Archives for posts with tag: James Chantler

Purely in a visual sense of course. We have all read with great interest the new design shift that has taken place at Apple with its new iOS. There is an interesting dynamic to this shift in design philosophy as Apple moves from “skeuomorphic” design to a ‘new modern swiss’ design style favoured by its competitors such as Microsoft’s Windows 8.
Skeuomorphic design mimics real world objects. The phone icon on an iphone has an image of a phone that none of us have in our houses today. It reflects the ear and mouth piece of a dial phone.

Steve Jobs believed that computers should be so simple that anyone could use them. He felt that this would be achieved by an interface design where digital elements resemble real world objects. When you analyse familiar digital objects, you see that this philosophy is embedded at many levels in how we access our digital content. The envelope is the first choice for email and SMS messages. Opened and unopened envelopes create a neat distinction between opened and unopened envelopes. On an Android Samsung phone the email icons is even more archaic. It uses an envelope with a red wax seal, an 18th Century prop but with a modern @ pressed into it. It’s not just the appearance of apps and icons, some of them also behave like their old-world equivalents, the note app having a page curl…

This design philosophy is familiar and quickly accessible to everyone. Steve Jobs would approve.

The design style that Apple is now following has another interesting angle, it is the result of a seismic shift within the company, which saw the previous head of iOS, Scott Forstall, outed in favour of British born-designer Sir Jonathan Ive, who oversaw the new software.

Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, said it ‘represents a massive overhaul of the look and feel of the operating system, which has remained largely unchanged visually since the original version.’ However, he said the changes could be too much, by stating: ‘The new version is almost unrecognisable, which will make it polarizing. Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disoriented by the newness.’

Apple has an amazing history of making objects that look and feel like nothing else. They didn’t invent the mp3 player, but what they did with it was amazing. Every product, from its packaging to other digital touch-points look like the pinnacle of design. I’m an Apple fan and I think that it’s taken them too long to realise the UI world has changed… and it wasn’t them that did it. The new Windows UI did that. Its minimal layout, flat colouring, strict typography and no unnecessary ornamentation was a complete paradigm shift for the market and makes Windows clearly distinguishable from its competitors.

Apple is now playing catch-up with its rivals. What looks like Helvetica Ultralight is an obvious choice rather than an innovative one that Microsoft achieved with Segoe. Helvetica Ultralight is generic modernist design; not Apple’s Myriad Pro, not built on Apple’s iOS past, and obviously not the herald of a new way at looking at user experiences.

It doesn’t create that distinction and have that incredible Apple touch that we all appreciate. It feels like everything else. Rather than being Apple. Has Apple lost its shine? Well, in a design sense it has. Any shines have been replaced by flat colours and opaque layers and as a trail blazer in design and innovation – I think it’s lost a little shine also. I wanted to see something different, something that made me think differently and from the screen grabs I’ve seen, I’m a little disappointed.

James Chantler is Creative Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

I have two children, a young boy and a younger girl. The boy has swimming lessons on a Sunday and the girl doesn’t. The older boy was teasing the younger girl that he was going swimming and she was staying at home. Nah nah nah na… you get the idea.

The younger girl was getting upset by this and in an attempt to make staying at home with her daddy a bit more exciting than it really was, I had an idea. I saw that she was holding a Hello Kitty toy and then engaged my mouth before my brain had thought through the consequences and said that we were going to ‘Hello Kitty Land’. As I talked through ‘Hello Kitty Land’, I envisaged a make believe game that I would be playing later with the small girl. However the lie just got bigger and bigger and out of control.

The young boy didn’t believe that there was a ‘Hello Kitty Land’ and to be honest I wasn’t sure either, however I thought quickly on my feet and we decided to look on the internet for our make believe ”Hello Kitty Land’. I had though I might find a picture of a shop and then convince the skeptic that ‘Hello Kitty Land’ did exist. I was surprised and secretly pleased to find that there is one as I was fully immersed in my lie and couldn’t see a way out of the situation.

We looked at all the pictures, discussed all the rides and the skeptic was convinced that his sister was going to have more fun than him at his swimming lesson. Phew! I’d made it and would have 40 minutes to come up with reasons why we didn’t go to ‘Hello Kitty Land’ while he was swimming. However I’d done such a good job of presenting ‘Hello Kitty Land’ to my two children, that when the youngest made the statement, ”We’re off to Hello Kitty Land, see you at lunch time’ , I had to reveal that we couldn’t go to ‘Hello Kitty Land’ for the main reason that it is Malaysia and we didn’t have any plane tickets etc etc. My small girls reaction was as you would expect, annoyed, angry and upset. As she is a small child, it was quickly forgotten when I promised her an ice cream.

In the grown up world, ice creams don’t always solve self-made problems and as Creative Director of Happy Creative, I had not followed one of our most important mantras which is ‘delivering on promises to our clients is an integral part of our business’.

Each time we make these commitments, we build trust. At Happy Creative we always do what we say, because our reputation is incredibly important to us. It is our responsibility to give our clients the best possible service so that they are confident in our abilities and have no reason to think otherwise. Keeping our promises has created satisfied customers, that speak highly of us, for our creative and marketing services and regard us as people who are a pleasure to do business with. Clients that speak highly of you also talk to other people and referrals from existing clients has become a cornerstone of Happy Creative’s success and growth over the years.

If you break a promise, all that hard work and energy you’ve spent keeping a good relationship can be quickly become strained. Keep or over deliver on your promise and you will have a client, colleague or friend for life. High expectations of our standards keeps the bar at a high level and creates a cycle of success. We maintain our high standards by following some simple steps.

1) Don’t over promise. 

We are always very clear in what we can deliver.

2) Thinking Time.

Before we commit to a promise, we analyse the situation, consider the possibilities and weigh up any variables.

3) Expect the unexpected.  

“NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!” and projects can sometimes throw up a situation that is so out of the blue, that it impacts on every component of the project. We allow time in a project so that these unexpected events can be faced and their impact on the project is minimised.

4) Be happy at every stage. 

At Happy Creative, we ensure that your project meets your expectations at each point of its journey, from start to completion.

Keeping a promise does ensure business success and promotes that hard to earn but quick to lose commodity of trust. By making this commitment that you can keep –or, even better, exceed –you will build a foundation for future successes and growth.

James Chantler is Creative Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

This week is world book week. I know because my son came home clutching his Lego Ninjago book and my daughter her make your own fairy princesses and unicorns book.

But, leaving child gender stereotypes behind… what defines a great book cover? And how much to we judge a book by it’s cover?

A great cover, can easily be just defined by it’s author. From George Orwell’s 1984 to Anthony Burgess’s Clockwork Orange are easily recognisable and deservedly have their places on the pantheon of greatest book covers ever.

However I do like the re-imagined covers  that are produced.

Penguins updated cover for 1984, delights with it’s bravery and raises a wry smile to anyone who has knowledge of the book. It would also intrigue new readers. I’m very guilty of judging books by their cover, as  a designer, I would look at the book first and then turn to the back to find out if would be on a subject that I would read and I have  been persuaded to purchase a book, purely because I found the cover interesting.

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My favourite book cover is a Brazilian edition of Jules Vernes’ “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” by the artist Carlo Giovani.

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I love the context of this book.  How the layers have dual meaning by delving deeper into the book or the earth, you will discover more.  Have I read this?  Well my Brazilian is a little poor… but I have watched the film if that counts.  The original one with James Mason!!

If you have any favourite book covers you would like to share, let us know and we’ll feature them.

James Chantler is Creative Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

We all make new year resolutions at this time of year. Some we keep, some we….. ermm, don’t. But in the spirit of 2013, the new year is an opportunity to change, to reinvent your brand.

From a happy designer perspective, here’s five resolutions that should improve your brand presence.

1) I’ll have a salad…

Look at how your company’s brand is seen on and offline. Is it looking a little bloated? Struggling to communicate its intended messages? Then perform a design and messaging health check and devise measures to make it leaner, fitter and able to communicate your message more effectively. Fonts, colours, layouts, themes, make sure that they are consistent. Look through all your touch points and ask yourself if they are doing an effective service or just making up the numbers. Making your brand a little healthier has many health benefits and customers may remark that you’ve changed, that you look good.

2) I’m going to run 500 miles…

We all want to be fitter. Are your brand messages easy to find? Do users have the strength to find them? Spend some time reducing the amount of information that people have to read. ‘Keep it simple’ is a design principle that will never change and is very important in these days of mixed media to keep up to date with. Look at your brand with fresh eyes and identify the areas it needs to improve. Keep your USP’s precise and utilise positioning and space to make them impactful and relevant.

3) Keep in touch more….

In a market of likes, tweets and everything is delicious, the people that we keep in touch with regularly extends beyond your business, family and friends to potentially everyone with access to the internet. Put in place a social media strategy for the year, so that regular posts and tweets are appreciated by current contacts and new potentially interesting people. Social media channels provide unique ways to communicate with customers in an individual way and create brand ambassadors who can provide positive messaging to new markets. Using these channels in new, different ways disrupts how people receive information and gains their attention.

4) I accept your challenge…

Safe options have their place, but challenge the way that you think, the way your brand operates. Can it change? Or is it just accepted that the brand has always looked, acted this way and will always be that way? The market place as we all know is very different and challenges are made from many different sources. Try not to always accept the safe idea or the tried and trusted path. Pushing through creative ideas that are ‘a bit out there’ may be daunting, however it’s these types of ideas that may position your  brand in a more favourable light with potential customers over ‘safer’ competitors.

5) I love it when a plan comes together… 

You need to know where you are going before you can plan where you’re going. The design equivalent of forgetting your shorts on a summer holiday is designing something and forgetting to add any calls to action. Both make you feel a little sheepish. Plans, provide momentum, actioning this plan means that you have achievable milestones to reach your destination. Look at your objectives and plan what you need and who you need to achieve your goal. Plans made early and with your suppliers ensure that everyone knows what happens and no one gets left behind.

So there you have it… 5 great new year’s resolutions for your business for this brand new year. I wish you the very best of luck and don’t forget that if you get stuck at any stage, Happy is always here to help.

James Chantler is Creative Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion in design. It is an interesting concept for current generations to look back on memories, objects and places with such high regard. Why do we do it? If we examine our own memories, depending on our ages, I’m sure similar references will appear. A favourite toy, sweet, music, clothing or even a TV show allows us to compare with today and connect with different generations that remember similar references.

As we age, our nostalgic desires increase, making us more receptive to advertisers and marketers use of what researchers call “a longing for positive memories from the past.”  This desire for nostalgia is further intensified by today’s present climate. Studies have identified how nostalgia can be exploited and how images and sounds from the past can create positive feelings about some products. At the recent Goodwood Revival, a three-day annual festival celebrating the vintage cars and motorcycles that would have competed during the circuit’s hey day between the Forties and Sixties.

Tesco opened a vintage store with classic products on display include Marathons, Opal Fruits, Campbell’s tomato soup, Daz, Colman’s mustard, Pears soap and Carnation evaporated milk, all in vintage packaging.

The store was designed by Greg Bullen, with the original Tesco philosophy in mind. Jack Cohen’s ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ approach gives the store an authentic feel. “We poured over archive material, analysing the look and feel of 1960s stores before designing this unique retro store. At the same time, we had Goodwood’s chic image in mind.” Staff were dressed in vintage uniforms, with hair and make-up styled in the fashion of the era.

When we remember a past event, it shapes this memory and can re-cast it in a more pleasing way. We generally forget our negative feelings from the past and remember memories with a more positive glow. Anyone  for a Wagon Wheel?…. Nostalgia can make us feel that not so much time has passed between then and now, making us feel young again.

In today’s environment of a perceived diminished future, playing up nostalgic experiences that engender hope may be a good strategy.

James Chantler is Creative Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

 

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