Sainsbury’s Brings Mog Back for Christmas

Sainsbury’s, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, has made a holiday TV commercial starring Mog the accident-prone cat, the beloved character in a series of popular children’s books by author Judith Kerr. Although categorized as advertisement, the 3 1/2 minute “Mog’s Christmas Calamity,” is a charming storybook tale narrated by acclaimed actress Emma Thompson in a voice akin to her role in “Nanny McPhee.”

Sainsbury’s ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO persuaded the 92-year-old Judith Kerr to write and illustrate a new Mog story for the Christmas campaign, despite having “killed off” Mog of old age in her 2002 book, “Goodbye, Mog.” Published in partnership with HarperCollins, the “Mog’s Christmas Calamity” book is being offered for purchase by Sainsbury’s with all proceeds going to Save the Children, a nonprofit dedicated to improving children’s literacy in the UK. Only on the market for a few days, the book has already sold in the thousands.

The Christmas advertisement program itself also has been a huge success with adults who fondly recall reading Mog books when they were young. The Sainsbury’s Mog ad campaign was written by AMV BBDO’s Alex Grieve, art directed by Adrian Rossi, and directed by James Rouse through Outsider.


Kaiser Wants You To See The Light


This is a 17”x 23” handout from Kaiser Permanente Healthcare. We couldn’t learn who created it, but find it effective in its simplicity. A low-budget production piece on uncoated stock, the Kaiser poster is printed on one side with a list of lame excuses for not exercising or eating right, but hold the sheet up to the light and the type set in reverse on the back side fills in the empty spaces and presents a totally opposite and much healthier point-of-view. It’s a no-frills piece that is cleverly written and designed. Bravo whoever you are. Well done.


Boytjie Sauce’s Hot Packaging


Boytjie Braai Sauce describes itself as “South Africa in a bottle.” It boasts that every part of the barbecue sauce product is sourced and produced locally in South Africa, from the raw ingredients and manufacturing to the packaging design. Muti, a creative agency in Cape Town, worked with Malinco Foods to develop the logo and labels for the line of sauces. Eschewing the use of slick food photography, Boytjie built its packaging identity around bold and quirky hand-drawn letters and illustrations. The name of the flavor and key words are expressed in a different vibrant colors with fleck of black from the background peeking through like peppery spice. The effect is rich with personality.
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Print Advertising

Adidas Workout Spreads

This is a clever low-tech, low-cost way to simulate motion in print advertising. No need for fancy augmented reality or QR triggers; the woman in the photograph starts her workout routine when the reader opens the magazine spread. The Adidas Forever Sport campaign, named “Designed to Move,” was created by Tequila/TBWA/Hong Kong for the Chinese market.
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What To Do About Pets That Shed


Don’t worry, no pets were harmed in the making of this ad for 3M Lint Rollers. Created by Grey Group Singapore, this print poster campaign for 3M India provides a wildly exaggerated demonstration of how effectively the product picks up pet fur and other types of lint. The Grey Group team included chief creative officer, Ali Shabaz, with art direction by Ang Sheng Jin, photography by Jeremy Wong (Nemesis Pictures), and major retouching by Evan Lim (Magic 3).
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Quiz: Fashion Symbols with Animals

Even in the sophisticated fashion industry, companies occasionally adopt animals as brand mascots and feature them in their logos. This is probably more the case with sports and casual attire, especially for men. Often easier to remember than an abstract shape, many animals are recognizable as silhouettes and their admirable behavioral traits are widely known. Then again, the chosen animal may simply evoke an aspect of the company’s history or place of origin. Check out these animals and see if you can name the brands they represent.
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Brand Identity

Prague School of Design’s Morphing Identity


Moscow-based designer Anna Kulachek has been designing show identities for the Prague School of Design since 2012. Over that time, she has taken her original typographic styling and evolved it into a modular vocabulary of lines and curves that she has morphed into new forms. The breaks in the letterforms suggest that the pieces can be split apart and reassembled into different letters as well as purely decorative lines, half circles and squiggles that look like they are made up of letterform leftovers. The result is a graphic system that retains a consistent look that identifies it with the Prague School of Design, yet changes in surprising and playful ways.

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Viral Marketing

Funny Ad, Plus Sales Pitch

Insurance companies are their own liability when it comes to describing the services they provide in advertising. Boring. This explains why the insurance giants resort to surreal humor, wild exaggerations, and CGI characters to keep viewers from immediately switching channels. Particularly memorable are Geico ads, which feature anthropomorphic animals such as its gecko mascot, created by Richmond, Virginia-based The Martin Agency. Geico ads have featured other animals too, including a talking duck, pig, squirrel, goat, kraken, and chihuahua. Lately, a smart-ass camel has a starring role. What’s interesting is that the 30-second commercials give viewers no clue what product or brand they are promoting until the last five second closing voiceover. “It you want to save 15% or more on car insurance, get Geico. It’s what we do.” It must work because viewers remember Geico’s tagline.
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Honda Stops Traffic with New Ad Campaign

This commercial for Honda does not promote its products as much as it highlights how its “Power of Dreams” philosophy has informed the brand’s approach to innovation and engineering over the years. The animated video, created by stop-motion filmmaker PES, uses sketches drawn on paper as a metaphor for the birth and development of ideas. Combining low-tech and high-tech skills, PES assigned multiple artists to hand draw and color thousands of illustrations and then shot the sketches in-camera to form a continuous “flip-paper” journey through Honda’s 60 year history, from founder Soichiro Honda’s use of a radio generator to power his wife’s bicycle, to the development of motorcycles and outboard motors, to today’s planes and automobiles. Reflecting the passage of time, the paper changes from yellowed fine line drawings to more colorful mechanical renderings. Even as the scenes change with ever-greater speed, the human hand plays a role in every frame. Very thoughtfully conceived and executed.
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Typophiliac Issues New 2016 Calendar

For the 14th consecutive year, typophiliac Kit Hinrichs has indulged his fascination and love of beautifully designed type by creating a typography calendar, featuring fonts that have caught his fancy. As before, he has overlaid all the faces featured in the year’s calendar to create the “365” name. Kit is convinced that other typophiliacs are so keenly aware of typefaces that they can spot the fonts in the 2016 “365” name on sight.

For better or worse, here’s the quiz. Match the typefaces called out in the circles with the names above. To find out if you are right or if you just want to skip this exercise, see the answers after the jump. If you want to learn more about each typeface, buy the 2016 calendar and read the descriptive blurbs about each face.
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Brand Language

Golden Ratio of Branding

Danish creative digital agency, inetdesign, made this brilliant one-minute video to demonstrate how successful brands don’t even have to be named to be recognized. We could identify them immediately by their colors, shape and typography. I don’t know who wrote the text for this video (bravo, whoever you are), but it succinctly explained what branding is all about. The text is short, so it is quoted below:

“Allen Alexander Mills, an English author once said, ‘The things that make me different are the things that make me.’ Could this be a perfect definition of branding? What is the magic thing that great brands are made of? Is it design?, Typography?, Vision? Imagination? Or a big dose of foresight? We believe it is the Golden Ratio of all those things that help brands grow and stand out. Branding is not like sprinting; it’s more like a marathon. A unique promise kept over time. It’s a story well told. A story that will resonate in the hearts and minds of your customers far into the future. Let us use your passion, experience, and creativity to make your brand’s voice loud and clear.”


Pop Culture

Kumamon, a Grand Prix-Winning Mascot


In the U.S., most sports teams and many consumer products adopt mascots to give their brand a friendly, animate identity, but as far as we are aware, only Japan has mascots to represent prefectures, towns and public offices. Called Yuru-chara, which translates as “loose character,” the mascots generate millions of dollars in merchandise sales (keychains, mugs, t-shirts and plates, etc.) and the costumed characters make special appearances at promotional events and festivals. Without exception, the yuru-chara are cute (a la Hello Kitty), unsophisticated in design, and exhibit childlike manners. Yuru-chara proliferate throughout Japan, so much so that some prefectural governments worry that the number of little towns that have come up with their own yuru-chara are diluting the impact of the big city mascots and cutting into merchandise sales.

The best-known mascot in Japan is Kumamon (seen here) introduced by Kumamoto Prefecture in 2010 to draw tourists to the region’s Kyushu Shinkasen train line. Kumamon instantly shot to fame, and won the 2011 Yuru-chara Grand Prix, drawing more than 280,000 votes in a nationwide survey and crushing other yuru-chara competitors. The next year Kumamon single-handedly earned the prefecture more than $120 million in product sales and was even featured in a popular video game. As with most other yuru-chara, Kumamon doesn’t speak,has only one facial expression, and is of unknown gender and species. It merely dances around and makes spectators happy.
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Designer’s Guide to Fair Pricing

Creative Bloq recently ran a wonderful piece on how designers wish they could really set their fees. (This method of calculating billing rates could easily apply to anyone in creative consulting services.) Creative Bloq claims the price calculation is based on a proportional sequence postulated by 13th century Italian mathematician Fibonacci, who took the idea from ancient Indian Sanskrit mathematics. Fibonacci’s Sequence became the basis for the Golden Ratio, a way of describing the ratio between two proportions. You don’t really need to know this; we digress in an attempt to appear more learned than we are and to extend the length of this introduction to make the design look more proportional (ratio of image to text). The Designer’s Golden Rule chart, shown above, proposes setting fees based on the ratio of actual creative work you are allowed to do versus the amount of unproductive client interference. This calculation can also be called the Nuisance Factor, the more meddlesome the client, the higher the fee. Note: We took this chart from Creative Bloq, but redid the graphics because we wanted to show a proportional value-add.

Design Education

Run It Down the Flagpole If No One Salutes


Do you know if your city, town or suburb has an official flag? If your answer is no, you aren’t alone. This fascinating TED talk by digital storyteller Roman Mars is worth a listen and could prove helpful if you are ever asked to design a flag for your village or subdivision. As Mars points out, “City flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed.”
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Nike Bats a Home Run


The beauty of Old World craftsmanship is expressed in this Home Run King bat trophy commissioned by Nike. Featuring the exquisite lettering and design of Salt Lake City-based Kevin Cantrell and New York-based Juan Carlos Pagan, the trophy is designed with a typographic treatment that circles the entire circumference of the bat. Richmond, Virginia-based firm, Big Secret, handled production, engineering the artwork to be laser-etched around the bat’s circumference in a seamless finish.
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