Thursday, 30 June 2011

Old GAP logo is the new GAP logo

Last October GAP clothing launched a new logo, but their customers were so upset that they changed it back to the old version. The whole thing happened so quickly that most people never really noticed. I prefer the scrapped version, but I don't really shop in GAP so I won't be too upset.

Scrapped GAP logo

Reinstated GAP Logo

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Blacks Outdoor Clothing

I had a look at the website for Blacks Leisure. They have some pretty good deals on at the moment for outdoor clothing and camping equipment. The website is better than the typical clothing store web format. It is a fairly easy site to navigate through. I like the use of grey background colours, which allow the products to stand out more. Most high street stores are focussing on price offers at the moment, but I think Blacks are a strong brand that will survive the recent economic downturn. From a web design point of view the site is very effective. Blacks have a good marketing strategy that is pretty simple but straightforward. I think the simplicity of the brand is its strength.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Homebase website branding

I had a look at the website of Homebase. They seem very price oriented. There seems to be a big drive to sell at very low prices. Although the overall branding for a home furnishing company doesn't need to be very extravagant, compared to IKEA its low end rival, I think they do very well.

Debenhams Website Styling

I quite like the branding style of the website for Debenhams. It is simple, clear and easy to navigate through. The styling is not too much, but still interesting enough. This is High street rather than High fashion, but Debenhams still have a strong brand.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

French Connection

I'm glad that French Connection are moving away from their FCUK theme. To say that they have overdone that campaign is an understatement. I remember it was cool to wear FCUK T-Shirts back in 1997, but for anyone to buy a slogan T with that on now and think it is cool, is a bit daft in my opinion. Although I don't really like this current "bearded preppy" look, where everyone looks like they should be in Arcade Fire, it is at least different. French connection have moved quite far from their surf branding that they tried a few years ago. I understand that we are in a recession and everyone is a bit less materialistic, but wouldn't it be nice if some brands didn't just follow whatever the current trend is. This reminds me of when grunge was fashionable in 1995 for about 2 minutes. People might actually want to dress sharp even when they are skint. Is this it French Connection?

French Connection UK Surf style campaign from about 5 years ago

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Summer wear, Sportswear and Surf Brands - O'NEILL

O'NEILL sell wetsuits, summer clothing and accessories. They are a fantastic brand. They appeal to younger and older generations of water sports and outdoor sports wear. They have a great range of products and a brand image that is very strong.

Summer wear, Sportswear and Surf Brands - Quicksilver

Quicksilver are a great brand. They are not a sports company that has moved into the surf market, they are a surfing brand outright. I think they have got the perfect balance of exciting fashion, bright colourful products and still retain a certain amount of street cred. They are edgy, fun and cool. There are very few other brands that have a specific brand image and manage to stay interesting. It is such a natural progression for Quicksilver to move into wetsuit sales, life jackets, sandals, women's summer dresses backpacks as well as their crossover onto skate wear. OP are a massive brand, but they have an unique appeal that few others clothing brands have.

Summer wear, Sportswear and Surf Brands - Ocean Pacific

Ocean Pacific are a summer wear brand that are mainly focussed towards the teen market. They are more fresh youthful rather than the edgier surf brands for example. But they know what the brand is and do it very well. There is no confusion over different product categories which can happen with the larger sports brands.Ocean Pacific know what their customers demand and they deliver it well.

Friday, 17 June 2011


Its probably well researched, but I thought that the "tough guy" message is a bit over done in the Umbro branding. I realise that their football shirts are aimed at football fans, but I felt they could cheer their website up a wee bit. Their overall website is brilliant. Umbro have organised their product mix carefully and it is easy to navigate. I just think that they could have more smiley faces...


Adidas are a massive brand. They have also created separate mini sites for each sporting activity group. The layouts of each section of the site are similar but also significantly different. Personally their branding is a bit more serious than that of Nike and Reebok. I don't doubt the quality of Adidas sportswear, but I think that they lack that extra special "buzz" or appeal, that Nike has.


Nike are bigger than a giant, they are a behemoth. I had a look at their website and I'm so impressed with the vast scale of their web presence. Nike have separate branded mini-sites for each sub section of their product range. From their Football, Running, Basketball, and Active Sports ranges they have differently styled branding that is aimed at reflecting the tastes of their user/customer. I think they pull this off very well. Instead of having separate websites, they have managed to keep these different styles within one site and have tied it all together with their side navigation tab system. Amazing branding, amazing brand.

Reebok Website Branding

I recently viewed the websites of the US and UK versions of the sportswear brand Reebok. I like what Reebok are doing with their rotating cube style on the home page. I sense that a more geometric, simplistic style in sports fashion is becoming more prominent. Bright bold colours are still in vogue. I like the contemporary home page, but I also like the simplistic layout of the product ranges, when you click through.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lucozade - More sports oriented than ever, and better for it...

Lucozade are a fantastic brand. They have moved away from the "NRG", slightly rave inspired energy drink of the late 90's early 2000's and focussed on a more wholesome message. They are still hip, if not even more so, but they have managed to turn a corner and are now in a position that some of the larger energy drinks that portend to be more health focussed and also happen to sponsor the olympics, mentioning no names, would be quite jealous of...


Most soft drink brands tap into the youth market through sports/energy related promotions or music sponsorship. IRN BRU does this too, but its main driver, I think, is humour. They have the ability to laugh at themselves which is a main part of their core values. IRN BRU is a treat that you can have. Its a sugar based soft drink. That's it, but it may as well be one that has a strong identity. One with character. The ability to stand out and be a bit different. A character that can be a bit cheeky and get away with it. A unique company, I think.


The Sunkist brand has managed to move forward and appeal to a wider demographic without losing its core values. The name "Sunkist" is quite powerful. I think this brand's strength lies in its simple message. Sunkist. Orange Juice. Fruity. Energy drink. Done.

Coca Cola - US Website is more interesting and fun...

The US version of the Coca Cola brand website is much more interesting than the version. It is at least inspiring. I thought that Coca Cola would maybe make quite a lot of fuss about the fact that they are a sponsor of the 2012 London Olympics, but the UK version of their site leaves me uninspired. Did I mention that its uninspiring? 

Coca Cola - Olympic Website? Must be lost in the post...

Forgive me, but aren't Coca Cola one of the main sponsors of the 2012 London Olympics? Aren't they supposed to be an inspirational brand? I recently visited the version of the drinks company's website and found it rather dull. I was expecting something a bit more interesting. Maybe its still being built..

Virgin Media Website

I recently viewed the Virgin Media website and was quite unimpressed. I think the entire Virgin brand has become so large that the core identity is starting to lose its strength. The Virgin Media website is, in my opinion, all over the place. There is no priority over what the user is to read first. Most news style websites will make their most important information the most prominent, but there is little difference between the sizes of the various articles. To me the main message is "Oh, we do everything here". Lacks direction.

self promotion

I recently launched my own design website, Watson Consultancy . I thought I should have a more appropriate site to promote myself.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Photoshop Rendering

I've been trying to enhance my design portfolio recently and I thought that I'd do some rendering in Photoshop. I designed some beer labels for Hadrian and Border Brewery at Fantasy Prints, my previous employer, but I never had a chance to see what the labels looked like on their 330ml bottles. So I thought it would be a good rendering project to create some bottles in Photoshop. I took a photo of a beer bottle, but there are always so many other elements that get into the reflection on the glass. Anyway, I'm no photographer and its easier for me to create a 'Visual' of what something might look like.
Detail of rendering in Photoshop

Thursday, 9 June 2011

New Toronto Pearson Airport Branding

I had a look at the new Toronto Pearson Airport branding a few weeks ago.  I use Pearson airport quite a lot and find that the airport 'experience' is fine compared to other major cities. The waiting times are not too long and the staff are usually pleasant. As far as I'm concerned, the new branding reflects a very dynamic city. A city with cultural and creative diversity. It is bright, fresh and inspiring. Compared to the previous 'corporate' looking logo, it is more in line with the trend towards a 'softer' branding with a lot of large organisations. I like it.

New Logo
Old Logo

Thursday, 2 June 2011

I think I need professional help with my IRN BRU problem..!!

...but at 30p per returned bottle, I've got £15 worth of bottles.
That's about 4 Fish Suppers!! WOOOHOO!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Washing Line

During my previous employment at Fantasy Prints I designed a logo for a local business development agancy called "The Washing Line". It was quite an unusual approach for the Seahouses based organisation, but they asked for a quirky washing line logo and that's what they got. The concept was meant to appeal to todays twitter generation with a fun and fresh overall look.

New Standard Life Logo

I quite like the new Standard Life logo refresh. There seems to be a trend in Corporate ID design to move away from an image based logo towards a "Logotype" comprising of mainly the brand name. This is especially true within the corporate financial sector. The new logo is simple, clean and clear, which reflects the strength of the Standard Life brand. 
Old Logo

New Logo