The Ice Poll

Yep, you guessed it. It's top five time. 

Last week's top 5 saw a flurry of ice lolly fueled comments and this got us thinking about what our top five ice lollies would be. 

Whittling it down to just five was no easy task, so we donned our white lab coats and conducted extensive research throughout the week. 

The excessive fridge raiding at our local dusty shop and daily taste tests have taken their toll on our waistlines but allowed us to skip down memory lane, as we remembered some beloved long lost classics that you just can't seem to find these days (if anyone can get their mitts on a Lyons Maid Haunted House lolly please let us know).

So without any further ado we present...

1. The Kingly Fab 

2. Magnum (P.I.) White 

3. Feast 

4. Lyons Maid Haunted House (the underdog)

5.  The cider lolly

Other contenders that were pipped to the post are the 'push-up lolly', Polly Pineapple and Fat Frog (Irish classics, apparently), Calippo, Nestle's Mivvi, Twister, Cornetto, Nobbly Bobbly and Walls Funny Feet. Stiff competition.

Let us know if we've missed any mighty warriors off our list (any excuse for more ice cream based research).

Secret Blisters '09

Images © D. Bushell

On Friday evening the Print Club London held it's latest print show, Secret Blisters '09. 35 screenprints each by a different artist, each in an edition of 35, selling for £35 a piece. Simple. Unlike last year each artist's signature was covered to encourage buyers to pick something they like rather than a more profitable print. But prints by the likes of Si Scott, Andy Smith & Anthony Burill were instantly recognisable and I'm sure they sold out pretty sharpish.

The quality of the prints was top notch, not only in their design but in the intricate detail. No easy task with screen printing. The venue also helped make a it a night to remember. If you haven't been to MC Motors in Dalston you should check it out.

You can see a few more designs here and if there are any prints left they are going to be sold online here.

The new MacBook

Just when you thought the Macbook couldn't get any better, Apple release this bad boy.

Q&A With Mike Daines

Another great Q&A over on the Delicious blog. This time with Mike Daines, designer, typographer and creator of baseline magazine. Interesting stuff.
Have a look here.

The Best Weekend Of The Year

Yes, it's that time of year again.
When all of the twattish, bullshit-talking, flip-flop-in-the-city-wearing media-numpties that you normally spend your life avoiding, schlep down to the muddy fields of Glastonbury, to ruin what without them might have been a perfectly nice festival, in an attempt to ease some of their self-loathing and try to convince themselves that they're still cool.

Leaving the rest of us to have a grand old, numpty-free weekend.

If only they'd drink the cool-aid while they're there...

Yoann Lemoine

Lovely photography and film direction from Yoann Lemoine.

Broken Biscuits

The up and coming mighty comedy act, and friends of Sell!Sell!, 'Broken Biscuits' are showcasing some fine sketches on the BBC Comedy Extra site at the moment. This one, 'Alpha Male' is a particular favourite. Definitely worth checking!

You can see more of their fine work here. Keep your eyes peeled for their next live gig too... 


We love beer. It's one of man's greatest discoveries. You can't go wrong with a nice cool beer on a hot day in Summer. Or on a cold Winter's evening in front of a blazing fire.

But even more than that we're quite partial to vintage graphics. Old hand drawn logos, characters, classic magazines, you know, the bits of design that time has forgotten.

Combine the two and you get these. A really good set of classic beer cans. There are 163 cans in the flickr group but apparently the collection is over 2000 strong. Amazing. You can read a bit more about it here on the Dieline.
NB. Could you imagine getting a can design like this approved today? No chance.

More beer here.

Political Wrestling

Peter Bell sent us these great Political Wrestling cards, hand printed on his Gocco screen printing machine.
Thanks Pete.
See more of his work here.

Best Of British Summertime

It's that time of the week again. Yes folks, it's our Tuesday Top Five.

It's also summertime. It's actually sunny out. And what with Glastonbury just around the corner we decided that this week's Top 5 had to be the best bits of the British summer. And let's face it, it's often short, so we must embrace it! 

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here's what we've got...

1. Andymonium, ahem Wimbledon

2. Fabs (the underrated classic, the King of the lollies)

3. Festivals 

4. Hittin'the beach (and feelin'the burn)

5. Bank holidays

What's your favourite summer pastime?

99% Of Advertising Is Crap, And It's All Your Fault

Most advertising insults the intelligence, assaults the eyes, or both. Some of it is all but invisible and yet somehow still obtrusive. Some speaks to you in way that, if another person did, you'd punch them in the face. Some of it is incredibly dumb, and not in a charming way. It's the uninvited guest that gatecrashes into our lives and takes a dump on the lounge carpet.
Yup, almost all of advertising is absolute crap.

And you know what? It's your fault.

If you're a copywriter, it's because you didn't keep going until you found a way to make it good, even though no one has ever done great stuff on X or for Y.
If you're an art director, it's your fault because you gave in and produced something you knew was a bit shit really, because you thought you could do something good on the next brief.
If you're a marketing director, it's your fault because you didn't go back to your agency and say "you know what, I know this is what we briefed, but we all know it's a bit shit, I don't want to say to my family that I put this into the world, let's try again"
If you're an account person, it's because you didn't go over to the client and say "look, I know this is what you wanted, but this isn't really what you pay us for is it? Let us go back and do it better"
If you're one of those generic 'creatives' it's because you didn't bother to learn how to be good at a craft and so didn't really know how shit it was.
If you're a creative director it's because you didn't say "Look, I know this will be unpopular, but this just isn't good enough to let out, let's work out how to make it better, even if we have to push the deadline back, or work all night."
If you're a planner, it's because you did a psychology or some other pointless degree, couldn't work out what you wanted to do, saw a job where you could wear daft denim and talk bullshit, and took it.
If you're an ordinary man-in-the-street, it's because you didn't write a note to the company saying "I'm really sorry, but while you continue to run that piss poor advertising that is insulting my intelligence, I'm not going to buy your product anymore"
If you're the star agency team, it's because you wouldn't touch the brief because it didn't look like an opportunity for another award.
If you're a company director, it's because you didn't take an active interest in the most public face of your company until it was too late.
If you're an agency network big cheese, it's because you bought the smart agency, and then squeezed every last drop of profit out of it until it was incapable of doing anything but the same kind of shit as the rest of your network.
And if you're the mail room boy or receptionist at the agency, it's your fault because you didn't stay late and work on briefs after the creatives had gone to the pub, until you came up with something that made everyone say "Where did this idea come from? Do you want a job in the creative department?"

So you see, even though almost all of the advertising in the world is shit, you really have no one to blame but yourself.


On Advertising Creativity and Creative Awards

This is not the award for 'nicest-looking shots'
It's for hitting the ball the least number of times.

I have a problem with the advertising creative awards.
I admit it.
I don't like 'em.
In fact, I think they're having a negative effect on the advertising business (and by that I include everything - what you might call traditional, digital, everything).
Now, I like the idea of awards, I think that rewarding excellence is a good thing.
It can only encourage people to strive to do better, right?
So why do I have a problem with the advertising creative awards?

I spent my 'formative' ad years at an agency that didn't enter them, the CD there at the time was (is) one the smartest dudes in advertising, he thought they were a crock.
He'd won a sackful himself, incidentally.
We (the juniors at the time) all thought it was a little bit unfair because our bosses had built their careers partly on being award-winning creatives, but now they were in that position were stopping us from entering them.
But now I thank that policy greatly, because although we didn't realise it at the time, all we were concerned about was doing the best we could on each brief. We weren't thinking at the back of our minds 'would this win' or 'will I get a piece of awards-friendly work out of this brief?'
It gave me a perspective on the business of advertising much wider than just having creative awards as a benchmark.
Since then, I've experienced going to the awards, and won a couple of spangly things in the process, so what's my problem? After all, if you're winning them, what's to complain about, right?

Well, no.
As I said, I like the idea of awards, I think that rewarding excellence is a good thing.
But looking at them now, how they are in our ad business today, I think they stink.
I think they've lost the plot.
I don't think they reward excellence in advertising creativity, I think they reward some kind of separate, abstract notion of creativity.

Now as an advertising creative, I'll admit I'm a disciple of the Bernbach, Lois, Gossage, school, where the creativity is there for a reason. Where "Our job is to sell our clients' merchandise... not ourselves. Our job is to kill the cleverness that makes us shine instead of the product. Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message." Where "You are not right if in your ad you stand a man on his head just to get attention. You are right if you have him on his head to show how your product keeps things from falling out of his pockets."

I think that an ad should look brutally simple if brutally simple is the best way to get a message across, that it should be beautiful if the the sole reason for that beauty is that it will make us understand or read or remember that message better. I'll take a simple, five hundred word ad that made me think differently about something, over an ad with no words and pretty picture that made me laugh but didn't communicate. I think that the only reason for creativity in advertising is to make it work harder.

I want an ad to make you think "what a great product" rather than "what a great ad".

But these days, the kind of work that ad awards celebrate tends to be the self-indulgent stuff that wears its creativity on its sleeve. That makes you think, ooh that's clever. That's funny, or weird, or a great piece of film. Creative, but only for its own sake. Not for a reason.

It's a real negative thing for the ad business, because it places ad creatives who want to win creative awards at odds with the reason that clients came to their agencies in the first place. There's a conflict between 'creativity' and 'product' that shouldn't exist. Creatives and client are pulling in the opposite direction, and that is doing two bad things: 1. It's making clients (rightly) skeptical about the motivations of the people creating their advertising, and 2. Marginalising creatives in the business to a point where they are seen as dilettantes.

I don't know when it happened, because I look at some old advertising awards annuals and I see great advertising work that is brilliantly creative, but in a different way to most of the award winning work of today. And I'm not just talking about the difference of style and trends. It's advertising that works harder because of its creativity. Then I look at award-winning work of today and I see all style and no substance, I see creativity for its own sake. Cleverness that dwarfs or outshines the product.

The work that won awards in the 60's and 70's is creative for a reason. Somewhere, sometime, maybe over time, that's changed.
I don't know why, was it just tiny, imperceptible changes over time?
Is it just a symptom of agencies getting bigger, jobs being compartmentalised, creatives being moved into a creative bubble, detached from the process?
Is it a by-product of the slow but persistent middle-class-English-man-ising of the ad business - the universal embarrassment at selling, the need to pretend that we're doing something else?

I dunno, but it sure does stink the place out.
And I guess that brings me to something of a conclusion.
It turns out that I do like actually like creative awards.
I just really don't like the kind of work you have to do to win 'em these days.
I don't think it's great advertising.

The Substance Of Style

Over at Sell! Towers we're ardent fans of Wes Anderson's work and think these video essays, courtesy of Matt Zoller Seitz (via Moving Image Source), are tip top.

Each video essay in this five-part series offers an in-depth take on Anderson's influences and style. Although the vignettes can sometimes be a little dry and academic in places they really are very interesting - a real labour of love, and elegantly draw reference to Schulz - PEANUTS, Welles, Truffuat and Salinger. 

If you find yourself at a loose end over the weekend and have a spare ten minutes or so then we recommend filling your noodle with rich and intriguing Anderson facts. Just click here to do so.

NB Episode five, an annotated version of The Royal Tennenbaums, is a particular delight. 

Ironman vs. Bruce Lee

Check out the amazing stop motion and interactive work from Patrick Boivin. This 'Ironman vs. Bruce Lee' video is amazing, but I think Patrick's 'bboy Joker' interactive youtube game below takes it to a whole new level. You might need to watch it on the youtube site itself to play the game properly. I'd recommend it.

There are some videos on his channel showing how he set up and put together the game, it really puts across the amount of time and dedication that went into making this work.

Pleasantville Dioramas

This photographic collection of rather morbid dioramas by Jonah Samson, aptly named 'Pleasantville', isn't for the faint hearted. Each photograph depicts teeny figurines in distasteful and often gory scenes, somewhat reminiscent of a deep south Americana horror flick. 

But look beyond the pint-size debauchery and gore and you'll see that these pictures are quite captivating and superbly shot. See more on Jonah's site, if you dare! 

Anorak Magazine

Anorak magazine is a fantastic illustrated magazine for kids (ahem, and adults), it's been a big hit here in Sell Towers. Not only does it look great with top notch illustrations from cover to cover but it's put together brilliantly and is a real page turner for the little ones. Not an easy job.

It's not that widely available (yet) and is published quarterly but you can subscribe online so never miss an issue. At £3.50 a pop it's a bargain and don't let not having kids stop you. We put it down as research.

Arkitip obey Fairey

We're big fans of Shepard Fairey's bold & graphic art. So we were chuffed to see this great little video of his creative process. It's been produced by Arkitip as part of their Chronicle series in anticipation of the new Obey issue of Arkitip which comes with limited edition print, stencil cover and a tee shirt produced with Alife. It's not a cheap magazine at $70(43£) but considering what you get we think it's pretty good value for money. You can pre-order it here if you fancy it.

New Banksy Exhibition

Banksy has staged his biggest ever exhibition by secretly taking over the Bristol Museum. Whether you love him or hate him it looks like a very exciting and interesting project. Well worth checking out if you're near Bristol.

Type Tart Cards

This months Wallpaper magazine is a special issue on the theme of Sex and guest edited by Peter Saville. One of the highlights is the Type Tart Card project. Various designers and artists were asked to design traditional tart cards with a typographic twist. There are loads to ponder through and some of them are really good.

NB: Some of them might not be safe for work.

Flight of the Conchords

Here is a few posters from Flight of the Conchords Spring 2009 tour. Fans were asked to create their own poster artwork for the band as a competition. 35 of the best submissions can be seen here on flickr. There is some very tasty illustration work in there.