blog, blag, flag – the mag ‘muse’

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Conscious brands

Conscious brands

– what are they, who are they and how to find out if you are one We had the acid test this last year on brands. Brands who stepped up during the pandemic, who looked after their people and helped us all ride the wave. They lifted us up and helped make our lives...

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👋Clubhouse – what is it, should you be bothered?

👋Clubhouse – what is it, should you be bothered?

A redrawn Apple emoji, originally designed by Raymond Sepulveda, Angela Guzman and Ollie Wagner Read time span: flash Clubhouse – a quick overview First off – you need to have an Apple Phone as it's an App and only on IOS right now (Android soon!). It’s an emerging...

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Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

HELLO to a new Chinese year – the year of the Ox. Marketing & horoscopes – Chinese or otherwise, archetypes, avatars, personas, tribes… When you are in business ‘pigeon-holing’ – grouping and naming potential customers – is a big deal. To try and find a way to talk to someone that; you don’t know, haven’t met yet (interacting on social platforms counts) – to give them the thing that you have, that they want – is a big deal. ‘Knowing’ your customer is the cornerstone of marketing. You need to be playing to the right crowd. And if you know, or can predict, which gig they want to go to next – you have sight of the Holy Grail.

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welcome to the 21st year of the 21st century

welcome to the 21st year of the 21st century

welcome to the 21st year of the 21st century! 21 + 21 – that adds up to 42, my favourite number… …the meaning of life and everything (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), and in I Ching the hexagram means ‘increase’. It’s a time to expand, develop, be strong, be generous, to replenish, and use wealth and resources wisely for the greater good. If only.

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Colour goes… back to the future…

Colour goes… back to the future…

Colour predictions are a big event, and Pantone is a major influencer. Fashion brands, makers and interior designers will be gearing up to be on-trend, because colour is such an important part of how we express ourselves. Colour can make us feel more comfortable, more assured, more attuned. And these two colours will be woven into our lives next year, hoping to change the mood of us all.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Simply this… I am giving thanks this week for four ‘oven ready’ (to quote Boris & a nod to ‘Turkey’) vaccines that are being readied to roll out.I am especially excited by the Oxford University/ Astra Zeneca vaccine that seems to be the most portable.I am full of new hope for 2021

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Go get ’em tiger!

Go get ’em tiger!

Being in the business of branding, like most designers – the most difficult brand to create is your own. Even though you know your own clients, and the work you like to do, it’s still difficult to be objective about yourself. When you are working for a client, you are working towards a goal, usually a deadline for a brand, re-brand, or campaign. You’ve worked out and agreed a budget, you’re part of a team. So the only way you can effectively brand for yourself, is to become your own client, or hire another designer… which does work in large agencies, but not for any self-respecting consultant designer I know. Tantamount to cheating in an exam?!

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Let me entertain you!

Let me entertain you!

The attention economy and our infinite appetite for distractions is the subject of a lovely RSA short and thought it was worth a share, and a rant! The talk is by James Williams from 2017 (the animation is new). The more I listened, the more I nodded.

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How’s your mojo?

How’s your mojo?

We have had months of mojo mangling. Our boundaries between home and work have mingled. Is your mojo all fired up and ready for the rest of the year? … probably not. I’ve worked from my home studio for a long time, here are my tips to get your mojo on track 😉

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Inspiration and where to find it

Inspiration and where to find it

Solving design problems is my thing. I like to research by reading the brief, having a chat, sometimes seeing how others have solved the problem… but the one thing I have to do is… sleep on it. By my bed you will find a sketchbook where I work through ideas before going to sleep, or to capture them as I fall into, or wake from, sleeping. If you can hold onto a question that you want to solve – your lovely brain has a whole night to try and figure out the answer for you.

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Every day is my independence day!

Every day is my independence day!

THANK YOU! I am incredibly grateful to all my clients, and people who recommend me to new clients, or who ‘like’ my posts, or tweets. I feel blessed that some clients have kept me going during the Covid-19 lockdown, and throughout the year give me projects of all sizes, keeping the wolves from my door.

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Be a good egg + go to work

Be a good egg + go to work

I made this picture a few weeks ago. It was my response to how I feel about the 'return' to work. Unsteady, like balancing on an egg. But we need to go back to work, and juggle with the virus, and still conqueror the spread. That we are on an island, isolated until we...

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Every Mind Matters: Grief & Covid-19

Every Mind Matters: Grief & Covid-19

I was awake at 5.30 this morning , despite having had a late bed time. (OK, I did fall asleep on and off watching a documentary on Vimeo about new ways of designing office space at Norman Foster architects and had to keep rewinding!). After realising I was so awake...

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Happy Birthday! (April Fool!)

Happy Birthday! (April Fool!)

It’s my birthday today, well one of them. I have a few on the internet. Sites that we sign up to quite often want us to give up our birthday. It comes in handy sometimes, restaurants, clothing retailers, perfume and skincare, anywhere that you might treat yourself...

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How to take a creative leap

How to take a creative leap

We are all creative creatures, artists are compelled to be consistently creative. The rest of us will have an epiphany about something in our lives, that’s one reason why we go into business, to do something different, differently, better, or smarter. What’s not creative about that?

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Romance your brand

Romance your brand

Commitment, intimacy, dependability – that’s all we want in a relationship with a person, or a brand. Because, we don’t just consume or interact with a brand, we engage in a relationship, because it’s something that can define us, as well as them.

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Seeing around corners

Seeing around corners

Who doesn’t want to know what’s in the future? What we should we be avoiding or embracing. My thinking is that divination in all its forms, are all tools we use to help us confirm our ‘gut’ feelings, our intuition. Because, try as we might, we cannot see around corners, and luck over time, is inevitable.

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Fall back!

Fall back!

Fall, yeah, I know – it’s an American term for Autumn, but ‘fall back, spring forward’ makes it easy to remember whether your day will start earlier or later -- it’s later, because the clocks go/fall back (in the ‘fall’) – so you get a pretend extra hour, it’s not a...

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I don’t have a D-Day story – do you?

I don’t have a D-Day story – do you?

In the picture: the dog from next door, my gran, my mum, my 'pop' I don’t have a D-Day story to pass on, my parents were too young to fight My dads' dad would have been the right age, but he died in an accident at St Catherine’s Dock in the East End of London when my...

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Speed vs. velocity

Speed vs. velocity

A great project outcome needs focus, it needs a brief. It needs velocity. Are you hiring a designer to realise your vision, or to work with you to create something bigger than both of you?

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Perspective, perception, context

Perspective, perception, context

I couldn’t resist this lovely shiny rabbit this Easter. It reminded me of the work of the artist Jeff Koons, who takes something small, and by making it massive, and changing the material, he challenges our perception of that thing by taking it out of context. How...

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Woof! What a week!

Woof! What a week!

Pancakes, passion, promises and new beginnings, brought to us with, Lent, Valentines, and now the Chinese New Year. Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái Wishing you happiness and prosperity in the year of the Dog If you know me, you know I love my dogs, I have three. And here are my...

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Epiphany!

Epiphany!

As a graphic designer, I am a great lover of words. I’m working with them all day, moving them, resizing them, changing their emphasis with colour, or italics, or bold, or capitalisation, or kerning them, punctuating around them like a gardener tending and weeding....

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Can graphic design save your life?

Can graphic design save your life?

This is the title of a rather good little exhibition exploring the relationship between graphic design and health at the Wellcome Institute. For your next project consider how your information is being communicated, is it well signposted – is the copy broken down with sensible levels of heading, are your paragraphs short. Do you have plenty of white space, are you using colour and images to both reinforce your brand and convey a message, or feeling? 

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Domain names for sale

Domain names for sale

I have over the years had a number of great ideas and bought domain names to go with them. On account of not getting past the 'great idea' phase, I'm listing here domain names that I have available. Please get in touch so we can haggle over prices 😉 Domain names for...

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The new New Year starts here!

The new New Year starts here!

Make a cuppa, and pick up that January list whose urgency had evaporated away way back in February. A fresh look in September of business-focused goal-setting has the benefit of eight months of insight from the current year.

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Why you should #hashtag

Why you should #hashtag

Hashtags are not just for Twitter, or Instagram, or even Facebook and LinkedIn. Hashtags categorise content and make that content more discoverable in searches both in your social media channels and on Google. You should think of hashtags as part of your branding kit – to engage your audience around an event you are holding, or for instance, an ad campaign.

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Design by an Agile Designer

Design by an Agile Designer

Agile software, Agile marketing, now … Agile designer … I am coining a new job title, because that’s exactly how I work as a designer, iteratively, and in sprints with my clients, so we are able to change tack when the wind changes and starts to blow from the west…

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May the 4th be with you…

May the 4th be with you…

With your website as a communication tool, and Social Media as an ever-increasingly important marketing tool, storytelling is indicated as one of the key business skills that you need. I’m a designer, not a writer, I work with writers to tell compelling business stories, and I know when I hear a good one. How is your story telling? Are your marketing communications telling the story you need told?

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Daffodils / Mother’s Day / Daffodils

Daffodils / Mother’s Day / Daffodils

For me, nothing says ‘Mother’s Day’, like Daffodils What is the first thing that your customers and clients think of, when they think of you? I hope that when you think of me, you think of the word ‘Designer’, along with logo, brochure, information, website, journal...

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What’s green, has three leaves and is a good craic?

What’s green, has three leaves and is a good craic?

St Patrick’s Day is a great example of brilliant branding. I like to think of branding as your avatar. Because branding works 24/7 at all touch points with customers and clients – via stationery, business cards, brochures, PowerPoint presentations, website and social media, it’s important that branding – as your avatar – reflects your company – who you are, what you do, and what you stand for.

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Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or Mardi Gras?

Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or Mardi Gras?

It’s all about branding. In the same way that you may be offering a similar service, or make the same widget as your competitors, what resonates with your customers or clients is that your passion, proposition and purpose or core brand is different, along with your visual branding, it’s what makes you special and stand out from the crowd.

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Pantone colour of the year – Greenery

Pantone colour of the year – Greenery

Colour is a powerful marketing tool, reflecting the message and meaning of your brand. Because first impressions count, and colour is the first thing you notice in a logo or visual footprint (80% of visual information is related to colour), your colour palette works...

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2017 – Chinese New Year of the Rooster!

2017 – Chinese New Year of the Rooster!

Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái, Hóng Bāo Ná Lái?! Best wishes for the New Year, may I have my Red Envelope please?"! OK – I won’t get any red envelopes – the customary Chinese New Year gift of ‘lucky money’ -- as I am neither young nor unmarried. In recent years, the physical...

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Is it time yet?

Is it time yet?

There are high pressure times like the New Year; or the start of Spring, when we realised we glossed over the New Year panic; or after a holiday; where there is an urgency to set goals. To get something done. To start something new. As a Graphic Designer, I live by...

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You don’t know what you don’t know

You don’t know what you don’t know

You don’t know what you don’t know – its a weird, but true saying. There will be things you didn’t even know that you knew, that someone else would love to know. And with YouTube being second only to Google as a search engine, to increase your ranking, why not try sharing something you know?

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Refresh, or reframe?

Refresh, or reframe?

Style guidelines needn’t be a straitjacket. Instead they can be a living document, providing a framework that allows your team to be constructively creative. By having at least basic principles in place, you can ensure that there is a consistency to your branding, and the image and ethos you want to convey to the world accurately represents your vision.

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hokey-cokey!

hokey-cokey!

Hokey-cokey – does your branding need a refresh, do you need to shake it up?! The Tate just has, and it’s looking great!

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Take a leap!

Take a leap!

It takes a leap of faith to go into business for yourself. And a growing business has to leap regularly to seize new opportunities. Design is not a luxury – it is proven to make an impact on business growth … “ for every £1 businesses invest in design, they can expect over £20 in increased revenues …” [Design Council]

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Designed to… attract graduates

Designed to… attract graduates

Is your company looking to attract graduates? If so, now is the time of year to think about how you are going to go about it. Remember, a graduate is looking to start their career – not get a job! And you are most likely looking for someone who can grow with your company. You both need to make the right choice. It’s a long-term commitment for both sides – employer and employee.

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