Opinion pieces for Amex 'Essentials' magazine
American Express are leaders in the content marketing field. One key channel is 'ESSENTIALS,' their very own online cultural journal, content for which is published monthly.
They had seen some of my written work on film and commissioned me for two pieces, appearing in two consecutive editions of the magazine. I was given absolute editorial control which allowed me to explore the topics with total freedom.
Top 50 Posters:
The first piece was a briefing on what I feel are the 50 most remarkable film posters. The end result was a research heavy chronology of some of the most exciting graphic design related to film featuring visuals of the posters plus a short overview on why they made the final cut.
Alternative Movie Posters:
The second feature was a long form essay looking at the controversial practice of so-called 'alternative movie posters,' fan-created pieces of work that in most cases are completely unofficial. I won't go into detail here as you may enjoy reading the full piece.
Self-promotional novelty giveaway
Creating a leave piece that is memorable and intriguing enough that people keep it on their desk but also is not too impractical in a meeting room/trade event situation is often a tall order.
For my latest piece of shameless self-promotion I wanted to work with the postcard format as it is easy to manage for the recipient but offers a decent amount of space to do something with.
Mini-golf is a regular theme in my work and for this latest piece I created a postcard that can be turned into a desktop obstacle (par 1 is possible). The piece was supplied complete with 5 balls and a lollipop that can be imbibed and the stick then converted into a handy 'palm putter.'
n.b If you are lucky enough to be in receipt of one, why not build it right now?
- Fold along central dotted lines to create gutter obstacle
- Cut and fold back rear rebound walls
- Punch hole (using hole punch, leather punch, skewer etc)
- Fold back rebound wall deflectors
- Secure rear rebound walls with tape
- Cut and remove (or fold back) front rebound walls for desired difficulty
- Fold along central dotted line to create launch ramp
- Elevate 'green' area with pencil or other object of similar height
- Screw putter head into lollipop stick. It is a tight fit, for safety reasons, so be careful!
- Place ball on tee area
- Now let's Golf!
Film design specific interview website & social media
As a result of my critical writing on topics in and around visual culture, a large amount being about cinema, and my servicing of the entertainment industry in my own creative work I have amassed a lot of content that I started to realise would be unlikely to see the light of day. This I felt to be a shame as I have been privileged to receive many fantastic insights into the creative process as related to film. As such I decided to self-publish, using social media and PR initiatives to get the content out to a wider audience.
The site is created using Wordpress. The project also included creating a nice logo, which I based on the classic 'Cinemascope' logo to give it a suitably epic look, which I then offset but running it very small on the site, a visual pun on the name.
To help market the site via social media I create scenes related to the films discussed using miniatures and toys to reference and reflect the name of the site and hopefully create a bit of online intrigue. The images are signposted using hashtags relevant to the film properties discussed.
Brand licensing style guide for animated feature film
Richard the Stork, a new animated feature film in cinemas in 2017. Before it reaches the screens the producers want to get a wide selection of products into the shops.
The style guide is a brochure given to manufacturers to give an idea of how the film intellectual property could be applied extended to their products.
I laid out the brochure and created all the packaging and product concepts as originals. I was given the logo, character pose renders and early rushes of the film to be able to base my creative on ideas, themes and textures that will be seen on screen in order to ensure that everything has a cohesive identity.
An extensive product catalogue app for a leading manufacturer of aerospace adhesives.
In a market with literally thousands of products, most of them made by the same company, sales reps needed an app that would get them to the right product within 3 clicks.
The project was an extensive user journey mapping process to balance existing product categorisation with the Henkel corporate marketing strategy to create a functional UI for all users.
The main client requirement was that the products should be searchable in 3 different ways according to existing, understood product categorisation. The solution was therefore 3 filter algorithms tied into a single UI module that could be toggled according to search type.
The app was designed as a series of content type templates, content for which was then pulled in via 3rd party CMS.
As part of it‘s major rebranding process, Sky is developing a number of internal brands. One particular initiative revolves around the collection and publication of key audience figures data, something which Sky have not had in place before but which will now form a vital part of their marketing process.
Such a heavyweight branding task is not taken lightly at Sky, and so a number of naming options have been in development for some time. I was given these names and invited to devise a series of marks that would compliment the wording by being eyecatching but also giving some kind of visual clue as to what the initative is all about.
A further requirement was that the new concept must fit seamlessly within the visual styling of the new Sky identity.
Print advertising for paintball
Munich U Bahn regulations specify no that no imagery of firearms, ammunition, gun-toting personages or their victims can be featured.
When you are a company selling a product that revolves around all of those, albeit it gas & paint powered, promoting yourself gets a bit problematic.
My solutions were a high-end option playing to the 'chichi-michi' stereotypical view of Munich denizens, with a spoof fashion advert and a more populist approach using a visual vernacular familiar from the action sports marketplace, albeit with a very Munich centric theme.
- -Client: MV Paintball
Input: Artworking, Concept, Illustration, Layout
Each year prestige concept catering company Rex Bavariae produce 4 catering themes that are available for clients to purchase for their corporate or personal events.
To give a visual taste of what can be expected I created 4 idents that expressed these individual concepts visually but maintained a high-end feel determined by the Rex umbrella brand.
A rough and ready version of the corporate typeface was used to bring across the uncomplicated but flavoursome visual attitude of street food vendors around the world.
The corporate typeface was once again adapted and tweaked to symbolise something of the glamour of Munich’s elegant nightlife scene.
Tuscan food is always popular but is marred by many visual clichés. To combat this I returned to the 1930s heyday of resorts such as Forte Dei Marmi for inspiration.
Health food can often seem to be the antithesis of party food. To show that it doesn’t have to be a heavy-weight script font was used to present a relaxed nature with an elegant attitude.
Social media content for luxury airline
Mission 59/42 was an unprecedented globetrotting excursion by the Austrian luxury airline Europ-Star
The mission set out to visit 59 locations in 42 consecutive days by luxury jet. In a cross-selling exercise, I created a series of bespoke travelogs about the trip to be featured on the Facebook page of Artology, a luxury arts and travel magazine.
The task involved translating a lot of research material into easy-to-digest and hopefully fun to read mini-blogs. In each post I covered the location by providing a short passage revealing the best the location has to offer for the luxury traveller; hotels, bars, restaurants and, of course, the cultural highlights.
>> Read sample features now
3D physical model for book cover illustration
Created for an imagined 20th anniversary reissue of the script for playwright Dennis Potter's last play for publishers Faber & Faber. (The scripts were filmed in a unique co-production between the BBC and Channel 4).
The play is a science fiction piece wherein an authors head is kept alive in a cryogenic vessel by a dubious corporation. I wanted to try and reflect the plot in as concise a way as possible and not make any reference to production design of the TV programme in any way.
I worked very organically. I had no idea where I was going other than I knew that I wanted to do something based on Cold Lazarus and that I really wanted to do some hand-made sculpting. I started with ideas for unusual looking buildings, inspired by Japanese bio-morphic architecture. This led me to the idea of a model head, the thought of putting it in a jar led to the buildings being on the lid.
// CREATIVE & CONTENT
Assorted materials created as activation for the international NGO Skateistan in the UK. Skateistan is an organisation that uses skateboarding as a means of providing education and hope through play to children in difficult circumstances; they have centres in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa
General multi-purpose event advertising.
TRADE SHOW BOOTH
An ultra low-budget but high impact stand for UK boardsport industry tradeshow. There was an extremely limited amount of money available so we designed and built a small prefab stand themed as a 'bazaar' of the type found in the areas where Skateistan locates their schools. The stand was designed to show off the merchandise but also tell a evoke a little of the story behind the brand, an approach that created maximum standout in a hall dominated by the slick tents of the big brands.
An engagement piece that started life as a downloadable item for people to customise and leave around their local skate spots to raise awareness of the charity. The life of the piece was extended with a customisable version for an Instagram social media campaign and also as a giveaway at trade shows and skate shops publicising the official Skateistan film.
It also found a new life as a teaching tool when a school in Burma sent in some pictures of the kids making them to learn about other cultures and past-times.
HTML EMAIL & POSTER
Materials produced to promote UK launch of Skateistan book
Packaging & key-art for leading manufacturer of sport shooting ammunition
The products to date have been aimed at the serious sportsman (H&N supply the Olympics) but H&N decided that their product range needed to be attractive to a wider general consumer market.
The result was a series of bottles and blister packs that represent the product naming. The outcomes also utilise a variety of production finishes such as UV varnishing, die cuts and foiling.
In addition I was involved in the creation of high-resolution key art for use across all marketing channels, online and offline. The work included image research and high degrees of precise retouching to composite together elements from different sources to create natural looking final images.
An ongoing series of articles commissioned by Transform, a journal discussing topics in and around brand equity.
Each feature is led by primary research with the brands themselves to ensure that I am able to get the maximum original insight into their process.
The profiles are self-initiated following my identification of brands that I feel are worth discussing due to what I feel are unique approaches in their particular professional practice.
Maui and extending a brand beyond
>> Read full article
The World's Local Coffee Shop
Starbucks and the creation of a 'Third Space'
>> Read full article
One Of A Kind
Vertu and finding the 'Brand' in your people
>> Read full article
Selected writing on a variety of visual culture topics. The pieces were created either for third party magazines, journals, blogs etc or self-published.
Branding as Art, or vice versa
The creative practice of branding is often considered a poor cousin to the hallowed activities commonly known as ‘The Arts.’ The question is, under close analysis, are they actually that different?
>> Read now
Notes on God's Eye View by The Glue Society
A celebratory critique of the artwork created by the international art/design collective. Includes an interview James Dive of Glue
>> Read now
Trade Shows, the original social media?
The trade-show exhibit is an opportunity for a brand to be ‘managed’ in a multi-sensory capacity. Perhaps the original ‘social media’, the mediation of time and space as a communication channel allows physical experience to become a fully inhabitable promotional tool.
>> Read now
For this ongoing project I decided to put a different spin on the concept of #fanart film posters.
Usually, as with the work on websites such as Repostered or Alternative Movie Posters, you will find great artworks that reimagine the poster art of the given film. Generally they play on certain iconic moments in a given film that have come to pass since the release whereupon audiences have come to pick their favorite parts of a film. A standard release poster can only guess which elements of a film will become known by audiences – they can of course take a guess, an estimation that, when it pays off, makes a great poster.
For my take on the trend I decided to take an approach more like that found in music remixing. I only use elements found on the original release posters but can re-employ them how I see fit. I do also allow myself the freedom to introduce some new elements and take out others.
I am excited that my work has found a fan base over on Alternative Movie Posters.
n.b The Shining is now available for purchase on Firebox.com whilst Sky Sharks has been picked for special edition for the release of the film later in the year. Find out more on skysharks.tv
// CONTENT & CREATIVE
A rapid fire, constantly changing selection of some of my favourite work from over the years.
ARTISTS BOOK FAIR
Posters for the Artists Book Fair at London's Barbican. A screen-printed series of posters using texture, colour and language to reflect the subject of artists books, an incredibly experimental area of publishing.
Illustration for exhibition graphics. Image shows detail from bar area although the graphic clothed the whole stand. Delivered in Boston and Vienna.
Logo for internal brand. An internet company with a very male workforce set up a motor-racing themed loyalty scheme to reward the efforts of their staff.
Come Out & Play
A Level graphic design student project. Fantasy artwork for punk band The Offspring's song 'Come Out & Play.' The whole thing was based on a sketch of a Converse Chuck Taylor shoe.
Interior branding for Brit Insurance's Bishopsgate HQ. At the time the company was sponsoring the cricket so I proposed miniature cricket pitches on their cafe tables. They also wanted to encourage tidiness so I thought the amusing cricket themed 'Tuck Me Inning's' would be a memorable behavioural change message.