Thursday, December 17, 2009

End of year message

Cinnamon Creative has had a fantastic 2009 and we've ended very positively by completing several exciting digital briefs, as well as producing print projects in the last month alone that total print runs of 230,000 pieces.

Check out the portfolio section of very soon for details of all these projects.

Thank you to all of our clients, many long standing and many new, for a fantastic year and inspiring projects. 2009 brought us the greatest number of new clients to date, and Karen and her team cannot wait to build on these old and new relationships in 2010.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Examples of creative barcodes

All created in Japan. Click the barcodes to enlarge

Monday, December 14, 2009

Colour of the Year for 2010: PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise

Pantone today announced PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, as the colour of the year for 2010.

"In many cultures, Turquoise occupies a very special position in the world of colour," explained Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

"It is believed to be a protective talisman, a colour of deep compassion and healing, and a colour of faith and truth, inspired by water and sky.

"It is universally flattering, has appeal for men and women, and translates easily to fashion and interiors."

Hhhmmmm... I am more of a Pantone Red 485 kind of girl.

Nice website design that combines my two favourite things: good typography and chocolate

Sunday, November 29, 2009

iPhone Coasters

Real apps icons at full size resolution makes these coasters look just like giant apps.

Buy them online here

Friday, November 27, 2009

Logo swirl sparks 'sperm' jibes

A new logo for a north Devon resort which some residents have likened to a sperm has been defended by a "laid back" council.

The "idiosyncratic" swirl incorporated in the £5,000 logo for Ilfracombe has been criticised on the town's website, but Fresh Bread Marketing, the creators of the identity, said the swirl on the logo was meant to resemble a fish or dolphin. The swirl represents the dot on the "i" of Ilfracombe on the logo "Ilfracombe - curious coastal charm".

Ellen Vernon, economic regeneration officer at North Devon Council, which helped to develop the branding project with £5,000 funding, said: "To many, the 'swirl' represents Fore Street, the Harbour, a fish, an ice-cream and even waves. To others it may look like a sperm, which makes it vibrant and life-affirming."

Is it just coincidence that The Mirror reports that this town has a dire teen pregnancy record?!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Typographic Word Clock Screensaver

Word Clock is a typographic screensaver for Mac OS X and Windows. It displays a fixed list of all numbers and words sufficient to express any possible date and time as a sentence. Word Clock displays time by highlighting appropriate words as each second passes.

There are two display modes; Rotary which is shown above and Linear. Click here to download it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Online Event hosted by Apple

There has been much debate about Mac v PC, especially in business. This event provides the opportunity to meet a small company that experienced the difference the Mac makes.

Apple are hosting a free online seminar with a live Q&A session on the 2nd of December 2009 from 19:00 - 20:00.

It will focus on James Stevenson, Managing Director of Virtual Aviation, who switched his company to the Mac platform after years of working with PCs. Not surprisingly, as it's Apple sponsored, James tells us how the change has helped his company improve operational efficiency, share data with ease and even manage customer accounts and bookings remotely using the iPhone.

Nevertheless of interest to all those contemplating moving to the mac platform.

Register to participate here:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Future Designer laptop

Who wouldn't want an unfurling portable computer? Steve Jobs take note of the flexible display from Orkin Design...

Does anybody know what this font is?

I really like the illustrative qualities to this font and was wondering whether anybody knows what it is? It's Westfield's 1st Birthday logo, so may have been a commissioned illustration, but I believe it is a font.

Friday, October 23, 2009

M&S website voted most user-friendly

According to a new Online High Street Report from web usability consultancy Webcredible, M&S has been voted the most user-friendly website of all UK high street brands.

It is a surprise result for M&S as its site only came ninth on the list last year. Meanwhile, WHSmith came joint second, whilst John Lewis maintained its place of third on the rankings.

The criteria used to evaluate the websites includes browsing, navigation, the checkout process , searching and product display pages.

Despite widespread improvements, there are some basic areas where retailers need to do better on, the report found.

Areas that could be improved include using the same form for logging on and registering, allowing customers to alter the number of products displayed on a page and changing the colour of visited links.

See the article in full on BBC News

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cinnamon Creative in current issue of Design Week

This week, Design Week reports the story of Cinnamon Creative's exciting new brand identity for top London security firm, 1st Class Protection. Karen Cinnamon has developed the new logo, luxury 12pp brochure, stationery and website for the leading security firm. and is currently working on 1st Class Protection's direct mail campaign targeting high-end residents.

Read the full article here, and view a selection of the completed designs here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Marks & Spencer: new site design

Over the last couple of months Cinnamon Creative has been working on designs for many of the pages of the completely revamped M&S website which launched today.

The main visual difference is the new widescreen '1024' format that allows M&S to create more vibrant landing pages.

The new site also aims to improve the complete customer experience. New features include catwalk videos, fabric swatches and a carousel image suite which brings the clothes to life. The new site also includes stock availability information when customers select their sizes.

Check out the new site here and media coverage of the work here.

New Look TV: what an innovative idea

I'm currently working on an e-comms project for fashion retailer, New Look, and whilst doing so, have learnt about their fabulous new interactive online channel: New Look TV. It's essentially fashion TV that’s styled by their customers.

The shows are a combination of fashion and entertainment that put the spotlight firmly on the creativity and personalities of New Look customers. Their excitement about fashion gives the content its energy and pace while the user generated element of the shows and the channel enable everyone – both staff and customers – to get involved.

What a brilliant idea! Check out the beautifully designed channel here, and a sample show below:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sexy chair

Good-looking but very uncomfortable (like a lot of 'sexy' attire ;-)

Robert Bradford - Recycled Toy Sculptures

I love these colourful dog sculptures, by Robert Bradford, made from discarded plastic items. The objects are mainly toys but there are also other colourful plastic bits and pieces, such as combs and buttons, brushes and parts of clothes pegs.

Recycling is not his primary concern, but each sculpture certainly keeps quite a few pieces from becoming landfill. Some of the sculptures contain pieces from up to 3,000 toys and sell for around £12,000.

From Cool Hunter

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Diet Coke vending machine that makes you look skinny

BRIEF: Get more people to purchase a Coca Cola Company product when they are in a small range of the vending machines.

SOLUTION: Wrap a mirror foil on the rounded multiplex area where usually Coca Cola has his own ad. Because of the rounded form of the vender the mirror changes the viewers perception and will see a thinner version of him - or herself.

From Cool Hunter

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Adobe Opens iPhone to Flash Developers

At Adobe MAX, the company's worldwide developer conference, Adobe today announced that Adobe Flash Professional CS5 will enable developers to create rich, interactive applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. A public beta of Flash Professional CS5 is expected to be available later this year. In a sneak peek, during the MAX keynote presentation, Adobe demonstrated how developers can utilize Flash Professional CS5 to export applications for the iPhone, leveraging the same source code used to deliver applications across desktops and devices for Flash Platform runtimes – Adobe AIR and Flash Player 10. The new functionality opens iPhone development to millions of designers and developers who currently use Adobe’s popular Flash authoring tools.

Adobe Flash Platform technologies open new opportunities for designers and developers by making it easy to target multiple operating systems and devices with the same application code base. In addition to helping developers deliver applications for the iPhone, Flash Professional CS5 is expected to include a new text engine for creative freedom and control with text, enhanced capabilities for team collaboration on projects, prebuilt code snippets for rapidly adding interactivity, as well as integration with Adobe Flash Builder for advanced ActionScript editing.

Naked People

Apparently, clothes are our second layer of skin. They disguise, reveal, or mirror our innermost being or help to hide it.

The people modeling on this website certainly believe that. It sounds crude but it's actually very well done.

Monday, October 5, 2009

iPhone Addicts Anonymous

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cheese or Font?

Do you love cheese? How about font types? Can you tell the difference between the two? Test your skills over here

Hosting a Party the Microsoft way...

Microsoft Windows 7 'how to host a launch party' webisode is just so unbelievably wrong yet strangely enthralling.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bling a Coach

National Express announce Bling My Coach, a design competition to customize a 49 seater coach, to be turned in to reality and take you and your friends on a trip of your choice!

Simply submit a design to buff up the exterior of an ordinary coach, and then say where you’d like to go for the weekend. If you win they get out the spray-can, copy your design onto the vehicle and give it to you – with a driver – for a whole weekend.

Enter the competition here and see some possible designs here. Good luck!

Too much?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

8 Ways to Drive a Graphic Designer Mad

Original Text: Ghisroy

As everyone knows, graphic designers are the reason there are so many wars in this world... they get inside our heads with their subliminal advertising, force us against our will to spend money on the worst pieces of shit, and eventually, drive us to depression and random acts of violence. And of course, most of them are communists. So to do my part to save the world from them, i made a list of things you can do when working with a graphic designer, to assure that they have a burn-out and leave this business FOREVER.

1-Microsoft Office
When you have to send a graphic designer a document, make sure it’s made with a program from Microsoft Office. PC version if possible. If you have to send pictures, you’ll have more success in driving them mad if, instead of just sending a jpeg or a raw camera file, you embed the pictures inside a Microsoft Office document like Word or Powerpoint. Don’t forget to lower the resolution to 72 dpi so that they’ll have to contact you again for a higher quality version. When you send them the ‘higher’ version, make sure the size is at least 50% smaller. And if you’re using email to send the pictures, forget the attatchment once in a while.

If the graphic designer chooses Helvetica for a font, ask for Arial. If he chooses Arial, ask for Comic Sans. If he chooses Comic Sans, he’s already half-insane, so your job’s half done.

3-More is better
Let’s say you want a newsletter designed. Graphic designers will always try to leave white space everywhere. Large margins, the leading and kerning of text, etc. They will tell you that they do this because it’s easier to read, and leads to a more clean, professional look. But do not believe those lies. The reason they do this is to make the document bigger, with more pages, so that it costs you more at the print shop. Why do they do it? Because graphic designers hate you. They also eat babies. Uncooked, raw baby meat.

So make sure you ask them to put smaller margins and really, really small text. Many different fonts are also suggested (bonus if you ask for Comic Sans, Arial or Sand). Ask for clipart. Ask for many pictures (if you don’t know how to send them, refer to #1). They will try to argument, and defend their choices but don’t worry, in the end the client is always right and they will bow to your many requests.

If you have to send a graphic designer a logo for a particular project, let’s say of a sponsor or partner, be sure to have it really really small and in a low-res gif or jpeg format. Again, bonus points if you insert it in a Word document before sending it. Now you might think that would be enough but if you really want to be successful in lowering the mental stability of a graphic designer, do your best to send a version of the logo over a hard to cut-out background. Black or white backgrounds should be avoided, as they are easy to cut-out with the darken or lighten layer style in photoshop. Once the graphic designer is done working on that bitmap logo, tell him you need it to be bigger.

If you need a custom made logo, make your own sketches on a napkin. Or better yet, make your 9 year old kid draw it. Your sketch shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to make. You don’t want to make something that’s detailed and easy to understand, because the less the designer understands what you want, the more you can make him change things afterwards. Never accept the first logo. Never accept the 9th, make him do many changes, colors, fonts & clip art. Ask him to add a picture in the logo. Bevels. Gradients. Comic Sans. And when he’s at his 10th attempt, tell him that you like the 2nd one the most. I know, it’s mean but remember: graphic designers are the cause of breast cancer among middle aged women.

5-Choosing your words
When describing what you want in a design, make sure to use terms that don’t really mean anything. Terms like ‘jazz it up a bit’ or ‘can you make it more webbish?’. ‘I would like the design to be beautiful’ or ‘I prefer nice graphics, graphics that, you know, when you look at them you go: Those are nice graphics.’ are other options. Don’t feel bad about it, you’ve got the right. In fact, it’s your duty because we all know that on fullmoons, graphic designers shapeshift into werewolves.

The best way for you to pick colours (because you don’t want to let the graphic designer choose) is to write random colors on pieces of paper, put them in a hat and choose. The graphic designer will suggest to stay with 2-3 main colors at the most, but no. Choose as many as you like, and make sure to do the hat thing in front of him. While doing it, sing a very annoying song.

When it’s your turn to approve the design, take your time. There is no rush. Take two days. Take six. Just as long as when the deadline of the project approaches, you get back to the designer with more corrections and changes that he has time to make. After all, graphic designers are responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

8-Finish him / her
After you’ve applied this list on your victim, it is part of human nature (although some would argue weather they’re human or not) to get a bit insecure. As he realises that he just can’t satisfy your needs, the graphic designer will most likely abandon all hopes of winning an argument and will just do whatever you tell him to do, without question. You want that in purple? Purple it is. Six different fonts? Sure!

You would think that at this point you have won, but don’t forget the goal of this: he has to quit this business. So be ready for the final blow: When making final decisions on colors, shapes, fonts, etc, tell him that you are disappointed by his lack of initiative. Tell him that after all, he is the designer and that he should be the one to put his expertise and talent at work, not you. That you were expecting more output and advices about design from him.

Tell him you’ve had enough with his lack of creativity and that you would rather do your own layouts on Publisher instead of paying for his services. And there you go. You should have graphic designer all tucked into a straight jacket in no time!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Google crop circles

Google UK's homepage is today given over to a "doodle" showing a flying saucer hovering over crop circles. The word "Google" is spelt out in several crop circles, with what appears to be a tractor completing the letter "L".

The internet giant also posted a tweet on its Twitter account with the map reference 51.327629, -0.5616088, which eagle-eyed sci-fi fans have identified as the centre of the small town of Horsell in Surrey. This was the spot where HG Wells set the first UFO landing in his novel The War of the Worlds.

Everyone's trying to read deep significance into this. Is it about abduction? Or aliens? Or Horsell? Or just crop circles? No. It's almost certainly a viral marketing campaign teasing people ahead of some launch in a week or two. One possible explanation is that it's trailing an online "happening" that will coincide with the 143rd anniversary of Wells's birth next week.

Crop circles were once fascinating additions to the English countryside, but now they have become tacky vehicles for corporations to advertise just about anything. A cottage industry has grown up with groups of circle-makers ready - for a price - to reproduce just about anything. The Royal Bank of Scotland, Disney, NBC, UKTV, Red Bull, Greenpeace, Microsoft, Nike, Shredded Wheat, Pepsi, Weetabix, the BBC, The Sun, Mitsubishi, O2, Big Brother, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel have all paid to emblazon fields with their signatures.

Now Google has jumped on the bandwagon. If you click on the crop circle icon, it brings up a search for crop circles. The first alien-themed doodle that Google ran was last week, when it had people guessing why it showed a flying saucer "abducting" the letter "O" in its name. Clicking on that doodle took users through to a page about "unexplained phenomenon".

Expect all to be explained next week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Naked Ambition

Magazine publishers take note. The collectable-cover stakes have been raised. Not only do you need multiple fronts for your title to win attention. Now you also need a man who miraculously takes off all of his clothes.

"Strip tease! Karl says peel please," says the caption above a picture of a stern-looking model. It would take a tough person to disobey the commands of Karl Lagerfeld in guest-editing mode. So off comes the giant sticker covering the front of Wallpaper* – and off too comes the model's Dior Homme suit. And everything else.

What did Tony Chambers, the title's editor-in-chief, say when Lagerfeld explained his cover concept? "I said 'Of course', and then I really, really panicked. We've done expensive things in the past, but I knew this was going to break the bank a bit more."

Lagerfeld's buff young man – "Karl thinks he is the male Gisele [Bündchen]" – is not Wallpaper*'s only September cover star: Philippe Starck has created an alternative cover, charting evolution. It has the advantage of not causing you to be shamed in the news agent by a moment of ill-advised peeling. But it's Lagerfeld's version that marks a new high – if you could call it that – in the collectable cover.

"With magazines, you've got to make a bit of an event," says Chambers. "For people to spend their £4.30 there's got to be something that's nice to hold, to feel, to keep." (The cover resticks so you can repeat the undressing experience, should you desire).

Wallpaper* is not the first mag to embrace the special cover, of course. Radio Times printed 21 different covers for Comic Relief last year, and has also used artwork from the comic book creator Jamie Hewlett; Esquire did a fashionably styled Morph; Empire has a long tradition of printing multiple covers for big films. The aim is either higher newsstand sales, increased publicity, reaching different kinds of consumers, or all three.

But the question is: how do you keep increasing the specialness? Harper's Bazaar has already cornered the market in crystal-embellishment; i-D turned out 12 covers for its March issue; many titles regularly create special covers for subscribers. The multiple cover is so commonplace it seems in danger of losing its impact. Unless, of course, you put a strippable man on it.

From Media Guardian

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Utter Genius

This is one man's story shot in 60,000 pictures, developed in 9,600 prints and shot in over 1,800 pictures all over again. No post production...


Monday, August 24, 2009

I want...

Steve Jobs's new trick: the Apple tablet

Apple is reportedly poised to launch a tablet computer – small enough to carry in a handbag or briefcase but big enough to comfortably surf the web, read newspapers and watch films. It could be Apple's latest billion-dollar jackpot.

Apple product launches are celebrated rituals where the talismanic Jobs, in black sweater and jeans, stands on a stage in San Francisco and unveils the company's latest innovation, cheered by adulatory crowds with near religious fervour. The Californian giant has sold more 200 million iPods since their launch in 2001.

Famously secretive, Apple has refused to comment on the tablet speculation. But Tim Cook, its chief operating officer, recently hinted that the company was working on something "very innovative". Jobs – now back at work after a six-month leave of absence following a liver transplant – is thought to have been personally involved in the development of the device over the past two years.

The tablet is rumoured to be any size and scale between the iPhone and the MacBook laptop. Some have described the tablet as a "Kindle-killer", potentially usurping the Amazon Kindle and other electronic book readers. It would be billed as a solution for people who work a lot on the move but don't want to carry a laptop. What experts believe would set the tablet apart would be that, instead of a keyboard, it would use a touch-sensitive screen. Kahney said: "Apple will totally rejig the computing experience. You won't manipulate a keyboard and mouse any more but rather use an intuitive touchscreen. It will very tactile. It will be a whole new paradigm."

It might also prove the launchpad for an "iTunes for newspapers", allowing commuters to read news on screen instead of in print. Even magazines might be reproduced convincingly on the high-resolution screen. Kahney said: "Instead of reading a review of a band, you could have audio and video embedded and listen to them and watch them being interviewed."

He estimated that an Apple tablet, with an onscreen keyboard like the iPhone, would cost around $600 (£363), putting it between the highest-end iPod Touch at $399 and the MacBook, which starts at $999. At $600, Munster calculated that sales of 2 million tablets could add $1.2bn (£727m) to Apple's sales next year.

From Media Guardian

Friday, July 31, 2009

Award for Campaign that celebrates Honda staff returning to their jobs

Honda's upbeat press ads to celebrate staff's return to work as its Swindon factory re-opened has won an award for best national newspaper campaign of last month.

The campaign featured poems in praise of workers at the plant, which closed for four months earlier this year because of the slump in car sales, against a background of images evoking factory life such as bacon, a cup of tea and an iron.

All five ads in the campaign, by agency Wieden & Kennedy London, have been nominated for the national ad of the year of awards to be held in January.

Darren Bailes, the creative director at ad agency VCCP and an awards judge, said the Honda campaign effectively operated as "news in the form of advertising".

The temporary closure of Honda's factory saw 1,300 workers take voluntary redundancy and the remaining 3,400 agree a 3% pay cut for 10 months. Employees said they were pleased to return to work at the plant.

"The reopening could have been swept under the carpet all too easily, the shutdown being seen as a real blow to the pride of the brand," said Bailes. "This recession is something we are all in together, the workers and the manufacturers are all in the same boat."

From Media Guardian

Sam Winston

Take the whole text of Romeo & Juliet, separate out every word said in passion into one pile, everything said in rage in another, and then a final group that wasn’t passion or rage. Finally arrange them lovingly in three collages, and what do you have? The latest piece of mastery from Sam Winston.

From It's Nice That

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Who said Amy Winehouse was no oil painting?

The troubled singer has been 'painted' as a lady in French artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres' Princess Albert de Broglie.

The picture was one of a selection of celebrity portraits composed by readers of website Worth1000 in an online art contest.

Joining Amy on canvas was actress Jennifer Aniston, who was recreated as Jacques-Louis David's 1780 oil painting Young Woman With A Turban. Her ex-husband Brad Pitt and his wife Angelina Jolie also got the Old Master treatment, together with Tom Cruise, Snoop Dog and Nicole Kidman.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One day in type

What would your day be without type? Dima Boulad, a Paris-based multimedia designer, documented every encounter with a typographic element in the course of one day.

Apple hands Palm a problem and gets slapped by Microsoft

Great article from today's MediaGuardian

It's a dog-eat-dog world in the technology jungle. For the best part of two years, Apple's iPhone has had the top end of the smartphone market to itself. But then along came the Palm Pre, which has had a very favourable reception from the geek crowd, and is a much more polished product than early versions of the Android (aka Google) phones. Personally I thought it unlikely that the Pre would seriously challenge the Apple product, but it seems that Steve Jobs & Co are taking no chances.

How do we know this? Well, the Palm phone had an intriguing feature: it could sync (techspeak for synchronise) with Apple's iTunes software, thereby enabling Pre owners to take their music with them, just as iPhone owners can. Quite how this was possible is an interesting question. Was it a happy accident that the Pre could exploit a loophole in the iTunes system? Or was it a clever wheeze dreamed up by Palm engineers? Either way, Apple was not amused.

So last week Apple released an update to iTunes that closed the loophole and effectively screwed Palm, whose share price immediately declined. How did Apple describe its tactic? Merely by saying that the upgrade "addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices", which upon translation reads "Yay dudes! You're stuffed."

Meanwhile, in another part of the jungle, Apple itself was getting grief from Microsoft. Of course, with only 7.6% of the PC market, Mr Jobs's outfit is a flea compared to the Redmond-based giant. But this particular flea has infuriated the elephant over the past two years with its "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads, which went viral and successfully implanted in the public mind the idea that Macs were chic and efficient whereas PCs were worthy but dull, and distinctly uncool. It took Microsoft a while to find out how to hit back: an advertising series with the message that consumers were paying a pretty steep premium for Apple coolness. In other words, while Macs might be OK for trendy folks with lots of money to fritter away on fashionable kit, real people on a budget would always find Windows-based machines a better buy.

Last week, Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, claimed that this campaign has rattled Apple. "All of our research shows that our 'I'm a PC' ads, [which] talk dramatically about the price of Macintoshes, work quite effectively," he said. "We've gained market share quite effectively against Apple over the past six to nine months."

Well, he would say that, wouldn't he? But his colleague Kevin Turner reported that "two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying, 'Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.' They took like $100 off or something. It was the greatest single phone call that I've ever taken in business." So, Turner went on, "we're just going to keep running them and running them and running them."

Microsoft's next offensive suggests that the company still has a thing or two to learn about strategy, though. It announced that it's planning to attack on another front - by opening Microsoft retail stores next to Apple stores.

This looks like a bold move. After all, Apple has managed to transform tech retailing by creating stores that customers appear to enjoy visiting (and which are still thronged, despite the recession). What could be better than to prove that the elephant can go head-to-head with the flea on the high street? And to show that it's serious, Microsoft has recruited a senior Wal-Mart executive to lead its assault on the world's shopping malls.

The prospect of Microsoft and Apple stores side by side is rich in comic possibilities. For one thing, what will the Microsoft store sell? It's a software company: its hardware range consists of the Xbox games console, some keyboards and mice, and the Zune music player - which, compared with the iPod, looks like something produced by the Soviet Union in its heyday. But a retail store needs exciting hardware to attract people in off the street and create a buzz.

Stand by, then, for a new range of viral ads from Apple. A Tale of Two Stores, perhaps. One establishment is crowded with teenagers browsing Facebook and trying to get off with one another, watched by benevolently smiling, T-shirted geeks. The other is a deserted cavern, rather like one of those Sony outlets, in which dispirited chaps in ties try to interest passing tramps in the new features of Office 2009. YouTube here we come!

By John Naughton

Friday, July 17, 2009

Credit Crunch Spotlights Fast Food Brands

The 12th annual Top 500 Superbrands survey, which identifies the UK’s strongest consumer brands by polling the British public, launches today and reaffirms the success of the fast food chains and multiple supermarkets in the economic downturn.

Some of the brands showing the strongest year-on-year improvement in the survey include McDonald’s, which rises 227 places, Burger King, up 189, KFC rising by 164 places and Domino’s Pizza, which moves up the table by 144 places. The highest new entry into this year’s list was Krispy Kreme, further indicating the nation’s demand for relatively low cost treats as the downturn bites.

Recovering from last year’s plummet in the survey are the supermarkets. The ‘Big-Four’ make up for the ground they lost with ASDA leading the way with an impressive increase of 213 places to sit in 226th place. Tesco is the next biggest supermarket riser, gaining 185 places to reach position 116, whilst Waitrose climbs 60 places to fall just three places short of Tesco at 119 – only Sainsbury’s breaks into the top 100, placed at 92. A threat might come in the future from Morrisons and The Co-operative both of whom enter the top 500 for the first time. As well as the supermarkets winning favour, traditional high street retailers are also regaining ground, with brands such as HMV jumping 118 places, B&Q up 168, Boots climbing 117 and Argos storming up the rankings by 230 places - making it the eighth biggest riser overall in the top 500.

With supermarkets increasingly gaining share of the overall fashion market, the specialist ‘Clothing and Footwear’ category has struggled with only two of the 23 brands in this sector, namely DKNY and Paul Smith, improving their positions from last year. That said, fashion retailers Karen Millen (480), Pringle (418), Ben Sherman (327) and Hush Puppies (258) all entered the top 500 for the first time.

In the top 10, Microsoft® regains its number one position, which it lost last year to internet giant, Google. Google itself slips two places to third, whilst four other brands keep their top 10 placing. These include the embattled BBC and British Airways, as well as Mercedes-Benz. New entries to the top 10 in 2009/10 include LEGO® and Cola-Cola, both re-entering after a one year absence. Rolex and Apple also join the top ten alongside this year’s surprise entry Encyclopædia Britannica, which was 29th last year.

Stephen Cheliotis, Chief Executive of The Centre for Brand Analysis, which administered the research on behalf of Superbrands UK, said: “This year’s survey reaffirms some of the downturn’s winners and losers, with the fast food chains and supermarkets doing particularly well. The results, as always, return some surprises with this year’s notable high achiever being Encyclopædia Britannica. Bearing in mind that thousands of brands are initially considered, actually making the top 500 itself is an achievement: the competition amongst brands for consumer attention and share of wallet is intense and growing fiercer.”

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Evian’s Dancing Babies Ad Makes a Splash

That’s at least part of the thinking behind Evian’s new advertising campaign, which has taken off on YouTube, thanks to a troupe of infants breakdancing and roller-skating across the screen. The campaign, called “Live Young,” broke last week and has received more than 2.8 million views on YouTube in the U.S., and another 2.3 million internationally.

Babies breakdance and roller-skate with some CGI assistance in this innovative new campaign.

This isn’t the first time Evian has used babies to get the point across. In 1998, it ran a campaign featuring babies doing a synchronized-swimming routine.

Evian’s ad is getting plenty of adoring responses, mixed with the occasional “creepy” and “Soooooo fake.” What do you think of it?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Great Branding / Packaging: Cider

After launch, Cider immediately took second and fourth place on the Swedish cider sales list, and has been top five ever since.

Design group, Amore has won numerous awards for the design of Cider, and with zero other marketing efforts, Cider has achieved sales and distribution in Norway, Italy and Germany.

Amazing doodles

10 Golden Rules for Freelancers

Thanks to Mark Ramshaw for this excellent article:

Mark interviewed leading freelancers from the fields of 3D illustration, animation, visual effects, games and architectural visualisation to uncover their strategies for success. These were his key findings...

1. Test the market first
Make sure there is interest in your work before you begin. Freelancing part-time first will also enable you to experiment with standard assets and settings, optimizing them for quick, high-quality renders. And make sure you invest in a back-up computer!

2. Use online networking tools
While establishing a reputation, keep yourself in the public eye by maintaining an up-to-date presence on your own website, online communities such as CGSociety and, networking sites like LinkedIn and, if appropriate, IMDb.

3. Tap your network for leads
A network of fellow freelancers is one of your best resources for finding clients - and those that you do will be trustworthy. No one wants to recommend a bad client; and clients won't want to let down the freelancer who made the recommendation.

4. Meet in person where possible
Your work may be digital, but when contacting new clients, try to arrange a face-to-face meeting. This enables you to sell yourself and your services most effectively. Mail and email shots are almost useless unless you know exactly who to contact.

5. Research the client in detail
Find out the style the client likes to see work done in by researching their past projects. These can also help you to assess the level of quality they seek. A brief exchange of phone calls or emails will help you get a feel for the clients as people.

6. Always confirm the deadline!
Find out the deadline before you accept the work, particularly if you work in print or broadcast advertising. Advertising agencies are notorious for spending months planning a campaign, then leaving the illustration itself until the final week.

7. Calculate a minimum hourly rate
A blunt but effective formula for working out your hourly rate is to take what you think you should be getting as a yearly salary and dividing by a thousand. Tools like AllNetic Working Time Tracker ( help keep track of little jobs.

8. Refine the fee through discussion
Once you have calculated your minimum rate, assess whether a higher fee is reasonable. Talk to friends and trusted colleagues about salaries. Should a client ask you to reduce your rate, look for ways to offer services that cost you less time instead.

9. Always use a contract
Freelancers are in a relatively strong position when it comes to copyright: without a contract, the default position is that they own the work they produce, not the client. However, standard terms and conditions ensure there is no uncertainty about the job.

10. Use the contract to ensure prompt payment
Whether you use your own contract or the client's, use the wording to your advantage by linking transfer of work or intellectual property ownership to payments. Such clauses provide a simple, effective incentive for the client to pay promptly.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A new tool that automatically checks the spelling errors on your website is a handy new tool that automatically checks the spelling errors on your website. Check yours now!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Here's One I Made Earlier

Ever fancied making your own Damien Hirst from a plastic skull and 8,601 crystal beads or using a Banksy stencil and spray paint kit to give your walls a million dollar makeover?

Well you can with a DIY contemporary art set from iArtist.

You could even go for a blood bag (and plasters) with which to make your own sensational Marc Quinn-esque frozen head or get all the materials to recreate Tracey Emin’s Everyone I Have Ever Slept with 1963-1995.

All available by e-mail order from To see styles, go to

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pretty Loaded

Pretty Cool is an archive of preloaders that preload other preloaders:

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Is there no end to Twittermania? Last week we saw the social networking tool Twitter deployed on the streets of Tehran. This week, moving seamlessly from the sublime to the ridiculous, it is being used to aid the digestion of the world's greatest literature.

Fans of the classics will either be delighted or appalled to learn that the New York-branch of Penguin books has commissioned a new volume that will put great works through the Twitter mangle. The volume has a working title that will make the nerve ends of purists jangle: Twitterature.

In it, the authors will squish the jewels of world literature - they mention Dante, Shakespeare, Stendhal, Joyce and JK Rowling - into 20 tweets or less - that is 20 sentences each with fewer than 140 characters.

The book is the brainchild of two 19-year-old first-year students at the University of Chicago who claim to be starting a cultural revolution from their college dormitory. Bashing their heads together one evening in their university digs, Emmett Rensin and Alex Aciman asked themselves what defined the grandest ventures of their generation, and best expressed the souls of 21st century Americans?

Pretentious, maybe. Precocious, certainly. The answer they came up with was double-headed. They identified high literature as a crucial pillar for any generation.

But they also latched on to Twitter, the website where users compress all of human experience into 140 characters. Twitter, they thought to themselves, epitomised the short attention span and info-deluge that defined the contemporary age.

So what if you put the two together? If great literature and Twitter were combined into one new form - Twitterature. "We have embarked on an attempt to bring the two pillars of our generation together, once and for all," the students said.

In the blurb for the new book the authors give a clue to their incentives for writing it, which are not entirely ethereal. Aciman and Rensin, from New York and Los Angeles respectively, both harbour ambitions to become writers and both clearly also hanker after cash.

They say they are aiming for a book that has the literary merit to wow the blogosphere, as well as the "pure-money genius to take the market by storm".

Whether they are right and fulfil their dreams depends on the appetite for reading Dante's Divine Comedy reduced from its 512 pages in Penguin's own Classics edition to 20 short sentences. Or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last in the JK Rowling series, rendered in 2,800 characters down from 784 pages.

All should become clear in the autumn, when Twitterature is scheduled for publication.

From Media Guardian

Sunday, June 21, 2009

iPhone 3G S launch day

Friday, June 19, 2009

Post-It stop motion

What a fabulous animation from Savannah College of Art student Bang-yao Liu

Sunday, June 14, 2009

American family's web photo ends up as Czech advertisement

When the Smiths of Missouri – an all-American family with the regulation two blond children – posed for their Christmas photo, little did they know they would end up on a billboard thousands of miles away in the Czech Republic.

Just under a fortnight ago, a family friend of Jeff and Danielle Smith was travelling in Prague when he spotted some familiar faces beaming out of a poster advertising a grocery store's home delivery service.

He took a photograph and emailed it to his friends in St Louis – kindly translating the caption that promises "we will prepare and deliver your requests in two business days".

The picture was indeed of the admirably white-toothed Smiths and their two smiling children. Danielle had been so proud of the image taken by a photographer friend, Gina Kelly, that she had not only sent it out as a Christmas card to family and friends, but also posted it on her blog and other social networking sites, including Momlogic where she identifies her children as "sweet and sassy Delaney" and "loveable and crazy Cooper".

Danielle has expressed her surprise at the news of their international fame: "Interesting. Bizarre. Flattering, I suppose. But quite creepy."

The shop owner was equally shocked. Mario Bertuccio, who runs the Grazie store in Prague, said he found the image on the internet and thought it was computer-generated. He has promised to remove it and email an apology to the Smiths – and said if they lived nearer he would send them "a bottle of good wine".

In her blog on the Extraordinary Mommy site, Smith reflects: "So this is the price we pay for indulging in social media, I guess."

She had no idea the image could be used, she said, and would not have given her permission, but admits she was naive in putting up a high-resolution version on the website. She won't be doing that again – but said she would continue to post images of her family.

The smiley Smiths have now gone global. The site has registered 180,000 hits but Danielle writes that she is blocking the small percentage "who are commenting only to say that a member of my family (or all of us) are ugly".

From MediaGuardian