Category Archives: Lifestyle

Schwartz: The Sound of Taste

New Schwartz Advert 2014I really enjoyed this new TV spot for Schwartz, which is so visually pleasing and satisfying to watch. It’s also reminiscent of Sony’s recent 4KTV commercial, or the Canon Pixma ad by Dentsu, but I think that Grey – the agency behind this advert – have made the concept work for Schwartz and injected just the right amount of originality into it. The naturally vibrant colours look gorgeous together, and I like the way that they have decided to mix futuristic robo-appliances with those rustic spice sacks.

Brewed In Hell

Bitches Brew Beer PackagingI’m not much of a beer drinker, and I never have been. I have started working in a pub and they always have loads of different types of guest beers on that change every week. Recently, I’ve had the chance to try and get more acquainted with different beers (mainly because I hate it when a customer asks me to recommend something and I have to admit I’m not sure, or ask one of my co-workers for help). I’ve found quite a few that I like now, particularly Camden Hells Lager, Rocky Head Zen American Pale Ale and Redhook Longhammer IPA.

Enough about taste, though – I’m sure you know what beers you like. When it comes to marketing beer, it’s quite rare to see branding that is particularly cool or eye-catching, with a lot of brands – particularly mainstream breweries – plumping for classic designs, paired with adverts that are geared towards men. I do find it a little uninspiring that there isn’t a beer that has been successfully, but subtly, marketed towards women. Not because I feel incensed that women are being ignored, but just because it seems like a bit of a no-brainer to me – men already enjoy beer, why wouldn’t you want to increase your profits by selling your product to women as well? I suppose that most attempts have been pretty weak, with breweries attempting to repackage their beers as girly alternatives to sparkling wine, making them fruitier and sweeter. That’s why this project for a fictitious brand of beer, Bitches’ Brew, is pretty great. I love the modern gothic design and I’d probably try and like Bitches’ Brew even if it tasted awful! It reinforces beer as a choice of drink for a woman who is cool and maybe a little bit tough – after all, it is a drink for ‘bitches’.Bitches Brew BeerBlack Cat Bottle TopBitches Brew BrandingThe design was done by Wedge & Lever, a California-based design studio. Unless they decide to actually start conjuring up this Bitches’ Brew, I suppose I’ll just stick to drinking spirits. However, if a brand were to take quite a dark, sophisticated approach to marketing beer to women, I reckon it could be hugely successful. Unfortunately, I have already found something called ‘Chick Beer’ which used Curlz MT as the font, with an emphasis on the lower calorie content of the product. Bitch, please…

Bookworms & Night Owls

Night Time Book Store AdvertCorre Cutia Bookstore Print AdThese illustrated print ads for Corre Cutia Bookstore in Brazil are wonderful. Created by Sao Paulo-based agency Lápisraro Comunicação, they effortlessly convey the feeling of not being able to put down a good book.

Pierdom

Southend Pier by Simon RobertsSouthend-on-Sea, Essex

I’m very fond of the British seaside. Not so much in a twee “OMG, let’s take photos and eat candyfloss!” kind of way – although that can be fun – but because there is so much to genuinely love about these former tourist traps, with their juxtaposed tackiness and architectural charm. I spent a lot of my childhood holidaying in Britain, as opposed to going on package holidays to places like Tenerife or The Costa del Sol. I felt quite envious of my classmates, who got to travel on an aeroplane and were guaranteed sunshine but, looking back, I think that spending rainy days in a caravan in Scotland and having trips out to Morecambe, Southport and Blackpool has made me feel more connected to the place where I was born. As I got older, I began to romanticise the typical English seaside resort because of their mix of joy, despair and faded grandeur. Of course this is present in a lot of small towns, but with the harshness of winter and idyll of summer by the coast, these extremes seem…amplified. This isn’t just some abstract feeling I have either. Although there are exceptions to this trend in prosperous locations, such as Brighton and Poole, the traditional British seaside town has long been in decline – offering the kind of unfashionably kitsch holiday that belongs to your granny and granddad’s halcyon days. A recent report called ‘Turning The Tide‘ details the deprivation present in the UK’s coastal towns – including the ones which haven’t been totally deserted by tourists. In a lot of these towns, the grand old hotels have since been converted into bedsits that are full of transients. Although I will always have a soft spot for Blackpool in particular, the reality of life there is pretty grim. In the series ‘Pierdom’, Simon Roberts focuses on Britain’s iconic Victorian piers, and his lens captures my feelings about these places perfectly. From wind-bitten, rusting structures to sun-bathed promenades, his photographs evoke the curious charm and essence of the British seaside.Hastings Pier Simon RobertsHastings, East Sussex

Boscombe Pier Simon RobertsBoscombe, Hampshire

Teignmouth Grand Pier Simon RobertsTeignmouth, Devon

Blackpool South Pier Simon RobertsBlackpool, Lancashire

More of Simon Roberts’ brilliant photography is on his website – there are more photographs from the Pierdom series, and you should also have a look at another project he has done called ‘We English‘, which focuses on English tourism in a much broader context.

Sofia Branding & Identity By Anagrama

ImageAnagrama, a Mexican brand development agency, designed this exquisite identity and marketing collateral for Sofia – a towering block of luxury apartments in San Pedro. The huge skyscraper was designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli architects for One Development Group.Sofia Branded Stationery SetBranded Property StationeryBranded stationery and promotional items – I really like the colour palette that they’ve chosen: cream, coral and navy blue, with gold leaf accents.Luxury Apartment BrochureSofia Property BrochureExamples of spreads which were inside the hardback brochure, with classic gilt page edges. This is just some of the work that Anagrama did for Pelli Clarke Pelli, and you can see the project in its entirety on their website.

John Lewis: The Bear & The Hare

Angry BearThis grizzly bear is doing a pretty good job of aping my reaction to Christmas.

Everyone is going mental for the ‘touching’ John Lewis advert again, which is a blatant Animals of Farthing Hood rip off soundtracked by something no one needed to hear: Lily Allen covering Keane. It’s good, but obviously it doesn’t even come close to melting my ice cold heart or eliciting any kind of Christmas cheer from me. However, this touching tale of cartoon animals does carry an important lesson: if your BFF happens to be an apex predator, you might want to round up a few unwitting friends morsels in the hope that your carnivorous frienemy eats them first. Look how happy the bear is when he sees the meat feast he has woken up to…John Lewis Hare and BearAnyway, enough of my cynicism, here’s the actual advert, which was made by Adam & Eve/DDB and produced by Blinkink and Hornet. The animation really is lovely – and is the result of a lot of hard work – but I’d recommend muting it and playing something more appealing over the top.

Not So Warm & Fuzzy Now

Do you remember Fuzzy-Felts? Those fun craft toys that you used to play with, in simpler times – times when video games were still relatively new and the Internet was something you’d probably never even heard of? Well, prepare to see the medium of felt brought up to date, with new added relevance for your adult life.Jacopi Rosati Fuzzy FeltDo the feelings in this piece by Jacopo Rosati seem painfully familiar to you?Lebrie Felt TV DinnerGreat. How about this felted TV dinner for one by LeBrie Rich? Welcome to adulthood!

Tigers On Tinder

I’ve noticed that a lot of men on Tinder are quite fond of tigers…ImageThis trend is so prevalent that there is even a Tumblr dedicated to it, called Touch My Tiger! Kudos to these guys for noticing it first. Unfortunately, as with any trend, you always get a few bandwagon-jumpers who just don’t get it right…Tinder WannabesGuys, you’re doing it wrong! It’s got to be a REAL tiger. Don’t try and get a picture with a tiger in the wild, though. That would be stupid and dangerous. It’s essential that your tiger prop has been sedated so that annoying backpackers can pose with it. Safety first, and all that.

Review: Storms at Club NME

Image
© KOKO London / Charlotte Davidson 

Ahh, Club NME at Koko. In its heyday, this weekly guitar-fuelled orgy was a place where trilby-wearers could find a safe haven of acceptance, and spoilt girls who dressed exclusively in the Kate Moss for Topshop range could kid themselves that they were going to find their future rock star husband here. Now, Club NME is a bit stale – indie music just ain’t what it used to be, the playlist doesn’t sound too different from the Geordie Shore soundtrack (okay, that’s unfair, maybe it’s more Made In Chelsea) and the drinks are still horrendously expensive.

Not that tonight’s headliners, Storms, really give a fuck about any of that. They’re not here to relive the, err, ‘glory days’ of The Libertines, nor are they trying to peddle some chart-humping shite that sounds like a collection of rejected Owl City songs. Nope, Storms have drawn their musical influences from arguably the best genres of the ‘90s – grunge, shoegaze and Britpop. As the sound of Kanye West fades away and the band take to the stage, a wave of gratitude washes over me. Opening song ‘Special’ fills the auditorium with heartfelt lyrics, even if these sombre tales of society’s lower echelons are masked by an anthemic riff. The crowd doesn’t seem to mind much though, and they sway along happily in a Jagermeister-induced stupor. “Nobody’s special!” they wail in unison, blissfully unaware of the sad truth they seem to be confirming.

The next track, ‘Words’, with its slow, layered guitars and crunchy reverb, is a definite nod to bands like My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3. Launching straight into new song ‘Swell’, lead singer George Runciman showcases stronger vocals that range from high-pitched yelping to Cobain-esque roars, supported by a thumping drum beat and thunderous, guitar-backed choruses. By the time the song is over the band appear to have created a bizarre kind of festival atmosphere, as a noticeable amount of girls have actually clambered onto their boyfriends’ shoulders, hands in the air like they’re trying to clutch on to the last of the summer.

The penultimate song of the evening, ‘Plague Machine’, is easily my favourite. With just the right mix of yearning, lust and anger, it’s got a frustrating familiarity to it; the classic influences are there, but you can’t quite pinpoint what they are. Essentially though, it’s a blend that is all Storms’ own.

It’s clear that Storms already have some loyal fans who showed up especially to see them, but you can’t help but wonder if the depth of Storms’ lyrics and their range of influences might be a bit wasted on the people who also enjoy the likes of Bastille and Everything Everything. Perhaps the idiots are still winning, but the enthusiasm for tonight’s performance shows that this lot at Club NME aren’t lost causes just yet.

Tasty.

I’ve just discovered this agency called Praline, and they’ve done some beautiful stuff, mainly in publishing. Check out some of my favourite publications below. Praline Richard RogersRichard Rogers PralineRichard Rogers + Architects: From The House To The City by Fiell Publishing

Information Graphics PralineTaschen PralineInformation Graphics by Taschen

Praline Polpo BookPolpo Book PralinePOLPO: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts) by Bloomsbury Publishing

Admittedly, when I was Googling “praline”, I wasn’t looking for a design agency…I was obviously looking for some indulgent recipes. Then I got distracted by Praline’s amazing body of work and soon found that my cravings for sweet things had vanished. Weird. Maybe that’s going to be the next big dieting fad – the design diet? Although if that worked, surely I’d be skinny as a rake by now!