Wednesday, 29 August 2007

"Rules Are Meant To Be Broken"

Last week I was lucky enough to have a portfolio viewing with the Creative Directors of Branding and Packaging Design Company, ‘Blue Marlin’. While providing me with priceless advice and information on the industry and my own work, what I found particularly interesting was their suggestion for changes within my own work. Both guys I spoke to were very much of the opinion that rules are meant to be broken, and that pieces of work shouldn’t necessarily be stuck to a grid or strict layout where everything should line up. I thought this was quite ironic, as in terms of my personal thinking, when designing a piece of word, grids and guides are one of the first things to be broken out n Illustrator and Photoshop. By speaking to them, they made it clear that maybe breaking out the grid (and I don’t mean in extremes) it would allow your work to stand out that much more and not seem so rigid and caged. Whether “breaking the rules” is something to take forward into our final year, it is nonetheless food for thought.

The images below are of one piece of work that I had done for the faculty brief and my development of this particular image based on the advice I was given at Blue Marlin. Apart from the colour change, they said to make more of a feature of the foetus, by increasing the size, and then join and re-size the faculty and university logo to make them a much smaller, key feature. This immediately meant that my initial thinking of separating the two logos to “balance” out the page and by having them larger so the viewer would know more immediately which University was being advertised, was what seemed to them what was holding the poster back.

The Best A Man Can Get

By John O’Farrell

“Michael Adams shares a flat with three other men in their late twenties. Days are spent lying in bed, playing computer games and occasionally doing a bit of work. And then, when he feels like it, he crosses the river and goes back to his unsuspecting wife and children.”

Recommended as one of the funniest books he’d ever read, I couldn’t wait to read “A Best A Man Can Get”. We all know about Bridget Jones and women’s novels bitching about men and how rubbish they all are, so this would be and enlightening read to here “the male side” of the story. As mentioned in the above quote Michael Adams is living what could be considered every man’s fantasy. His double life lets him be a bachelor during the week and a husband and father of two on the weekends. I was half expecting the book to have woman bashing to be a main feature, but I was pleasantly surprised with the narrative is honest and insightful and didn’t fall into such a trap. Was it of the funniest books I’ve ever read, unfortunately not even close, but maybe that’s because I’m a girl. However, as a quick summer read it kept me entertained for a few days, and at the very least put a smile on my face.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Ford Advert; Scaffolding

On the way to London, draped over scaffolding was this huge advert for Ford. The photo above is what I took on my phone, but the basis of the advert, was that they had recreated the outside of a building with hundreds of windows with people climbing out of them to look at a billboard advertising the new Ford car. If you could look at the bigger picture, the image is particularly striking and without a doubt caught my attention, however in terms of promoting the car, it isn’t particularly successful. The building was to my right hand side, located on the side of a motorway – so due to the location, it is likely only passengers are going to be able to view it, rather than the driver thus limiting the accessibility to their target audience. Also with the speed in which people are going, it is easy to completely miss the product in which they are advertising – with my own experience, I could appreciate the concept yet had know clue which car was actually on the poster till I looked back at my photo. This poster is really amusing, but has been let down by its location as the product doesn’t make a lasting impression, if it is even considered at all by the viewer.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

AquaFresh; Remake of 1989 Advert

I recently noticed that the toothpaste "Aquafresh" has begun to promote themselves on TV once again, by resubmitting an almost identical advert to their original one launched back in 1989. It is a fantastically clever move on the marketer’s behalf, for without a doubt, it stands out among all other adverts on TV today. Its 'fuzzy', old appearance just adds to its appeal, reminding you of an advert you once witnessed back in 'the old days', promoting a simple, happy and idealistic family unit we all crave. By tapping into peoples past, you almost immediately can't help but think of memories of 'life back then' and it is this association that would encourage people to pick up the product, to have a little bit of their past back.

Mc Donald's Re-Design

"A comfortable armchair. Cool hanging lights. Funky graphics and photos on the walls. Wi-Fi access. Premium coffee. Isn't Starbucks great? Except...this is McDonald's. McDonald's (MCD )? That's right. After 30 years without a major design overhaul, the 51-year-old fast-food giant is adopting a hip new look. The world's largest hamburger chain is redesigning its 30,000 eateries around the globe in a 21st century makeover of unprecedented scale."


I went to London for the day yesterday and couldn't help but notice throughout the capital, Mc Donalds has been going through a bit of a face lift. In several of the branches I passed, it would seem the Mc Donalds brand is beginning to evolve. The universal colour palette that people across the globe would associate with Mc Donalds is red, and the infamous yellow arches, but things have begun to change. After coming back from London and looking on the official Mc Donalds website, it would seem the bright red background that graced their brand for decades has been replaced by a more chic, sophisticated and ‘sensible’ black. Mac Donalds are clearly trying to rebrand themselves, away from the childish, playful and more ‘in your face’ tone that set the company with the use of red, by choosing a colour which is a lot more fashionable and mature. The use of black is more likely to appeal to a wider, older and more sophisticated audience to match its new menus that include salads and wraps – dusting off the once fatty, unhealthy image.

By changing just one colour, it can’t be disputed that Mc Donalds looks all the more better for it. From just looking at the outside of the branches, the shop looked immediately more modern, cleaner and inviting – a job well done. The image of Mc Donalds has certainly begun to change, and is clearly going to be a gradual process throughout the global stores. With all these changes happening Mc Donalds could risk the possibilities of alienating its current and most loyal customers, so need to be careful that by introducing this ‘new and improved’ image, they still manage to maintain aspects of the Brand that make them such a household name in which people know and love.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Maroon 5 Logo

Back with a new album, Maroon 5 are also showing off their new, very clever logo. Using the roman numeral for 5, the "V" has been incorporated as part of the central section of the capital M - creating a simple, united logo that clearly represents the bands name, instead of having to have to completly seperate elements to represent the two words.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Maroon 5; Wake up Call

This is the video for the new Maroon 5 single “Wake Up Call”. Typography has been used throughout the video to highlight certain lyrics and words of relevance like “betray me” or “shoot dead”, which helps strengthen the videos concept. This gives the feeling that you are watching a film, rather than a music video, as the text runs through it like credits. The words have also been individually illustrated, each having its own effect, and emphasising its meaning (examples shown above). Although including the typography was quite an interesting concept, it can’t help ‘lighten’ the tone of the song, which in itself is quite dark, thus maybe not complimenting it as it should, this is especially apparent with the use of the illustrated text, as it seems more humorous and out of place than serious.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

British Airways; Suitcase

"If only packing your suitcase was as simple as checking in from home."

This was an advert I saw for British Airways, promoting the ability to check in from home. It is a particularly subtle poster, simple yet humorous. Packing bags is most probably a complete nightmare for most holiday goers, so obviously checking in at home would be one less hassle off their list. I think the main reason why this poster is so successful, is due to it visually looking very attractive – as the items have been beautifully organised on the page and with the items of clothing brightening up the poster, giving it that light-hearted edge.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Temple Quay Typography

Much like Leeds, Bristol is currently going through huge reconstruction and rejuvenation – a rebrand if you like. This is the new logo for “Temple Quay”, and it sums up Bristol completely. An old, historic city with a contemporary and chic twist beautifully summed up through the use of a traditional style serif font and a clean, simple sans serif font. The colours compliment the aquatic surroundings, and looks particularly eye-catching against the old, historic buildings that create its background. My only issue with this logo, is the kerning between the two words, as there seems to be quite a distance between them, which just doesn’t sit easy visually.

Breaking The Chains

Bristol is infamous for its major role in the slave trade and is currently holding an exhibition marking the bicentury of the abolition of the slave trade. The dominant, bold typography truely highlights the importance of such infamous historic turning point. The kerning between the letters is particularly small, which I feel is of particular relavence, as slaves were jam packed into the ships with little room to move, let alone breathe and this is merely in typographic form. The break within the illustrated chains (the 'i' from the words breaking and chains) is a subtle representation of the exhibition title, without having to be too obvious or in your face.

Good Hope FM: Booom

"With help you can stop in time."

Tik is the South African word for methamphetamine. The meth crystals make a ticking sound when heated, thus the reason for its nickname. This is a poster campaign to help encourage people to stop using the drug and to get some help. I think this is a brilliant poster, with the copy complimenting the idea of time and using the well known "sound" of a bomb going off ("tick tick BOOM"). However, although they most probably trying to appeal to really addicted users, thus showing a 'time-delay' before the boom with the use of several "tiks", but I can't help thinking that if they just used the more simple line "tik tik BOOM", the campaign could be just as successful and a more direct approach.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I actually hate the harry potter books - I 've always found it difficult to get past the first chapter! However, I am always partial to watching the films - and yesterday I saw The Order of the Phoenix. I was warned by everyone that a lot of the film was left out, but I did in fact "get it"(!), although with the previous film, I had no idea what was going on. For someone going to see the films without reading the books, I was quite happily entertained for 2 hours, however even I could tell many things seemed to be left unspoken for - for example I thought only Harry and Luna could see the dinosaur creatures (sorry i don't know their name!) yet when they needed to fly to London the others were happily clambering on their backs for the ride, and also Jo seemed to disappear after half way through the film! However, even because of these minor discrepencies, a non-Harry Potter fan could still appreciate the visual effects and general storyline of the film, which is certainly an improvement from previous films in this series.

Sunday, 5 August 2007


Guess Who...

I personally don’t appreciate thousands of forwards in my e-mail inbox, full of viral messages from friends, and I rarely open them, let alone click the link. However, I recently I have come across a “virtual disease” that I just couldn’t help but spread. I read about the website to help promote the new Simpson’s Movie that is sponsored by Burger King. The site allows you to upload a photo of yourself and it basically “simpsonizes you” into a full blown Simpson’s character, enabling to choose your hair, facial features body and clothes.

What was particularly humorous about the whole process, is that blatancy of Burger King, as while you are being “simpsonised” this message appears:

“I hereby acknowledge that the crummy yellow 2-D likeness of my photo which I am about to receive is merely a genius marketing ploy of : Burger King and The Simpson’s Movie.”

“Genius marketing ploy”, I think so, I mean worked on me. My simpsonized image has replaced my Facebook Profile picture, thus opening up this marketing scheme to a whole new audience, as already people are questioning where I got the picture from and asking for the link. This is viral marketing at the top of its game. However, although sucked into the ploy, I’m afraid to say I’m immune to go any further with parting with my money by going to a Burger King or paying to go see the Simpson’s Movie, thus maybe showing the limit of such marketing tactics. Although they got my to click the link, it is unable to make me go the next step and for me to go see the movie or visit my local Burger King, which is surely the challenge they should be trying to tackle.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

The Evolution of Beauty

I thought this was quite an interesting viral video called "Evolution of Beauty" produced by Dove in aid of their self esteem fund. It has been around for quite a long time, as works as a wonderfully made short film to show to young, impressionable teenagers that everything they see in magazines and in the media is not always quite what it seems...

Friday, 3 August 2007

Advertising Deconstructed

This is an article I saw recently, I suggest you read it and go on to click the link to view the slide show as it makes particularly fascinating viewing especially to young designers like ourselves!

"Title: There are 12 kinds of Ad's in the world; RESIST THEM ALL
By Seth Stevenson

In 1978, Donald Gunn was a creative director for the advertising agency Leo Burnett. Though his position implied expertise, Gunn felt he was often just throwing darts—relying on inspiration and luck (instead of proven formulas) to make great ads. So, he decided to inject some analytical rigor into the process: He took a yearlong sabbatical, studied the best TV ads he could find, and looked for elemental patterns. After much research, Gunn determined that nearly all good ads fall into one of 12 categories—or "master formats," in his words. At last year's Clio Awards, I saw Gunn give a lecture about these formats (using ads mostly from the '70s and '80s as examples), and I was fascinated by his theory. I soon found myself categorizing every ad I saw on TV. It was a revelation: The curtain had been pulled back on all those sly sales tactics at the heart of persuasive advertising. This slide show presents some recent ads exemplifying each of Gunn's 12 basic categories. With a little practice, you, too, will be ticking off the master formats during commercial breaks."

After viewing this slideshow, I mainly thought about how the “12 types of adverts” would be helpful to us, as it demonstrated the realm of possibilities of how to go about advertising a particular product or service. I know we should try and stay away from a standard formulae, but somewhere along the line, adverts we do create are likely to fit into, or be a hybrid of some of these sets. It is very easy to categorise adverts I now see on TV within Gunn’s observation, and here are a few examples I have found;

“Ongoing Character”;



Seth Stevenson, the gentleman who wrote the article is an ad critic and actually encourages the general public to clock onto advertisers tactics, and in a sense become immune to the advertisements they see on TV, as he so articulately put it “It's like learning how a magic trick works: Once the secret's revealed, the trick loses all its power”. If Stevenson’s encouragement did take off on a massive scale, the outcome could potentially have disastrous consequences for companies, but more interestingly it would see if advertisers, such as ourselves could rise to the challenge.