Blog

OpenMiNDs Event

Saturday 14 May saw a glittering display of celebrity, generosity and over 200 happy people at OpenMiNDs, the inaugural fundraising event to raise awareness and funds for the MND Association. 

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The PPA Winter Wonderland Connect Awards

Getting in the spirit for The PPA Winter Wonderland Connect Awards on Monday night. Someone else doing Justin’s make-up for a change and David looking particularly Prisoner of Zenda …. or maybe Phantom of the Opera! At least one representative from AND, Leo, was relatively well behaved. Well done to the PPA for putting on such a good evening.

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Are you using the right social media channels?

Social media is of vital importance to any brand or organisation out there that’s looking to engage with consumers. Period. Social media truly has revolutionised the way in which we look at brands. As Scott Cook once eloquently put it – “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is”. With social media there’s been a whole swathe of new jobs created for marketing managers, content managers, data analysts, data scientists and even social media customer support managers.

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How easily do you let your customers drive away?

I don’t know about you but when I’ve made up my mind to unsubscribe to a brand’s email communications, I will. Whether I have to jump through seven pages of questions or painlessly exit with a single-click opt-out, either way, I’m leaving. Therefore, I’m left with a far sweeter taste in my mouth when I am easily able to leave a company. Those companies who allow you to leave without a fuss are going to benefit considerably more in the long run and here’s why-

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Email Marketing – Quick Fixes to Improve Open and Engagement Rates

At AND, a complete cross-channel agency, there are so many considerations we must take into account with every channel in which we operate for marketing, branding and communications. One such channel is email marketing. The large majority of businesses out there use email marketing – if you don’t then you should probably start. It’s proven to have one of the most effective ROI’s of any marketing channel.

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How well are you really engaging with your customers?

Is your company engaging with social media, personalizing customer journeys and truly valuing its customers? With today’s competitive markets it is more important than ever before to be doing everything possible to keep customers engaged with your brand and loyal to your company. It can sometimes be difficult to know just what you should be investing your time into so I thought I’d offer a helping hand. Below are three key-elements to successfully engaging with consumers and keeping existing customers happy.

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Cars, music and art - a country's branding?

Perhaps we should start with the UK. Elgar, Delius, Vaughan Williams; painting rolling landscapes and seas in their music that are so perfectly reflected in the works of artists like Turner and Constable. A very Englishness that permeates and portrays what we see around us in the English rural landscape. And when it comes to design - again the smooth curves and classic lines of Jaguar or Rolls Royce complement perfectly.

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Subtle logo and brand changes: Are they really worth it?

You may have noticed that a few weeks ago Google changed their logo. Or, perhaps you missed it. For a lot of people it would be considered extremely subtle. For others, probably mainly the designers out there, it was a huge deal. While I have an interest in design, would consider myself creative and appreciate an aesthetically pleasing logo, I would consider the logo change to be fairly subtle. But what is the point in updating and tweaking a logo and how important is it really? Far more than you might think at first.

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Storming Ahead of the Competition: How Branding Can Help You

Consider just how competitive business is nowadays. Several companies frequently offer close to identical products. Through it all, the one outstanding aspect is a brand. A powerful brand can put your business in a different league to your competitors. Not because what you are offering is any different, but because what you are offering has a powerful emotive message behind it that connects with the consumers, resonates with existing customers and speaks volume to potential new customers. Branding is so much more than a logo. It’s your existence; your consumer connection.

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Dislike! How the new Facebook button might affect social media marketing.

It’s coming! Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that Facebook are working on a dislike button to match their hugely popular and long-standing like button.

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Social Media Marketing: Could a re-brand save you marketing costs?

We all know that one of the most vital parts of marketing is to reach the right audiences. But, it’s far more complicated now than it ever was before. Long gone are the days where you put up a billboard and hope that your audience might walk past it. When social media began popping up on the scene we said hello to a new and exciting world for marketeers. It was a world where you knew that you could reach the relevant and key audiences pretty easily. And that was fantastic, for a time. But then it started to become more challenging.

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PPA Connect Awards 2014

Several members of AND attended last nights PPA Connect Awards, which AND did the event branding for. Creative Director David Norton presented one of the awards to the lucky winner. It was a great night, with all involved having fun!

For more information about Connect visit the PPA website.

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MP3 killed the cover star

I’ll let you into a secret. I’m old enough to remember record shops. I don’t mean places filled with shiny, cellophane wrapped cds fighting for space amongst the boxset dvds or even iTunes, but proper, heavenly record shops. The slightly musty smell and the sound of something new, obscure or whatever the shop owner felt like listening to at that moment in time. I would happily lose myself flipping through the racks of records and would invariably come out of the shop with something I hadn’t gone in to buy.

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Script Typography

Whilst down at the coast this weekend, enjoying a picnic in a bit of British sunshine, I came across this bottled drink. Not only was it was delicious, but it had a beautiful label. I tend not to like things too ornate, but I think this is a great example of simple script typography, done well. Its application really works to give the semantic messages of a premium homemade drink.

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AND Studio Cats

The cats are multiplying. One was purchased for the studio during our recent redecoration. Someone on work experience got another last week and now we have a third. This number will grow. Lucky cats do in fact beckon as opposed to wave. You learn something new everyday.

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Gamma Ray Pale Ale

Sometimes design can be so loud it just grabs you.

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This is the New Black

A British company has recently developed the ‘blackest of black’ materials.

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Natural art

Art can be created or it can happen naturally. This is my living room wall with natural artwork created by the acrylic furniture and light. Art is sometimes just about noticing. 

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Hand painted type

On a recent trip to the Greek Island of Kos, I went on a sailing trip to a remote island off the mainland called Pserimos. It is a tiny Island with only about 200 people living there. When arriving on the island you are greeted by a wave of small tavernas with cliche 'Greek style' writing which just puts you off as it makes them look cheap. 

 

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Tour de France in London

Being an obsessive cyclist I generally like all things related to two wheels and when riding I generally take in many things, either design or just the peaceful landscapes. Something that really caught my eye were the designs for the upcoming Tour de France posters for London. Posters advertising road closures can often be dull and not particularly informative however these caught my eye, being bold and striking. They conveyed that Swiss design spirit that inspired me at university and that became a fundamental part of how I approach design.

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Welcome Jo and Heathcliffe

Last night we all went out to formally welcome Jo, our new project manager, and Heathcliffe, our new head of digital. In reality Jo has worked with us full time before so we've known her for 8 years and Heathcliffe has been with us on contract for at least 2 years so they are hardly new. It is great that they are both now on board full time though. The food was amazing, service was really pleasant (the waitress took the pic and gave us a choice of 6) and we stayed late discussing politics and alcohol consumption mainly. What a combination.

Hornblower

It never ceases to amaze me the power of simplicty. Look at this beautiful minimalist solution for the inside front page of this wonderful penguin book about the life of Admiral Hornblower. With a quote like that, from probably the greatest man of the 20th Century, what more do you need. If you have got it, flaunt it. I tell you, I think people over think designs now days. Too much technique, too much bull shit, too many words, too much pretention. Pare it back, keep it simple, make the typography beautiful, make the best of the core idea.

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Refresh

Assuming that the glass is half full currently, the post recession environment has required a new way of thinking about brand in this new landscape. You have to focus on communication. As already mentioned a brand isn’t a logo. It is more than just design, this is design communication and it should affect all your thinking. Your brand also has to be fluid across all channels, quickly adapting to types of media that currently rest in the mind of a 13 year old geek waiting to launch the new social phenomenon.

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Timeless

When everything around us seems to be changing so quickly, then your messages and your business will probably need to respond commercially as well as adapting to your audience's needs. That’s fine, in fact it’s really important, but some things shouldn’t change. Your values shouldn’t change for instance. These are consistent, and that consistency gives your audience confidence. If your values, heart and passion act as a foundation for your brand and I think it should, then it follows that the essence of your brand should remain timeless.

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Creative

Technology is amazing especially when it comes to communicating with your fellow human beings. With social media people know what you have for breakfast, what inspired you yesterday and what makes you who you are. The web and all media channels now present businesses, products and organizations representing anything you can imagine. It’s great of course, but it means that it has never been more important to differentiate yourself. Your brand needs to stop people in their tracks. This means that creativity is King and your content are the Princes.

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Clear

People are being forced to process more and more information faster and faster. In this environment, which will only get busier, it is essential that you engage your audience quickly. Your brand, if it is distilled correctly and is presented creatively needs to help you quickly bring your ideas to life, presenting your benefits and inspiring your audience from the outset. You want to be saying “this is how I can help you” and they need to respond with “I can see how this can help me”. A clearly defined brand with a solid set of messages can help them see what you are offering.

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Honest

You will better deliver your enthusiasm, your passion, the heart of your business and your personality if the message you deliver is honest. When you present your brand you have a conversation simultaneously presenting yourself visually, and you will only be truly comfortable with this if it done with honesty – and if you are honest, you will come across as honest and your audience will appreciate that, guaranteed. Of course the word ‘Transparency’ is the latest trend in ‘must have’ values but ensure that transparency is more than just a fad.

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