Archives - May 2009

The Vendor Client relationship – In real world situations

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“Mine’s the Penfold Heart!”



Started in Bromford Lane, Birmingham in the 1920s, this British manufacturer of golf balls became world famous for exporting its one and two-piece golf balls.

The Penfold Heart, the golf ball favoured by 007 and made famous in the 1960s, is finally back in action. Penfold Golf is relaunching its HEART™ ball on-line to commemorate the Ian Fleming Centenary 2008.

The golf ball with the heart logo was made famous by the 1967 Bond film, Goldfinger. 007 plays with a Penfold Heart ball in defeating arch-villain Auric Goldfinger. Sean Connery (playing Bond for the third time in the third Bond movie) became a keen golfer as a result of playing golf in the blockbuster film. Co-star, the Penfold Heart, also shot to stardom – orders for the British-made Penfold Heart poured in after the release of Goldfinger.
Found at…

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Can’t get off the pipe? or the cigarette? Crown7 may be for you.



Electric cigarettes are taking the smoking industry by storm. With this revolutionary new technology from Crown7, you are now able to get all of the pleasures out of your daily smoking routine, without all of the hazards and health risks.

Electronic cigarettes, also called an e-cigarette (or e-smokes) is a electric version of a cigarette, providing small amounts of nicotine with each inhalation. But, instead of unhealthy smoke dispersing from the cigarette, harmless water vapor is dispersed through the machine. And the best thing about the new smoking alternative from Crown7 is that you can enjoy anywhere you wish, even indoors!

See here for more info…

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In the Art of Birmingham

Whilst out and about this Bank Holiday we stumbled upon this beast of an exhibition slap bang in the heart of Digbeth.

The Jibbering Art boys and girls have handed over their warehouse in Birmingham to around 20 artists from near and far whose work spans everything from pure graff, illustration, fine art and installations etc and it truly is spectacular.

It’s free to enter, there’s parking right outside and It’s open from 12 – 6.30 pm up until this Sunday – so there’s plenty of time to get along this weekend before it disappears for ever.

There’s even an ‘under £75′ store where you can get ltd prints etc so don’t forget your wallet!



Take a look at for more info…

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Taken from their site:

Jobplot is a jobs board for creatives in the West Midlands.

There are some great creative companies in the region and some fantasticly talented individuals. We want to make it easier for them to find each other.

This here blog will be the place to find out what people are up to – who’s winning work, what events are on and where the opportunities are. Hit the subscribe buttons to get regular updates sent direct to you.

Jobplot is being worked on by Substrakt and Meshed Media. There’s a few tweaks in the works but in the meantime enjoy your stay and perhaps help us spread the word.

Jobplot and Jobplot Blog (Thanks for the links guys, great little site you have started!)

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Island Life…

To celabrate 50 years of Island records the Viynl Factory are putting on an exhibition of everything ‘Island’! An exhibition of Art, Photography, Film and Music…get yer self down to London for this little gem!


See here for details.

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Half a century of Island Records……

To celebrate Island Record’s 50th anniversary they are offering an exclusive selection of unique art prints. In each of these images their renowned photographers have captured a rare moment of music history. These iconic images can be yours to purchase as signed limited edition prints at quite reasonable prices!!!

A great range of artists and some fantastic images!!



Seen here are The Jam and Lee Scratch Perry… here to have a look at the full range!!

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Yet more Heritage

As Paul mentioned in his thought leadership post this week, see here if you missed it, everyone seems to be celebrating a milestone this year. Yet another is Persil, celebrating a 100 years of cleaning power. The ad that has been produced is a load of old ads all edited together, which brings out the nostalgia, but now all these great British brands are jumping on the heritage band wagon maybe it’s about time someone celebrates the future too.

I didn’t realise the OXO Mum Lynda Bellingham was also a Persil Mum, no wonder she ended up on Loose Women!!

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What the?

I have noticed recently that manufactures of soft drink beverages seems to be coming up with the most weird and wonderful adverts they can think up. Weather its Oasis with its Rubberduckzilla, Drench with its Pheasant rodeo, or J20 with its interchangeable scenarios it seems they are trying to out weird each other. These adverts are very random and very entertaining, and I suppose these are the ones your remember. 

Oasis Rubberduckzilla advert- Tag line  ‘For people who don’t like water’

Drench pheasant rodeo advert- Tag line ‘Stay on top of your game’

J20 advert- Tag line ‘It’s metter to bix things up’

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Cranfield’s MBA Innovation students pay us a visit


Cranfield School of Management’s Full Time MBA students visited us yesterday to learn a little about our how a design agency such as ours works and delivers for our clients. They spent the morning learning about innovation in a brand design agency. The visit was a part of their MBA program module, Managing Strategic Innovation. It’s a module masterminded by Professor Keith Goffin. Hi Keith, and thanks for the opportunity to meet those lovely people.

Angelique and I started by giving a speedy overview of the company and provided the context in which we work. Having painted a picture with “the numbers” we chatted about how we operate given a client brief. I guess the most interesting discussion was around how creativity is focused into business; how the creative teams actually work together and how we carry out innovation on behalf of our clients?

Serendipitous innovation is often associated with creative businesses, but those moments of brilliance are the rare, glamorous moments that everyone seems to remember. A happy future would be if those big moments came everyday – we’d be billionaires (hold that thought J)!

We also chatted about the debate surrounding the harnessing of our creative fire-power versus the need for metrics. We know only too well the challenges of translating the intangible into the tangible. As in so many situations, there is no right answer, we’ve just got to bring our business acumen to bear on how to best manage the expected time and effort we are going to put into our creative work. So we’ve put some process in place, but no more than absolutely necessary because we do not want to disrupt our mojo, our Boxerness, our VRIN.

We also discussed how we have to strive to fuel constant incremental innovation as we develop brands and our service offering to global brand owners…  One of the key things we talked about was maintaining our culture and the vibe and our commitment to the creative process (wherever that is to be found). Boxer’s designers and client services teams later met with the students during a tour of our studio to share and learn a little of studio life.

We hope their visit was of use and we look forward to keeping in touch with the future leaders of the business world!

Remember folks the real message is that in the long run good design is cheap, bad design is very, very expensive.


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The Jewel of Birmingham?


So here it is people, our blog entry from our SoakitUp™. We all know that the Jewellery Quarter is steeped in history, so one fine sunny Friday afternoon my SoakitUp buddy Georgina and I went on one of the first SoakitUp excursions. Before embarking on our excursion, we decided to do a wee bit of research. This is the official overview:

The JQ has been synonymous with the manufacture of jewellery and coins in Birmingham from as early as 1553 when one of the first goldsmiths popped up. Throughout the years Birmingham grew into its industrial boots, and a recognition grew for the JQ’s grand traditions, history, architecture and environmental beauty.

There is a definite community here, which in itself makes the JQ a destination. My personal favourite part of the area has to be St Paul’s Square, this quaint little square hits the metaphorical nail on the head, moving with the times but also keeping the heritage of the area at its core. This is a fab place to have a bite to eat, or a quiet drink, or just a chill out in the sun, I feel the rest of the Jewellery Quarter could follow suit.


St Paul’s Square… standing since 1779 and still doing the job. Definitely worth the visit.


Other icons throughout the JQ include the Chamberlain Clock and the Big Peg. The Chamberlain Clock, built in 1903, restored in the 60’s, creates a focal point for the central part of the JQ. The Big Peg provided a workspace for 100’s of jewellers, and more recently for creative enterprises…Unfortunately this building is outdated and not in-keeping with the history of the area. There is a missed opportunity here, to make the building and surrounding area a real creative hub, to reignite creativity, somewhere you would be proud to work. Its doesn’t have to be just jewellery.

There are Plans to spend £1.5 million on the rejuvenating the car park below the Big Peg, transforming it into what is to be called the Golden Square, but is there much point in making the car park a beautiful place to be, if they aren’t going to re-skin the building itself?


Chamberlain Clock… Standing since 1908               The Big Peg… Standing since 1960

The majority of the jewellery shops seem to be stuck in a bit of a time warp, they don’t seem to be moving with the times. Some may construe this as keeping it traditional, but the layers of dust said it all to me (and that was, buy a duster!!). On the whole they could do with an up lift, not losing their long standing status, which for some is hundreds of years, but updating to new trends and consumer needs. Using neon signs in the shop window seemed to be common throughout, they seemed to be missing the point somewhat. Instead of drawing the consumer in, these signs just made the shop seem outdated. In both of these shop windows just removing the neon signs would have made a massive difference, and would have renewed the displays instantly. For the most part the jewellery shops ran mainly along one street, one end being promising and in-keeping with tradition and heritage, however its seemed to get less tasteful the further on you walked, the shops becoming more and more outdated and tacky.



Which would you go and buy your jewellery in? Neon heaven or traditional but modern?

With a bit of investment the JQ can be somewhere extraordinary once again. The area definitely has a pull on creative people, and the creative industries, with just a bit of work, it could be the place to be for young and old alike.

JQ short for Jewellery Quarter

To find out more about the Jewellery Quarter and it’s history look here… and check out the Jewellery Quarter’s website.

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McDonald’s Dancing Arabica Beans

Nice add by McDonald’s explaining that they use only 100% Arabica Beans in there coffee. Great little animated piece.


See the full add at Visit 4 info.

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Happy Anniversary. Everyone.

It seems that some of Britain’s Best Loved Retail Brands are all celebrating momentus Anniversaries/Birthdays at once. Is this coincidence or is there, in this time of recession and erosion of brand trust, a deeper meaning to this?

Thanks to Helen for sharing what Sainsbury’s are up to, celebrating a staggering 140 years in business. Looking around you see two other Kings of British Retail celebrating in very different styles:

Selfridges… a mere 100 years!


I never thought that I would love the colour YELLOW! When has it ever been fashionable? Isn’t it a tacky promotional colour? Yellow cars, what’s all that about? Custard? Yellow Fever! Thanks to Selfridges I now see yellow in this way…
YELLOW: symbolic of Renewal, Hope, and Happiness… a colour of urgency… it’s even the easiest colour to see. How appropriate then to use it for the Re-birth, Re-branding and
Re-invigoration of department store Selfridges. The bold move by Selfridges several years ago has now seen them own the colour yellow in the emotional world of retail branding. How appropriate then that they should use their biggest visual asset to celebrate their centenary in the form of the ‘BIG YELLOW’ Festival. The colour of sunshine punctuates the store
environment with visually witty merchandising and bespoke PANTONE 109 products that celebrate all that is yellow…



…(a question to the creators of the brand, was 109 selected because the origins of the brand were in 1909, or is this post rationalism?… Love it anyway). The Modern, Kitsch and irreverent style is in sharp contrast to the anniversary celebrations of the behemoth of British Retail… Marks & Spencer


Marks & Spencer, a very considerable 125 years


From the Penny Bazaar in Leeds to one of our most trusted brands, the historic path of M&S is one all Britons should be proud of, it is indeed a major part of our retail heritage.
Executive Chairman Sir Stuart Rose said M&S has been at the heart of Britain for 125 years and we think this is something worth celebrating… and what a way to celebrate with 2 million products on sale for just 1p each. But of course in the true tradition of retail this offer is for a few days only… so hurry I’m sure this time the offer won’t be extended! Check out M&S anniversary products, they are very much in sharp contrast to the Selfridges products, I know which ones I would rather buy, even if M&S products are a penny.


Brand Thinking

All of this leads me to believe that in a world and at a time when BRAND TRUST is so important, going back to your roots is a trend we’re going to see a lot of.
It seems such a shame that the financial services world with all of its mergers, takeovers and re-branding hasn’t learnt a trick or two about brand trust from the Retail Establishment.

For more on Selfridges anniversary celebrations see their website here… and M&S here…

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Ben and Jerry’s ‘Heritage’…

Commercial for Ben and Jerry’s Ice Creams… great bit of brand story telling.

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Jonathan Ellery — Design. Publishing. Art.


Yesterday myself, Dave and Hannah had the pleasure of witnessing Jonathan Ellery (of Browns fame) D&AD president’s lecture at Logan Hall in London. Titled ‘Design, Publishing, Art’ he took us on a journey through the differences in the type of work they do as a company and in his recent ventures into the fine art arena.

Such a nice, down to earth bloke with great design sensibilities about him. It’s refreshing to see no nonsense, good design for a purpose that still looks beautiful, possibly more so for it’s simplicity without design for design’s sake. He preached of the importance of the balance between personal creativity and commerciality, not only for students but also up and coming companies, which they seem to have got just right in this difficult climate. In the past few years he has thrown himself into creating ambiguous fine art pieces that are reflections of himself past and present. Most striking are the brass printing plates you can check out at

And if you get the chance DO watch the video of Dries Van Noten fashion show at the studios website Browns, which shows the amazing theatre which goes into the launches of his publishing work. Yes, we liked him a lot.

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Battlefield Helvetica

Optix Kreation cre­ated a world entirely made up of words in Hel­vetica caps.
The video looks and feels like a first-person shooter war game, with excel­lent POV camera work and sound design.

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Helvetica vs Arial..

Another great font comedy sketch from… the original battle of Helvetica v’s Arial…

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Font Conference..

This hilarious short film parodies fonts as they take human form and their typographic personalities come to life.. created by

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” Get ya pound of bananas ‘ere…”


As promised by George we will be adding posts from our SoakitUp™ trips around Birmingham. Here is a short account of Mark F and my trip around Birmingham’s Markets, which consist of the outdoor, rag and indoor markets. The outdoor market is mainly a fresh produce market, with a few clothes, video stalls etc smattered on the edge and is open 5 days a week. The World famous Rag market is a general materials, clothing and other useful bits and bobs market and is open 4 days a week. The indoor market is the place to go to get your fresh meat and fish, with an extensive range of produce to choose from, open from Monday to Saturday. All 3 sit next door to each other and have a slightly different personality.

One thing that interested us, and can almost relate to any retail sector, is that if you are one stall in 20 that are selling the same thing how do you stand out in the crowd?

One answer was the way you merchandise, there seemed to be two schools of thought, either pile it high or neatly laid out. And depending on whether you were selling fresh produce or clothes, material etc either method seemed to have different successes. As you’ll see in the image below, this can give a consumer a different perceived value when actually the produce is the same price.


which would you buy your bananas from?


It was difficult to get close enough to this table selling clothes

Another answer was to have clear signage, so you knew what you were getting for how much.


Excuse me, how much are your jeans?

And of course there is always the “who can shout the loudest”, grabbing your attention option. As with all markets the vendors themselves play a huge part in selling their wares, and this adds the colour to which you expect to see in any market. The personality of the stall really stands out by the different approaches the vendors have and obviously attracts different types of customers.

You expect to find confusion and clutter at a market and this is often what draws people to them, whether you are a regular market shopper or just a part time tourist. For me it’s the more organised and well merchandised stalls that stand out from the crowd, although for the actual market crowd the “£1 on the table” stall was the busiest. It just goes to show that whatever retail arena you shop in, there is a place for beautifully merchandised product using space to their advantage, and a place for the value orientated stock filled stores.

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Not a recycled idea

These recycle trucks look great and why not…

Find out more?



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Big Hair

Shampoo is very boring and I never give ia second thought, but these ads made me smile.
I won’t remember the brand name or what benefit it gives your hair but I love the fun visual imagery. I always try to do this to my children when washing their hair, it makes bath times fun. Perhaps I should try this brand?

Found at Cool Hunter



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Got Milk?


You can’t help but get a charge out of this cleverly photographed campaign from Alena Nikiforova.  As each model gets doused the look of amusement is pretty obvious.  Most of this is done using clever photo manipulation and styling.  The skin tones are so creamy and gorgeous it really is an amazing collection.

More here…

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Nat Damm

Independent poster designer and musician, Nat Damm has created  more than 1300 posters, countless record covers, and numerous T-shirts and the like over the last 9 years. Commissioned by bands, venues and production companies all over the world. There are some beautiful screen print and illustration designs here… Check it out…

Found at…


Silk Screen




Album Cover

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Over packaging

Responsible packaging still does not seem to have touched the world of automotive parts. 
Still trying to work out the reason for this amount of packaging – guess it’s to do with the same cutting form across all blades.

Does this save that much? What about the paper saving to be had? 


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Fruity messaging

What a lovely pair…

Telling a story in a more engaging and visually interesting way.




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Celebrate Good Times, Come on! Sainsbury’s 140 Years

In an economic time of doom and gloom, it’s refreshing that Sainsbury’s have taken the step to communicate and celebrate their 140 years of trading.


And they have good cause to celebrate for today they have just announced their 2008/2009 preliminary results showing an increase in sales growth of 5.7% and profit growth of 11.3% on their previous trading year.

Many large organisations have come from humble beginnings and in a time of economic uncertainty, Sainsbury’s have cleverly harnessed the power of brand storytelling via TV ads, trade press as well as extensive instore communication to reassure their customers that despite economic and political upheaval, they are here to stay.

For this anniversary year Sainsbury’s have changed their current strapline from ‘Trying something new today’ to ‘Trying Something new for 140 years’, from their previous strapline ‘Good food costs less’. They have continually strived to provide quality food at affordable prices without compromising their integrity and their high street credibility and consequently repositioning themselves as a family supermarket first and foremost, via some of the following initiatives:

1) Feed your family for a fiver.
2) Recipes for leftovers.
3) Active kids scheme.

These initiatives show that they are not scared of ‘trying something new’ and encouraging their family customer base to do the same in a fun way, further supported by the use of non corporate fonts and graphics. They are also the only supermarket sponsor of National Family Week which takes place at the end of the month. This week sees family events taking place up and down the country with the express purpose of celebrating all that’s good about the family.

I’m really impressed with the way their initiatives are in tune with today’s consumer and today’s lifestyles while responding to current market conditions and maintaining brand integrity. For the future, Sainsbury’s is concentrating even further on the quality and integrity of their product offering. I still don’t think they’ve quite hit the mark as far as their clothing line is concerned, but I guess you can’t be good at everything.

Keep it up Sainsbury’s!

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Microsoft home of the future?

“Every innovator has a vision for the home of the future and for Microsoft it involves being able to interact with your house through voice and touch. But how can technology firms still innovate during a global downturn?”

Some nice idea’s in this video from Microsoft, I still think there needs to be a better gesture control system (when in front of the mirror). Also what about the energy required to manufacture and run all of the projectors and run the processing units…

More at the bbc…

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Do you doodle while on the phone?

The best use of an address book, who needs friends when you have typography…

See more?…


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Hairy Font

Sexy hand made fonts

Find out more here…


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Knittable cuteness

Knit your own little Sackboy…

Knitting Magazine have created a brilliant knitting pattern for this cute little guy from PS3’s game Little Big Planet, PDF of pattern found here… The pattern was created by Alan Dart and makes a wicked looking Sackboy that stands a decent 27cm high, it’s a brilliant fusion of old skills and new icons. Im defiantly going to have a go at knitting the little cutie and will update you on how easy it was and how it turned out.




more here… 

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Share the summer…

…with Coca-Cola’s new summer designs

Coca-Cola has introduced these 5 limited edition can designs for the summer months, some nice new fun design to welcome in the summer.

find more at…





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Watch your step in the kitchen..

Health and saftey is taken very seriously here at boxer… watch your step!



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Under 140cm in height?


What a promotion at wingwah on evenings (Sunday – Thursday) for the vertically challenged! Although 140cm is rather short! Could this be classed as heightism?

If you are / or know someone under 140cm get your voucher here…

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Right place, right time

If ever there was an advocate for always carrying a camera around with you…




Some playful examples of how brilliantly unscripted life can sometimes be. The man behind the lens is Matt Stuart…

See more here…

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Holy Ice Cream..



This is the new Antonio Federici Gelato campaign where nuns and priests get a little more intimate than the Holy Spirit is comfortable with. UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, which has banned campaigns less shocking, is investigating the ads now, but that’s pretty much a formality: according to the Committee of Advertising Practice, “linking sex or sexualised images with religion may cause particular offense” and “portraying nuns in a sexual manner is inappropriate.” In other words, don’t expect to see the Federici Gelato print ads dangling above the ice cream section at your local Sainsbury’s supermarket (which where it is being exclusively launched).

For those of you who just have to see more the Antonio Federici Gelato website has the music and the complete campaign up for your viewing pleasure, just remember God see’s everything you do.

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Rice to the top


I was wondering around my local supermarket when this packaging caught my eye. At first I thought that the rice was actually printed on the packaging, but then I realised that it was see through. What a great example of a brand actually reducing the amount of packaging they use, but doing it without losing any impact or standout. Well done to Veetee.

If you want to see more of their products go here…

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Soakin’ it Up


Last Friday saw the inaugral boxer ‘butty morning’. Happening weekly, the aim of these hour long chinwags is to enable some good old fashioned debate about what’s going on ‘out there’ in the real world. The whole company is involved and it’s an ideal way to get our creative juices flowing and to get some inspiration from outside the office that can feed into our work.


This first morning focused on two insightful presentations from two teams, each made up of a designer and an account handler, who had been assigned an area of Birmingham to go and ‘Soak it Up’. The brief for the expeditions was to find anything that’s good or bad in our home city, stuff that makes you proud or makes you cringe; whatever it is, we want to know about it. They can then come back into the office with a playful smile on their face and armed with lots of insights, findings and general views that they can share with the rest of us.


One team went to the markets, whilst the other visited The Jewellery Quarter, and last week  they went off photographing, documenting, gathering, listening and any other things ending in ‘ing’ in their specified area. On their return, it was great to get some conversation going in the office that allowed everyone to free up their minds from their current work and help dig deeper into each teams findings. We’ll be posting some of the thoughts and questions from the first ‘butty morning’ later this week.


In the meantime, enjoy the shots of us merry bunch deep in conversation accompanied by some good looking butties just to whet your appetite.

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Accident-Explanatory Slings

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Thinking off the paper

Some nice work by artist Peter Callesen. Really like the detail in his work, and the contrast between what’s on the paper and what’s 3D… and the fact he’s created these using just paper.




“Lately I have worked almost exclusively with white paper in different objects, paper cuts, installations and performances. A large part of my work is made from A4 sheets of paper. It is probably the most common and consumed media used for carrying information today. This is why we rarely notice the actual materiality of the A4 paper. By taking away all the information and starting from scratch using the blank white A4 paper sheet for my creations, I feel I have found a material that we are all able to relate to, and at the same time the A4 paper sheet is neutral and open to fill with different meaning. The thin white paper gives the paper sculptures a frailty that underlines the tragic and romantic theme of my works.”

More examples on his website

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New Robinsons ‘Be Natural’ advert

This is the new very well thought and brilliantly executed advert for Robinsons ‘Be Natural’ juices, I especially like the hello clock. Nice work Robinsons.   

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