Seven Hundred Penguins

We picked this book up earlier in the week. A fabulous collection of seven hundred Penguin book covers from Britain and around the world, celebrating the different penguin styles from over the years. Designed by David Pearson it employs a simple approach of illustrating 1 cover on each page.

I have picked out a few of my personal favourites.

Face to Face - 1970, designed by Grant Grimbly

In Cold Blood - 1970, designed by David Pelham

Brain Damage and the Mind - 1973, designed by Omnific/Philip Thompson

Killer in the Rain - 1966, photograph by Bob Brooks

The Catcher in the Rye - 1970

There's another 695 inspiring covers to look at in this visual feast, definitely a must have for the book shelf.

A smile in the mind.

Old Ladies Noggins

Three old ladies are sitting in a diner, chatting about various things. One lady says, "You know, I'm getting really forgetful. This morning, I was standing at the top of the stairs, and I couldn't remember whether I had just come up or was about to go down."

The second lady says, "You think that's bad? The other day, I was sitting on the edge of my bed and I couldn't remember whether I was going to sleep or had just woken up!

The third lady smiles smugly, "Well, my memory is just as good as it's always been, knock on wood," she says as she raps on the table. Then with a startled look on her face, she asks, "Who's there?"

It's not what you say, its how you say it.

This afternoon I noticed these 2 signs on the window of a local pub. They have the same message (almost), they are both black and white, both set in full caps and both the same size. The only difference is the font. But it’s a big difference. It changes the essence of the message completely. This is why choosing a typeface for your message is so important. It is your tone of voice, it can give your message the impact it needs or it can dilute it completely.

Visit London? But, er, I'm already here...

Maybe I'm oversimplifying this advertising lark, but something jumped out at me when I got handed a copy of the London Lite 'newspaper' tonight. The front and back cover, and the inside covers, were emblazoned with the bold advertising message "See the world. Visit London."

The London Lite is a newspaper for people in London. Handed-out by hand, to people in London. On the streets - of London.

Now, this is where I get confused. I am in London. You handed me this paper on London Bridge over the River Thames, as I got off a red London Bus. I could not possibly be more in London if was wearing a pearly hat, eating jellied eels, with the Queen, in Harrods.

Help me out here.

Obsolete Technology Recycled.

I saw this window display at a fashion retailer over the weekend. A lovely use of old audio equipment. There's a nice aesthetic quality to these and I think the simple treatment makes them look even better. Nice to see an artistic use of obsolete technology as well.

Nirrimi Joy Hakanson

Nirrimi Joy Hakanson is a photographer from Australia. Have a look at the rest of her really strong portfolio of work here. She is fifteen. Yes, fifteen years old. Amazing. If any of our photographer agent friends are reading this, you want to get in there now. She writes that one day she hopes to shoot for the likes of Vogue. If this is anything to go by, I don't see why that won't happen.


Phonographantasmascope by Jim Le Fevre

Friend of Sell! Sell! and collaborator SQUA sent us the link to this film of a 3D Zoetrope by Jim Le Fevre. According to Jim "It is all live action and works by using the shutter speed of the camera rather than the rather irritating stroboscope methods other 3D Zoetropes use". Jim is represented by Nexus Productions.

That friday feeling...

Here at SellSell we have that Friday feeling so we thought a few more jokes would go down a treat.

Here is the top ten funniest jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival…

1. Zoe Lyons – "I can't believe Amy Winehouse self-harms. She's so irritating she must be able to find someone to do it for her."

2. Andrew Laurence – "Most of us have a skeleton in the cupboard. David Beckham takes his out in public."

3. Lloyd Langford – "My girlfriend said 'did you know that hippopotamuses kill more people every year than guns?' 'Yes,' I said, 'but a gun is easier to conceal

4. Josie Long – "When I was a kid I asked my mum what a couple was and she said 'oh, two or three.' And she wonders why her marriage didn't work."

5. Tim Vine – "Velcro. What a rip-off."

6. Stephen Grant – "The Scots invented hypnosis, chloroform and the hypodermic syringe - wouldn't it be easier just to talk to a woman?”

7. Edward Aczel – "So far Bird Flu has only killed 47 people. By the time it ends, it's going to have killed 37 million. It's got to get going, hasn't it, if it's going to be the pandemic we've all been hoping for."

8. Joan Rivers – "Grandchildren can be f**king annoying. How many times can you go 'And the cow goes moo and the pig goes oink'? It's like talking to a supermodel."

9. Tom Stade – "I like Jesus but he loves me, so it's awkward."

10. Jeff Kreisler – "People were outraged because of Barack Obama's spiritual advisor. I think it's great he had one. Who was George Bush's spiritual advisor? Jim Beam? Johnnie Walker? Jack Daniels?"

via Dave

Smile like you mean it!

Little Red Riding Hood's Observations

One day, Little Red Riding Hood is walking through the forest when she sees a wolf sitting under a tree with its ears erect and his mouth stretched in a big toothy grin. She says to the wolf, "My, what big ears you have!"

The wolf just grins and looks a bit wild about the eyes.

She says, "My, what big eyes you have!"

The wolf grins a bit wider and looks slightly harassed.

She says, "My, what big teeth you have!"

The wolf pulls himself together, looks her in the eye and says, "Fuck off! I'm trying to take a dump!"


Delicious Industries have got a great collection of old Which? magazines, some of which (!!) they've kindly scanned in. The covers are really strong - I've got a soft spot for design which has to be creative with a limited number of colours or a process - it often comes out a lot stronger than full-colour whizz-bang stuff. And the diagrams and charts are excellent too.


20 Album Covers recreated in Lego

Simple. 20 of the greatest album covers recreated with one of the greatest toys ever, Lego.

via The Toyzone

Died Young Stayed Pretty

“Died Young, Stayed Pretty is a candid look at the underground poster culture in North America. This unique documentary examines the creative spirit that drives these indie graphic artists."

Died Young Stayed Pretty

An intelligent arthouse film about rock posters. I love posters. Not so much rock posters but this sounds like it’s worth a watch.

Death Star in San Francisco

Great film made by Star Wars fan Michael Horn. According to Horn, who is interviewed on the official blog, “I shot everything on my junkie DV camera, did motion-tracking and comping in After Effects, and basic sound design in Final Cut.”


Terminal 5 is working - PART 2

A little update following Ryan's post from the other day about the Terminal 5 ads...

You know, sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you try.
Advertising cannot help you.

Yesterday in the London Lite, page 6...

Yesterday in the London Lite, front page...

Hmmm, might be better putting that advertising money into some extra help at the airport.

Lets put a smile on that face!

Smart Pills

One day two boys are walking through the woods when they see some rabbit poo.

One of the boys says, ''What’s that?''

''They're smart pills,'' says the other boy. ''Eat them and they'll make you smarter.

So the first boy eats them and says, ''These taste like crap.''

''See,'' says the other boy, ''you're getting smarter already.''

Terminal 5 is working.

No really, it is.

After all the bad press the opening of Terminal 5 got, BA have felt the need to start a massive campaign to change the public perception of the new terminal with the help of BBH.

We had quite a lively debate about this in the studio yesterday morning. We agreed that it is a really tough brief and a massive challenge to make it work. Overall we have mixed views about the campaign, their honesty is good but are they trying too hard?

During a cab ride yesterday we seen the ‘digital advert’ it was more of the same really, documentary style photography and stats on their punctuality, but at the end they briefly used a time-lapse sequence to the show the airport over a period of hours.

We think they missed a trick here. That would have been a far better way of demonstrating that ‘Terminal 5 is working’. It might not have worked across their press advertising but for the digital stuff it would have been better.

For more on this check out the debate over at CR.


Not to be confused with Chamon! Chamo is a talented French illustrator based in Paris. Represented by Illustrissimo, who happen to have quite a few other interesting artists.


Poster Warfare on Old St.

On my way to work I walk past an old building with walls that are normally decorated in large bill posters advertising the latest music events and releases. Over the last week it seems that the powers that be have decided that this is an unwanted practice and made a concerted effort to decimate anything that gets posted up. A shame really as the posters are often colourful and interesting, not always great design but providing information and much better to look at than these brick walls. Some may argue that they cheapen the area or have a negative effect on their environment, but I beg to differ, they make the area feel alive and give it a pulse. They are not welcome everywhere but at a place like this I can’t see how they are a bad thing. I just hope the poster paster-uppers keep up the battle to give the people a rich tapestry of free art to brighten up their mornings.

I am Legend

I picked this book up over the weekend. I’d been meaning to get the book for a while having been told the book was much better than the Will Smith version of the film. Once I’d seen this lovely cover I had to buy it there and then. I love the simplicity of it, the rounded edges and the texture it has. It reminds me a bit of some of the old penguin covers and really stands out amongst all the other books it was sitting beside. It’s a good read as well.

In the ghetto (the creative ghetto that is)

"In The Ghetto" as sung by Mr. Eric Cartman

A debate over on Dave Trott's excellent blog got me to thinking about the modern creative ghetto.

In today's ad agencies, departments are clearly separated, not always physically (although that is still the norm) but very clearly by discipline. And the processes of modern agencies separate out the stages of solving the client's problems. Planner takes client's brief, planner comes up with strategy, writes new brief. Creative are briefed by planner on the planner's brief. Creatives come up with ideas to answer that brief. Creatives present ideas to team. Blah blah blah, ideas are presented to client.

This is a system that has broken up the process of problem solving into sections, much like a production line of, say, a car manufacturer. Every department does its little part. And theoretically, if everyone does it well, the end result should be good, right? Wrong. There are basic problems with this way of doing things. It's a process, it's been designed to get to solutions time-efficiently. It's not a system that generates the strongest advertising ideas, and because of that, is not the best for clients.

One of major problems with this way of doing things is that is has created 'the creative ghetto'. The creative ghetto is the modern creative department. It is quite often on its own floor, or in its part of the building. And more importantly, or rather harmfully, it is only involved in one part of the process.

It's created a generation of creatives who's role is to bring to life a strategy generated by a planner (quite often complaining about it a lot). Creatives have been reduced to the role of stylist, adding a layer of nice copy and visuals over the top of the strategy. This generation of creative are not responsible for the effectiveness of the campaigns they do, and so feel no responsibility towards it. Instead they are judged in abstract terms, by creative awards that reward craft. Even creative directors are judged on creative awards by their group heads or bosses. Someone else, somewhere, is responsible for the work working. The modern creatives are more concerned with techniques, with 'lines' and the execution of individual ads, than with creative advertising ideas.

It's a big problem for the business, and it's a self-perpetuating problem. Creatives are being more departmentalised, and are it seems in most cases, quite happy for that to happen. But clients aren't getting as effective work out of it. Creatives can see a clear template for winning awards, and if that's the criteria for judging them, who can blame them for aspiring to it? Therefore creatives become more concerned with what will win awards than what will work really well.

The solution? Creatives should be at the heart of the process from the beginning, they should take the client's brief, and interrogate it directly. By their nature, naturally good creative advertising people have the ability to take on this information and keep the detachment needed to see the real problems, and also look at it from a punter's point of view. Only the modern stylist has a problem with this. Creatives should be fully involved in and responsible for coming up with a great strategy. They should be involved all the way through, pitching the idea to the client, making it, and feeling responsibility for it working. That's how you get great advertising. Take the great George Lois as an example, George attacks the client's problem head on with his energy and creativity. And you can see it in it his work. It's extremely strong, yet you clearly know that it's there to do a job, to get a result.

So let's get the creatives out of the ghetto, and back in the thick of the action. In the long run it will lead to much better work. And those creative people who don't like their safety blanket being taken away can always go back to college, or into banking.

Wonky wheels?

Grocery shopping can be a real pain at times, with a wonky trolley it becomes a nightmare. Fear not though Sainsbury's have come up with a really simple but useful idea to solve this. If you get a wonky trolley stick a tag on it. The staff see it and take it out of service. Thinking about it now, I can't understand why I've never seen this before. A simple, effective idea that's well executed.

A quid on five, please!

Last night I took a trip to Walthamstow Racecourse. I’ve never been ‘to the dogs’ before but I’ve heard about this old stadium and seen it in the film Snatch and Blur’s Parklife artwork. Unfortunately it is due to close for good, last race is on August 16th. A real shame considering the charisma and heritage it has. In recent years it has failed to attract the crowds it had in its heyday and closure has become inevitable. I would urge anyone who has never been to get down before it closes, it’s cheap, fun and a real laugh, what more could you ask for on a night out? Its worth going just to see the fabulous neon signage and 1930's architecture.

Making your book better.

Like most creative/advertising agencies, we see our fair share of aspiring young creative teams coming in for book crits. One thing that has suprised me recently is how fewer individuals or teams are constantly working on their portfolio.

I'm not sure what the reason is, but it's a shame. You see, at this stage in your development you are improving faster than at almost any other time in your career. Every campaign is an opportunity to massively outdo the last one. Flogging around the same book for months making slight amendments to your campaigns is counter-productive for three reasons:

1. Ideas you do now will probably be a lot better than the ones you did six months ago.

2. Everyone in advertising has an opinion, and most of them are different. If you keep changing your ideas back and forth depending on who says what, you're just twiddling.

3. If your book was already really, really good, you would have a job by now - or at least you would be on a constant string of placements at very good places with a chance to make that happen (sorry).

My estimate based on nothing much in particular is that a team of two people should be able to come up with a whole new book of ideas in a couple of weeks, even if (as most of them are) they are holding down jobs and trekking round agencies daily. Keep only the pieces of work that get a very good reaction generally. Everything else is just cannon fodder for newer, better stuff.

If you do that, and you keep refreshing what you have, and not being too precious about your current ideas, things will happen quicker for you.

Dragon - Live Painting

At the weekend I got to see the Japanese artist Dragon. I knew little about him other than he was a Live Painter. He regularly travels the world painting live at music gigs, gallery openings, events and for the charity Peace Boat. Getting the chance to see such a fantastic artist is a real treat. The image above is part of the canvas he created on Saturday night. The video below is a bit shaky but gives you an idea of he it works. Check out his super portfolio over at Dutch Uncle.

Grafik: A-Z Of Illustration

Just picked up this months copy of Grafik. This magazine seems to have got better and better since it went independent, and this month there is a great special report 'A to Z of Illustration'. It's a great article, and includes some real classics, like the old Penguin covers.

The Personal Touch

Yesterday evening I spent some quality time in Borders Bookshop. Browsing a table of books I noticed that they all looked slightly peculiar. Many books had a paper wraparound with a handwritten review of the book. I've never seen this before. I like it though. They encouraged me to read the book more than any book critic’s words could. They could all be written by staff, but judging by the amount and variety of reviews I’m sure they were written by customers.

A simple idea and a nice personal touch.