Friday, 7 September 2007


As i was driving through Norwich yesterday i came across a building completely covered in painted words. There is no information about the project near by so when i got home i looked it up on the internet.

I discovered that the written words are Sir Thomas More’s entire novel ‘Utopia’. The old Eastern Electricity building was due for demolition and inspired local artist Rory Macbeth to paint his favourite novel on its exterior walls for the EASTinternational 2006 contemporary art exhibition. He said his reason for painting Utopia onto the building is that the novel is “as valid now as it was when it was written”.

“I like expressing the text through graffiti,” he explained, “as most graffiti is utopian – the world would be perfect if this or that were different.”

The building is incredibly visually striking creating a sense of mystery and intrigue. You can see from standing near the building that the decoration is written words but you cannot make out each individually, making it impossible to derive any meaning from them.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Macmillan Cancer Research

I have seen a lot of advertising recently for Macmillan Cancer Support using positive and bold graphics and typography to make them stand out from other charities. When I looked into the charity in more detail I realised that this brand identity had only been around since 2006.

The charity was founded, as the Society for the Prevention and Relief of Cancer, in 1911 by Douglas Macmillan following the death of his father from the disease. In 1924 the name was changed to the National Society for Cancer Relief, which it retained until 1989 when it was changed to Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund, later changed again to Macmillan Cancer Relief. From 5th April 2006 Macmillan Cancer Relief became known as Macmillan Cancer Support as this more accurately reflects its role in supporting people living with cancer. It has adopted the principles of being a 'source of support' and a 'force for change'.

The re-branding has been extremely successful and works on a variety on media. Despite their boldness the designs always have a human, hand-made feel to them, which suggests the approachability of the charity. The main message of the promotional media always stands out, nothing is decretive and fussy. The designs are always simple and straight to the point, with each image or piece of type there for a clear reason.

Words Fail Me

A witty and imaginative look at the contradictions and inconsistencies in the English language. Designer and typographer Teresa Monachino demands a second look at hidden meaning in a superficially simple word. The book 'Words Fail Me' uses clever visual representations to create an entertaining and beautifully presented look at nonsense within the English language.

Why is abbreviation such a long word? Does monosyllabic really need five syllables? Why is lisp so hard to say if you have one? 'A book that gently subverts and questions the art of expression...filled with gentle humour and genuinely interesting anachronisms of the English language, all set in Monachino's immaculate typography.'(Design Week)

Did you know that the letters of HONESTLY can be rearranged to read ON THE SLY? A FUNERAL is also REAL FUN and SANTA can easily be turned into SATAN?

The concept of the book was inspired by Monochino's Sicilian mothers uncertain grasp of the English language "In my attempts to explain the often extreme differences in meaning between similar-looking words I often found myself equally befuddled. English hoodwinks us into believing one thing while concealing something quite different. All is not what it seems. This book is my attempt to bring these illogical ideas to the fore, not as an academic study of our language, but as a visual treat.”

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

BeniFit package design

Benefit’s unique package design and marketing approach have set it aside for other cosmetic companies. BeneFit cosmetics are beautifully imaginative and utilize a fanciful illustration style and bold typography to communicate a brand personality built around the ideas of imagination, free-spiritedness and individuality. The photos and graphics used on the packaging also help contribute to the brand’s playful image.

Unlike many other cosmetic brands, which rely on a very consistent packaging look and feel, BeneFit differentiates itself by building stories around individual products like Dear John facial cream and Bad Gal Lash. They have created an element of surprise and discovery around each product. All have attention-grabbing names, such as Ooh-La-Lift under-eye depuffer and High Brow. These witty, catchy names and vibrant, evocative imagery create a distinctive brand experience that costumers want to buy into.

Benefit was founded in 1991 by identical twin sisters Jean and Jane Ford. They opened their first boutique, The Face Place, in 1976 in San Francisco and quickly opened another three. Their buisness expanded mostly because of their product "Benetint" and in 1991 the company began national distribution and the name was replaced with one that best reflected the intent of the products…Benefit.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Overtake Faster

A series of outdoor print adverts for VW Golf R32. The campaign copy reads 'Overtake faster' and shows images of lorries and coaches which cars often get stuck behind on busy roads. The cars appear a lot shorter then usual, suggesting that WV is so fast, that when you overtake, other cars look smaller.

Entertaining Angles

People see homelessness everyday, especially in large cities like London and Leeds. Most don't take much notice, thinking that it does not concern them, that it is something that is happening to someone else. Some turn away to avoid eye contact, thinking that it must be their own fault that they are there.

Instead of turning it's back, 'Entertaining Angles' focuses directly on experiences of the homeless connected with the Crypt from the early days in the 1930s to the present day. Telling their stories, the encounters with each other and the rest of the world.

Photographs were taken by Jonathon Angerson. "As a documentary photographer, the best thing you can learn is when not to take a photograph. My first couple of months at The Crypt were disheartening. The people who used the place were very hostile to me just being there with my camera. One guy in particular, a drunk would abuse me to the point that I was never able to take any pictures when he was there. I would have to wait till he fell asleep or left. There was a few weeks he wasn’t around that I got a lot of work done I recall." In time people began to trust Angerson and even contributed pieces of writing to the book telling their stories. The book raised money for St George's Crypt to stay open so it was of positive benefit to the people who featured in it.

Entertaining Angels is a people's history of St George's Crypt - a collection of stories and memories. It is richly illustrated with archive and contemporary photography, which captures the rawness and diversity of life at the Crypt. The stories are told by clients, staff, volunteers and supporters of the Crypt. This is a great way to create awareness and generate discussion about homlessness and the work of the Crypt. Great self-promotion.

Playing with perspective.

I came across this work by Emerystudio in Creative Reviews 'The Annual 2007'.

We all use car park when we have to and they are extremely drab, dark and quite depressing environments. Emerystudio's design for Eureka Tower's car park in Melbourne, Australia shows a different approach to the display of directional information, making it fun and interactive.

The team play with perspective in their colourful design of super sized letterforms that are both two, and three, dimensional. At different vantage points the viewer is either presented with an abstract shape or directional information. "Using an anamorphic approach wherein the images seem distorted until the viewer's vantage point is perfect, the words "In," "Out," "Up, " and "Down" snap into alignment to convey information at key decision-making points along the way."

The bold, clever use of words, dimension and perspective transforms the space from a colourless cement box.

The team were inspired by the work of Swiss artist Felice Varini, who is known for his geometric perspective-localized paintings of rooms and other spaces, using projector-stencil techniques. Varini paints on or in architectural elements in a way that creates the illusion of a flat pattern or object where one does not actually exist.

Public art at Cardiff Bay barrage

Neo Neon

This September, Uk interior designer, Lee Broom, launches his debut range of art-furniture Neo Neon combining neon lighting with traditional pieces of furniture. He describes his exclusive six piece collection of illuminated furniture as 'art that is ultimately functional'. The collection includes Electric Louis’ chair, ‘High Voltage Vanity mirrors’, ‘Neon night stand’, ‘Electro Showcase cabinet’ and ‘Cathode Console.

Lee Broom’s Neo Neon collection is to debut at at the Brick Lane Gallery during this year’s London Design Festival, from Wednesday 19th September through to Monday 24th September..Each individual piece is created in three stages - they are hand carved in Mahogany, lacquered to a high gloss finish and then adorned in neon in a workshop in Brighton. The
application of neon elements to the outlines of the six hand-carved Mahogany pieces (illustrated above with the Electric Louis chairs) “haloes the delicate lines of the traditional furniture whilst casting deep reflections in their richly lacquered surfaces.”

I am sure they will not be to everybodies taste and will have a completely different impact in the light of day, but the range certainly demonstrates a different way of looking at traditional furniture, giving a new meaning to “revival of the classics”.

The Ongoing Moment

I recently read 'The Ongoing Moment', a book written by Geoff Dyer in 2005. Dyer has confessed in a previous book that not only does he not take pictures in the course of his many travels but that he didn't even own a camera.

'The Ongoing Moment' looks at the ways that many photographers, in this case mainly American, have at different times photographed many of the same things such as, park benches, barber shops, blind accordion players, roads, ...

The book focuses on content rather than form, constructing links between these photographs and the photographers many of whom lived at different times, in different places and never meet.

The themes he has been drawn to are mostly fairly ordinary images such as hats or steps. Once photographed the moment captured becomes ongoing. When images of the same things are captured at different times, in differnt places, by different people, each image captures a different part of this ongoing moment.

"One of the features of this photographic taxonomy is that there is a great deal of seepage or traffic between categories. No sooner had I established hats and steps as organizing principles than i saw that some of the pictures that had engaged my attention had both hats and steps in them."(Dyer, 2005, pg6)

The structure is unique, although comparisons to John Berger, about whom Dyer has written, are appropriate. Brooks Johnson writes: “The Ongoing Moment offers a fresh perspective for understanding why photography affects us all so profoundly. Geoff Dyer is a real writer-someone with definite style as well as ideas.”

The interesting thing about this book is that the images it focuses on and Dyer becomes fascinated with are everyday and ordinary. The book describes how "Great photographs change the way we see the world; The Ongoing Moment changes the way we look at both"

Monday, 3 September 2007

Frieze Art Fair

A series of print advert for the 2006 'Frieze Art Fair'. Frieze is an annual international contemporary art fair held in October in London's Regent's Park. The ariel photography team 'High Spy' were commissioned to produce several vertical high resolution images of different scenes in Regents Park.

The beautiully art directed shots present the park from a different view point, producing slightly abstract images of the area as it has never been seen before. The still images convey a sense of calm and beauty.

Street Life

From 1977 to 1980 Martha Cooper was a staff photographer at the New York Post. Working out of her car, she drove around the city from assignment to assignment, always on the lookout for interesting feature shots. Cooper quickly found that the city’s poorer neighborhoods had the richest street life and her favorite location became Manhattan’s Alphabet City. When she did not have an assignment she would turn her attention to the children who played among the city's wastegrounds, abandone buildings and rubble-stewn streets made perfect playgrounds, providing open spaces and materials for improvised games and hideouts. Street Play shows the creative and unstoppable spirit of the city kids.

Her new book Streetplay documents the kids of the neighbourhood at play in the rough New York streets. "The poorer neighbourhoods, Cooper notes, seemed to posses the richest street life, her favourite being Alphabet City. There's something heartening about these images of kids turning watse intotoys and, at the same time, a sense that this kind of innocent play belongs to another era" (Creative Review, July 07. Pg54)

Martha Cooper is a documentary photographer who has specialized in urban vernacular art and architecture for more than twenty-five years. Coopers’ remarkable photos capture the spontaneous and improvisatory nature of children’s play. Her photos illuminate the way the city itself became a game board in an era when unsupervised play offered children a free school on the streets.

Raise them on Robinsons

Client: Robinson's Fruit Shoot Juice
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London
Copywriter: Wesley Hawes
Art Director: Gary McCreadie
Illustrator: Adrian Johnson

Interesting illistrated press and poster ads for Robinsons campaign 'Raise them on Robinsons'. Aimed at mums looking to give their child something good and healthy to drink, but the ads would also appeal to children. The illustrations are simple and playful reflecting the core values of the product.