SCDF - Brighton Launch Party

This Thursday is a the launch party for the South Coast Design Forums Brighton Branch. Mr Wayne Hemmingway will be addressing the event and live music and drinks will be available. We are hoping for a good turn out. I'm expecting people from all forms of design and all corners of the local scene. The forum has yet to actively promote itself in the area, so it will be good to see how much interest has been raised so far.

Doors will open at 5.30pm with speaches beginning at 6pm. The Preview team will be out in force. Hopefully we will get some good shots of the night and i'll post them up here.

My Coke side of life

A recent illustration for Coca Cola's 'Coke Art' blog. There is some beautiful work on there, be sure to check out Ademilson Batista's sick illustration skills.

New Barclaycard logo

The new logo

The current logo

Barclays have unveiled a new logo for their Barclaycard. Design week's article seems a little preoccupied with the costs, but it does give a realistic view on how long the update will take to reach it's targets.

The update was done by Brand Union and i have to say it's not ground breaking, but it's a marked improvement. A bit of a shame the vibrant blue inside the sphere was not used for the type. The choice of typeface is very nice and strikes the right balance between friendly, modern and being solid. Nothing impressive, nothing offensive.

It's hard not to compare it to Sony Ericsson's logo. It has a very similar structure and icon. Taking on a more established and progressive marque is a risky move, but the application and context of each is different enough to get away with it.

No further examples of the brand applied, but i'm sure the team at Brand Union have some more stuff up their sleeves.


Discover what inspires ideas

I grabbed this photo on my (manky)phone a while a go on the tube. i found it again this week and it made me stop and think about what i use to inspire ideas.

i don't think i've ever found inspiration in the same place twice. when an idea jumps at you, it often comes from the last place you would expect. sometimes it's a shape or colour or maybe just a mood. i have learnt to capture those moments as best as i can. i carry notepads with me most places and i'm an addicted scribbler. i also hoard screengrabs on my work and home desktops. films have always had a big impact on my creative process, more so than music. even though i listen to music everyday of my life.

lately i've been pulling lot's of new ideas from fashion and people's approach to it. the best part of my day is seeing the kids walking to school near my house. all of them find a way to express themselves within the confines of the school uniform. these days interpretation of school uniform is more accepted than it was, when i was a kid. but it never ceases to amaze me how many different ways you can wear a black top and grey skirt/trousers.

that was a bit of a ramble. yep yep yep


Ford Fiesta - This is now campaign

the ad was put together by Ogilvy London and has so far split opinion within the ad world. it's clearly an improvement on the shockingly bad robot dog campaign that ford ran earlier in the year.

the new model is certainly an improvement on the last box they produced, although it's following fiat's recent work too closely for my liking.

i read that the campaign is 'an attempt to establish the new car as a style icon for modern (that means young) women'. Much of the negative commentary has been levelled at the campaign's meaning. It seems it's too abstract for some people and the biggest moan is 'what is it supposed to mean?'. I have to be honest this makes me like it more. Ambiguity in advertising is almost a swear word these days. I love the mashing together of art and marketing. This article on Shots reveals how each of the screens contains a commissioned piece of artwork.

The print executions i saw over the weekend were not very inspiring. Essentially they are comprised of stills from the tv spot. But the Digital execution comes in the form of more art/advertisting fusion. This is now.eu is a site, sponsored by Ford, that encourages users to submit their artwork on the theme of 'now'. It's totally hooked up with a Twitter feed and a Flickr group it also allows you to join the accompanying Facebook group. Not a bad campaign line there. I think we are going to see a lot more of this work over the rest of the year.


D&AD - annual and pencil exhibition launch party

last week i got invited to the launch party for this years d&ad annual, at the RCA. the party coincided with the first night private viewing of the d&ad's pencil exhibition.

the night was a surprisingly good mix of show and interest. a few speeches from neville brody, simon waterfall (and an RCA professors, who was too boring to remember) and then it was on to the free wine and show. you can see a video on campaign's website of the party.

the exhibition itself was fascinating. every single annual from the past 45 years was laid out with cover and selected work inside massive yellow pencils. the range of styles and quality over the 45 years was amazing to watch chronologically unfold. each had comments from previous d&ad presidents which provided a fantastic retrospect. the programme for the event was designed by build and printed by local boys generation press. another nicely crafted piece of work from paul and michael which uses duplexing, foil and die-cutting. the design is a bit of a typographic rollercoaster, but perfect for the target audience.

members were also able to pick up their copies of the is years annual. as i mentioned in previous posts, neville brody designed this years annual and it already stands out as a high point in the annual's progression.

unpacking this annual is not unlike unpacking an apple product. the first thing to note is the presentation slip case, with hexagon cut outs. the next thing that hits you is that it is not hard back or closed bound. the spine is completely exposed and printed across. by not making it hard backed it's much easy to read through. inside the typographic treatment is pitched perfectly. it's very strong, but not painfully fashionable. the intro and end pages are where the design's volume gets turned up, but it's the details and navigation that makes it a beautifully poised piece of work. on the work pages the necessary information is both accessible and discreet. overall it is a stunning piece of work. i would not like the task of designing next years follow up.

i have to admit when i picked my copy up i cursed it. it is a heavy sucker and i carried my copy all the way from kensington to brighton. 'small pains for big gains' as they say.

hey look at me in there.


Where did Apple go wrong with IMS?

It's an accepted fact the world over that Apple has produced some of the most well thought out and innovative design of our time. Their products have changed modern culture, their packaging has brought in extensive awards and their advertising has been often been referred to as some of the best ever made. Looking at osX, the ipod and the new iphone it's clear that interface design has always followed the same high standards. The fact that everything Apple produces is so easy to use forms the corner stone of their brand.

With all this in mind I can't help but ask what the hell is going on with Itunes Music Store? - what a mess. Have you ever tried to browse around for something new? It's a nightmare. There seems very little to do other than search for a track or artist you've already heard of. The benefit of Apple's design approach is that they can take complex items and make them very simple and intuitive. This is not the case with the Music Store, in fact it's quite the opposite.

As an example i tried to find a Gorillaz track without using the search panel. You start by trying to guess which genre the IMS team have decided to place it under
It's hard to imagine how someone else would classify each track or artist. The interface changes dramatically as soon as you leave the homepage and you know have to dig further through a dizzying list of subgenre which ranges from 'German Thrash' to 'Post war chamber music'. Once you've guessed your way through to find the artist you can select from their material.

Again the interface jumps to a new set of interactions once you've found the artist. Sometimes this fits perfectly in to your itunes app window, but often it will require scrolling in more than one direction.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. There are some nice features. The recommended listening is often very good and some of the playlists are interesting ways to find new music.

My biggest problems is that it is way below Apple's usual standards. It makes the process of using an the Apple OS, hooking up your ipod and working with great interfaces have a stinky end.

There is very little information out there as to what Apple's design process involves. They seem to guard their secrecy very closely. So it's hard to say how this got through the quality control and how they see it expanding in to the future.

Is it me? Does anyone else feel like the Itunes Music Store is the weakest link in Apple offering?


frank gehry at the serpentine london

this is not really related to branding or graphic design, but i wanted to post it anyways. a couple of weeks ago i carved out some time to visit frank gehry's temporary pavillion at the serpentine gallery. it's gehry's first project in the uk and it's only up for a short time. sadly the weather turned on me and the light was not great. i snapped over a hundred photos of it, but still don't feel i was able to capture the experience. it was strangely quiet there. people sat staring at the roof and sitting on the steps. it was really amazing to see. nothing was straight or aligned, it seemed like freeform architecture, a building with no visible rules or alignment.


wally olins - the brand handbook

years ago i read a friend's copy of wally olins' new guide to identity. although it was newly published at the time, most of the theories and examples seemed outdated to me. this is not a problem i found with his most recent book the brand handbook. whilst it doesn't go in to massive detail on process, it does cover the whole branding cycle, taking time to explain each part and why it is important.

after more than 10 years it's strangely refreshing to see the branding process formally laid out and broken in to clear segments. Olins has been in the branding business for a long time (in fact he practically invented it) and some of his examples are a little old, but you cannot fault his grip on the essential factors in creating a brand.

the most part of the book is really a handbook. the writing is aimed at someone within an organisation who may be embarking on a brand campaign. this gives anyone who is agency side a unique insight in to how their clients may approaching the project. it also allows us to learn what deliverables are essential throughout the project and what is required from the client to make it a success.

i loved reading this book. it now lives on my desk filled with post it notes to refer back to.


idea and object

some pertinent words i saw on the walls of the Tate Modern at the weekend.


the great ui engima

for the past month or so, i've been wrestling with an update to the preview website. we've been developing some new features and the portfolio section is getting a redesign, but i can't crack the little fucker. we've created a version we thought was spot on, but testing through up some problems, another protype was developed, but that now has holes in the user journey. i'm stuck i've been well and truelly sent back to the drawing board.

i think the solution is hidden somewhere in a filter, tag combination. but i'm buggered if i can find it. i'll be back on client work until inspiration hits me.