How the Shine Awards became an online event

Over the last decade, the Shine School Media Awards has consistently rewarded the UK’s best school magazines or newspapers. In the seven years I’ve been involved with this annual competition, the team behind the project have always worked on incrementally improving every aspect of it, adapting with the times. For instance, latterly we’ve introduced a podcast category and have begun accepting digital publications and highly sophisticated websites.

That said, the familiar pattern of the year, leading up to a grand gala ceremony at Stationers’ Hall in the City of London, has never really changed. However, this year, we reinvented it – at a few weeks’ notice. When Stationers Hall closed in April, it was a terrible blow, made even more complicated by schools moving to online learning.

We pondered cancellation. However: it turned out that it was much too early to count out our students, whose enthusiasm spurred us on to be radical and hold this year’s ceremony as an online event.

Read more

Yamaha Music London store window designs at Christmas

’Tis the season to be looking in shop windows, bathed in the glow of their Christmas promotions…

Needless to say these store window designs were completed months ago, probably on a boiling hot summer’s day. We designers tend to sit in tee shirts doing creative work for the coldest time of the year. We look forward to our summer holidays while trying to imagine how we might feel wrapped in knitwear and hunting for presents.

Our client providing this particular festive brief was Yamaha Music’s UK flagship store, on Wardour Street in central London.

As a 1990s art school student in London, the idea that a business I lead might one day actually design something on the amazing and iconic Wardour Street would have been … bonkers. And yet – here we are. Best of all, it looks really great. A colourful, modern celebration of all things musical from the classical to the bang up to date in a extravagant festive motif.

Read more

New print design: the RSA Future Work Centre

RSA Future Work Centre

We have a really exciting new print design project that I’ve just published on our portfolio – new work for the Royal Society of Arts: the launch of the RSA Future Work Centre.

Last week I was lucky enough to attend RSA Director Matthew Taylor’s annual lecture in the centre of London. The theme was ‘Good Work For All’ and prepares the ground for the major review of working practices that will be published in June. This has been commissioned by the Government and was even mentioned in the Spring budget by the Chancellor earlier this year.

Read more

We’re a Solutions Awards 2016 winner!

Solutions Awards 2016 winner

Call it demure British diffidence, but in the many years running this business I’ve only rarely entered our work for awards.

Generally we win new work, complete it, do our level best to ensure our clients are happy and we get paid. That’s quite the triumph in itself.

Plus there’s that whole ‘David and Goliath’ thing going on: how could we hope to compete with the big agencies and their massive PR clout? It’s a bit of a shortlist of ‘reasons not to do it’.

But that’s all been turned on its head by – us actually winning an award!

There it is, at the top of this post: the print industry’s Solutions Award, which we won yesterday at the Café de Paris in central London.

We were nominated in two categories for our work on behalf of the Shine School Media Awards Winners Book – and are incredibly thrilled and delighted to have won in the Environment category.

Read more

Short video design for the Shine School Media Awards

short video design

It’s been a little while since I discussed our work for the Shine School Media Awards… it was back over the summer when 2015’s ceremony took place and hundreds of teenagers visited Stationers’ Hall in central London. On the day itself, one of my fellow judges and I decided to capture the day, on some level at least, by filming the workshops and the busy Hall itself as it filled with contenders with a view to at some point doing ‘something interesting’ with the footage. And lo and behold… here it is, a new short video design which is now on YouTube.

Read more