Title Designs

Welcome to our blog where we share our design thoughts and feelings. Whilst we're print and web designers, our experiences and love of design extend beyond those borders, we also like to have a little fun with design...

Latest

Stunning ‘iGadget’ Sleeves

Mujjo's case for iPad

 

Serious quality and beautifully minimalist design combine to create a range of very nice sleeves for iPads, iPhones and Macbooks. If you care about how things look, head over to Mujjo’s website and spoil yourself a little.

We love the black wool-felt and tan leather variety.

JP

Social Media – A Few Simple Solutions (Part 1)

Social Media Abstract Image

 

So, you’ve decided to do it, or it’s been foisted upon you, or you feel you have to be involved with social media because everyone else is. Now what?

The following are just a few helpful pointers to get you moving in the right direction.

Social Media isn’t new, it’s just that it’s online now, more of a two way process and its reach is bigger. It’s another channel, but not a magic one.

1. Get Listening.

If businesses do absolutely nothing else in regard to social media, they must be listening to what is being said about them, their competitors, and the market they’re in. We all keep an eye on our competitors through traditional channels, and we know we must listen to our customers. Social Media is no different.

2. Be Consistent.

It’s not always easy to be consistent, especially if we’re doing something as an add-on, rather than it being business-as-usual. Before a business commits to a social media plan, be fully aware of the time required to regularly create your content. Blogs need to be regular, postings on Facebook and other platforms must be placed regularly, and be of the same high quality you would expect from all the other collateral you produce.

3. Be Personal.

Businesses need to create relationships. Use real staff in social media and ensure your brand doesn’t look and feel faceless. It’s always a good policy to be serving and useful to your customers (new and old).

4. Find Your Influencers and Advocates.

Businesses need to identify their online influencers and brand advocates. It’s not necessarily a ready market for all businesses, but many businesses now seek to incorporate these individuals in their marketing strategy.

What’s the difference?

Influencers

Influencers are typically described as Bloggers, Pundits, Celebrities and so forth. They are defined by the size of their audience and are traditionally thought to grow your audience. However, it’s also true to say they are sometimes not genuinely passionate about a specific product, are a shorter term proposition, and often need incentives. Think of them as online celebrities and you’re half-way there.

Advocates

This group is generally more trusted and are often satisfied customers. They are defined by how likely they are to recommend a brand or product, they also often work as an extension of the company as they will help friends understand or use the product. Their loyalty is long-lasting, they’re genuinely passionate, and often do not need incentives.

It’s no surprise that the second group are beginning to be recognised as a more powerful set.

In other words, Social Media is nothing new, it’s more of the same practices every business should be doing: looking after their customers, giving them a great experience and a great product at the right price.

There’s lots more you can do and we’ll cover more of that in part two of this article soon. In the meantime please feel free to contact us should you require any more help in this field and we’ll gladly have a chat (absolutely no obligation).

JP

 

Stylish Ceramic Speakers

Joey Roth Ceramic Speakersjoeyroth.com/ceramic-speakers/

Continuing my recent collection—on this blog—of increasingly more expensive, but gorgeous gadgets, I’ve spotted these lovely ceramic-encased speakers.

Just don’t look at the price. I’ll be sticking with my current set up then.

Check them out here

JP

Book Review: Information Is Beautiful

Cover image of the book Information is Beautiful

 

Truth be told, I’m not a massive fan of books about graphic design.

Yes, I’ve read quite a few, but they’re often a little narcissistic for me. I prefer to get my design influences from other sources beyond my immediate field. That’s not to say I ignore the world of Graphic Design with its historical and changing styles, that would be foolish. However, I have in my hand a great example of how I can have a great book (and I do love books) and feed my desire to look at things differently.

In his book Information is Beautiful, David McCandless sets out to produce a book with as little text as possible, but crammed with visual information. He has decided to experiment with visualising large amounts of data that we don’t often appreciate simply because of its presentation.

So here you won’t find simple graphs, but some of the best examples of why visual design matters to your business, organisation, or to you personally. Enter, the Infographic.

Much caught my eye, the Evolution of The Personal Computer was a trip down memory lane. But it was the simple, yet brutal graphics of carbon usage and non-renewable resources that have really stuck with me.

David has managed to explain quickly, simply, and effectively the misunderstanding many of us have over our carbon footprints; that a large car emits less CO2 in a year than the average american does in the same period, as indeed does a 250 guest wedding. And, within a renewables infographic, that we only have an estimated 10 years left of Zinc deposits, 23 of Tin, and 13 years of Indium (used to make solar panels, amongst other things).

These two examples don’t even scratch the surface of the wealth and depth of this lovely book.
And they’re not all serious, some are lighthearted such as comparing the IQs of various people (Sharon Stone coming out above Stephen Hawkins?), or quirky in the case of the Dictator’s Wives graphic.

Of course, it’s not perfect. The sources of information can be a little flaky at times, a few details are incorrect or missing, and the graphics never quite reach the heights of beauty that I have seen elsewhere in the infographic world. But I don’t believe that was the aim of the book. This book aims to show you that presentation of information can be more meaningful when delivered through creative, graphical means. And when you consider that every one of these designs was done by one man, you understand the task the author set before himself, and on these levels he has delivered.

Of course here I am espousing the virtues of a graphic medium through the use of words, so I think it’s time to hand over to some images from the book, hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I did. It’s a highly recommended read…er…look.

JP

Info-graphic of carbon usage.

Inside shot from the book Information Is Beautiful.

Published by HarperCollins ISBN 978-0-00-729466-4

Every iCloud Has a Silver lining…

iClanger interpretation of iCloud

 

I recently moved to iCloud from Apple’s “MobileMe” service, which they have now phased out. Although, I have managed to resist for now the pressure from Apple to pay for an unnecessary mid-term operating system upgrade to all our machines just to accommodate the new service.

Now I thought MobileMe had been pretty good, and to be fair the new replacement for it, “iCloud”, is similar and even better in many ways, but it has lost the free iDisk service. The iDisk was Apple’s own early version of the many “Cloud” file storage services for photos, documents, etc. of which there are now many available. Previously, with MobileMe, you could save any kind of file you liked into a nice simple folder called “iDisk”. iDisk was great, you could add sub-folders too and organise everything however you wanted it. Freedom. Very ergonomic. Very usable. All the Apple product character traits you would expect under the late Steve Jobs‘ regime.

Now though, only a few select document types made by (or compatible with) Apple’s own proprietary iWork software “Keynote”, “Pages” and “Numbers”, can be stored and shared. (Although, at the time of writing, we have learned that third party apps will soon add additional functionality to this, which may or may not address some of these concerns). And, of course, you also have to buy all the software for all the devices you want to access it on. You’ve guessed it, Apple’s own-brand version of Microsoft Office’s Powerpoint, Word and Excel. Call me old fashioned (and I know the other Design Partner Jeff will), but I preferred the good old days when brand loyalty was something you chose, not something that you were effectively leveraged in to because of a previous purchase. So much for brand loyalty.

But in dumping their handy iDisk feature they’ve also scored an own goal, or more accurately they have left their own goals unmanned and wedged open the door for better things. After hearing a lot lately about “Dropbox“ I’ve taken the plunge and have been quietly impressed. Doing exactly what it says on the tin (which is always a plus) it is basically a slightly better version of the old iDisk that does pretty much all the syncronising and file-sharing you want. And then some. And then some more.

So, while in this case it seems that every iCloud has a silver lining, for those of us who have been loyal Apple customers, it could be that under the dark and threatening post-Jobian skies the wrong kind of clouds are gathering on the horizon for Apple.

The Origami Kayak

Folding Kayak

 

So up until now your choice has been either solid, inflatable, two-piece or semi-rigid. But now Oru bring you this interesting folding kayak.

12’ long, just 25lbs and with a claimed assembly in under 5 minutes, Oru claim this folding kayak can be taken on a plane (maybe not Ryan Air to be fair), put into your car boot, or even carried into the wilds to reach those rivers you’ve only dreamed of until now.

It certainly looks ingenious and we really love it when people try something a little different. But, up to now any version of a Kayak that isn’t a traditional solid construction comes with so many compromises that it’s only under very specific conditions they make any sense.

So, when this one hits the shops it will be interesting to see the first full reviews. However, from a design point-of-view it certainly piques the curiosity and offers a different sort of compromise. But isn’t that what life is all about?

JP

Lovely Logos – Part 1 (Woolmark)

 

Welcome to a new series where we’ll aim to cover at least some of the most iconic logos that have ever been created.

There’s so much more to the creation of these icons, that burrow into both our conscious and subconscious, than you may expect. We’ll look at the history behind the logo, the commission, the designer and how it’s stood up over the passing of (often) decades.

What we’re not presenting here is a list of our personal favourite logos. This is more a summary of those that have become something more than just a mark on a page, a website, or a building; something that has truly penetrated our culture.

So what shall we start with? Something beautiful, and a logo who’s creation has been lost to time and conjecture. We give you, the Woolmark…

Inspired by a skein of wool, the logo we know as the Woolmark was the winner of a worldwide design competition launched by the International Wool Secretariat (now Australian Wool Innovation) in 1963. And that’s where the intrigue begins—who designed it?

For such a recognisable logo (one that was massive when I was growing up) the subject of it’s creator is truly bizarre.

Francesco Saroglia?

The competition winner was announced as a Milanese designer, Francesco Saroglia. But apart from the Woolmark logo, there is no further information on the man; no mention in books, no exhibits, no previous work. This has led to the suggestion that another design entered the competition under a pseudonym.

Interestingly, a member of the judging panel for the competition has a rich body of work that stylistically matches the final logo closely. That designer’s name was Franco Grignani. But before you get the idea this was his idea, it turns out his work (earlier sketches prior to his invitation to join the judging panel) may have, in fact, been submitted for him by another party under the pseudonym of Francesco.

It’s a great story and one you can find out more about in Ben Bos’s book AGI: Graphic Design since 1950. You can also see some of Grignani’s work here and make your own mind up.

The Logo.

So why is this logo so special?

First off, this logo was not a high-street brand in the proper sense, rather the mark of a trade organisation. How many trade organisation’s logos can you bring to mind right now?

So this beautiful mark had to convey trust in the product it was attached to, and through consistent use it became intrinsically linked with quality.

It’s simplicity belies it’s complexity of shape (a striped, looping ribbon), and the logo works beautifully when reproduced large or small (there is a picture of it used huge and illuminated in Piccadilly Circus where is looks stunningly effective).

Being a flat-style graphic without any graduations, the logo is uncluttered. This also means it can be used in every situation required without resorting to different forms of the same logo. Neither does it need to rely on colour for impact (any great logo should look great in black & white).

It’s also not a logo that only “designers” get. It became part of a shopping-generation’s consciousness, and for that it deserves the accolades it receives.

Of course for those of a certain age, this logo does conjure up memories that may colour our appreciation of this design. However, it truly still stands as a great example of creative logo design.

What do you think, do you remember this logo, does it ‘work’ for you?

 JP
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers