May 04, 2006

Crack The Code

Further to my earlier post about Google and the Da Vinci code, look what happens if you search for Tom Hanks.


Or Audrey Tautou.


Or Dan Brown.


Or Da Vinci.


Tom Hanks is reasonable, but Da Vinci? Just "Da Vinci"? That seems like pretty broad stemming to me.

Powerful, powerful stuff. Must be costing a fortune.

May 02, 2006

Design doctors


I had this idea that you could run a design consultancy like a doctors surgery, or a hospital.

Apr 24, 2006

E Ink

E Ink. Does anyone have any experience of this?


Apparently it's a form of screen technology that make reading a screen as good as reading paper. You don't have issues with direct light etc etc. Sony use it for their new E-book reader. I'd love to see one.

Has anyone ever seen one? Is it any good?

Apr 21, 2006

Nike and Da Vinci are searching for something

Three things I hear a lot about Google.

1. They're over valued.
2. You can't run a business based on an advertising sales model.
3. How are they going to increase revenue?

I think these two fascinating tie ups might have some of the answers.



One is with Nike, the other is with the new Da Vinci Code film. I'll leave you to read what Google says below, and I'll let you investigate the sites and have a play. But two things strike me immediately.

1. These sites contain a lot of Google furniture/branding/look and feel. Which is slightly odd, especially for a big visual brand like Nike. Maybe it tells you something about the power of Google? 

2. These partnerships are a lot more sophisticated than anything MSN or AOL or Yahoo would do. Miles better. That tells you about the cleverness of Google.

I'm pretty excited by these. This stuff is going to be really important, really soon.

The Da Vinci Code Quest on Google


Together with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Google is promoting the
upcoming film "The Da Vinci Code" through a time-limited interactive
contest on the Google personalized homepage. This began on April 17,
and each day until May 11, Google will release one Da Vinci Code-style
puzzle or riddle. Finalists then compete on May 19, the date of the
film release. To enter the contest, sign in to your Google account and
add the Da Vinci Code Quest module to your Google homepage. You will
see a new puzzle to complete each day at 1 p.m. EDT. The first 10,000
participants who correctly solve all 24 daily puzzles and submit a
completion form will win a replica of the cryptex described in Dan
Brown's book, and use the tool to compete in the final phase of the
contest (five more time-sensitive puzzles). The grand prize winners in
the U.S., the U.K., and Australia will win trips to the film premiere.

Go here to register and play:


In partnership with Nike, Google has introduced, an online
community for people crazy about football, or soccer as it's known in
the U.S. Joga combines Google technology with Nike's unique sports
content and access to players and brings people all over the world
together to celebrate their shared passion for the game. Joga members
can build their own groups and clubs, share all kinds of
football-related information, upload photos and video, and organize and
give updates on local matches and events. Members keep current with
Friend Requests, Alerts, and Messages. And in the coming months, Google
and Nike will be bringing out more tools and features to help Joga
members embrace their love of football in this global online setting.
By the way, the name comes from the Portuguese phrase "Joga Bonito" or
"play beautiful."

Apr 13, 2006

The Post It post

Had the Post It note meeting this morning. It went well.

We had about 26 Post It's in all. We'd drew a life size, black and white grid of the Post It notes (about A1). Numbered the grid and the Post It notes. In the meeting we stuck the grid to the wall and as we explained the idea to the client, we stuck the Post It notes on the grid - almost as it happened in the original brainstorm. Except we stuck the Post It's to the wall not to a grid. Obviously.

The client loved the idea and they loved the presentation. There were a few shocked faces when I explained what we were going to do, but they soon got the hang of it.

I really enjoyed it. It was quicker, more immediate, more passionate and I think it got the idea across more efficently.

I'm going to do it again.

The bank that likes to say wise things

I heard a talk by the Chairman of Lloyds Bank the other day.

He said there are only 3 ways to for a business to make more money.

1. Charge more.

2. Cut costs.

3. Sell more.

And that was it.

He said that whenever someone comes to him with a proposal, he listens to their pitch and then he asks them which category their idea comes under. Will it enable him to sell more? Charge more? Cut costs? If the proposal doesn't fit into any of these he shows them the door.

Simple isn't it?

(I need some grey hair.)

Apr 03, 2006

MIT Advertising Lab

I've always loved MIT.

Can't justify that really, except for the fact they've got a great name, a cool abbreviation and they've earned all that respect (Pentagram worked on some of their digital stuff - that would have helped.)

I've been drawn to this post about rethinking print advertising. If you're a graphic designer you'll drool over this but the whole website is really interesting, take a look.


Mar 07, 2006



NewsMap is an experiement where they display headlines as a series of coloured squares. The colour depicts the subject (business, sport, politics, world) and the size of the square depicts the amount of news articles on the web.

I love the idea, it's gorgeous. And it looks great. But it doesn't work too well in the UK as all the news is from the US. Yes, you can change the preferences to reflect UK news but you can only do that for the main headlines, you can't get UK sport or UK business for example.

So, until they make a UK one, I'll stick to my BBC News addiction.

Mar 06, 2006

Jon Snow starts blogging

When I started this blog, I promised that I would only write about Graphic Design. I'm going to break that promise now (just once) and I apologise in advance.


I'm going to justify this because it's about blogging. I think I can justify that.

Jon Snow has starting blogging. I am a big Jon Snow fan. He's probably the only mainstream journalist who is willing to invetigate rather than assume, to challenge rather than acquiesce. His autobiography 'Shooting Histoy' is a facinating behind the scenes look at late 20th Century history (be warned it does carry a very liberal bias).

Channel 4 send an email every night called 'Snowmail'. Essentially this features, every night, Jon Snow's take on the news. Very 'behind the scenes' - he once got in to trouble for saying that he couldn't understand why the Lords had voted against smaking when he knew at least two of them would be paying for that very same thing later on in the evening. Brilliant.

Channel 4 News are in Iran for a week and they've started a blog, it's even on Typepad. It's only just started but I'm sure it will be fantastic. Read the blog and sign up to Snowmail.

Normal service will be resumed next post.

Feb 24, 2006

Wireless Advertising

If you use a wireless hetwork you will appreciate the brilliance of this advert for an IT Support guy. Fucking genius.

I won't spoil it with any images, just follow the yellow brick link my friends.

Feb 10, 2006

BBC do it again

I love the BBC. Their committment to digital media is amazing. Yes, I know they don't have to make a profit and they have an unlimited budget, but what they do that money is fantastic.

BBC backstage is a website where you can use BBC content to create all kinds of cool stuff. Brilliant stuff. Now if only my developing skills were good enough...

Feb 01, 2006

Floating Logos

I love this.


It's called Floating Logos and it's by Matt Siber. I don't think it needs much explanation, but if you want some here it is:

"Floating Logos is inspired by signs perched high atop very tall poles in order for people to view them from a long distance away. Often these poles are so tall that the signs on top of them loom over us, ominously broadcasting their message. The digital elimination of the poles not only illustrates this effect further but also serves to disconnect the signs from the ground and reality."

I wouldn't think about it too much, just follow the link and enjoy.



Jan 30, 2006

Making Sainsbury's Great Again

I saw this at a meeting of Sainsbury's managers the other day and it's very unusual.


Why? Because in saying "Making Sainsbury's great again" they are admitting they're not great anymore. And that, my friends, is the first step to success.

In that one sentence they're saying;
1. we understand where this business is, where it used to be and where we want it to go
2. we know we've done some things wrong, but we're going to try and fix it
3. we're not full of motivational bullshit, we're honest and we expect you to be honest with us
4. we'll make Sainsbury's great t and we'll do it together (many, many companies would pay a fortune for that sentiment to be true)

Made those 4 words work hard, didn't they?

Jan 11, 2006


Sorry, that's just a little joke for myself and a few others. If it means anything to you please email or comment below.

Jan 05, 2006

Brand Values vs Brand Character


This is something I've been thinking about for a while. It's only a half thought, but if I jot it down here it may jolt me into finishing it.

Everyone talks about Brand Values and everyone knows they're bullshit. What are the brand values of your organisation? Innovative? Passionate? Trustworthy? Is your organisation really innovative? Is everyone really passionate? I'm not even going to ask about trust.

OK, that's all fairly glib, but think about this. Is anyone in your organisation even trying to be innovative? Really? Does anyone aspire to be passionate? No. Exactly. So all Brand Values are bollocks. There I've said it.

Fair enough, but brands still have things that differentiate them from other brands? They still act and think differently? There are still things certain organisations do that no other organisation does. For example, a company like Google may well be innovative. Everyone that works at Innocent Drinks may well be passionate, but are they values? After all, remember that old saying, "Anyone who tells you their values doesn't have any".

So what can we call these things? What makes Innocent Drinks different from PJ Smoothies? How about we call it Brand Character.

I don't mean, "imagine your brand is a person, what kind of character would he/she have?" none of that rubbish. I mean, your brand doesn't have values it has character. So Google's character is innovative, Innocent's character is passionate. This is something more authentic than values, more integral to the organisation and something that's actually there rather than something we're trying to impose.

The only brand I can think of that probably already does this is Land Rover. One of their brand values is guts. That's not a value, that's a character trait.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

Jan 04, 2006

BBC Open News Archive

This is absolutely fucking amazing. And complete justification for the BBC's existance.


Jan 03, 2006

Feeling uninspired?


Apparently today is officially the worst day of the year in the UK.

Back to work, bulging waistlines, hangovers and empty wallets. Sound familiar? This is bad enough, but it's hell if you get paid to think up ideas for a living.

Try this - Creative Think. Everytime you hit refresh you get a different card. When I'm stuck for an idea, I often visit and read one of the cards, it can shake your mind up a little and get you out of that creative cul de sac you've been stuck in all morning.

Dec 15, 2005

Penguin's Free Podcast


This is fantastic.

A few months ago Penguin Books launched a Podcast service. This Christmas they are are offering free downloads of the classic tale, Dickens's A Christmas Carol. It will be read by read by Geoffrey Palmer, in five instalments. the first one is available now and the others will be available on the 16, 19, 20 and 21 December.

I think this is a great innovation from a once great, now good, company. I hope this sort of stuff helps them become great again.

Dec 12, 2005

That's not my brand!


I've had a lot to do with these books over the last couple of months (for one reason or another).

And I love them. They are beautifully designed, with bold simple shapes and colours and fantastic touchy feely bits for the little ones. They are, after all, aimed at babies.

But what I like best is the simplicity of the idea.

The books are called, "That's not my insert subject here". And inside the story works like this;

That's not my puppy, it's nose is too shiny.
That's not my puppy, it's ears are too shaggy.
That's not my puppy, it's tail is too long.

etc etc and then they end

That's my puppy! It's coat is so cuddly.

You get the idea.

And today I've been thinking about using this idea in presentations.

Imagine it - "That's not my brand".

That's not my brand, it's sales are too small.
That's not my brand, it's competitors are too sexy.
That's not my brand, it's image is too dated.
That's my brand! It's all because of insert presentation subject here.

Can you guys see that working? Thoughts? Comments? Opinions?

Version 2


I've been writing this blog for about 6 months now, so I thought I'd change the design a little bit.

I've always tried to keep the design as simple as posssible, and with that in mind I've removed the third column. It always annoyed me.

I've added RSS feeds to Russell Davies, Seth Godin and Brand Republic. I'll try and add more when I find (or remember) site that are worthy enough to be featured. I promise I'll only feature sites that I read regularly and I believe will add something to your day.

I've added links too. There won't be the quality control that there is with the RSS stuff I'm afraid, but there will still be some interesting stuff there.

Dec 01, 2005

Sony Bravia Advert


I'm sure this has been written about on a million blogs, but I'm going to join in because it's beautiful and it takes your breath away. And ads don't do that very often, anymore.

Here's the finished advert.

But more interestingly here's some pictures from flickr taken by local residents present on the day of filming.

PS Does anyone find it weird that they made a whole website about the ad?

Aug 01, 2005

19 MPH


I saw this in a "new town" today. Apparently the idea is that by making the speed limit 19mph your brain will register it as unusual and you'll notice the sign. How many times have you driven past a speed limit and not registered whether it's 20 or 30 or 40?

I think it's quite a good idea.

I just wonder how long 19mph will be unusual for. Will we soon see towns and villages with 19, 21, 22, 27, 17 miles per hour speed limits? Imagine every town in the country with a different speed limit? How very British.

Jul 26, 2005


This is my first post and I'm kinda new to all this so bear with me.

I'm a Graphic Designer in London and for a while I've been thinking about getting a blog together. What would I write about? Wife, kids, photos, work? I've finally opted for the Graphic Design industry as a whole. I've been hugely inspired by Russell Davies and I'd love to be to Graphic Design what he is to Planning. That's a lofty ambition, but stick around, you might be surprised.

All good design starts with a brief, so;

1. The design of this will be a simple as possible.
Just black and white if I can get away with it. I'm a big fan of function dictating form. Like Josef Muller-Brockman. I also agree with that great quote from the Design Museum, the one about "the object of mankind is to keep simplifying things not making them more complicated". Oh and I'll try and find out what that quote is.

2. I'll use photos.
I always have a camera with me, so I'll try and illustrate my points with decent images.


3. I'll update regularly.
Otherwise I'll look like a dick.

4. I'll only ever write about Graphic Design
Except when Graphic Design crosses over into other areas. But I certainly won't mention the kids, the wife, the dog, the car etc etc. This blog is about Graphic Design, OK? While I'm at it, I'll always spell Graphic Design with a capital G and D. Just because.

5. I will write about the industry warts and all, hence the anonymity.
I might change the anonymity bit, but for now it stays.