CR Blog http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog News and views on visual communications from the writers of Creative Review Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:35:26 +0000 http://www.creativereview.co.uk/ en http://www.creativereview.co.uk/layout/img/crlogo_small.gifCR Blog     http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog1616 Epica Awards 2014: The Winners http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/epica-award-winners-2014 http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/epica-award-winners-2014#feedback Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:59:00 +0000 Eliza Williams http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=83787

The winners of this year's Epica Awards were announced last night at a ceremony held in Amsterdam. There were big wins for BBDO New York, Leo Burnett Toronto, Publicis Conseil, 72andSunny Netherlands, and Leo Burnett Beirut...

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The winners of this year's Epica Awards were announced last night at a ceremony held in Amsterdam. There were big wins for BBDO New York, Leo Burnett Toronto, Publicis Conseil, 72andSunny Netherlands, and Leo Burnett Beirut...

The Epica Awards is the only advertising and design awards programme judged solely by journalists. This year's judging was held in Amsterdam, with journos from around the world flying in to offer their views on the year's top work. Five Grand Prix awards were given this year, with two pieces of work in the Digital and Integrated category receiving the top gong.

Epica has an increasingly global outlook, with the Grand Prix awards given to agencies in five different countries, across three continents. In total, agencies from 74 countries submitted work this year.

Now, onto the winners...

The Film Grand Prix was awarded to BBDO New York for The Boy Who Beeped, an emotional film that forms part of a series from the agency for GE. The ad fought off stiff competition from Harvey Nichols and Heineken, among others, to take the top prize in this coveted category.

The Outdoor Grand Prix went to Publicis Conseil in France for its elegant poster campaign to announce the reopening of Paris Zoo.

For the Press Grand Prix, the award went to Leo Burnett Beirut for its clever campaign for Virgin, which aims to highlight the injustice of music piracy by pointing out just out hard it is to write a hit song, using clever and entertaining infographics.

The first of the two Grand Prix awards in the Digital and Integrated category went to the juggernaut that is the Always Like A Girl film, which asks us to reassess our use of the expression 'like a girl' and turn it into something empowering rather than critical (while also selling some sanitary products along the way).

The final Grand Prix of this year's Epica Awards went to Night Walk in Marseilles, a project created by Google and 72andSunny Netherlands, which offers users a chance to walk the streets of the French city by night on their mobile, tablet or online, discovering many delights along the way. The case study film above explains the project in more detail.

Alongside the Grand Prix awardees, other big winners on the night included adam&eveDDB, which won Agency of the Year after picking up 30 awards across all the categories, including 15 golds. Network of the Year went to Leo Burnett, which won 92 awards in total, including 26 golds. And finally, Heineken was given the Brand Tribute Award, a new award for this year, in recognition of the brand's commitment to creating creative and innovative work.

In addition to the Grand Prix winners, lots of great work received golds, silvers and bronze awards at this year's Epicas. To view all of this work, go to the Epica Awards website, here.

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CR December: The Photography Annual http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/cr-december-photography-annual http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/cr-december-photography-annual#feedback Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:48:00 +0000 Creative Review http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=83767

December's CR is a double issue and features our Photography Annual, 80-pages of the best in editorial, advertising, fashion, stock and personal work...

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December's CR is a double issue and features our Photography Annual; 80-pages of the best in editorial, advertising, fashion, stock and personal work...

This year's Photography Annual includes some fantastic imagery from a wide range of experienced practitioners and relative newcomers. We launched the special issue last night at the Design Museum and were able to celebrate the achievements of those whose work is featured in its pages and the seven projects which were judged Best in Book. Congratulations to all.

Flip the issue over, and up front in the regular CR half we look at how Precision Printing worked to produce this year's Photography Annual cover; take a look at the best of this year's Christmas ads; and look at the Barry Island climbing wall which doubles as an art installation. We also have Bagpuss as we 'almost' new him.

In the columns, Daniel Benneworth-Gray struggles to cope with two new demanding clients in his life – a poorly wife and child; while in Logo Log, Michael Evamy explores the power of punctuation in branding – on the back of the NSPCC's recent logo redesign.

Kicking off our main features, Patrick Burgoyne talks to designer Vince Frost about his new self-helf book, Design Your Life. In it Frost explains how the same design principles which work for clients can be applied to making our personal lives better.

 

Patrick also investigates the social and political challenges that our ageing populations pose to Western economies – and looks at the opportunities that might arise, too.

Eliza Williams examines a year in which native advertising established itself as a controversial presence in our media landscape...

...and in using materials that change colour in the wind – or even react to brain activity – Rachael Steven talks to The Unseen, an 'exploration house' effortlessly combining art and chemistry.

French graphic designer and illustrator Jean Jullien is much in-demand at the moment and Mark Sinclair talks to him about his work to date as he leaves his adopted home of London for New York.

 

Five years ago, Sophie Ebrand swapped life as an advertising account manager for that of a professional photographer – and she's never looked back. Eliza Williams meets her.

In Crit, Jean Grogan attends a Paris conference on the work of type designer, artist and ad man Roger Excoffon, whose work is enjoying something of a revival at the moment...

... and Craig Oldham is also conference bound – to Manchester's People's History Museum for an event dedicated to the history of the political poster in Britain.

Finally, Paul Belford celebrates a type-only poster designed by the late Alan Fletcher which proves that working counter-intuitively can pay off in a big way.

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New designs from Inkahoots, Snask, The Partners & more http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/new-design http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/new-design#feedback Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:29:00 +0000 Rachael Steven http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=83754

Our latest pick of new graphics work includes an open-source identity for an exhibition in Brisbane, branding for global education initiative #UpForSchool and a contemporary new logo for the Swedish Handicraft Association...

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Our latest pick of new graphics work includes an open-source identity for an exhibition in Brisbane, branding for global education initiative #UpForSchool and a contemporary new logo for the Swedish Handicraft Association...

Burst Open

Brisbane creative collective Inkahoots has created what it claims may be the first ever augmented, performative, open-source  identity for Burst Open, an open-source design exhibition at Brisbane's Gallery Artisan.

To create the identity, Inkahoots invited people around the world to create a typographic 'O' and a statement about open-source design. Fragments of the various 'O's were then used to create the exhibition logo (below), while images and text were used to make an interactive animation projected onto a window in the gallery.

The animation is controlled by movement: 'O's morph in response to visitors rotating their arms and tracing an 'O' in the air while raising arms pauses the film, displaying the name and location of the creator of that 'O' and their statement about open source design. (The posture participants begin with when tracing the arc of the letter is also the semaphore symbol for 'O'). As well as forming part of the exhibition, it's a great way to encourage people inside:

 

Exhibition graphics and signage (shown top and below) feature materials and processes commonly used in open-source design, such as plywood, acrylic and etching:

And Inkahoots' Jason Grant says the collective identity offers "an expanded collective engagement with the exhibition's themes. It resists the smothering ideology of 'branding' while allowing for visual manifestations of identity that incorporate time, space and the body. And it's fun!" he says.

#UpForSchool


#UpForSchool is a new campaign launched by Sarah Brown’s education initiative A World At School, which aims to put pressure on world leaders to deliver on an agreed Millennium Development Goal to provide every child in the world with access to education by 2015. The campaign invites members of the public to pledge their support in person or via an online petition, and is hoping to collect 24 million signatures.

Brand consultancy The Partners devised the campaign name and identity, which has so far been applied to t-shirts, badges, stickers, posters, banners and a film promoting Up For School. The identity is based around an image of a schoolbook pointing upwards, with a colour palette inspired by children's textbooks.

"The #UpForSchool brand is an energetic, inspiring identity, and part of the increasing trend for charities to step away from emotional appeals to frame their brand and mission in a bold, affirmative manner. By creating a positive buzz that invites participation rather than financial donation, the #UpForSchool brand provides a platform for the millions of young people to connect and make their voices heard," explains The Partners.

The name is also designed to be used as a call to action, such as 'Sign Up For School' and 'Stand Up For School', as shown in the clip below:

 

Swedish Handicraft Societies


Malmo studio Snask was recently tasked with designing a new logo and identity for the Association of Swedish Handicraft Societies, a not-for-profit group which aims to promote and preserve traditional craft. The association recently celebrated its centenary and in 2013, decided to group its various activities - from educational programmes to retail shops - under one name.

"With over 17,000 members, 22 regional offices and eight retail shops they had a big challenge to gather everything under one brand," says creative director Fredrik Öst.

Instead of opting for a hand-drawn or traditional logo, Snask designed a flexible 3D 'H' that can be constructed using any combination of materials. The yellow and blue colour palette provides a nod to Sweden's national flag, but is coupled with black, white and grey for a more contemporary feel.

"We changed the associations of Swedish Handicraft from old butter knifes and knitting into everything made by hand, thus creating something modern but with a rich history of knowledge and experience," adds Öst.

The identity has also been applied to a range of merchandise and Snask has created some colourful graphic patterns for use on tote bags, wrapping paper and packaging:

 

The Wellcome Collection - The Institute of Sexology

The Wellcome Collection's new exhibition, The Institute of Sexology, claims to be the first UK show uniting the research and work of pioneers in the study of sex, from Sigmund Freud and Alfred Kinsey to German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld (who also founded one of the first organisations promoting the rights of sexual minorities).

The exhibition runs until September 2015 and aims to chart how sex has been observed and analysed from the 19th century to the present day through a brilliantly bizarre collection of objects spanning art, science, film and photography. Artefacts include erotic prints and pottery, sex manuals and studies into the sexual behaviour of animals, as well as campaigns launched to promote safe sex during the Aids pandemic.

The exhibition graphics were art directed by John Morgan Studio and are suitably clinical, with bold white type and warnings of "material of a sexual nature". To promote the show, The Wellcome Collection has also installed large scale questionnaires in Shoreditch, which invite passers-by to tick boxes indicating their sexual preferences, while a teaser released online provides a playful glimpse of the content on display. Objects are also showcased in a hardback book (designed in-house and overseen by John Morgan), which features the same bold type alongside suggestive imagery.

wellcomecollection.org

Images via The Wellcome Collection

 

The Institute of Chartered Engineers Benevolent Fund


London studio Powell Allen has rebranded the Institute of Civil Engineers Benevolent Fund, which provides financial advice and support for ICE members and their families. The system is based around a yellow speech bubble, also designed to look like a hard hat, which is used to highlight the various services the Fund offers.

"[The Benevolent Fund] does great work but this wasn’t reaching or being recognised by enough people. We created a brand to make the organisation more approachable, understandable and relevant," says creative director Christoper Allen. The Fund's new website launched last week, and the identity has also been applied to a range of information packs alongside black and white illustrations. It's a simple but effective system, providing the Fund with a much clearer and stronger tone of voice.

 

30 years of Carter Wong

To celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, London design studio Carter Wong has released a charming pocket sized book, 30 memorable years, showcasing some of its finest work to date. The book includes a look at work for Walls, Ortmans Young, Formula 1 and Twinings - as well as a glimpse of Carter Wong's first job sheet:

It's a lovely reminder of some great projects and a charming way to celebrate the studio's milestone. You can also read more about the studio's work in our November issue (shown below), in which we talk to founders Phil Carter and Phil Wong and managing director Sarah Turner about combining craft with great ideas...

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Words of the Umbrella Movement http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/words-umbrella-movement http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/words-umbrella-movement#feedback Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:46:00 +0000 Yan Kallen http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=83752

In a city where the majority of writing is finger scribbled on the screen of a smartphone, Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement has developed into an unexpected platform for handwriting and handmade typography.

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"No to Pre-selected Candidates" banner on a back-lit bus shelter advertising. Unintentionally combining the written banner with the calligraphic artwork of a property development artwork.

In a city where the majority of writing is finger scribbled on the screen of a smartphone, Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement has developed into an unexpected platform for handwriting and handmade typography.

 

 

 

Collection of handwritten and handmade words from mun-ji.com

 

Breath

 

Joy


Fierce


Throughout the occupied areas, students and protesters have created and put up a large amount of visually striking handmade banners and signs to express themselves.

A four character sign saying "In the light of honesty" becomes part of a barricade in Harcourt Village, Admiralty

Vertical arrangement unique to Asian languages, seen on banners hanging on a bridge that leads to the government headquarters, above the protest area. Harcourt Village, Admiralty


The spirit of Chinese calligraphy or 'shu-fa'; which literally means "the way of writing", is an outlet to practice self-discipline and concentration, and to articulate thoughts and emotions with brush strokes. With or without aesthetic considerations, the written words of the Umbrella Movement have undeniably shown qualities of calligraphy and typography design, and can definitely be appreciated as such.

 

A banner written in retro style asking protesters to patron the small shops and businesses that may be affected by the protests. Lower Nathan Village, Mong Kok


The occupied streets or "villages" as some called them, have grown into a place where anyone can freely express their words and share them publicly. As they express their political views, cheer on and encourage fellow protesters, and write banters to mock government officials, these calligraphy and typography designs currently hanging in the streets have inadvertently become one of the icons of Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement.

 

3D letters "Add Oil", a Chinese figure of speech meaning to "give effort" "to stay strong" or "Add Fuel". - Harcourt Village, Admiralty.

 

Calligraphy poetry on the top of a tram stop, the tram stop is also shelter for protesters staying overnight. - Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

 

A banner with the words "Civil Disobedience" laying on an area of dead bushes that was trampled on the day the police fired teargas at protesters. - Harcourt Village, Admiralty

 

Calligraphy written on umbrellas. - Harcourt Village, Admiralty

 

The large word "bath" labels a shower station for protesters built by the students. -Harcourt Village, Admiralty.

 

Banner created with found materials. Harcourt Village, Admiralty


Yan Kallen is a visual artist from Hong Kong. See more at mun-ji.com

 

Word

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The Times to screen Unquiet Film during Homeland ad break http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/unquiet-films-homeland-takeover http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/unquiet-films-homeland-takeover#feedback Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:53:00 +0000 Rachael Steven http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=83745

The Times has bought an entire ad break on Channel 4 during Homeland this weekend to screen a short from its Unquiet Films series, documenting the kidnapping and return of foreign correspondent Anthony Loyd and photographer Jack Hill in Syria in May this year.

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The Times has bought an entire ad break on Channel 4 during Homeland this weekend to screen a short from its Unquiet Films series, documenting the kidnapping and return of foreign correspondent Anthony Loyd and photographer Jack Hill in Syria in May this year.

Bearing Witness airs on Sunday, November 23 and is the first of The Times' Unquiet Films to be broadcast on TV. Launched in June, the series a collaboration between News UK, ad agency Grey London and production company Betsy Works explores the historical and cultural impact of The Times and Sunday Times and the work of editors, journalists and contributors past and present.

The six-minute film features interviews with Loyd and Hill, who discuss their terrifying experience of being shot and abducted by a rebel group while reporting on barrel bombings in Aleppo. It also reflects on the role of war correspondents today, the importance of professional reporting in an era of citizen journalism and the training that photographers and writers must undergo before travelling to war zones.

Other films in the series, released on YouTube and via the Forever Unquiet website, include a look at the paper's history of investigative journalism, one on its typeface Times New Roman and another on the work of political cartoonist Peter Brookes (read our previous blog posts on the series here and here).

By partnering with Channel 4, The Times will ensure the film reaches a wider audience - it has only been viewed around 2,000 times on YouTube since its release, despite being a great piece of film - and Channel 4 says viewers will be able to interact with it through a microsite promoting subscriptions to the newspaper.

In a statement announcing the ad break takeover, Nick Stringer, chief creative officer at News UK, said: "Bearing Witness tells a powerful story, full of insight into the dangers journalists face in their endeavours to report the truth from hostile environments around the world ... Broadcasting this short film on Channel 4 in the Homeland slot is the perfect alignment of contextual relevance, brand fit and the reach of our target audience [described by Channel 4 as "upmarket and highly engaged"].

Homeland will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 9pm (GMT) on Sunday, November 23. See more Unquiet Films here.

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Guatemala City type project http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/guatemala-type http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/guatemala-type#feedback Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:55:00 +0000 Mark Sinclair http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=83738

Richard Heap is a British graphic designer who now lives and works in Guatemala City in Central America. He recently started taking pictures of type he comes across in the capital's Zone 1 district – and in tracing the images in Illustrator back at his studio, he has begun to document the city's urban lettering...

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Richard Heap is a British graphic designer who now lives and works in Guatemala City in Central America. He recently started taking pictures of type he comes across in the capital's Zone 1 district – and in tracing the images in Illustrator back at his studio, he has begun to document the city's urban lettering...

Heap is a designer at Studio Domus, an architectural firm in the Guatemalan capital. He moved there three years ago (his wife is from Guatemala) and has recently started to photograph typography in the downtown area of his adopted city.

"For the past couple of weeks I've been exploring the capital, photographing and then vectoring the type on the buildings in the historic Zone 1 district," he explains. "It's a rough area, and well past it's 1950s heyday, so I was bobbing in and out of the car, snapping a few pics and then tracing them in Illustrator.

"Some of the traces are a bit rough and ready as all the photographs are, naturally, angled upwards. But I feel it gives a good idea of what the area is like."

"Guatemala City was known as the 'Silver Cup' in reference to its beauty," says Heap. "Since then the city has been plagued by poor urban planning, crime and traffic problems – yet some buildings are real gems, if somewhat dilapidated. I thought it would be a nice idea to graphically record these in an ongoing project before any further deterioration takes place."

Heap explains that he takes several images at each site – the shots taken straight on to the signage are then used to draw out the type. "I haven't been able to access any neighbouring or opposite buildings to get a clean 'flat' photo to work from, so I always need to take into account that I'm looking up. However, the photos online are deliberately 'not' the shots I vector from as those images are zoomed in and don't give you a sense of the building or context."

Trying to date many of the examples is problematic, says Heap, who estimates that the majority of the lettering he has photographed dates from the 1920s to the 1960s.

"[With] some we know [the year] from the type itself – e.g. El Danubio, above – but others I can't find out; either the tenants have no idea, or the building is uninhabited. If I had more time or contacts I'd love to dig deeper into this. Furthermore, Guatemala City's Zone 1 is a pretty sketchy area, so I generally don't like hanging around."

Heap says that the project is ongoing and he is set to photograph three sites next month, including Guatemala's Estadio Olimpico which was built in 1948.

The full series to date is at richardheap.com/#/zone-1-type.

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Unit9 presents launches live action zombie game http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/unit9-five-minutes http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/unit9-five-minutes#feedback Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:48:00 +0000 Rachael Steven http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=83683

Unit9 has teamed up with a student director and producer to launch a live action zombie game sponsored by G-Shock. The game was launched under Unit9 presents, a scheme helping new creatives make interactive content combining film and gameplay...

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Unit9 has teamed up with a student director and producer to launch a live action zombie game sponsored by G-Shock. The game was launched under Unit9 presents, a scheme helping new creatives make interactive content combining film and gameplay...

Released online today, Five Minutes was directed by Maximilian Niemann and produced by Felix Faisst, both students at Germany’s Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
. It begins with footage of a character in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, who is worried he may be 'infected' and has five minutes to decide whether to shoot himself and avoid joining the undead.

As the character John explains, the first symptom of infection is memory loss: the game switches between his flashbacks and attempts to defend himself and his daughter against attacking zombies. Viewers asked to tap, swipe and draw shapes with their finger or mouse to help fire guns, unlock doors and escape through a forest.

It's a compelling (and gory) piece of film and gameplay is fairly simple but engaging, although a little tricky for the not-so-steady of hand using a mouse. Players can choose from one of three levels of difficulty and can pause and replay parts of the game at any time. After a gruesome ending, they are also invited to share their score online.

To make the film, Niemann and Faisst taught themselves how to code and built a custom HTML framework, meaning the game can be played on any tablet or desktop device without installing an app. While it's not an official ad, the project was sponsored by G-Shock and features the brand's watches throughout (they are worn by both John and his daughter and used to count down throughout the five-minute period).

The pair came up with the idea for the film last year and pitched it to Unit9, who helped develop and release it. They have since been signed to the company for commercial work, although have still to finish their final year of studies. "Our goal was to create a different form of advertisement which involves the viewer in a fun and emotional way," they explain. "Although the viewer knows or has the feeling this is branded content, he should be able to enjoy it, to experience the brand without being constantly reminded of the product."

The project is one of several self-initiated interactive experiences that Unit9 has helped emerging directors produce and promote: in the past two years, it has worked with The Kissinger Twins on two interactive web films, Sufferosa and The Trip; a short film inspired by Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto series by Gevorg Karensky and The Most Northern Place, a web experience telling the fascinating story of Qaanaaq, an Inuit settlement and one of the world's northernmost towns.

Five Minutes is the first film to be produced under the Unit9 presents name, and co-founder Piero Frescobaldi says the company is keen to work with more creatives who can make engaging interactive content.

"Up until a few years ago, a lot of people in the digital interactive industry were pushing boundaries, and brands were braver," says Frescobaldi.

"For various reasons, it seems everyone is a little less willing to experiment. It's just a thing that happens cyclically, and I'm sure things will change, but it feels like everyone has retreated into their shell a little. It's up to us as creatives to just go out and make things, or promote people who do, and revitalise the industry that way, rather than waiting for the perfect brief," he explains.

While Unit9 presents will help promote and make films, Frescobaldi says creatives looking to work with the agency have to do more than just pitch an idea. "With Five Minutes, [Niemann and Faisst] came to me with an idea, they had shot some of the footage and written it, and I thought it was good, but told them I thought they should try and push it forward, to see what else they could do with it. A few months later, they sent me a link and had created a really engaging, emotional piece of work by teaching themselves to code," he says.

"What's amazing is that [Niemann and Faisst] are able to think about everything from colour grading and camera angles, to how it will work in HTML5. Nowadays, I think that is really important and I'm very excited, as I think we're starting to see a generational shift - young people who have an innate understanding of interactive technology and gameplay, who are training themselves in new mediums,” he says.

While there is no limit on the number of projects Unit9 presents will take on, Frescobaldi says it will only do so if the idea is sufficiently interesting, and directors show real promise.

"If students can make things like [Five Minutes], we can help with scripting and developing it, or using our following to market it and promote it," he adds. "And in parallel to this, with Five Minutes, we have a representation deal."

A zombie horror game isn’t an obvious choice of medium for a watch brand, or perhaps any brand, to showcase its products – in most scenes, John’s watch is covered in blood and pictured alongside a gaping wound in his arm – but it is an engaging piece of content, and Frescobaldi hopes projects like Five Minutes will encourage more companies to commission more experimental content online.

“Of course, as this wasn’t an official ad [G-Shock] don’t have to get the approval of multiple people, or spend big budgets on it – they are supporting a student project – but I hope it will stimulate people to take more risks,” he adds.

Play the game online (over 18s only) at fiveminutes.gs

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Our pick of the best new children's picture books http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/illustrated-childrens-books-christmas http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/illustrated-childrens-books-christmas#feedback Wed, 19 Nov 2014 14:33:00 +0000 Mark Sinclair http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=83578

While children's favourites Alfie, Mog and Paddingon each have Christmas books out this month, we thought we'd put together a special round-up of some of the most interesting illustrated titles we've seen in recent weeks. There's something for everyone this season: a dog on stilts, a bear who wants to read, new-look Richard Scarry and two books about snow...

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While children's favourites Alfie, Mog and Paddingon each have Christmas books out this month, we thought we'd put together a special round-up of some of the most interesting illustrated titles we've seen in recent weeks. There's something for everyone this season: a dog on stilts, a bear who wants to read, new-look Richard Scarry and two books about snow...

 

Sam & Dave Dig A Hole – Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen (Walker Books, £11.99)

First up, in a second collaboration with writer Mac Barnett, illustrator Jon Klassen helps tell the story of two optimistic diggers who venture deeper underground in a search for something spectacular. As with Klassen's previous books – I Want My Hat Back and the more recent This Is Not My Hat – the visual humour is spot-on (keep an eye on that dog!) For me, he's one of the best illustrators currently working in children's publishing and, when paired with Barnett, the two of them clearly have a lot of fun. Here, the drawings are all earthy tones and soil colours – and Sam and Dave get progressively muddier as the book goes on. A lovely thing.

 

 

Bears Don't Read! – Emma Chichester Clark (HarperCollins, £12.99)

In the latest from Emma Chichester Clark, a bear finds a book in the forest and decides he wants to read it – so he tries to find someone who can help him. Unfortunately, to most of the people in the town he just looks like a massive bear holding a book so, with a sad inevitability, the police become involved and it looks like it might not happen. However, a young girl has sympathy with him and, well ... you'll have to read it to find out what happens. Chichester Clark's story is very funny and the imagery has a wry humour as well.

 

 

Snow – Sam Usher (Templar, £6.99)

The first of two snow-related books on our list, Sam Usher's story is all about having to wait to go outside and play, while everyone else is already tramping around in the white stuff. But when Grandad is finally ready to take his grandson outside, they find that it's not just boys and girls who have got to the park before them. Usher's engaging style is very much in the tradition of Quentin Blake (his characters have similar upturned noses!), and there's a similiar sensibility to the story as well, which is no bad thing.

 

 

No Such Thing – Ella Bailey (Flying Eye Books/NoBrow, £11.99)

Published in time for Hallowe'en, Ella Bailey's lovely book features Georgia, a young girl determined to find out just who is responsible for scribbling on her bedroom walls, pinching her socks and knocking all manner of things over. Bailey's illustrations are full of wide-eyed character and expression with plenty of detail in each scene to keep keener eyes occupied. Georgia also happens to live in a charmingly messy house, so there's a touch of realism (and sympathy with parents) about it all as well. Incidentally, Flying Eye Books is NoBrow's childrens imprint.

 

 

Paul Smith for Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go – Richard Scarry (HarperCollins, £25)

Now this is an interesting one. At £25 this isn't going to be unwrapped by that many five year-olds this Christmas; instead, the likely audience is those who are keen on a smart new edition of a children's classic, in this case readers who have fond memories of Richard Scarry's book, Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, the first time around (e.g. the late 70s). Sir Paul Smith, himself a big fan of Scarry's line, has designed the slipcase, covers and endpapers and introduces the book. It's a lovely edition – but clearly for fans who want to celebrate the book's 40th anniverary rather than become aquainted with it for the first time. A limited edition is of course also available and, unsurprisingly, looks great (a pop-up scene, three press-out-and-make vehicles, five art prints contained within) but at £200 is for Scarry collector's only. (Press-out-and-make vehicles though...).

 

 

The Lavender Blue Dress – Aidan Moffat, illustrated by Emmeline Pidgen (Cargo Publishing, £13.99)

By far the sweetest story in this collection, the debut children's book from singer and musician Aidan Moffat also has a fantastic moral at its heart. As Mabel prepares for the school's Christmas ball, she's aware that many of her friends will be wearing new dresses and that her parents don't have the money to buy her one. Yet, unbeknown to her, her family are working together to give her the perfect dress for the party. Emmeline Pidgen's soft pencil illustrations accentuate the warmth of the story, which delivers a great Christmas message, too. There's even an accompanying CD which, for fans of Moffat's work which perhaps isn't so suitable for little ones (this dad included) is also a treat to listen to. A teaser for the book is here.

 

 

Plip, The Umbrella Man – David Sire, illustrated by Thomas Baas (Little Gestalten*, €14.90) *English edition not yet in the publisher's store but keep an eye on Little Gestalten

We've seen a few of the German editions from Little Gestalten, the Berlin-based publisher's new childrens imprint, but this is one of the first titles to appear in English (it was originally published in French in 2013). Plip has an otherwise regularly-shaped head but, when it starts to rain incessantly, he decides to become an 'umbrella man'. As it turns out, he has some issues of his own to work through before he can truly enjoy himself, let alone the weather. This is a strange, ever-so-slightly bleak tale which looks great on the page – lots of space, just three colours throughout from Thomas Bass – and in its own way deals with some fairly complex issues. Interesting also to see a visual arts publisher venturing into the children's market.

 

 

Snow – Walter de la Mare, illustrated by Carolina Rabei (Faber & Faber, £12.99/£6.99).

Set to de la Mare's short poem, which featured in his 1924 collection, Peacock Pie, this is a beautiful rendering of a classically-imagined Christmas. All the scenes and characters are depicted in browns, greys, reds and blacks while the dominant colour is of course a blanket of white that covers everything. Caroline Rabei's illustrations are very warming and full of detail – perfect to pore over on a cold, wintry day.

 

 

Dog on Stilts – James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon aka the Superhairies (Digital Leaf, £10.99)

And finally, from the duo behind the madcapped caper that is The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race comes Dog on Stilts. Medium Dog is, well, unhappy with being just 'medium' – and so longs to be noticable. So after a night in the shed he bangs together some stilts so he can be as tall as a towering tree. As with their debut, Mackinnon's artwork is full of invention (he's clearly a fan of odd angles and perspectives) and, combined with the character designs, this new book makes for a busy feast for the eyes. Again, as with many memorable children's picturebooks, there's a traditional message at the heart of a crazy adventure.

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Weather forecasts were never so much fun http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/uniform-weather-systems http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/uniform-weather-systems#feedback Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:52:00 +0000 Creative Review http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=83644

In a rather sweet 'internet of things' experiment from Uniform, three different data-powered devices react to imminent weather conditions

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In a rather sweet 'internet of things' experiment from Uniform, three different data-powered devices react to imminent weather conditions

"Weather Systems explores the potential to combine cloud based weather data with physical connected devices, to create simple glanceable alerts and engaging user interactions," Uniform say.

The studio created three devices that use online weather data from Dark Sky API to provide "real-time forecasts that accurately illustrate what the localised weather conditions will be over the next 10 minutes". Sort of like a barometer for the 21st century but more up to the minute.

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Weather alerts can be set up so that the devices are triggered if, for example heavy rain is imminent. Forthcoming weather can be checked by pressing the single button on each device.

Particularly nice is the Rain System which uses a series of pins that move up and down striking a metal plate, evoking the look and sound of water splashing.

The project came off the back of a client piece that Uniform were working on for the Met Office which took live feeds from weather ships and buoys and used it to generate live visuals on a flip-dot display for a V&A event during the London Design Festival

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Sheffield Design Weekender http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/sheffield-design-weekender http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/november/sheffield-design-weekender#feedback Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:46:00 +0000 Rachael Steven http://www.creativereview.co.uk/content.php?page_id=83643

After a successful debut in June this year, Sheffield Design Week is back with the Design Week-ender: a mini festival of events taking place in the city this weekend. The three-day line-up includes talks, screenings, a design-themed pub quiz and a new installation from The Designers Republic...

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After a successful debut in June this year, Sheffield Design Week is back with the Design Week-ender: a mini festival of events taking place in the city this weekend. The three-day line-up includes talks, screenings, a design-themed pub quiz and a new installation from The Designers Republic...

Atoms Vectors Pixels Ghosts (pictured above) is a 120-metre stretch of graphic hoardings opposite Sheffield train station. The hoardings are described as "ideas and fictions snatched from the ether, filtered and forged into concrete logic nets and rationalised parameters, and fizzed out into endless possibilities approaching not knowing.

"They represent they represent glitched dreamscapes, or digital organic technology disintegrating the science of what is into the coded possibilities of 'what if'. Certainly they are ghosts in the machine, substance free altered states and/or humanish scan codes captured somewhere between random and design," says TDR.

If you're still wondering what it's all about, Ian Anderson will be giving a talk on the project at Sheffield Hallam on Friday November 21 - it's free to attend, and tickets can be booked here. TDR will also be projecting AVPG into the sky above the city's Park Hill estate, while an exhibition at Made North gallery will showcase AVPG prints and materials.

Other events taking place this weekend include a design pub quiz at the Rutland Arms, a Pecha Kucha evening at Sheffield University, an open studio event at Yorkshire Artspace and a Startup Weekend at the city's Enterprise Zone, where attendees will work in teams to devise solutions to pressing global problems. For details, or for more info about Sheffield Design Week, see sheffielddesignweek.co.uk.

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