Sunday, 31 May 2009

Amazing world of parkour

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Summer is here

It's been a great day in Cardiff today and had to take sometime off. This is the view from Bute Park.

Capitol Shopping Centre Cardiff

Came across some of the Cardiff Design Festival boards at Capitol Shopping Centre today, was shocked to see them but happy to see that two of our pieces are getting a bit of free advertising, they are the branding for Academi's Book of the Year awards and also the branding for fruit smoothie company SoBor.

WMC - Breakin the Bay 2009

Over the last few years we have worked with Wales Millennium Centre on their Breakin the Bay season. It's an interesting brand that we produced around about three years ago now, and in some ways from people actually seeing it it is one of the most successful. Since the WMC's re-brand they have since appointed an in-house designer so this year we have not produced the visuals however the styling has been taken from previous years and made there own. 

What is interesting is how a design agency sees this. In someways you would imagine that we would be upset that we have not got the job again, but I personally see this as short sighted. We have worked with the WMC on the branding project and as well as the visuals from previous years we have been able to impart values into this years project, ultimately we have given them the tools and now they are making the brand their own. 

This is very much how we have worked with other clients, working with them to refresh and invigorate brands and then leaving them with an understanding and belief in their brand values so they may take ownership. Then at strategic times we come in again to review and measure the effectiveness of the work and move things on. Brands are constantly evolving so it always has to be monitored. To see some of recent work have a look at branding section on the Hoffi website.

Escape into the park - Swansea

Saw this piece van advertising Escape into the park. It's a great event and one that we are happy to hear that one of our clients will be supplying the electricity and lighting for. We re-branded Limegreen Events over a year ago now and are currently working on their new website. We are very happy that we are helping a company continue it's success in a very competitive market.

Public advertising No2

The second piece I saw was from IKEA in the centre of town. Really nice fun piece os advertising again that made me remember it and as Seth Godin would say made it remarkable.

Amazing world of cards

Over the last few months Cardiff has become more and more popular with a variety of street performers, from the painted people still like statues to the accordion playing boys and girls. Today I came across an American guy who quite impressive with a simple pack of cards. We have all probably seen David Blaine the well known street magician from America that has now moved onto grand events such as living in an ice cube and holding his breath for as long as possible.

Anyway this guy was incredible he can throw a card like I have never ever seen before. He could throw a card onto the top of a building which was about two-three storeys high. I managed to collect one of the cards he threw up there but just fell short.

Public advertising No1

I have recently come across a number of really interesting advertising pieces all around Cardiff, this piece was for the up coming european voting. Not sure if it worked to highlight this but it was very memorable, really amazing models.


Thursday, 28 May 2009

Barcelona football shirt - UNICEF

Over the last few months I have started to realise the power of companies have for change. It has been around for years but for me it is the variety of companies that can put helping the community at the fore of their brand.

An example of this is the recent Champions League winners Barcelona, for 107 years Barcelona Football Club had held up a hugely ethical/community orientated stand about their football kit. Being one of the largest clubs in the world they could have easily earned millions of pounds by having a sponsor emblazoned on the front, yet they did not. The club is a unique club in many ways with the club actually being owed by their supporters. It was not until Barcelona chairman Juan Laporta admitted in 2005 that it was inevitable that they would have to get a sponsorship deal to compete in the marketplace. At first it was reported it would be a large company from Qatar that would be taking the coverted space. This announcement was hug in Barcelona and something the world of football could not really understand, it was also interesting how people instantly associated the sponsor with huge multi-nationals. 

"It will not be the brand name of a corporation. It will not be a commercial to promote some kind of business. It will be the logo of 'Unicef'. Through Unicef, we, the people of FC Barcelona, the people of 'Barça', are very proud to donate our shirt to the children of the world who are our present, but especially are our future."

Now this is a hugely interesting and classic modern brand development project. The obvious would have been a huge company backing a huge club. i.e. Chelsea and Samsung. But fundamentally Barcelona are about community and about people above them being a business they are part of the Catalunya way. Through their club they compete against their fiercest rivals Real Madrid. For them it goes beyond football as well. But once you go back to basics the brand of BFC is giving their people a place for enjoyment, a place to call home and a place meet friends. 

With this in mind UNICEF is perfect to work with. The brand values are very similar and also the stand Barcelona has taken in giving something back not only to it's people but to the world beyond. That is why true brand development that has it's principles and ethics within a common community goal being some of the most exciting at the moment.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Barclays advert - keeping an eye on your money

On the 15th March Barclays announced the repositioning of their brand. The stills above show one of their new television adverts centred around trust – allowing the customer to keep their eye on their money. For those of you who have not seen the advert there are three safes and they run around with you having to guess the safe that has the bag of money in. The advert has a very playful feel and I don't think it is but the narrator sounds very similar to Jimmy Carr. The interesting idea about the advert is that once you have seen the advert then you kind of know what is going to happen. This is the case with all adverts but with this one in particular you can imagine the advert can become stale very quickly.

So for me this week was a stroke of genius the advert has once again been aired and initially it looks exactly the same, however the voice over is different and they have filmed a slightly different sequence. I therefore like the idea of an awareness of things becoming 'old news'. The shock of the new has been used to keep the message fresh to the customer. 

It's a bit like a brand new car, I always remember the first time I saw a Fiat Coupe, it was so different in design from any other car at the time, it was the first time I thought of a non-supercar being beautiful. Now over many years I feel very different and it seems boring. In time you things are taken fro granted and so it is always for a brand to refresh itself in someway.

Monday, 25 May 2009


This year for me seems to be the year for anniversary's, nearly every time you switch on the television there is an advert taking about a company's birthday. So far I have come across, Karcher, M&S, Google and Sainsbury's it is also someone's 60th but I can't remembers who. What has been interesting about it though is almost a question as to why they are advertising their length of time in our consciousness.

It seems that in these times of uncertainty companies are using their birthday as reassurances that they are going to be here next year. For some companies such as M&S which is 125 years old celebrations are obvious, but 140? I am lost what significance that has in relation to Sainsbury's birthday celebrations. Finally there is another thought that people are growing sick of high prices for foods and products that they believe should be cheaper, but for companies it is not simply a matter of them reducing their prices because people then start to question, why were they not that cheap in the first place? So they need a birthday for the excuse. This maybe a bit cynical and I would welcome other peoples opinion.

Finally the picture of the M&S jam I had to buy it because they have gone back and made the labeling retro, and the retro feel made me go and buy clotted cream and scones. They were yummy.

thistle hotel cardiff

I came across this sticker in the window of one of the hotels in the city centre of Cardiff. I totally understand the idea of the sticker and praise the company for accommodating different ways of communicating. I just wonder if there could have been a different way of advertising a non-visual facility.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

twitter, to tweet, tweeting,

As with everyone recently it seems like there has been no end to twittering or tweeting in our office. It has very much followed the same pattern as most of the things we get involved in. One of us gets into it first them makes the others try it out. The the novelty dies down or more likely we get really busy and it gets placed on the back burner. Then a few weeks later a project always seems to come up that would be great to use the new technology so we all get back into it.

We have been using twitter with cradle so first of all get exposure of the project out there in the public domain but also using it for a informal chat to potential customers to really ask them who and what they really want, we hope this will turn into a great project fro us to publish the findings in future months. We also feel it could be a possible direction of how 'good' customer online service might develop. Notoriously the idea of customer service and that of just service has been blurred within e-com over recent years, and on a personal level perhaps this goes some way towards gaining the ground back to putting customer not fist but actually acknowledging they exist. To keep up to date on what we are all up to see Andrew's tweets here, Carwyn's here and mine here, we also have one setup for hoffi but we will be doing something slightly different for that one so watch this space.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The world was 100

I found Toby Ng works on design yak's blog and thought I had post as well as thought they are great. The posters are all showing how the world would shape up of it were only a village of 100.

Biodegradble t-shirt

Following on from previous posts, cradle has had a great response from twitter members and has been pointed to a number of new products. One being from trigema which is the first biodegradble t-shirt, also cradle were directed to Triumph Underwear who do a 'pure origin' product range that has also been accredited cradle to cradle.

Watch for further developments, here or on twitter. The project is the brainchild of myself but it would not have gone this far without the aid of the rest of the guys from Hoffi.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Competing beyond price?

It's taken a while, but I have finally got my hands on our latest advert in the Business in Focus supplement in the Western Mail. For those people who have not seen it, we at Hoffi will be hosting a number of seminars in the coming months centred around brand and how people can compete beyond price. For anyone interested in booking their free place just drop us an email at The seminars will start in September but book now to avoid dissapointment.  

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Howies sample sale

Well I spent way too much money but hey once a year is fine. I loved the store though. They (howies) set it up in what used to be Woodies Emporium. It was a nice mix of finishes and also very in line with the pop-up retailing outlets I have been looking at over the last month or so. Even the blutac was green.

Finally taking shape

Well it's taken some time but we are nearly there. 'Cradle' is a project I have been working on now for the last few months (as you may have gathered from my previous articles about new products and cradle to cradle – C2C), Cradle – will fingers crossed be launching in a few months time and is aimed at selling only C2C products. The project is one of the most challenging I have been involved in as the current C2C products out there are few and far between, also they are from hugely different arena's. For example Steelcase has a number of it's office chairs that are C2C, then there is a surfing company that has had it's sex(surf) wax accredited as C2C. With regards to the branding and the project I will keep you informed on this blog, however 'Cradle' launched on twitter yesterday so check out how it's going on a minute to minute basis. Just search for cradlecardiff. We have grand plans for developing and evolving the brand over the next 5 years or so, so it is an exciting time for all of us involved.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

the magnificent six

Following my recent posts for cradle to cradle products I came across the following article about six products that have gained the cradle 2 cradle accreditation. This was way back in 2005, but over the last four years or so things seem to be growing and expanding into different areas for an up to date as I can find list see link.

It's all about customer service

I came across an article about the growth of an online company called zappos the other day, which I found very interesting. It's refreshing that a company can be so strong in terms of keeping it's customer service being the most important thing. I also have been thinking about companies that have recently appeared on the market or have been around for years. Many of the ones we hear about these days all have pushed customer service or their internal culture so they keep ahead of the market. It almost seems like a karma for business is being formed. If we do business in a genuinely open and ethical way then we will become successful.

I can imagine cynics will be saying that it is all just whitewashing etc, however perhaps with the internet and social media coming to give people instant information about companies perhaps companies that claim but are not will be found out. Below is a film of CO of Zappos who talks about how they work as a company.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Friday, 8 May 2009

What people actually meet up??? no!!!

Taken from gear fuse, the article explains these new 'mascots' that can be used to exchange your social networking information between person to person by a high five.

It's Alive - new fibres

Having been looking into cradle to cradle materials and processes recently, I came across this article about innovations in fibers. The article shows 5 of the latest fibers that are an advancement in eco-friendliness. The image above is 'victimless leather' the leather is actually grown so no animals are killed in the process. Very frankenstein...

Thursday, 7 May 2009

networking science - P(k) ~ k−γ

I was watching a show on the BBC this week called 'Six Degrees of Separation'. For those people who have not heard about Six Degrees of separation, it all started with Hollywood star Kevin Bacon and three college students who wanted to create a game. The idea being to connect Kevin Bacon to another actor via a number of actors through films they have been in – in no more than six steps ending in. For example if we start with Alec Baldwin.

Alec Baldwin - elizabethtown - Orlando Bloom - pirates of the caribbean - Johnny Depp - platoon - Charlie Sheen - young guns - Kiefer Sutherland - flatliners - Kevin Bacon 

I am sure there are numerous other ways to get there and some possibly shorter but hopefully you get the point. The game became a huge hit with Kevin Bacon himself setting up which is based on the idea so people can recommend charitable projects to get involved in. Anyway back to the thing I really wanted to write about, network science. 

Network science is a relatively new science that has been developed by a number of scientists from around the world. What I found particularly interesting about the science was how it potentially can predict the future and also how both organic or biological networks work in the same way as man made networks such as the internet. The above network image is one of the recent swine flu outbreak.

So how powerful is design?

Another great film by cool hunting. I found the piece interesting in terms of how powerful design can be. While I am not saying design was the only reason Obama got into the white house the way the design work was produced seems so insync with todays thinking around ownership and social media communities.

Print is dead??

After one of my recent posts about the end of printed media I thought I would share this experimental piece of work by Simon Elvins,the piece is an interesting look into how printed media can be used in conjunction with other senses in this case your hearing. The piece works so as you move over the surface the pen interacts with the graphite so causing sounds and in some cases music.

I always like this kind or work is set between art, science and design as generally I feel this is where true innovation takes place. While not the final piece you quite easily imagine this setting minds ticking about how similar systems could be used for partially sighted people, or possibly in way finding through a city.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Triple Velvet

Friday, 1 May 2009

The future of print media???


New website?

It's interesting as we work on a lot of websites both in terms of design and working hard with our clients to give the website the authenticity that it's brand requires. As such it is interesting to think about companies such as Skittles who have no foregone the traditional website totally and instead have decided to concentrate on established social media networks. A recent post by Logic + Emotion have two great diagrams to explain this, and as a lover of diagrams I thought I had to share.

Sao Paulo to Switzerland

I chanced upon this video from cool hunting, it was interesting for me in terms of the tactile nature of the piece and also it reminded me very much of the start from the film Helvetica.

The Future and all of it's guises

Having looked at the future in consumption and both bio and mechanical products I was really interested in how one of the biggest companies in the world saw how things might evolve. This video from Microsoft shows how they see the world in a mere ten years. I think the whole compatibility issue might be intriguing to overcome but I do like how technology almost wraps round our lives which makes it very plausible.