WHY YOUR BRAND NEEDS A STORY…

WHY YOUR BRAND NEEDS A STORY…

In 1902, US President Theodore Roosevelt went on a hunting trip in Mississippi. One day he went back to camp and his party went on and cornered an American Black Bear before calling him back to take the kill for himself. When he arrived he looked at the bear, and looking at it’s state, refused the kill, calling it ‘unsportsmanlike’. Newpapers picked up on this, creating the cartoon by Clifford Berryman, above. Morris Michtom saw the cartoon and seised his opportunity, creating ‘Teddy’s Bear’ (with the full permission of the President to use his name). Michtom founded the Ideal Novelty & Toy Co (today called Ideal, which was once the largest toy company in the world. All you early adopters who had the first Rubik’s Cube, the name on the box was…yes,  you guessed it, Ideal). The rest they say, is history. I bet everyone reading this has heard of, owned, or seen a Teddy Bear. But have you heard of a Billy Possum? The next president of the US after Theodore Roosevelt was William H. Taft. The toy market was buzzing after the Teddy Bear became so popular, but many believed the teddy bear was a fad. In 1909 Taft was having a dinner, and at his request, was tucking into ‘possum and taters’. After the President Elect had stuffed his belly, he was presented with a stuffed possum toy that he was told would replace the Teddy Bear. The bear was named ‘Billy Possum’. Taft liked the toy and the Georgia Billy Possum Company was formed. It was hailed by the press, the market was flooded with all sorts...
WHAT CAN HIGH STREETS LEARN FROM SHOPPING MALLS?

WHAT CAN HIGH STREETS LEARN FROM SHOPPING MALLS?

High streets are important, both for community and for place. They help define an area as being more than a collection of homes, but over time many they have lost their way, and yet shopping malls wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t for the high street. SHOPPING MALLS EVOLVED FROM HIGH STREETS.  My childhood was spent in a small town in North Devon. My local high street had free parking, but it was only a 15 minute walk from home, it had 2 cinemas, record shops, food shops, clothes shops, shoe shops, 1950’s style diners, ‘ye olde tea shoppe’, general stores, toy shops, 3-4 sweet shops, fishmongers, butchers, ‘fruit and veg’ shops, bakers, (note the plurals) stationers, amusements, book shops that specialized in certain different types of books, a library, restaurants, lots of bars and hotels and various markets. The signs were often hand painted, real works of skill, there was pride in how the shops looked and how goods were displayed. What worked especially well was that the bakers were close to one another, ‘fruit and veg’ shops were close to one another and all the restaurants were grouped together. The pavements were narrow, but because similar shops were nearby (and we used our own bags back then which were easier to carry) it made it easier to shop. The high street was logical, it made sense, the service was friendly, we knew many of the shop owners by name, there was a feeling of community and it looked great. If a shop didn’t have what you wanted, they would order it for you. In addition to...
THE OUTER LONDON FUND

THE OUTER LONDON FUND

As you may have guessed, we have been busy. Too busy to update our blog, finish our logo and identity and get our web site up and running. This is because we have been involved with Design for London, the GLA and the Outer London Fund. Alongside this and work for our other clients, we also became parents for the first time! First of all we were involved in creating the identity and prospectus for the Outer London Fund which was designed to help rejuvenate high streets around London. Due to our work on Sydenham Road via our What If Sydenham project we were invited to have a chat with the rather lovely people at Design for London. One identity and two prospectus’s later they then invited us to present our thoughts on High Streets at City Hall to all the Outer London Fund winning boroughs. The reaction was amazing. We had a queue of people wanting to talk to us about high street improvements and shop signage. We advised 14 different councils in the coming months on branding and design. We worked with Bromley Council, Muswell Hill Traders, Lewisham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow Councils on branding, high street enhancement schemes and websites. Round 1 is almost at a close, but Round 2 is awaiting in the wings. It’s been an exciting journey and we have learnt a lot, both from working with councils and local traders. Nearly all the problems we have found are universal and make even more sense of the proposals put forward by Mary Portas in her report. We will share some of our learnings...
REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES, REAL ART

REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES, REAL ART

This is a TED talk by inspirational French Street artist JR. We wont say too much as the actual talk is below and it’s well worth watching. It shows how art (or design, call it what you will, it’s just a name) can be engaging and bring about a change in the way things are perceived. If you need more persuasion to watch the film, look at these images. Please feel free to comment at the end. PLEASE WATCH. YOU WON’T REGRET...