May 30th, 2012
What comes after Twitter?

Jonathan Harris speaks a little about ‘Rethinking Social Networking’.

He describes Twitter as a terminal velocity in terms of how fast communications can go. He also talks about the digital trends of Compression, Disposability, Curation, and Self-Promotion.

Via the Swiss Miss website


June 8th, 2011
Superbrands: It’s a Battle of Hearts of Minds

Lately, we seem to be hearing a lot about brands being a bit like religions: Apple store openings have been likened to evangelical prayer meetings. And only recently we learnt that our brains recognise our favourite brands the same way we recognise close friends and relatives.

So if brands are becoming such an integral part of how we function as human beings, what exactly are these superbrands doing to achieve this?  Alex Riley is the man with the answers, as he goes on the trail of the world’s biggest brands and comes up with some fascinating insights.

Perhaps most obviously, the one thing superbrands seem to have in common is longevity. But that aside, the forefathers of these global brands display a startling ability to market their businesses at a time when even the term ‘marketing’ had yet to be coined. Their brand strategies were way ahead and whether you’re a big fan of fast food and soft drinks or a fully fledged fruitarian – 1.5billion servings of Coke a day can’t be wrong.

Riley’s documentary also surprisingly illustrates what a pivotal time for developing brand loyalty World War II was: Heinz became known as an affordable and nutritious staple food during rationing while Coke shipped its bottles to troops overseas for a dime a bottle.

Then there’s Red Bull, which is one of the most unique branding models around. Forget sponsorship – Red Bull weren’t playing second fiddle to anyone. They own their own sporting teams for Formula 1, they also own Salzburg football team and even invented the now famous Red Bull Air Races.

They’re all impressive examples. But ethical? That’s for you to decide. With Coke aiming to double their marketing share by targeting teenagers, and Red Bull erasing the historical culture of their football team, some might argue that they’re ruthless industry machines. But then business ethics are a whole different blog post…

If you didn’t catch it the first time, check out Alex Riley’s ‘Secrets of the Superbrands’ here:


June 6th, 2011
Apple Loves Dieter Rams

You’d be forgiven for not knowing firsthand who Dieter Rams is. But with Apple about to make an announcement on its latest designs, it’s clear he has a very important fan: someone who put the queues outside Apple stores and created the kind of brand loyalty that makes their openings seem like evangelical congregations.

Who is this fan? Jony Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design.

For Ive, Rams is a huge inspiration, remaining “utterly alone in producing a body of work so consistently beautiful, so right and so accessible”. Coming from the heady pantheons of Apple’s elite, that’s praise indeed. But what exactly did Dieter Rams do to deserve such praise?

Best known for his range of Braun gadgets, Rams creates “bold, pure, perfectly-proportioned, coherent and effortless” product design, according to Jony Ives. Product design that is “perfectly considered and completely appropriate”. Now, as the subject of a new book, Rams writes for the first time about Apple – one of the few companies that, in his words, understands ‘the power of good design’.

Interestingly, Rams believes that such success is borne out of a close relationship between entrepreneur and head of design – something he experienced at Braun and that Jony Ive has with Steve Jobs. For the creative industries, this is a valuable insight – the best projects are always the ones that grow from long term relationships, with mutual respect and understanding of long term goals.

A lone voice with its unique product design, Apple’s success is likened by Rams to the ration queues experienced during World War II. And with new products on the way, we’d better prepare for the peal of those sirens.

Check out this link for the original article:


April 13th, 2011
Drive Now. Branding

To start in Munich then Berlin, BMW and Sixt AG, have created an innovative new car sharing venture. The two companies intend to join forces in offering a modern mobility concept under the brand-name DriveNow. Cars dotted around the city can be found using smart phones and laptops.

The user can then book a car, or if one is free jump in there and then. The car is unlocked using a registered driving licence and a special code. The user can then drop the car off wherever they want as there are now parking charges.

“The BMW Group will be offering DriveNow under the new sub-trademark BMW i, which stands for innovative mobility services and which will reinforce the position of the original BMW brand as a sustainable and forward-looking brand.”

Its great to see such a big brand as BMW really think of new and innovative ways to make life easier for commuters. Both the product and the brand have global appeal. By the year 2020, the plan is for DriveNow to have one million members worldwide. All the cars are easily recognisable with the DriveNow logo and branding.

Found via the website:

You can read more about the project here:


March 22nd, 2011
Beyond the Brink

We have just been invited to a screening of “Beyond the Brink” by Ross Harrison. It will take place tomorrow night in The Gallery at The Custard Factory. You can check out more of Ross’s videos on his Vimeo channel here:


March 13th, 2011
Carl Burgess

These are simple screengrabs from a Carl Burgess short created for Nike. Carl was asked to artistically interpret the exhilaration of running. It makes for a really interesting, experimental piece. The speed of the animation represents the speed of the run, which was captured using Nike+ tech.

Great video and worth checking out here:


March 8th, 2011
Turn research into innovation

Jon Kolko recently wrote an interesting essay on how to embrace design synthesis in you organisation.

Design synthesis — the process of translating data and research into knowledge — is the most critical part of the design process. Yet in our popular discussions of design and innovation, we’ve largely ignored this fundamental role.

This is a really great article about gathering research and how to turn this into a tangible and viable solution to a problem. Find out more on this article and how to create great research from the website


March 4th, 2011
Language as a Window into Human Nature. Animation

Pretty interesting animation / illustration about the complexities of language. It discusses why we feel more comfortable being indirect when there is no uncertainty about what we really mean. This animation is from the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts), check out their website for further information about what they do, and more animations.

The RSA website can be found here:

Found via:


March 2nd, 2011
Say 100

Say media partnered with 10 experts to curate a list of the top 100 voices online. There are some very interesting blog links on show, from graphic design and technology to parenting and food. It has become a list of the most influential voices on the internet.

Say Media has 7 principles on their website:
1. Attention is scarce
2. Passion is abundant
3. Media is fluid
4. Advertising is content
5. Storytelling is vital
6. Influence is earned
7. Engagement is a science

Found via the Swissmiss website:

Read more about Say 100 here:


February 14th, 2011
Everything is a Remix Part2

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Part 2 of Everything is a Remix.


February 12th, 2011
Everything is a Remix

Kirby Ferguson produced this short film entitled Everything is a Remix. There are some really interesting facts throughout, the connection between Led Zeppelin and William Burroughs being just one.

Is graphic design a remix? There is certainly a lot of ideas and different styles which recur again and again. The graphic design style of the Russian Constructivist was one such movement which seems to resurface every few years. I previously did a lot of research into this re-emergince of Constructivist graphics which you can read here:

For more information on Everything is a Remix project head over to the website:


February 1st, 2011
Interface design.

Love this interactive window display. Its very very cool, I would love to see this in Birmingham.

Found via:


January 13th, 2011
Carson. Graphic design

Carson, is a magazine published about six times a year. The magazine is dedicated to high quality graphic design, fine art, illustration, photography and writing.

Obviously the magazine is headed by David Carson himself. They accept submissions for each themed issue but of course the submissions must appeal to a broad minded audience.

“It’s not about being retro,” explained Alex Storch, the Editor-in-Chief. “It’s about pushing forward. People want quality things they can hold and touch, not pseudo-journalism and themed template design on their computers. We’re excited for people that have only seen David’s books and a heavily worn copy of Ray Gun to experience his mastery of the form. We’d also like them to read some inspiring articles as well.”

Found via the website: nerdcore

Get to the magazines website here:


December 16th, 2010
Doodling in Math Class: Infinity Elephants

From a recreational mathemusician. I am not to sure how I ended up watching all of this but I did, some pretty interesting videos on her website too at

Found via the website


December 3rd, 2010
Linotype: The Film

An incredible amount of people have backed and pledged their money to see Linotype: The Film being created. They have been pledging their money through the Kicksarter website, which I mentioned here before, raising over $16,000 over double the amount asked for. The director, Doug Wilson, has a background in Graphic Design and Letter Press Printing. So it is no wonder he has such an interest in this topic. Letterpress printing and the more hands on approach to graphic design is something that is making a real comeback in this otherwise digitally produced world.

Its hard to believe that these machines, and ones similar to it, were once used to create every piece of printed material and graphics. In this day and age, where every kind of design needed can be created on a 15inch laptop, I feel people are starting to look back at the past and the craftsmanship needed to produce good graphic design. It will be great to see the movie in its finished form, and even better to get it in Birmingham. I for one dont know everything involved in using this machine and it will be really insightful to find out more.


November 29th, 2010
Fun Theory.

Kevin Richardson was the winner of the Volkswagen Fun Theory award. His Speed Camera Lottery idea won the contest and he was able to put his idea into practice. He asked ‘could we get people to obey the speed limit for fun’.

By placing the fines from speeders into a pot, Kevin’s Speed Camera Lottery randomly rewards people who are following the speed limit in hopes that this reward will encourage people to “play the game” and stay under the speed limit. His idea worked and helped reduce speeding in this area by 22%.


November 26th, 2010
Flattr – Social Micropayments. Motion graphics.

Very interesting concept behind Flattr. If you come across content on the web you like you can now make a donation to the publisher. Wonder if it will take off?


November 19th, 2010

INFLUENCERS is a short documentary that explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity become contagious today in music, fashion and entertainment.

The film attempts to understand the essence of influence, what makes a person influential without taking a statistical or metric approach.

Written and Directed by Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson, the film is a Polaroid snapshot of New York influential creatives (advertising, design, fashion and entertainment) who are shaping today’s pop culture.

“Influencers” belongs to the new generation of short films, webdocs, which combine the documentary style and the online experience.

Found via the website


October 8th, 2010
how to get people talking about your brand

Gap should conduct a master class in how to get people talking about your brand.

Two days ago Gap launched what they claim is their new logo. A really badly designed logo that had no personality and just looked bland. Since then Blogs from around the world have lit up with mentions of the company, their brand ethos, images of their newly designed logo and theories as to whether it is a PR stunt or if it’s for real. There are even blogs out there where people have sent in their own versions of the logo (check out the web site:

It’s worth bearing in mind that this new logo design has relatively crept into existence. There was no real mention of it in the press until its launch. There were no big re-branding parties, no real mention of what they wanted to achieve with the new logo. According to other blogs out there Gaps store fronts still have the old branding and logos on their shop fronts. Why would a company as big as they are do this? I can’t imagine Coke going through such a big change to their logo without the big parties and press release, and the new advertising to back it up.

So what did Gap do? They got people talking. They got the public to pay attention to their brand and logo once again. They created a social media storm of people claiming to be able to produce a better logo (many of them have). They recently came out saying their new logo will be part of an open source project and will be looking for public submissions. In order to get public submissions you must get the public’s attention. They created an awful logo that will fuel public debate, that got their name and logo in Blogs and on graphic design and logo design websites. In essence, that got a load of free advertising!

I feel it must be a publicity stunt for many of the above reasons. But I am left asking the question, does this kind of stunt do more harm to graphic design and logo design than it does good? What does the general public and potential design clients think of this logo? Can the general public and people not involved in graphic design see that this is a badly designed logo – or will they simply see the free publicity Gap have got from this re-brand?


September 14th, 2010

Alphabattle, nice open source project on Lettercult. Some really nice graphic design and illustrated letters of the alphabet, lots of nice stuff on here.

Check out the website