Thursday, 31 July 2014

Thinking logically

This month has flown by so fast at one point we were scared to blink! We started working with News UK around eight weeks ago when they first asked us to come in to discuss the structure and naming of their operations division. This aspect of News UK included the already successful Newsprinters brand, which we had created a few years earlier. Within a short space of time we managed to agree the naming as well as design, artwork, produce and install a new brand and interior graphics for their ‘News Logistics’ division.

Following initial talks and naming, we ran a full day workshop to help their team explore some of the key aims and aspirations for News Logistics prior to embarking on the branding. The workshop was a melting pot of ideas, exploring and defining a vision for the business, a mission statement, a set of values and how they wanted to be perceived both internally and to clients.

As a result of the day we were able to define some key themes that needed to shine through in the branding and a link back to Newsprinters was key. The best way to do this was to maintain the globe icon from Newsprinters and the impactful colour. Their knowledge and existing infrastructure is also key to their offering, with a focus on building strong, long term partnerships.

The brand uses various graphic devices, the most obvious being the use of A-B (suggesting what they do in the most simplest form), and A-Z (denoting the breadth of their offering).

More subtle is the use of the chevron, of course a symbol related with road travel. However scratch a little deeper and it suggests movement and forward motion, a company that isn’t standing still but looking to the future.

The idea of partnerships is shown through the wall graphics and also in the playful names of the meeting rooms (great and successful partnerships: Laurel and Hardy, Tom and Jerry to name a few) and the strapline that came out of the workshop; ‘Proud To Deliver’, features across various materials produced for the launch including some staff giveaways.

The space is now decked out with graphics and manifestations, and filled with News Logistics staff. The response has been fantastic, and their team are really pleased with their new home. It’s gone down so well we are now looking at livening up a few more spaces including their huge warehouse and beyond…

Fancy a Challenge?

You might have noticed that we’ve donned our running shoes of late; well it’s all been in the name of something called Challenge Charlie.

Challenge Charlie has been set up by Sam Hutton (the name’s no coincidence - he’s Gill and Simon’s lad) in honour of his younger brother Charlie who tragically died in a boating accident in 2012. Sam is challenging himself to run every day for 97 days, and he’s asking others to join him and get fit, as well as raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI).

Challenge Charlie started on the 16th June (Gill’s birthday) and will be continuing until 20th September – Charlie’s birthday. The run is mainly London based, from laps of Battersea Park to tourist dodging along the Thames, however Sam encourages anyone to carve out their own course and challenge themselves in Charlie’s memory.

Sam says: “We wanted to create something that everyone can take part in and to inspire others to take up the challenge by running and getting fit. Charlie stood for sport, he stood for health and he stood for fitness.

“Ever the competitive little brother and being a cheeky teenager, if Charlie was running with us, he would have sprinted past us shouting "Speed up bro's, call this running?!” So, what better way to honour his memory than to push ourselves through various sport and fitness challenges.”

The schedule has been carefully constructed by Sam based on Charlie’s life. Born in 1997 the entire distance adds up to 772km, which equates to 1km for every week Charlie lived his life. Equally, 97 days equates to 14 weeks, and each week starts with a 2km run on the Monday and culminates on Sunday with 14km. That's1 km for each of the 14 years he lived.

Sam and Tom (Charlie’s other big brother) have been working hard showing their appreciation for the RNLI – an extraordinary charity run by ordinary people – for their efforts on that tragic day. The dynamic duo started with the BUPA Great South Run in October 2012 and the challenges have grown from there, with the London Marathon, a half Ironman and swimming the 14km from Henley to Marlow to name a few! Collectively Team Hutton has raised almost £20,000 and with no signs of stopping, their good work will only continue.

So Sam, Team Hutton and TTP challenge you to Challenge Charlie, dust off those running shoes, buy the t-shirt and get out there! You’re more than welcome to join us on one of our runs, just drop Katie an email and she can give you all the details. And don’t worry; you can see the grass grow when we run (to quote Sam!).

News nuggets

A cut above the rest

As part of our work with Better Bankside, we've produced an invitation for an exclusive reception and private view of Matisse's exhibition the 'Cut-Outs' showing at the Tate Modern. We used a fancy paper technique called duplexing (which bonds two or more sheets of paper together) to show a play on the exhibition title through the design.

James joins

James has joined the tothepoint throng as our new Head of Digital. He moved from the distant plains of Yorkshire to London back in 1998, having graduated in Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University. Digital has always been James’ focus and passion, and his strong foundation in both designing and producing digital projects means he is equally happy conceiving killer concepts and enhancing UX as he is coding. From HTML, CSS, through to actionscript, Javascript and PHP, James is the man to both liaise with development teams as well as demystify their dark arts for the client.

Quick response

Responsive websites are a common thing in today’s multi-device world. However the effect that they have on logos leads us to question if responsive logos should also exist. There’s nothing worse than squishing your identity to accommodate a smartphone layout, why not adapt it to maintain its lovely logo-ness when on a small scale? Just drag your browser in to see it in action.

Here a cat, there a cat…

You know we can’t resist anything with fur (we say “we”, we mean Katie), however this is a data experiment masquerading as fun. The University of Florida use the co-ordinates embedded in the data of images posted to social media, combined with the search term “Cat” (duh) to plot the felines “homes” on a map. As an exercise on what you can do with data that’s freely available online, it does highlight the amount of personal information we have out there in the ether. On a shallow level, it could have looked prettier…. Feline curious?

Hot off the press

A copy of Design Genius by Gavin Ambrose has just landed on our desks, the reason we bring it up is because we feature in it, or more specifically an interview with Simon regarding our Yahoo! and Newsprinters work. Our pieces focus on the business of design and also using tone of voice within creative. The book is of course full of plenty of other great work, and well worth a read....FYI pages 72 and 206 are of course the best. Available in all good book stores soon.

Something in the air

The recent Airbnb rebrand has created somewhat of a stir, and has faced both praise and backlash through the “empowering” channel of social media. Certainly division of opinion is nothing new where logos and brands are concerned, so is this now just amplified through social media in today’s world? We think many aspects of the brand are lovely. The Create platform not only allows users to create their own Airbnb logo for their profile, but also acts as a space for people to share their stories. The website also has some great features, with a really simple UI.

Making an exhibition of ourselves

As is the glory of living in London there is always something going on, and at present there are several somethings we just had to share! Firstly there is the Digital Revolution at the Barbican, an exciting exhibition that allows you to play in laser fields, visit old games and explore the digital world. There’s also the Quentin Blake show at House of Illustration, showing a mix of his work but don’t expect too much focus on Roald Dahl. The National Theatre has also launched Watch This Space, a mixture of live theatre, dance and performance spanning South London.

FYI grammar’s not dead

The Evening Standard recently posted an article by Lucy Tobin about grammar in email, and it got us thinking about how we use grammar today. Although we have been known to hunt down rogue apostrophes, we also find the evolution of our language fascinating, not so long ago words like critic and gossip were invented and language played by a whole different set of rules. So although Lucy makes some valid points we think we shouldn’t get so hung up on rules that might be outdated.


3D printing for the mass market as been on the cards for some time now. However with beta apps and stores being launched by Ebay and Amazon this month, it seems the day may be closer than we think. Don’t get carried away though, we’re still some way off printing whatever our heart desires – unless that happens to be a Bobble Head?

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.