Campaign Unframed by Andy Whitlock

For those who don't know or care, Campaign (AKA Champagne) is Britain's weekly ad-tabloid, charting the simultaneously hilarious and earth-shattering ups and downs of the ad business. One of the unspoken rules of Campaign is that if you have a photo taken to appear in it, you must look serious. I mean really fucking serious. Well we wouldn't want anyone thinking that people in the ad business were chancers, living on wit and guile alone, would we? So most people end up with a mug shot that looks like the photographer was waving a week-old turd under their nose at the time. That makes these great images by Andy Whitlock even more funny.
See the full set here.


Thousands of feathers

I first saw one of Kate MccGwire's installations 'Vex' (pictured up top) in the darkest depths of the Shoreditch Town Hall, as part of the Concrete and Glass Festival. It was sinister, brooding and brilliant. It stole the show, well for me anyway.

Kate's recent creations are mostly made from thousands of pigeon feathers, flowing water and mould. Now all this might seem a little off putting but her pieces really are captivating. She has a great knack of turning unpleasant materials into something quite beautiful. And if you stare at some of them for long enough you can convince yourself they're alive and breathing, or maybe that's just me after a few too many.

You can see more of her work in June (from 5th till 21st) at a show called The Space Between at St Pancras Crypt London, visit the site here for more details. Don't Panic recently interviewed Kate about her work and next projects - you can read the full interview here.

Pencil Talk

Do you ever find yourself craving more information and insightful knowledge about pencils?

No? Neither do I, but if you did, this would be the place to go. Be warned though, there is some serious informed pencil chat there.

Royal Mint Olympic 50 Pence Piece Design Competition Entries

The design work associated with the 2012 Olympics has not exactly set the world on fire so far. So when we heard that the Royal Mint was holding a competition to find designs for the Olympic fifty pence piece, we thought rather than just continually taking the piss from the sidelines, we'd get involved.

The task was to take any of twenty-seven events listed and design a face for the coin based on it. It's an interesting medium to design in, the added dimension of the relief and the possible use of texture is quite interesting.

Coin designs traditionally have a more illustrative feel, so something that we were keen to do was use simple, clean designs with 'white space' and differently textured areas and different heights - something that you don't see that much, but can look really strong when done. Also, using the relief in a more graphic way, if you follow me. (The designs had to include the 2012 logo and the 50 Pence type in the sizes and positions shown). We've entered the ten designs shown here. Nice one to Ryan for his excellent work on them.

Casey Jex Smith

Very nice illustrations can be seen over at Casey Jex Smith's site. Elegant fine line drawings, great use of colour and a few geometric shapes - what's not to like! I look forward to seeing this years collection. 

Borja Bonaque

Gritty urban illlustration from Borja Bonaque.

Yesterday's Shoot

Here are some work in progress shots from our commercial shoot yesterday with the smashing Madness and our good friends at Gas & Electric. It was a good (if slightly bananas) day, and the Madness gents were a pleasure to work with. Cracking into post this week, so we'll put up the ad when it's finished here.

We've worked out two things based on this job so far - 1. Directing an ad is really good fun, and 2. If it all goes tits up in the ad world, we can always turn our hand to zazzy packaging design.

Mark Weaver

Mark Weaver's 'Make something cool every day' project, spotted over at ISO50 blog, is smashing. We really like his fusion of fantasy, anatomy and fonts. His prints are just too tempting, and there's some nice lomography on his site too. One we'll definitely be keeping an eye on.


Illustrative talent Hellovon opens a new show called "Cocoon" at The Electric Blue Gallery in London from the 7th May. Hellovon's site is still a temporary showcase but you can download an impressive pdf of his work here.

Pulp book

Photographer & film maker Neil Krug has collaborated with Supermodel Joni Harbeck to produce the upcoming Pulp Book (see above). He's also got some really nice shots on his flickrstream particularly his Polaroid stuff.

The Solar Film

Yesterday was Earth Day (yes, this is a bit late, sorry) and to mark the day Swiss Legacy posted this great video created by Saul Bass and commisioned by Robert Redford back in the late 70s. It's even more relevant today than it was then.

Marketing Fail On The Apprentice

I don't normally watch The Apprentice. Spending my free time watching the kind of twattish people that I normally avoid like the plague does not appeal, somehow. But I saw it last night. And as luck would have it, it was the advertising episode. That's the one where the hopefuls are split into two teams, and then have to come up with a brand name, package design and a thirty second TV commercial, this time for a kids' breakfast cereal. There was something quite enjoyably weird about watching it all unfold, like watching a train crash on one of those new one thousand frames-per-second cameras.

The team leader of one of teams was Kimberly Davis, a Marketing Consultant from New York. Now, individually the terms marketing and consultant are two of my most feared on a business card, but together they create an almost perfect storm of bullshittiness. So you might imagine that her team would stroll away with this task as she brought her grand marketing experience to the table? Incorrect.

What in fact happenned was the whole business of marketing, branding and advertising in microcosm.

The second team, with some smart people, started with the product and worked out a pretty good idea based on how it looked and the ingredients. OK, it was no piece of advertising genius, but it held together well, and made sense. And was based on the product.

However, the team led by the marketing consultant managed to create a daft idea that had absolutely fuck all to do with the product. It was quite lidderally pants (if you watched it, you'll know what I mean). It was as if the instant the task began, they forgot the product existed.

And there it was right there in front of you on the telly. This advertising and selling business is not hard, it's not complicated. It's not a science. It takes common sense, smarts and a dash of inspiration. But it's been made overcomplicated and oblique by people with silly job titles.
People who think they've learned how to do it on some course with an equally silly title.
It was a very public, and quite enjoyable, Marketing Fail.

See Kimberley get fired here.

Mistake the beautiful

Bryan Dalton, recently featured in It's Nice That's first publication, has a cracking set of photo-illustrations entitled 'mistake the beautiful'. Visit his site to see the full collection. We really like the randomness of his stuff, especially this neat page of super sweet gifs - it's a real treat!

Michael Ciervo

Michael Ciervo cleverly uses a combination of oil, graphite and resin to create these rather super photographic distortions. Ciervo's subtle use of colour throughout his collections adds a majestic eeriness to the pieces. To see more great stuff visit his site here. I look forward to seeing what he has in store for his 2009 collection.