This is a Chinese restaurant on Leith Walk in Edinburgh.

I realise that the owners are aiming for people to think of this as the number one Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, I read it as no-one Chinese. I realise that I’m mischief making here, but it made me smile. I mean, if no-one Chinese is allowed to eat there, isn’t that a little racist? And who’s their target market? Are they not cutting into their own potential customer base?

I’m actually trying to make a reasonably serious point. And that point is that you have to make sure your message is understood by your target market. Nowadays, people are very used to reading ‘text’ speak. And that’s the sort of contraction of words that could lead to people mis-reading a sign like this.

If nothing else, this proves that there’s no such thing as bad publicity (well, almost, but that’s another blog entry for another day). After all, most of you will now remember the Chinese restaurant that encourages no-one Chinese to visit.

The Rutland Hotel and bar used to be one of these places that everyone knew, but no-one went to. No-one knew what the bar was about. Who would go there? What sort of night would you have?
The hotel has been bought over by the Signature Pub Group and refurbished and extensively upgraded. It now offers a bar, one-hundred cover restaurant, a late-lounge club plus 12 boutique-style bedrooms. The whole place now has a luxurious feel to it and is the sort of place that everyone wants to be seen.
To rebrand the new Rutland, Signature brought in Nevis Design. Led by David Huckell, their team and I sat down to work out how to communicate the new brand values and identity to the world.
The idea we arrived at was to show a day in the life of the Rutland Hotel, and how it fits into the lives of guests who are staying in Edinburgh. This idea is flexible enough to allow us to talk to very different groups of people, from city gents looking for a midweek stay over, to hen nights and weekend shoppers/clubbers. And it also allowed us to be very specific when we were talking to an individual group. We talked them through the things they’d like to see and do to make their stay the best it could possibly be. See more about the project in the press release.
The finish of the opening night invitation and the initial brochure reflected the materials used in the multi-million pound refurbishment. You can see some examples of the work below.

Hard-backed mailer

Hard-backed mailer

Wrapped and ready to go

Wrapped and ready to go

Cover close-up

Cover close-up

We went along to the launch night and had a great evening. If they manage to recreate the same atmosphere every weekend then the Rutland will soon become the place to be in Edinburgh’s city centre. I’ll see you there.

I love this piece of design.
To be fair, I love James Brown.

Nowadays we’re used to seeing images made from words, and images created from other smaller images. And that’s because some boffin has created a piece of software that allows it to be done quickly and easily.
That wasn’t the case when the image of James Brown ‘Godfather of Soul’ was created. It has been hand rendered. Which might not sound that tricky. But every single nuance of every single character has to be perfect. Just look at the image. You can almost hear his outrageous drawl.
If you’re not too familiar with his work, or you think that Sex Machine is the pinnacle of his music, I’d suggest you check out ‘In The Jungle Groove’. It’s got Funky Drummer on it which hip hop fans will know inside out, as it’s one of the most sampled breaks. Plus Soul Power, Talkin’ Loud and Saying Nothin’ and It’s A New Day are all killer tracks. In fact, all 10 tracks on this excellent compilation album are well worth a listen.
He was a great pioneer of black music, not just his own stuff. He released a lot of music by his various backing bands and artists. Some of the very best of this has been re-released on compilations called James Brown’s Funky People (Vol. 1 -3). If pushed I’d go for volume 1. It is truly some of the best funk and soul music it will ever be your pleasure to hear.
Give it up for Soul Brother Number One.

A couple of months ago I was working for Family Advertising in Edinburgh, covering for one of their Creative Directors (David) who was off on holiday.
Which meant I got to work with Kevin and all the other talented boys and girls who work there. They’ve got some fantastic clients and continually produce work that makes you think: “I wish I’d done that.” Have a look at their site here.
One of the jobs that Kevin and I worked on was an Eco Week project for a shopping centre in Dundee, called Overgate. They wanted to combine shopping and an environmental message to encourage people to think about the planet when they are choosing how to shop.

I’ve tried to show you the progression from scribble on a sheet of paper to finished ad.

The first image is the rough sketch I did when the idea came to me.

The second image was me again, still scribbling, but trying to flesh the idea out a bit.

And the third image is the ad that finally ran, once it had been set within the client’s brand guidelines

This was a press ad and poster that highlighted the Eco Week to a wide audience.

This was a vinyl sticker that was applied to floors and windows within the shopping centre to target people who already use the shopping centre.

The week itself was a huge success, with all the demonstrations and shows doing a roaring trade.

I didn’t make it along myself, but the overall message has rubbed off on me. I now look like a giant runner bean very time I leave the house.