The Argentine Despatches #1

Sell! Sell! gran amigo SQUA, currently on expedition in Argentina, has sent us this picture of some Argentinian graffiti. The squirrel claims that "the stencil is over boys". So there, consider yourself told. By a squirrel.

Zachary Canepari

The Sunderbans who wear masks back to front to confuse tigers.

Lots of great documentary photography by Zachary Canepari here. His technical skill is unquestioned but it's the subject matter that that makes his work stand out, from the Raikha ancestral camel breeders, the Kathputli settlement of magicians, acrobats and jugglers to the Sunderbans who live amongst 250 Royal Bengal tigers.

More on Zachary here too.

Lego business card

If you are lucky enough to be an employee at Lego this is the business card you receive, well more senior employees anyway. A personalised Lego character with matching gender, hair and glasses if you wear them. A nice touch but I wouldn't fancy carrying round a pocket full of Lego men all the time.

via ISO50

Latvian book covers

We're suckers for a nice big collection here. And this is a more obscure but interesting collection of Latvian book covers. My Latvian isn't great so can't tell you much about these but a nice visual reference all the same.

Test pattern pillow

Looking for a new pillow? Born before the 80s? This is the pillow for you. Based on the test pattern and made from 100% cotton, it's a snip at £27 from FucktionAlley. Be warned though, there's loads of great stuff over there that could put a hole in your plastic.

Pen Competition Winner Announced

Everyone loves a winner, don't they?

Well the moment that hundreds of avid readers around the globe have been waiting for - the announcement of the Fantastic Sell! Sell! Win An Extremely Naff Pen Competition result.

We'd like to thank everyone who entered - the standard of entries was very high. But someone had to come out on top. In the interests of fairness and obviously recognising the importance of the result, we used a two-stage preferential voting system and polled all Sell! Sell! operatives.

Unfortunately, that resulted in straight tie between two entries. So after all of our great efforts of democracy, we had to put those two in hat and pick one out.

And the winner is... Milan, with the entry: "If I win the unique Sell! Sell! pen I'll use it to write the word "anus" on a Post-It note. After all, why not?"

So congratulations Milan. And commiserations to the rest of you. We think you'll agree that the winning entry had an audacity and economy of language that is to be admired, and is fundamental to the craft of the advertising writer.
And it had the word anus in it.

So Milan, please get it touch with us at and let us know where to send your delightful new pen to.
We look forward to seeing the post-it note.

Welcome! Welcome!

A big Sell! Sell! welcome to Emma, who has join the motley Sell! crew as Project Manager. Emma is scared of E.T., and her nickname at school was Golden Grahams. Not quite sure what to do with the E.T. thing, but we'll definitely be trying to bring back that excellent nickname, starting right here. Emma will also be contributing to the Sell! Sell! Blog - so look out for things that make a bit more sense from now on.


Last week we blogged about Studio on Fire and their great letterpress work. This great poster has just appeared on their blog here and its available to buy in their shop amongst loads of other great stuff.

Crisis Of Credit: The Movie

If you've been wondering what the all of the mumbo-jumbo behind the current financial pant-wetting actually means, watch this film made by Jonathan Jarvis, a graduate student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

It has a fantastic voice over in that old-school US style, which manages to be matter-of-fact and entertaining at the same time, with just a touch of sarcasm. And well-designed, funny infographics that make it easy to understand - the graphic portrayal of the 'sub-prime' borrowers is my particular favourite.


More on the crunch.
Advertising In An Economic Downturn And What Can Be Learned From It
Say No To Recession

Out with the new in with the old

After & Before.

Last month the juice brand Tropicana changed its packaging on its flagship product, good ol' fashioned orange juice or OJ if you're from the States. Out went the classic image of the orange with a protruding straw, a simple visual that works well. In Branguage™ (a language used by those who inhabit planet Brand) they wanted the redesign to “refresh the brand and drive a natural fruit goodness message”. So they got rid of a picture of an actual orange and replaced it with a glass of orange juice. Which makes sense, obviously. On the whole the redesign is pretty dull, unexciting and instead of standing out it gets lost in the generic orangey blur of the juice aisle. In fact generic is a good word to sum up the redesign.

Generic; something that is general, common, or inclusive rather than specific, unique, or selective.

This word could be used to sum up a lot of branding at the minute. A drift to get rid of any real heritage and the elements that make them unique, in favour of something Brandy. No, not the drink but trandy logos or a silly made up name, completely dull, charmless and utterly meaningless.

But in a backlash some of Tropicana's most loyal customers complained passionately. And they were even listened too. PepsiCo surprisingly reverted back to the old packaging this month. Which isn’t the answer either, it does need freshening up but hopefully that’s the next step.

Western Spaghetti

This cracking stop-motion short by PES, aka Adam Pesapane, deservedly won an award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. More weird and wonderful, twisted creations can be found on PES's site.

World Press Photo Winners 2009

Check out the World Press Photo Winners here in high res.

via Lens Culture

Berlin Museum of Letters

If you are in Berlin any time soon, stop by the museum of letters. This place looks brilliant. Lots of letters in all shapes and sizes. Check out Core77's gallery here. And find out more about the library here.

The Fantastic Sell! Sell! Win An Extremely Naff Pen Competition

We get all sort of weird and wonderful mail at Sell! Towers.
One package that fell more under the former than the latter category was from a 'promotions' company trying to convince us that we should commission them to make us some Sell! Sell! branded pens. They even sent an example to whet our appetite. That pen is the pen you see above.

Needless to say, this apologetic specimen did not have us instantly on the phone ordering thousands more poorly-designed writing implements.
Consequently this has left us with a rather unique piece of Sell! Sell! memorabilia. A one-off. A 'special' pen, if you will.

And we have decided to give this pen away, good reader. Give it away. To one of you lovely people. It is a unique opportunity to own a unique item. This is partly so that we don't have to look at it any more, and also partly to encourage you, our fine readers, so quiet up to now, to use the comment section.

You see, our blog has grown quite a lot over the past year, we now have quite a lot of readers, even a few brave regulars, which is very nice, thank you. But we'd love to hear a bit more from you. We'd like to know what you think. If you don't agree with something, or don't like something, let us know. And if you do, well that's always nice.

For a chance to win the delightful pen, complete the sentence, in no more than 20 words:

"If I win the unique Sell! Sell! pen I'll use it to write..."

Answers in the comments section of this post please. We'll pick a winner this time next week. And of course, as with all of these things, the judge's decision is final. And he has pretty questionable taste, so the bar is set very low.

National Magazine Cover Archive

NMCA, Nation Magazine Cover Archive, is a collection of various magazine covers throughout the years. Some cracking collections including Grafik, Emigre, Esquire and Vogue.

“The Nation Magazine Cover Archive (NMCA) is a non-commercial ‘hobbysite’ devoted to helping keep inspirational magazine design alive. These are dark days for magazine design with homogenisation and closure of many well known (and loved) titles. Have you noticed how bland, safe and banal our newsstands have been looking lately? Is this what you want? Hey consumers, vote with your feet! Don’t let quality magazines die.” — NMCA Editor

Hot off the press

The new issue of Candy Magazine is now available to download here. For those who are new to the world of the Candy, it is a pdf magazine produced infrequently and filled to the brim with great creative work.

" CANDY magazine was launched June 2005 to showcase Irish creativity alongside international equivalents to a worldwide audience. Since then 10 downloadable pdf format issues have been released to local and international acclaim and our focus has changed somewhat to showcasing and promoting great creatives and their work wherever they may be. "

1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

A beautiful car, beautifully shot. Check out this gallery over on One of these beauties is going up for auction soon, and is set to create a new record (the last one went for over $10million). Read about it here.

via ISO50

Tim Driven

Interesting documentary photography from Tim Driven. Well shot and intriguing scenarios taken in black and white on analogue film, that's a hard combination to beat. His website is quite infuriating though.

Fuck, Fuck, Fucking Fuck. Bullshit. Fuck.

This is a great film from Victor Solomon on Vimeo, cutting together every single swear word used in every episode of The Sopranos.



Another day, another great flickr set. This time a small selection of really nicely shot letter press letters. These are really beautiful objects that themselves well to black and white photography.

After Newsround at The Old Shorditch Station

Our favourite local coffee place, The Old Shoreditch Station is currently showing After Newsround, an exhibition by artist/illustrator Rhys Coren of his paintings of his favourite 'after school' heroes from when he was a child. See more of his work here.

Graphic packaging

Again Flickr continues to throw up some great stuff. This time a great set of old packaging. Loads of great stuff in here. A lot of it still looks very fresh.

Design your own cover

Fancy yourself as an Art Director? Would you like to design magazine covers? Well thanks to FHM Australia you can give it a go. Click here to design your own cover version of FHM.

PS. You can create a version without a generic scantily clad girl on the front too.

Vintage cassette tape covers

Grain Edit have a great post on Vintage tape covers. Bruce Jamieson from I Love Dust has just uploaded his collection to flickr. Loads of great stuff in there. You can see the whole collection here.

The Pope's Limo

After getting all of Pope Benedict's luggage loaded into the limo, and he doesn't travel light, the driver notices that the Pope is still standing on the kerb.

'Excuse me, Your Holiness,' says the driver 'Would you please take your seat so we can leave?'

'Well, to tell you the truth,' says the Pope, 'they never let me drive at the Vatican and I'd really like to drive today.'

'I'm sorry but I cannot let you do that. I'd lose my job! And what if something should happen?' protests the driver, wishing he'd never gone to work that morning.

'There might be something extra in it for you,' says the Pope.

Reluctantly, the driver gets in the back as the Pope climbs in behind, the wheel. The driver quickly regrets his decision when, after exiting the airport, the Pontiff floors it, accelerating the limo to 105 mph.

'Please slow down, Your Holiness!!!' pleads the worried driver, but the Pope keeps the pedal to the metal until they hear sirens. 'Oh, dear God, I'm gonna lose my licence,' moans the driver.

The Pope pulls over and rolls down the window as the cop approaches, but the cop takes one look at him, goes back to his motorcycle, and gets on the radio. 'I need to talk to the Chief,' he says to the dispatcher.

The Chief gets on the radio and the cop tells him that he's stopped a limo doing 105mph.

'So bust him,' says the Chief.

'I don't think we want to do that - he's really important,' said the cop.

The Chief exclaimed, 'All the more reason!'

'No, I mean really important,' said the cop.

The Chief then asked, 'Who have you got there, the Mayor?'

Cop: 'Bigger.'

Chief: 'Governor?'

Cop: 'Bigger.'

'Damn me,' said the Chief, 'just who the hell is that big?'

Cop: 'I think it's God!'

Chief: 'What makes you think it's God?'

Cop: 'He's got the fucking Pope as a chauffeur!'

The Japanese Naugahyde

We discovered this Japanese store selling a limited edition version of the Nauga. Albeit a slightly more sinister looking one, it has a definite 'Chucky Doll' feel to it. The harsh colourway loses all the warmth and charm of the original that made it such a success too.

There is a stack more Nauga on view here. It seems the Nauga has had a renaissance in Japan. Some are still available to buy.

There's even a flickr pool dedicated to the Nauga here. Brilliant.

More on the Nauga

Tommy Cooper's Magic Cloak

Here's a bit of Friday fun from a true comedy genius. The bit with the ladder at the end never fails to make me giggle. They don't make them like that any more. That's Tommy Cooper I'm referring to by the way and not the ladder. I've absolutely no idea whether that particular ladder is still manufactured.

7 Lessons From Apple From The Ad Contrarian. Plus Some Ranting On Branding & Product Advertising

Bob Hoffman, But not this Bob Hoffman

Our favourite cranky ad blogger has a smart post about what ad people can learn from Apple and its advertising - read it here.

This is interesting because ad people always use Apple as an example of a brand that is loved and people are loyal to, often as part of some hocus-pocus trying to persuade someone to spend their valuable ad-money on 'brand advertising' (see also Innocent for this same syndrome).

However, as Bob (for it is he) points out...

"1. Apple’s advertising is always about product benefits and differentiation. It is never idiotic “branding” like the Gates/Seinfeld atrocity, or “I am a PC.” No lifestyle bullshit, just clear differentiation between its products and its rivals’ products. And always done beautifully."

This I 100% agree with. Yes, there are great brands, but these brands are most often built through advertising that focuses on what's great about the product. That advertising has to have a tone-of-voice that the brand can build on, but still, it's product advertising.

People these days seem to think advertising that focuses on the product is old-hat, lame, uncreative. But in fact, it's the best way to get people to like you and your brand, and it is, in fact, a lot harder to do well than brandy lifestyle nonsense.

Or as Mr. Hoffman puts it: "We don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand. We get them to love our brand by convincing them to try our product."

I frustrates me massively when I see companies (especially smaller companies) that have been persuaded by some ad-goon to spend their precious money on brand advertising. I'm not surprised so many become quickly cynical of the ad business.

But, as The Ad Contrarian happily points out, the kind of brands that ad-people point to as examples of what good 'branding' can do, generally got there with good old-fashioned (but not necessarily old fashioned) product focused advertising.

Michael Twyman's ephemera flickr collection

Every once in a while you discover a real gem online. And this is a gem. A great flickr collection of Michael Tywman's 19th Century posters amongst some other ephemera. The typography in these is great. The poster on the far right of the image above is excellent, lovely use of colour. There is loads of great work in the set, it's worth digging around for a while. I think they are from the Centre for Ephemera Studies.

Jack of all trades

Over at WellMedicated Andrew has just put a great post of Saul Bass work. We're big fans of his work, and it's always a joy to be reminded of it.

Bass for men

Our collection of beermats continues to grow. We have now added these gems to our flickr set.