YouTube’s top trending videos of the year

YouTube Rewind compiles the most viewed, shared and talked about videos of the year. 2013’s global top ten includes three ads amongst a collection of content whose popularity may be mystifying to anyone other than teenage boys…

Trending videos are those that have been embedded in popular sites on the web and viewed by a significant number of people on both YouTube and external sites. Here’s a run-down, in reverse order, of the top ten trending worldwide plus a look at the top UK videos and the most popular music promos.

 

10, Mozart vs Skrillex. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 2 by ERB

Most of this two-minute video revolves around poo jokes and quips about Mozart’s dad issues – yet it’s had more than 42 million views since April. This will no doubt baffle adult audiences and anyone who has no idea who Skrillex is but the Epic Rap Battle series has enjoyed staggering success this year. The list of world leaders, celebrities and musicians that can be pitted against each other in spoof vocal battles is endless, big names rank highly in search results and, as viewers are encouraged to vote for a winner, there’s a high level of engagement – some videos in the series, such as Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney, have received more than half a million comments.

 

9, THE NFL : A Bad Lip Reading by BadLipReading

As 80 percent of YouTube’s audience is based outside the US, it seems surprising that a National Football League video is the ninth top trending worldwide – but this is one of a hugely popular series from BadLipReading that dubs ridiculous comments over films, TV shows and sporting clips. In the NFL video, athletes, coaches and managers appear to throw hissy fits demanding cake, spit in each others’ drinks and reveal details of one night stands.

 

8, Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise by CarrieNYC/ThinkModo

The first of three ads that have made the top ten this year, this video promoting a remake of horror film Carrie received more than 50 million views and global media attention. An elaborately staged prank featuring remote-controlled furniture, a fake wall and a stuntman, it shows customers in a New York coffee shop aghast as one customer (an actress) appears to throw another against a wall using telekinetic powers.

The video’s success is proof of the viral power of ‘prankvertising’, a tactic that has proved hugely successful for ThinkModo this year (the New York agency has also staged zombie invasions and a fake murder in the city). It’s a format, however, that should still be treated with caution to avoid a PR disaster.

 

7, YOLO (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) by thelonelyisland

Comedy group The Lonely Island has been making spoof pop videos since 2005. They’ve recruited an impressive line-up of stars from Justin Timberlake to Lady Gaga, and while the format is starting to feel a little tired, it’s still pleasing YouTube audiences – YOLO had more than 53 million views.

 

6, Volvo Trucks – The Epic Split feat. Van Damme by VolvoTrucks/Forsman Bodenfors

Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits. Between a pair of moving trucks. This video for Volvo Trucks, one of a series of stunt-based ads for the brand, needs little explanation and has been watched more than 59 million times in less than a month. Proof that sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best. (Read our blog post on the ad here).

 

5, Baby&Me by EvianBabies/BETC

In 2008, Evian’s first roller babies ad was crowned the most viewed online video of all time. Five years later, audiences are still enjoying watching babies jump and spin like adults thanks to CGI trickery. The latest instalment has had over 67 million views, and apps allowing users to view their dancing baby self have also proved successful.

 

4, Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball (Chatroulette Version) by SteveKardynal

Miley Cyrus’ controversial and wildly popular Wrecking Ball video has elicited all kinds of parodies this year – a quick Google search reveals covers from Radio 1 DJs and even hedgehogs. This video made by a user on chat site Chat Roulette was the most successful. The split screen device offers added humour, allowing viewers to watch other Chat Roulette users bemused and horrified reactions.

 

3, How Animals Eat Their Food by MisterEpicMann

Perhaps the most ridiculous video we’ve seen all year, this features two grown men eating at a table: one who sits quietly munching his dinner while the other re-enacts the eating habits of hogs, kangaroos, flamingos and elephants. It’s slapstick humour at its silliest but has been watched more than 88 million times and was the most trending overall in the UK.

 

2, Harlem Shake (original army edition) by kennethaakonsen

In 2012, it was Gangnam Style. In 2013, the most widely parodied dance online was the Harlem Shake. Office workers, chat show hosts, teens in their bedrooms and politicians have all had a go but the most watched spoof was made by a group of Norwegian soldiers. Presumably, this one topped the list for being the most bizarre: two men wriggle in sleeping bags, two more dance while buttoned inside the same shirt and another shuffles in skis.

1, Ylvis – The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?) by tvnorge

Norwegian DJ duo Ylvis’ What Does the Fox Say? is a spoof video made to promote the pair’s TV talk show. Much like last year’s top trending video, Gangnam Style, it features all the key ingredients of a viral song and music vid: limited (and therefore memorable) lyrics, an infuriatingly catchy tune and easy to copy dance routines. It also features grown men dressed up as foxes making animal noises, so should please toddlers and younger audiences as well as teens. As well as enjoying staggering success on YouTube – it’s had more than 279 million views – the song is now the highest-ranking chart entry by a Norwegian artist since a-ha released Take on Me in 1985.

 

Top trending videos in the UK

Only two videos from the global top ten appeared in the UK’s top trending – how animals eat their food was number one, followed by the harlem shake army video at number six.

Other videos featured include Tom Fletcher from pop band McFly’s Wedding Speech, which he composed out of lyrics from the band’s songs (a subtle plug for their re-union tour, perhaps?), two acts from Britain’s Got Talent, Will Smith and his son Jaden re-enacting a dance from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air on Graham Norton and a black and white cartoon sketch show by British comedy producer Thomas Ridgewell.

 

People are Awesome, which features a series of people doing jumps, dives and outrageous sporting stunts also made the UK top ten, as did Tom Daley’s video confession that he is in a same sex relationship, released last week. The tenth most popular was a Learn the Alphabet video featuring children’s cartoon character Peppa Pig, proof of the growing number of toddlers watching YouTube and its potential as an educational tool. You can see the full list and a video about it here.

 

Top trending music videos

Unsurprisingly, US acts featured heavily in the list of top trending music videos this year, but Swedish DJ Avicii and British producer Naughty Boy also featured, ranking eighth and tenth respectively. Korean rapper Psy topped the list for the second year running with his video Gentleman, which has had more than 599 million views, followed by Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball (viewed 379 million times).

 

Katy Perry, Robin Thicke, Rihana and Selena Gomez videos also made the list, proving that scantily clad and/or beautiful females are still almost guaranteed to achieve viral success. The list is no surprise given the chart success of top ranking artists, but a real shame considering the wealth of great, original videos we’ve seen this year, particularly at the UK Music Video Awards.

So what can we learn from the top trending videos of this year? For brands, it demonstrates the power of the PR stunt (a subject we wrote about back in May). As audiences are swamped with channels, ads need to be ever more inventive to get our attention and prank or stunt-based spots are likely to be both widely shared on social media and widely written about by journalists. For relatively little expensive, advertisers can reach millions – particularly if the stunt or prank featured needs no translation.

Not one video on the list correlates to a major event in 2013 – last year, Felix Baumgartner’s freefall made number 10 and Obama and Romney’s rap battle ranked fith – and despite the success of animal memes and dog and cat gifs, no animal videos featured in the UK or global top ten. Dance crazes, pop music and silly spoofs, however, still dominate the internet.

On YouTube’s Rewind channel, you can watch a video summary and see lists from around the world, including the full music video and UK top ten lists. Google will also be posting a year in review video on Zeitgeist next week.

One brand, 50 logos: Music’s localised branding for five-a-side pitch provider Powerleague

Powerleague was founded in Paisley in 1987 and now runs football centres in the UK and in Amsterdam, offering five and seven-a-side pitches, classes, tournaments and children’s parties. The rebrand forms part of a £40 million expansion plan – Powerleague plans to open 13 new centres in southeast England in the next three years and has ambitions to become ‘the undisputed home of five-a-side’ in Britain and abroad.

The company’s new branding gives each centre its own logo in the style of a football club crest. Designs were created in-house at Music and reference local landmarks, culture and heritage, while avoiding colours or symbols associated with football teams in each area.

Tottenham’s crest references historic tower Bruce Castle and the pink icing on Tottenham Cakes, while Birmingham’s depicts the intertwining roads of Spaghetti Junction. Hamilton’s features a knight which appears on the town’s coat of arms, while Paisley’s references the now world-famous Paisley print.

Music ECD David Simpson says the aim was to create an identity that wouldn’t feel “too corporate”. The concept was inspired by the idea of local pride and community – 90% of Powerleague players live within 10 miles of their local centre and the brand was keen to promote each centre as a hub for local football, offering not just pitches but classes and community events.

“We researched each club and found the right story on which to build the crests,” says Simpson. “We wanted them to be authentic and have meaning, but we also needed to steer clear of any affiliation with football clubs in the area.

“Most of the ideas came pretty easily, but we did spend time making sure we had the overall feel of the badges right,” he adds. “We wanted them to have the right mix of modern and traditional, with enough differentiation but also enough similarities that the identity would hold together across all clubs…. The idea is that individual clubs can create their own collateral … we love the idea of a local artist doing something inside (or outside) a club, for example.”

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Sheffield’s crest is inspired by the city’s steel heritage – orange and white stripes represent hot steel coming out of the furnace and form an S shape. Tottenham’s crest features a graphic representation of Bruce Tower while Blackburn’s features the red of the Lancashire rose and a reference to the origins of its name, which means ‘black burn’ or black river
Crests2
Sighthill’s crest references local landmark Arthur’s Seat, Paisley’s creates a football shape out of the Paisley pattern and the flaming cannonball in Portobello’s references  an old crest of the town featuring a cannon and ship. It’s believed that the name derived from these two elements, Port, the section of the ship and Bello, the sound of cannon fire. Adam Rix and David Simpson worked with Music designers Dan Lancaster and Lottie Brzozowski to create the crests

Alongside the new logos, Music has created a comprehensive identity system that combines “cool and relaxed” imagery by Sarah Jones with a monochrome colour palette and rounded sans typeface LL Brown. Jones’s images include portraits of players and supporters as well as shots of goal celebrations and friends watching a match.

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Powerleague and its sub-brands have also been given individual crests
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Powerleague’s comprehensive brand book, with guidance on logos, type, tone of voice and photography

The Powerleague Group and its sub-brands, the Powerleague Foundation and Powerplay (which runs five-a-side leagues) have also been given new shield-shaped logos: Powerleague’s is black-and-white, Powerplay’s, bright green and the Foundation’s, a warm shade of orange.

New guidelines on copywriting and tone of voice recommend that brand copy should be concise, upbeat, engaging and informal without being over-friendly. Copy for brand centres in Manchester and Wembley combine gentle humour with references to the local area and ads promoting pitches will feature short and direct lines such as: ‘Get yourself booked. Call your mates. Choose your slot.’

Club Copy_Press Release_Manchester Central

Club Copy_Press Release_Wembley
Brand copy for local centres. The brand’s tone of voice is intended to be friendly, informal and concise

“It was important to get the right balance [between being informal and respectful],” explains Simpson. “Football has a chequered past and football culture amongst lads can veer over the wrong side of the line. We wanted welcoming with wit, to reflect the positives of modern football.”

Marketing director Caspar Nelson, who worked with Music on the rebrand, says the identity aims to reflect Powerleague’s aim of making football “welcoming and accessible” while giving club owners more autonomy to produce their own communications.

The branding is designed to appeal to all age groups and both men and women – not just people who play at centres, but those who might come to watch matches or hold a private event in a function room.

Simpson says it replaces an inconsistent and outdated identity that didn’t reflect the company’s focus on the community aspect of football – the brand’s previous logo featured an uninspiring italicised word mark in a green box.

Powerleague Brand Image 4

Powerleague Brand Image 5
Brand imagery shot by photographer Sarah Jones

“The logo had been around for a long time, created when the business was in a very different place, and was just that – a logo,” says Simpson. “Beyond that … any visual identity that did exist, or guidelines, were largely ignored.

“We felt that the overall impression of this was very corporate and didn’t reflect any of the values that you might associate with football, a place where football is played or a football club. People are passionate about football, it’s important to them – their team, the colours, the league they play in, the friends they play with. We wanted an identity that reflected this,” he adds.

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Powerleague’s website
Powerleague Website 03
Powerleague’s website

Keen-eyed sports fans will recall that the American MLS (Major League Soccer) adopted a customisable shield device when it rebranded in 2014, replacing its football logo with a shape that could be adapted to carry the colours of competing teams.

Music’s identity uses the symbol to create a dynamic system that gives each local centre its own look and feel, while still being instantly recognisable as part of the Powerleague group. The new look is fresh and contemporary but crests provide a nod to footballing heritage and the symbols used by football teams since the game’s early days.

Powerleague Staff Uniform 2
Staff uniforms
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Mocked-up ads showing the new branding

The Gentlewoman’s Penny Martin on evolving a magazine and making great covers

So you want to publish a magazine? is packed with advice for aspiring publishers. The book covers every aspect of launching a new title – from developing an initial concept to working with advertisers, printers and distributors – and each chapter contains case studies on successful magazines and interviews with industry experts. In our second extract from the book, Angharad Lewis talks to Penny Martin, editor-in-chief of The Gentlewoman, about creating great covers and trying to make each issue better than the last…

The biannual women’s magazine The Gentlewoman was launched in 2010 by the publisher of Fantastic Man, writes Angharad Lewis. Defying conventions about women’s magazines and fashion titles, it has carved out a unique place in the publishing firmament with intelligent, witty journalism, exemplary standards in design and photography, and a focus on real women’s lives, rather than products and slavish adherence to commercial fashion cycles. At the helm is Penny Martin, a former academic, a curator and previously editor-in-chief of the pioneering fashion website SHOWstudio

The Gentlewoman, issue 7, Spring/Summer 2013, Beyoncé photographed by Alasdair McLellan and issue 5, Spring/Summer 2012, Christy Turlington photographed by Inez & Vinood. Images courtesy of The Gentlewoman. Lead image (top): Penny Martin © Ivan Jones
The Gentlewoman, issue 7, Spring/Summer 2013, Beyoncé photographed by Alasdair McLellan and
issue 5, Spring/Summer 2012, Christy Turlington photographed by Inez & Vinood. Images courtesy of The Gentlewoman. Lead image (top): Penny Martin © Ivan Jones

Is the cover the hardest bit [of putting the magazine together]?

Well, if I say ‘the Beyoncé issue’ or the ‘Adele issue’, that cover image comes to represent an entire six months of work – all ten interviews, seven essays and eight fashion stories. So it’s a crucial symbol. Plus there’s a long stretch of shelf life from one issue to the next, so you have to feel confident that you’ll want to live through the production process with that cover, and then live through the following six months of it being on the newsstand and in the image at the foot of your email. It’s the person you’re constantly interviewed about; you end up having a really intimate relationship with the cover star, whether you personally interviewed her or not.

The Gentlewoman, issue 3, Spring/Summer 2011, Adele photographed by Alasdair McLellan and issue 9, Spring/Summer 2014, Vivienne Westwood photographed by Alasdair McLellan
The Gentlewoman, issue 3, Spring/Summer 2011, Adele photographed by Alasdair McLellan and issue 9, Spring/Summer 2014, Vivienne Westwood photographed by Alasdair McLellan. Images courtesy of The Gentlewoman

You’ve achieved a few surprises and talking points with your covers. The Angela Lansbury cover [no. 6, Autumn/Winter 2012] is cited a lot for featuring an 86-year-old woman. Are you breaking expectations about fashion publishing?

Well, she’d been on my list since I first had my job interview, so it wasn’t a case of ‘Wow, wouldn’t we capture media attention with her?’ I just knew it would be a brilliant shoot. And it’s great that she’s been so much in the public imagination since the issue came out: she got her honorary Oscar [Academy Honorary Award, 2013], she got her damehood [Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire ‘for services to drama and to charitable work and philanthropy’, 2014], she’s been on in the West End [Driving Miss Daisy, 2013; Blithe Spirit, 2014]. It’s been wonderful that we got mixed up with that late-career renaissance; it’s been to our huge advantage. That image – you wouldn’t believe the number of people who stop me to talk about it.

Adele was another turning point for us, because she really came to mass prominence around the time that third issue was out [Spring/Summer 2011], when her album sold all those millions of copies and she won big at the Brits. It really clarified our position on the whole plus-size topic, which was always going to be an issue for us, as a women’s magazine, without us even having to acknowledge it. You know, we featured Adele and Angela because they’re brilliant at what they do and they’re really lovely women, not because of their size or age. But it’s really nice to think that, rather than exploiting them to stage some phoney debate, those covers turned them into contemporary fashion icons.

How do you keep the magazine evolving?

If an outsider came to the first editorial meeting after an issue is back from the printers, they’d think none of us liked the magazine – ‘That was a disaster, this didn’t work …’ – but it’s just that we’re Scottish and German and Dutch and that’s how candid and fanatical it is in here. Everyone’s completely focused on making sure each issue’s better than the last. That said, I’ve found at other places I’ve worked that you’ve got to learn to make space for pleasure and joy as well as for critique and perfectionism, otherwise it can be a bit destructive.

The Gentlewoman, issue 7, Spring/Summer 2013, Jekka McVicar photographed by Paul Wetherell
The Gentlewoman, issue 7, Spring/Summer 2013, Jekka McVicar photographed by Paul Wetherell

You have certain carefully defined aspects visually and editorially in the structure of the magazine, but there is also evolution. How much was that intended from the start?

It’s in the character of the people who work here that we never want to repeat things; if we have editorial formats, we don’t want them to become too fixed. Some can be great, like the ‘Modernisms’ interviews at the beginning of the magazine. We ran those in the first two or three issues and then began to wonder if we should change that section, but we decided [not to], that they were our equivalent of shopping pages, except that they prioritized conversation over product. It’s an important distinction. There are components of a grid, but the magazine pretty much gets redesigned from scratch every time, when the assets come in. You can be far more experimental that way. And Jop and Veronica have very high standards. They come from a Dutch graphic-design background, which means their approach is very editorially led.

I think it’s rare to have art directors who find it necessary to understand and to some extent shape the editorial direction. And then they’ve got an editor who was very involved in photography [Martin was a curator at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, as well as working with Nick Knight on SHOWstudio]. It’s a very luxurious situation, where we’re able to step on one another’s toes a little bit – it’s not too departmental or territorial.

What are the key things for an aspiring magazine to get right for a launch issue?

You just need a really good idea that’s very clearly expressed. Not everybody is going to see that issue, but if you get it right, it will act as a kind of mission statement for your readers and your team.

SYWTPB_WEB

So you want to publish a magazine? is published by Laurence King on August 5 and costs £19.95. Angharad Lewis is co-editor of Grafik magazine and a tutor at The Cass School of Design. 

To celebrate the book’s launch, Laurence King is offering a 35% discount for readers of CR – enter code ‘CR35’ at checkout.  You can order copies here.

Talentspotting 2016 in the wild

From the 11th to the 31st of July a 1000 JCDecaux digital screens across the country displayed art and design work of 11 fresh graduates, chosen by the Creative Review editorial team. This Talentspotting project was our way of supporting young creative talent, something we are passionate about at CR.

Alan Vest's illustration of him and his father
Alan Vest’s illustration of him and his father

Located at some of the country’s busiest railway stations and shopping centres, these screens were pretty hard to miss. Each screen was captioned with the student’s name and university, and you can read the full list of graduates and find out more about their work at creativereview.co.uk/talentspotting

Fredrik Andersson's work at a railway station
Fredrik Andersson’s work at a railway station

Just like it was in 2015, the project was well received with plenty of spotters posting images on Twitter and Instagram. You can follow the project on our social channels, just search for the hashtag #CRtalentspotting

Illustration by Hattie Clark from Bath Spa University
Illustration by Hattie Clark from Bath Spa University

 

Mondo’s head of design Hugo Cornejo on designing a digital bank


In October last year, a survey by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority revealed that over half of banking customers in Britain had been with the same current account provider for ten years. In the same study, over a third said they had been with their bank for twenty. Many of these people are happy customers with little reason to change – but there are others who stay either because switching is too much hassle or because the competition doesn’t seem all that different.

A new group of banking startups is attempting to rival legacy banks with mobile services that make it easier to manage your money online. Atom, backed by Spanish bank BBVA, became the first mobile-only bank to receive a licence from the Bank of England last summer, followed by Tandem a few months later and now, Mondo is hoping to follow in its competitors’ footsteps.

Mondo was founded by digital entrepreneur Tom Blomfield and a handful of former colleagues from banking startup Starling. Mondo is still awaiting its banking licence but currently offers a prepaid Mastercard debit card and an app allowing you to view transactions and send and receive payments. The app is still in beta but has over 20,000 users and a waiting list of over 150,000.

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Mondo’s logo

What’s most surprising about Mondo is how easy it is to get setup and track your spending online. There’s none of the usual faff associated with opening a bank account – just subscribe to the waiting list and, when your card is ready, you’ll be asked to transfer £100 to your account to receive it. Mondo verifies each customer’s identity by asking them to record a short video clip and take a photograph of their passport or driving license from within the app, meaning no paperwork or proof of address is required.

Payments show up almost instantly – buy a coffee in the morning and you’ll receive a push notification showing what you’ve spent, complete with a coffee cup emoji (see above). Your available balance is updated immediately and transactions are clearly displayed with the name of the company and its logo. Sending money to other users is equally straightforward – tap ‘send money’, select a name from your phonebook and funds will be instantly added to their account. If your card is lost or stolen, you can freeze it from within the app and defrost it if you find it again, or order a new one.

All of this may sound fairly unremarkable – features that should be commonplace in mobile banking apps. But they’re not. In most apps offered by legacy banks, payments won’t show up for two or three days and when they do, they appear as a complicated transaction number, making it difficult to remember what the payment was for, when it took place and how much money is left in your account. Doing anything other than viewing a balance or paying a bill usually requires logging in to a computer or making a call to a helpline.

Hugo Cornejo, who heads up Mondo’s design team (made up of Cornejo, graphic designer Samuel Michael and product designer Zander Brade), says its app aims to deliver the same level of service customers are used to seeing from the likes of Netflix or Amazon. “The most important thing, for me, is that it works like any other world class service you use. If I need to send someone something I use Dropbox or WeTransfer and it just works. If I want to call a car on Uber or upload a picture on Instagram I tap a button and it works. That’s what Mondo should do,” he says. Cornejo says the company does “a huge amount of work behind-the-scenes” to make it easier for customers to see what they’re spending and where – something that legacy banks, with their outdated storage systems and technology, are struggling to do.

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Mondo’s eye catching debit cards

In its visual identity and tone of voice, Mondo takes a very different approach from brick-and-mortar banks. Its colourful logo is designed with iPhone home screens in mind, its cards are fluorescent orange and customer messages feature cheerful emoji and exclamation marks. The app has a simple layout but features some lovely animations – a running card character appears alongside a short message when your card is on the way, adding some humour and visual interest to what would otherwise be a dull holding page.

“I think we are quite good at separating the architecture and interior design of things,” says Cornejo. “We have a very functional building – the app is very fast, it’s easy to use and you can find your way around easily, but there are rooms and corridors where you have to wait. That’s where you can have animations and where you can delight, when there is no immediate action to perform, because people are in the mood for that. A legacy bank will probably tell you ‘Your request has been accepted’ and talk like a robot but we show you a lovely little guy running with your card to tell you it’s on its way. Both things mean the same, but those little details show we care, they’re more human,” he says.

MondoApp
Payments show up almost instantly – often accompanied by emoji

 

Mondo’s focus on transparency and offering a human touch has been key to its success so far. The company posts regular articles on its blog about what the team is working on and has a community forum where beta users can offer feedback – from complaints and concerns to suggestions for new features. Everyone at Mondo is asked to work on customer support from time to time, chatting with customers and answering their questions within the app, and the company regularly invites users in to hear what they think of the service so far. On the community forum, members of the team respond to users in detail, asking them questions about their comments and in some cases, updating or tweaking the app in response to their suggestions.

“Sometimes there are things that aren’t perfect but we listen to customers and we say sorry and we fix them. I think there’s tonnes of value in that, in seeing the people behind this – it’s not so common in banking,” says Cornejo.

For the design team, this has proved an invaluable experience. “I wasn’t particularly sold on the idea in the beginning because as a designer, if you’re working on something and it’s not finished, but you want to see what people think of it, you need to adjust your own expectations and perfectionism. But the feedback has been great,” he adds. “A lot of people will ask about features we’ve already thought of … but sometimes they will tell us things we didn’t know – like an Apple update that can help make the app more secure.”

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Mondo allows users to send money instantly to other Mondo customers and turn on push notifications which alert users to how much they’ve spent each day

Mondo has also opened up its API, allowing developers to use its software to create apps and widgets that are compatible with Mondo. It regularly runs hackathons to see what coders can create using its technology and has a developer forum where coders can share what they’ve done.

“It means that anyone can go and build apps for themselves using Mondo,” explains Cornejo. “For example, we don’t have a Windows app currently, but if you have a Windows phone, you can go and build your own,” adds Cornejo. “We get good insights from what people are trying to build, whether it’s things related to notifications or things that connect Mondo to other apps,” he says. Recent ideas to come out of a hackathon include the ability to connect Mondo with other services such as Citymapper, allowing the app to suggest cheaper routes or times to travel to customers, and a desktop widget allowing you to view your balance on a Mac.

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As well as providing Mondo with ideas for future development, working closely with customers and developers has helped the company understand what does and doesn’t work in its service and what needs to be improved on while the app is still in beta.

“It’s totally pragmatic. If we rolled out an app and no-one liked it and it doesn’t work, we’d have wasted a lot of money … you’re basically building a trap for yourself. You could get away with it and everyone could love your product, but it could go the other way. We haven’t made any big mistakes yet but with small mistakes, you can fix things easily and you learn and make things better. If you do everything behind the scenes, you might not see a problem until it’s too late.”

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On the Mondo app, users can view a list of transactions and search by date or retailer

“I think it’s really important in finance as well,” he continues. “People manage their money in very different ways … and you can’t simulate that, you need to speak to many people and start identifying patterns and then you learn tonnes of valuable stuff.”

Cornejo admits that Mondo’s customer base is currently made up of early adopters – mostly, affluent males with a keen interest in tech. “It used to just be people around Old Street and that’s not longer the case but we still have a huge bias,” he says. The app is unlikely to appeal to those who prefer to do their banking in person but once it receives its licence, and can offer full current accounts, Cornejo hopes it will attract anyone who already uses mobile apps to shop, chat or manage their life and is frustrated with some of the inefficiencies that exist in digital banking.

“People always say it’s just millennials but it’s not, it’s anyone who lives their life on their phone, to a certain degree, and trusts their phone and expects good services out of it,” he says. “If it doesn’t bother you that banks aren’t very good at giving information in real time, or that they aren’t very transparent, then you’re not going to see the value in us probably, but if you’re that person who started using Amazon or Deliveroo and thought, ‘this is amazing’…. That mentality is growing,” he adds. With its customer base mainly growing by word of mouth, Cornejo says the team must now figure out how to reach people who aren’t friends or fans of Mondo and convince them of its benefits. Key to that, he says, is making a service that “just works”.

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Geolocation features also show users where transactions were made

When designing a banking experience, one of the biggest challenges is creating something that feels new and different but is sensitive to customers’ expectations. There are certain things people expect from a bank, whether in terms of security or printed communications – for example, a welcome letter with your card or a pin number delivered in the post. Mondo sends pins via text, recommending users update them immediately – a move that has been questioned by users concerned over security on its forum.

“That’s such a difficult problem because many of those expectations are built on things that are not real anymore – for example, every time you pay there’s this concept of pending transactions,” he says. “Basically, you buy a coffee in the morning, open your app and the coffee’s not there – it’s going to take two days to show up, because in those two days, technically the transaction is pending, so it can settle or it can not. In 99.999% of cases it does settle, so we removed that obstruction. If it doesn’t settle, we’ll remove [the payment] but the default is that it will show up instantly. Some people had problems with that because they’re so used to the classic way of doing things – they almost miss it to a certain degree. I think for things that don’t happen so often, you can have a more old school approach, so you can push a bit harder with the things that happen everyday and hopefully raise people’s expectations,” he adds.

With its current accounts, Mondo hopes to allow customers to set up overdrafts, direct debits and standing orders. Eventually, it plans to create “a financial hub” for customers – a service that can connect with other apps to help customers manage their money more efficiently and even secure mortgages by allowing Mondo to share data with providers and compile a list of competitive offers.

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Customers can freeze their card if it is lost…

Whether Mondo can retain its personal touch as it grows bigger remains to be seen, but with its user-centred approach to design and a small and nimble creative team, it has a clear advantage over traditional high street banks when it comes to innovation.

“Traditional banks are packed with really smart and talented people – I’ve worked for banks in Spain and they have some of the best designers, in beautiful massive offices in the city … but the problem is their organisations aren’t ready to be innovative. They built their systems in the sixties and seventies, so there’s usually room somewhere that’s still running software that is really old, and you have teams building things that are never going to be released. We built our technology a year-and-a-half ago, so it’s state of the art, and when we build things, they show up in the app three or four days later. It’s a very small and lean time and a very quick turnaround – a designer, that’s amazing,” he says.

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…and defrost if it they find it again

For startups like Mondo – and Atom, Starling and Tandem – this ability to innovate quickly and deliver a more user-friendly service is their biggest selling point. Without the heritage of a legacy bank, or a reassuring physical presence on the high street, their success lies in putting customers’ needs first to deliver a service that people both enjoy using and come to trust. “We try to make common sense business decisions of course but all of our decisions are focused on making a better product, something that people will love and I think the whole company is based on that,” says Cornejo.

As Cornejo points out, many legacy banks aren’t quite so interested in putting customer’s needs at the heart of their service. Banks have a vested interest in a customer’s balance falling below zero – most of them charge a fee for doing so – so it’s little surprise they’re not rushing to help people track their spending and avoid being overdrawn. But with rival companies like Mondo, Atom, Starlight and Tandem attracting hundreds of thousands of users, it’s clear these banks will have to up their game – and provide a more efficient and transparent service – if they want to keep hold of those long-standing customers.

Strangely familiar – the type of Stranger Things

Like most of us at studio Nelson Cash, you’ve probably heard about Netflix’s latest cult show Stranger Things from your best friend or work buddy.

And if you’re like me, you innocently pushed play on a work night and by midnight realised the scene in your living room was looking a lot like that one Portlandia skit.

Yes, the show is really that good. But what got me? Besides brilliant character development, a killer score, and all those warm and fuzzy nods to my youth?

These 52 seconds:

As a person who spends her days trying to effectively communicate with people through design, I recognised another star on the screen: that typography, tho.

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The Stranger Things title sequence is pure, unadulterated typographic porn. With television shows opting for more elaborate title sequences (think GOT and True Detective), the opening of Stranger Things is refreshingly simple. It trims the fat and shows only what is necessary to set the mood.

More importantly, it proves a lesson I’ve learned time and time again as a designer: you can do a lot with type.

But how do a few pans of a logo accomplish so much in such a short amount of time? I break down its typographic success to three powerful plays: recognition, scale and palette.

Recognition

The Stranger Things logo probably looks strangely familiar, taking you back to an era when Stephen King reigned supreme.

The show’s creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, directly cite King as the inspiration behind the show’s logo, having sent copies of King’s novels to Imaginary Forces, the creative studio behind the title sequence.

Stephen King novel covers, the inspiration behind the Stranger Things logo
Stephen King novel covers, the inspiration behind the Stranger Things logo

Immediately recognisable to anyone that lived through the 80s, those covers bring chills to your spine.

Using a modified version of the distinctive typeface Benguiat, the Stranger Things logo respectfully and effectively plays on that recognition in the title sequence, setting the mood for what is to follow.

Scale 

Glowing red lines enter the frame. One might think they’re simple shapes at first, but soon you realise it’s a close up of the joint of N, the arc of R, the spine of S.

They’re so close you can make out individual specks of film grain. Gets your heart going a bit, amiright?

An extreme close up of the joint of N
An extreme close up of the joint of N

An extreme close up is a cinematic technique that when used sparingly and with intent can invoke intense emotion from the viewer. By getting up close and personal, the viewer reaches a new level of intimacy with the scene.

This intimacy causes the viewer to become vulnerable, and vulnerability elicits a deeper emotion – in this case, unease or even fear.

Palette

Finding the right combination of typefaces can be tiresome. Although there are no rules, there are some techniques designers use to guide us through the process.

Using some of these techniques, the pairing of decorative serif Benguiat and geometric sans serif Avant Garde builds a typographic palette that effectively sets the tone for the show.

Decorative serif Benguiat was smartly paired with geometric sans serif Avant Garde
Decorative serif Benguiat was smartly paired with geometric sans serif Avant Garde

What particularly interests me about the two typefaces is their historical alliance.

Each was designed by typographic heroes and old pals, Ed Benguiat (Benguiat) and Herb Lubalin (Avant Garde). Each was released by ITC in the 1970s. And each was inspired by distinct art movements of the early twentieth century  –  Benguiat by Art Nouveau and Avant Garde by Bauhaus.

The 1980s revived retro typography from various art periods in a way that brought new meaning to their use.

By using them again in 2016, as the Stranger Things team did so brilliantly, we are reminded of the historical power of typography, the transcendental property of design, and the nostalgia that lives forever in our hearts.

Note: I have since binge-watched the rest of the season. Bravo to the geniuses involved in the production of the show, with a special callout to the insanely talented team at Imaginary Forces. Credit for images used throughout this article goes to designer and animator Eric Demeusy.

Sarah Gless is a designer at Nelson Cash in Chicago, nelsoncash.com. This article originally appeared on blog.nelsoncash.com and is republished with permission.

Strangely familiar – the type of Stranger Things

Like most of us at studio Nelson Cash, you’ve probably heard about Netflix’s latest cult show Stranger Things from your best friend or work buddy.

And if you’re like me, you innocently pushed play on a work night and by midnight realised the scene in your living room was looking a lot like that one Portlandia skit.

Yes, the show is really that good. But what got me? Besides brilliant character development, a killer score, and all those warm and fuzzy nods to my youth?

These 52 seconds:

As a person who spends her days trying to effectively communicate with people through design, I recognised another star on the screen: that typography, tho.

GWylEE2h_400x400

The Stranger Things title sequence is pure, unadulterated typographic porn. With television shows opting for more elaborate title sequences (think GOT and True Detective), the opening of Stranger Things is refreshingly simple. It trims the fat and shows only what is necessary to set the mood.

More importantly, it proves a lesson I’ve learned time and time again as a designer: you can do a lot with type.

But how do a few pans of a logo accomplish so much in such a short amount of time? I break down its typographic success to three powerful plays: recognition, scale and palette.

Recognition

The Stranger Things logo probably looks strangely familiar, taking you back to an era when Stephen King reigned supreme.

The show’s creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, directly cite King as the inspiration behind the show’s logo, having sent copies of King’s novels to Imaginary Forces, the creative studio behind the title sequence.

Stephen King novel covers, the inspiration behind the Stranger Things logo
Stephen King novel covers, the inspiration behind the Stranger Things logo

Immediately recognisable to anyone that lived through the 80s, those covers bring chills to your spine.

Using a modified version of the distinctive typeface Benguiat, the Stranger Things logo respectfully and effectively plays on that recognition in the title sequence, setting the mood for what is to follow.

Scale 

Glowing red lines enter the frame. One might think they’re simple shapes at first, but soon you realise it’s a close up of the joint of N, the arc of R, the spine of S.

They’re so close you can make out individual specks of film grain. Gets your heart going a bit, amiright?

An extreme close up of the joint of N
An extreme close up of the joint of N

An extreme close up is a cinematic technique that when used sparingly and with intent can invoke intense emotion from the viewer. By getting up close and personal, the viewer reaches a new level of intimacy with the scene.

This intimacy causes the viewer to become vulnerable, and vulnerability elicits a deeper emotion – in this case, unease or even fear.

Palette

Finding the right combination of typefaces can be tiresome. Although there are no rules, there are some techniques designers use to guide us through the process.

Using some of these techniques, the pairing of decorative serif Benguiat and geometric sans serif Avant Garde builds a typographic palette that effectively sets the tone for the show.

Decorative serif Benguiat was smartly paired with geometric sans serif Avant Garde
Decorative serif Benguiat was smartly paired with geometric sans serif Avant Garde

What particularly interests me about the two typefaces is their historical alliance.

Each was designed by typographic heroes and old pals, Ed Benguiat (Benguiat) and Herb Lubalin (Avant Garde). Each was released by ITC in the 1970s. And each was inspired by distinct art movements of the early twentieth century  –  Benguiat by Art Nouveau and Avant Garde by Bauhaus.

The 1980s revived retro typography from various art periods in a way that brought new meaning to their use.

By using them again in 2016, as the Stranger Things team did so brilliantly, we are reminded of the historical power of typography, the transcendental property of design, and the nostalgia that lives forever in our hearts.

Note: I have since binge-watched the rest of the season. Bravo to the geniuses involved in the production of the show, with a special callout to the insanely talented team at Imaginary Forces. Credit for images used throughout this article goes to designer and animator Eric Demeusy.

Sarah Gless is a designer at Nelson Cash in Chicago, nelsoncash.com. This article originally appeared on blog.nelsoncash.com and is republished with permission.

Gradwatch: Kate Sturney

CR: What lead you to study photography?

KS: Photography is a great format of expressing emotion through visual materials. After doing a shoot, i feel somewhat proud of the idea that what may be seen in one person’s eyes, could mean something the complete opposite in another. Part of the beauty in photography is the endless interpretations taken from it, one of the reasons why i love to study this subject.
Photograph by Kate Sturney
Photograph by Kate Sturney
CR: What’s the craziest thing you had to do when taking a photograph?  
KS: I’ve had many near death experiences from lying in the middle of the road to standing on the top of high buildings. The craziest time was when I spotted the most amazing shadow falling diagonally across a mechanic’s garage. He was in there fixing a car with a customer, I looked at my model and she gave me ‘the nod’ so i politely asked him if he could stop his work for me to use the location as a backdrop for my picture. We had all the mechanics and it’s customers staring at us whilst me and my model did our own thing to get the shot. Sometime you’ve just got to go out of your way and everyone else’s to get the best!
Photograph by Kate Sturney
Photograph by Kate Sturney
CR: Has any photographer or artist in particular influenced your style of work?
KS: During a lot of my university studies, Viviane Sassen played a vital part influencing my work. I analysed her work in every aspect and took a leap from photographing straight-forward, still posture and explored more movement and life in my pictures. I think I will always have a bit of Sassen in the back of my mind when I am photographing, she encouraged me to push my ideas, where i came to establish the new series of my work ‘I AM’ which explores the movement in finding and loosing yourself.
Photograph by Kate Sturney
Photograph by Kate Sturney
CR: What’s keeping you busy now that you have graduated?  
KS: I’m working a lot now – student loans and overdraft seem to have taken their toll on my bank balance! In the meantime, I’m using this time after graduating to ground myself. I’ve got some up and coming projects with clothing line’s in Cardiff which I am excited about, I love collaborating with young people and new brands because there are always fresh ideas floating around.
Photograph by Kate Sturney
Photograph by Kate Sturney
CR: Your dream project, what would it be?
KS: I think my dream project would be something to do with colour. I have an obsession with colours either clashing or everything in one image being the same colour. I imagine photographing a male model surrounded by nothing but pink…pink furniture, pink walls, pink fashion…the lot! I love working with current problems in society and putting to the test how uncomfortable things can be on the eye. The idea of a masculine body in it’s most feminine form sounds like it could stir up an opinion or two!!
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Kate Sturney’s photograph that was part of our 2016 Talentspotting initiative
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Sturney is one of the 11 graduates whose work has been selected by us to appear on JCDecaux digital screens all over the UK, including at major railway stations, shopping centres and roadways as a part of CR’s Talentspotting scheme. 

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Disegno founder Johanna Agerman Ross on launching a magazine

So you want to publish a magazine? is packed with useful advice for aspiring publishers. The book is divided into ten chapters covering every aspect of launching a new title, from developing an initial concept to working with advertisers, printers and distributors. Each chapter contains brief case studies on successful magazines and interviews with industry experts, including Monocle founder Tyler Brûlé and The Gentlewoman’s editor-in-chief Penny Martin.

Throughout this month, we’ll be publishing extracts from some of the interviews featured in the book – here, Angharad Lewis talks to Johanna Agerman Ross, who founded design journal Disegno in 2011…

Something of a rarity in the world of independent publishing, Disegno achieved early commercial success to the extent of paying for its own office and full-time staff of eight within three years, writes Angharad Lewis. It operates as part of a small two-magazine publishing venture and creative studio, Tack Press. Here, Agerman Ross reveals how meticulous planning, foresight about publishing trends and sympathetic appreciation for commercial partners have built a rock-solid base for her magazine business.

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Issue 3 of Disegno. Cover image by Ola Bergengren

What’s the publishing model for Disegno?

I can’t claim that it’s in any way revolutionary, because it’s supported by advertising, but I guess what I wanted to do differently was inspired by what I saw in the fashion biannual. There was a hunger from luxury brands to place their ads in nice-looking magazines twice a year. I didn’t feel the design magazine market had really clocked that.

I had been frustrated, in my previous role at Icon, that, editorially, fashion was a sideline. I always wanted it to be an equal part of looking at design. I saw Disegno as a chance for a more in-depth take on fashion writing.

In terms of business, I saw a niche. Just in 2014, three new design biannuals launched, so I guess Disegno has shown the way somehow. None are published by big publishing houses – all are independent – but it’s interesting that we have set a format that has been looked at by other people.

How did you fund the launch of Disegno?

The funding was made up of my own savings and a personal loan from a friend from my schooldays, whom I paid back after a year. But I also worked really hard on paper and print sponsorship, and I asked contributors to write and photograph for free in exchange for getting them to places – I paid for the trips to cover the stories I wanted in the magazine

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Disegno No.5. Cover image by Giles Prince, from a cover story on the Kumbh Mela, a religious pilgrimage in India

What part does your online platform, Disegno Daily, play in your publishing?

I decided that if we did a biannual, there would be more opportunity to build a website and keep that as a talking point, a place for discussion and for keeping up to date with things. I always felt that the website and magazine had to be connected. Another thing I added to the model was the events series. We have been doing talks and film screenings and tours, all kinds of things – trying to be inventive. I felt if I started something new I wouldn’t want to do the magazine first and then build the other things around it. It was important to do everything at the same time, otherwise you get into a routine. A magazine is a time-consuming thing, so you could find yourself asking ‘How am I ever possibly going to add anything more to it?’ I thought, if you start as you intend to go on and perfect everything later, that’s a good way of doing it. I remember the first document I wrote in Autumn 2010 (we launched in Autumn 2011) set out three focuses: not just fashion, design and architecture, but the three elements – live format, printed format, online format. They have been there from the beginning.

Was the advertising side of the business difficult to get going, and has it changed?

The relationship with advertisers has to be constantly massaged, entertained and looked after. There’s an age-old dilemma: a lot of magazines feel that if they carry advertising they have to pander to the advertisers to some degree. That’s something we’ve been very careful not to do as a magazine. We have our editorial stance and we see that as quite separate, and advertising is something that complements our content. I have always seen advertising as a valuable part of the magazine because I personally think it’s nice to look at advertising in a magazine, if it’s well done. Sadly, this is where the design industry is very far behind the fashion industry, where they invest significant budgets in making very interesting, beautiful campaigns every season. But in the design industry, you often see [a brand] having the same art for at least a year, sometimes more. That’s not as inspirational as going through the September issue of Vogue.

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Disegno No.4. Cover image: Ola Bergengren
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Disegno No.7 Cover image from a feature on artist Olafur Eliasson

What questions should an aspiring magazine publisher ask themselves?

The one thing that everyone seems not to understand is how much time it takes. You need to ask yourself if you’re up for the sacrifices it leads to. If you do want to start it as a business that’s going to support you and the people you work with, it will be very, very time-consuming and you have to go through several years to get where you want to be.

On the other hand, it can be good not to ask the questions, to go in a bit blind. If someone had told me exactly what the process would be from when I started to now, I would probably have said: ‘No, I’ll stick to the day job.’ But when you come out at the other end, it’s very rewarding to see that you’ve made something that works and that you can support yourself and a team, and pay office rent and things like that. I would say, though, that you need a specific psyche – being quite stubborn. Both Marcus [Agerman Ross, Johanna’s husband and partner in Tack Press] and I have benefited from not being able to take ‘no’ for an answer from anyone.

You need to be passionate about your subject matter. We’re not business people: I come from a design history and writing background, and Marcus comes from styling and photography. But that has really helped us: everything in Jocks and Nerds is what he’s passionate about through and through; everything in Disegno is something I can stand and shout about from the rooftops. If you don’t have a true, passionate interest, then it’s easy to give up when things don’t go your way. To the point of being stupid, you have to believe in what you’re doing.

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So you want to publish a magazine? published by Laurence King

So you want to publish a magazine? is published by Laurence King on August 5 and costs £19.95. Angharad Lewis is co-editor of Grafik magazine and a tutor at The Cass School of Design. 

To celebrate the book’s launch, we’ll be offering an exclusive discount code for readers of CR – check back on August 5 for details.

Why NSPCC is using a dancing dinosaur to teach children about sexual abuse

Last week, children’s charity NSPCC launched an animated film to help parents and carers talk to children about sexual abuse. Created by Aardman, the film introduces viewers to a yellow dinosaur named Pantosaurus. As Pantosaurus skips through town, playing basketball with his friends and building sandcastles at the beach, an accompanying song explains an important rule to children – that no-one should ever ask to see or touch what’s in their pants.

“It is a really difficult subject for parents to talk about with their kids so we wanted a light-hearted, age appropriate creative that would help parents start that conversation without mentioning the words sex or abuse,” head of marketing Tessa Herbert told CR. “We thought a catchy but simple song was the perfect way of ensuring children remembered the key messages – that their body belongs to them, that they have the right to say no and they should speak to a trusted adult if they’re ever worried about anything – without feeling scared or uncomfortable.”

The ad was released in cinemas on Friday and forms part of the charity’s PANTS campaign – an initiative launched in 2013 to encourage parents and carers to talk to children about sexual abuse using the PANTS anagram: Privates are private, Always remember your body belongs to you; No means no, Talk about secrets that upset you and Speak up, someone can help.

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NSPCC_GIF01-01-01_1

An accompanying web page provides advice for parents, carers and teachers on how to approach the subject. NSPCC says the campaign has helped over 400,000 parents talk to children about abuse since it was launched, resulting in one conviction and a number of disclosures of abuse from children.

Speaking to CR when the PANTS campaign launched, Mark Tobin, then joint head of creative at NSPCC, said the aim was to create something that would work in a similar way to road safety message Stop, Look and Listen – “a memorable phrase that covers a lot of detail, but that helps people remember important fundamentals and feels uncomplicated and unthreatening.” The Pantosaurus ad builds on this approach with a simple but serious message: What’s in your pants belongs only to you.

The film is the latest in a series from NSPCC which uses animation to address some sensitive subjects – last year, the charity worked with Leo Burnett to create I Saw Your Willy and Lucy and the Boy, a pair of films highlighting the dangers of sending nude pictures and talking to strangers online. Both start out with a cheerful tone but soon take an ominous turn.

“Animation allows us to be more creative in telling stories which would be so difficult to tell using live action,” explains Herbert. “Young children are also well used to watching cartoons and learn a lot from key messages that are often hidden within, so we felt this was tapping into natural behaviour.”

The ads follow NSPCC’s decision to move away from hard-hitting communications and towards more positive marketing highlighting its preventative work and the support it provides to adults and children, a tactic also evident in its Alfie the Astronaut campaign from last year.

In 2014, the charity replaced its Full Stop branding with a colourful new identity and the strapline, ‘every childhood is worth fighting for’ – a move that Herbert says “tells people what we are fighting for rather than standing against.”

“Thanks in part to the Full Stop Campaign most people know that child abuse exists and needs to stop,” she adds. “It’s now really important that the general public understand what the solutions are to child abuse, what the NSPCC is doing and the impact we’re having, and how they as an individual member of society can help by joining the fight. We find that leaving people feeling motivated and positive is a very effective way of getting them to take action to protect children.”

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I Belong to Jesus: a loving homage to the undershirt goal celebration

Along with the wonder goals, penalties, sending offs and pitch invasions, some of football’s most memorable moments have come in the form of the undershirt celebration: hastily scrawled or ironed-on messages expressing political views or religious beliefs, which players would lift their shirt to reveal after scoring a goal.

These messages often caused controversy – some were cheered, some were booed and others, mercilessly mocked. (Wayne Rooney’s Once a Blue, Always a Blue came back to haunt him after his surprise move from Everton to Manchester United in 2004). Some provided witty responses to stories in the media while others offered touching tributes to departed leaders and loved ones.

IBTJ3

But while the undershirt celebration has become a familiar and much-loved fixture of football, it is at risk of dying out. In 2014, FIFA announced a new ruling banning players from revealing messages of any kind – whether religious, political, commercial or personal – on any part of their kit. Celebrations had previously been frowned upon and often resulted in bookings but the ruling introduced harsher fines and penalties. At this year’s Euros, they were nowhere to be seen.

In a loving homage to the tradition, Craig Oldham and Rick Banks have created a book which collects some of the most notable examples from the past 30 years. I Belong to Jesus (named after Ricky Kaká’s famous celebration) features examples from Premier League, non-league and female footballers from around the world.

The book is divided into four sections: folklore, religion, politics and personal. Each features images of various celebrations accompanied by a brief case study detailing the story behind it.

IBTJ11
Mario Balotelli’s Why Always Me? celebration from 2011 was applied using official Premier League lettering with help from kitman Les “Chappy” Chapman

Oldham and Banks are passionate football fans – Oldham is a Barnsley FC supporter and has written features on football mascots and crests for CR while Banks is a Bolton Wanderers Fan and previously published a brilliant book on football type.

In an introduction, the pair describe IBTJ as a riposte to FIFA’s ruling. “Our initial reaction, quite unsurprisingly, was one of dismay,” they write. “The elation of celebrating a goal by sharing a personal, intentional message with the supporting masses is one of the last forums of unchecked, passionate discourse in football. A much-needed connection in an increasingly corporate game.”

As Oldham points out, the undershirt celebration is one of the last reminders of a time when football – and in particular, players’ behaviour – wasn’t heavily policed by brand managers and PR teams. A time when players weren’t afraid to express a point of view.

IBTJ10
Robbie Fowler’s 1997 celebration in support of Liverpool dockers

“Those idiosyncrasies are what make the game interesting,” he told CR. “Those controversies, whether it’s players doing something stupid or causing a scandal, they’re as much what we love about football as the football itself,” he adds.

Celebrations also offered a platform for players to communicate directly with fans in a much more authentic and honest way than a Tweet or an official club video. “It was the sort of last un-policed connection between player and supporter – it was direct, it was instant, no-one had any kind of filter on it. Players could say whatever they wanted and it all came out in that collective euphoria of scoring a goal,” says Oldham. “There’s no kind of dialogue anymore, apart from the chants that fans give players- and how else are we going to know what players care about? What they think of current events? How they react to things?”

 

IBTJ9
Andrés Iniesta’s 2010 celebration paid tribute to Espanyol captain Dani Jarque, a close friend of the player’s who died unexpectedly of heart failure

The book contains some poignant examples as well as some amusing ones. The most moving is Doncaster United striker Billy Sharp’s “That’s for you son” – a dedication to his son who had died the previous week aged just two days old. Both sets of supporters applauded his goal against Middlesborough while referee Darren Deadman ignored the rules and refused to issue Sharp a yellow card for his actions.

Others reflect on conflict and political tensions outside of the beautiful game: Robbie Fowler’s “DoCKers, Sacked since September 1995” expressed solidarity with Liverpool dockers who had been sacked following a dispute with the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company (dockers had created t-shirts using a pastiche of Calvin Klein’s then fashionable CK t-shirts and sold the tops to raise funds for their cause).

IBTJ12
Ian Wright’s 1997 celebration marked his goalscoring record for Arsenal alongside a message from sponsor Nike

“That’s what I love about the book – on a surface level, people can flick through and say, ‘Oh I remember that game’ and it will take them on a personal journey, but in researching these things you also find out all these really meaningful, rich stories about the context of the celebration…. A lot of the time it wasn’t about football, it was like a protest. Players had something to say and they were fucking going to say it … it felt like proof that [footballers] cared about other things,” says Oldham.

Images were sourced from photo libraries and club archives as well as from photographers themselves. Many of the examples date from the mid-1990s to early 2000s – Oldham attributes the rise in celebrations to increasing TV and online coverage of games, giving players the chance to reach a global audience of millions rather than the 20 or 30,000 who turned up to watch a match.

IBTJ4
IBTJ7
The book comes wrapped in an I Belong to Jesus armband, accompanied by a free t-shirt

Designs range from messages produced using official FA shirt lettering to ones scrawled in marker pen and using mismatched iron-on letters. Oldham says he was fascinated with the “raw creative expression” demonstrated by footballers – Uruguyuan striker Sebastian Abreu, for example, often wears an undershirt shirt bearing a collage made up of family photos and personal images. Cameroon player Paul Bebey, in his final match for his country, revealed a shirt with the message ‘Jesus is the Best Way’ in a hand-rendered outline with imperfect and stretched characters.

The book is small (just 10x15cm) but lovingly crafted and comes with an I Belong to Jesus armband and t-shirt. Rick Banks has created a custom font based on Kaka’s celebration, which is available to buy online for £10 and appears throughout the book as well as on its cover. “The type he used for that was so iconic for our generation and that’s why we’ve led with it, even though it wasn’t the first time someone had said, ‘this is my religion,” adds Oldham.

 

IBTJ5
Rick Banks created a font for t-shirts, armbands and the book’s cover based on Kaka’s famous I Belong to Jesus celebration

Oldham and Banks say the book is not intended to lament the current state of football but rather, to provoke discussion around a growing disconnect between players and fans, while celebrating meaningful moments between the two from recent history.

“These direct, sometimes raw messages bear the marks of those that made them, and it’s their images that greatly contribute, and build upon, a rich folklore and history that is football,” they write. “Without them, the game isn’t simply rid of a singular message, it’s denied the affection of a shared memory. And what is football if not a recollection of those goals, those shared memories, those idiosyncratic moments that live longer than the 90-minute matches in which they were born?”

I Belong to Jesus costs £25. You can order copies, and watch the undershirt celebrations featured in the book, at ibelongtojesus.co.uk

Curiocity: an illustrated A-Z of London trivia

London is a city with a rich and fascinating history. Its streets and buildings are littered with small reminders of its past – blocked off doorways, ghost signs and ageing plaques – but many of these visual cues go largely unnoticed by passers-by.

A new book published by Penguin Random House imprint Particular offers a guide to these curiosities and the many unusual activities on offer in the capital, from visiting a globe-makers workshop to touring chalk mines at night.

Written by Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose, Curiocity is divided into 26 chapters, one for each letter of the alphabet, and lists facts about the city’s history alongside details of interesting places to visit and things to do. Each chapter explores a different aspect of London – there’s one on Pearls, on Knowledge (not just ‘the knowledge’ but universities and museums) and the Isles that dot the Thames Estuary – and features an illustrated map at its centre.

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Map from a chapter on Mint, illustrated by Faye Moorhouse, fayemoorhouse.co.uk
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Pearls, illustrated by Nick Hayes

Curiocity started out as a series of maps offering unusual journeys across London. Eliot and Lloyd-Rose are old friends – Eliot is a writer who runs guided tours and cheese walks around the city while Lloyd-Rose has worked as a teacher, police officer and social researcher.

The pair had the idea for a project after coming to London in 2008 and being struck by its half-hidden “signs, stories and mysteries” as well as the range of things to do.

“London is among the most vibrant, fascinating cities in the world, seemingly limitless in its variety, but it’s also sprawling and cacophonous, making impossible demands on our time, attention and purse. How do you get to know somewhere this complex and layered?” write the pair in their foreword.

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London icons, illustrated by Daniel Duncan, dunksillustration.co.uk
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Hagiolatry (a chapter on London icons and literary greats), illustrated by Daniel Duncan

“On a walk through Oxleas Woods, southeast of Greenwich, we had an idea for a folded magazine where we could share lesser-known stories and places and, in so doing, get a firmer grip on London ourselves. At the centre would be a map of the city, looking at it from an unexpected point of view. We made eight editions of Curiocty magazine before embarking on this book-length exploration…. As we pegged out the 26 chapters, we attempted to touch on every dimension of London life, down to the most functional and taboo, and to suggest ways of interacting with issues and subcultures that can seem inaccessible.”

The vast collection of trivia sheds new light on familiar landmarks and highlights some of the fascinating stories behind seemingly mundane items – low metal railings dotted around the city take on a new poignancy once you discover they are made out of World War Two stretchers.

It also brings to attention some hard-to-spot curiosities, such as the glass porthole at Sadler’s Wells theatre that offers visitors a glimpse into the Underground from above and the carvings of a horned god in Blackheath, marking the former entrance to a mysterious network of caves that were a popular nighttime haunt in the 19th century.

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Flow chart of London sewage, from a chapter on Dust. Illustrated by Steph Von Reiswitz, stephvonreiswitz.com
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Map depicting historical protests and riots, illustrated by Levi Pinfold, levipinfold.com

The book was designed by Here and is packaged in a minimal red cover with a lovely use of London’s most famous typeface, Johnston. Illustrated letters introduce each chapter and smaller spot illustrations appear throughout. Artist Stanley Donwood has created some black-and-white endpapers and the book boasts a long list of contributors, from author Philip Pullman to occult bookseller Geraldine Beskin, Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees and the Gentle Author.

London’s bookshops and libraries are filled with printed guides to the city but few (if any) are as comprehensive as Curiocity. The book stands out not just for the vast amount of information it contains but for the detailed and imaginative drawings and maps that fill its pages.

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Isle, illustrated by Nicole Mollett, nicolemollett.co.uk
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A map of London’s clocks, from a chapter on Times, illustrated by Edward Ward, tedwarddraws.wordpress.com

Curiocity is published by Particular Books on August 25 and costs £30. You can pre-order copies here.

 

Julia Fullerton-Batten photographs female sex workers for new series The Act

The Act presents women in a range of professions from dominatrices to aerial artistes, a porn actress and an escort. Each image acts like a diorama offering viewers a glimpse of someone in the midst of an erotic performance. With dramatic lighting and deep, saturated colours, it has a surreal and theatrical quality – a familiar aesthetic in Fullerton-Batten’s work.

Fullerton-Batten says she was inspired by the idea that all of the women featured spend their entire working lives “as if on a stage.”

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Ella and Chloe, Slaves and lead image (top): Morrigan Hel, Dominatrix by Julia Fullerton-Batten. All images digitally retouched by Nick Nedeljkovic at Happy Finish (happyfinish.com)
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Chessie Kay, Pornstar by Julia Fullerton-Batten

“I created the backdrop for the images in the form of mini-theatrical sets,” she explains on her website. “Each setting is relevant to the individual woman and her profession. The mini-sets were mounted on a stage as if they were giving a performance, which indeed they were. My choice of cinematic lighting imparts an enigmatic interpretation of their acts. It is a split second of a filmic recreation of their life. As far as possible, I have avoided sexually explicit scenes – undeniably the images are sexy and provocative, but also playful.”

Images of sex workers often focus on the seedier side to the job or employ a grittier aesthetic but Fullerton-Batten’s series has an almost painterly feel. Women are captured in carefully composed sets in the same way one might photograph a theatre actor, performance artist or ballet dancer on stage. While some appear more vulnerable than others, most appear confident and in control.

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Sasha Flexy, Pole Dancer by Julia Fullerton-Batten
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Shadait, Escort by Julia Fullerton-Batten

Images are accompanied by interviews in which women reflect on their work and how they got into the industry. Fullerton-Batten has also made a short film in which they explain why they do what they do. Some acknowledge that their bodies have suffered as a result of their work – porn actress Jade admits that acting in sex scenes with men “is a lot to put your body through” – while others admit that their choice of job has led to tension in their family, but most say they find their work empowering or liberating.

The sex industry remains a controversial topic – while some people feel women should be free to profit from their body, others believe it is exploitative and should be abolished. The Act does not pass judgment but instead invites debate by presenting a range of women who, for various reasons, have actively chosen to work in the industry.

After spending time with the women featured, Fullerton-Batten says she “came to admire them” – though admits it’s not a career choice she would ever want to make. “They are women who are proud of their bodies and choose to use their bodies to make an income,” she says. “They are honest to themselves and exhibit a high degree of self-respect.”

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Veronica, Aerial Artiste by Julia Fullerton-Batten
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Eliza De Lite, Burlesque Dancer by Julia Fullerton-Batten

You can see the full series and read interviews with the women featured at juliafullerton-batten.com

You’re no longer the genius — you’re the idiot

Running a creative team is often the complete opposite to being a ‘creative’. You have to get used to the fact that you’re no longer the genius, you’re the idiot. I’m not sure who, but someone put it brilliantly when they said: “take none of the credit and all of the blame”.

If you’re doing it right your job is to get out of the way of others and let them be as good as they can be. You want to be almost invisible. A few years ago I realised that my work was no longer the direct output of the company. My creative output had become the place, the culture, and the people around me – if I’m helping others to do good work, I’m doing my job. I shouldn’t be looking at individual pieces of work or looking for my fingerprints on them.

But it is really hard to sit on your hands while other people are making things. I guess the dark art is how to influence people to do what’s right, but let them feel like it’s all their idea.

How do you organise projects?

As part of lots of changes we’ve been making recently, we’re trialling dividing the agency into smaller, more autonomous groups. Each group has responsibility not only for the work they do, but also for how they want to do it. Smaller, more empowered groups, with the right support from management seems to be the right way to do things. But like I said, we’re figuring it all out as we go.

A huge part of the management team’s job becomes creating a brilliant culture and environment in which to do great work.  And when new opportunities arise, we work with the teams to cast the work appropriately. But beyond that it’s down to them to decide how best to tackle it.

Instead of ECDs (Executive Creative Directors if you’re not in the world of pompous made-up long titles with acronyms)
being overseers and signoff-ers, this new structure uses us more as coaches or supports. So instead of sitting at the top of the organisation we’ve put ourselves at the bottom (figuratively). Helping to push people up.

Having worked at both tech companies and agencies, the biggest difference is in where the bulk of time is spent on a project. In most ad agencies, there’s historically been a lot of time spent thinking, conceptualising, packaging work, presenting, re-presenting, amending, etc. Then you have a relatively small window at the end when you actually make the thing. And that’s entirely appropriate when you’re working for big clients who need things to be ‘certain’ before proceeding.

The culture at Google, well Creative Lab anyway, is often the complete flip of that. And the same is true of digital agencies I’ve worked at. The initial ideas are figured out more quickly, and you get into the execution as soon as possible. The process of ‘making’ is actually where a lot of the figuring-out gets done. The idea that might have sounded amazing on paper can often be less good once you start playing around with it. And, personally, I’d much rather know that earlier in the process than later.

A lot of people think prototyping is just something you do with technology but actually you can prototype anything – you can prototype ads, films, a book. It’s just about putting something in front of someone and saying “it’s going to be a bit like that, but better”. I find it incredibly liberating to get out and just start shooting, editing, writing, or coding a rough version of something. As creative people we love making stuff more than sitting in meetings talking about making stuff, don’t we?

On collaboration

There’s real collaboration and there’s fake collaboration, where you appear to want to work with people but really you just want to control it all yourself. The extent of these fake collaborations is unfortunately ‘make what I’ve got in my head, and don’t deviate from the programme’. Which is incredibly disempowering, and doesn’t get the best out of anyone.

I’ve always found this way of being most odd. I guess it’s coming from a tech background where everyone shares and comes up with ideas together. It feels like advertising agencies are starting to figure out how to bring in all sorts of people and allowing them to make the work better.

Proving your value

I mentioned earlier one of the differences between Google and Wieden+Kennedy. But in terms of proving the value of what you do the two companies are actually incredibly similar: it’s all about what you make.

At Google it’s about the projects you’re involved with and the problems you solve – and ultimately what you ship / launch. The same is true at W+K – everyone talks about how ‘The Work Comes First’ and that’s really one of the driving principles of the company. Both cultures are incredibly meritocratic and highly-talented people who do great stuff will rise as far as they want, as quickly as they want.

Principles that define good
creative leaders

People have to find their own authentic version of what it means to be a leader. Assuming that all leaders are the same shape and size is completely wrong. There are brilliant quiet leaders and brilliant shouty, extroverted leaders – I’ve worked with both. The one thing they have in common is authenticity. You need to find a style that you’re going to wear proudly and, most importantly, comfortably every day.

The biggest challenge is that, as companies, we hire great practitioners and expect at some point that they’ll transition into great leaders. How do we give these people a more stepped form of progression, where they are gradually given more responsibility as they develop, rather than one day just turning round and expecting them to suddenly lead? How can you start training the most junior people in your company to be leaders from their very first day?

Tinybop: the New York startup designing apps to inspire children’s curiosity

Last week, Brooklyn-based startup Tinybop released its eleventh app, Skyscrapers. Within five days, it was among the top ten apps on the US App Store and top of the kids category in both the UK and Germany.

The app allows children to design tall buildings and create their own city skyline. They can also operate lifts, create plumbing leaks and power surges or simply watch residents wander from room to room through bathrooms, offices and kitchens.

It is one of a series from Tinybop which aim to inspire children’s curiosity through open play – other ‘Digital Toys’ created by the company include The Monsters, which lets children mix and match body parts to create cute, comical or frightening creatures and Infinite Arcade, which lets them create their own video games by choosing from a range of backgrounds, characters and obstacles.

Tinybop also has a range of apps which help teach children about biology, physics and the world around them. Its ‘Explorer’s Library’ series includes Plants, which lets kids interact with a series of dioramas, changing the weather and light while learning about seasons and life-cycles, and The Human Body, which acts like an interactive wall chart. Children can assemble a skeleton, make a heart beat or trigger the body’s digestive system.

With beautiful illustrations and no annoying pop-up ads or in-app purchases, Tinybop’s apps are already proving a hit with children and parents around the world. The company says its products have been millions of times by families and around 200,000 schools in 155 countries.

Tinybop was founded by Raul Gutierrez in 2010. Gutierrez previously worked in ecommerce and had the idea for a range of children’s apps after his son, who was then in Kindergarten, asked for an iPhone instead of a birthday party.

“If you know kids, you’ll know their birthday party is pretty much the centre of their year, so the idea that this object had so much meaning to him was really interesting to me,” he says. He was initially wary of his son having too much ‘screen time’ – “I didn’t necessarily think it was a good thing,” he says – but changed his mind after watching how he interacted with his iPhone.

“He called it the everything machine – because it could be a tool, it could provide passive entertainment where he’s sitting watching a video, it could be a game, it could be something educational…. After watching him, I realised my problem wasn’t so much with the form and the device but the nature of a lot of the content that was available,” he explains.

“If you look a lot of the children’s content that was around circa 2010, you’ll find it was very thin. A lot of it was poorly made, the artwork was poor, and the pedagogy was didactic – even storytelling apps weren’t doing a great job of telling stories using the things that make this form interesting [eg features such as sound or animation]. The worst offenders I found were games, especially freemium games. They were essentially using gambling mechanisms to get kids to keep pushing buttons and that was exactly the opposite of what I wanted my child to be doing.”

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Skyscrapers is illustrated by Mike Ellis

Gutierrez saw an opportunity to create better content that would encourage free play and cover subjects children everywhere would study in school, from nature to how our bodies work.

“We looked at how children play and for me, the best toy my kid can have is a set of blocks. If you just give kids blocks, they’ll be bored, but if you say, ‘build a ship or a zoo or a castle’, suddenly they’re off to the races. So the idea with the Digital Toys was to create these kind of blocks that would come alive with children’s imagination,” he adds.

“For me, this medium [smartphones and tablets] is one that really lends itself to open play because of the interactivity and direct feedback you get from devices,” Gutierrez continues. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with traditional storytelling [on iPhones and iPads] but I’m yet to find many people who do it better than a book … so we were keen to steer clear of traditional, turn-the-page kinds of stories.”

Apps feature little in the way of text or explanations but accompanying handbooks, available to download from Tinybop’s website, list points for discussion and more information about the themes covered in each app. Children and teachers can use the handbooks to start conversations with children around the app, challenging the idea of screen time as a solitary experience or one where children don’t learn anything.

“It’s about helping them to understand the world more deeply and discover what they’re into,” says Gutierrez. “My own kids have played with our apps and often, it has sparked an idea or a conversation. We’ll be in the car and they’ll ask a pretty elaborate question about something, and it will turn out the idea was prompted by the app – as a parent, it’s really satisfying to know you’ve created something that is enhancing their understanding.”

Before designing apps, Gutierrez says Tinybop will usually sit down children to find out what interests them about a particular topic. The company consults with children from a range of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, which can often reveal interesting cultural differences. With The Monsters, for example, the team discovered that children in different countries think about monsters very differently – some have grown up with films like Monsters Inc while others are more familiar with mythical beasts and animal fables.

Children are then invited to test apps using iPads that also feature products by rival companies – “It’s really important to give them other choices to see how you measure not only against what you’ve done, but other people in the marketplace,” adds Gutierrez. “Little by little, you get a sense of whether the app works.”

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The Monsters

One of the things that makes Tinybop’s products stand out on the app store  is their design – apps have a surprisingly minimal aesthetic compared to other children’s offerings and feature beautifully illustrated objects and characters. The company works with a different illustrator for each product – UK-based Owen Davey created a vast library parts for the Robot Factory, which lets kids design their own robot, while Chinese illustrator Tianhua Mao worked on The Monsters and Berlin-based Mike Ellis illustrated Skyscrapers.

Artwork is often inspired by vintage learning aids and visual ephemera from comics to textbooks, but with a modern twist. Artist Kelli Anderson looked to Charley Harper’s Golden Book of Biology and popular emoji to create illustrations for the Human Body, while Plants was loosely inspired by Tin Tin comics. Apps also feature some lovely added touches – in Skyscrapers, the colour of the sky changes depending on where children are in the world, showing a night sky if it’s night time where they are and a sunny blue one if it’s daytime. Gutierrez is passionate about the importance of design and critical of apps that underestimate children’s ability to appreciate good aesthetics.

“There’s so much content for children that is sort of dumbed down in the way of design, and there’s really no reason for it,” he says. “In the 50s and 60s, you had some of the world’s greatest illustrators illustrating children’s books and creating incredibly rich infographics, but a lot of that has been lost. We’re trying to help bring it back.” He does acknowledge, however, that there is a growing number of companies making apps that are both beautiful and engaging.

On its blog, Tinybop offers a fascinating insight into the company’s development process, showing behind the scenes sketches of new products and publishing interviews with illustrators and designers, as well as educational activities for parents and teachers to try. The company also recommends apps, books and resources by other companies on its ‘Tinybop Loves‘ page.

Tinybop is now rolling out apps every few months – a team of 20 split their time between updating existing apps, developing upcoming ones and thinking up ideas for new ones – and Gutierrez says he plans to launch at least two more this year. The company is also working on a package for schools and a project that Gutierrez says will be “a complete break” from what it has done so far. Each of its forthcoming products will have a different look and feel, says Gutierrez, but all have the same aim of encouraging curiosity. “It’s one of the most important traits you can have as a child,” he adds.

For more info about Tinybop’s apps, see tinybop.com

Gradwatch: Hattie Clark

CR: Congratulations on graduating, what’s next? What are you working on at the moment?

HC: For now I’m continuing to develop and push myself further – I never want to stop learning new skills. I’m enjoying spending time on self initiated ideas and projects alongside generating different freelance work and opportunities. A little later this year I’m doing a short ceramics course at Leeds College of Art. I can’t wait to experiment and use my illustration within this medium!

An illustration by graduate Hattie Clark
Yorkshire, an illustration Hattie Clark
CR: What Lead you to study illustration at university?
HC: I fell into it quite naturally. Towards the end of my foundation course my work gradually became more illustrative and I found myself constantly drawing! I still wanted to keep my work quite broad and so the course at Bath was perfect for me as it taught me design skills that I will continue to use within my practice of illustration.
Rugby 4, an illustration by Hattie Clark
Rugby 4, an illustration by Hattie Clark
CR: Has anyone or anything in particular inspired you illustration style and the techniques you use?
HC: My style and technique is often influenced by the subject matter. I love creating work that is playful and has the ability to make people smile, I think this is reflected in my style. I focus on analogue techniques within my illustrations. I would say my desire to continue to paint and illustration by hand very much influences the techniques that I use.
Illustration of Bath Spa graduate Hattie Clark
Collage shapes, by Hattie Clark
 
CR: Tell us a little more about the work you did for your graduate show?
HC: Within my projects I have always enjoyed creating work based around a subject matter that is in some way personal to me. I chose to focus on Rugby League and my team the Bradford Bulls. I used my experiences of the matches – the emotions, chants, food and various characters that fill the terraces. It was important to me that the illustrations were all drawn at a large scale and screen printed by hand to communicate a sport and team that I’m so passionate about.
Artwork by Bath Spa graduate Hattie Clark
Cut of Crocs
 
CR: Your dream project/commission, what would it be?
HC: That’s tricky! I dream of having variety within my work and I hope never to limit the type of work that I make. For now, I’d love to work on a project where the outcome pushes the scale of my drawing. It would be a dream to fill the home of my rugby club with huge murals and illustrations around the stadium. To see my illustrations on such a large scale would be brilliant.

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Hattie Clark - photoClark is one of the 11 graduates whose work has been selected by us to appear on JCDecaux digital screens all over the UK, including at major railway stations, shopping centres and roadways as a part of CR’s Talentspotting scheme. 

www.hattieclark.com

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