Creative Boom

31 Jan. 2023

Today the BBC has unveiled the visual identity for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023. Created by global brand and design consultancy Superunion and Ukrainian creative studio Starlight Creative, the branding brings together the two countries with the slogan 'United by Music'.

The countdown to the 2023 edition of the European Song Contest is underway as today sees the launch of its official visual identity. Due to Russia's ongoing war on Ukraine, this year's music competition will be hosted by the UK, and this sentiment of solidarity is captured in the branding.

Using the colours of the respective country's flags as its basis, the visual identity features overlapping navy, blue and red hearts on a striking yellow background. The branding will soon roll out across Liverpool's St George's Hall, and Liverpool ONE - the city was chosen to hold the contest last year - and will make its first appearance this evening during an official handover and allocation draw programme hosted b Rylan and AJ Odudu.

Supported by a typeface called Penny Lane – a clever nod to both the twentieth-century cast-iron signs displaying Liverpool street names and the city's most famous musical export, The Beatles – the visual identity strikes an effective balance between the contest's new host and last year's winning country.

According to Eurovision Song Contest 2023 Managing Director Martin Green CBE, this year's competition promises to be an extraordinary event. "The creative look is a big part of creating that magic," he explains. "This year's identity sums up perfectly the amazing partnerships across the Contest and, more importantly, the power of music to bring people together across the world."

Meanwhile, Superunion Executive Creative Director Stuart Radford and Creative Director Katherina Tudball revealed that the project was a special commission for them to work on. "We are thrilled to create the 67th Eurovision Song Contest visual identity in partnership with Ukrainian agency, Starlight, and the BBC," they explain.

"For this year's theme, United By Music, our solution was inspired by research showing that when experiencing live music together, human hearts synchronise to beat in unison. This insight led to the creative concept of 160 million hearts beating as one, an idea that captures the universal spirit of Eurovision."

The visual identity wouldn't be complete without the input from Starlight Creative, though. And CEO Olena Martynova adds that the ability of creativity and music to unite and inspire form the foundations of the branding. "We are so proud to be part of the creative concept for such an important musical event when more than ever, we need to come together as a global community," Olena concludes.

"For Starlight, it is an opportunity to represent Ukraine on an international stage, showcase our creative and musical ability, and create something that honours our strength and the power of unity."

31 Jan. 2023

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

The Creative Boom 2023 Survey was packed with insights into what the creative profession is thinking at the start of a new year. We share some of the more surprising results with you below.

How is the creative community feeling right now? Every year, we carry out the Creative Boom survey to find out. That way, we can tailor our content to better meet your needs and match the things you've been thinking (and maybe worrying) about.

At the start of 2023, it seems like there's never been a better time to do so. After three years of the pandemic, war, recession, inflation and a shakeout of jobs throughout the tech and design industries, the creative community certainly isn't short of thoughts and feelings to share. So we were intrigued to see the results of our 2023 survey, and we figured you might be too.

In the following article, we'll share some of the more eye-opening insights from our survey to help you figure out where you fit in the scale of things and how the community as a whole is reacting to a tumultuous time in world history.

"Battered but surviving."

We won't mince words: over half (52.3%) of the community feels a little battered right now. In response to the question, "How have the events of 2022 impacted you as a creative professional" 16.5% answered, "it's been a very difficult year", while 35.8% replied: "fairly bad, but I've survived".

That said, it's not all been bad news, and 47.7% of you have managed to weather the storm on a personal level. That breaks down to 23.7% saying "it's been fairly positive", 17.9% saying "it's not impacted me at all", and 6.1% even reporting "it's been really positive".

To get more specific, we also asked about earnings, and again 2022 has been more of a mixed picture than you might have expected. Because although 22.3% of you said your income's "significantly dropped", a more encouraging 47.7% say it's stayed the same, and for 30%, it's actually gone up.

Plus, when we asked, "how optimistic do you feel about your profession in the next 12 months?" the average rating was 6.8/10, so most respondents clearly feel that in 2023, things will get better. And more broadly, most creatives appear happy in their current profession. When asked, "Will you consider changing your career in the next 12 months?" over two-thirds said no, and only 38% said yes.

"There are more opportunities out there."

These findings are consistent with the response to another question on our survey: "Do you feel the creative industry has changed in the last 12 months?" A plurality of respondents (33.9%) replied, "Yes, for the better", while 17.7% felt it had stayed the same, and 30.8% didn't know. Only 17.6% felt that things had got worse.

On the positive side, one respondent felt that "Studios and the brands they work with are prioritising ethics, sustainability and inclusion more in their projects. This also creates more opportunities for minorities to find work in the industry." Another cited, "More informality, more female acceptance, more alternative lifestyle/fashion acceptance, more thoughtfulness towards outcomes – especially if they carry ignorance to certain groups."

A lot remains to be changed, though. So we also heard calls for "more transparency around salary/pricing/charging in the design industry" and "more support for mental health and work-life balance; maybe a four-day work week" and "better contracts for illustrators" among your responses.

"Still working at home."

Outside of China, it's been a while now since lockdowns ceased to be a thing. So you might have expected most of us to have returned to the studio by now. However, our survey paints a slightly different picture.

When asked, "Are you, or the company you work for, back in an office environment?" the most popular answer (30%) was: "No, my work is now fully remote". A further 26.2% of you replied, "Yes, but part-time", and only 29.2% said you were back at the office full time, with 14.6% choosing 'Other' (the workplace equivalent of 'It's complicated').

Will we ever return to seeing the 9-5 physical workplace as the norm? Some feel that's the direction we should be heading in. "Collaboration doesn't happen in isolation," noted one respondent. "We need to ensure somehow that the next generation of talent gets the opportunities to learn from those around them and above them. There are no longer any water cooler moments for interns or informal learning by sitting next to someone more senior." (For more on this, read our article on going back to the office after remote working.

Awards give us access

Turning to a more evergreen topic, our survey also asked: "Do you feel it's important to enter awards and competitions?". Perhaps surprisingly, given the flack they get on social media, almost half of you (47.7%) replied in the positive; 21.5% of you didn't know, and only 30.8% replied 'No'.

As one respondent said, "Awards and competitions challenge people to do their absolute best within a theme typically. We grow the most when we push our limits. Plus, they're fun!" In the words of another: "Competition spurs creative solutions. Individuals are often more driven when they know their work will be compared to or viewed by others."

That doesn't necessarily mean everyone is crazy about them, though. One respondent wrote: "I don't know if they actually help with getting jobs. I have three awards, and they don't seem to have an impact."

Others, though, had specific reasons for entering. "I am from the UK, and my visa to live in Los Angeles is partly based on awards I've won," wrote one. Another said: "Because I haven't landed a job yet and don't have the current confidence to go freelance, things like D&AD allow me to work to a structured brief and essentially compare my work to other people for the same brief similar to a uni environment. It helps me when I feel creatively stuck and suffer from imposter syndrome."

"We, as an agency and personally, prefer to continue to do good work without any material recognition," said another respondent. "However, with awards, it gives us access to a network of similar minds and a chance to advertise ourselves. So it's more about the by-products of the award."

One contributor perhaps summed up the mixed mood around the topic: "It depends on what rewards or competitions. I like participating in collaborative projects like design hackathons to learn more, meet new people and contribute to a good cause. However, awards just for splendour do not mean much to me."

Adobe still dominates, but not everywhere

What sort of software are creatives using these days? In 2023, it's clear that there are many cheaper alternatives to Adobe's expensive subscriptions. But according to our survey, they don't appear to have made a substantial impact yet.

When asked 'which creative software tools do you use?', more than nine out of 10 (91%) cited the Creative Cloud, with the next most popular package, Procreate, trailing at 29.1%. Serif's Affinity range was chosen by 6.2%, Pixlr had 4.2%, and Corel had 3.5%, with 19.4% choosing 'Other'.

Adobe's monopoly, though, doesn't extend to premium stock photography, where just 40.4% selected Adobe Stock as their go-to site. That was exceeded by the 44.3% who use Shutterstock, while Getty Images garnered 27%, iStock had 22.8%, and 27.2% went for 'Other'.

As for hardware, you may be surprised to learn that 35.8% of you don't actually own a camera. Amongst those that do, Canon was the most popular brand (31.9%), while the rest were divided among Nikon (15.9%), Sony (13%), Fujifilm (10.5%), Olympus (4.6%), Panasonic (2.7%), Samsung (2.4%) and 'Other' (5.2%).

Nowadays, of course, many of us use our phones for photography, and perhaps that's why 63.7% of you have an iPhone. The rest of you have a phone made by Samsung (16.3%), Google (7.1%), Huawei (4.9%), Sony (2.2%), Nokia (1.3%) or 'Other' (11%).

31 Jan. 2023

All photography by [Kathryn Rattray](https://www.kathrynrattray.com/)

All photography by Kathryn Rattray

It's no secret that many design festivals are curated and organised by designers for designers these days. But does that give them the edge? Or could there be an alternative, perhaps better approach that considers a wider audience? We take a closer look.

We all have a vision of what a design festival might look like: a few days filled with talks, workshops, exhibitions, pop-up shops and social gatherings aimed at inspiring, educating and fostering a sense of community among attendees.

These carefully-curated events tend to be designed for those already working within the industry or hopeful of entering the creative workforce. Design festivals are made by designers for designers – but should we shake up that formula?

Lyall Bruce and Ryan McLeod, directors at Agency of None, did just that when they produced Dundee Design Festival and led the programming for the Scottish event in 2019 and 2021.

In 2021, I was brought on to develop the festival's visual identity by working as a character designer. At that time, I recognised how Agency of None held accessibility as one of its core values and used it as a marker for making logistical and design decisions. So, I incorporated this into its brand design, which has helped expand the festival's reach with new audiences.

Why Making Design Accessible is Important

Design festivals celebrate design. At best, they're joyous spaces filled with people who share passion, vision and talent. But they're not always the most inclusive.

There's a problem with diversity in design. It's an industry that traditionally sets a high barrier to entry, making it more difficult for people from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds to progress.

But design festivals are the ideal environments for dissolving these barriers. Not only can they be responsible for delivering more varied and diverse content that appeals to broader audiences, but they can also dispel the myth that design is not for everyone. The design industry is a viable career path for all sorts of people; creativity's positive influence on mental health and well-being has long been scientifically proven.

Festivals have the opportunity to redefine design and its ability to improve lives. Design festivals should emphasise the principle that creativity is available for everyone.

Photography by [Kathryn Rattray](https://www.kathrynrattray.com/)

Photography by Kathryn Rattray

Photography by [Kathryn Rattray](https://www.kathrynrattray.com/)

Photography by Kathryn Rattray

First Impressions Count

Visual aesthetics matter as they reveal who the festival is targeting. Initial event promotions will steer how inclusive the event will be and give a sense of who is welcome to participate.

"Often, design festivals create visual identities that resonate with those already in the industry," says Ryan McLeod. "They tend to be quite abstract in form and content, which creates an instant barrier to those external from the design world. People are quick to judge whether something feels like it is for them or not."

Character design is universal. When Agency of None hired me to develop their visual identity, we created a character system for online and in-person interactions. I made up a toolkit complete with geometric body parts and fun facial features to easily recognise the design across assets.

Cut The Jargon

Designers tend to use sophisticated vocabulary and create short-form acronyms as they ascend the ranks. But sometimes, this alienates even people hailing from other departments. Implementing simpler language across channels will ensure that everyone involved in the design chain understands their requirements.

"Industry-specific terminology can save time when having internal discussions, but language is an instant barrier to those on the outside looking in," says Lyall Bruce. "We made sure to remove complicated jargon from the festival's marketing assets and supporting materials to reinforce that design is something anyone can get involved in."

Photography by [Kathryn Rattray](https://www.kathrynrattray.com/)

Photography by Kathryn Rattray

The 'Always On' Approach

Various obstacles, such as tight work schedules and demanding childcare needs, restrict some people from attending events. One way around this is to organise an event that doesn't require attendees to turn up for specific time slots or by being able to access the content online in their own space. It may prove a logistical challenge, but these changes would make access easier.

Location, Location, Location

For DDF 2021, we chose to decentralise the festival and have it occur across four venues. We took over a couple of unused shop units and public parks - a pink shop was transformed and filled with astroturf flooring, while an old pump station was painted with floor-to-ceiling graphics.

By inviting festival revellers into familiar surroundings, they could experience something truly out of the ordinary. Choosing to run the event in localised spots rather than big cultural buildings meant that Dundee's dwellers could feel like their city was overrun with design and that it was beckoning them in.

Don't Forget The Fun

We intentionally held playful design demonstrations to create engaging and memorable experiences. It was a truly immersive festival with giant ball runs explaining the design process, up-cycled centres celebrating sustainability, and character-building exercises centred around well-being.

One of the festival's events saw the transformation of a second-hand clothing store at The Finlathen Design House, remembers McLeod: "People queued for three hours to try things on, and kids were running straight from school to give it a go with many coming back with friends and family. Seeing such passion and excitement coming from people engaging with design was amazing!"

Photography by [Kathryn Rattray](https://www.kathrynrattray.com/)

Photography by Kathryn Rattray

Photography by [Kathryn Rattray](https://www.kathrynrattray.com/)

Photography by Kathryn Rattray

Leave a Legacy

"As producers, we structured the festival content around a specific yearly theme," says Bruce. "All of the experiences were developed as prototypes so that the concepts could continue to evolve after the festival."

Many of these have now been installed across Dundee and beyond. The popular experience of the upcycling centre has been introduced to various communities in the city. Meanwhile, the print-based design workshop, Poster Playground, has travelled all the way to Detroit.

Other bespoke installations have been re-homed at local libraries and schools, with items created at workshops or embedded in homes nationwide. Some of the 2019 festivals, like myself, have gone on to work as designers in the 2021 edition. So there's huge scope and opportunity for all those involved.

Accessibility was core to the DDF's offering. McLeod explained: "Design is for everyone, and we've proved that creative content can be successfully delivered outside of the city centre to a broader audience. There is an appetite for communities to engage with design if they are given the opportunity."

Photography by [Kathryn Rattray](https://www.kathrynrattray.com/)

Photography by Kathryn Rattray

31 Jan. 2023

© Gemini H

© Gemini H

France-based illustrator Gemini H focuses on the little moments that crop up every day in order to echo the elegance of days gone by.

Ever felt like you were born in the wrong era? You're not alone. Gemini H also pines for the bygone aesthetic of the early twentieth century in her beautifully hazy colour pencil illustrations that have one foot firmly planted in the contemporary world.

Looking like they've been lifted from an early issue of Vogue magazine, Gemini H's catalogue-esque illustrations depict stylish women walking through botanical gardens, as well as forest pathways drenched in the golden glow of a wistful sun. However, it's the style more just as much as the subject matter which evokes the aching sentimentality which comes with feeling nostalgic.

Explaining why she sticks to using colour pencils in an increasingly digital landscape, Gemini H says: "Using colour pencils allows me to keep track of the original sketch while adding colours to it. This sketch is the first act of materialisation of an idea; it's when my vision becomes a reality. It's important for me to keep this memory in the final artwork."

By working in colour pencil, Gemini H has cultivated what she describes as a "nostalgic aesthetic". It's an approach which also allows her to incorporate her fondness for old movies, antique furniture, and illustration from between 1900 and 1960. "But it's very important to me to use my vision, taste and personality as a 21st-century woman," she hastens to add. "So I'm bringing the elegance, the fashion of past decades into today's landscapes."

© Gemini H

© Gemini H

© Gemini H

© Gemini H

This focus on today's landscape is informed, in part, by Gemini H's absolute favourite artist, the French photographer Robert Doisneau. A huge part of the French cultural aesthetic, Doisneau made his name by taking pictures of things and places "where there was nothing to be seen."

"I believe everyone, regardless of the generation, can see herself/himself in one of his images," explains Gemini H, who has carried over his influence by depicting rural walkways that the viewer can easily superimpose themselves into.

These little moments, which on the face of it might be an incidental detail, lend themselves so well to Gemini H's work because she describes herself as naturally the kind of artist that is easily distracted by their surroundings. "I can't help staring at a sun ray gently shining on a flower after a big, rainy storm," she admits.

"A flower trying to find its way in an urban landscape will capture my attention. I get lost in my thoughts by looking at the steam rising from my morning cup of coffee. These moments inspire me to create artworks that have a very calming and meditative effect," she adds.

© Gemini H

© Gemini H

© Gemini H

© Gemini H

As for what makes Gemini H feel nostalgic, though, she finds this more difficult to pin down. "In a way, my childhood makes me nostalgic," she muses. "It was a time before there was a computer in every room or a smartphone in everyone's hands."

This tech-free childhood cultivated a sense of curiosity, where Gemini H could enjoy just being in the present without wondering what the next day would bring. During this time, she would spend her time excitedly counting butterflies in the garden and collecting feathers – a habit she still keeps up to this day.

"My workplace is filled with old illustrated magazine covers from the nineteenth century and old colourised postcards," adds Gemini H, who appears to be somewhat living in a nostalgic world. "I also like to dress in clothes inspired by the 1940s and 1950s. It feels fair to add a bit of myself to my drawings, and it's these personal items which also give my work a nostalgic feeling.

"Showcasing the beauty in the ordinary is my way of injecting some nostalgia into a world that is always trying to go faster and grow bigger."

© Gemini H

© Gemini H

31 Jan. 2023

Auckland-based creative advertising agency DDB NZ is fact-checking search engine results and shining a light on sportswomen with its new campaign, Correct The Internet.

It's a sad fact that, just like the offline world, the internet tends to favour men's achievements to an inaccurate extent. Enter Correct The Internet, which, as its name suggests, aims to set the record straight for the online recognition of sportswomen.

Launched on 21 January 2023, the campaign uses football as its prime example in a promotional video. Featuring a little girl who asks a stadium full of internet data about which international football player has scored the most goals, it quickly becomes apparent that the information it supplies is misleading and underplays the achievement made by sportswomen.

This inconsistency of searchable facts disadvantages sportswomen of all stripes. Hence, an international group of like-minded individuals with a vested interest in their recognition decided to do something about it. Founded in part by former New Zealand Football Fern Rebecca Sowden, Correct The Internet empowers people to report inconsistencies in search results so they can be logged and fixed.

"Many of the world's leading athletes are women," says Sowden. "Many of the world's sporting records are held by women. But when people search online for factual sporting information about athletes, the results favour the sportsmen, even when the sportswomen have greater statistics.

"Because the internet has learnt our bias, many search engine results are inconsistent, often favouring men, and change depending on who is searching. Our goal is to empower the next generation of sportswomen by ensuring that when women are the best in the world, the internet reflects that."

Correct The Internet has already garnered the support of many well-known athletes and high-profile sporting organisations, including English rugby's Red Roses player, Shaunagh Brown, and Football Fern Meikayla Moore. Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (WISPA), Women Sport Australia, and New Zealand Football have also publicly backed the campaign.

However, as Meikayla Moore points out, Correct The Internet is not concerned with pitting men against women. But instead, to "correct and highlight incorrect searchable facts" that lack consistency and accuracy, which in turn leads to disadvantages for sportswomen all around the world.

"I feel it's important for those that have achieved these amazing statistics, but also for all those witnessing such brilliance," she explains. "Women are heroes; let's recognise them for it and remove learnt bias, empowering and inspiring the next generation."

Among Correct The Internet's many strengths is its convenience. Reporting errors that need to be fixed can be an alien concept to many internet users, especially as recent design changes are intent on making this process difficult. So, by simplifying and standardising the process across all search engines, the tool hopes the public will be able to find and report as many inconsistencies as possible.

"There couldn't be a better time for this campaign, with women's sport in the spotlight more than ever before," says Women in Sport Aotearoa Acting Chief Executive Nicky van den Bos.

"The 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup and the Black Ferns's performance in the Rugby World Cup last year, and this year's FIFA Football Women's World Cup in New Zealand means internet searches may just be at an all-time high. Let's ensure the results reflect the facts, not historical biases."

30 Jan. 2023

The perfect tote bag. Simple but robust. Made of 80% recycled cotton, 20% recycled polyester.

The perfect tote bag. Simple but robust. Made of 80% recycled cotton, 20% recycled polyester.

As real-world events return, does branded merchandise still have a role to play for creative agencies?

Want to promote your client's brand in a meaningful and effective way? Over the last decade, that's overwhelmingly been about digitally-focused campaigns and content. Yet the recent turmoil at Twitter has pointed to a wider truth: that online algorithms are increasingly unkind to creative people.

Those of us who aren't interested in OTT stunts, flame wars or trolling are finding it more and more difficult to surface quality content on social platforms. And creative agencies are finding this approach no longer provides good ROI.

A range of products via Merchery – sustainable and high-quality

A range of products via Merchery – sustainable and high-quality

Made in Spain and BPA-free, this aluminium bottle helps people avoid waste and plastic pollution

Made in Spain and BPA-free, this aluminium bottle helps people avoid waste and plastic pollution

Patagonia backpack, made with 100% recycled body fabric, lining and webbing

Patagonia backpack, made with 100% recycled body fabric, lining and webbing

At the same time, 'In Real Life' events are back with a vengeance, and everyone's enjoying meeting up in person and making more than surface-level connections. In this new era, merchandise is re-emerging as a way to promote brands at a more fundamental level.

Not everyone, though, is going at the same speed on this. And frankly, we're not surprised.

Divided Community

For a long time, branded merchandise had a bad name as an unsustainable practice: one that meant wasteful gifts or handouts at events that no one took home or that just cluttered up their desk drawer before finding their way into the bin. (No one likes throwing stuff into landfill, particularly free stuff. But what's the alternative when you have no use for it?)

To take the temperature of creative agencies on this issue, we recently held a poll with the question, "What do you think of branded merchandise for your clients or events?" The respondents were split down the middle, with 52.6% loving it but 47.4% feeling it's "no longer relevant".

A range of products via Merchery – sustainable and high-quality

A range of products via Merchery – sustainable and high-quality

This brushed sweatshirt is made from 85% organic ring-spun combed cotton and 15% recycled polyester. It's also vegan approved and has Oeko-Tex, GOTS and Fairwear certifications

This brushed sweatshirt is made from 85% organic ring-spun combed cotton and 15% recycled polyester. It's also vegan approved and has Oeko-Tex, GOTS and Fairwear certifications

So is there still a role for branded merchandise in 2023? Many believe there is, but it has to be done correctly. And that's very much not how things used to be.

"I think it depends on the merch and design," says Tom Grattan, co-owner and brand strategist at EXP Consultancy. "Single-use plastic can seem a bit tacky." Tony Clarkson of &Something Studio agrees, adding: "I'd be fussy about what it was. I wouldn't stick a logo on a pen, for example. Maybe a decent notebook?"

Doing Things Differently

Back in 2019, entrepreneurs Simon Polet and Benoit Fortpied had similar thoughts. And so they founded Merchery: a company that's on a mission to do things differently. Rather than add to landfill with cheap, unwanted items such as USB sticks and badges, they reasoned, why not give them really nice things that people will treasure and keep?

And now that's exactly what they deliver for their partners. With Merchery, you can promote your client's brand with high-quality swag to die for.

In terms of making a meaningful connection with people, each one of these promotional products is worth all the low-rent stickers, USB sticks and keyrings you could ever muster. Plus, it's all responsibly sourced and environmentally sustainable, so you can feel good about yourself too.

The Peugeot Paris pepper mill features the iconic silhouette known to all and blends the history of French heritage with Peugeot's legacy in mill engineering.

The Peugeot Paris pepper mill features the iconic silhouette known to all and blends the history of French heritage with Peugeot's legacy in mill engineering.

This wallet is made out of a microfibre that is engineered to replace leather

This wallet is made out of a microfibre that is engineered to replace leather

Mechery's product team is super-careful in selecting its partners and curating products that meet its three pillars: being long-lasting, well-designed and useful. Products cover a huge range of categories, including office supplies, textiles, drinkware, food, lifestyle, home, leisure, gift boxes and labels, and you can peruse the full range in the Merchery Shop.

In short, Merchery is changing negative perceptions of merchandise as they breathe new life into the space. And they've even created a special club for creative agencies, showing them how merchandise can be used positively and without hurting the planet.

Join The Club

The Club is free to join, with no credit card required, and is open to any creative professional or company that wants to produce merch for their customers. These include branding agencies, communication agencies, event agencies and creative freelancers.

The biggest benefit to joining The Club is that you'll get express lead times and a dedicated team to help you to create your own customised merchandise for clients. You'll also get access to versions of Merchery's packshots that have been decomposed with smart objects, so you can use them in your own presentations and marketing.

This T-shirt from Merchery is made from 100% organic, ring-spun, combed cotton

This T-shirt from Merchery is made from 100% organic, ring-spun, combed cotton

To help you plan your campaigns effectively, you can even get merchandise samples sent to you for free, with no strings attached. And if you're looking for large quantities (over 1,000 pieces), you can even work with Merchery to create bespoke products.

Best of all, it's simple to become a member of The Club: just fill in this easy form to subscribe. Do so today, and discover how branded merchandise could give your client relationships a whole new lease of life!

30 Jan. 2023

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

A challenging cost of living crisis combined with wintry weather might dampen spirits, but Sydney collective Atelier Sisu is lighting up London with a free glass bubble installation.

Bubbles make everyone happy; that's a fact. From children to adults alike, it's difficult not to fall into the magic that exists within a multi-coloured transparent bubble as it floats through the air. Knowing this and considering the uninspiring nature of January, Sydney-based design studio Atelier Sisu has graced London with a free outdoor sound and light installation titled Evanescent.

Led by award-winning artists Renzo B. Larriviere and Zara Pasfield – who, between them, are renowned for creating large-scale and enchanting site-specific works within the intersection of art and architecture – the duo brought light to London with a cluster of giant iridescent bubbles. Giving rise to the fleeting and impermanent quality of evanescent, the immersive environment set up against east London's Leadenhall Building reimagines the bubble up close.

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

The shimmering inflatable domes are gathered in clusters of four, each reaching 7.5m high so visitors can move under and around them. Made from a colour-reflecting dichroic film that reacts to changing sunlight, the bubble experience will continue to morph throughout the day and create rainbow reflections as the light changes.

Set against London's iconic skyline and The Cheesegrater building in particular, Atelier Sisu hope that the installation will encourage the public to see their city in a new light, particularly as the winter weather and cost of living crisis continue to bite.

"The artwork was inspired during the Covid-19 pandemic when the world stopped, and everything we took for granted started to disappear," says Renzo B. Larriviere and Zara Pasfield of Atelier Sisu. "We wanted to communicate this feeling of transient beauty and the need to live in the moment through the idea of the bubble. 'Art-chitecture', as well call it, connects audiences with their environment and is designed to be truly inclusive. By emulating the ethereal quality and magic of bubbles, Evanescent appeals to our childlike wonder and universal playfulness – something we all need at this time of year."

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Commissioned by Eastern City Business Improvement District (EC BID) and delivered by FESTIVAL.ORG, the Evanescent installation forms part of the 'Recharge' campaign (launched through EC BID in January 2023) which aims to improve the mental health and well-being of city workers struggling during a quieter than usual January.

"Evanescent will bring uplifting free art to the heart of the City and with it a hopeful sense of wonder for thousands of Londoners," says Bradley Hemmings, founder and artistic director of FESTIVAL.ORG.

"As we all work to 'recharge' London's renaissance, we're taking action to celebrate the City and to support the well-being of visitors, workers, and residents," agrees Kate Hart, CEO of the EC BID. "Evanescent is about sparking joy – and is part of our commitment to give people, from local workers to families, compelling reasons to visit the Square Mile and even more reasons to stay."

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu © David Levene

Having premiered in Melbourne and Sydney last year, Evanescent will against the Leadenhall Building until mid-February. To find out more about Atelier Sisu, visit its website at ateliersisu.com.

30 Jan. 2023

Dream Narratives © Anita Tiwary

Dream Narratives © Anita Tiwary

Indian-based illustrator Anita Tiwary creates surrealist paintings highlighting the interdependent relationship between humanity and nature.

The world may be depressing at the moment – what with environmental efforts falling short and general motivation lying low – but Indian visual artist Anita Tiwary revives hope with her dreamy artwork aesthetics.

Known for her multi-coloured lined illustrations, which fuse people and planet in perfect harmony, Tiwary's surreal images are optimistic in their utopian presentation of vibrancy and aliveness.

"In my dreams, I receive signals from otherworldly planets or species to create narratives on the canvas," says Tiwary. "My dreams also inform my intuitive process, which combined with my memories allow for a hybrid abstract approach which I embed as a source of creativity in my paintings."

Raised in India's spiritual city of Varanasi, Tiwary purposefully incorporates magic within her art. She cites her father's influence as why she kept drawing throughout her childhood while her dreams fuel her visions which she realises on paper. Each piece is an experiment in reimagining new worlds of possibilities where humans and animals can co-exist peacefully.

The Kurma Avatar © Anita Tiwary

The Kurma Avatar © Anita Tiwary

Life is a Celebration © Anita Tiwary

Life is a Celebration © Anita Tiwary

"My work is about the interconnection of all beings with nature and the universe," says Tiwary. "The hybrid characters in my paintings honour their connection to each other. The featured figures share a mutual desire for a compassionate and harmonised world."

Inspired by real-world landscapes and known for her use of space, layered forms, and the presentation of irregular perspectives, Tiwary's‘ scapes may seem chaotic and busy, but they also present cohesion and compatibility, something for humanity to strive for.

With a formal art education behind her and international exhibitions as far-reaching as India, Singapore, France, China and Japan, Tiwary has proven that her method of metabolising images does resonate with audiences.

She relies heavily on intuition in creating her paintings and tries to evoke important messages within her works. Tiwary will initially sketch out a draft and then give definitions to the drawings with lines and colours as the image comes to life. She works across mediums – from colour pencils, pastels, watercolours, mix-media and acrylics – to allow for a more experimental process and varied approach depending on her feelings.

Billionaire © Anita Tiwary

Billionaire © Anita Tiwary

Tailor Made Dreams © Anita Tiwary

Tailor Made Dreams © Anita Tiwary

Hybrid Honey Bees © Anita Tiwary

Hybrid Honey Bees © Anita Tiwary

One such painting – Hybrid Honey Bees – aims to reflect the bee population's significance and its relation to human culture and survival.

"Bees are essential for protecting natural biodiversity, and we need to save and conserve them," says Tiwary. "God has given us species in various shapes, sizes and colours in different forms like humans, animals and nature, yet a soul resides in everyone. We all need to open our eyes to be able to appreciate the simplicity and abundance of nature. Everything is connected to everything else. If one species disappears, it will affect the existence of other dependent species. I want to raise awareness of how important protecting honey bees is for maintaining healthy ecosystems. Their survival will only serve to maintain human well-being."

30 Jan. 2023

As US politics take a regressive step backwards and overturns a woman's right to abortion, Saatchi & Saatchi revive the iconic and controversial campaign, Pregnant Man.

It's been 50 years since the right to abortion was passed in the US in 1973, yet 2022 marked a backward step when this right was overturned. The Roe v. Wade debate was commemorated at the time by advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi London with the release of the now-iconic Pregnant Man campaign for the Health Education Council in support of women's rights.

The original ad was launched in response to comments made by US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who was vocal about his opposition to abortion rights. So the agency challenged Alito with the question, 'Would you be more careful if it was you that got pregnant?' and superimposed his face onto that of a pregnant man.

With the frightening removal of the right to abortion from the US constitution, leaving women's healthcare rights up to the power of state legislatures, there was a huge uproar and public disappointment with this result.

Saatchi & Saatchi reimagined the ad to mark the 50th anniversary of the original Supreme Court ruling and highlight just how regressive politics has become.

The new campaign titled '50 years of men making decisions over women's bodies' shows the male judges – Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Justice Alito – who sat on the Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade as pregnant.

"50 years would usually be a milestone to celebrate, but instead, we commiserate with all the women in the United States whose bodies have, once again, been ruled to be outside their sphere of autonomy," says Franki Goodwin, CCO at Saatchi & Saatchi. "The Supreme Court has only appointed four female judges in the past 50 years, and the 1973 ruling was made by an entirely male court – and as such, the question of how men would behave, think or even vote if they were the ones who got pregnant is a conversation that is unfortunately as relevant now as it was five decades ago. We will continue to lend historic Saatchi creative to highlight this until change ensues."

30 Jan. 2023

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Brooklyn-based creative agency Athletics has created a new identity for the Catskill Art Space, a globally recognised art centre based in upstate New York.

The nonprofit arts organisation recently celebrated its 50th anniversary during an important moment in its growth. Over the last two years, many New Yorkers have been flocking to the bubbling creeks and rustling leaves of upstate New York, bringing their love for big city art with them. And with deep roots in the region since 1971, the Catskill Art Space has transformed into a cultural destination for world-class art with a local charm, featuring the likes of James Turrell, Sol LeWitt, and more.

In 2022, the space underwent significant renovations and needed its brand presence to better reflect its elevated role within the community and global art scene. The team at Athletics were brought on to develop a new brand identity that reflected CAS's future ambitions while remaining true to its local heart and soul.

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Athletics has created a modern new design system that puts both the Catskill Arts Center's impressive collection and unique local charm front and centre. Inspired by the recent renovations to the space, which seamlessly united the old with the new, Athletics was inspired to create a brand design that functioned similarly – connecting the organisation's community roots with its global ambitions for the future.

The hero element that really elevates the entire identity is a fluid new monogrammed logo. Athletics' Ana Realmuto told Creative Boom that the wordmark is "the piece the rest of the system plays off. It anchors the design in something authentic to CAS's origins and is a soft partner to its more straightforward counterparts. We love its flexibility – an unabashed presence when we want to scale up and take centre stage versus a more quiet cosign of featured artists and exhibitions. Regardless of its application, the monogram brings a natural human touch to a prestigious organisation, reminding us that we can ultimately have both personality and elegance.

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

The mark for Catskill Art Space "CAS" was developed in a gestural style to evoke the many expressions of the community – the river that goes through the town, the curves of local creatures, and an ode to the fly fishing line. This purposeful ambiguity always comes back to Livingston Manor. By balancing the human with clarity and contemporary precision, the sinuous mark is easily readable for events and environmental graphics and in the form of a monogram for smaller, personalised moments.

A new typeface, Lars Extended Light, was selected for its versatility and ease of use. With universal appeal and contemporary sophistication, Lars gives the Catskill Art Space team a typographic voice that will complement and reinforce their wide variety of creative exhibitions and performances.

Meanwhile, CAS's new naturalistic palette reflects the local environment. The neutral suite of core colours allows for the vitality of CAS's art and programming to take the foreground. A secondary accent palette of red, purple and green provides brand recall and visual impact for key communications.

Realmuto said: "The colour palette lives between two worlds – a serious neutral set designed to quietly support the art and vibrant pops to amplify our sense of place."

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Community – both as it pertains to the local Catskills area and the global art scene – has been a crucial consideration for both the CAS team and Athletics every step of the way, and the resulting brand manages to speak successfully to both, positioning CAS as an accessible, local gem and a well-curated global contender.

Reflecting on CAS's new brand and next steps, Sally Wright, executive director at the Catskill Art Society summed up CAS's ambitions: "We're trying to open the doors in a way so more people will come in. It's challenging, breaking down the perceptions of what an art gallery or art centre is."

Athletics' Realmuto's personal experience working on the project speaks to the power of Wright and CAS's mission. Realmuto told Creative Boom: "Although I visit the Catskills often, I've never been able to experience the community quite like that before – seeing so much love and support for the rebrand and the space at large during the reopening was a memorable experience for me. As a designer, you're always striving for the work to resonate with the community you're serving; witnessing that firsthand was special."

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

Credit: Athletics / Catskill Art Space

30 Jan. 2023

Synchronised is a re-imagining of the prosthetic arm as a piece of jewellery.

Synchronised is a re-imagining of the prosthetic arm as a piece of jewellery.

Artist and sculptor Sophie de Oliveira Barata has combined art, technology and science to create artificial limbs, which are wearable art pieces for performance and exhibition.

The Lewes-based artist explores themes of body image and definitions of beauty. She uses the medium of prosthetics to promote positive conversations around disability and celebrate body diversity.

After almost ten years working for prosthetic medical providers, Barata started The Alternative Limb Project in 2011 and has exhibited her work at museums, art galleries and events worldwide.

Jo-Jo Cranfield, British swimmer, inspirational speaker and swimming teacher with snakes crawling into her skin. Photo by R. Williams.

Jo-Jo Cranfield, British swimmer, inspirational speaker and swimming teacher with snakes crawling into her skin. Photo by R. Williams.

Her studio offers bespoke products to amputees that either blend in with their bodies or stand out as wearable pieces of art for the user. Some of Barata's work includes a leg with embedded stereo, another with removable muscles, and a limb with mini-drawers.

Barata says she has always had an interest in both medicine and art. During her time as an art student, she also worked at a hospital serving tea and coffee. While there, she became fascinated with the whole process of health care.

In fact, it changed her career path. "I was going to go into fine art but decided to go into special effects. I did that partly because I watched hospital dramas such as Holby City and Casualty."

From there, Barata worked on film productions making prosthetics, wig making and creature effects. She then heard about a job making realistic-looking limbs. "I thought I could use some of the skills, and it would be more rewarding as a career. It would be challenging to make something convincing and lifelike."

James Young, a speaker and Biological Science graduate with his bionic limb. Photo by Omkaar Kotedia

James Young, a speaker and Biological Science graduate with his bionic limb. Photo by Omkaar Kotedia

While working for prosthetic medical providers, Barata made fingers, toes, partial feet, and partial hands – which were all sculpted. She didn't get to see many clients, although a few clients did come to the clinic to see the prosthetist – the person who rehabilitates, creates and fits prostheses for people requiring artificial limb replacements.

"They would send us information. We would get pictures, casts, and colour references and then make the limb according to those instructions."

The sculptor was obsessed with her work, often staying at work until 4am, creating pieces out of the material in the studio. She would cycle around the block, then get a couple of hours of sleep and start work again.

After almost a decade, Barata decided to try something new. "Although I was really enjoying it, I felt from a creative perspective I was missing the artistic, imaginative pieces."

Creating The Alternative Limb Project, Barata became more involved with the clients on a personal level, which took the work to another, more intimate level. One client she remembers was a little girl who had been hit by a bus and, as a direct result of the accident, had lost her leg.

Through insurance money, the girl could work with Barata to create a bespoke limb. "She spoke about having drawings on her leg, and I would discuss ideas with her, so we got quite close. I could see from a rehabilitation perspective this was something interesting here.

The sculptor has also worked with an amputee model, a singer/songwriter and a performing artist. Modesta had a voluntary below-the-knee leg amputation due to health issues she'd had since birth. "I thought it would be really interesting to make something unusual and try out some outlandish ideas."

The Alternative Limb Project was founded by Sophie de Oliveira Barata, using the unique medium of prosthetics to create highly stylised wearable art pieces. Photo by Alun Callendar.

The Alternative Limb Project was founded by Sophie de Oliveira Barata, using the unique medium of prosthetics to create highly stylised wearable art pieces. Photo by Alun Callendar.

Barata feels her work allows amputees to express themselves and be playful. "To embrace your difference and send out a message without speaking, to say how you feel about your body."

The way much of the world views amputees, often with pity or avoidance, changed with the London Paralympic Games in 2012. Suddenly it seemed that amputees and people in wheelchairs were more visible, coming out into the streets and on public transport like never before to cheer on their sporting heroes.

Conflict and warfare have also created a change, says Barata. "Much money was being pumped into the military to improve prosthetics. You had a lot of veterans wearing amazing limbs, and that is being filtered down into the NHS."

The limbs created by The Alternative Limb Project are as good as any prosthetic out there, says Barata. She explains there is a triangular equation to aim for – comfort, function and aesthetics. "Ideally, you want all three. But if you push one to the extreme, sometimes to other two suffer. For example, if it's a performance art piece, then it's not for everyday use."

The process can take anything from one month to a couple of years. It's a long thought process, as well as discussions with the client on what they want and the best way to achieve the result.

Regarding materials, Barata uses silicon, which she says is like Turkish Delight in terms of consistency. She then puts in all the colours to create the skin tones and adds tiny fibres to make it look less like plastic and then sculpts and makes tiny scratches for a realistic look.

The client is very much involved in the process. "They can add details like a scar, a tattoo, a little beauty spot, or ask me to go easy on the wrinkles or have a darker-coloured arm or leg. They then tan themselves to match the limb."

Victoria Modesta in zero G flight. Courtesy of Steve Boxall / Zero G Corp

Victoria Modesta in zero G flight. Courtesy of Steve Boxall / Zero G Corp

Barata is doing something really special in turning the conversation about disability from one of pity to acceptance. Some people don't want to be looked upon first and foremost as an amputee.

Some people don't want to be looked upon first and foremost as an amputee. And there are choices which can be made – to either have a realistic limb to blend in or have a limb which is a performance artwork that makes the wearer stand out. Whichever Barata's clients go for, it's all about acceptance and coming to terms with their identity and body.

This work is about pushing ideas to their extremes – and that sweet spot between the meeting of science, art and technology, to create interest and excitement around prosthetics.

Most of all, Barata is interested in the human aspect. Her work could "look futuristic, or it could be really beautiful or absurd and funny. It's about bringing life and soul to the limb."

26 Jan. 2023

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

&Walsh has rebranded Lex, an app designed to help LGBTQ+ people find new friends & local community through conversation and expression.

The brand direction is centred on the idea that Lex is a queer playground with a raw edge: a dynamic, ever-growing space that encourages users to explore authentic relationships with themselves, their city, and their community.

Lex grew from an Instagram account created by founder and CEO Kell Rakowski in 2017. The account mirrored old-school newspaper personal ads where the words folks used to describe themselves and others were more important than any selfie they took. After two years and 10,000 personals, Rakowski launched Lex as a lo-fi, text-centred dating app where queer people could be their unapologetic selves without facing censorship from major social media sites.

Since the app's launch in 2019, Lex has been perceived as a place to find queer romance but has also proven to be an essential tool for community building and friend-making. The rebrand by &Walsh aims to capture this shift in positioning and support Lex's new app features like group messaging.

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

A new whimsical, fluid logo for Lex is the defining factor of the rebrand. &Walsh founder Jessica Walsh told Creative Boom: "The original Lex logo did a great job conveying the app's connection to old-school newspaper personal ads, but as Lex shifts its positioning from a dating app to a social app, it was important to connect the logo to the idea of an ever-growing, queer playground. The whimsical strokes in each logo curve authenticate Lex's joyful personality. We intentionally connected each letter to the other, representing the fluidity and connectedness present in Lex's thriving queer community.

As a whole, the visual identity tells a story of growth, energy, and well-being, all while maintaining a raw edge. These brand attributes can be seen in the distinguishable main brand colour 'Lex Green', its complimentary colour palette of spring tones, and playful illustrations depicting flowers, flames, mountains, hearts, and stars juxtaposed with rough textures.

"We wanted to avoid using rainbow tropes and instead selected fresh 'spring' colours associated with growth, energy and well-being," said Walsh.

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

The spring-inspired aesthetic follows through in a suite of custom illustrations of flames, flowers, stars, mountains, and hearts, all creating a feeling of growing and blooming. The illustrations were designed to be easily combined to make new, playful compositions.

Words have always played a crucial role in how Lex functions for its users – from the early days of Lex founder Kell Rakowski's personal Instagram account, the empowering nature of being able to choose the right words to describe oneself, and the ability to find community-based on descriptors has been a crucial element of the Lex ethos.

To honour Lex's relationship to words as a means to self-describe and, therefore, self-empower, &Walsh created a messaging framework written by and for queer people. "We developed copy lines for custom stickers that are authentic to queer vernacular, which are available to users both on and offline to communicate pronouns, special interests, and more," Walsh said.

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

Credit: &Walsh / Lex

In addition to the brand assets, &Walsh developed a UX/UI toolkit as well as designed and developed Lex's desktop and mobile website. Lex users (warmly referred to as 'Lexers') helped inform design and development decisions by providing feedback on accessibility and usage to the Lex team. The desktop and mobile site now serve as a fresh introduction to the app and its main features and a gateway to the Apple App Store and Google Play for downloads.

In providing Lex with a more fluid, accessible brand, &Walsh has set the app up for the community growth it champions. Jessica Walsh summed it up, telling Creative Boom: "Lex's mission to create a welcoming and inclusive digital space for the LGBTQ+ community is one we admire and support. Their hands-on approach to this rebrand created a fulfilling collaboration where we shared the same passion and vision. This rebrand is pivotal for Lex as they shift its positioning to a queer friend-making and community-building app. Our trust in each other for this project was incredibly fulfilling – both as collaborators and as fans of the app."

26 Jan. 2023

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Freaked out by the idea of returning to the workplace? But can't stand another second, trapped at home, never seeing anyone in real life? Follow this helpful advice from creatives who've taken the leap and found a desk or some office space this year. Their tips will see you right.

It's coming up to three long years since Covid hit. But while the pandemic is largely behind us, its dramatic effect on how we work hasn't gone away. In our 2023 Creative Boom readers survey, only 29.2% of you say you've gone back to the studio full-time, with 26.2% doing so part-time and 30% continuing to work entirely remotely.

And that's not surprising. Many of us have been scarred by the pandemic, and being in another room with others can feel quite daunting. Plus, there's a whole fresh generation of creatives who've never done so, having graduated in the lockdown era.

Working from home comes with a whole range of advantages, of course, not least saving the cost and hassle of the commute. But there are some important benefits to visiting the office, too.

The ability to bounce ideas and brainstorm ideas with other creatives, in real-time and in real physical space, cannot be underestimated; most of the best ideas you'll have in your career will probably happen this way. Enjoying social time again with people who share your values, experiences and outlook is equally good for the soul.

There's huge value, too, in attending events after work with colleagues. And more fundamentally, being able to separate work from home life and properly switch off is vital to our mental and physical well-being.

But maybe you get all that but are still trepidacious about stepping back into the workplace or, if you're freelance, returning to a coworking space. To help you, we canvassed the Creative Boom community and asked for their advice on returning to the studio. We share some of their top tips below, and you can see the full discussion here.

1. Take things slowly

Our first piece of advice is not to rush into anything. It may be disconcerting if you haven't worked in a shared space for a while. So if things seem tricky at first, don't panic or beat yourself up, but allow yourself the freedom to go at your own pace.

As Greg Findley, founder of Mantra advises: "Take things day by day, and be kind to yourself and colleagues. Everyone's had a different experience working remotely through the pandemic and likely has mixed emotions about returning. Remind yourself of the positives of physical separation of work and home life."

Designer Ross Middleham offers a similar take. "Acknowledge that it may feel unsettling and be kind to yourself," he says. "Remember, there are benefits to both ways of working. Accept that your days won't feel the same at home; you may not feel as productive. But that's okay. It's a different kind of productive."

Graphic designer Kathryn adds some practical advice. "It's amazing how distracted I was by conversations around me, so noise-cancelling headphones were a must when I didn't feel like being social," she recalls. "Plus, sorting a bag the night before helps. Think about the bits you rely on daily: mouse, pens, pencils, sketchbook, to-do list, laptop, charger."

2. Bring some home comforts

Another way to ease the transition from home to a workplace is to take some comforting elements from the latter to the former. "If you're at a permanent desk rather than a hot desk, make it like a mini home-from-home," advise the team at Freelance Heroes. "Bring some plants, some books to enjoy on your break, and perhaps a vision board in the background. Make your desk a pleasure to work at."

Amanda from Workshop Media did just that on her return to the workplace. "I invested in a lovely comfy blanket to sit on in my office chair, which is also useful for days like today when it's freezing," she says. "I have the same one at home at my desk, and it just helps me stay a little bit comfier."

For Bryn Jones, senior project manager at Awarded, "Coming back into an office that feels a bit unloved and cold was difficult after the cosiness of being at home. Our team found that getting a load of plants hanging from the ceiling and on people's desks helped bring some life to the space. Especially on days when not many other people are in the office."

3. Time it right

Something else that can help smooth your return to the studio is getting the timing right. "It can be tempting to go in on the busiest days to catch up with everyone, but I'd recommend a Monday or a Friday to ease yourself back in," says Maisie Benson, design director at JKR. "Getting into the routine without being too overwhelming initially can be good."

"We recently thought about this too," says the team at creative agency Monopo. "So we set up a poll on Slack where everybody can select which day they will work remotely the following week. No need to ask, no message to send. It makes it more practical, easy and simple, and hopefully less scary."

The transition can be tough. But for me, making an effort to travel to the office and show your face makes for a nice change of scenery and resets the cabin fever.

4. Relish the benefits

Returning to the workplace isn't really about physical surroundings; it's primarily about reconnecting with people. So make an effort to do so, recommends copywriter Sarah Taylor-Forbes. "Line up a couple of face-to-face meetings so it feels valuable," she urges. "Also, treat yourself to a nice coffee or lunch; get out for a walk at lunchtime."

Author and artist Anna B Sexton offers similar advice. "Keep moving," she says. "Get up, talk to colleagues. Go for walks to refresh your head space. And drink lots of water (or things with water in) to keep hydrated; lots of offices are much drier than our homes."

Above all, focus on the good things about being in the workplace. "I recently went back to the office for a few days a week and found it helpful to lean into the positive aspects," says interaction designer Keith Tormey. "For me, it's the walking and cycling, listening to a good podcast, face-to-face interactions with people, and getting out for lunch occasionally. Personally, I love it!"

5. Vary your route

One of the more depressing things about working in an office is the boring routine of the same commute, day in, day out. But as the artist, performer and producer Laura Frances Martin points out, it needn't be that way. She suggests that if you can, you "choose a new route to work at least twice a week, to get a new home-work transition narrative going on. It can simply be a slight variation in your usual route for a change of habit."

6. Advice for freelancers

The advice we've heard so far applies even if you're freelance. In which case, designer and brand strategist Sophie O'Connor says: "Find some good coworking spaces where you can work hybrid, on your own terms. I've worked for myself for six years now and find either being home full-time or always in an office doesn't work for many reasons. The odd after-work jolly is good for the soul, too."

Illustrator Vicky Hughes suggests you: "Try a few networking/coworking spaces until you find a group you feel at home with. And then just go there when you actually want to, rather than pressuring yourself. Mine is Duke Studios in Leeds. If there are non-work social events you can join in with, too, that's a big bonus."

7. Don't panic!

We're not suggesting that returning to the workplace won't be stressful after a long time away. But as the team at Hudson Fuggle note, these feelings probably won't last long.

"Don't overthink it!" they say. "We've been back at the studio for a while, so we promise you'll soon forget what you were worried about. Easing into the day with a team breakfast where no work chat is allowed – we love TV recommendations – can help. It's what you miss working from home, after all."

"The transition can be tough," adds designer Kultar Singh Ruprai. "But for me, making an effort to travel to the office and show your face makes for a nice change of scenery and resets the cabin fever."

26 Jan. 2023

Comic strip artist Steve Nelson, better known as Snelse, has brought delight to millions with his wonderfully witty Confused.com cartoons. Here he reveals how his background in comedy kick-started his career as an illustrator.

If you read The Evening Standard or spend your free time scrolling through Instagram (who doesn't?), you've probably stumbled across the hilarious work of Brighton-based illustrator Steve Nelson. Instantly recognisable thanks to his use of bold colours and distinctive characters, Steve's cartoons bring smiles to faces by turning logic on its head and finding the funny in everyday situations.

Yet despite creating cartoons regularly for big clients like Confused, Steve is a relative newcomer to the illustration game. His first professional commission came in 2021, and since then, he's gone on to quickly amass a whopping great audience over on Instagram. Before then, he was a comedy writer with his own series to his name who drew in his spare time until some helpful encouragement from his wife guided him down the artistic road.

We caught up with Steve to learn more about his fascinating life so far, how following the "wrong" career path for ten years can eventually have a positive result, and how he turns the world around him into a source of humour.

You used to work in comedy. What made you want to shift to illustration?

Oh God, this could be a very long answer! Frustration, mostly. I spent about ten years writing comedy scripts with little to show. I had an agent, a few bits on TV and radio, a failed BBC Radio comedy pilot and finally got my own comedy series on Audible called The Temp. It's very joke-heavy, and we only had three months to write and record the entire show. Man, I almost had a breakdown writing that thing! Plus, I had to do it all around my full-time office job. Madness.

We got it done, and it came out great with good reviews on Audible, but that was it. The industry didn't really care – not a single meeting off the back of it. Also, the money wasn't great, so I had to keep my full-time job going. It felt like I worked so hard to get absolutely nowhere. That was kind of the nail in the coffin, really.

Anyway, I was already drawing a bit during all this, and my wife, Bernie, was always going on at me to focus on that instead of writing. I guess I finally took her advice! Less than two years later, I was doing it full-time.

What comedy writing did you used to do, and how has that skill carried over into your illustration?

Initially, I started as a stand-up comedian in my late teens and had an ongoing love/hate relationship with it. Loved writing jokes and getting laughs – didn't like all the travelling and panic attacks before going on stage! That's really why I switched to script writing. I continued writing jokes, nevertheless, but was trying to think up better ways to present them that wasn't just a tweet.

Only when I discovered illustration (I didn't know that was a thing until my mid-20s) and webcomics I realised this is the perfect way to present jokes. It allowed me to perform the jokes, in a sense, without doing stand-up. I could post a funny image and get instant feedback.

The one positive about going down the wrong career path is spending over ten years writing jokes. That thoroughly prepared me for working as a cartoonist and illustrator as I can quickly come up with lots of new ideas and have a large pile of material I can also turn to.

The hardest part was figuring out my style. I could draw, but I don't necessarily think that really matters. There are some fantastic artists who can barely draw, or at least it appears that way! You must set yourself apart stylistically from other illustrators and cartoonists, which can be tricky. I had to do a lot of drawing and refining to get there.

How did you get your first proper commission in 2021?

Sure, I'll brag. I bagged the only illustration job I ever applied for. What a legend! Next question, please.

Fine, I'll elaborate. So, I spent most of 2020 drawing and trying to develop my style. The pandemic really helped with that. I had it in my head that I wanted to get my style down before trying to become a professional illustrator. So, I kept putting off applying for things and emailing art directors – just a constant feeling I wasn't ready.

Anyway, the Warren Festival in Brighton run an annual call out to artists to submit a poster design for their festival. I finally plucked up the courage to give it a go for their 2021 call-out. They liked my design and gave me the job. It was so much fun!

Which other comic artists and illustrators influence your work?

So many! I came into it late without any formal training, so I learned everything from absorbing many different artists.

I always loved Peter McKee. Before I even started drawing properly, I was always jealous of how great he was and wished I could do what he did. I love his style and have several of his prints in my house and all his books! Same with Jean Jullien and David Shrigley – they're also at the top of my list. They both opened my eyes to how you can combine art/illustration and humour. Pieter de Poortere is an amazing cartoonist. He created the Dickie comics. I was blown away when I stumbled across his work at the Cartoon Museum in Brussels.

Others I love: Safely Endangered, Simpsons, Demetri Martin, Liana Finck, Joan Cornella, Seth Fleishman, Gemma Correll, Will McPhail, Alex Norris, Rubyetc, Miguel Bustos.

How did you get to work with Confused.com?

I don't know! I should probably ask. It was after my social media went a bit crazy, so I imagine that exposed me to the right people. I just got an email one day in March 2022 from a big ad agency asking if I'd like to do a weekly cartoon for Confused.com on the front of a national newspaper. I could do anything, but it had to be around the concept of 'confusion'. I politely declined. No, obviously, I said yes!

It started on a month-by-month trial basis and performed really well, so it went on for the rest of the year. It's starting back up again in February so keep your eyes peeled.

Tell us more about what these weekly comics entail!

I essentially spend most of my days writing jokes and drawing, so when it comes to Confused, I go through all the stuff I've written recently or sketched and see if there's anything that is either confusion-based or something that could become confusion-based.

Sometimes I might not have enough bangers, or the client might want something related to the news or an upcoming event, so I'll sit around and actively think about new Confused ideas. For that, you have to put your naive goggles on and look at things through the eyes of a child. How might a child misunderstand a phrase, or how might they confuse two objects?

It affects my day-to-day life as well. One of the Confused comics that was used came from standing in duty-free with my wife, and I asked her, "How did they get all these liquids past security?"

You've built up quite the social media following! What's the secret to gaining an audience?

That's a tough one as I don't know how it happened! I was sharing my work relentlessly for two years before it kicked off randomly one day. My pyramid comic somehow ended up on Instagram's main explore page, and it just snowballed from there. So that was a bit of luck, but I guess people stuck around because they liked the other stuff I posted. I'm not very social media savvy, so not the best person to ask!

I will say I spent a long time being ignored and overlooked, so I know how that feels. But you must do what you enjoy and not focus too much on numbers because that's all out of your control.

At the end of the day, if nothing comes from it, at least you had fun. My wife manages an indie band (Nature TV – check them out, they're amazing, and I do all the artwork for their merch and posters). You can imagine how impossible it is to get exposure or money in the music industry these days, but they all just have a laugh making music and gigging.

What piece of work are you most proud of and why?

The Confused comics as a whole. I got to quit my job and draw cartoons for a living! It's crazy. My favourite one was the duck one. I was quite chuffed with myself when I came up with it. Plus, I love ducks and find them so funny for some reason, so I was glad to be able to do one for Confused. I remember sitting at my desk, drawing it and thinking: my life is so weird now.

What are you hoping to achieve in 2023?

There are two main things. I hope to make more stuff to put up on my shop. I love Shrigley's funny merch and want to do something in that vein. The other thing is to try and get my cartoons in the New Yorker. I've never tried submitting to it – I keep bottling it! I'm a big fan of the New Yorker cartoons, and it's a big ambition of mine to get one of my cartoons in there!

26 Jan. 2023

Mucho's latest annual report for the University of California uses kinetic typography and eye-popping animations to reflect the financial chaos of the last twelve months.

Since 2014, design studio Mucho has created the Annual Report for the University of California Investments office. But for its latest edition, it has shaken things up by chucking augmented reality into the mix to bring the contents and data to life on the page.

The report, titled 'Where others see chaos, we see opportunity', charts a period that has proven extremely turbulent where the market is concerned. However, thanks to the smart investment and strong leadership of Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Bachher, the university has successfully made its way through these choppy waters.

To reflect its contents, Mucho decided to bring some interactivity to the printed piece by working with illustrator John Burgess. His kinetic typography, illustrations and animations are based on the core messages found in the report, namely that 2022 was financially chaotic but also exciting and uplifting at the same time.

The result is a technically challenging annual report unlike any other. Designed around messages that mirror the university's thinking, such as "staying agile has its rewards" and "patience. Persistence. Progress", the completed package is mailed in a sleek, typographic black foil stamped envelope.

Once eased out, the report captures the eye immediately thanks to its cover of jumbled black letters on a yellow background. There's a signal to be found in this noise if you look hard enough, though, with the letters spelling out key themes of the year if you have a keen eye. At the centre of these letters is the letter O – created out of negative space – which introduces the augmented reality that awaits readers within its pages.

Speaking of the contents, Mucho has managed to convert what could have been intimidating financial data into a series of playful designs. This is mainly achieved through clever use of colour, typography and page layouts. Reflections are cleverly mirrored across a double-page spread, while numbers and statistics are positioned like equations or even become colourful pieces of design in themselves like a swirling vortex.

Regarding how it felt to work on this year's annual report, Mucho Creative Director Rob Duncan said: "It's a rare joy to still design printed annual reports. The University of California continue to challenge us to push the boundaries when we can, and they are a delight to work with each year.

"Combining print and technology this year was a challenge. We definitely learned a lot about what works and doesn't work in the world of Augmented Reality and print!"

But the challenge appears to have been worth it, as the University of California's Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Bachher sounds pleased with the results. "I know a good investment when I see one, so that was just the beginning. Mucho has designed every annual report since I joined in 2014 as Chief Investment Officer. The work just keeps getting better, more imaginative and fun to read.

"UC Investments and Mucho have grown up together. They know who we are, and we trust them to know what we want. We're active collaborators. I wouldn't go anywhere else."

26 Jan. 2023

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

The Australian studio Standard Projects has developed a strategic positioning, brand identity and digital experience for DevRev, an early-stage SaaS business in San Francisco.

DevRev is committed to empowering customer-centric companies. Their product, the world's first Developer CRM, combines multiple tools and workflows in one seamless experience, allowing developers and customers to connect through a digital product.

Dan Flynn, designer and partner at Standard Projects, explained the actual scope of DevRev's offering: "For decades, developers (or in DevRev's eyes, 'makers') have been disconnected from both the result of their labour – the customers using their product – but also siloed within organisations, removed from the tangible results generated by their work. DevRev changes all that. By painting a clear picture of customers' needs, it allows developers to shape products to those needs and achieve true product-led growth."

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

To help DevRev ensure that its groundbreaking offer stood out in a sea of other SaaS products, Standard Projects was tasked to take a somewhat complex B2B offering and find a way to visually and verbally communicate the value, benefits and uses of this multi-faceted platform with clarity and simplicity.

For Flynn and his team, standing out in the saturated SaaS market and showing off the elevated nature of DevRev's product and service meant that the brand needed to part ways with the scrappy, playful aesthetic that many SaaS platforms lean into. DevRev needed to communicate maturity and premiumisation while still speaking to creative minds – makers – about the powerful benefits of the tools.

"We didn't want to be pigeonholed as 'yet another SaaS product' and certainly wanted to avoid the category's obsession with juvenile trends, illustration and language," Flynn told Creative Boom. "DevRev has a highly engineered, technical product that is seamless and intuitive. That simplicity doesn't have to be communicated as childish or playful. Instead, we focussed on the net benefit of adopting DevRev – with DevRev, you 'Make Work Matter' by giving insight, purpose and power to developers and customers alike."

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

"Make Work Matter" became the underpinning idea of Standard Projects' approach to DevRev's brand. Flynn shared that his team asked themselves questions like: "How can we "make" a system that is engaging and clear, a key focus for all DevRev "makers"? How can we create a system that "works" as engineered and elegant a fashion as the product itself? And how can we ensure design components "matter", and are as intuitive and intentional as the resulting user experience?"

The answers to these questions influenced everything from choice of typeface to colour, graphic language and even copywriting. Working with DevRev's existing logo (triangles and circles), Standard Projects brought harmony to its geometric form with the new wordmark's high x-height and horizontal terminals but maintained some engineered precision with a somewhat aggressive cap "R". Further lowercase letterforms across the DevRev sub-brands also convey touches of a more engineered construction (lowercase "t", cap "C").

Flynn explained: "The geometric graphic language connects to the existing logo. Sub-divided – the simple symbol applied to a more complex grid – cue notions of technical simplicity through a set of infinitely changeable symbols. It is further fleshed out through dot-matrix treatments of objects and images, referencing both logo and the vast swathes of complex data DevRev uses to 'paint a better picture of a customer'."

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

Standard Projects and DevRev opted for a colour palette that Flynn describes as "rich, vibrant and arresting." He told Creative Boom: "With a colourway for each of the four main product use cases, the system breaks from the convention of 'owning' a colour, opting for a captivating palette of saturated RGBs, a lateral nod to code editors."

When it came to type, functionality was a top priority. Unica 77 – a neutral, malleable, digital revival of an '80s modernist classic, proved to be the right choice in a system where complex, technical information must be clearly delivered.

Flynn told Creative Boom: "Despite the current trends towards more expressive typefaces, a product with this potential required something more flexible, the ability for language and the design system to carry meaning, rather than the typeface alone. In use, we again make subtle nods to the tabbed structure of code editors in creating headlines and the underlying grid structure itself."

Ultimately, DevRev's new brand succeeds in carving out its unique expression that opposes much of the current aesthetic within SaaS branding. To Flynn, what he and his team have created is "proof that design for B2B SaaS doesn't have to be boring, doesn't have to be childish and that it is possible to create a brand that works as well online as it does offline."

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

Credit: Standard Projects / DevRev

25 Jan. 2023

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery has launched its new brand today and revealed its 2023-24 programme of major exhibitions ahead of its official reopening this summer. Created with Manchester-based Edit Brand Studio and Boardroom Consulting, the refreshed identity aims to better reflect its role as a gallery that is "of people" and "for people"; one that tells the story of Britain's past, present and future through portraits.

This morning's big announcement coincides with The National Portrait Gallery's official reopening this June – the historic space has undergone an extensive refurbishment as part of the Inspiring People project. The new identity features a new monogram, logotype, typeface and colour palette, all inspired by historical reference points within the building and the Gallery's extensive collection of portraits.

Why the overhaul? Before its closure in March 2020, audience research showed that while there was loyalty and great warmth for the National Portrait Gallery with high levels of visitor satisfaction, it could do more to bring its collection to life for more people. Thus, the new designs were developed following a comprehensive review of the existing brand to build a stronger and more focused identity.

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

As part of the process, the Gallery engaged its stakeholders, members, staff and visitors, and those who hadn't yet stepped through its doors to establish what would be required of a new and improved National Portrait Gallery. "A clear solution lay in finding a balance of timeless and current, a flexible brand that could sit seamlessly alongside the magnificent grade I listed building and historical works, as well as the contemporary collection and dynamic events and exhibition programme," it explains.

With this in mind, one of the central focus points to the brand refresh was inspired by the initials 'NPG', which can be seen throughout the Gallery's building, within the metalwork of railings, embossed onto furniture and as part of original mosaics. Such motifs also appear in archival materials, including an original sketch by the Gallery's first director, Sir George Scharf, who entwined and encircled 'NPG' in a workbook dated 1893. This particular sketch has since been transformed into a new symbol for the Gallery by the illustrator and typographer Peter Horridge, best known for his logos and crests created for some of Britain's most iconic institutions, including the Royal Household and King Charles, Admiralty Arch, Liverpool Football Club and crests for Liberty's department store.

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

© National Portrait Gallery

The brand also features a bespoke logotype hand-drawn by Horridge and a contemporary new typeface, NPG Serif, created by type foundry Monotype rooted in historic font references found in and around the space. These elements are coupled with a fresh, modern palette, again inspired by paint and materials in the building and archive and its collection of portraits.

Speaking of their involvment, Adrian Newell of Edit said: "When we started working with the National Portrait Gallery, we quickly understood the requirement to create a brand for so much more than a Gallery. We were creating a brand for a shop, a new café, a fine dining restaurant, a learning centre, family activities and even a night out. Putting the vast, magnificent and diverse collection front and centre, we’ve created a brand that can flex and means many different things to many people, while still feeling part of a strong, distinctive, unified whole."

The new identity has been rolled out to the Gallery's website and digital channels with more planned for 2023. "The new brand expresses our ambition to be a place for everyone, full of life and filled with life stories," adds the Gallery, "We are excited to share more over the coming months."

25 Jan. 2023

DesignStudio's colourful new identity for Eurostar Group brings together rail providers Thalys and Eurostar to create a single, exciting brand that will take the business into the future.

Featuring a new logo, symbol, colour palette, photography, illustration and even sonic branding, the distinctive Eurostar Group identity aims to respect the heritage of both powerhouse brands and lay a foundation that allows the network to modernise for the future. And with the network aiming to carry 30 million passengers annually by 2030, it needed an appropriately bold aesthetic.

DesignStudio wisely retained the best bits of existing iconography, including the Eurostar name, due to its 'powerful equity and global recognition'. Meanwhile, the previous branding's letter 'e' imagery has been given a stylish overhaul, making it a distinctive star-based logo. Bespoke wordmark typography supports this icon, which nods to the 1994 iteration with the lowercase italic forms.

"This is a significant milestone in our history, and the union of these two iconic businesses as a single brand is the result of a powerful collaboration between Eurostar, Thalys and DesignStudio," says Mario Rauter, Eurostar Group's head of brand development.

"The new brand respects the heritage and embeds both Thalys and Eurostar's essential DNA, but forges us together and pushes us forward for a bold reimagining. The new brand and design system arms us for growth in both new and existing markets, driving re-engagement with existing customers and discovery by new travellers. DesignStudio has truly helped us achieve our vision to spark new opportunities through train travel."

At the heart of the new rebrand is the spark symbol, which is a clever reference not only to the experiences the network wants to generate but the connections that it will help to forge. The arms of the spark burst from OOH displays and screens, appearing to reach out and pull together different destinations that travellers can venture off to.

The flexible and dynamic asset will also appear across train liveries and stations and is intended to act like a navigational compass which will help to guide users to their city destination. DesignStudio Creative Director Julien Queyrane explains that working closely with Eurostar and Thalys helped them to capture the essence of the brand's near-30-year heritage and evolve them into the future.

"This led to our brand idea and creative platform, Spark New, which symbolises how the new Eurostar Group brand is supercharged to spark new experiences, new ideas and new opportunities through high-speed train travel," he reveals.

As for the existing Eurostar and Thalys colours, these have also been modernised by turning them into a "punchy" blue and a sleek deep navy. A secondary palette of six colours inspired by the diversity and vibrancy of the continent itself further helps to cement the Eurostar Group identity as a forward-looking brand.

David Moloney, DesignStudio design director, describes how the team arrived at this creative solution: "We wanted to bring back the sense of pride in the brand for employees and customers who expect a premium travel experience. At the heart of the rebrand is a reimagined symbol that parts ways with the old metallic e ribbon for a new north star and bold icon for the brand."

The pride people on the continent have for train travel is further reflected in the identity of a suite of artworks created by seven illustrators across five countries. These capture each destination's unique feeling and energy and are complemented by photography created in collaboration with John Adrian, who captures the joy and spontaneity of discovery through travel.

Eurostar Group, DesignStudio and Zelig Sound have also developed the new sonic branding, designed to create branded moments and recognition in stations, on TVCs and beyond. And with the new identity set to roll out by the end of 2023, passengers won't have long to wait to see what the future of Eurostar Group looks, feels and sounds like.

25 Jan. 2023

The front of Harrods' iconic exterior has been transformed into a gigantic canvas displaying the works of Yayoi Kusama to celebrate a new collaboration between the renowned Japanese artist and designer fashion label Louis Vuitton.

Currently lighting up the facade of the famous London department store, the distinctive polka dot designs of Yayoi Kusama represent the first time a brand has ever illuminated the outside of Harrods in such a way. However, instead of paint, this time, the artwork is being applied via a series of swirling, hypnotic lighting projections.

Running until 13 February, the mesmerising, multi-coloured and immersive campaign was brought to life with the help of Publicis Media Luxe in an effort to bring art to the streets in an unprecedented way. It will also help to raise awareness of the new Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama collection, which is being displayed in pride of place in 27 windows running along Brompton Road and Hans Crescent, spilling onto the pavement.

To further promote the collection, a monumental, 15 metre-tall life-like statue of Yayoi Kusama was recently unveiled outside the Hans Crescent facade, depicting the artist painting her trademark polka dots onto the Harrod's exterior. If that doesn't tip off passers-by that a collection related to the artist lies inside, nothing will.

Speaking of the decision to light up Harrods, Publicis Media Luxe managing partner Anne-Marie Hammond said that a brand as recognisable as Louis Vuitton has already set the bar high regarding innovative campaigns – so only something that was guaranteed to turn heads would suffice for this collection launch.

"We needed to create the wow factor in a totally new way for the London luxury scene, harnessing Harrod's shop front as the key media space and building a fantastic campaign around it, filled with media firsts that fit the Maison," she reveals. "We're so pleased that with the Louis Vuitton team's vision, and the talent of the ENERGY and Pixel Artworks teams, the Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama launch has been truly unmissable."

Harrods isn't the only place being taken over by the Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama collection. The historic Piccadilly Circus Lights are currently showing a 3D version of the suitcase line from the collection, as well as having hosted a 30-minute domination of the site earlier in the month. Adding to the exposure is a series of OOH ads at the Brompton Banner and Knightsbridge Gateway, both of which are equally unmissable.

And just in case people have managed to avoid news of the collection, special Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama ads are currently running in print across the Times, Telegraph and a never-been-done-before full wrap of the Financial Times. Topped off with a vertical skylight running on the Telegraph, and it looks like the campaign is breaking new ground in about half a dozen ways.

No modern campaign would be complete without a digital component, and Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama is no exception. Activity across Vogue and Elle ensures that it reaches the target audience, and a WeTransfer, Pinterest, and TikTok takeover ensure that every base has been covered. And if you want to engage with Kasuma's art interactively, Snapchat has even got you covered with a new themed lens.

Don't worry if you're not London-based, either. The campaign has been launched globally, with four other cities participating, including Tokyo and New York.

25 Jan. 2023

Glasgow-based creative and design agency Tangent has collaborated with Scottish Opera to make musical packaging for its commemorative range of gin bottles.

Birthdays are often a good excuse to have a drink and dance to a tune, and Scottish Opera is no exception. To celebrate its 60th anniversary, Scotland's largest performing arts organisation has marked the occasion with a commemorative gin whose packaging can be fed through a music box to play the signature theme from Madama Butterfly.

Named Suonare – which appropriately translates as 'to play' – the celebratory gin will act as a gift to patrons of the Scottish Opera. Created in partnership with local distiller Biggar Gin, the spirit is a London Dry gin which contains botanicals that have a strong connection both to Scotland and the operatic world.

To help this unique collaboration sing, Scottish Opera enlisted Tangent to create a brand whose identity would combine the two art forms of mixology and musicology. The result is a playable label whose high and low musical notes reflect the sharp Lemon and earth Cassia Bark botanicals of the gin's very own fourteen flavour notes.

As for the musical scale itself, this was die-cut into the bottle label to create a design system distinct from the usual floral imagery often associated with gin branding. And in the spirit of local pride and attention to detail that runs through the whole identity, the lettering was letter-pressed by Glasgow Press printmakers.

"When we conceived the idea of matching the botanicals to a musical scale, a whole world of possibilities opened up," explains Katrina High, designer at Tangent. "Being able to actually visualise the taste profile of the gin felt like we were taking the brand somewhere new and original, and we were excited by the prospect that this visualisation could push that bit further and go on and function as an actual sheet of music."

"The project's success depended on genuine collaboration between all the partners to make it happen," she adds. "Biggar Gin helped us to place the botanicals accurately from high to low notes. Scottish Opera's music director specifically arranged the notation so the label could play through the music box.

"It was so satisfying to see everything fall into place and to deliver a brand that conveyed the nature of the product: the worlds of musicology and mixology coming together."

The decision to make the playable tune 'Un bel di' – instantly recognisable as the signature theme from Madama Butterfly – is just as well chosen as the other elements of the identity. This is because the Puccini opera was first performed by Scottish Opera during its maiden season 60 years ago. The tune itself was inspired by a Chinese music box that the composer first heard in Italy.

"Tess Wood, Design Manager, Scottish Opera: "The decision to appoint Tangent to develop an artisan gin brand for us was incredibly easy – they have curious minds, a strong desire to push the creative boundaries, and a collaborative approach to working that was integral," concludes Tess Wood, design manager at Scottish Opera.

"The creative solution for Suonare is charmingly playful and unique, and we're thrilled with the results."

25 Jan. 2023

Multi-talented creator Sanika Phawde has turned an unusually-worded church sign into a striking comic about connection, community and belonging. And it all started by getting to know the sign's original creator.

At one time or another, we've all seen something unusual out of the corner of our eye, only to be whisked away by life before we can find out more. But for reportage artist, illustrator and cartoonist Sanika Phawde, the urge to learn more about an unusual church sign proved too powerful to resist. And it set her on a journey to meet its creator.

The sign in question was emblazoned with the statement God is Non-Binary, which is also the title Sanika gave to her comic strip about her experience of looking into it. For a First Baptist Church in Massachusetts, this is a somewhat provocative message, so it's not surprising that it compelled the inquisitive illustrator to find out more.

"I love the sign outside this church," she explains. "I walk by it every day, and every day it makes me laugh or reflect or both. The first time I saw it was the day we moved here, and it said 'God is Non-Binary', and it made me feel like maybe I was gonna be okay after all in Providence."

The curious wording prompted a flurry of questions in the mind of the Rhode Island School of Design teacher. Over several months, she pondered who exactly made it, where they came up with their ideas and how they organised their sign messages. Then, almost miraculously, it sounds like she found out. The mysterious sign creator was none other than Pastor Jamie Washam, who was kind enough to be interviewed by Sanika.

The resulting comic sees the interviews realised as a thought-provoking, strikingly illustrated tale about community. Over the course of 21 panels, Pastor Jamie reveals the thought processes behind her church sign messages and shares that sometimes humour can be the best way to encourage conversation about tricky subjects.

Take the original sign, for example. While God is Non-Binary could be seen as something of a touchpaper for enraged discourse, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Pastor Jamie reveals that she received plenty of heart-warming endorsements and only one single criticism. And in her typical saintly manner, she replied to this complaint with kindness in order to further dialogue.

And as Sanika found out during her interview, the reach of the church signs travelled further than the traditional congregation. She learnt from Pastor Jamie that one observer got in touch to say how reassuring it was to see 'Ramadan Mubarak' on a church sign of all places and that it made her feel at home.

It's a sentiment echoed by the comic's creator herself. "I love how drawing on location and reporting through comics teaches me to notice and love more about my surroundings and my community," she reveals. "I like being a reportage artist because it helps me feel like I belong in my new city."

To read the full comic, which includes revelations about how the signs are made, the lengths Pastor Jamie goes to in order to maintain them, and where she finds her inspiration, head on over to Sanika's website.

25 Jan. 2023

How&How London

How&How London

Steve Forbes believed "your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business". But as intangible assets go, a 'brand' is hard to pin down – let alone financially quantify. It's much more than a logo or instructions on the tone of voice. A brand should transcend not just reasons to buy but become a reason to believe. So what, then, is the value of 'brand'?

At my design agency How&How, we know a successful brand can not only make a company look better for investors and/or customers but also galvanise a company's employees, boost business relevance and ultimately, turnover.

But in our experience, it's also a lot more nuanced than that.

Perhaps the best way to think about brands is to imagine a cluster of gut feelings, experiences and ideas. Thinking of Nike might bring to mind the famous swoosh, 'Just Do It', and the colour black. But perhaps also sneakers, child labour, that Colin Kaepernick commercial, the Olympics, China, and the hoodie you thrifted on Depop last winter.

This makes brands a complicated thing to pin down and define, let alone build. Yet as brand builders, it's up to us to guide these associations.

How&How Lisbon

How&How Lisbon

In the early stages of a company's growth, the long-term benefits of branding often play second fiddle to short-term sales targets and lead-generation campaigns. When this strategy hits an inevitable performance plateau, defining and building a distinctive identity is the only way forward.

We can attribute this to two reasons: successful branding decreases price sensitivity. In other words, the ability to raise prices without losing business. Successful branding also increases memorable impact or the likelihood of your brand coming to mind in a buying moment by a consumer.

Of course, branding has other important advantages, such as attracting and retaining top talent, making internal decision-making more efficient, and sales activations more effective, to name a few. These benefits have long been possible through branding, but our understanding of how brands can fully realise them has evolved.

In decades past, the primary ambition of branding was to reduce the perceived risk of buying a product. Companies developed a few visual assets within a narrow scope of creative freedom and then deployed them as consistently as possible. In branding terminology, this was known as creating a "corporate identity". More recently, the expectations of brands have risen.

In an age of political distrust and unbridled capitalism, brands have emerged as an alternative means of realising better futures. Brands are no longer merely indicators of quality and value but rather vessels of meaning and value.

In other words, the purpose of brand-building has shifted: from appearance-making to meaning-making. And in the process, it went from a necessity to a responsibility.

Brands have always helped people keep companies accountable, but this has never been more true than today. Brands that misrepresent their products and clash with the values of their audience are quickly swept away.

So what is a brand to do?

This expectation of meaning-making demands more from brands than just design. Successful brands today make strategic decisions about the meaning they wish their brand to carry, build toolkits of dynamic visual assets, and develop on-brand digital experiences.

If yesterday's brands were all about repetition, today's are about reinterpretation – embracing new and creative ways to bring their brand to life while remaining recognisable and a business that consumers trust and believe in.

It is how to turn a business into a brand.

25 Jan. 2023

Credit: Koto / Bolt

Credit: Koto / Bolt

Koto has partnered with the one-click checkout platform Bolt on a full rebrand that radically lifts the brand from a sea of blue sameness and strikes the heart of the brand's commitment to lightning-speed service.

From logo and type to motion principles and photography style, and further to the website and product UI/UX, Bolt and Koto's joint vision was to bring a modern and fresh look to reflect a new chapter for the brand.

At the heart of the new identity for Bolt is a fresh positioning statement declaring Bolt's services "Shockingly Simple". It's a clever device that ties back to the lighting bolt imagery that has always played a crucial role in Bolt's identity.

Koto has retained the lightning bolt but has given it a serious glow-up. Arthur Foliard, creative director at Koto and lead on the Bolt project, said: "The new logo nods to the brand's original lightning bolt badge – an indicator of the trust, speed and convenience customers and partners have come to associate with Bolt."

Credit: Koto / Bolt

Credit: Koto / Bolt

The familiar lighting bolt is now elevated in the new identity through new chunky typography that gives Bolt a much-needed infusion of personality and a night-and-day colour transformation tying back into the lightning bolt motif. Bolt, which had previously leant on a blue palette, is now striking in a new lighting-inspired hero colour: lightning yellow.

Foliard told Creative Boom: "Looking at Bolt's competitors, it was pretty obvious why they needed to move away from the blue. Everyone is using it!" While blue is often the colour most associated with security and trust, Foliard says brands absolutely don't need to be blue to give a 'secured' feel. For him, creating a sense of brand security is much more rooted in a brand's behaviour than its colour. So for him and his team, there was no question that a bolder colour choice needed to be on the cards for Bolt.

"We know the power of colour for a brand," Foliard told Creative Boom. "Colour makes it feel instantly different."

The next step was to identify the most powerful colour route. Foliard explained Koto's process: "In a sea of sameness, there clearly were two opportunities to explore – Orange/Red and Yellow/Lime. We tried both and looked at how they worked with the rest of our brand. The whole brand was built on lightning speed. So in the end, the 'lightning yellow' was the one we all loved, for obvious reasons."

Where previously Bolt's brand presence could be inconsistent, the new system communicates as directly as Bolt's services operate. Foliard told Creative Boom: "The thing I love about the new brand is how expressive, yet simple, it is. From the smallest bits of the brand, iconography, and product behaviour to the beautiful art direction and website, everything makes sense with our core idea: lightning-speed checkout. That's what I'm the proudest of and what will get Bolt to a great place in the future."

The new look has already started to roll out on the brand's website and social media and will continue to extend to various marketing tactics.

24 Jan. 2023

Credit: Olivia Odiwe

Credit: Olivia Odiwe

Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum – the best designers and artists are constantly in conversation with the work of their peers, drawing inspiration and pushing boundaries. To celebrate the connected nature of creativity and uncover some new talent worth following, we asked seven designers to share the creative minds that have been inspiring their own approach to creativity lately.

The responses were wide-ranging and showcased just how important it is to look outside your own specific discipline for creative inspiration.

From 3D clay models to colourful decorations to funky type forms, the creatives recommended below are making art that pushes boundaries, mixes mediums, and illustrates the power of point of view. Read on to learn more about some inspiring creatives you should follow this year.

Olivia Odiwe's delicate details create a therapeutic experience

"I discovered Olivia Odiwe in 2019 when my twin brother Simon sent me a link to her Instagram," Adam Ryan, head of Pentawards told Creative Boom. "Her work is heavily influenced by modern culture, film and music. I spent hours on her page admiring her innovative portraiture style where she would blend faces of iconic hip-hop or grime stars using bright colours."

Ryan has been particularly struck by Odiwe's clay work: "Around 2020, Olivia started using clay most wonderfully. She recreated iconic album covers in 3D but on a miniature scale. The delicate detail of the small sculptures is placed on the album cover to bring it to life. These would all be filmed, and a time-lapse would be posted. It's so therapeutic to watch: the precision, craft and detail show a serious talent."

Credit: Olivia Odiwe. Follow Olivia Odiwe on [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/illestration/)

Credit: Olivia Odiwe. Follow Olivia Odiwe on Instagram

Bethan Wood's designs inspire exploration and abundance

"London-based artist and designer Bethan Laura Wood served as an incredible source of inspiration for me," Lara Strauss, a design strategist for Design Partners and PA Consulting, proclaims.

Strauss shared just how formative Wood's work has been for her own creative practice recently: "It is very refreshing that Bethan Laura Wood doesn't shy away from embracing decorative elements. In recent years, I tended to reduce my design languages to the absolute essential, finding beauty in radical minimalism and shy tech. Yet lately, I found this approach increasingly boring and therefore more challenging to plant meaning in my designs.

"I started to develop an appetite for more fun, organic, delightful, and narrative expression. Ultimately, her work has motivated me to become more explorative myself again and embrace the concept of abundance – which means much needed to escape the sea of sameness."

Credit: Bethan Laura Wood. Follow Bethan Laura Wood on [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/bethanlaurawood/?hl=en)

Credit: Bethan Laura Wood. Follow Bethan Laura Wood on Instagram

Credit: Bethan Laura Wood. Follow Bethan Laura Wood on [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/bethanlaurawood/?hl=en)

Credit: Bethan Laura Wood. Follow Bethan Laura Wood on Instagram

Stefan Diez's designs toe the line between refined and experimental

"I've always had a child-like intrigue, and so tend to be drawn to designs and designers that re-interpret functional everyday products in new and playful ways," Greg Furniaux, senior designer at blond, told Creative Boom.

Furniaux shared that one artist who often inspires him is the German industrial designer Stefan Diez. "Diez's work often inspires me, as he combines refinement, innovation and simplicity without losing any of the experimental, fun character," adds Furniaux.

Recently Furniaux has been particularly inspired by Diez's conceptual BOA table for HAY, a development of the Soba collection for Japan Creative (2015). "I loved the interactivity of the hidden twisted rope fastening - it has now been reimagined in aluminium tubes. Instead of rope, the pieces now come together with a satisfying engineered click. It's a masterful balance of playfulness and precision; the exaggerated chunky drain pipe forms and tool-free construction makes it feel like a giant version of building toys like Lego Technic or K'Nex, which the big kid in me loves."

Credit: Stefan Diez. Follow Stefan Diaz on [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/stefandiez/)

Credit: Stefan Diez. Follow Stefan Diaz on Instagram

Joseph Töreki's digital chemistry is at the forefront of mixed-media design

"The act of translating materials from one reality to another has become a new form of craft," says Lars Dittrich, a designer CMF strategist at Seymourpowell. One designer Dittrich admires in this space is the multidisciplinary artist, Joseph Töreki.

According to Dittrich, Töreki's work "beautifully captures this fine line between the virtual and the physical, exploring a traditional craft (ceramics) and his fascination with digital art, to make both practices inseparable and imperishable."

Dittrich shared that he particularly loves "the experimental process which goes into creating [Töreki's] digital glaze collection. After firing unglazed, hand-thrown clay vases, Töreki photo-scans the objects before applying a digital glaze. Building on a deep understanding of heirloom glaze recopies, techniques and materials, Töreki, acting as a digital chemist, gives integrity to his digital ceramics."

Credit: Joseph Töreki. Follow Joseph Töreki on [Instragram](https://www.instagram.com/josephtoereki)

Credit: Joseph Töreki. Follow Joseph Töreki on Instragram

Credit: Joseph Töreki. Follow Joseph Töreki on [Instragram](https://www.instagram.com/josephtoereki)

Credit: Joseph Töreki. Follow Joseph Töreki on Instragram

Renee Melia's striking colours and patterns balance light and dark

"Renee Melia, an incredible Australian illustrator, was one of my biggest sources of inspiration for 2022," Charlie Tallis, a designer at Taxi Studio, told Creative Boom. Tallis shared that she came across Melia's work on Instagram and immediately fell in love with her striking colour palettes, use of patterns, and the way she uses dark tones and bright pops.

"Renee uses colour in a way I would not naturally think to," she continues. "The way she takes a simple subject matter, yet manages to create a distinctive and unique piece each time, is truly inspiring. It reminds me that there are always new and exciting solutions to every brief."

Credit: Renee Melia. Follow Renee Melia on [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/whistleburg/)

Credit: Renee Melia. Follow Renee Melia on Instagram

Daniel Irizarry follows through, from a strong point of view to a flawless execution

Ben McNutt, the chief creative officer at Butchershop, is a big fan of designs by Daniel Irizarry, creative director at Athletics."Design without an idea is just style. And yet an idea is only as good as its execution. There are those in our industry who are great at the concept or the execution. It's the rare designer who can see the throughline from one to the other. Daniel can."

McNutt praised Irizarry's range, reflected through his brand work and personal designs - but the through line is always a strong point of view, an ability to fully engage with his subjects without including anything extraneous.

"In sketch or improv comedy, they talk about 'committing to the bit'. You might be able to throw in all kinds of things that, on their own, could be funny but would ultimately detract from the joke or take it off course. So, it's best to commit to the bit. Daniel's a designer who commits to the concept. He only lets in what's essential to its strongest execution and guts the rest. That's how you get brands with a clear, distinct POV view. Brands that actually say something. Clarity is everything. There's a lot of noise in these wild (albeit fun) digital times. Daniel's work avoids it while still pumping out some ill, fresh stuff."

Credit: Daniel Irizarry. Follow Daniel Irizarry on [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/danielirizarry/)

Credit: Daniel Irizarry. Follow Daniel Irizarry on Instagram

Anna Mills' hand-drawn designs overflow with personality

Mollie Kendell, a designer at Lantern, has been following Bristol-based graphic designer Anna Mills since her university days.

Kendall told Creative Boom that she "always loved [Mills'] manual approach to design with her hand-drawn illustrations and embroidered letterforms. Her style has a human, hand-drawn quality where each character feels like they have their own personality. Dancing on the line between analogue and digital processes, each piece feels like it hops and dances into place across the screen. She creates fluid letterforms and illustrations, bringing them to life by manually drawing frame by frame to create wiggly, twitchy animations."

Kendell shared how Mills' work has a direct impact on her own, saying Mills inspires her "work more manually, escape the screen and rethink how typography can be imagined to have its own personality and movement."

Recently, Kendall particularly loved Mills' 36 Days of Type designs. "The animation consists of hand-drawn frames brought together to show each letterform morphing and taking a new shape, with a changing personality of each character. Her style is inspired by printed ephemera and letterforms; she takes this photo-copy style into her work. This is brought into the small details of her work with changing dials as the characters move into place."

Credit: Anna Mills. Follow Anna Mills on [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/annam.lls/?hl=en)

Credit: Anna Mills. Follow Anna Mills on Instagram

24 Jan. 2023

Credit: Darren Foldes

Credit: Darren Foldes

Darren Foldes spent the summer of 2005 DJing for private parties for Prince whilst working full-time in advertising. The executive producer, managing director and partner for brand studio and production company Sibling Rivalry recently sat down to tell Creative Boom all about how he fell into the gig and what his time as a DJ to the stars taught him about working in the creative industries.

The night started like any other: Foldes, who at the time was working in advertising by day and DJing some of LA's top clubs at night, was doing a set at the now-defunct Foundation Room at the House of Blues in LA. When he finished around 2am, he was approached to DJ a private afterparty in the early hours of the morning. Foldes agreed – though he wasn't told who was hosting the party. It wasn't until an hour later when he was set up in a private room, that he was joined by none other than the legendary recording artist Prince.

"My jaw dropped," Foldes told Creative Boom. He'd DJ'd for high-profile hosts in the past, but this was another level.

Foldes tried to play it cool, following Prince's advice: "He said to me, 'just keep it sexy, keep it cool'," Foldes remembered. "And then he went and put the Wizard of Oz on the DVD player and left… There I was, left in the room with the Wizard of Oz playing by myself, not knowing what to make of anything right then."

Half an hour later, people started filtering into the room, and Foldes remembers that Prince returned somewhere around 4:30am, when the room was full. "It was an absolute full-on dance party," Foldes recalled, describing the night as "intimate but electrifying."

It was the first private party of many that Foldes would DJ for Prince that summer. While that first night was the most memorable, Foldes says the most rewarding aspect of the whole experience was knowing that he'd gotten it right – and kept it sexy and cool enough for Prince to invite him again and again, that summer.

Credit: Darren Foldes

Credit: Darren Foldes

Foldes stepped back from DJing the following summer as his advertising career took off (plus, how do you really top a summer spent DJing late-night LA parties for Prince?). But the way Foldes learned to entertain and delight his audience as a DJ and how he learned to meet the desires of top talent has never faded from his approach to creative work.

His musical taste and background are hugely evident in his advertising credits: Foldes was a member of the team behind Apple's rhythmic "Bounce" spot and won an Emmy for his role as Executive Producer on Nike's You Can't Stop Us spot – which is built around the mixing of footage and sound in a way that definitely plays to the strength of Foldes' background as a DJ and filmmaker.

One skill in particular that Foldes says his experience as a DJ helped him build out is the ability to push his clients' boundaries while simultaneously giving them what they want. "When you're DJing, you want to consider what's to come, but you must also be very grounded in the present and the past." Foldes liked his sets to balance fresh new sounds with classic tracks – for Prince, he once played a white-label remix of one of Prince's own songs that the artists' team had never heard before, sending one member of Prince's team chasing him down to get the record.

As a DJ, Foldes said it was important to be "future-facing and thinking about where things are going while satisfying people in that moment." Today, he applies to same rule to his work as an advertiser. "You want to try to push things forward at the same time as satisfying the goals of the brief," he told Creative Boom. "Sometimes that means getting someone to take a step somewhat outside their comfort zone only to find that it was the right step. And that's something that I frequently used to do when DJing. I played something that may have been unexpected but worked within the overall vibe of the evening."

Credit: Darren Foldes

Credit: Darren Foldes

As well as finding a balance between past, present, and future, Foldes has always been committed to finding the balance between his creative taste and preferences, his teams' tastes, and client tastes and needs – another skill he started honing in his DJ days.

"There is something to be said about having confidence in your voice, trusting what you believe is good from a craft or storytelling standpoint, and then seeing where that meshes with the other people in the process," Foldes told Creative Boom. "When DJing, you read the room by paying attention to what's happening on the dance floor. And when it's advertising, you read the room differently." For Foldes, reading the room doesn't mean going along with what the majority wants for the sake of it but rather making an effort to bring differing points of view together through creative expression. "For any creative field, I believe that trusting your core, but seeing how it works with others, and being collaborative is the way to true success."

At the end of the day, Foldes believes that the most important thing he can offer – as a DJ, producer, or creative leader – is to listen. Whether he's designing the perfect set list for Prince or pitching a new campaign to a client, or getting his team prepared to shoot a new spot, Foldes' attention is always on clueing into what's going on with the people around him, what they need, and how he can best respond and add value through his own voice.

"It's all about listening and observing, putting something out there and waiting for the reply," Foldes told Creative Boom. "You put something out there that elicits a response that allows you to understand your client, your audience, or the agency you're working with even better."

If you're interested in learning more about Darren Foldes' taste in music, check out this playlist he curated for the Sibling Rivalry website.

SCAN TO VIEW AND BOOKMARK THIS PAGE ON YOUR PHONE
BACK TO TOP