Modern Retro

Following the recent re-release of the iconic Nokia 3310, colorware have announced the iPhone 7 Plus Retro, which harks back to simpler times with a paint job taken from the original 1980’s Macintosh. Check it out below:

Complete with the original rainbow Apple logo, and dark beige edge stripes, colorware’s limited edition model incorporates the functionality of an iPhone into a device that has all the design hallmarks of 80’s pop culture.


The phone is only available for a limited amount of time, and if you’re lucky enough to own one of the first 25 made, your device will come with it’s own number of authenticity.

I so want one of these!

Pass the Heinz

If you were one of those Mad Men fans that felt that some of the fictional ad campaigns created in the show were better than any we’ve seen in real life, then you’ll be pleased to hear that one of them has crossed out of the world of TV into the real world (specifically onto the billboards of New York).

The campaign in question is a set of print and poster ads for Heinz ketchup that Jon Hamm as Don Draper pitched during a 2013 episode of the series. Draper pitched a daring ad campaign to Heinz execs, for the brand’s ketchup, that proposed not showing the product at all. Instead, the ads would show close-ups of foods that go great with ketchup—french fries, a cheeseburger, a slice of steak—but without any ketchup in sight.

Draper’s idea was rejected in the show, but now at last it is being given its time to shine having been brought to Heinz by ad agency David. Check it out below:

In recognition of its full co-opting of the Mad Men idea, David has listed fictional agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce alongside its name in the campaign credits. The campaign is only enjoying a limited run as it is mostly a PR stunt, but the simplicity of the ads’ message means they will still resonate with those who’ve never seen the show.

Well played Heinz! Now let's see if any more of Don Draper's ad concepts make it into the real world!

Let's Get Together

It's Friday! And not just any Friday... it's St Patrick's Day! Time to kick back and get a pint of the black stuff. Which leads me to the subject of today's blog. 

Guinness has released a new campaign based around the tagline ‘Let’s Get Together’. Artist McBess was commissioned by agency Iris to bring the idea to life. Check it out below:

McBess’ character design is instantly recognisable (you can check out more of his awesome work on his website) and his monochrome palette is a perfect fit with Guinness. For this campaign, McBess has drawn a host of figures enjoying the craic, alongside referencing some other familiar aspects of Guinness’s previous visual identity and communications work – from the toucan, to the surfers and ‘sapeurs’.

McBess’ work will feature anywhere that a pint of the black stuff can be purchased, as well as on new beer mats, T-shirts and displays. So for research purposes I'm off to the pub!

Have a great St Patrick's Day weekend everyone!

Forget Me Not

Today's blog is not only a brand review, but it's also a way of raising awareness for a charity I have supported for many years. Established in 1979 (which coincidently was the year I was born), the Alzheimer’s Society is a care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers. Many of the 25,000 members have personal experience of dementia (myself included), as carers, health professionals or people with dementia themselves.

The charity aimed to ditch the previous “cold, clinical, passive” look with a new, vibrant visual identity system. London-based consultancy Heavenly created this new identity, alongside McCann London who are currently working on a new marketing campaign, which will launch in April this year. Check it out below:

The new system incorporates a forget-me-not flower emblem applied as a spray paint effect graphic element and introduces pop-art inspired colourways as background floods in the identity. The question people may ask is: what does graffiti spray painting have to do with dementia? As soon as I saw this I got the rationale immediately. As Heavenly managing partner Fi Case explains: “Because a lot of people affected by dementia lived through the 1960s and 1970s, our identity was a nod to pop art, bright, vibrant colours. We chose colours which resonated the most with people with dementia.”

The previous strapline of "Leading the fight against dementia" has been replaced with the shorter, snappier “United against dementia”. The idea behind this new statement is a rallying call to "make Alzheimer’s everyone’s problem" and to rally for a "movement to galvanise opposition".

A new typeface was also designed called A S Lettera. It is based on Neue Haas Grotesk, but adapted to make it accessible for those with dementia and those with impaired vision.

The previous identity adopted a green and blue colour palette... on everything! I still have memories of five years ago running the Birmingham Half Marathon for the Alzheimer's Society in my green and blue running top surrounded by a sea of people in the same top. Seeing the new expanded colour palette is a welcome change  which helps the brand look less cold and corporate (and I'd be happy to run a half marathon in those new tops).

From office spaces and literature, to placards and mugs, you can see how well the new system rolls out and how it works as individual pieces as well as a suite. Overall it is a welcome update for a brand that was starting to look a little dated. What I like about the new identity is that as well as targeting potential volunteers and corporate sponsors, it directly speaks to the people who are affected by dementia in one form or another, no matter what their age.

Now for the charity plug: if you would like to get involved with the Alzheimer's Society you can check out their upcoming fundraising events on their website. Alternatively, you can make a donation here.

The Power of II!

Who doesn't love BBC Three? Known as the home of comedy, pioneering documentaries and infinite repeats of Family Guy, I for one was a little saddened when the channel moved from broadcast media to purely online platforms. I was also a little critical at the time when the move prompted a logo change that, to me, felt a little imbalanced.

They created this kind of cool representation of using the roman numerals for three by replacing the third numeral with an exclamation mark. But then they shoehorned the BBC logo on top of it and placed it in a magenta box which created all sorts of problems regarding spacing and flexibility. You can see what I mean below:

Following in the wake of this controversial new logo design for BBC Three which has now been around for just over a year, Studio Output has introduced a brand refresh to build on that redesign and tweak the channel's online platforms to make it more relevant for the digital world it now lives in. Check it out below:

The beefed-up brand is "brave, smart and open" according to Studio Output. By introducing a simple but flexible system, it allows a range of expressions across all touchpoints, from social through to broadcast. This system retains a distinctive identity while promoting a huge range of themes.

As well as refining the channel's visual toolkit, the refresh also aims to define BBC Three's character. Having been through a few iterations (remember the original Aardman characters from when the channel was first launched?), the brand has proved to be a confusing channel to create content for. Thanks to workshops with people behind the channel, Studio Output created a range of memorable characters which you can see below:


For me this brand refresh solves two of my biggest criticisms about the logo. First, for the most part, it does away with the BBC ident and uses the II! (or ‘Tricon’ as it is now called) independently as a graphic device which I think is a smart move. It frees this up to do its own thing.

The second improvement is it is no longer constrained to a box! Now liberated from this shape, it becomes flexible enough to use as a window through to an image or as part of a pattern on a larger image as demonstrated earlier.

We're gonna need a montage... montage!

We're gonna need a montage... montage!

As BBC Three is now a digital brand that lives online across the BBC online portals and social platforms, it makes sense that the new guidelines reflected this. So rather than a static set of guidelines, Studio Output built an online hub which introduces the new brand and helps people to use it. This means that up-to-date downloadable assets are always to hand, alongside examples showing how to express BBC Three’s distinctive character.

Overall, this is a massive improvement on the original brand work and demonstrates a brand that is unafraid to flex its power online... and on montages!