Monday, 8 November 2010

Café Niko

"Niko Pirosmani is what Georgians are proud about, he was self educated artist, who invented new painting technique not only thanks to his great talent but also out of poverty. He is one of the outstanding primitivism painters in the World. But as it usually happenes to greatests - he lived and died in poverty, never recognized by his countrymen while he was alive."

We've been working with the Barnsbury Community Group who are opening a café themed around the works of Niko Pirosmani and have created the graphic identity - Café Niko, at the Hugh Cubbit Centre, Barnsbury.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

New Works this September

We've had had a particularlly productive September with major works going up on the London underground, and the Phoenix cinema East Finchley - as two local projects coincided.

Firstly, the Phoenix Cinema reopened after an extensive refurbishment, and we produced a artwork for their poster campaign on the Northern Line on the London Underground. This Poster was on display at high visibility locations in Camden Town, Kentish Town, Archway, Highgate, Finchley Central and High Barnet. It is also going to be produced as a commemorative poster available at the cinema.

As part of the Restoration of the Phoenix, there we also four light boxes fitted to the exterior of the Phoenix. Each of these contains artwork covering a period of the Cinemas history.

This month also saw the completion of the exterior works promoting the Finchley Society at four key key points at two underground Station. Totalling 11 artworks in all the goal was to create a unifed corporate look to promote the Society and attract a newer younger membership. These works can be seen at East Finchley and Finchley Central underground stations by their entrances and on the platform.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Geoghegan Research

Local Business researcher Olive Geoghegan came to us for a logo and website: Here are the rather pleasing results:

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Beer Report... Cheers!

We’ve been been working together with our PR partners Trinity, The Beer Academy and the British Beer and Pub Association on a report and national survey titled “Beer, the health choice?”.

The goal of the report is to instigate a change in the public perception of beer, and demonstrate that when consumed in moderation, beer can actually be part of a healthier lifestyle: elow is and extract from the coverage of the report in the Metro Newspaper:

“Beer contains vitamins which can help you to maintain a well-balanced healthy diet, fibre to keep you regular, readily absorbed antioxidants and minerals such as silicon which may help to lower your risk of osteoporosis.” The report, commissioned by The Beer Academy, which aims to help people enjoy beer sensibly, found that when drunk in moderation, beer is one of the healthiest alcoholic drinks available.
A survey found that while 68% of people consider beer to be Britain's national drink, some 10% wrongly believe that beer contains fat, and 13% incorrectly believe that beer is made from chemicals rather than malted barley and hops.

The report also explores the psychological and sociability benefits of people enjoying a pint in their local pub - yet pubs are closing at a rate of 39 a week.

If you would like to read more about the health benefits of beer, read the digital edition below as designed by Hughes Design.

And it's just not The Metro that's been covering the report, click these links below to see even more positive coverage...

Press & JournalMSNMail Online, Channel FourThe Metro


Wednesday, 26 May 2010

East Finchley Festival

We redone the identity for the 2010 East Finchley Festival.

Project includes 10,000 36 page A5 programmes and 5000 posters to publicise the event, which will be be on sale at the event.

Merchandise available from

Sunday June 20th 2010.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A forward looking website for a man who's past is well documented

We've been working away on a new 'official' web site for rock'n'roll guitar legend and former Rolling Stone, Mick Taylor. A project we are very pleased to be associated with. The brief included developing a contemporary logo for Mick, that could be applied to merchandise. The brief also required us to develop the content of the site to be 'forward looking' - focusing on what Mick is planning to do, while acknowledging his past accomplishments. For those of you readers, who have no idea who Mick Taylor is, below is a extract from his site:

Mick Taylor’s legend and contribution to rock’n’roll cannot be overstated. Mick is a pioneer of electric blues, whose unique style helped define the genre. Taylor invented modern rock’n’roll lead guitar in the early 70’s when he helped turn a pretty good band into the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world, what’s more, his playing is as brilliant today as ever.

Guitar Legend
Taylor is an alumnus of the legendary school of British guitar gods of the mid 60’s. This exclusive group boasts such names as Beck, Clapton, Green and Page. Never in the history of music has such an influential class of musicians had such a lasting impact on music development. Despite their common roots in the blues, each of these guitar greats went on to create new musical genres that persist until today. Page forged heavy metal, Beck created jazz/fusion, and while Clapton championed the blues in various forms, Taylor invented rock’n’roll lead guitar. The phenomenon of having this number of influential guitarists developing at the same time and place is unprecedented in music history and is not likely to ever be seen again.

Unique Style
Taylor has a distinctive playing style and sound that is unique, rich in tone and universally recognisable. Of his British contemporaries, Taylor’s style is the most expressive, melodic and inventive. His trademark vibrato gives his playing an incredible feeling of power and beauty which accentuates his work like an exclamation point, and his slide guitar is the most fluid of any of his contemporaries.

The magic of Taylor is not just in what he plays, but also in what he does not play. He has an uncanny ability to capture the essence of a musical passage, no matter how complex or primal, with sheer precision and intense feel. His masterpiece solo in The Rolling Stones ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’ is a case study in perfection. This spontaneous, one-take effort begins with a very minimalist, ethereal run of notes and builds in intensity until the listener is locked into an intoxicating repetitive loop with seemingly no escape until it all comes to an abrupt end. This beauty is contrasted with Taylor’s ability to send a three-chord, Chuck Berry barn-burner like ‘Bye Bye Johnny’into the stratosphere with his blistering rhythm chops that give the song just what it needs and takes it completely beyond being a mere cover tune.

Taylor’s technique and instinct are virtually impossible to imitate. While he has been replaced in bands like the Blue Breakers and The Rolling Stones, his shoes have never been filled. Today, despite its success in perfecting the raunchy groove that has become its trademark, even the great band that is The Rolling Stones fumbles its way through trademark Taylor passages in live performances. The Stones have performed these songs hundreds of times, more than Taylor ever did when he was with the band.

Legacy of Bands
Taylor has played in some of the greatest bands in rock history and on some of the greatest albums of the rock ‘n’ roll era.

As if his tenure with John Mayall and The Rolling Stones weren’t enough, Taylor is also one of the greatest hired guns that is still active in rock ‘n’ roll having played with the likes of Bob Dylan, Jack Bruce, Ron Wood, Billy Preston, John Phillips and numerous others. His guest performances demonstrate the strength of his talent and are immediately recognized as trademark Taylor work. Even his solo work has received great critical acclaim. This legacy has commanded deep admiration and respect from fans and the music community.

The site will be launched very soon.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Glory Glory!

Today might be election day, but something really, really important happened last night.  It's very rare that we get involved or pin our colours to mast like this, and I must say it's only Me - Mike - that really is excited by this. But! As a life long Spurs fan - at last! -  I've got to say it's great to see my side finally win that place in the Champions League after years and years of trying.

Well done to Harry and the team, and everyone involved.  And in honour of this achievement, I think now is an appropriate time to dig out that old piece of dusty vinyl, stick it on the turntable and sing along to Chas & Dave:

Glory Glory!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Get the Look

We started playing around with CafePress today, and have come up with a range of branded items... check them out here: CLICK

The great thing about the service is that each item is produced to order, so there's no need to buy bulk - but there's also an option to bulk buy if you wish.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Too many Chefs...

Problems arise when too many people are involved in any decision making process. Design follows the same rules as catering, to many chefs spoil the broth.

Invariably when a SME commissions new creative work, a logo, a website or marketing campaign, it generates a lot of interest internally and everyone wants to have their say on the creative direction you should be taking. Initially all the excitement of getting everyone in the company involved can be quite intoxicating, and can be very positive for morale. But eventually it will be necessary to limit the amount of people involved in the decision making process. It fact it is essential.

The larger the group you have involved in commissioning creative work, the more opinions you'll canvas and the more compromises will be made in order to satisfy everyone at the tables agenda. The biggest casualty of this compromise, will be your company and your customers.

Unlike Politics which relies on reaching a consensus and making compromises to move things forward, when it comes to marketing communications, compromises will stifle the creative result.

Think of Goldilocks and the 3 bears. Each bear liked it's porridge slightly different. If you are presented with a bowl of porridge that is "just right" for you, would you mix it with the salty bowl or the sweet bowl just because your colleagues happen to have brought them to the table? You most likely wouldn't. Yet with creative work, when committees try to pander to everyone's needs, perfectly tasty ideas end up as unappetising stodge, simply because there are too many competing ingredients.

Does this sound familiar?
Typically, larger companies appoint a marketing director charged solely with the job of managing their marketing requirements. In smaller companies, this isn't always practical, but a mistake that is often made is to charge someone junior within the organisation to commission and important piece of corporate communications. While this act is well intentioned – giving someone junior some responsibility – the inexperienced junior is more likely to see this as an opportunity for themselves and their career prospects, neglecting the bigger picture which is "what's in the company's best interests."

Other times, teams are appointed from different areas of the business, sometimes with no direct experience of purchasing creative services. Quickly disputes arise as each individual asserts their agenda or point of view first above that of the company. To resolve this dispute, they then start to compromise and the eventual product is substandard, engendering a sense of mistrust in your appointed creative partner, even though they have ticked every box in the brief.

5 tips for Director of an SME:
1) If price is your biggest concern, and you know someone who can "do it cheaper", then you should grab that bargain. But if it's 'professional' creative solutions, service and support that you are after and you acknowledge that you don't have the skill set in-house - then you recognise that you need to purchase that skill set from an experienced professional.

2) Appoint someone senior in your business to oversee purchasing of creative services and make sure they report to you. This individual should be have responsibility for making decisions, preferably have some experience - a knowledge or interest in marketing communications would be a bonus.

3) Shop around, select an Agency on their portfolio of work and where possible meet the creative agency you appoint.

4) Don't be afraid to ask your appointed creative agency to help you write the brief. Working together will help build trust and understanding.

5) Finally, when presenting creative solutions to your staff, explain that these are changes that the management have decided to make. Your decisions might not be to everyone's taste. This is normal. Staff can be reluctant to embrace new ideas. Remember it is your business and you run the show.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Ferguson Hill Website Update

The object of this task was to turn a renowned speaker designer's website from being a showroom to a storefront. In other words, to drive online sales through effective design and fine-tuned Search Engine Optimisation. This makeover includes Buy Now buttons that take potential purchasers straight through to the store from the front or product pages.

Client Ferguson Hill have observed an increase in their on-lines sales via their website. The site was initiallydesigned  as brochure site, and had e-commerce added to it. With more and more consumers choosing to make their purchases direct from Ferguson Hill, we worked together to identify 'logic' improvements to the site, to make buying direct even easier.

Other issues that came to light during the research was that a minority of visitors did not know what Ferguson Hill did (speakers), while other customers had not quite understood what they were buying. In one instance, a customer had thought the were buying Ferguson Hill's top of the range speaker system, the FHOO1 – which retails at £16,000 – for £395.00. Having mistook the mini system for the more expensive high end System this customer was quite naturally upset when they took delivery of 430mm high mini speakers, when they had been expecting the rather grander 1650mm ones. While, the mistake may have been the customers - possibly buying on impulse,  Ferguson Hill  were keen not to repeat the experience again. As a result all their products are now clearly labeled on the site.

If you'd like to see the before and afters of this exercise, click here.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Crewd Website

North London based Crewd Recordings asked us to look at their existing website infrastructure. The result is this new website, where we kept the bits that worked and threw away the rest. There was no need to reinvent the wheel, much of the graphic design worked, but the Content Management System they had been saddled with was not fit for purpose.

Using the frankly impressive WordPress as a platform we built a new site from back to front. The management system allows Crewd to easily upload news and tag content from other sites and add it to there's - as specified. This allows them to keep their content as up to the minute a possible, so that when their Artists tour, they can document events as they happen.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Web for mobile Devices - WMDs you can find.

According to the BBC ( and other sources, web browsing on mobile devices is set to rocket over the next few years. And while there has been a rush to create 'Apps' for the iPhone - there are reportedly 50,000 apps available - it seems that people are not considering what their website looks like on a smart phone. While you can magnify page elements with your forefinger and thumb on the screen of an iPhone, or the magnifying glass on a blackberry - ultimately a cumbersome way of viewing the content  - doesn't it make more sense to actually design your web content to work on a mobile size screen?

A brief investigation revealed that handful of popular websites do have mobile versions of their sites, but the majority of sites out there don't. So we asked ourselves why this is? Is developing a mobile site complicated? Answer: No, not especially. Is it expensive? Answer: No, it doesn't need to be.

What we discovered was that Web for Mobile Devices wasn't being promoted by that many web design companies - certainly in the UK - and or for that matter not being demanded by many people. But we suspect that this might be about to change. It seems that many people have skipped over the mobile website step in favour of developing an single function 'App'. But with 50,000 'Apps' available, it's a rather crowded market place. And then, does the 'App' really give visitors all the information they need to know about your company or service - or is just a fun distraction?

We decided that we would as part of our website upgrade, develop a mobile website alongside the main one. You can view our mobile site by visiting us via your smart phone.

If you like what you see, get in touch and see if we can develop a WMD (Web for Mobile Device) for you.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Carpet Right? Carpet Wrong.

What a depressing place to visit in recession-hit Britain. With a clear lack of interest in customer service, three men were hanging around the entrance of our local Carpet Right store with body language that said "leave us alone". Not only that, but it turns out that their policy is that they take a payment (not just your credit card details but an actual payment) before anyone comes round to estimate.
Things ain't what they used to be.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Support the campaign

Show your support for the campaign, go and have a pint or two.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

New works to view...

We've just put the finishing touches on the Maylim Corporate Identity and launched a new website for this exciting and dynamic construction firm - and are looking forward to working with them in the future.

See their site and works at

Monday, 25 January 2010

Ferguson Hill Make GQs Top 100

Client, Ferguson Hill, had their new product, the mid range FH010 listed in January's top list of "The best things in the world right now". Well done everyone!