Archive for February, 2013

by Tim Smith

by Tim Smith

Introducing Beauty Spot

by Alex Benady

It was American writer Jack London who said: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” He understood that inspiration doesn’t just arrive, you have to actively seek it out.

That’s why we have created ‘Beauty Spot’, our new creative blog feature.

It’s a weekly look at an image or artefact that someone at Coley Porter Bell finds beautiful, uplifting or thought provoking.

Our hope is that maybe some of this inspiration will rub off on clients, staff and friends who read our blog.

‘Impact of China’s visual language on Western design?’ wins Blue Sky award.

by Alex Benady

China is rapidly becoming the world’s dominant economic power. It seems likely that significant cultural influence will soon result from China’s economic hegemony.

So is there any evidence that China’s visual language is going to impact on western design in the same way that the USA’s has for the best part of the last century?

That is the question posed by Coley Porter Bell business director Alex Ririe to win our ‘Blue Sky’ competition this year.

Blue Sky is open to all CPB staff and it’s aimed at fostering passion, creativity and a questioning culture in the agency.

All entrants have to do is come up with an idea or passion they want to explore and submit it in 150 words. The anonymous entries are judged by an internal panel aided by former Design Week editor and wise person, Lynda Relph-Knight.

The winner receives a prize of £2500 and two weeks leave to explore their passion or their question. All they have to do in return is share their findings in a presentation, exhibition or film.

Alex says she’s going to look for answers to her question in three Asian cities of Hong Kong Shanghai and Singapore where the cultures of east and west are already mixing.

In particular she’ll be looking for answers in the areas of architecture -(will Asian style inform the buildings of tomorrow?) , fashion -(is there an Asian answer to denim lurking out there?), food -(what is the most likely source of a Chinese McDonalds?) and drinks –(is there a Chinese equivalent of coffee or whiskey in the wings?)

These are big questions the answers to which have real commercial significance.  Alex should be sharing her findings in the Autumn some time. We are looking forward to hearing them.


CPB planner makes video debut for The Herbaliser

by Alex Benady

By day he’s an account planner producing brand strategies. But in his spare time Coley Porter Bell trainee planner Will Moore writes and produces films

This week Will made his film debut with the release of a music video for 90’s jazz hip hop outfit The Herbaliser. that he both helped write and produce. (

The three minute video for ‘A Sad State Of Affairs’ featuring spoken word artist George The Poet, is The Herbaliser’s second single from last year’s album ‘There Were Seven’.

Will says he got the gig because he used to work with a girl who was a partner of one of the guys from The Herbaliser. “She was telling me that the band needed a film for their new single, I have been writing film scripts as a hobby for a while now, so I suggested that I have a go at developing some ideas for them”, says Will.

The first draft was way over budget, but with a bit of begging and blagging the second script came in bang on. The film which shows a greedy music producer fashioning his next act is a not so thinly veiled attack on the soullessness of today’s music industry, says Will. Acut observers will spot that the first half of the film is shot in the Canary Wharf headquarters of Ogilvy Advertising.

So is Will about to leave us to work in the music industry? “No,” he says. “I didn’t do it for the money or as a career move. I just love having ideas and creating stuff and seeing it come to life.” ends


Horsemeat scandal highlights purpose of brands

by Alex Benady

One of the fascinating aspects of the current horsemeat-in-your-lasagne scandal is that it takes us back to the original purpose of brands. With echoes of the banking crisis, it has tarnished trust in brands that has taken nearly a century to build. It’s yet another blow to the reputation of ‘business’ generally.

In recent decades, society has viewed brands primarily as vehicles for personal expression. They have been used by consumers to make statements about themselves, the kind of people they are, their aspirations and limitations.

But the first fmcg brands emerged in the Victorian era, not to express lifestyle choices, but to reassure consumers about the provenance of their foodstuffs. (more…)

CPB wins 2 DBA Design Effectiveness awards

by Sarah Cameron

Coley Porter Bell has won two silvers at the Design Business Association Design Effectiveness Awards. The awards for rebranding the entire John West range and redesigning Morrisons’ M Savers budget range, were announced at a ceremony in Central London on 7 February.

The new designs for John West applied to more than 90 skus, focused on the company’s fishing heritage, its expertise and knowledge of the sea.

Data provided by John West showed that sales increased by 20% in the year following the rebrand, growing its value share of the canned fish market to 32.5%. In the first four weeks of launch, every pound spent on the redesign generated nearly three pounds in increased sales.

Meanwhile Morrisons M savers was the only winner in the own brand category. Last year we redesigned Morrisons own label budget line to make it something customers wouldn’t be ashamed of having in their shopping basket.

Subsequently it was announced as ‘The UK’s fastest growing grocery brand’ by The Grocer. Sales increased by 48% after the January launch and Morrisons increased its share of Value own label by 3% in 2011 -whilst the big four declined. Perhaps more significant till was the effect on the overall Morrisons brand. The designs have made people positively re-evaluate the Morrisons brand. Previously it was from just another supermarket. Now it’s from one that actively understands and cares about its consumers.

CPB planning director John Clark said the awards were a mark of the agency’s commitment to effectiveness. “We focus on producing beautiful work. Not because we like pretty designs but because we believe beautiful design sells. It is effective. These awards are validation of that belief.”


From static to moving. A new age for pack design beckons

by Igor Astrologo

Are we on the brink of a golden age in graphic design?

A couple of years ago we designed a holographic label for Olmeca Tequila to celebrate its collaboration with trance DJ Ferry Corsten. The intention was to replicate the flashy, changing colours of strobe lights and laser beams on the dance floor. We were proud of the fact that our label looked active, dynamic and cutting edge.

However, such is the pace of technical and technological development today, that Parker Williams‘ new electroluminescent design for Ballantine’s Finest whisky makes our holographic experiment look, well, a little dated. See for yourself. Here

Like Olmeca,  Ballantine’s is owned by Chivas Brothers. Like Ballantine’s the design was intended to overcome the challenge of making a black bottle stand out on shelf or, even better, in a dark night club bar.

Turning to electroluminescent technology (conductive ink and sub strata that light up when a small charge is passed through), they have produced what is effectively an animated display. Each individual bottle can shimmer and sparkle at will. But even more powerfully, when several bottles are wired together, according to Design Week, they can be customised to create an animated sequence.

The Ballantine’s display is wired up to the sound system and flickers in time to the music like a graphic equaliser then the ‘B’ flickers on and off.



The effect is absolutely magical and turns a row of bottles into what is really a screen. It’s a step on from the Bombay Sapphire bottles created by Webb deVlam last autumn which illuminates when picked up. And it is several leaps ahead of the lenticular displays that until very recently were being hailed as the future of labelling.

All this technological development has created the most exciting period in branding design since four colour process printing. Like the moving portraits on the walls of Hogwarts in Harry Potter, the distinction between the page and the screen is being blurred. Designers now have a canvas in which they can bring not only packaging but all sorts of printed material to life, allowing us to work in 4D for the first time.

Imagine the potential, not only for individual packs, but merchandising, posters, and even printed materials. I love the idea of rows or threads of numbers moving or lighting up in a financial report. Or posters in which elements change. Or shelf wobblers that ‘wobble’.

             The creative potential offered by technology is immense.

Bring it on I say.

CPB business director is most promising wine expert.

by Alex Benady

Coley Porter Bell business director Alex Ririe has been recognised as one of the most promising new wine experts in the country by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

Last week at a reception held at London’s Guildhall she was named winner of the  prestigious IWSC Waitrose Scholarship.

In June Alex completed her Level 4 Diploma in Wine & Spirits, gaining one of the top marks in her cohort of 350 oenophiles. As a result her name was one of four put forward for the Waitrose Scholarship.

Following an in-depth interview and an assignment auditing fine wines, she was announced as the winner of the award.

The scholarship is given annually to a high achieving graduate from the UK not currently in the wine trade.

Alex wins a placement with Waitrose and a study trip to one of its suppliers, she is inducted into the judging panel at IWSC competitions with possible promotion to member judge. She also wins a visit to environmental charity Corkwise and an engraved magnum decanter.

“I’m thrilled to have won the Waitrose & IWSC Scholarship – It’s the culmination of two years hard work. Whilst the scholarship is great for me personally to be able to expand my wine knowledge, it is also a positive for my drinks clients at Coley Porter Bell. Not only do they benefit from my branding knowledge, but this extra accolade demonstrates my understanding and passion for their business.”



Those Crunchy Nutters

by Sarah Cameron

I’m going to put this out there – I’m just not sure about the new Crunchy Nut variant.  I’m a die-hard Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut fan, but this extension to a ‘luxury’ apply / rasin etc. granola variant is a stretch too far for me. Where’s the honey? Where’s the golden promise of nuts?  Where on earth are the cornflakes?!

The white and green identity looks a bit cold rather than luxury (and not at ALL welcoming in the wintery mornings),  and unfortunately ‘cold’ is exactly what this pack has left me feeling…



This blog is about all the things that inspire us as we make brands beautiful: insights and ideas, points of view, fabulous work, nascent trends - all the things that excite us and help us to see new possibilities for the brands we work on. So please enjoy, add your comments, forward the link, and come back and see us. We’ll be posting regularly.