Friday, 29 August 2014

Summer Snippets

A Cut Above the Rest

Simon visited the Matisse exhibition at the Tate Modern this month as one of over 200 Better Bankside levy payers, and it was always going to be something of a highlight. Watching films of Henri Matisse at work with colour and form demonstrated the gulf between being artistic and a true pioneering artist. We often say to young designers that true artists work for themselves and for self-expression, while designers help clients express their vision for their brand. However, more and more these days we see the inextricable link between art and design, where the work we do is often elevated by incorporating art into the creative expression of a brand. The show is a must see, so many thanks Better Bankside for the invite.

A Viral Lesson

The ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ is a viral campaign that has been unmissable since it began on July 29th clogging up everyone’s newsfeeds - Even Simon's gotten involved. Although pouring ice cold water over yourself isn't everyone's cup of tea, the campaign has so far raised £50 million for the ALS Association with 1.7 million contributors. Making it not only a success but also a lesson on this contagious form of campaign. See Linkedin's marketing lessons here.

Digital Indulgence

Some of us here at TTP recently visited The Barbican to see their ‘Digital Revolution’ 3 areas of pure digital indulgence. You’re taken on a nostaligc journey through time and a showcase of classic machines, games and software from the past 40 years. Once through here you get to the digital extravaganzas and the projects the past paved the way for, from Hollywood special effects to innovative use of online media. Just when you think you’re near the end, you turn another corner to be dazzled by something you didn’t expect. Fancy turning into a digital crow or seeing a giant godlike effigy of Will.I.Am complete with clockwork orchestra? Then this is for you.

Bring Back Neon

This month we’ve created a neon sign for one of our clients, suggesting that ‘Italian’s tweet better’. One of a few neon signs we’re working on at the moment, it seems the retro style is coming back. Forming one of many design pieces created to add a personal touch to their office spaces around the globe. Amongst tuts of disapproval from other offices, the illuminated sign has brought discussion as to who does tweet better. Do you think #italianstweetbetter and if not who does?


As part of our ongoing work with News UK we had a walk around the new News UK building (that's a tongue twister) ‘The Place’, and were blown away by their conversion of still photography into animated, stop motion imagery. It's called parallax and uses a little Photoshop wizardry with some After Effects skills to bring photos to life as slow motion shots. Examples of parallax shown here have inspired us to get cracking and test it with some of our clients. Contact James or Simon for more info.

Snoopers Paradise

If you're prone to a little curtain twitching, then we recommend getting yourself to one of Open House's 750 open houses available to nosey around for free on 20th-21st September. With highlights such as restored Churches, award winning sustainable houses, an eco-village, London Underground HQ and even number 10 Downing Street, the event aims to promote public awareness and appreciation of the capital's building design and London architecture. An event not to be missed.

Rand Re-issued

Originally released in 1947, Paul Rand's 'Thoughts on Design' is finally being reissued. This is great news as used copies were changing hands for just under £170 on Amazon. Rand is widely recognised as one of the major influences in the history of graphic design. Written at the height of his career, and with a new foreword by design luminary Michael Bierut, this book is as relevant today as it was when first published. This classic treatise is an indispensable addition to the library of every designer, including us here at TTP.

The Tower of London Remembers

As you might be aware by now here at ttp our weekly runs in aid of Challenge Charlie take us along the banks of the Thames. As part of the route we’re witness to the Tower of London’s moat progressively filling with Paul Cummins’ ceramic poppies. By Nov 11th 16 acres will be filled with 888,246 poppies, representing every soldier that gave their life in WW1. The sheer scale of this project creates a powerful reminder of the tragedy. Each handmade poppy has been sculpted by artists, and you can see how they’re made here.

House of Vans

The tunnels under London Waterloo station have been transformed by Van’s and are now open to the public. The newly launched multi purpose venue has an indoor skate park, 850-capacity music venue, a 160-seat cinema and a gallery, as well as two bars and a cafĂ©. This concept is tried and tested in Brooklyn and Van’s have brought it to London, working with the local community and stakeholders to cement its place on the London scene. It’s free for all and open Wednesday to Sunday. For details, see here.

Talking Statues

The clever people at Sing London have brought some warmth to some of London and Manchester's stone hearted residents. Scanning a QR code or typing in a web address sees the user receiving a call from one of the 25 statues across both cities (no app necessary for once!). So if looking popular in public places is your thing then this is right up your alley. The phone call has been recorded by voice actors and celebrities alike to give a whole new dimension to some of Britain's famous monuments. The project is running for a year so there is plenty of time to check out all 50! For  more information see here.

Personal Space

The workplace for many of us can seem like second home, but more importantly it's the physical space of your company and your brand. Whether an identity has recently been created or it’s well established, why does its branding tend to stop at the usual reception desk, website or brochure? With 20 years working closely with many companies we know that a brand should span every touch-point, whether it’s taking your number from your business card, getting directions from your website or stepping into your workspace for the first time. People should feel connected to your brand.

From an internal perspective, a branded workspace helps boost moral. After all, creating a stimulating and engaging environment is only going to have a positive effect on how people engage with their company and the work they do.

However, don’t be mistaken, adding personality to your workspace does take more than a motivational poster but that’s not to say it has to be a mammoth task or pull on resources. As with any branded material you produce you need to set your goals, your timeframe and your budget and go from there.

Working with an experienced design team will ensure you not only reach your goals, but they will also help guide you through the process as you go. With many of our clients we not only provide creative but also organise site visits to measure up, ensure health and safety is adhered to and installation is managed with as little hassle to daily working life as possible.

Our creative work has spanned from large format graphics covering two floors, to equally large wooden letterpress walls; and right down to the smaller details like branded glass H&S manifestations and wayfinding. Our breadth of clients, from those pioneering the change in Britain’s transport systems, to teams providing printed press to the masses and even social media champions, proves that we really can get to the crux of your brand and deliver a space that echoes your values and engages your staff and clients.

The images above are all items we've designed and produced for our clients, so why not take a look at some more of our workplace environments here.

Challenging Design

Cyber Security Challenge (CSC) aims to uncover hidden cyber security talent from across the UK through competitions, challenges and learning programs, and then work to develop their skill sets to help them enter the industry.

It’s an exciting world, and their work uncovers some immense talent (we attempted one of the competitions, and it’s fair to say we didn’t make the grade!). However, the complete redesign of their website was a challenge more up our alley.

CSC asked us to provide a dynamic new design, supported by a whole new CMS. To improve on their out of date and inflexible system we suggested Wordpress as the best platform. Due to its blogging past, many dismiss Wordpress as an inferior CMS option, however, don’t be fooled! It’s moved on leaps and bounds over the years, becoming the most popular platform in the world. With a global community of developers and resource, Wordpress is ever improving making it a powerful and future proof solution. And being selected by a company specialising in cyber security must give it some brownie points!

All design requires a good foundation, so at the start of this project we worked closely with CSC to define how they wanted to feature their content, along with identifying their target audiences and the journeys they’re likely to take on the site. From here we created a sitemap and a series of wireframes to define key areas of content.

Once we had a plan in place we were able to move on to the look and feel of the site, creating a homepage with a dynamic ‘magazine’ style, allowing different types of content (article, video etc) to be added helping to keep it looking fresh.

The final stage is the build, during this time we also fine tune aspects such as the responsive layout. Although this is addressed early on, it can’t be finalised until the site is constructed - for example the initial breakpoints were adjusted to better fit Google’s small Nexus 7 tablet screen size.

The site is then ready to be unleashed on the world, and is transferred over to the chosen hosting provider – in this case Skyscape who supply and manage incredibly secure website hosting – website security is an obvious requirement given the subject matter! Take a look at the site and let us know what you think.

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.