15/12/2008

My Coke project™ - Multiples



tidy / untidy. experimenting with no logos or words, just the iconic bottle shape. recently the coke brand has been moving more towards stripping back the messages and focussing purely on trademarked devices. perhaps a little too sparse?!

11/12/2008

Honda F Gone


Sad news that Honda has pulled out of F1. Citing the economic downturn, but in truth it seems to be more about descention in the Honda board of directors. Racing to sell cars doesn't seem the best use model for a team, instead selling cars to race appears to be more successful. It's hard to swallow the whole 'we can't spend the money' reasoning from Honda when you see stories like this appearing.

I'm gutted. I'm gutted for Jenson Button. I'm gutted for Ross Brawn. I'm gutted for my friends and family at Honda F1. I think pulling out so quickly is a very strange move and doing it on the verge of team improvements makes it even worse.

It's a blow for the sport as Honda F1 were the first team to openly and directly address the environmental impact of the sport with the myearthdreams campaign. In their relatively short time in the sport Honda had a notable impact, even though the results had not come so easily. The Honda F1 brand was the best in the pack in my opinion, so much so that they were on my Big5. I guess I will have to review that soon.

10/12/2008

Doesn't Matter


At the start of the year i posted about the Matter Box project. Well it's taken some time, but the latest delivery from Matter arrived on my desk this week. It's a smaller, more compact box this time round and it would appear it is now fully owned and run by Royal Mail.

The contents varied between some lovely little treats (Diageo's virtual fireplace, LoveFilm's dirty film wipes) to cheap samples (O2 top ups, Original Source shampoo). Over all the quality and emphasis on 'nice things' has lowered, but the concept still holds strong. As an example Cadbury's included a bar of their new chocolate flavour, which was consumed by my family and everyone agreed they would happily buy next time an opportunity arrived!

The anticipation of the box and the idea of being sent promotional material is considerably stronger than buying up ad space and hoping your demographic sees it, in my opinion. I think a lot of consumer brands could learn from this very simple concept. Imagine if Cadburys get rid of the oh so clever flash gimmicks on their website and replaced them with a simple mechanism for sending out samples to people in the desired demographic.

I was very pleased to get my box, but considering it took almost a year to get this one out, i don't expect another any time soon. Hopefully the next one will regain some of the quality of the original.

08/12/2008

Preview Xmas


a little sneak preview of this year's xmas card. we've gone for a very subtle uv varnish on white.

03/12/2008

How I would brand Brighton

I read a great article in CR about the fantastic identity work CityID has done in Southampton and it started me thinking about my home town Brighton. I've been a part of this city my whole life and I'm still very much in love with it. A lot has changed in my lifetime and fairly recently it has achieved 'city status', so it seems an appropriate time to reflect these cultural shifts in the city's branding. Tourism is a massive part of the Brighton's economy and the perception of the city to visitors is vital to sustaining it's commercial balance, so it's extremely important to have a brand that reflects the city's unique culture, as well as it's forward thinking community.

So i asked myself 'How would i brand Brighton?'

Homework
To start any brand project we would agree the brief and ensure everyone involved understands what the aim of the project is and how we will measure it's success. Then we dig straight in to research. The history of Brighton is very rich and easily accessible, but the future of the city is just as important. To really identify the task ahead it is important to establish the high priority touch points ie; how and where people will interact with the city's brand (eg; street signs, public transport, press, web, information centres etc)


Coding
Once all the information is gathered the next step would be sorting it in to a cohesive order. This will obviously require working closely with town planners and getting a deeper understanding of the districts and where Brighton will be expanding in the future. In the past few years there have been a number of key developments and further expansion needs to be accounted for. The coding phase also needs to take in to account feedback from residents and local tourism officials.


Expression
Now the schematics are established we need to create a unique way of expressing Brighton's unique history, culture and future - it's personality if you will.

Type
Typography is a key aspect to a city's brand. In order to create a consistency in visitor messages and wayfinding a typeface would need to be developed to achieve maximum legibility and recognition. At this point we would work with a type foundry in order to create something bespoke. However based on existing typefaces you can see some of the possible directions; Helvetica is known for being well designed and legible, but doesn't carry any of the required personality. A narrow font like National First would work well with long names and has rounded edges to give a little hint of style and warmth. Mono spaced fonts would create good clarity for wayfinding, although Avante Garde would bring a strong sense of style and sit comfortably with Brighton's artistic past. Another possibility would be Gill Sans as it ties in nicely with the city's history and stands apart from anything usually seen in this context, perhaps a little too tied to history though.

Web
The council's website and it's variations both comprehensively deliver a great deal of information in a clear way. However there are very few opportunities to interact or feed information back in to the city. I think to set Brighton out as a leader in digital design we should make best use of the deep pool of digital specialists in the city to develop means by which users could rate, share, comment, discuss, record and respond to the city's culture.

Signage
Clarity is king here, however signage and wayfinding needs to find a way of retaining some of the city's personality. This is also where the coding (set out above) would be rolled out. As Brighton is divided up in to lots of different districts (Hollingbury, Portslade, Five ways, Seven Dials, Kemp Town, North Laines, Hanover etc) and there is currently no way for visitors to distinguish between them. Obviously creating new signage for every road and cul de sac in the Brighton & Hove area would be very costly and take a long time to implement, so the new street signs should be initially focussed on the areas identified as touch points in the Homework phase.


Roll out and Testing
Once a comprehensive set of tools had been created, i would sense check it with a series of focus groups, but i would also insist that local committees are consulted and involved at an advisory level. With a project this big it is absolutely essential to get the backing of the community, without it you face the danger of being publicly strung up and offending residents.

Conclusions

Brighton is a beautiful city that's history is as important as it's future, however it sustained some heavy damage in war and has suffered some heinous architectural decisions, which has left it in varying states of confusion. Over the past twenty years it has transformed itself to become one of the country's best features. Both residents and visitors should feel as though they have had the 'Brighton experience' and be able to identify with it's unique identity. Small changes could be made for massive gains that not only capture Brighton's personality, but helps to guide it.

Interested?
I've spent the last ten years involved in branding projects and I would make this project my magnus opus. I have no idea if Brighton & Hove Council have any plans in the pipeline, but i'd certainly be keen to discuss it further with whomever is responsible for such projects.

If anyone knows who i could talk to within the council's labyrinth please drop me a line at the usual address.

02/12/2008

Launching soon

For the past few weeks we've been working on a very quick, very big project. I'm not allowed to tell you much about it right now, other than it's in the travel sector. The reason i can't write about it, is that it's getting a big launch event later this week. Needless to say as a result not many of us have been going home in the evenings. it will all be worth it though.

Monkey Journey to the West



Stunning. I'm no opera fan, but this was just stunning. For my xmas present, i got tickets to go and see this at the o2 last weekend. it's a show like i've never experienced before in my life. the music was surprisingly great. the kung foo was exicting and the jokes were wicked. i have nothing bad to say about it at all. Stunning.