Category Archives: Creative writing

How would you like your graphic design sir?

Another take on the ‘Pick 2’ principle…

graphic-design-humor

FAST, GOOD, CHEAP – Pick two! by @AnthonyOram

Two fantastic and poignent posters from Brighton based designer Anthony Oram

Introducing: Fergus Wessel Stone Workshop

When I first started this blog way back when with an intention to promote the creative industries ‘Beyond the M25’ I never thought I would be talking about headstones!

Well after seeing this article on I Love Typography about Oxfordshire based Fergus Wessel and his letter Cutting talent I grew a new appreciation for the art involved in the Gravestone and simply had to add him as a Creative Link (altho now have to reconsider the titling of the Print & Packaging section!)

It’s odd really that it wasn’t more obvious to me how considered and perfect the end result has to be due to the finality of what he produces.

There’s no ‘cmd + z’ or ‘undo’ in his game, never time for a ‘re-print’ or ‘take the site down while we fix this’. And its so representative after all, what he does lives on long after the person it represents has unfortunately passed away so HAS to be ‘just right’.

Check out some of his beautifully elegant markings below and see more on his site at www.stoneletters.com

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Put a smile on your face…Lionel Richie Teapot by @LorrieMud

 

Great fun teapot serving tea for one by New Jersey based artist/designer Lorrie Veasey of Our Name is Mud.

 

 

 

 

Buy yours here

 

 

 

 

Google “Trying not to be evil” – by Patrick Clair

Thought provoking animation about the all encompassing Google, by australian motion designer Patrick Clair.

Monetising Facebook ‘LIKE” with Flattr

As a ‘blogger’ I can’t help myself but be excited by the opportunities Flattr offers.

As another alternative to the Paypal donate button, it seems like it’s an opportunity to take the Facebook ‘LIKE’ button and add actual value to it.

If my understanding is correct basically as a Flattr user you’ll deposit a certain amount (determined by yourself) into your account at the start of a month, and then thru the course of the month you click various Flattr buttons as you come across content you value on the internet, then at the end of the month your deposit gets split equally into micropayments across all the sites you’ve ‘Flattr’d’. Brilliant! Get Flattr’ing!

Creative Bedfordshire

Happily stumbled across two little gems over the weekend that have even more enforced the message we at Beyond M25 preach that there is most definitely life in the creative industries ‘beyond the M25’.

The first being – Creative Bedfordshire

This is the exact sort of thing I hoped to stumble across when starting up BeyondM25 when looking for other creative services in the area.

 


 

 

 

 

Blurb from their website:

Creative Bedfordshire is the hub of creative enterprise in Bedfordshire, which responds to the needs of individuals and businesses, an up to date resource, valuable to the creative sector and the wider business community countywide, a link to local support, promoting Bedfordshire’s creative sector locally, nationally and globally.

The Creative Bedfordshire website offers Creative Industries a unique environment in which to promote their business and keep track of what’s going on across the County’s Creative scene. It provides an essential platform to help your business access other Creatives and promote yourself to new markets.

It’s very encouraging to see another place to explore/visit and use as a resource when trying to source inspiration or collaboration.

Looking forward to seeing more from them in the future.

The second of the little gems (courtesy of Creative Bedfordshire) is We Are Bedfords initiative The Castle Quay Weekender. See more here

Believability beats truth – Dave Trott

Really great post by Dave Trott of CTS Advertising (within the M25) on the importance of telling people what they want to hear in a language they understand.

Wing Commander John Cunningham was in charge of a night-fighter squadron.

During the Blitz, his squadron shot down twice as many aircraft as any other night-fighter squadron.

Everyone knew the secret.

Cunningham had exceptional eyesight, because he ate a lot of carrots.

Carrots have a lot of vitamin A.

This helps improve perception of light on the retina, and helps it recover quickly after a flash of bright light in darkness.

In those days ordinary people hadn’t heard about vitamins.

So this was big news, in all the papers.

Cunningham became a celebrity.

He also wore dark glasses in the daytime.

He only took them off at night, to fly.

This was to maintain the sensitivity of his night vision.

Obviously his eyes would be sharper than other people’s, who’d been exposed to bright light all day.

So exceptional eyesight made Cunningham a really effective night-fighter pilot.

Well not quite.

His squadron did shoot down twice as many bombers as any other squadron.

But it had nothing to do with his eyesight.

That was just propaganda.

The RAF had actually developed a combined radar system.

One half based on the ground, that would guide night-fighters to bomber formations.

And one half in the plane, that would guide the pilot to an individual bomber.

It was the first of its kind in the world.

And Cunningham’s squadron was the first to be equipped with it.

If the enemy found out, obviously they’d take counter measures.

So the longer the RAF could keep it quiet, the better.

Cunningham became a national hero.

Enemy spies reported back to Germany that the reason they were losing so many bombers was the deadly ‘Cats Eyes’ Cunningham.

And for a long while the Luftwaffe bought that story.

They lost a lot of bombers to radar before they discovered the truth.

Because a simple lie is often more powerful than a complicated truth.

At least when it comes to mass communication.

It didn’t matter that it wasn’t true.

All that mattered was, did the target market want to believe it?

And, for most people, something that captures the imagination is more powerful than something that just captures reason.

Maggie Thatcher was a master at this.

That’s why she won three elections in a row.

I once heard her on TV, talking about The Economy to a BBC interviewer.

He asked her exactly why she overrode her cabinet’s advice on financial policy.

She said something like, “Well you know, when it comes to money, we women have always had to take charge of running the household. So I think we are rather better at handling money than men.”

Of course, you could hear Guardian readers groaning in disbelief at how crass that statement was.

But you could hear many, many more housewives up and down the country nodding vigorously in agreement.

And there are a lot more housewives with votes than there are Guardian readers.

And those housewives understood what Mrs Thatcher was saying.

Again, it didn’t matter whether or not it was true.

What mattered was whether the target market wanted to believe it.

That’s a big problem we have in our business.

We’re too clever.

And we think clever will always work.

We’re all university grads, so we all come up with solution we believe will make sense to an intelligent person.

A person like us.

One problem.

Outside Soho, in the real world, most people aren’t like us.

They don’t work in the media, they don’t aspire to drink in trendy bars and eat in the latest restaurants.

They aren’t interested in the little world of the London media scene.

And, what’s more, they couldn’t care less.

So, if we want to do something that works for them, we need to forget about what works for us.

We need to do something that penetrates their world.

Not something we can believe.

Something they want to believe.

See more of his insightful posts on his blog at CST  here.

 

The Future of the Book

Great video by IDEO showing the exciting future of the written word…

Meet Nelson, Coupland, and Alice — the faces of tomorrow’s book. Watch global design and innovation consultancy IDEO’s vision for the future of the book. What new experiences might be created by linking diverse discussions, what additional value could be created by connected readers to one another, and what innovative ways we might use to tell our favorite stories and build community around books?

The Art of Interviewing Your Client

Found this really great article over on Logo Design Love the other day.
It’s by a guest contributor Tim Lapetino (of US branding agency Hexanine) and he starts a fantastic conversation about the things we should be doing as logo designers/branding agencies with regards to getting the information we need out of clients to help formulate the best possible brief before starting work on any identity projects.

For designers, it’s never enough to merely follow the design brief a client gives you. In identity design, we view our projects as opportunities to dig deep, mining the best parts of an organization to get at the heart of what makes each client unique. It’s these nuggets that are essential when attempting to distill a company’s essence into a logo.

Gathering these insights requires a crucial bit of give-and-take — not as easy as it sounds. Like being a good investigative reporter, a great designer is dogged and determined, yet pleasant, empathetic, and challenging. I’ve come to believe that the best creatives are equal parts artist, therapist, and journalist: generating ideas, giving and receiving feedback, and communicating the results well.

The client interview (which is a part of the larger creative brief) is a necessary piece of every successful project. This is especially true when crafting identity systems, as few projects hinge so directly on the ability to listen, ask questions, and process the answers. The info a designer gathers will be boiled-down (hopefully) into a single sentence that guides all design decisions throughout the process.

Whether this interviewing process happens in-person (the most effective), on the phone, or via Skype, getting a client to talk freely and helpfully about their organization is more art than science. So here are a handful of ways to get the best from this mutual exploration with your client.

It’s about listening

As obvious as it sounds, few people are truly great listeners. The words that one person utters may mean something vastly different another. Without realizing it, most of us get distracted, focus on what we’ll say next, or add our own feelings and associations to what we hear.

Use “active listening skills” to avoid such communication breakdown.

Often employed in counseling settings, this is a simple process of rephrasing another person’s words as a clarifying question, in order to develop more accurate understanding. After you rephrase an important point, the client has the opportunity to make corrections or clarifications. An example might look like this:

Client: “We really want our new logo to be bold and attention-grabbing.”

Designer: “So, it sounds like you want this logo to have bright, strong colors to catch the eye. Is that right?”

Client: “Well, not necessarily. I guess what I really meant is that I’d like it to stand out within our industry.”

Ask the right questions

As you listen, be on the lookout for key words and phrases. What are the main goals of the project? Are there points your client keeps repeating? Those are probably important. As you gather data, ask yourself questions about what you’ve heard. What is the narrative thread of the organization? Is there some story or big picture that emerges from everything you’ve gathered? Is there a way to tell this story using metaphors and symbols that could make their way into your designs?

Be sure to get these crucial questions answered. Start by covering the elements of any good design brief (goals, audience, parameters, content needs, etc.) and then venture into the more intangible aspects like feelings, emotions, “personality” of the company, and the like. But remain focused on your goal. Guiding an interviewee isn’t about confirming your own beliefs or agenda, but truly seeking to get at the story of the organization.

“True contentment comes with empathy.”

Finally, any interviewer worth their salt needs to step into the client’s shoes. How do things look from the other side of the table? Seek to see the person as they see themselves — crucial when you’re trying to translate an organization’s essence into something visual. It’s essential to find out what drives your client and their company.

What is their reason for being? How will you take that mission and turn it into a great mark or identity system?

Only by asking and answering these questions will you be able to find out.

If you’re not already a follower of the Logo Design Love blog, I can’t recommend it enough. I regularly find top quality posts on there such as the above that can only help develop skills and improve my ability as a designer.

Check it out at Logo Design Love