All Posts in Design
I recently created the new identity and event key visual for the annual basketball memorial tournament in honour of Haris Charalambous who tragically died at the age of 21 while training with his NCAA Division 1 Toledo University team in October 2006.
The tournament regularly attracts some of the best teams in Britain, Europe and the United States.
Past winners include the national teams of England, Ireland and Germany, US college sides Proctor and Tilton Prep, British academy Charnwood College Riders and European club sides CB Cornella (Spain) and Breitengüßbach (Germany).
The event also features some of the game's exciting talents, such as Terance Mann, who was part of the victorious Tilton team in 2014 and recently helped Florida State to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Championship.
For more information about the tournament, visit www.manchestermagicandmystics.co.uk and click on the Haris link.
Last year I was lucky enough to work on a number of projects with drinks brand Red Bull. The first one to go live was the branding and visual identity for Red Bulls first foray into road cycling, Red Bull Timelaps. The event saw teams of 4 battle it over a 25 hour endurance race on 28th October 2017 at Great Windsor Park as the clocks went back (that's where the extra hour came in).
Whilst I put together a full case study here are a few shots from the event for which I was lucky enough to attend. It was a great day and night all round and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The weather even held out which, for an outdoor event in October is amazing!
A full case study to come once everything has fully launched, but in the mean time it was a real pleasure to work on the rebrand and redesign of the JW Lees Brewery portfolio of beers whilst freelancing at Manchester agency Squad.
Working alongside Squad Creative Director David Barraclough, with Manchunian master typographer Daren Newman we created a suite of beers that each tell their own story in a different way and brings them right up-to-date, whilst still retaining an element JW Lees heritage.
It was a great project to be involved with and I look forward to sharing more of the project once its fully out in the wild.
So after; two enjoyable years at LOVE, two years before that leading the JD Sports digital creative team, three fantastic years at advertising agency TBWA and four years before that working in various small studios, I am now available to hire directly for all your graphic design, art direction, brand and digital design needs.
If you would like to get in touch to discuss a potential project all my contact details can be found here, I would love to hear from you!
Following on from the previous weeks D&AD wins, I attended the Roses Creative Awards ceremony where the Jacamo brand book scooped three more awards.
Gold award in “Corporate / Promotional Literature".
Silver award in “Typography”.
Gold award in “Illustration”.
Shout out to Peruvian based British illustrator Bloodsausage.
I should probably get the work into a case study and put it on my site, in the mean time check it out here.
I'm proud to have been involved in the Jacamo re-brand project which last week won 2 pencils at the D&AD awards in London. The 'Real-Man Manual' took away two pencils - a graphite for 'Brand Expression for Print' & wood in 'Branding'.
Congrats to the whole LOVE Jacamo team; Gary, Rory, Laffers, Pat and Myers.
About the project and re-inventing the Jacamo brand.
We knew we needed to raise brand awareness for Jacamo but, at the same time, consider how we could shift opinions of those who had negative, and often unfair, perceptions of what Jacamo was all about. Fundamentally, it’s great-fitting and stylish clothes for men.
From sizes S to 5XL, Jacamo offers clothes for every man. Well, every real man. And real men aren’t that keen on the frills and fuss when it comes to shopping. So we created a brand that offers a shopping experience for men who want to look and feel great without any of the
hassle. Our brand proposition was born – Jacamo. Outfitters For The Real Man.
The Jacamo Real-Man Manual
We created the ‘Jacamo Real-Man Manual’ to lay down in black and white (literally) all those nitty-gritty details of the brand’s reinvention. The manual combines our new, humorous tone of voice with a series of comical illustrations to create a brand book that inspires and entertains in equal measure. Used as both an internal rallying cry and an external opinion changer, the book has served as a catalyst for a year of change at Jacamo.
View the project here, whilst I get round to adding to the work section.
I first heard about this project about 18 months ago over a coffee with my then neighbour Chris Roberts. He had started a little side project meeting, photographing and interviewing craftsmen and makers - people who run their own business built on their passion for the product and process.
Cut to now after one failed and a second successful kickstarter campaign the With Love book has finally landed on my table and it's a thing of beauty. (Good work lads!) Full of inspiring case studies and beautiful photography from projects and businesses of passion from around the UK. It's lovingly put together and well worth getting your hands on.
Now the kickstarter is finished you can buy a copy here: withloveproject.co.uk
Finally after nearly going on several occasions I finally got to check out the Design Museum at its current home on the bank of the Thames. There was a great exhibition on cycling, from its first forms through to ultra modern time trial bikes. A highlight was seeing Chris Boardman's gold medal winning Lotus from the '92 Barcelona Olympics.
The other main exhibition was "Design of Year 2015".
Now in its eighth year, Designs of the Year celebrates design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year. Someday the other museums will be showing this stuff.
Some great work on display... and I love the BMW i8.
Finally I squeezed in a quick visit to the Barbican for the "World of Charles and Ray Eames" exhibition. I got there 20 mins before it closed and the attendant advised me it takes 2 hours to see it all. I whizzed round in 15 mins... here are the highlights!
Manchester After Hours is the rainy city’s take on the national, annual Museums at Night celebrations: for one night only, museums, galleries and libraries stay open late for some creative goings on - with nearly everything free to attend.
First up was the Unit X exhibition at Federation House. Unit X took over Federation House for its annual showcase of emerging talent from Manchester School of Art. Film, art, design and photography come together in exhibitions and installations throughout the building.
After a pit stop in Trof for a cheeky pint (the free bar ran out in Federatin House just as we got to the front of the queue), we bumped into the choir and brass band which were touring the Northern Quarter playing and singing to whoever was passing by.
Next stop was Fred Aldous which was hosting an evening of FREE creative collaboration including; live painting, photobooth mugshots and a Risograph zine workshop.
Up next was a visit to the roof terrace above Manchester creative agency, Music, where they were playing a few tunes whilst offering up good views back over Stevenson Square and the Northern Quarter.
It was getting cold now, so we headed down to Ply below for a little break and to kill some time before heading over to the NCP car park in the centre of the Northern Quarter for our final event of the evening.
A-top of the NCP multi-storey car park on Church Street, musicians, choirs, street performers and brass bands deliver a pumping finale to the Northern Quarter’s proceedings. As the pictures and videos below show, it was a great way to end the evening with everyone getting involved in the carnival atmosphere.
What is required from a creative brief
A creative brief is a unifying document that identifies the important key benefits for a project or task. It tells the story and explains why it’s important to the audience, serving as a guide for the creation of new materials. It seems simple. Yet developing an effective creative brief is far more difficult than it may at first seem.
A poor creative brief can waste time and money, and creates frustration because the resulting concepts do not nail it.
A well thought out creative brief is imperative no matter the scale of the project. From quick turnarounds, amends or longer projects, a solid creative brief is the one document all parties refer to throughout the life of the project or task.
The key aspects of a creative brief are as follows:
This is where the brief provides all the supporting, contextual and target audience information, as well as any customer insights or knowledge gained from previous projects and research.
Always provide more information than you think is relevent. Remember the person working on the job
may not be as familer with the task or a projects history as the person who created the brief.
What are the problem(s) which needs solving. Keep it short, and to the point.
This is where any other supplementary information is confirmed, this includes (but is not inclusive):
- Brand guidelines, styleguides and technical specifications.
- Supporting copy and headlines.
- Assets - Brand supplied or campaign imagery, logos, lockups or illustrations.
- All links/CTAs and their destinations.
4) Deliverables and objectives.
What is required and what do you expect to gain from it.
Eg. A webpage, banner, email, logo, page takeover, etc.
5) A reasonable deadline.
Liase with the creative department to get an idea of timescales if unsure.
If it is a large project, set intemediate targets/deadlines along the way.
Before starting confirm everyone involved with the project and all stakeholders are happy and onboard.
It is then the job of the creative(s) to consider the brief, carry out suitable research (as required) and
present back solution(s) which answer the brief once completed.
Remember: Briefs are in their nature, brief. Use bullet points, keeping each point short and concise.
Avoid: Stating or illustrating how you want the final design to appear.
A few days ago I received an email from the good people at Creative Bloq about a follow-up piece to their wildy popular Designers and their tattoos article. This time the idea being 'Designers as you've never seen them before'.
We've featured a lot of designer interviews over the years on Creative Bloq, but a lot of the time we end up with very similar photographs. Here's a designer sitting at his Mac with Illustrator open and a bunch of vinyl toys on his desk! Here's a designer in her studio, with lots of inspiring artwork on display! Here's a designer leaning against a wall!
I sent over a few tales and the story they wanted to feature was from when I featured as part of the final of the BBC's Junior Apprentice TV show. If you want to read more about and also find out about what 9 other top creatives get upto in their spare time, head over to Creative Bloq.
Behance Portfolio Review week, is global event happening in hundreds of towns and cities across the world organised on behalf of the online portfolio service now owned by Adobe. Last night was the Manchester event, and Jonny Evans at Degree53, who was hosting the night was good enough to ask me to help out and take one of the feedback sessions.
The night started off with a talk from Brendan Dawes, which took us through his work and general search for serendipity (and chaos). Brendan’s work has been featured in numerous journals including idN, Creative Review, MacUser, Computer Arts, Create, Wired, Eye, The Guardian, The Times, Communications Arts and was interviewed by Computer Arts in December 2008 for their "Design Icon" series.
The whole group then split into groups 8 or 9 groups for the portfolio reviews. I lead one group, and it was an enjoyable experience. I was impressed with some of the work on display and it was great to meet so many people passionate about design, illustration and photography.
I would like to say a big thanks to Jonny at Degree53 for taking the time to organise the event. Hope you don’t mind but I’ve also pinched some of your photos from the night.
Mark Stringer, Managing Director at Ahoy Digital (@ahoymark)
David Newton, Creative Director at Ahoy Digital (@LetsNotPretend_)
Simon Vaughan, Exec Creative Director at Amaze (@amazeltd)
Paul Normington, Art Director at Amaze (@Norm_ski)
Jade Sahota, Head of Design at Degree 53 (@jadie0503)
Tash Willcocks, Programme Manager at Hyper Island (@tashwillcocks)
Michael Watson, Creative Director at Project Simply (@projectsimply)
Speaker - Brendan Dawes (@brendandawes)
Host – Jonny Evans (@jonnylikes2rant)
You're starting at the bottom - but working as a designer, not just making tea. (Image: Sweaty Eskimo - www.sweatyeskimo.co.uk)
Design portal and sister publication to Computer Arts magazine, Creative Bloq recently asked me to give some career advice for those studying design or looking for their first jobs in the creative industries.
It covers everything from eduction, starting salaries, skills required, agency vs in-house and career progression.
Head over to the Creative Bloq site to read the full article, or read my story and advice below on what its like being the junior.
09. What it's actually like to do the job
Now a senior designer, Ben Topliss explains what it was like being a junior designer
Earlier this year, multi-disciplinary designer Ben Topliss started a new senior designer position at sports and fashion-wear retailer JD PLC that was created especially for him. Since graduating seven years ago, he's been busy honing his skills at the likes of international advertising agency TBWA and developing his freelance career. He explains how he got to here from his first junior designer position, and what it's really like being a junior designer...
Creative Bloq: Your first job out of uni was junior designer at an architectural practice called Prism. What did you study at uni, and how well did your course set you up for this role?
Ben Topliss: I studied product design at university, with a minor in interactive design. I didn't realise until I'd signed up to study for the interactive modules that graphic and digital design were things I was really passionate about and wanted to do after graduating.
The main thing I took from studying design at university was the process of design and problem-solving. I didn't do any placements or internships in agencies or studios, but I did as many jobs as I could get my hands on for local businesses, designing anything they'd let me including identities, branded stationery, websites, booklets, flyers and menus. Taking this also route taught me about the other side of design - dealing with clients, and managing my time and finances - which can be just as important as the actual work.
CB: What was the job market like after you graduated? How tricky was it to get your first job as a junior designer?
BT: It was a struggle to get a job after graduating. It's so competitive out there and it's hard to differentiate yourself, especially when competing against others with graphic design degrees. I wrote a lot of letters but didn't really get anywhere. I had a few interviews and finally got something in the September after graduating. It was great to finally get a job.
CB: Why did you decide to work in-house as a junior designer, rather than in a design studio or agency?
BT: Prism was a small design studio and I got to work on projects for clients including Sainsbury's, Cambridge University and Marks & Spencer. There were only four designers - two senior and two junior - so I got to work on some large projects straight away, as everyone had to get stuck in.
Ben is currently working at TBWA
CB: Talk us through a typical day - what were your responsibilities?
BT: As it was only a really small agency I'd have to do plenty of admin-type jobs like order the stationery, be the IT guy and make tea for everyone. But I'd also get to head out to client meetings and take ownership of projects, which was good as you might not necessarily get that level of trust working somewhere larger.
CB: What was the best part of the job?
BT: Actually doing work and getting paid for something I wanted to do was great. It wasn't groundbreaking stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but I was working in the industry I wanted to be in and gaining experience all the time. To me then, that was amazing.
CB: How long did you work in this position before taking the next step in your career, and what did it take to move up the ladder?
BT: I spent a year at Prism, and another year in my next job - both in small teams so I did get to take control of a lot of projects, but I maybe missed the guidance I would have got from larger organisations.
Stepping up to the next level in a much larger agency was fun: suddenly I was working with a large group of really talented creatives. I certainly had a feeling that I needed to up my game. That's how you improve though. You need to get out of your comfort zone, push yourself to be better and learn from those around you.
CB: How long did it take you to get to a senior designer position?
BT: I graduated about seven years ago, with the last three of those working at TBWA. There I had the opportunity to learn from lots of talented people and gain some good experience working on some great projects, big and small, for clients like Manchester United, EA Games and BP.
CB: What do you love most about your job now?
BT: Getting to work with talented and inspiring people. I've got a busy couple of months coming up, with the launch of at least two iOS apps and a couple of site redesigns on the horizon.
CB: What advice would you give a junior designer for becoming a senior designer?
BT: Work hard, ask questions and soak up as much as you can from more the experienced people you are working with, whatever their job role. Do the jobs no-one else wants to do - make yourself indispensable.
Also, it pays to be nice. The industry is smaller than you think - you never know when you'll come back into contact with someone you used to work with, met at an industry event or even slated on Twitter.