Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Marching on

Mozilla aren't feeling the love for OKCupid
The internet has exploded (from CNN to the Beeb, it's everywhere!) over claims of unrest between Mozilla and OKCupid, as it's claimed the Firefox CEO supports the anti-same-sex marriage campaign. Whether this is true, or something to do with the dawn of April Fools (it launched into the world on the eve of this mischievous day) remains to be seen!

Feeling foolish
...and talking of April Fools Day - it's April 1st and naturally a host of spurious news articles have popped up around the world - from Google's 'magic hand' to a proposed redesign of the Union Jack (without the Scottish bit!). Did you see any others that beat these?

It's certainly a terrible day to announce any serious news - as no one will take you seriously! Which is why we sent our monthly enewsletter out today. Hmmm. Still it's past mid-day now, so everything else is true - we promise!

more info: 

» Design Week - Were you fooled?

» The Guardian - April Fools 2014

The cream of the crop
The Design Museum has launched their 2014 Design of the Year exhibition, an annual event which celebrates the world of design in all it's glory! From the life changing floating school in a Nigerian lagoon to the less serious Dumb Ways to Die app it's always a great exhibition, and will open up your eyes to many exciting designs that you may not have known about.

A little distraction

Create musical sounds and colourful animations whilst you try to avoid looking at the emails piling into your inbox this lunchtime, all thanks to Google designer Jono Brandel and his little creation Patatap. A little bit of relaxing entertainment over a sandwich is just what you need, although be careful; it's easy to get sucked in!

On March 15th we were invited to the 2014 Cyber Security Challenge UK Awards Ceremony at the Institute of Directors. We’ve been working with the Cyber Security Challenge to create a completely new website for them - more on that when it launches soon!

The organisation was set up to encourage more talented people to join the cyber security profession and is sponsored by groups and companies as diverse as GCHQ, Symantec, HP and Royal Mail (among many others). Each year they set up a series of challenges - from online competitions to full-on terrorist attack simulations.

These led up to the final ‘masterclass’ which involved 42 of the best players that had beaten their way through to the final round. This challenge was designed to test a wide variety of skills - and to add to the stress it took place over two days in an underground bunker beneath London within the Churchill War Rooms. The finalists had to contend with warning lights flashing away, sirens going off, briefings to ministers and press conferences to manage - all the while trying to contain an increasing (simulated) cyber attack on the UK’s infrastructure - scary stuff!

In the end, 19 year old Will Shackleton was awarded the top prize - and has pretty much guaranteed a top job in the industry. The awards themselves were a glitzy affair in a wonderful location. The only worrying point of the evening came right at the end - when the ceremony was interrupted with a rather terrifying video message from a group calling themselves the ‘Flag Day Associates’. We’re not sure whether this was a real terrorist warning - or maybe clever way to kick off the start of the next series of ‘challenges’ - take a look below and decide for yourselves!

More info about the event:

When brand videos go bad
The satirical video, titled This Is A Generic Brand Video, is the brain child of writer Kendra Eash and stock footage provider Dissolve. It sees the stock footage lead brand video act as fuel for the satire that is the world of stock imagery and footage providers (and of course the brands themselves to follow this particular formula). Of course our own brand videos (such as Informa, Seanhanna and Technology Partnership) break the standard mould and offer our clients a little something more than the usual! FYI if you missed out on the comedy that stock imagery can bring, check out Women Laughing Alone With Salad.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Turley, madly, deeply

Last year we won a three way pitch to name and rebrand what was formerly ‘Turley Associates’, along with creating a launch campaign aimed at existing and potential new clients, which would raise awareness of the new direction the company was taking.

The original brief was to raise the profile of all their 12+ services, with the introduction of sub-brands, whilst retaining a 'one company approach'.

“We challenged the brief at pitch stage, as we believed the two requirements were at odds with each other. Our recommendation was for a workshop with key decision makers to explore and address both the company structure and core messaging.” Explains Simon, our MD.

“We wanted to find out more about the people, culture and services as well as how their clients felt about the Turley brand before starting creative”.

Our approach to the tender (which didn’t include creative) was liked, and the workshop was commissioned, along with a series of telephone interviews with key clients. The report outlining our findings, from the interviews and the key outcomes of the workshop, steered the project in a new direction.

“The session lasted a full day, and was pretty full on! Everyone got involved which was brilliant, plenty of lively debate and interaction with key directors and service heads.” Recalls our Creative Director, Kevin “We were able to refine the 12+ services to a core of six, with the remaining ones being categorized as support services to this core.”

The final report recommended a more subtle approach to sub branding of the six services and an evolution of the Turley Associates logo, dropping the Associates and refining the logotype to a more simple yet sophisticated mark. A visual language, which included colour coding, supported this approach.

“The aim was agreed as repositioning ‘Turley’ as a bold, forward thinking, creative planning company whose huge depth of knowledge across its six core services [planning, design, heritage, economics, sustainability and engagement] provides added benefit and insight for their clients.” notes Simon “The website was already underway with a separate digital agency as the rebrand started, however tothepoint worked with their web team to ensure the new website was on brand for the new look Turley.”

The rebrand was communicated with a launch campaign entitled ‘A different perspective’, which not only introduced the world to Turley’s new look but also reminded people of the knowledge and insight they provide to clients. We developed the theme and applied the creative across various materials, from literature, an email campaign and press advertising (including Estates Gazette, Property Week, Planning and Retail Week ) to a promotional launch video.

To make sure the new brand maintains consistency a set of thorough guidelines where produced, demonstrating brand usage and this has been supplied with a range of indesign and word templates. This toolkit helps Turley’s in house design team to implement the huge volume of materials they need to generate on a daily basis, efficiently and consistently.

“Tothepoint has done an excellent job, first in teasing out the right brief and then in bringing our visual representation up to date, clarifying our offer and developing our messaging. Early feedback from across the company, and outside, has been great and we look forward to rolling out our new branding and offer over the coming months.” Says Mike Best, Executive Director at Turley.

The brand and website are now live – with the rest of the collateral being rolled out over the next few weeks.


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Catapulting innovation

The Catapults are a collection of seven centres across the UK, and were established by the Technology Strategy Board (who, incidentally, are also clients of ours). Their primary goals are to bring together a network of world-leading centres designed to pioneer innovation and development across seven different areas. Our work has brought us to the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC), who's key challenge is to increase mobility, which to put it more simply covers more efficient and cost effective ways to move people and goods around the country.

Thinking of transport as anything other than the 133 bus and the painful commute into work is very new to us, however since immersing ourselves in transport systems our eyes have been opened and the scope of areas it covers is incredibly broad.  From new ticketing solutions to seamless freight, transport systems covers much more than many would think, and with advances in technology happening so quickly now it really is an exciting world for us to be a part of.

We're working with the people across the Transport Systems Catapult Innovation team on a wide range of exciting projects, from websites and interior graphics for their innovation centre in Milton Keynes, to ways to help people identity where in the ideas process they are and what support is available to them through TSC. However, heading up the teams and the work is David Reid, who has been a client of ours for many years now.

We worked with David during his time at EPSRC, where the largest project was the Impact Campaign which involved everything from the website to exhibition campaign. We also worked with David on Matter PR, from branding to website design and build it was a great project for showing how to make a tight budget work hard.

At the moment all of the projects are currently in development, so we're having to keep them under our hat for now (although we can give you this tiny sneak peak!). As soon as we're able to completely let the cat (-apult) out of the bag we will, and we'll do it on our e-news first.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Statistically great design

We have an impressive 15+ year history with the CIPR, and have been involved in many aspects of the company, from the branding for their annual awards and the first ever PR centric trade show, to the promotion of their services and day-to-day brand guardianship.

Their State Of The Profession document is an annual discussion on the changes within PR over the last year, and what this means for the many practitioners – both members of the CIPR and non-members, and is the talk of the PR town as you can see.

We were tasked with taking the report and adding the distinctive CIPR branding, which offers clean, strong layouts with burst of blue and the forward slash, signifying the forward thinking nature of the organisation.

We also took the core statistics and transformed them into works of infographic art, engaging the public in the more contrasting or influential data that the survey presented. Icons are a growing aspect of the CIPR brand, so these are used heavily in the infographics, maintaining the cyan colour palette to create a synergy between the different graphics.

The report has been published online and has been promoted using a single page of infographics across Twitter and the blogosphere.
Infographics are something we’re seeing as a real trend at the moment (there’s an exhibition on at the British Library http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/beautiful-science/index.html for anyone who’s a bit of a data nut!), and proves that the traditional chart is no longer the only way to communicate your findings.

What many people don’t realise is that an infographic is simply a creative representation of information, and could use iconography, imagery and colour to visualise data in a way that grabs the attention of readers. They can come in all sorts of forms; from the artistic maps of paths most commonly travelled in the big apple to this slightly more data focussed look at the NFL.

Round up, round up!

Letter Impressed 

This week Katie paid a visit to the Fedrigoni Imaginative Papers Studio for a talk on the history of printing, and a very rousing game of letterpress scrabble (for Katie maintains holding the top score for sometime). The Triple Word Score event was kicked off with a talk by Brooke Palmieri, book historian extraordinaire, who took the group through the history of printing. From the project that bankrupted the “Father of Printing” to the Broadside Ballads (Brooke used the story of a Whale, a strange and miraculous fish, washed up in Ipswich!) that made the printers their real money during that time, Katie left the event feeling much wiser on the whole subject. Although sadly did not win the Scrabble set we had our hearts set on…

Installation of the moment(um)

The latest interactive installation has arrived at the Barbican, the United Visual Artists (UVA) have launched Momentum in the Barbican's unique space of the Curve. Random International’s Rain Room from earlier in 2013 is a hard act to follow, but if anyone can it’s UVA, who have worked with Massive Attack in the past and have created installations across the world.


This month we stumbled across the delightful Legography by photographer Andrew Whyte, in which he documents the day-to-day activities of his Lego sidekick. It’s a lovely bit of lighthearted fun next time you have a lunchbreak to spare!

Capturing the commute

In celebration of the Tube’s 150th birthday, photographer Brendan Doherty has captured the London Underground commuters, snapping 150 commuters across 150 Tube stations. The exhibition location is set to be confirmed by Camden Collective, however a sneak peak can be seen here. We can confirm that none of us look that photo-ready (or cheerful) on our commute into the office!

Social Secrets

There's a new kid on the Social Media block and this one's all about secrecy (named secret.ly, naturally). While Facebook insists on real names (or at least tries to) this network is the complete opposite - everyone's anonymous. Of course this tends to encourage rather salacious posts - some truthful, many probably completely made up. Whether this becomes a new force in anonymous gossip and whistle-blowing or just another vehicle for trolls and cyber-bullying has yet to be seen. Read more about it here.

Good enough to eat

Who knew a Mondrian piece could look (and be) good enough too eat. No, we’re not a few Pollocks short of a picnic, the Art Fund has launched a new fundraising initiative aimed at art-lovers and keen-bakers to help raise money for UK galleries and museums. Our client Samworth Brothers (one of the UK’s leading chilled food manufactures) would be a dab hand at this…

Blazing through the night

We all know the roads of Central London can be a dangerous beast, from buses and cabbies to pedestrians that wander out aimlessly! However, a shining ray of protective light has come in the form of Brighton graduate Emily Brooke, who has produced the Blaze bike light, which beams the image of a bike onto the road about 5-6 metres ahead of you. Emily started the project a few years ago, gaining funding on Kickstarter and it’s now out there holding its own.

Tea and Cat
Katie has been eagerly awaiting the opening of this little gem, and the day is finally here. Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium is London's first ever cat cafe and is open as of the 1st of March. You can get a cup of tea, gluten free cake and a side of tabby cat to pet. 

New depths of design

Here at tothepoint we’re not afraid to offer our opinion, so when Rockpool originally came to us to work on the design of a folder, we offered up our challenges not only to the brief but the brand itself.

With such an impressive history (founders include one of the City’s first “superwomen”, Nicola Horlick) and two arms to the business; Rockpool Investments and Rockpool Network, we could see great potential for the identity and the brand. With an office move imminent, the team at Rockpool decided to seize the opportunity to undergo our proposed brand refresh.

We put forward a budget to look at a series of concepts to help enhance and build the brand. However, if none of these were liked or used no fees would be charged. This approach (in a non-group tender situation) created an opportunity for a bigger project for us, and a no risk undertaking for our new client.

Our first concern was the logo and its legibility. Tints of grey, intended to mimic foil blocking, were over complicating the logo and hindering legibility. At the same time the quirky little device used to reflect water on the 'O' was too subtle at small sizes.

Once the issues were identified it was time to set to work on their solutions. The ripple in the ‘O’ was something the client and we were keen to maintain, by simplifying the device we were able to make it work better at smaller sizes. The letter ‘O’ was evolved to become an icon in itself, representing the water element of the brand, and the indepth research they undertake to find investment opportunities.

Rockpool are so named due to their ability to find undiscovered investment opportunities (less so because of memories of youthful summers spent rockpooling in the hope of finding crabs…), but we liked the analogy and proposed 'finding the opportunity' as their new strapline. This integrates the new 'O' symbol, which is also used with other key words like 'NETWORK'.

Rockpool have now settled into their new office, so the new identity is being rolled out across stationery, the folder (we didn’t forget about the original brief!) and other materials. We’re working on a series of symbols, for both areas of the business, to add to their toolkit, which will help build the unique and striking visual language that will help Rockpool stand out in their crowded marketplace.

Our main goal is always to produce something our clients are going to love (isn’t that everyone’s goal?), but what sets us apart is our willingness to challenge something if we can see a more effective solution for their brand, and a better way to allow our clients to take ownership of it. Our 20+ years of experience is what stands us in good stead when we do challenge a brief, but we like to think of it as a partnership approach.

Elizabeth Orbell , Marketing Director at Rockpool said “tothepoint developed a simple but effective new design style for us. Our unique and contemporary identity takes Rockpool’s branding beyond being just a logo and, importantly, reflects our position in the marketplace.”

Thursday, 30 January 2014

New Year, New Capital

We’ve been working with EFG Asset Management (EFGAM) for a number of years now and across a variety of projects, from their monthly and quarterly thought leadership publications to stationery and presentation materials. So when EFGAM approached us to create a new logo and website for its newly launched New Capital Funds division, we couldn’t wait to get started.

New Capital focuses on high conviction investments and requires a deeper understanding of targeted, rather than speculative, investment, with this insight at the core of its business. It was essential that the identity reflected the strong research, data analysis and insight that inform the selection of each investment, and which sets this fund apart.

The identity reflects the data charts that will often be used within their research; this coupled with the core of the C being picked out subtly suggests that their research is at the core of their investments.

The identity is reflected in the infographics used across the brand, and the colour palette is also taken directly from it. The team was also keen to look towards Invest Plus, the quarterly magazine we produce for EFG Asset Management, for inspiration when it came to the look and feel of New Capital. Strong typography, pullouts of key data and images of the fund managers overlaid with dynamic cityscapes, have been developed to give New Capital its strong visual appearance.

This was then carried through to the website, where the fund managers feature prominently, helping to position New Capital as experts in the field. We worked closely in collaboration with EFG’s incumbent web development company ‘Embrace’ in order to create wireframes for all required templates (bearing in mind the strong look we wanted to achieve and also keeping mobile users in mind).

During the course of the branding and website process, various pieces of print work have also been produced for the brand, including business cards, agenda card and wrap for Citywire, an investment specific publication. It’s been an exciting project to work on, and we hope to be able to show you more work for New Capital soon.

You can see the new website here: www.newcapitalfunds.com

New News!

CES pit

Gadget fans were in tech heaven earlier this month as the annual CES show unveiled the latest round of gadgets and innovations headed our way this year. Although most attendees seem to think this was the best show yet - showing innovations that will change our life across the board, others were less convinced. And when you see some of the ideas on offer you can start to see why. For instance, a helmet that tells you how hard you were punched!? However, many will consider the ability to 3D-print your own chocolate bars does make all this worth while. 

Have you heard about Dangerdust?

An anonymous duo at Ohio’s Columbus College of Art and Design have been working undercover of darkness to transform their college chalk boards into inspirational works of art. Known only as Dangerdust, the pair have been using the unusual canvas as an escape from their class assignments since September last year. Since then their work has exploded onto the digital scene, if you look at only one thing this month, make it this!

Read more: Creative Review

Help, my fridge is full of spam!

The long talked about 'internet of things' could finally start to become a reality this year with more connected devices coming onto the market than ever before. We're used to our phones and computers being permanently connected to the world and more 'smart' TVs are now joining the party. Other items such as fridges (that can re-order milk for you before you even knew you'd run low) washing machines and other household goods are becoming internet enabled too - it's a brave new world! However there are downsides to this internet-centric future, as The Guardian recently noted. Internet connected fridges were discovered to be sending out huge quantities of spam and phishing emails over Christmas - and not just fridges, but all manner of other devices too... 

Read more: The Guardian

Tiny appetites

“Who hasn’t dreamt of driving through chocolate mousse? Or skiing down a slope of Chantilly cream?” Minimiam is the ingenious work of Akiko Ida and Pierre Lavelle, two French photographers who have been playfully pairing model train figurines with pastries, fruits, vegetables and other foods for several years. Don’t be fooled though, the figurines often take on more serious issues such as global warming whilst they ice skate in pastry dishes.

iWonder what the BBC will do next

Good old Auntie Beeb, a national treasure. So when they pull out something new we can’t help but talk about it, and iWonder; the new digital learning platform, is no exception. The platform combines archived and original content to unlock the learning potential of all BBC content. iWonder kicks off with a set of guides about World War One, which coincides with the start of its WW1 programme series.

Read more: Creative Review

Fireworks at night are so 2013 

Black Ceremony is the work of artist Cai Guo-Qiang, his love of exploring gunpowder in his drawings eventually developed into the outstanding explosive displays that have become his signature. It’s just a little something to brighten your day (excuse the pun).

Remember when Facebook was cool? 

There's long been a rumour that whilst Facebook still boasts millions of active users (and is by far the most widely used social network) there's been a steady decline of teenagers using the service. According to most recent studies, this is definitely a concern, with a huge drop in users early 2013. This drop-off levelled out somewhat later in the year, but the trend is still downwards with 'young people' moving to more focussed messaging services such as Snapchat.

Read more: Mashable

A little encouragement…

It might be a little late in the day for this, but we believe in you! You can keep that healthy eating New Year’s resolution! To help you along the way here are 22 simple ways to start eating healthier. If you’re like us and have gone too far past the resolution to turn back now, never mind, it’s the thought that counts.

Where we’re going we don’t need roads

My friends, we are one step closer to Hover Boards, as a team of three Japanese engineers have unveiled an ambitious device that uses sound waves to move objects through three dimensional space. Not only is that an incredible scientific breakthrough, but “the dream” could be a year ahead of schedule.

Read more: This Is Colossal

In our rear-view mirror

2014 has sprung into life and the studio is as busy as ever, with plenty of exciting projects from clients old and new. However, as we keep up the hard work, and our New Year's resolutions slip a little further, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on some of the work of 2013.

The fruits of our labour
It's always satisfying seeing our work come to life, especially at the start of the year, and the fruits of our labour were there for all to see at St Martin's Quarter in Worcester when the latest signage was put in place. This was the final pieces of the puzzle for this project, where we worked on everything from naming, branding, literature, website and the lovely signage.

The concept of the cube
February saw us working on an exciting project on the other side of the world (the early morning Skype calls were less fun), developing the identity for a New Zealand start up, 'The Concept Cube', whilst helping with its first venture, a very delicious New Zealand 100% Blue Agave (which is a non-Mexican tequila for the uninitiated!).

An innovative environment
It was in March that the BBSRC Fostering Innovation Awards 2013 took place in Millbank Tower, London. Guests were not only treated to spectacular views, but also to the striking branding and venue dressing that we created for the awards.

SeaBird R&A explore design shift
The R&A for SeaBird Exploration, a leading provider of marine seismic data was released in April. We enhanced the design and created a report that more effectively communicates SeaBird's improved performance in this specialist sector. We went on to work on a number of other projects for them, and the 2013 Annual Report is also just around the corner.

An exchange of ideas
May saw our work in the national press, as we created a national broadsheet ad campaign for foreign exchange and international payments specialist FC Exchange, developing an iconic look and feel, reinforced by direct, bullish messaging to help the company differentiate itself in a competitive market.

Celebrating excellence
We've been helping the CIPR add a touch of glamour to its annual Excellence Awards for a number of years now. In 2013 we created a sophisticated and celebratory event identity along with supporting print and digital collateral, which all came to life on the awards night in June. Work for this year’s award is already underway.

Hot off the press
July marked the first issue of the redesigned Samworth Standard – an internal newspaper for the huge chilled foods producer. Since then we’ve produced 2 further issues and are currently working on the fourth issue, which hits the doormats of over 8,000 employees.

Long time coming
In August we welcomed our designer Sarah Long into the warm embrace of tothepoint. Sarah wasted no time in making her mark on the design team, helping hairdressing salon Headquarters to celebrate its 15th birthday with an invite for the big birthday bash. And yes, that is our logo that the salon is still sporting 15 years later, and it's looking as youthful as ever!

Going digital
Recognising that the digital landscape is constantly changing, we launched a new digital arm of tothepoint in September, to focus solely on digital design and communications. The site, www.ttpdigital.com, showcases our experience and expertise in this area, plus there's a dedicated blog where we share our opinions on all things digital.

All Change!
We finally unveiled the evolved Croydon Business Improvement District (BID) logo, loyalty card scheme 'Check Out Croydon' and website in October. Although it had only been live for a couple of weeks, the new website achieved an increase of over 3300% more site visitors since launch! Since then we’ve been working on their town centre banners and window graphics, and there’s plenty more projects coming up.

Putting on a show
On the 26th November Ben and Simon were released from their shackles to man our stand at The Public Relations Show 2013 and challenge people to a game of 'I Shot the Serif'! Not only did we exhibit at the event, but we also developed the branding and much of the collateral for it. The day was a huge success, with over 1,000 visitors and the event itself trending on Twitter in London.

A year to view
Drum roll please... The 2014 tothepoint calendar is here! With all things digital seeming to be favoured by today's Tweeters, bloggers and Facebook disciples, we're always surprised (and flattered) that our printed calendar has remained so popular. This year's calendar is a visual expression of us. You can find out a little more and download your own copy here.