Tuesday, 1 July 2014

June gems

Challenging Times for Team Hutton

Our MD and FD, Simon and Gill, were off to watch their eldest son Tom in his latest Team Hutton challenge, the aptly named The Trihard Half Ironman in the Lakes. Tom had originally decided on doing his first Triathlon, but on second thoughts signed up for the epic half ironman event with his good friend Tim.

We don't think either of them quite realised the difficulty of the challenges they'd signed up for, but of course they finished triumphantly! Their epic feat started with a 1.2mile (1.9k) swim around Ullswater Lake, a quick 'transition' as the pros call it (and trust us, there's no time for a pit stop not even for the supporters!) then a 56 mile (90k) cycle ride; including the very tough climb up Kirkstone Pass, after another transition they moved on to a "gentle"half marathon across fields, up fells and back down a narrow road. Tom made it over the finish line achieving his target time of under 7hrs - 6hrs, 51mins, 38secs. We're all very impressed, and a little bit worried about what he'll attempt next (or if he'll try and get us along).

Talking of which, Tom's brother Sam has created his own challenge - 'Challenge Charlie'. He'll be running every day for 97 days, we'll be joining him on one of his shorter runs but anyone and everyone is welcome... Find out more here. Or if you don't fancy a run but you'd still like to help, their Just Giving page is here.

Community spirit

We’re lucky enough to be part of the lovely Bankside area, which is supported by the team at Better Bankside, who are our local business improvement district. As well as being a levy payer, we’ve also worked with them for many years and most recently produced a leave behind for them. The concertina booklet promotes the work they do in the area as they lead up to ballot again next year.

Spring in your step

We kid you not, there is a cave in Wales filled with giant suspended trampolines. With Summer almost here we think it would surely make an amazing summer party, you guys pack the sandwiches and we’ll start up the minibus. What are you waiting for.

Rolling out Croydon BID’s brand

You may recall our work with the Croydon Business Improvement District (and if not you can refresh your memory here), well it’s safe to say there’s no rest for the wicked. This time we produced a bespoke 6pp folder that shows off the town using some great nighttime aerial shots, which are unveiled as you open the folder. The bespoke cutter guide also works to the BID swoosh, which features heavily in the brand. Along with the folder we also produced a 16pp roll fold, which acts as a leave behind for businesses and members of the public to help explain what the BID are doing.

Let me Google that

Google Cultural Insitute have just launched their street art project, where you’re free to browse the globe discovering artists, their collections and their history. It allows you to see many pieces that may eventually disappear as our landscape changes. Ultimately it’s a nice way to get some trendy culture without leaving your desk. Go exploring. 

Into the fold

This month we worked with the guys at HQ Head Quarters salon (check out our blog post on them a few months ago) producing a folder for them. They had some great shots of the interiors, which were the crowning glory. The folder has a matt laminate all over, and a spot UV over the image to give a great contrast and really let the photos shine.

Wait, let me take a selfie….

No, there are no selfies in the Iphone Photography Awards. Just a collection of stunning images taken with the “humble” iPhone, not all are by pros in fact many are taken by chance photographers. Ultimately they remind us there’s more to camera phone photography than #nofilter. Get inspired.

All roads lead to Rome-an Road in Mile End 

Ok, so maybe that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it and it also isn’t entirely true. None the less, there’s a great festival going on at Roman Road in Mile End, it’s a celebration of its history and its present. With plenty of guided tours and events there should be something for everyone. Enjoy the festivities.

Sunshine with only a chance of showers? That’s Pimms O’Clock!

Call us optimistic, but we think that summer is here and that can mean only one thing, Pimms on the lawn (or wherever you may have to hand). So in honour of this spiffing British drink we thought we’d share this epic list of Pimms recipes, there’s more to Pimms that lemonade. Cheers old boy!

Guinea pigs are the new cats.

You hopefully know by now that we can’t resist a meaningless yet cute animal post (such as this Owl assisting its designer owner), so we just had to share BooBoo and her friends and their regular photo shoots. Who knew guinea pigs where so photogenic? Work it girl.

Excellent Work

We’ve had the pleasure of working with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations for a number of years now, and this work also includes the branding and collateral for their glittering black tie event; the Excellence Awards.

The awards celebrate the crème de la crème in public relations, and see around 150 leading consultancies, inhouse teams and freelancers compete for 30 awards. This year the show was hosted at Old Billingsgate by critically acclaimed comedian Jo Caulfield.

This year we embraced the glitter and sophistication of the event, creating a pattern that not only suggests the glinting of lights (and even maybe a disco ball) but also hints towards the forward slash that forms a key part of the CIPR brand.

The metallic pantone and spot UV are used to add extra sophistication and really play up to the glamour of the event, helping to give the pattern that extra depth.

On the digital side of things a number of animated banner ads were created, which allow the pattern to move and suggest the glittering effect the spot UV gives.

The night was a huge success, for us it really is exciting to know that our work managed to capture the essence of the night.

Monday, 2 June 2014

The buds of may

We've found a Jem of a Designer...
Jem is a creative designer in love with what he does. He’s got layout and typography skills on one hand, and strong illustration and icon prowess on the other. His warm friendly personality and excellent manner with clients make him a welcome addition to the team. In his days PM (pre-mortgage), Jem played guitar and sang in various bands that seemed to implode just as they acheived any success. He can still be found occasionally weeping over his redundant 1962 Fender Jaguar and musing on what could have been.

...And a Char-ming Project Manager
After obtaining her BA in Graphic Design, Charlie started in this area and then moved across to Account Management. Whilst she is our newest team member, she has a positive approach and looks to make things happen. She'll be working closely with Katie and supporting our team. Previously Charlie has worked as a Studio and Project Manager for a fashion company where she managed budgets and timings as well as the upkeep of the studio. When not at work, you’ll often find her running along the banks of the Thames dodging tourists’ photos!

Cloudy with a chance of...
As the creative industry slowly (and slightly reluctantly) moves over to software rental via Adobe’s all conquering Creative Cloud, terms such as 'global cloud failure' can only serve to make us even more nervous! Last week their entire system was offline for 24 hours. Whilst we were able to work around this, many others would have been more affected. Whilst it’s in Adobe’s interest to ensure this doesn’t happen again, it does raise the issue that relying TOO much on the cloud does have its drawbacks. Read more - BBC News

The beauty of brand guidelines
Released through Unit Editions, Manuals 1 - Design and Identity Guidelines is a beautiful collection of 20 design manuals produced from the 1960s to early 1980s (considered to be the golden era of identity design don't you know). The book includes manuals created for institutions and corporations such as NASA, Lufthansa and British Steel. The manuals have been lovingly photographed and displayed over 432 pages. Despite the slightly hefty £75 price tag, this will surely be a welcome addition to our bookshelves. Go on, let your "brand geek" out - United Editions

The Client Factor
Clients, don’t you just love ‘em. The Drum has launched an anonymous survey to rate the top 100 clients across the UK - judging things such as financial management, communications, appreciation and creative direction. We'll be voting for all of our (obviously!). Cast your vote - The Drum

The Pre-Cat-aelites
Everything is better with cats, right? Russian artist Svetlana Petrova certainly thinks so (as does our Account Manager, Katie), as she's been adding images of her ginger cat Zarathustra to famous works of art. As is the way with the internet and cats, she's become somewhat of an internet sensation.
Check them out - BBC News 

Microsoft and their slightly beleaguered Xbox One console haven’t been doing so well over the months since their big launch. Despite great sales so far, their competitor Sony has been increasing their lead by significant amounts. Although Microsoft bought some great new ideas to the table - with their device being aimed as an 'all in one’ media device, with their Kinect sensor able to read movement and voice controls to an amazing degree, it also added significantly to the price. They’ve now decided to drop Kinect from the device, bringing the cost down to the same as their rival the PS4. But is it too little too late? And does the loss of Kinect render this as just another games console rather than the next big thing in the living room? Read more - The Verge

What's in a name...
Shakespeare clearly hadn't considered brand merging when this was written, as the recent merger between Carphone Warehouse and Dixons proves - Dixons Carphone. We're left thinking, along with many people, why didn't they take this as an opportunity to rename and develop something that encompasses their new offering - rather than butting up two names and hoping for the best! With naming and brand building a huge part of our offer as a Design Consultancy (have we ever mentioned that?) this seems a real oversight, we've done it for many clients in the past, from unique names such as as Pevara and to does-what-it-says-on-the-tin names like Newsprinters. Design Week seem to share the same views as us - Design Week

Easy prey
With house prices soaring so high they're with the Gods, more and more people are stuck in the rent cycle. So when contracts end it can often be time to get on the house hunt again, a daunting task with such an expanse of the city at our feet but the team at Rentonomy have a nifty little widget that allows you to search London by various catagories, and then shows you your best options. None of us are moving, we just thought it was a neat little piece of digital design. Start the hunt - Rentonomy 

The Y-Front Phenomena
And finally… A cautious tale of brand, identity and the importance of user research. And underpants. An American firm ‘RJ Metrics’ recently fell foul of the ‘Y-Front’ phenomena, but discovered that this is a curiously British fixation. Still, in these days of global spanning social media, ridicule from any quarter is worth paying attention to. Read it for yourself - RJ Metrics

Imagine that

The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) is one of seven Catapults around the UK, bringing together a network of world-leading centres created to pioneer innovation in a variety of sectors. The TSC’s area of innovation focuses around how we can move people and goods seamlessly around the UK and the globe, as well the positive economic impact the projects can have on the country. It’s a sector the TSC refer to as Intelligent Mobility, as it encompasses everything they’re trying to achieve.

Transport Systems and Intelligent Mobility are so broad, with an estimated global value of £900bn by 2025, covering everything from driverless pods (yes, KITT will become a reality) to electronic tickets and a cycle drag lift that will hoist you up that painful hill!

It’s safe to say our work with the TSC has been as varied as the projects they’re helping to develop. It all started with the Imagine Festival, with the branding and website for the event, which starts on the 9th of June and aims to introduce people to the TSC and inspire people to start talking about Intelligent Mobility.

The Festival led into the creation of the IM campaign, a campaign designed to bring the topic of Intelligent Mobility to the fore of the Transport Systems Catapult. It aims to communicate its future importance, encourage debate and inspire people to be involved. Its distinctive look reflects the dynamism of the topic, whilst sitting nicely with the main TSC brand, which underpins the campaign across all materials.

Once the campaign was in place it was rolled out across a broad suite of materials. The largest, not only in terms of scale, were the graphics for the all singing and dancing “Imovation Centre”. No, that’s not a typo! We managed to persuade the powers that be to change the name from Innovation to Imovation to truly promote IM. The Centre is open to the public and will serve as a place for people to not only work on projects with the help of the TSC, but to also discover Intelligent Mobility and how they might be able to get involved.

The centre will also feature the IM animation we worked on, introducing people to Intelligent Mobility.

Other materials include a set of cards named the Insight Toolkit. Each card explores one of 21 themes within Intelligent Mobility, such as how it can help the elderly or make people happier on their daily commute (that’d be a first!). And an A5 booklet that explains the current projects and market value of Intelligent Mobility, folding out to an A1 poster featuring the IM graphic used in the Imovation Centre.

David Reid, head of communications at the Transport Systems Catapult, said:

"tothepoint have created an innovative campaign across a variety of media that is helping us to communicate the heart of our business - intelligent mobility - in an engaging way that captures the imagination and makes a relatively complex concept easy to understand."

These are just a few of the projects we’ve been working on and are continuing to work on. If we wrote about them all, this post would rival a Game of Thrones novel. However if you would like to hear more about this work then do drop us a line or even better, pop down to the Imovation Centre to see how we’ve helped to bring Intelligent Mobility to life.

Loving every drop

We met Anglian Water on our stand at the PR Show last year, where they spotted our promotional showreel. They said they’d get in touch when some work came through, and as you can see they were true to their word.

Anglian Water is the largest water and water recycling company in the UK, and with such a big company comes big ideas; as they champion their Love Every Drop brand, which aims to put water at the heart of a whole new way of thinking.

It was an exciting project to be involved with, as water plays such an integral part to our daily lives, and is often taken for granted. The animation introduces the challenges we face and will be played at the seminars and workshops Anglian Water are hosting, bringing together people from various sectors to form a hub of innovation and inspire solutions to the issues we face, and raise awareness of water’s importance.

The animation needed to communicate the campaign’s goals and share Anglian’s passion for finding solutions. We started by creating a look and feel based on the Love Every Drop brand along with some initial storyboard ideas, which we then developed closely with the client to ensure they were conveying everything they felt was important.

The script grew to encompass the subjects covered in all five events – from agriculture and climate change to renewables and big data. Once the script was agreed, we created initial animatics to help demonstrate the pace and various aspects of the final piece.

‘Working with tothepoint has been a very positive experience from start to finish and we are very pleased with the final product which has been well received by our audience’
– Carol Primett, Events Manager at Anglian Water.

The final animated piece can be viewed below and made its debut at the Water Industry Innovation conference this month. The animation is playing at all five Anglian Water seminars, and has also found a home on their ‘Love Every Drop’ Youtube channel.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Spring Collection

The end of an era has come as Microsoft cease to support Windows XP. The “XPocolypse” (as it’s been dubbed) marks the end for the 13-year-old operating system, however with support for Internet Explorer 8 also stopping, it seems that it’s out with the old for Microsoft. Whilst some big institutions still struggle on with older operating systems, given all the recent hacking, security and privacy issues hitting the news over recent months (see below!), it really is time for everyone to upgrade to something that's still supported. This is doubly true with regard to internet browsers - so if you're still using IE 8 (or older!) get yourself updated - as not only are you running a very insecure browser, but you'll start to find many big websites just don't work properly on this outdated software. IE 11 is better in every single way, but browsers such as Chrome and Firefox still lead the pack - and keep themselves updated so you don't have to worry about being out of date!

Read more on The Gaurdian

The internet of bleeding hearts
Don’t worry, we’ve not come over all melodramatic! At the start of the month the IT world was woken up by an emergency security advisory from the OpenSSL project warning about a very nasty open bug called “Heartbleed”. And it is as bad as it sounds, as it masquerades as the server and lets attackers listen in on data. Many companies have since taken the necessary measures.
Natural Twitter
This one is for all you nature lovers, Piip-Show is a three month long broadcast by Norwegian broadcasting network NRK.no. The project is a collaboration between photographer Magne Klann, model maker Lars Aurtrade, outdoor aficionados UT.no and NRK.no. The project invites you to watch various wild birds drop into their (very adorable) coffee shop and their lounge.

Dot London
A brand new domain just for London: .london went on sale April 29th. Are you thinking of safeguarding your URL? We're certainly considering getting a 'www.tothepoint.london' name, if only to protect our brand in London. And, as the official website suggests, getting one allows you to associate your name with the 'greatest city on earth'! Purchasing a .london domain is pretty easy and costs are very reasonable. You can set one up to use on a brand new website or just have it direct to an existing one. If you need any help or advice in purchasing a domain or creating a new website, just let us know!

The “hole” of London
And talking of the 'greatest city on earth'... the beloved tube map has a new cover, a very holey one! Designed by artist Rachel Whiteread, who won a Turner Prize for her work 'House' in 1993. The cover is an illusion though and is actually printed.

Read more on Design Week

Battle of the TV Gizmos
We featured the Google Chromecast on our News roundup a little while ago, but for those of you who need a refresher it’s a small device (a doobrey if you will) that plugs into your HDMI port and allows you to stream content from a smartphone or tablet onto your TV. However, since launching in the UK it seems a contender is hot on its heels, with Amazon recently launching Fire TV in the US. With no dates yet for its UK release it is set to be a slightly pricier option, but with claims that it’s three times faster will the extra buck be worth it?

Matisse en masse
The Tate Modern is currently hosting, what critics are hailing as, one of the largest collections of Matisse’s “cut-out” artworks ever assembled. There is also an accompanying film if you fancy something a bit more animated. It’s on until September so there’s plenty of time to catch it; make sure you don’t miss out!

Read more on the BBC

A little pick me up
The 2014 Pick Me Up festival at Somerset House is up and running, it features loads of fun (and sometimes quirky) workshops and plenty of artwork to buy from various illustrators and designers from all over the place!

Building a brand for a building

We’ve been working with Derwent London for a few months now on the naming, identity and marketing materials for 76-78 Charlotte Street; a striking building set in the heart of Fitzrovia (or NoHo if you’re in with the ‘It Crowd’).

Derwent London is one of London’s most innovative office regeneration and investment specialists, and is well known for their creative approach and design led philosophy. With a distinctive clean and contemporary style we couldn’t wait to start working with them on the project.

The first call of business was to decide on the name of the building. Charlotte St Studios was the perfect option as it references the (highly desirable) address and the target market (young creative companies), as well as lending itself very nicely to some clever yet subtle typography in the identity.

Entrance shot taken by the Derwent London photographer

The building itself has a very striking aesthetic and it sits in the middle of the original artisan district (playing home to some very famous creatives from Virginia Woolf to John Constable), so we were keen to reflect this in the identity and across the materials.

For the identity we created a device that frames the name and takes inspiration from the building’s distinctive windows on the Charlotte Street side, the mix of bold and light type picks out the address. We also use an art piece from local gallery The Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery (for all you art buffs out there the piece is Homage to a Circle No. 4 by David Whitaker) to subtly suggest the artisan history of the area and to show what it currently has on offer.

The “window” from the identity is used across the brochure and website to hold headline text or pull outs, both also feature a layout in which the content seems to float on the page, a style which really comes into its own on the website; where we used a bespoke single page parallax design which allows the images and text to float over each other as you scroll through.

"Our first project with tothepoint was interpreted well and complimented the property and Derwent London's brand. The final identity and marketing materials for Charlotte St Studios really show that they understood what we were looking for, they work well with our other materials but still give the building a unique look and feel.” Explains Lesley Bufton, Property Marketing Manager at Derwent London

Every website can pose various challenges, however the challenge with this particular site was that it uses no set template and employs various levels of parallax scrolling. These make the act of browsing a unique and fun experience but did mean we had to get away from standard template/wireframe mentality! Even with a static visual of the full sit (viewable here), it only really started to take shape during development, with plenty of parallax experimentation to make sure we had that effortlessly floaty experience perfected. Simple interactivity, such as choosing map categories and downloadable floorplans, helps to add to the sites functionality. You can see the full site here.

The PDF brochure (you view that here) is also fully interactive, linking back to the floorplans on the website for example, to fully support this digitally led marketing campaign. All copy for the website and brochure was crafted by our very own Katie, who is also the Account Manager for Derwent London.

“Our Account Manager Katie was available throughout the project to help with any queries, explain designs and really took on board our feedback - Katie was even on hand to oversee the vinyl installation for us. The design team were also there to help if we ever needed it, and worked hard to ensure we met all of our deadlines.” Lesley goes on to explain.

Charlotte St Studios is now open for business, it’s been a great project to be involved in, creating something unique that breaks many of the traditional property norms. We’ll be continuing to work with Derwent London during the course of the building’s marketing stage to update the various elements.

“Working with tothepoint was a smooth and enjoyable process, resulting in an identity and materials that we are very happy with. We look forward to working with them again." Well, we are blushing now!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

New year new look

SeaBird Exploration is a global market leader in 2D seismic data services, providing valuable data to the oil and gas industry. The company also specialises in the niche 3D and shallow water market, so working with them is certainly an eye opener for us.

After working on the annual report, and subsequent quarterly reports, with SeaBird Exploration last year, we were very happy when they invited us back to help evolve the designs. Both ourselves and the team at SeaBird were keen to maintain the core elements from the previous reports but apply them with a fresh look and feel.

Prior to the report, we worked with SeaBird to commission two photographers to shoot company employees at work, equipment and vessels across two locations for use in the report. We were on hand to advise on the style of photography and to brief and liaise with the photographers, right up to the delivery of the final images.

With such great photography at our disposal imagery really was the king in the front section of this report, and offers a glimpse into various aspects of life at SeaBird. The mix of black and white and colour photography helps to add interest and dynamism throughout the document.

The bold yellow is now used more confidently throughout the report and the cyan is now used to pick out headings. The square device has also been updated to a subtle keyline or a transparent coloured block, both of which hold key information.

The report has now been distributed and work on the first quarter 2014 report is under way, no rest for the wicked!

You can view the full report online here