2009
12.17

Check out this cool Christmas game ? but be careful, it?s addictive!

Once again we?ve saved a tree and developed our own digital Christmas card, but this time, you can PLAY it….

P.S. If you decide to register your score, you?ll need to type in your name!

Click here to see the SCORE TABLE
Click here to PLAY THE GAME

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2009
12.15

Like it or not, space is something we designers have a love-hate relationship with. It can be the key behind our most ingenious work and it can be our greatest bugbear (“there’s no way we can go to a 16-page brochure – you’ll just have to fit it into 12″…! Ring any bells, fellow graphic designers?!)

I’m fascinated by the use of space – whether it be how Jonboy managed to fit all the necessary information into the events brochure he recently put together for Exeter Phoenix, or the clever use of negative space in logo design. But space is an implicit issue in all kinds of design and those that really catch my eye are always somehow innovative or unique… like the interior designer that converted this rubbish truck:

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2009
12.14

If you’re thinking of buying a quality second-hand car, but can’t decide whether to go safe and buy one from a dealer (and pay a premium for doing so), or to chance your arm and buy privately (and risk picking up a lemon), we’re working with someone who may have a solution.

UsedCars2U is the UK?s first website that supplies fully serviced used cars directly the consumers? door, at no extra charge. In so doing, they’re aiming to cut out the middle man. All of UsedCars2U’s cars have had one owner, come with a warranty, full service history, 14-day money-back guarantee and undergo a 120-point pre-delivery check… All the benefits of buying from a dealer but for about 20% less, AND without having to leave your sofa!

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2009
12.13

This image was created by an artist and his assistants in Sydney, Australia.  I think you’ll agree, that this is one of the best reproductions of the Mona Lisa.  Looking at the first image, it is difficult to see how it was created.  However, as you scroll down, it becomes more clear.

Believe it or not, this image was created using 3,604 cups of coffee, each filled with different amounts of milk to create the different shades of brown/cream.  A lot of patience, but truly brilliant!

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2009
12.10

AOL launched their new look site today and, all in all, it looks pretty good. Have a look what they’ve done with their visual identity – they’ve given it life by creating a family of backgrounds against which the logotype can sit (you can choose one at the top of the page). It’s a novel approach. Hit refresh and you get a different look.

It’ll be interesting to see what they do with this – I wonder if they intend to keep the variety or if they’re using the new site to see which of their new logos generates the most clicks and repeat visits. In the past we’ve launched sites with different Home Pages to see which ones work best, but that’s always intended as a selection process and eventually we pick a winner, based on visits, click throughs, purchases etc. We’ve also given our own visitors some interaction on the DNA site, enabling them to choose a background (but that’s just for fun).

We’ll be watching this space…

(Opinion: Jim Green – MD)

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2009
12.10

The new Exeter Phoenix events brochure has just hit the presses and it’s the result of a lot of hard work and a completely fresh approach. When we started working with Exeter Phoenix a few years back we transformed their ‘DL’ events leaflet into an A5 landscape booklet, giving much more space to the visiting artists and performers therein. Well, this time we’ve gone one better. Not only have we reviewed the entire Exeter Phoenix brand architecture (always an interesting challenge when working with so many passionate, creative people and departments!), but we’ve also created a new sub-brand structure, we’ve designed a new visual identity and we’ve transformed the events brochure into a quarterly magazine format.

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2009
12.10

If you’re Jeremy Clarkson, Christmas must be a wonderful time of year. At a time when most people’s coffers are running low, Clarkson inevitably launches a DVD and presumably rakes in loads of cash.  This year is no different. He’s just launched ‘Clarkson Duel’, which includes such innovative highlights as Clarkson racing rugby winger Tom Varndell in a 100 metre drag race, or (and you’ve got to love this one) the Stig trying to drift a car while wearing wellies!! Can’t help smiling at that one, although do you think perhaps they’re struggling for ideas?

One thing that makes us very happy, though, is that nearly all of the footage for this DVD was shot at our beloved Ascari.  When I’m watching Clarkson and the Stig race round the resort, I can’t help picturing JB hanging off the back of a pick-up with photographer, Darren Heath, in a death-defying attempt to get footage and stills for the Ascari website.  Good times!

As for ‘Clarkson Duel’, if you’re looking for a stocking filler this Christmas, it’s well worth a shout.

(Opinion: Paul Mabin – Creative Director)

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2009
12.08

I spotted this poem on the London Underground. It’s called “This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams and took me back to my uni days in York. I love the ambiguous balance between apology, confession and teasing…

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

(Opinion: Jim Green – MD)

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2009
12.07

It used to be that an advertising agency was simply that – an agency that you would go to if you wanted to advertise.  You would expect to pay them to create a message, devise a look and then put it in front of as many potential customers as you could afford. 

In recent years, however, the boundaries have become increasingly blurred between advertising agencies, marketeers, design groups and digital agencies.  Pressure is increasing on all of these to create ‘integrated’ solutions – campaigns that work across all media. Hence advertising agencies are having to diversify into areas once exclusive to digital or design agencies, and vice-versa. 

That’s not to say that there are no longer any specialist agencies out there. There are.  But the service offering for each type of agency is becoming more integrated. Where the agency can’t deliver something internally, they will almost certainly have a relationship with someone else who can. This is great for the individuals working within the agencies.  Being able to work in areas that we would not previously have experienced makes the job more fulfilling and more enjoyable; it also gives us more opportunity for learning and personal development.  For the client, it is perhaps not always clear which type of agency they should be working with, but it is also true that their agency (however they label themselves) is now more likely to understand how to satisfy their clients’ broader commercial and marketing objectives, using a broader palette of communications.  Surely that’s good news for everyone?

(Opinion: Paul Mabin -Creative Director)

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2009
12.01

Correct me if I’m wrong, but being British seems to mean driving a German car to an Irish pub and drinking a Belgian beer. On the way home we pick up an Indian curry, a Turkish kebab or a Chinese takeaway, then sit on Swedish furniture watching American programmes on a Japanese TV.

We’re also slightly suspicious of anything ‘foreign’.

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