Thursday, 29 March 2007

Moving handrail messaging

When virtually every surface is covered in advertising and messages it becomes increasingly difficult to find somewhere to put your message. These escalators in the Lumine Department Store in Tokyo use the moving handrail as a support.

Tokyo Metro stations use the same support for advertising local stores and restaurants. The information is scannable using your mobile phone and the QR codes on the handrail. On your mobile you can then access the store or retaurants web site for opening hours, menus, location maps and more.

Impressionist Master meets Fairground kitch

The influence of 20th century Masters on popular culture is epitomized in this Fairground Roundabout decoration, where Ronoir's painting is adorned with light bulbs and set into a wedding cake style, pastel painted, sculptured frame.
The mouldings look totally Disney kitch but the Roundabout is in fact early 20th century.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

SNCF branding going off the rails?

SNCF French Railways appear to be suffering from sub brand and product naming excess and confusion. In a desire to segment the rail offer and build individual brands and identities, they have moved from the monolithic and industry focused single SNCF identity to a myriad of competing and conflicting brands which risk loosing the consumer in their complexity.

This example shows three different brands all applied to a single train. Add to this TGV, Ter and Fret etc. and the picture becomes even more confused.

Sub branding works successfully when a manufacturer eg: Renault, builds different models for different consumers eg: Megane, Espace, Clio or Apple produce a variety of different products: i Mac, i Phone, i Pod etc. but what does Téoz, Corail and SNCF mean on a single wagon?

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Leveraging authenticity in walnut branding

Leveraging authentic-ity and heritage, the Fazillac Noix branding and packaging designed for leading European supermarkets, communicates the 'territoire' and the quality of a hand selected product.
A flat graphic illustration in the style of 30's travel posters, reinforces this timeless, natural feel and the panoramic image creates powerful shelf blocking when the product is aligned in the stores.

Cultural shock Japan style

Japanese graphics and design, like all things Japanese, are full of contadiction. The sublimely minimal, restrained, Zen, purism so often associated with things Japanese and so admired in the west, is contasted with the kitch and visual chaos which is so equally prevelant.
Both tendancies are carried to such an extreme, with very little middle ground, that a shock of aesthetics, cultures and timelines is very much part of the whole Japan experience.
Much has been written about Mangas and the design aesthetic expressed here is fascinating: a claustrophobic mix of illustration, typography, calligraphy and colours. But this message works as Manga sales confirm.

Classic French enamelled sign

My favourite sign from France. This is a classic stove enamelled plaque fixed to a wall in Paris. The typography, colour and the message are all marvellous. Of course the wall below the sign is plastered with layers of posters, flyers and stickers. The tone is somewhat in contradiction to another message carved in stone in the wall just a short distance away: Liberté, Egalité & Fraternité but then again...
This would make a great niche clothing brand or name for a design shop. In fact I am thinking of launching a Défense d'afficher collection.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Lenticular three dimensional Asahi beer poster

Impossible to convey the incredible three dimentional presence of this 3D lenticular technology Asahi beer advertising on the Tokyo Metro in a static image. But when you walk past these advertisments the can of beer and ice cubes really project out of the poster surface into space. As you pass the image you can see the can as a 3D object.
2 x 1.5 meter wall poster campaign. The posters are located in metro corridors for maximum impact upon the passing commuters.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Beijing Hutong district ecology sign

Interesting ecology sign from the historic Hutong courtyard district in Xuan Wu Beijing which is rapidly being demolished to make way for apartment block towers. The sign is hand painted onto the wall of a building.

Brand colour blindness test

This colour blindness test uses a couple of hundred global brands to form the dots of the test. If you are colour blind you will not see the resulting image.

Pictogram and symbol design

Pictogram and symbol design exercise to communicate a complex concept or message in a simple, powerful and easy to understand way. Work by students of the Ecole Bleue Paris.

Expression through typography, Ecole Bleue

The power of type in communication and conceptual expression is explored in these examples of typographic work by fist year students at the Ecole Bleue, Paris.

Tokyo Metro signage system

The Tokyo Metro signage system is extremely well designed, and thanks to English language station names, extremely easy to use. Each line is colour coded, a circle symbolises the station and colour coded rings the different line connections. Hiragana station names are written vertically, whilst Roman character names are turned to read from top to botom. Times between stops are displayed so that precise journey times can be calculated.

Branded Cappachino Dutour Coffee Tokyo

Dutour extends its messaging and branding right into the foaming cream on its Cappachino. The heart motif 'I love coffee' adds a consumable dimension to the coffee brand and builds an emotional experience and connection to Dutour.

Etched glass screen Maranouchi, Tokyo

A very sculptural piece of street furniture in the concourse of the Maranouchi Building.
This screen is 40mm etched glass set into an equally designed floor surface and underlit so that the cherry blossom motif glows and provides a level of privacy.
All the furniture, signage and surfaces in the building are treated in this purist and sophisticated way.

Signs and pictograms for dogs

Can dogs read? Presumably they can understand signs and pictograms.
Here is a collection of interesting pictograms representing different breeds of dogs from Japan and France.

I am particularly intrigued by the use of the Dachshund in the sign from Aix en Provence. Is this only meant for Dachshunds and their owners? Why the choice of this particular breed? Maybe it is just the designer being humouristic, the Dachshund having such a unique and funny silhouette?
Anyway, this is a historic document that will no doubt soon disappear from our streets as dogs can no longer use the 'Caniveau'.

Oliver Grant repositioning strategy

Our repositioning strategy for Oliver Grant prêt-à-porter resulted in the creation of a totally new brand identity and complete redesign of the European stores.
Over one hundred different items were designed ranging from the embroidered clothes labels, packaging and carrier bags to store signage and facias. The flagship store in the 3 Quartiers, La Madelaine, Paris was the first to be refitted, followed by roll out across stores throughout France.
The new brand leverages British sartorial style with a 'tailor made' sophisticated brand, cool, contemporary black and white graphics and interiors plus the bold accent colour: purple.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Masters in Brand Design and Visual Communications, Intuit/Lab Paris

Lecturing at the Intuit/Lab Masters in Brand Design and Visual Communications, is part of my educational and academic activity.

The Intuit/Lab Masters is a first is this field. The 2006-2007 promotion consistes of eight international students who are all actively working in agencies whilst completing their Masters. The course is structured around eight project based workshops with professional input from experts in all domains of brand expression and realization.

Input consists of workshops, discussion and criticism both in the studio and via e-learning and project specific blogs, enabling all lecturers, participants and students to share information and comments 24/7. I lecture entirely in English to help equip the students with the professional design vocabulary necessary for their future global business careers.

Destination and cultural branding

Château de Chabans Un art de vivre. Destination branding for a listed historical monument reopend to the public after an extensive renovation programme. We created a brand that reflects the art de vivre that the Château represents. The brand was developed across communications materials from print to entry tickets and t shirts. We also created the exhibition in the Cour d'honneur telling the story of the château, its history and its restoration through the work of the craftsmen and the vision of the owner.

Les Sources brand identity

The brand identity for Les Sources Villages Vacances communicates the essentials of this peaceful retreat in the heart of the countryside: nature, space, preserved rural setting, calm. A symbosis with the natural elements.

The brand identity is applied to all communications and collateral, stationary, signage and web site.

JPMorganChase brand identity

Product branding and packaging is most prevelant currently on the site, so I am showing some institutional and corporate branding projects that I have worked on to redress the balance.

Brand migration and development of the new institutional banking identity following the merger of JPMorgan and Chase to create the worlds largest financial institution.

The new brand, leveraging powerful equity from both banks, was rolled out in 2001 cross platforms ranging from intranet, business stationary and collateral to a 25 meter sign in the New York headquarter building.

Market: USA / worldwide.

New London Underground line extension and station

Not sure that it is very politically correct and in light of recent events, not the most used friendly sation name. But here is the latest Underground station on the Central line extension east to Takeshita-Doori and Harajuku.

Tokyo Metro has the worlds fastest ticket barriers as well as the worlds most punctual trains, timed to the second and stopping within milimeters of their predetermined stop positions so that the doors open precisely where the orderly lines of waiting commuters stand ready to board.

Be specific when arranging a rendez-vous at a station: Shinjuku station has more than one hundred exits and sees over 1 million passengers pass through each day. Meeting up can be tricky without precise information.

On the metro trains, keep up to date with news, weather reports, watch advertising and be informed on which side of the train the doors will open at the next stop, thanks to TV monitors and (on some lines) bilingual Japanese / English information.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Anarchistic signage in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's incredible commercial drive and anarchistic signage is illustrated by the convergence of thousands of signs and glowing neon that stretch out from buildings either side of the street to literally meet in the centre. A case of information overkill, the screaming signs become visual noise, finally communicating nothing more than a colourful, graphic pattern of light, calligraphy and letterforms.

1966 Sophia Loren & Gregory Peck poster

Under the railway tracks amongst the Yakitori eateries near Tokyo station, original 1960's posters are still stuck to the walls. This Sophia Loren & Gregory Peck Arabesque poster dates from 1966. Alongside it a Japanese Nationalist drama film poster interprets 007 imagery and clichés.

Japan Post Office logo and grafitti

This is an extremely rare example of disrespect of public property and grafitti in Japan. Infact it is the only example of this sort of street grafitti that I saw in two years.

Tokyo is a city in a permanent state of demolition and rebuilding. Construction site hoardings are often made of white enamelled metal panels. Ringing a large construction site they can be more than a kilometer in length. These walls are immaculately clean and do not have a single poster, sticker or fly sheet stuck on them, let alone a single grafitti tag or mark! Something that would be quite inimaginable anywhere else in the world.

Vehicles leaving the sites are always washed down to avoid messing the street and holes and trenches dug in the roads during the day are always filled and resurfaced at the end of the day to ease evening traffic conditions. The lines are even repainted on the temporary road surface.

Amusingly this grafitti even has a sense of humour. It so calls out to be created I almost wish I had done it myself!

Hanami Cherry blossom motif inspection cover

An inspection cover from Maranouchi district, Tokyo, depicting Hanami cherry blossom. This is an example of the design sense and attention to detail to be seen in many Japanese buildings and streets. Traditional and contemporary designs exist. Here the cover, rim and paving surface have all been designed for the building. Other inspection covers include leaves, flowers, spirals and dragonfly motifs. Photographic images from the history of the area are also engraved into polished granite paving stones - a remarkable urban design detail walked over by millions of comuters daily, enlightening the lives of many.

Signs of the times

This enigmatic face is part of a collection of signs, urban graphics and typography that I have been collecting for about fifteen years. This was spotted in Barcelona during August 06. The collection has been gathered during my travels in more than fifty countries. Currently I am working on organizing the material in advance of tranforming it into a book about signage and street graphics.

Designer's Tokyo

Designer's Tokyo: An original, idiosyncratic and unique look at one of the worlds most extrodinary cities.
This is an illustrated book project that I am currently working on. To date one hundred subjects and pages are completed and the synopsis has been submitted to several publishers.
The book is a creative guide and travelogue to Tokyo and the surrounding region. It explores unusual and original themes including: Architecture as showcase, 20th Century Samurais, Hanami, Cartoon characters, Automatic distributors, Street graphics, Plastic food, Bicycle parking tickets, Harujuku girls and Virtual games... etc.
Material is drawn from my 5 000 Japan photographs and my experiences and impressions from two years of living in and exploring the city with open eyes and most importantly an open mind.

Coca-Cola China branding and packaging launched

Coca-Cola China's new branding and graphics developed by my Tokyo and Shanghai creative teams is now launched throughout PRC. The graphics and labels integrate holograms into the background, rules and dynamic ribbon. New 600ml PET bottle physical shape developed by our Paris team. Initial consumer response to the launch is very positive.
Creative Director Paul Vickers, Art Director Yohei Yamada.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Danone Jacob's Crackers repositioning

Total repositioning and revitalization of the Jacob’s brand for the SE Asia markets.

Creation of dynamic new brand identity under the ‘Feel Good’ health concept. Re-ownership of brand color territory, packaging design of full product range.

Market: Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong & Singapore.

Coca-Cola BonActive

Creation of BonActive brand identity, graphics and product packaging for a functional re-hydration mineral water. Application to PET bottle and two piece can.

Market: Hong Kong, China.

Awards/Publications: Branding Design 2, Tokyo, Japan, 2006

Quenching the thirst of 1 billion consumers


How to attract consumer attention at the launch of Coca-Cola’s new 600ml PET bottle and drive increased market share across Greater China.


With my Shanghai and Tokyo creative teams, we explored new technologies that could be integrated in graphics and labeling to bring added benefits and signal uniqueness whilst leveraging Coke brand heritage.


Energy, dynamism and a unique graphic treatment are communicated by holograms integrated into label graphics. The hologram label projects 3D effects and appears to be ‘alive’, to move in the consumers hand.

Market: China. Launch 2007