Thursday, 29 March 2012

Mary's Bottom Line

Well done Mary Portas on a great job on increasing awareness about British Manufacturing. In her recent reality TV show Mary's Bottom Line, she helps some unemployed youths back into the workforce and injects new life into a clothing factory. Mary is also trying to implement a Made in Britain makers mark to put on all UK made clothing. Since we sent a lot of manufacturing abroad in recent years, we have lost a large part of the supply chain and the design side of things has become more detached from the production process. Hopefully things will turn around and we can be proud to manufacture even more great clothes and other products here in the UK.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Will HMV still be around in 5 years?

Will HMV still be around in 5 years time? They spent the boom years developing new store outlets and trying to get into the music venue sector, but now they are in financially troubled times they have had to sell their Canadian outlets and the live music venture. As digital downloads are threatening to kill off physical sales of CD's they have tried to sell more digital music accessories like headphones and mp3 players etc, but many other high street stores sell these items. As our lust for online shopping continues to decimate the health of our high street shops, perhaps in 5 years time we will all wake up and do something about it. We didn't think about the health of the UK manufacturing sector when we bought and accepted cheaply made clothes from China. Now there is a real incentive to improve UK manufacturing sector, perhaps there will be a renewed energy in our high streets in 5 years from now? But it might just get worse before it gets better.

Friday, 23 March 2012

New Strapline: "Effective Brand Development"

So we've finally decided on a strap line for our Design Consultancy Business.
We are going with "Effective Brand Development". I think it is simple, but it describes what we do in a clear and short statement.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Evolution Fresh Juice Brand

Starbucks have moved into the juice bar market with the launch of an Evolution Fresh juice bar. They bought the Evolution Fresh juice brand in November 2011. The website evokes a bright, fresh and natural quality. The overall feel reminds me of the UK juice brand Innocent, but I think to have a credible position within this fresh juice market you must convey a certain amount of innocence. To look overly corporate would send out the wrong visual message. The Evolution Fresh website is quite roughly put together with rough repeat animations and background pictures that look like they have been scanned in. I'm not sure if the overall effect works. 
For me, the brand lacks a little strength.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

48 sheet billboard

I recently designed a 48 sheet billboard advert for Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park, near Stirling. I've been doing design work for them for over 10 years now. As "The Sign Guy", I also do a range over other design and branding work for this company. I find them great to get along with. As an organisation, I think they have a good company culture that is evident in the good staff and the well cared for animals. The animals have quite large areas to graze in. The park is also involved in the protection of endangered species through organisations, such as BIAZA (The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and EAZA (The European Accociation of Zoos and Aquariums).

Friday, 16 March 2012

Are we in the middle of another tech bubble?

The share price of Apple briefly passed $600 yesterday in anticipation of the release of the new iPad. Note the word "anticipation". They expect to sell over 1 million copies worldwide. We don't even have 4G here in the UK, but that won't stop them buying. There are also rumours that the tech blog Mashable may be about to be bought by CNN for over $100 Million. I think Pete Cashmore has done a brilliant job. We are also expecting the public listing of Facebook at some point this year. Just as it was so important to have a website 12 years ago, it is uber important to have a mobile compliant website today. I understand that the digital revolution is in full swing, the internet has more than come of age and that technology is now part of our everyday lives with massive benefits to everyone, but I just have a feeling that we might be in the middle of a mobile version of the last tech bubble.

Thorpe Park

Thorpe Park have greatly improved the profile of their brand. From what I've seen on their website their latest ride "The Swarm" looks amazing. I think it will be a real crowd puller. A recent TV campaign makes it look like a brilliant attraction. Thorpe Park seem to be emerging as a premier UK theme park and visitor attraction. All of a sudden they have arrived. Previously I think that their brand image was a bit bland and average, but they now have a more appealing edge which, I think will attract a new generation. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Formula 1 website is looking good...

I've always admired the design elements involved in all the Formula 1 promotional material. The website offers a good selection of well organised and interesting information. It is fun, technical and visually well put together. The site navigation is clear and simple, but does not detract from the overall high quality of editorial content. I think the magazine style website works best for this type of subject matter. A high performance website, that isn't overtly flashy, is well suited for a high performance motor sport. Brilliant.