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Start Up Britain

March 30, 2011. One comment.

Yesterday I was drawn to an article in design magazine Creative Review's daily email about the StartUp Britain website. I hadn't heard of the site before but have since found out that it was an initiative launched on Monday 28th. CR's article pointed out that although the StartUp Britain initiative was all about helping British business, and especially new businesses, to grow, the "create a logo" link on the site pointed users towards 99designs.com - a "crowdsourcing" website based in the US where many people present their ideas but only the chosen designer gets payment. And that payment is small. I was as outraged as everyone else. And I don't get outraged that easily. Like so many others I couldn't see how this was helping British businesses to grow. We should all be working together, sharing our knowledge, helping each other out surely? A directory of businesses able to offer design services [read on]

Bands and brands.

February 26, 2011. One comment.

I started to think about bands and brands this morning. Some seem to have their own logo while others don't. It doesn't seem to matter - some of the biggest bands in the world over the last fifty years haven't had their own brand while others make sure they use their logo on everything. Whether its for a manufacturer of baked beans or the latest pop sensation, a brand gives a sense of uniformity across all marketing platforms. For a band this could be CDs, advertising, websites, flyers, T-shirts and other clothing lines, badges and calendars. It gives the fan a recogniseable image to align themselves. If trademarked it could also limit pirated merchandise. I looked through books and my own record collection to find some bands that have built up their own brands. Interestingly the britpop era of the '90s saw a lot bands using a logo. Many of the bands [read on]

A 24-hour window of hope & opportunity

February 9, 2011. No comments.

As you sit there in your home or office, I hope that you feel safe and warm. It's comforting to know isn't it that, anytime you want, you are able to take a walk outside, maybe do a bit of shopping. If you or your children are sick you can get to a doctors or hospital relatively easily where you would hopefully be prescribed the medication or given the treatment required. Look out of a window now and you probably see relative calm. People walking by without too many worries. But let's change that scenario quite dramatically. In fact, you'd better come away from that window quick because there's a sniper out there or worse are the shells landing indiscriminately all around. There's not much glass left in the window but if that blows out you wouldn't want to be stood too close. Probably safest to be sheltered somewhere safe. The room [read on]

Blue Monday. How does it feel?

January 17, 2011. 2 comments.

Today we are being told by psychology experts (and probably the Daily Mail) that, because it's the third Monday of January, we can all expect to be depressed. It's the day we all realise that Christmas is a distant memory, that it's a couple of weeks until pay day, that we all hate our jobs and that we have already failed our new years resolutions. Now I don't like Mondays any more than most but I like them a lot more now that I'm working for myself doing a job I love and that seems to love me. Today, before I even knew it was "blue monday", knowing that it takes me a while to get going at the start of the week, I arranged a couple of meetings - work related but still little more than a catch up over coffee. I'm back in the office in the time for [read on]

Ten Ways Any Company Can Go Green

January 6, 2011. 3 comments.

Happy New Year! We often see the start of a new year as the opportunity to make resolutions whether they are to give something up or do something differently. Over the last couple of years a lot of businesses big or small might have thought about doing more for the environment but felt that it's too difficult or too expensive to change or adopt "green" working practises. In truth it doesn't have to be either as the list below will, hopefully, illustrate. In fact your business could save money. So, why not use the start of the new year to turn over that new leaf? 1 - Stop using staples. Reusable fasteners like paper clips or old school treasury tags are a far better option than staples and if everyone working in UK offices stopped using staples we would save 120 tonnes of metal each year. 2 - Use energy-efficient light bulbs. A [read on]

Best Music in 2010

December 24, 2010. One comment.

OK, I've escaped from the kids constantly asking what the time is and when is Santa coming to get in front of the computer and try to compile the obligatory "Best Albums of 2010" list. I've not bought that much new music this year but out of what I have bought, there has been some incredible music released - albums that have made a huge impact on me and which I will continue to play for years to come. I'm not sure the order of these is correct, things like that change regularly, but I'll make a stab at it anyway: 1: Natalie Merchant - Leave Your Sleep - I just can't stop playing this. Seeing her live was one of the highlights of the year too. 2: Crowded House - Intriguer - Back to there very best. 3: Rumer - Seasons of My Soul - Just lovely 4: Goldfrapp - Headfirst - [read on]

Oh! Twitter, I Love you!

December 20, 2010. 2 comments.

Twitter. Some people love it, some people hate it. Me? I love it. As a small business owner it's been an invaluable tool for me. My design agency, Simply Marvellous Creative, launched officially in May 2010 and since then I have used Twitter to meet new friends and new business contacts. It's like networking in real life without the awkward silences and it's obligatory exchanging of business cards. As not the most confident of people, I get quite nervous about meeting new people and attending new networking events so Twitter has been a godsend - getting to know people online before meeting them in the flesh gives me something to talk about. Twitter has also bought me at least two quite significant pieces of work including the website for Brighton-based singer/songwriter Emily Baker and also the artwork for her debut album, House of Cards. This week, I have also [read on]

Argh! Twitter, I hate you so much!

December 20, 2010. 2 comments.

Twitter. Some people love it, some people hate it. Me? I hate it. As the owner of a design agency, Simply Marvellous Creative, Twitter has, at times, been a drain on resources. A huge distraction. At other times it has been the source of massive frustration and annoyance. Often Twitter reminds me of a school playground: hiding in one corner you have the nasty kids - not necessarily bullies but who think they are generic cialis uk better than everyone else, then there's the little cliques, the teachers are there and finally you have the majority who play fair, will try to get on with everyone but are often those who lose out or suffer the most. There's the celebrities who love to tell you which of their foreign holiday home or swanky office they are residing in that particular moment. Who will retweet upon request [read on]

Remembering Lennon

December 8, 2010. One comment.

So, it was thirty years ago today. Thirty years since John Lennon was murdered outside his New York City home. Three decades and yet I can still vividly remember that morning, as a nine year old, getting up for school as usual, but going downstairs to find my mum in floods of tears. It's only now, as an adult that I can really begin to comprehend how she must have felt that morning when first her sister on the phone and then the radio broke the most unexpected of news. We can acknowledge Lennon now as someone who, along with the other members of The Beatles, changed not just the world of music but the world full stop. But to her Lennon was someone who had changed her world, who had made her childhood, her teenage years so much better. So exciting. It's difficult to imagine living at that time. [read on]

Reading Books: good for your health and head

December 3, 2010. No comments.

Cold, snowy weather outside but toasty warm indoors, thick jumpers and slippers, makes perfect weather for just staying in bed, curling up in your favourite comfy armchair or sprawling out on the sofa with a cosy duvet and reading a good book for hours. Maybe all day. It sounds perfect doesn't it? I'd love to do it. I've got shelves full of unread novels I'm still waiting for the time to read but I fear that by spending a day with by nose hidden in the pages of one would leave me branded as being lazy and, in the way I can see that - there's work to be and spending hours reading a book doesn't get the bills paid. However, people who read would probably agree with me that totally absorbing oneself in a book allows you to completely relax, to escape into another world, slip into a different [read on]