Judging for student competition to create a brand and sting for new Notts TV
We were looking through some pics this week and came across this one of a nice group of talented students from NTU.
Having not put this on our design blog at the time (was a busy few weeks back then!), here's what happened.
It was a marketing and promotional exercise to promote the new regional TV channel for Nottingham called Notts TV. Students were asked to come up with a Brand Identity for the TV Channel, a short video sting to promote it, and also a social media marketing campaign to spread the word.
Ian Morris, Managing Director of Threerooms, was proud to have been invited to be one of the judges on the competition.
During the afternoon, having been presented with two excellent executions, a winner was decided between the judging team and prizes given out, one of which was a week's work experience at the amazing Threerooms Design Company in Nottingham (woo hoo!).
Stephen was the lucky winner and we really enjoyed his company for that week. He seemed to be a really talented designer and we wished him all the best for the future.
Hopefully he will be back for a catch-up sometime soon to let us know how he got on.
ITV has launched their biggest rebrand in 12 years and it's already been ridiculed by some!
Comments like 'it looks like a bum' or 'a child practising joined up writing with crayons'. Another comment says it looks like the marketing assistant has been on a half day photoshop course. Personally, I think this is rubbish.
Most of the comments are about the logo as a standalone item but a brand is much more than that. When you look at the brand as a whole it's fresh, welcoming and there are some great touches on the website. If they had gone with something more simple and sharp they would have instantly been accused of copying the BBC.
The new logo and brand, whilst appealing to the broad spectrum of viewers, really does position them differently to the BBC, which is a good thing! After all they do offer a really different selection of programming and have a totally different demographic of viewers.
The logo feels more fun and friendly than the BBC, which, as we know, needs to stand up for a globally established news and information organisation.
Surely, whatever they did they knew it would get some stick, that's just part of the industry. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but we designers have to be tough to criticism :)
Now that the festive period has been and gone (with Santa and mince pies being a long distant memory more's the pity) we've been thinking about the year ahead and after much collective brain power and calendar perusal realised that there are a grand total of 52 Sad Mondays in the year ahead :(
However on the flip side this also means that there are a grand total of…wait for it…256 design days which equates to 52 Happy Fridays :) which puts much more of a positive spin on things.
The mathematicians amongst us view this as an exact balance of sad and happy adding up to 1 year's worth of days in which to shine.
Make this the year that your company's marketing and website shines brighter than your competitors :)
Give us a call to find out how we can help…
Santa has already paid a visit to Threerooms and left us all great pressies. Some thoughtful ones, some funny ones, some slightly insulting ones, but one thing's for sure he knows us all very well! Take a look at what he got us!
By now our client Christmas gifts should have landed and be the doorsteps of clients as a thank you for their continued business during 2012.
The lovely handmade items comes courtesy of a team of hard working grannies (recruited from our nearest and dearest) who were briefed and tasked with creating a unique gift for us to send out.
Each item is slightly different and reflects the creativity and inspiration of our fab team of helpers
So how did it all work?
Well... once recruited we put together a pattern for our helpers to guide them on their way and then sourced ‘Threerooms’ green wool for them to craft into the finished articles. Regular catch ups meant that we could deal with any queries that arose and could also see how everything was coming along. Once completed much packaging and boxing up took place at this end until everything was ready to go to send out the finished articles. In keeping with the Christmas spirit we also rewarded our glamorous helpers with a little something as a thank you for all their great work.
Merry Christmas from all at Threerooms
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support during the past year and wish you a fabulous Christmas and prosperous New Year.
We are taking a well earned break over the festive period so will be closing our doors on Friday 21st December but will be back and raring to go on Thursday 3rd January 2013.
Love from the Threerooms team
We can now reveal that our team of ‘creative’ Christmas helpers are made up of our nearest and dearest who were only too happy to help us out with the task in hand, they are busy working away right now!
Take a look at these pictures of the chosen ones
In the words of one of our festive accomplices “It’s great fun to have a chance to be so creative and for the greater good too!!’’
That’s all we can disclose for now, keep an eye out for the big reveal as Christmas draws nearer...
We are pleased to announce that the long anticipated fantastic new website for the Maze, Nottingham’s legendary live music venue has now gone live.
View the website at www.themazerocks.com
If you would like to know more about this or any other web design projects then get in touch.
Here at Threerooms excitement is running high and we are all getting into the Christmas spirit as the 'Client Xmas Gifts with a Difference' project kicks off.
The shortlisted individuals have all gone through a very extensive selection process and we now have a keen and very enthusiastic team of recruits who are raring to go :-)
Briefing sessions will be completed this week, materials will be sourced and allocated and then all that remains to be seen are the finished festive articles.
Thats all we can say for now… except for saying that we can't wait to see the finished results and that we are sure you will be pleased too with the outcome of our xmas helper's creative efforts.
Having worked on all the materials for the Christmas campaign for Victoria Centre Nottingham we couldn’t pass up the chance to get down there and see the lights switch on last night… and we weren’t disappointed :-)
The evening had a ‘Strictly’ theme (complete with a glitter ball, woo hoo!) and included a range of great performances from local dance group Take One who were showcasing different clothes from a range of retailers within the centre.
The highlight of the evening was the Xmas lights switch on by former Corrie actress and 2010’s Strictly contestant Tina O’Brien which was fantastic and made us all feel very Christmassy!!
Get yourself into the Christmas spirit by tuning into the new Victoria Centre advert that we’ve been working on which is currently being shown on ITV (Central East region).
The advert features a range of individuals who are the ‘local faces’ from the campaign and shows their reaction to the range of lovely xmas gifts they are being given.
The advert is running at a variety of time slots over the next few weeks in the run up to Christmas.
Make sure you keep an eye out over the next few weeks for the festive faces on a range of Victoria Centre marketing throughout the area including on local buses and trams, on the Victoria centre website, on ‘in centre’ posters and in the local press.
Fancy seeing Corrie and Strictly Come Dancing Star Tina O'Brien at a location near you?
Then make sure you free up some space in your diary and head down to the Victoria Centre in Nottingham on Wednesday 14th November at 6.30pm to see Tina switching on the Christmas lights.
We are hugely proud to have worked on this year's Christmas collateral for the Victoria Centre's Xmas campaign so we are looking forward to coming down and seeing the first part of the campaign artwork in situ. (the idea of us popping on our dancing shoes and spangly outfits to fit with the 'Strictly' theme is currently under debate, he he).
If you are a superfan of the lovely Tina why not enter the following competition at www.victoriacentre.uk.com which will give 5 lucky winners the chance to meet her on the night and to waltz away with a VIP goodie bag plus 2 tickets per winner to the Strictly 2013 Live Tour.
What's not to love?!?We look forward to seeing you there...
Miriam, our much loved Account Manager has just got back from a 2 week trip to Japan (we are all very jealous indeed!).
Highlights for her included a trip to Mount Fuji and the surrounding lakes, several rail trips on the fantastically sleek bullet trains, a few days in Kyoto eating far too many gyoza (pan fried dumplings filled with various meats) and playing at geisha spotting, and lastly several nights in a traditional Japanese ryokan (family run guest house) in the heart of the Japanese Alps.
However it was the tales of the many non conventional food items that caught our attention - from wasabi flavoured Kit Kat's (really) to whale meat sashimi, she went, saw, tasted..... and lived to tell the tale :-)
Check out these slightly bizarre food-ey items that made it back to the office.
Threerooms Webtips101 - Edition #2
Dealing with the Cookie Monster
Welcome to Threerooms' Web Tips #101, in this, our second email of the series, we focus on Cookies.
The Cookie Law
If you've not already heard, website compliance changed last year. In May 2011, a new EU law came into effect which forced website owners and developers to take action and change the way their websites work. The privacy legislation, known as 'the cookie law', requires websites to obtain informed consent from its visitors before collecting and storing, or retrieving any information about them.
Cookies are typically used for:
- Tracking and storing visitor behaviour (for example Google Analytics)
- Personalising the website (for example font sizes and colours)
- Shopping carts in online stores
- "Remember me" login options
- Tracking usage and delivering targeted advertising
Adding cookies alerts to your website
Chances are, for smaller businesses, penalties are not going to be severe but failure to comply could lead to legal implications including fines and other actions from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
Take up for this has been slow but is now gradually become more widespread with more and more people adopting to the change. We favour a more passive approach, avoiding any disruption in the user-experience, but there are many ways of tackling it.
What can you do about it?
Good news: becoming compliant is a relatively easy job, and we can definitely help! The first step is to assess what information you're storing and how. We can then create a nice user-friendly opt-in form to conform with the revised privacy policies.
Talk to us about cookie compliance. Have a chat with our in-house web team. Call us: 0115 9061 320 or drop us a line
In this age of sensory overload finding ways of capturing and maintaining people's interest is essential.
This infographic (produced off the back of our involvement with the designs for the light boxes featured in the Olympic Park) aims to show, in a creative and engaging way, visitor attendance figures for the National Lottery's showcasing plot at the Olympic Park.
It works really well, making standard data more digestible... we could of course have left the all of the data in its original format but where's the fun in that?!?
We took part in the Olympics! Well, in our own special way.
We are as proud as punch to have been involved in working on the designs for a range of totems that were installed in the Olympic park during both the Olympics and the Paralympics.
The totems (that were installed within the National Lottery plot and were the brainchild of our client the National Lottery Promotions Unit) aimed to showcase just a few of the range of truly inspiring individuals that were competing.
Stunning photography by professional photographer Andy Hooper combined with our nifty photoshop skills and design expertise ensured that these looked amazing and we are really pleased to have been involved in such a high profile event.
Take a look below to see them in situ... according to people we know that were lucky enough to attend (grrh) the crowds seem to love them and there were lots of people having their pics taken with their heroes.
To find out more about our Olympic efforts feel free to get in touch...
Threerooms Webtips101 - Edition #1
Get more from your website with CMS plugins
Helloha! Welcome to Web Tips 101, the first in a series of emails designed to give you tips and info about the ever changing online landscape that is the web. This issue we focus on the huge potential of CMS plugins.
Think beyond the CMS
Content Management Systems (CMS) aren't just for uploading images or for tweaking text on your website, they have so much more to offer. Whichever CMS you choose, there's likely to be a whole raft of plugins and extensions available to add oomph to your website - from powerful SEO tools to front-end sliders and widgets. In this edition we focus on just a few of our favourites.
Social integration plugins
Automatically post to your favourite social platforms whenever you publish content on your site. It goes both ways too. You can pull content from social sites like Twitter and Facebook, displaying the latest extracts from your feeds, or display live photo feeds by pulling your retro-styled pics straight from your Instagram account.
Don't just write content, optimise it as you go. Using the impressive SEO tools for Wordpress, you can really get busy optimising your content. These nifty plugins (favourites of most SEO professionals) automatically generate metatags and title tags (required by search engines) based on your page content and even do keyword analysis for you too. Tie this in with a neat Google listings preview pane and you get to see exactly how your page will appear in a search engine before publishing the page.
Website content management used to be a desk-only activity, well now that's not the case, you can make updates to your website on the move and get mobile. With the likes of dedicated WordPress mobile and iPad apps you can manage your website from anywhere on any device.
That's only the tip of iceberg too, there are nearly 20,000 plugins for WordPress alone, let alone other systems. Want to learn more about how plugins can add power to your website? Have a chat with our in-house web team. Call us: 0115 9061 320 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Threerooms have teamed up with their in-house web team, BigSpring, to bring you this email. Our collaborative approach means that we can deliver the very best in Website Design and Development, using the very latest online tools and technologies. Want to find out more, just give us a shout.
Launch of the Loz Guest Site – DJ, MC, broadcaster and Kerrang Radio extraordinaire
We are so excited that Loz Guest’s website has gone live we wanted to share it with you.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the name Loz is a man of many talents know predominantly for his role in producing & presenting the Kerrang Radio breakfast show – if you are up and around check it out, its worth the early start! (www.kerrangradio.co.uk).
The site was collaboration between us and our in-house web development team, BigSpring and the design brief was to create a look and feel for the Jagermeister sponsored site that that showcased Loz’s work and also resonated with his fan base. The design also needed to tie in with the range of existing social media activity that was being carried out.
The dark textured background punctuated with the punchy yellow areas really reflect Loz’s style and complement the Kerrang site which was also important to keep in mind.
Loz’s involvement in the initial stages and then throughout the process meant that we came up with a look and feel that worked perfectly for him ….and was signed off at the first pass (we love a happy client!)
Once completed we handed this over to BigSpring, the web gurus to work their magic and the site was born - take a look at the Jagermeister Loz Guest website for yourself.
Want to know more about this or any other web design projects then get in touch.
Festival of Nottingham branding and logo released
In collaboration with Tony Bates from Fast Graphics (and many others), Threerooms are now proud to release the branding and logo design for the great new Nottingham event, Festival of Nottingham.
Gearing up for launch in October, and set to provide a full month of events, exhibitions, music and technology action, the festival is set to go with a bang and set light to the very best that Nottingham has to offer for the whole of the month!
And, being a collaborative event, everyone can get involved :) So, if you are a Nottingham venue, have some to offer the Festival, or are just an avid Nottingham fan, then get in touch and get involved!
Thanks go out to all who were involved in the creative process and production of this branding, and a big thanks to FlexyWeb who are putting the website together and Shake Social for helping out with the social media for the event.
Stay informed on the developments of Festival of Nottingham by following: @FestivalofNottm on Twitter.
So you can get a taste of the branding and how it will look, see the sneaky peek below. You can also check out the Festival of Nottingham portfolio project on this site.
Want to know more about this or any other branding projects then get in touch
Antonio Carusone at AisleOne wrote a useful article for Smashing Magazine: Many people, designers included, think that typography consists of only selecting a typeface, choosing a font size and whether it should be regular or bold. For most people it ends there. But there is much more to achieving good typography and it’s in the details that designers often neglect.
These details give the designer total control, allowing them to create beautiful and consistent typography in their designs. While these details can be applied across different types of media, in this articles we’re going to focus on how to apply them to web design using CSS. Here are 8 simple ways you can use CSS to improve your typography and hence the overall usability of your designs.
Read the whole article here and share:
Threerooms team dust off their trainers and get sporty…
...well not quite but with the football season in full swing we’ve definitely been seeing some sporting action, albeit from the comfort of our studio!
Take a look at this DM piece for one of our clients who asked us to design an event invite based around the idea of a game of two halves. The event was split into business presentations in the morning followed by a big screen showing of the England v France game with dinner and drinks in the evening at a prestigious London venue.
The Direct mail, designed as a self-mailer with over-printed postage and address details, was followed up by telemarketing to encourage take-up of this prestigious event. The design has a footy theme with a simple grass background working well as an attention grabber whilst the inner layout worked well by proving a clear distinction between the two very different parts of the day.
Companies can capitalise in many ways on the back of these sporting events and, even if you're not a major sponsor, there are plenty of marketing and advertising opportunities they can bring - we've also been working on several Olympic themed communications too.
If you want to get ahead of the game and could do with a touch of creative inspiration we’re more than happy to have a chat, just give us a call or drop us an email – we’re a friendly bunch of good sports (sorry couldn’t resist!).
Threerooms loves any gadget that helps to streamline a design process or ease web design workflow.
Adobe® now offer a new app called Adobe Shadow, an inspection and preview tool to allow front-end web design masters easily preview, develop and design websites for web and mobile devices by using live previews of the website design.
Watch the video here:
The new More4 identity has just been unveiled featuring “Live-action idents" seeing the brand break out into the real world in the form of mechanical ‘flippers’”.
Created by the More4 in-house team and ManvsMachine, the new brand identity uses a simple but very powerful 'flipping triangles' device that brings life to the brand without the heavy use of CGI. Apparently the intention was to keep the moving image work clean and built with an outdoors feel to reflect the types of programmes being aired.
Rather than choose the easy route of making the idents with CGI, the team chose to make all of the many thousand of triangle pieces and assemble them mechanically. The result is noticeably more realistic, more natural.
The logo itself uses the very same triangles combined to form the famous '4' character. The depth and colour in the character itself is striking yet well balanced.
It only leaves you with the thought: "I wish that was my idea".
Find out more here:
We've seen some really creative things online recently and we wanted to share a couple with you...
The first is an interactive music video clip that allows you to draw the music you're listening to using a brush that reacts to the music and lyrics - pretty cool! Give it a go here : http://herraizsoto.com/works/2009/labuat/soytuaire/
The second is another interactive music video by arcade fire where you get to choose a location to be integrated into the video... www.thewildernessdowntown.com
Many thanks for all of the great projects in 2011, we’ve had a great year and have really loved working with you.
Have a great Christmas from us all at Threerooms
* Please note that we will be closing this year on the 23rd December. Don’t worry, we’ll be back ready to go on the 4th January. See you in the new year.
We are currently looking for some fantastic and talented new people to join our team. Click on the links below for more details:
We are all deeply shocked and saddened this morning to learn that Steve Jobs has passed away. A man who has revolutionised the world with his insight and inspiration will, no doubt, be deeply missed and remembered as the greatest innovator the 21st Century has seen.
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
- Steve Jobs
Another great CIN event in Derby, this time on the B2B marketing of Rolls Royce.
Last night I went to a CIN event in Derby to hear one of Rolls Royce's most senior marketing executives, Richard Goodhead (Vice President of Market Assessment), talk about the marketing role at Rolls Royce. It was a free event and, with a tantalising title of "How to market a Jet Engine", who could refuse.
The presentation went on for about an hour and some really interesting points came out. The B2B marketing approach for a company like Rolls Royce is really, really quite specialised, needing a very sensitive, strategic and long-term approach.
At Threerooms, while we do work on many consumer brands, our main design and branding focus is for B2B customers, so, needless to say, I was all ears.
Several photographers were taking snaps on the night so I managed to get hold of a few pics (courtesy of Chris Howard from Cactus Images). There's a great photo of me (Ian, MD) looking a bit 'wrong'. And yes, my ears are too large for my head! Overall, a really enjoyable and interesting night. Many thanks to CIN.
So after a fantastic two day event looking for stars of our Nottingham Victoria Shopping Centre Christmas advertising campaign we decided to end the day with a little dance video against the green screen. Unfortunately our Creative Director, Rachel, was already on her way back to the London office otherwise she would have stolen the show! (and I bet you can't guess who's writing this.
We had a fantastic two days in Victoria Centre for our 'Find the Face of Christmas' event. So many amazing people got involved - all they had to do was imagine they were given the best Christmas gift ever and give their best surprised reaction.... and there really were some fantastic faces!
Woooooo hooo! We've just been awarded the recommended agency status form RAR.
We're extra pleased because, in the words of many an award acceptance speech, "It's even more special because it was voted for by you, the people". Well, it was voted for by our clients, so it's kind of the same thing.
The Recommended Agency Register identifies the best agencies based on feedback from their clients, so it's really nice to know that our clients like us. The ratings are based on things such as client service, creativity, effectiveness, strategic thinking, value for money, and whether our projects are on time and to budget, and we scored an overall average of 96%!
Our relationships with our clients are very important so it's great to get some feedback on how we're doing.
Now you can turn blank walls into something truly stunning!
We've just been sent this innovative new idea by one of our suppliers and love the idea! All we need now is that right campaign to use it for.
Here's a bit more about it:
Until now, many textured surfaces have been off-limits for applying graphics. But now these surfaces can come to life using 3M™ Scotchcal™ Graphic Film for Textured Surfaces and the printing and application expertise of Service Graphics.
This unique product conforms and moulds over indoor and outdoor textured surfaces such as brick, concrete block, tiles, poured cement and stucco, creating photographic quality images that really demand attention.
Now the only limit is your imagination...
The Threerooms directors were both born and bred in Nottingham and both have a great passion for the city, however with an increasing amount of new clients residing in London and with a fear we might be wearing out the M1 going to see them, we decided, in April, to open a London base.
Rachel our Creative Director is now heading up the London office in the leafy suburbs of Chiswick, West London with easy access to Central London and all our southern clients.
"It's really exciting to make the move and open up a new office in London, our main base will still be Strelley Hall in Nottingham but we see this as a real advantage to our London clients - I can visit them and take face-to-face briefs but, with the majority of the work being done in Nottingham we can offer real value to our clients who don't want to pay London prices!"
If you want to get in touch with Rachel at the London office please call 0208 987 8740 or email email@example.com
Last week ended with that Friday night excitement in the air as not only was it the weekend, but it was also party time!
Our clients We Are Nottingham Leisure are the champions behind the Nottingham Food and Drink Festival every year and Friday saw the festival launch party at tonic and Threerooms were thrilled to be invited and to attend!
The food and drink flowed freely with wine and cocktails from the bar at Tonic and delicious food from 4550 from Delhi and Homemade to name but a few. Sylvia Manser, CEO of We Are Nottingham, provided a cracking speech and encouraged everyone to take away the 42 page Festival Programme, put together by yours truly!
Threerooms were thrilled to work on this years Food and Drink Festival artwork covering bus advertising, 6 sheets advertising, artwork for flags, flyers, posters, and of course the programme.
As if the excitement of the launch wasn’t enough, we were
extra excited (not to mention chuffed to bits) when we received a tasty treat
of our own by way of thanks from the client for all our hard work! Thanks again guys!
For more information about this years Food and Drink Festival check out their site, www.wearenottingham.co.uk/foodfestival
We've been working on quite a few designs for packaging recently (watch this space) and while there are some restrictions we try and make our packaging as original and creative as possible to make the product really stand out from the competition.
So when we saw these examples of being creative with barcodes we just had to share them with you and can't wait to have a go ourselves!
When the BMC marketing team call with a new campaign for us to work on the whole agency springs to life! With a ‘no holes barred’ approach (in a very PC and appropriate manner of course) they are always keen to let us run with our creative ideas and their latest campaign was no different....
Aimed at 15 year old students who are looking for further education courses, the campaign advertises the fantastic Animal Care and Equine courses at BMC. The college recently made a million pound investment into the courses so the facilities are by far the best in the area.
So with a strong course offering from the college, how do we communicate that to 15 year old students? A tough audience to crack, we decided to hit them with humor and the following eye catching creative and messages.
The campaign is now live across the city of Nottingham, visible on Trams, Buses, Bus Stops and whopping 96 sheets, not to mention website and social media campaigns.
The BMC marketing team took the campaign to their first event last week and received by far the most interest and took away 125 new inquiries for a range of Animal Care, Equine and Performing Arts courses to name but a few.
Looking forward to hearing more from BMC throughout the campaign with an update and they hope to culminate the campaign with something a little different taking place in Nottingham city centre....stay tuned to find out more!
Walking down London's oxford street at the weekend, surrounded by busy shoppers, there was one brand of shopping bag you couldn't fail to spot, you could literally see them a mile off - Selfridges.
It got me thinking, how clever to use a block of colour so vibrant in such a sea of boring white or black bags simply printed with the store's logo. Everyone carrying the Selfridges bags were doing so with a sense of pride at being able to say ' Look, I've just bought something from Selfridges' and you really couldn't fail to miss it.
Thinking more about brands owning colours some of these brands don't even need a logo to invoke a response, the colour is simply enough. See how many you can guess.
On a BBC programme, not so long ago, people on the street were shown pots of coloured paint and asked what came to mind. Interestingly when shown a pot of the cadbury's purple coloured paint, almost everyone asked said 'chocolate'.
Colour can define your brand and make a massive impact when standing out from competitors, especially if you are the only one to use the colour. This has to be approached with caution though, if there's a spare colour in your sector there might be a good reason why.
Jack Daniels has recently updated it's iconic packaging labels with a much simpler, cleaner design. The new label features a photo of Jasper Newton 'Jack' Daniel himself along with a brief 'About Us'. A quick vote in the office and on Twitter found that we all preferred the new version. To be honest though, I'm pretty sure most people won't even notice the change
We have been working with our client We Are Nottingham Retail on an eggstra special Easter campaign and we’re very proud to announce – its live!
From Indulgent chocolates to fabulous shopping sprees plus free parking offers – the campaign team have really created an eggstraordinary offer for city of Nottingham.
Needless to say the campaign does not use any ‘eggy’ puns (thank goodness!) and relies upon the fantastic offers that the Nottingham retailers have provided. The aim of the campaign is to demonstrate an increase in footfall over the Easter period to the Levy Payers of the BID, in this, their first live campaign.
We’re thrilled to have been a part of this - Check out www.wearenottingham.co.uk/indulge for all the great offers and events that are on in Nottingham this Easter.
Take a look at the full case study here We Are Nottingham Retail Indulge Creative Campaign
A few months ago I was invited (through LinkedIn) to go along to a meeting to discuss a brand new project aiming to promote the East Midlands region.
Organised by Tony Bates (Communicate East Midlands founder and Managing Director of Fast Graphics Ltd) the meeting, at Antenna in Nottingham, was a real success and very inspiring. Attended initially by a group of 16, all from different business sectors but each having a passion for what the East Midlands has to offer, the group has now grown through LinkedIn to over 250 members and is growing further everyday.
Tony's inspiration for forming the group was an amalgam of witnessing the success of the Invest in Nottingham Club, the imminent closure of the East Midlands Development Agency and the ease of bringing this together by utilising LinkedIn.
At the meeting it was very evident the East Midlands was quite poorly represented as a region but had so much to offer so it was decided then that we would do our best to change that.
Threerooms along with another agency Nick Chaffe Design were tasked with creating an initial logo for the group. Eighteen logos in total were then put up for the vote by asking the Communicate East Midlands group to choose their favourite.
The chosen logo (with an overwhelming majority) was designed by Threerooms which you can see above. We're currently working on the design of the website at present so keep your eyes out for that.
We're very proud to be involved in Communicate East Midlands from the beginning and really hope it is a great success.
I know it's a bit late but this is an absolute classic April Fool by google!
Imagine an office where everybody used body movement to write emails? - I guess we'd all be a lot fitter than just sitting at our desks, especially using the Motion Guide. My favourite has to be the 'Who's going to water the plants?' motion.
To sign up for Gmail Motion go to www.gmail.com/motion
So, it's Tuesday night and I've just ordered a takeaway.
I know, it's tuesday! Have I gone crazy?
Well, I'd been waiting to try this new Indian takeaway for a while (really nice branding, and no double spaces or awful kerning in the menu) and I'd had a busy day so thought I'd treat myself.
There's a lot to say about great branding but if the product doesn't live up to the expectation then it's not worth anything, and in this case it didn't. I'm not a curry connoisseur, but this one was very dissapointing!! Plus they forgot my sauces for the poppadoms!
So what now? Well I'll never order from them again and they'll never know why. How many other potential customers have they lost this way?
It got me thinking of how important feedback is. No one really likes to hear when things aren't good, but we should love it! Because then we have a chance to change it. I didn't really want a 20 question feedback form in with my curry but they knew I was a new customer to them (as I pointed out the 'Free Starter' offer for new customers.. greedy!) so why not send me a text saying 'How was your takeaway? Let us know and receive free delivery on your next order' I would have quite happily told them if they'd asked.
However when you're really, really not happy with a product/service that's when it seems to get tricky. It always surprises me how difficult some companies make it when you want to tell them things have gone wrong. The old adage 'one happy customer tells 3 friends, one unhappy customer tells 10' is very true. However now, in the digital age, one unhappy customer can reach 1000's of people, sometimes causing real damage to a businesses reputation and even coming higher in search engine listings than the business!
I think feedback is something every business should look forward to receiving.
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
Even if a company like ours is rostered to brand manage a company, including all of the all of the graphic design work, the literature, the website, in fact all outwardly visible elements, then it is still hugely valuable to have brand guidelines in place. Even the creators of a brand can be tempted to run away with it sometimes!
Company Brand Guidelines help to 'keep a leash' on designers who, by their very nature, have creative and excited brains, often pushing ideas forward but missing some of the key rules that a brand must adhere to. Sure, you wouldn't want to stem the flow of great ideas but, at the same time, the perception of a brand is very important so shouldn't be misrepresented.
Creating brand guidelines might be a costly exercise initially but they last the life of a brand, maybe 5-10 years, or even generations, and by having guidelines you are setting a very solid starting block for the company. If brand identity guidelines are followed correctly then you can be sure that your company identity or product brand will appear stronger and more consistent over time. It is this consistency that really helps in building brand loyalty.
Channel 5 has just gone through another re-brand which for the first time
features the word channel.
One of my favourite comments I've seen about it so far is “it looks like a generic fake news-cast van in the background of a Die Hard film” and to be honest we quite agree.
It doesn't really seem like a progression of the logo, it almost seems like they've gone backwards. Another blogger has likened it to a 'I am 5' birthday badge.
When one of our designers saw the logos above, they actually thought the latest logo was the oldest logo, however channel 5's first logo would definitely take some beating in terms of good design! haha!
To be fair, whenever a rebrand is announced you'll hear the usual "it cost how much?" and "my five year old could have done a better job" - people don't generally seem to like change. However when a logo is seen in isolation it's very hard to see the potential of the full brand.
This is why whenever we are asked to do a new logo design we never show the options on there own but always create them with brand visuals to get an overall feel of how the complete brand will look.
AS for the Channel 5 rebrand I think I'll reserve judgement for the moment until I've seen the full roll out of the brand.
This is a perfect example of good branding... Love it!
I was having dinner with a friend yesterday who spends quite a lot of time in Boston, Massachusetts. He asked if I'd ever heard about a brand called Johnny Cupcakes?, I hadn't, but the more he told me about this brand the more I wanted to find out about it straight away.
Johnny cupcakes started off selling t'shirts with cupcakes on them - doesn't sound that amazing does it? However this business Johnny started from the boot of his car has now grown to be a multi-million dollar business. His branding is exceptional and because of this he's created a cult following, with many people even branding themselves with the Johnny cupcakes logo.
My friend was raving about the Johnny Cupcakes store, he loved it! You go in, and it's all set up like a store selling cupcakes but actually sells t'shirts. (check out the store pics here) When you buy a t'shirt it comes in a little cake box and you also get a cup cake too, how cool is that!
It's those little details which create a brand people treasure and are completely loyal too.
Here's what Johnny says about his brand on his website www.johnnycupcakes.com
I'd rather have a strong brand filled with knowledgeable customers who truly enjoy and appreciate what I've created instead of making a quick buck– being just another fad. People like what nobody else has, and I love coming out with limited edition, exclusive shirts rather than mass-producing things. Once a shirt is sold out, I never produce them again.
I hang out with my customers, talk to them, and build memorable experiences with them at my in-store events and through the little details that I put into everything. Paying attention to my customers and treating them as individuals just makes sense to me– I wouldn't be here without them!
Most companies try to cut as many corners so that they can to turn a better profit.
I do the exact opposite and pay very close attention to all the little things.
The consistency of Johnny's brand is also spot on, he's thought about everything. From the way his product is delivered, to the stores, to the website, it all helps sell a brand which people will buy into rather than just buy.
His brand values are almost identical to ours. We understand it's the little details which will make you stand out from your competitors, and be what your clients remember. We aim to build lasting relationships with our clients, too many companies nowadays don't seem to care whether their customers are happy or not so long as they're getting the money in. By building relationships we really get to know our clients and what'll make a difference to our clients business, suggesting the little extra things that'll make their brand special!
We completed our annual internal brand audit last week and, as ever, very inspiring and insightful.
Every member of the Threerooms team gets to confidentially answer a series of brand audit questions about Threerooms like: What do you like about working at Threerooms?; What don't you like?; Where do you see us in 5 years?
The information is then collated by Alissa our account manager and presented back to the whole team to talk about. While it can throw up some very interesting and valid suggestions for business development, it's always good to check to see whether we are all on the same lines when it comes to Threerooms as a brand... and we were very pleased to see that we were!
As company directors, the 'What don't you like about Threerooms?' question was probably the most interesting. Luckily nothing major arises, all simple things really, and very easy for us to action and make better, although we're not sure how to address the issue of asking the cleaner to be less heavy-handed with our mugs though!
Some businesses are scared of hearing what their staff really think, in case it isn't positive, but how could you possibly make things better if you don't know what's wrong in the first place? Feedback is one of the most valuable pieces of information a company can get, and having a happy team that genuinely feels passionate about their company and brand goes a very long way!
It was also really nice to see where everyone saw Threerooms in 5 years time, we're all quite an ambitious lot and that showed in the answers!
All in all, very inspiring, motivating, interesting, insightful and an absolutely key business development tool.
If you'd like Threerooms to organise an internal brand audit for your company then just give us a call
on 0115 9061 320
We've been working on quite a few projects for clients in the education sector recently. As well as branding, we've been designing prospectuses and helping create exhibition branding for our clients who are exhibiting at the BETT show this week. We've collated some of the work into a quick video. Why not take a look.
I love this, it really makes me smile.
It's a few months old now but this American commercial for car insurance really caught my attention. I don't think I'd ever get fed up of a pig going wee wee wee all the way home... then again, if it was every day?
Brilliant (if not a little strange) advert for a well-known software product.
Also see the alternative version here: The Hoff loses against The Fan.
...We Are Nottingham Retail!
With a whopping 108 yes votes out of 184 we’re thrilled for our client We Are Nottingham Retail who have successfully been voted in as a BID Company. Congratulations!
Jane, Chris, Katrina and the Steering Group team have all worked very hard over the last 18 months and such an outstanding result is testament to their hard work and dedication to improving Nottingham’s Retail offer.
We’re thrilled to have been a part of the journey and the successful yes vote and we all wish the We Are team all the very best for the next 5 years!
To find out more about the Nottingham Retail BID visit www.wearenottingham.co.uk/retail
Strelley Hall is a beautiful location to work from at the best of times but it looks absolutley amazing in the snow! Getting there in the snow though is a whole different story!!
I’m a massive fan of Lord Alan Sugar, his one liners are legendary:
“If you survive, I promise you this, as sure as I’ve got a hole in my bloody a**e…”.
I’m currently following Lord Al on Twitter and his tweets are just as straight down the line as his conversation. One of his recent tweets was: “I agree as my book explains most ad agencies are looking for awards at Cannes and forget what they’re actually advertising” . This isn’t the first time he’s shown his dislike either, whenever the ‘branding’ task on the Apprentice comes around you hear about it: “I’ve written books on advertising. Cheque books.” and “I hope that one day you run a business that has got a turnover the size of the amount of money I’ve pi**ed up the wall over the years on advertising”.
Now Lord Sugar wants straight talking advertising to go with his straight talking attitude, but even so, I reckon he’s actually right on some of his points – some agencies can be obsessed with wining awards!
One of our designers told us a story about going to a job interview. He was waiting in the meeting room when the MD walked in, slammed an award down on the table in front of him and sat down without saying anything but with a rather smug look on his face. Hmmm, so what! Needless to say the designer came to work with us rather than them.
Saying that, we aren’t against entering awards but we certainly don’t design something with this in mind. And in terms of ‘forgetting what we’re actually advertising’ we don’t do that either. At Threerooms, we’ve got a really good combination of skills. Myself and Ian (co-founders) were both originally designers and, in the past, are both guilty of designing for designs sake, and cursing under our breath whenever the client wanted to ‘make the logo bigger’, as it was going to ruin our kick-ass design.
Since then though we’ve developed the business and now see things from the other perspective – what the client is trying to achieve, and not just how it looks. As a growing business with talented designers who care about the design and account/marketing people who care about the message, we’ve got the perfect combination.
We don’t want to ever stop pushing the creativity though if it’s right for the client. The majority of clients will always prefer to play it safe, that’s why when a client comes along and lets us be creative we love it! And then after the project is finished, the client is happy, the objective of the campaign has been successful, then that’s when we consider entering it for an award. Never the other way around.
Well the cold weather has set in for sure! We’ve noticed the sun is very reluctant to get out of bed in the morning (just like one of our designers...!) and its very quick to set. We managed to capture this shot out of our studio window before the sun hit the deck for the night. Its quite pretty where we work! Click here to see more of our studio in Strelley Hall.
I'm sure the majority of people who see the new T-Mobile advert flash mob advert can't help but smile.
Okay, so most of the time we're too busy working hard for our clients but some of the Threerooms team managed to get out in the snow to build 'Three Snowmen' in the grounds of Strelley Hall. Here's a pic...
I’ve recently come back from Las Vegas. I went with a friend from Sheffield and when asked where in the UK we were from, not one American had heard of Sheffield but EVERYBODY had heard of Nottingham. Why? ...because of you-know-who, Mr Robin Hood.
Some Americans were amazed it was actually a real place and were even more amazed that there actually was a Sherwood Forest and a Sheriff of Nottingham.
In fact, wherever I’ve been in the world, I have never had a problem explaining where I’m from because everyone has heard of Nottingham, due to Robin Hood. Apart from the obvious, London, I can’t think of anywhere else in the UK that has this sort of legendary recognition, perhaps Stratford from Shakespeare fame? (Let me know if you have any suggestions.)
So when tourists visit Nottingham, after seeing the legend in films, such as Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and the latest film starring Russell Crowe, what do they think?
I know the City Council are looking into the possibility of building some kind of Robin Hood experience, as per their recent trip to the US to explore the idea.
Investing in Robin Hood and the city will help increase International tourism, and therefore increase the flow of money into the city. Could we ask individual businesses to invest as a collective interest through sponsorship etc?
We should definitely make more of The Castle. Warwick Castle have created a really successful tourist attraction. They have a better castle perhaps, but they also have daily re-enactments, falconry displays, archery displays, a Trebuchet, to name only a few. Of course we have the Robin Hood Pageant though.
At Threerooms we love Notts, are really proud to be based here, and would do anything to promote it… so what other ideas could we come up with to promote our fantastic city?
These Google Street View images are endless so only take a look if you have some spare time on your hands.
Obviously when Google started collecting images of streets around the world it was going to snap some strange goings on. Even our own designer, Lee, was snapped taking a cake out of the boot of his car at his mother-in-laws (not that that was strange at all!) But here is a collection of some of the interesting things google street view has seen - there's quite a few of them!
Have ever really thought about colour? No, really thought? Well, colour plays a huge role in brand design. You may flick through the pages of a magazine or perhaps walk down your local high street and be seemingly oblivious to the colours of brands around you.
Okay, so you’re in the city centre, it’s raining an you’re in a rush so you haven’t got time to think, but subconsciously your mind is seeing colour and making decisions on what and where you might buy all of the time.
The choice of colour is very pivotal in the buying decisions of consumers and so should be considered very carefully when creating a brand identity.
On a journey to work I was studying a company’s van. I forget now but it was something to do with solar installations. The layout of the information on it was brash, unclear and obviously created with only an average understanding of effective layout; there was too much information on there and the logo ran over an image, distorting it slightly.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the worst I’d seen, they had a decent logo at least, and, while you might not call it a design crime, it was certainly a misdemeanor.
Well, I started thinking: “Based on what I saw, what did I think of that company?” Putting myself in the shoes of potential customer, and assuming I was interested in their service, I probably would have given them a them a call for a quote; while they didn’t look the most professional and premium, they did look reputable and probably competitive on price - of course this is just my opinion. Am I the type of person they want to call them? Well, that I might never know.
All this from 45 seconds sat at traffic lights? Well, yes! Maybe other people might not break it down in this way but the same psychological processes will be happening, the same quick decisions being made.
Every aspect of a company’s brand communicates to the outside world on a continual basis. Every aspect must be considered and designed for the right market, positioning the company in the right price range, projecting the right values. All this has a huge impact for the company, and this goes for small businesses, SME’s, right through to the blue chips too.
And finally, to link back to the title of the post. If you apply this same kind of thinking but with ultra-budget, low-cost services, does bad design work? What I mean is: does someone look at a rusty transit van with a dodgy home-made logo on the side (written in Comic Sans or Copper Plate, no doubt) and think: “Hmmm, I’m looking for cheap and they just might have it on offer”. Maybe they’ve got their branding spot on after all.
It was certainly worth a spare thought on a drive to work. What else was I going to do?
Okay, so the dictionary says that a brand is: “A type of product manufactured by a company under a particular name. A brand name.”
That’s all fine and dandy, but one thing that seems to be clear is that people simply don’t have a single, unified understanding of what branding and brand identity really is. You could argue that it is because there is no single, all-encompassing definition. Business owners, marketing managers, PR departments, staff all see branding in many different ways. To some it is the design of a logo, to others it is their packaging design, to another the perception of their business from their customers perspective; the truth is, it is all of these things and more.
If you research branding, looking at the widely accepted definitions, what has come before and the evolution of branding, you get a good idea of how branding works and what branding can do for an organisation. By doing research in the market you can discover what people like, what they respond to and how you can improve an existing brand. What is harder tell for certain is the businesses own perception of branding; what do they like and what do they want? If you don’t know this then the whole banding process could be pointless and even the most effective solution can be shot down in flames.
It seems quite clear that not only understanding the discipline of branding but equally understanding the expectations of your client leads to acceptance and confidence in an idea. Without both the client and the branding company working hand-in-hand then even the best idea will never fly.
I was recently asked to answer some branding-based questions for a university student’s dissertation and thought it might be nice to share them with you. On many of the questions there is plenty of room for personal opinion and I’d love to hear your thoughts too, so comment back.
1. In your opinion, what is more important to companies/corporations the brand or the product?
Ultimately the product is the king. There is nothing that has more importance than the product or service a company is offering, without this the brand means nothing (or very little). Despite this, brands do have a huge value in themselves, but only when established with a product or service that is desired by buyers.
2. How are the ideals of marketing techniques altered during times of brand hardship?
I think brand development and priorities in developing brands for their own sake shifts to a concentration on marketing the specific products. Many companies make a shift to sell product and keep their income at an acceptable level, maybe seeing brand development as a luxury for the good times.
3. In your opinion, are iconic brands created through unique marketing or are they a branding phenomenon?
Surely, the only answer to this is ‘both’. There many instances, especially in more recent years, of branding successes that are not achieved through the normal channels, maybe they grow through interest in social marketing environments or via clever viral marketing. There is still no doubt that good sustained brand growth comes from continued marketing after the ‘phenomenon,’ stage.
4. Briefly, in your opinion, what would you highlight as the key issues that enforce and sustain a brand?
It always boils down to customer option and perception. You need to keep people feeling positive about your brand to ensure that message is passed around. Consistent marketing is essential but it may also involve focus on customer service, product development or achievements in other customer facing business areas.
5. How would you distinguish the difference between brand iconicity and brand popularity? (For example; Coca-Cola could be observed as iconic, whereas Pepsi could be observed as popular).
Both could be seen as going hand-in-hand. Nothing becomes an icon with some degree of interest by the masses. An iconic brand is often one that stands out from the crowd and acts as something new, original or different in the marketplace, something that has a more unique story to tell. Both brands provide Cola yet one clearly has a back-story and more interesting history that helps support the iconic status.
6. Would you agree that effective branding/marketing techniques are developed off the back of cultural anxieties and economic issues?
Clearly, some techniques could be developed due to economic difficulties. In terms of marketing, companies are forced to manage their budgets better to get more out of their pound (or more bang for their buck). Maybe they forget the costly press advertising and move their focus to the email marketing or social networking. Those who understand the need to adapt, and then take action to do so, will ultimately be better off.