June 30th, 2011
More charity work and branding


As part of our New Year resolution we wanted to work with more charities, and we have done just that.

First up was Woodview Community Centre. We were contacted to create a branding package for them, developing a new logo which had to reach across their whole brand and the larger community.

Next we worked closely with Craftspace to create a new brand identity and web presence for Shelanu, a craft social enterprise for refugee and migrant women.

We greatly enjoyed working on both these projects, and wish both of them the very best of luck in the future.

To see the Woodview case study go here you can also view the logo/branding and website design.

For Shelanu we created their logo and branding and website design which can be viewed here: http://www.shelanucollective.co.uk/

http://www.stripeyhorsecreative.com/blog/2011/02/we-are-social/

http://www.stripeyhorsecreative.com/blog/2011/01/2407/

 

June 9th, 2011
Crafty Branding

Craft: A word that might once have conjured up images of frilly pillows, scrapbooks and cross-stitched cats playing with balls of wool. But, as we recently learnt, not anymore.

Thanks to the Birmingham based charity Craftspace, we’ve spent the last five weeks working with a brand new social enterprise called Shelanu. Designing their branding package with a logo, website and marketing materials meant we were lucky enough to watch their delicately handmade jewellery take shape, which is special in itself. But what makes this group really important is the people who belong to it.

The enterprise is made up of migrant and refugee women. Together, they’re a diverse cultural collective, creating intricate, ornate jewellery inspired by their experiences in Birmingham. To celebrate and share that creativity, Shelanu is exhibiting at the prestigious Bovey Tracy Craft Fair at the end of this week. And with these guys, Bovey Tracy better watch out! Not only are they a talented group, they’re also vibrant, energetic and fun loving – all the qualities apparent in their sparkling jewellery design.

We think you’ll be seeing a lot more from Shelanu – check out their website for more information at www.shelanucollective.co.uk. And if you’re interested in learning about more up and coming craft projects take a look at www.craftspace.co.uk. They’re one of the few charities that have succeeded in winning Arts Council funding and they’re not wasting time in putting it to good use.

 

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: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011fjbp

 

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: http://j.mp/mSrp4d

 

May 30th, 2011
Smile! You’re on TBS!

How do you revitalise a business without completely rebuilding it from the bottom up? Yep, a rebrand and luckily for us, TBS is around to give you the perfect example.

You’d be forgiven for not knowing exactly who we’re talking about. If we say an American TV channel famed for sitcom reruns and comedy movies hopefully it becomes clearer.

TBS’s ‘smile’ logo has been in use since 2004 but while the TV network has become a powerhouse of success, it seems their branding wasn’t quite keeping up with the times. Cue Ferroconcrete, a Los Angeles based branding and design agency.

They’ve taken the existing smile logo and morphed it into an animated brand identity with ‘mega personality’. Ferroconcrete credit the new smile logo with an ‘arsenal of expressions and gestures”. Apparently, “he waves, jumps, and bows as he charms, goofs and mimics’. Twinned with a vibrant colour range the result is a bold, fresh brand identity that really communicates what TBS is about.

Ferroncrete also know that no top  notch rebrand would be complete without a full complement of makeover tools. Integrating a new typeface, ‘Katarine’, gives the new brand a friendly accessibility combined with a contemporary feel. The overall effect is a huge personality – it’s fun, entertaining and stylish.

But enough about what we think – check out the article here: http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/funny_smile.php

 

May 25th, 2011
Super Brands!

BBC Three aired another installment of Secrets of the Superbrands last night. With some fascinating insights into how fashion brands get us to buy their clothes.

Nike for instance, spends a whopping £1.8bn per year marketing what is already a genuine ‘superbrand’.

Then there’s Adidas, whose Gary Aspden (their global head of entertainment promotions) seems to have singlehandedly created incredible brand loyalty. How? By giving free stuff to upcoming “grime” stars who, now they’ve made it big, legitimately promote Adidas to the younger generation and wider fanbase.

Perhaps more significant were the findings of Professor Gemma Calvert of Neurosense.

It’s well known that great branding triggers emotive responses, but Calvert’s results went one step further. Her research entailed monitoring neurological reactions to cheap handbags versus expensive ones, with some interesting results.

Calvert showed that while cheap brands elicited no response, expensive brands triggered feelings associated with ‘reward, craving and addiction’ – all the activities found in the ‘pleasure centre’ of the brain.

Why is this significant? Because owning such objects sends a signal to others that we are genetically superior – we have accumulated enough material wealth to lavish thousands on high end fashion brands.

It’s not all smooth sailing for these super-brands though. Nike still finds itself fending off questions about their use of child labour in poor countries, while Burberry was forced to re-launch after its well recognised check pattern became mainstream for the masses.

Check out the article in full here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13502371

 

May 23rd, 2011
Top Five Tips to getting the most from your website…

We’ve been pretty busy here at Stripeyhorse Creative, creating a branding package for an exciting new social enterprise and helping some Birmingham-based charities with their online marketing and print design. But we still found time to enjoy the Royal Wedding!

We also decided to put together some handy hints to help you dust the cobwebs from your online presence. Check whether you’re at the head of the pack, with the following top tips!

Image

The average user spends 7 seconds on your home page before clicking away. With such a short amount of time, it’s important to make sure your website creates a fantastic impression! Don’t be afraid of being bright, bold and different. More importantly, differentiate yourself from the competition!

Layout

How’s your website looking at a glance – is everything in the right place? An attractive, aesthetic layout means your site is easy on the eye and inviting. Combine colour, font and copy to create a dynamic user experience. And if you can help it, avoid pop up banners or too much flash – they’ll make your users click away in the blink of an eye!

Navigation

Make sure your site creates a great experience by maintaining excellent functionality. Have a visible, accessible navigation bar. Once you’ve succeeded in driving traffic to your site, don’t lose at the last hurdle because of broken links! These simple techniques will mean users can navigate your site with ease, paying attention to everything you offer!

Copywriting

Think about how the way you sound helps you connect with your target market. Is your tone of voice conversational or corporate? Which do you think users will respond most positively to? And always double check your spelling and grammar, especially on your home page!

Have a Blog!

Putting interesting articles or images on your blog will stimulate interest and help to drive traffic to your site! Linking your blog to other forms of social media will also help raise awareness and visibility. Incorporating keywords will aid organic SEO! In a nutshell, blogging is a supertool for your website!

Remember, your website should work as a tool, helping your business grow and become more profitable. If you have any questions give us a call or drop us an email.

Watch out for more juicy tips in our next blog, where we’ll be giving you advice to make sure your website is working as hard as it can for you and your business, from behind-the-scenes!

 

May 16th, 2011
Motion Graphics

Very nice motion graphics piece by Physalia. They are a motion-graphics and visual effects studio based in Barcelona, producing some really cool graphics. We love it and it certainly fits in line with the “Happy” theme!

Physalia have also worked with some big name brands including MTV, VW and Seat. Check out their website for more great work: http://physaliastudio.com/

Found via the website: http://uk.gizmodo.com

 

May 10th, 2011
Leaders of Branding

News out yesterday that Apple has recently become the most valuable brand, taken over from Google’s four years at the top spot. According to the BrandZ study of the global top 100 brands, the Apple brand is now worth £93bn, and has become the world’s most valuable technology company, overtaking Microsoft last year.

A good proportion of this revenue has come from the new consumer products Apple produces, which include the iPod, iPhone and iPad. These new products (which take advantage of iOS) are for the consumer on the move and, although they didn’t invent the tablet format, they seemed to have perfected it. The iPad has become the model that other manufacturers have been trying to emulate.

The Apple brand has increasingly become one of desire. “It’s doing what luxury brands do, where the higher price the brand is, the more it seems to underpin and reinforce the desire.” says Peter Walshe, global brands director of Millward Brown.

For further reading about the top 100 brands, including how McDonalds have manipulated their brand considerably over the past years in order to shift consumer perception, visit the website http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Found via twitter @orbstudio

Check out the Millward Brown website too.

 

May 9th, 2011
Motion Graphics.

We really love this new advert for the Bacardi brand by Johnny Kelly. He has worked with some big brand names in the past, including Google, which we posted on here before.

The concept of this advert is to encourage people to ditch technology and get together over a drink or two. We just love this, the music, the voice-over it just works together so well. Looking forward to see what he produces for other brands!

Via the website: http://alwaysreadthesmallprint.com

 

May 4th, 2011
Take 5 with HTML 5

You’ve probably guessed by now that we like HTML5 here at Stripeyhorse Creative. In older posts we’ve talked of its relative ease of use, given Jason Beaird a nod for his views on website design, and blogged about the new HTML5 branding and logo design.

Now we want to share the more experimental side of HTML5 and show you some really interesting projects by Hakim, a web developer and creative programmer. Hakim has worked with some big name brands including Google, BBC, Nintendo and Wacom. You really have to get onto his website to play with the experiments, but shown above is just two: Sketch and Keylight.

It would be great to see some real world application of these experiments. He even created the logo and branding for a Canadian media production company using HTML Canvas options. Some new and interesting things may start to appear in new brands and websites thanks to the introduction of HTML5.

For now, play with these experiments and more on his website.

 

May 3rd, 2011
Branding colour

Are you showing your true colours?

As brand experts, we think colour is pretty vital to how your business is viewed. Take a look at Coke, for example — that specific shade of red has been associated with the Coke brand for decades. To change it now would have far-reaching results, affecting brand recognition as well as brand loyalty. But why is it so important?

We came across this article on Idsgn about food colouring. It shows just how much colour can change how customers and clients view you and your business.

During an experiment, participants were given a well-known snack — one portion loaded with food colouring, the other without — but both with identical flavouring and ingredients. The outcome? Participants found the naked food tasted “bland” and wasn’t “much fun to eat”. According to Professor Brian Wansink from Cornell, even though the un-dyed food was identical in taste and texture, the lack of colouring meant “their fingers did not turn orange” and “their brains did not register much cheese flavour”.

So if colour can mentally affect how we taste, and our perception of how something should taste, just imagine what colour is doing for your brand. Is colour working for you or against? Are customers going to competitors simply because they prefer their brand colours over yours? The Twitter logo was green before it was blue (check it out below) – how has this change of colour affected their brand? Would you have signed up to their old website without their corporate brand blue? And what if Coke was no longer brown — would you still want to drink it?

For further reading about the colour used in food and how it can affect us, both emotionally and physically, check out the rest of the article here: http://idsgn.org/

 

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: http://unconsumption.tumblr.com/

You can read more about the project here: http://www.bmwblog.com

 

April 8th, 2011
Brave. Branding Agency

We came across this branding project recently for a film festival held in St.Kilda, Australia. This branding project was created by Brave, a graphic design agency in Melbourne. We just love the simplicity of it, the colours used and the humour throughout. “Over 3 years we have built up the St Kilda Film Festival brand and elevated its positioning and exposure. It’s now Australia’s premier short film festival. In 2010 our hero was a dark and moody creature of the night.”

Found via the website: http://www.septemberindustry.co.uk

 

April 7th, 2011
Is This A Good Time

Very interesting clip featuring Michael Wolff discussing the topic Is This A Good Time For Creativity? He believes it is always a good time for creativity, and inspiration is a difficult thing to describe.

Starting in the 1970’s with the creative rise of Wolff Olins, his career in design has included the creation of some of the most iconic and well known brands of the late 20th century. Wolff Olins are a leading brand agency who have worked with such clients as Sony and the London Olympics 2012. They help clients capture their brand idea, devise the best brand architecture, and manage their brand for maximum impact.

In the Nineties he started working as an independent consultant creative director where he worked on creating the Labour Party rose, as well as developing the strategic creation of the Citi identity for Citigroup.

Found via the website: http://www.davidairey.com

 

March 15th, 2011
Birmingham — The Beat Begins

Since Birmingham lost the City of Culture bid, it’s fair to say there’s been a bit of naval gazing going on. Why did it happen? What’s Derry got that we haven’t? Where has all this belly button fluff come from??

But maybe we’ve been looking at this all wrong. Maybe, we should be looking at why we missed out. And maybe the answer is because, in actual fact, we’re doing okay thanks very much. We’re not so down on our luck! Birmingham’s got a lot to offer after all, and particularly from its creative industries.

It seems though, that the message isn’t quite getting out there. And we’re not the first city to be in this dilemma …

Dublin for many years was really missing a hardcore creative design scene. Pockets of creativity subtly hammered away, keeping Irish design afloat with an understated presence. Thanks to the initiative of a few bright sparks however, things slowly started to change, and the results for Dublin were phenomenal.

First, Ireland stopped looking for answers externally and started looking inwards, for homegrown talent. With this change in perspective came a new attitude, and a common goal –If They Can Do It We Can Too! Eventually, a design community that was once scattered became insular. It only took a few steps to change the whole dynamic — a few small steps which snowballed and resulted in Dublin as it is today, a hub of design creativity.

The biggest change, yet arguably the smallest step, came with the introduction of CANDY magazine. Launched in 2005, its intention was to showcase Irish creativity to a worldwide audience. Using its own contributions while simultaneously drawing on the creative expertise and skills of new members, growth was rapid. Before long a vast creative community emerged, a cohesive powerhouse of talent and with it, an unprecedented level of global awareness. And that wasn’t all…

More creative events and forums followed: Sweettalk initiated seminars where heroes of the design industry shared their inspirations, their experiences and their expertise. Moving forward to collaborate with major brands such as Sony, Habitat and other retail goliaths, Sweettalksupported the design industry and encouraged creatives to get involved. Synth Eastwood,50×50, Shock’d, and talks at Electric Picnic followed, offering a huge variety of opportunities for creatives to meet, relax, drink, socialize and learn, in a friendly, supportive environment. The result of all this? Dublin, creatively speaking, is on the map.

Ireland has always been known for its unique vibe, with live bands in traditional pubs creating the atmosphere it’s become famous for. A short walk along the River Liffey and through Temple Bar with its street performers and musicians will leave you with the sense that it truly is a creative place to be. But now, alongside that traditional creative essence, it’s achieved status as a hotbed of design creativity. Take Offset for examplea weekend attracting inspirational speakers every year, bringing together the creative community through knowledge, open debate and inspiring stories of success. With an annual calendar of events that would make industry giants like London and Manchester blush, Dublin it seems has stamped its presence on the global creative industry. So what can Birmingham learn from that success, if anything?

Historically, Birmingham was at the helm of a global industrial revolution, a world leader of industry and technology. Perhaps that’s why Birmingham is sometimes overlooked for other cities — because the word isn’t quite out that we’ve evolved, that we’ve moved with the times. Birmingham is at the forefront of digital media, creative design, branding, social media — you name it, we can do it. And what’s more, we do it well.

The fact is, Birmingham is the city of choice for hundreds of creative agencies. In a highly competitive industry, Birmingham design agencies have honed into a slick movement of cutting edge creatives, offering commercially viable solutions that satisfy demand and exceed expectations, locally, nationally and globally.

Word is spreading. But how do we speed up the drumbeat on that grapevine? And is that what we can learn from places like Dublin? Interestingly, social media sites are seeing a new movement from Irish creatives — a red and white badge added to individual profiles simply stating in icons ‘love Irish arts’. It’s a small action, but the symbolic gesture is much more significant.

It would be good to see a stronger community here in the Midlands. Perhaps a merging of two well-known creative centres — the Jewellery Quarter and the Custard Factory — could really raise the flag for Birmingham’s creative industry. The opportunities are limitless.

We didn’t win the City of Culture bid because we’re already too advanced, we’ve got too much going for us! Now we just need to put those small steps in place that will make us become the big creative presence we know we can be.


This is an article we wrote for Created in Birmingham.
Visit the Created in Birmingham website for events happening in and around the city: http://www.createdinbirmingham.com

 

February 17th, 2011
We are social

One of our New Year Resolutions was to become more social.

We have done just that. You can now follow us on Twitter: @stripeyhorseUK and on Facebook: Stripeyhorse Creative