Out with the old

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We were recently invited by our pals at NB Studio to get involved in their Sign of the Times project. Run in collaboration with Spring Chicken, the project aims to address and challenge the current ‘old people crossing’ UK road sign, which they feel is miscommunicating the idea of old age “with its sad and decrepit couple crossing the road”. A veritable worldwide who’s-who of design and illustration contributed new road sign concepts: submissions range from the serious to the downright silly and you can see them all (and vote for ours, pictured above) here.

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Print is dead, long live print

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More pearls of hard-won wisdom from Creative Director Matt Baxter over on the Design Week website this month. This time the subject was ink versus pixels: how do you keep print exciting in an increasingly digital age? Here’s Matt’s pragmatic response:

Bear with me here, pop pickers – I’ve got an analogy and I’m going to use it. Digital media is very much like the arrival of synthesisers in pop music in the 1970s and 1980s. ‘Guitars are dead,’ proclaimed the synthpoppers. ‘Real drums are so 1973,’ they said, in voices like Twiki’s out of Buck Rogers. But as music matured, so synthetic music became part of the overall toolbox, rather than a replacement for analogue. See also CGI in the movies: both the bonkers Mad Max Fury Road and the upcoming new Star Wars flicks are making much use of practical, physical effects alongside CGI. The palette broadens with digital, but isn’t replaced by it. And so it is with print media – our lives are enriched by our increasing use of digital media, but we still love the tangible, the tactile and the inky. As with the examples above from music and movies, the forward march of digital meant that print became missed, desirable, exotic and exciting as a result. Print can do things that pixels can’t. And here’s the best bit – you can have both!

You can read the rest of the piece on the Design Week site here.

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Breakfast of champions

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How was your breakfast? Hearty? Nutritious? Inspirational? We all know that our petit déjeuner is the most important meal of the day. But, with the right group of co-breakfasters, it can be creatively and professionally important too. Along with ex-univerity friend Jason Holland of Underwired, Baxter and Bailey creative director Matt helped to set up Creative Breakfast Club, a regular pre-work get-together for a small number of creative business owners. The idea was simple; keep the number of breakfasters small so that everyone can contribute to one conversation; ensure that the attendees all own or run creative businesses so that the shared conversation is relevant and helpful; and make sure that the eggs are really good. With new Creative Breakfast Clubs springing up elsewhere in London, Brighton and Stockholm, Design Week were interested enough to commission this article.

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Killer Bs

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We’re blithely blushing at the blooming brilliant news that our moving card (pictured above) has been shortlisted in the Writing For Design category in this years Drum Design Awards. It’s a genuine thrill to see our self-initiated piece – a mailer we sent to friends and clients to tell them about our new home at Studio 54B – being recognised by one of the most respected awards around. Special thanks to our collaborators on the project, the wonderful Reed Words.

UPDATE!
We’re delighted to report that we won the top honour in the Writing for Design category! The winners were announced at The Drum Design Awards dinner at the Grosvenor Square Marriott on Thursday night last week, where our Matt took to the stage to collect our gong. His respectfully restrained but heartfelt fist pump says it all. Woot!

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D&AD Judging Wisdom

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D&AD is the design and advertising industries RADA, RIBA, Oscars® and UN combined. A D&AD Award is recognised globally as the ultimate creative accolade, entered and attended by the best from around the world. Which made it all the more thrilling for three members of BB – Matt, Dom and Emma – to be invited to attend D&AD Judging Wisdom last week. This was a unique opportunity for us to peek behind the scenes at this years D&AD Awards judging process: observing the winners and the nearly winners and understanding the rigorous judging process. A day wasn’t quite enough to take in the dazzling array of amazing work. A tantalising glimpse of this years best creative work.

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Collabology 2015

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Last night we swung by Somerset House to soak up the results of Collabology. This was a two-week workshop led by Professor Fred Deakin and saw students from across UAL, Falmouth School of Art and Manchester School of Art work together in groups to tackle briefs based around creating positive change in society, using digital collaborative tools. It was refreshing to see technology being used (seemingly) effortlessly throughout the project to genuinely assist interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary working. This is absolutely the way for creative education to go and we look forward to seeing how the Collabology project develops. But for now let’s give it up for Collabology 2015!

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Funny books

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Here’s a sneaky peak at some work-in-progress over at BB HQ. This Book is Funny! is a scheme dedicated to reviewing and promoting books for children by the funniest writers, illustrators and comics artists in the business today. It was conceived by author Alex Milway and is run by a a co-operative of authors, comics artists and illustrators, with support from publishers, libraries and schools worldwide. The scheme was hatched when Scholastic published revealing research which suggested that 70% of kids surveyed preferred books which made them laugh. Alex felt that a scheme to celebrate funny books would help to encourage children to read, particularly the 73% who said they’d read more if they could find books they liked. The Funny website is currently in beta mode, whilst the scheme gathers pace. Keep ’em peeled for our jolly logo appearing on kids books near you, soon.

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The Heart Index

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We were recently asked by Craig Atkinson and Grace Bond (of Sea Design and Bond & Coyne respectively) to contribute to their project The Heart Index. We were one of a number of design groups and illustrators asked to ‘visually interpret the heart’ in a medium of our choosing. You can see our heartfelt, musically honest submission above. We were also asked to write this short rationale to accompany our contribution:

For those of a certain age, the truest way to express the feelings of ones heart was via the medium of the mix tape or cassette compilation. These almost obsolete oblongs of brittle plastic and magnetic tape were once the repositories of heartfelt feeling the world over. Two sides and 90 minutes to reveal your musical heartbeat. Here’s ours, with love.

You can buy the resulting – and very beautiful – book via The Heart Index website.

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Workin’ nine to five

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Good to see our friend and former colleague Jamie Ellul – ex-partner at Magpie Studio, now founder of Supple Studio – talking in Design Week about flexibility. Specifically, he makes some interesting and thoughtful points about the way in which designers work and the often inflexible and unimaginative working practices of our creative industry. Knowing that we’re keen on flexibility here at BB, Jamie asked director Matt to contribute some thoughts. You can read the short, insightful piece here. Lovely typography above designed by Jamie. Presumably not on his DadDay.

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Kedgeree at 54B

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Every month at 54B, one lucky winner gets to prepare lunch for the whole office. Depending on the day, that’s 20–25 ravenous creative/digital types. This month Dom rustled up that rice classic, Kedgeree. He nostalgically recalled – “My Mum used to make kedge for our larger than average family. I’m one of eight you know! It was a real crowd pleaser back then, so I thought it was a safe bet”. 20–25 less ravenous creative/digital types have now confirmed this to be the case. With Indian cakes from Ambala on Brick Lane for desert, everyone piled on a further 600 calories and then headed back to their desks to rehydrate.

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