come to really like the design of Grazia magazine. My wife has been buying it every week, since it's launch. The first few issues looked like a horrific car crash at the font foundry. But over time they have built on some strange foundations to make a nice publication. Because it started in such a mess i've been reluctant to admit it's improved, but it really has. From what i understand it has recently rejigged it's art direction team, which would make sense as they are beginning to standardise grids and layout, they have also introduced new headline and paragraph styles.


your mind is like a parachute...

some work in progess...

Design Idea - a fellow brighton blogger

Design Idea is a design blog by brighton based rebecca cottrell.

It's nice to finally come across another designer in the area who is willing to raise their head above the parapet and voice an opinion.


Preview web update

when we designed and built the preview site last year. we had a list of things to explore for phase 2. at the start of this year i began work on phase 2. we gathered comments and feedback from people who had used the site. we also used google analytics to work out which items people looked at and which items had been ignored.

the update includes
  1. news feed to the homepage
  2. animation showreel
  3. new work in all portfolio sections
  4. new info on partners and process
  5. improved typographic grids
  6. a new cms plugged in to the news section
  7. additional imagery
  8. new flash templates for all work and pics
i'm very pleased with it all. it was certainly much smoother than the first phase as we were building on a strong foundation this time. it also includes the new portfolio shots which i'm happy with. there are no further plans for the site at this stage. so we'll live with it for a bit longer and see if anything comes up. the news and portfolio will continue to grow so remember to come back and check for updates.


Visiting Attik

yesterday i hopped on a train to Leeds and met up with Attik's Co-Founder James Sommerville. James was kind enough to give up a few hours of his precious time to talk to me about his agency and his experiences of being a creative director and how him and his partners have gone about building one of the world's most respected creative agencies.

the leeds offices are very well cared for and make a big impression. it felt very unusual finding a creative environment like theirs outside of london. i've been in grand studios before and seen some of the world's top creatives at work, but it's usually at a prestigious london address. The attik office is split over three floors. Reception and office on the ground floor, studio on the next and a meeting room at the top (not disimilar to our current set up). all prestine and full of their work on proud display.

even though james directs multiple global brand projects and has a great deal of demand on his time, he was happy to spend a few hours talking with me. i learnt more in the time i spent at attik than any 'design trainer' could offer in a year. we discussed location, opening offices, attracting good staff, approaching clients, pitching, international brand mentality, portfolios etc etc.

it's really nice to find people who have achieved a huge amount and become widely respected without becoming self important. I'm massively thankful for the chance to get inside a top agency and hear about it's inner workings. hopefully i'll be able to take all the things i've learned and apply them here to our ongoing mission.

My travel pack
1. manbag with reading material
2. glasses
3. business cards
4. phil's ds
5. notebook (full of questions)
6. research material
7. water
8. umberella (it is the north)
9. camera
10. phone (since broken and replaced)
11. ipod, fully loaded
12. wallet.

the long journey

attik's leeds office


Thinking back in the box

A freelance friend of mine is doing a stint at Saatchi right now and she sent me a picture of the office. I had all but forgotten how old school agencies put creative teams in offices. I've never had an office and i would hate to be detached from the people is was working with.

Here at Preview we have the studio and office spilt over two floors. It works well most of the time. I couldn't imagine ever reaching a point where i shut myself away and work in solitude. The other end of the continum is Mother. They sit eveyone (over 100 staff) around one table. Each person has a laptop and sits with whomever they happen to be working with. It's an amazing set up and worth checking out if you get the chance.


Saatchi & Saatchi


Odd days

I've said it before, but the best thing about working in a full service agency is the variety of work. you never know what you'll end up doing from one day to the next.

take today as an example. when i arrived in the studio i had no idea that i would be helping a client by photographing some of their products, searching for a mannequin on husrt high street, convincing an elderly shop keeper to lend me a lady's swimsuit hanger, dressing the dummy in various tshirts, lighting and photographing them, retouching the shots and removing pokey nipples and saving each photo in various formats.

funny that.


Preview press

We are running a design competition. it's already been launched and has had a good take up from universities and colleges in the area.

we have partnered up with a pr agency on the project. the first fruits of their labour appeared in this weekend's local press. check out the scan shown here. the article gets some comedy placement right next to a 'drunken youth crisis' spread.


location, location, location

how much difference does location make to an agency?

I know the usual response is 'none, we can do it all via email, phone and video chat', but when marketing managers are hiring designers do they want/need them to be near? or do they just look out for agencies based in london, because they are the best? i don't know. but it's something we've all been talking about here in the office. we are considering moving and like all agency moves location is top of the debate list.

i had an interesting chat with paul at generation press. they have been based out in the countryside for years and they love it. their press is in a converted barn. i'm not against the whole barn idea, but i fear i might go feral after a few years.

i've worked in brighton and london. both have benefits, although the crowds and grime in london got to me after a while. i was very pleased to get out in the end. i guess the best of both worlds would be having a big hq in the country and another studio in the city. but then your running the risk of segregation and consistency issues. but you would still get to go cow tipping after work.


i'm wired

i like wired sussex. they have given preview pride of place in their showcase this month. our work features on the homepage and also includes a little profile i wrote on the agency. i was given 12-16 image places to fill and i select a couple of classic bits of preview work, a couple of the new shots from our recent portfolio shoot. i also decided to include a couple of newly generated images. i felt it was important to include a good range of styles and to go beyond our current clients. i'm very happy with the final (director's?!) cut.

i also got a nice email from nish at wired sussex to invite me to take part in their regular q&a for the argus newspaper. what a very nice bunch they are.


Crapitol One

What's in your wallet?
Well it's not a shat new logo, i'll tell you that much. Capitol One has released it's new look. There is no information yet on who is responsible this, but there had better be an amazingly good reason for using a swoosh with a bevel and gradient. It looks like a step back 15 years. Someone call the brand police, this can't go unpunished.