Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

New to London? 33 Must See places

by Sarah Cameron

Our lovely intern Alex Rombach will be leaving us shortly, (sob) and as she’s new to London – she’s from The Black Forest in Germany – she asked us for a few tips on great places to go in London.  The studio came back with a whopping 33 Must See places.

If you have any additions to make to our London ‘must sees’ please get in touch:

1. On a Sunday morning, The Columbia road flower market (
2. Primrose Hill, for bars, Boutiques & views of London (
3. Hampstead village for cafe society, old pubs and Hampstead Heath (
4. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – it’s the last week this week and although the weather isn’t going to be great (Friday might be the best day), it’s a really fantastic experience.
5. A walk around Richmond Park and then into Richmond is lovely on a sunny day.  In particular, there are beautiful views over the Thames out towards Twickenham on Richmond Hill and a pint in one of the pubs facing the river is great. If you’re in that area then a visit to the cafe/tea house at Petersham Nurseries is also recommended for superb food and quirky
6. Lancashire Court in Mayfair is hidden away but is full of buzzing bars and restaurants.  It’s particularly good on a warm evening when everyone spills outside.
7. Rebel Bingo Described as ‘a raucous night of booze, bad behaviour and filthy underground bingo’. This is one of the best night of organised fun I’ve been to. The bingo can be a little rude so not for the prudish!
8. Bourne and Hollingsworth A great little bar near central with a retro feel. They serve cocktails in china cups with cucumber sandwiches. A little fancy, but cute.
9. Elk in the Woods - Yummy little eatery just round the corner from Angel Tube. If you fancy a menu that is slightly alternative but delicious here is your place.
10. - a good french restaurant, Upper St, Islington - loads to see at the theatre
12. - good venue for Jazz music
13. - a lovely cocktail bar in Notting Hill that has a James Dean style about it
14. - a gorgeous, luxurious old cinema where you can drink vino too!
15. - another cool cinema, which is slightly cheaper – £3 on a Tuesday
16. Visit Black Rat Press ( gallery in Shoreditch then on for a drink in the Dragon Bar opposite.
17. Busaba for good Thai food in soho ( Then onto this secret little bar- It’s number 57 greek street. Go down a flight of stairs sign your name and your in. There is normally a man sitting in the corner playing the saxaphone and a good mix of people in there. 
18. I really like Spitalfields market on a Sunday. Could go after the flower market.
19. The Palmtree Pub – in Mile End Park beside the Regents Canal is the most magical pub – I have taken quite a few friends there who all decide it is their new favourite pub in London. On Friday and Saturday nights they have a live band made up of really talented local old men who play old classics from Frank Sinatra to Ella Fitzgerald. Stays open till 2am or 3am as no-one minds the noise, because the park surrounds it. Everything else was bombed during the blitz, but the Palmtree stood tall, and still has all the original features including a big old till and gorgeous wall paper, all bathed in golden light! Bill Murray and Wes Andersen loved it when they made Fantastic Mr Fox in studios close by too!
20. Secret Cinema – wonderful monthly event that turns cinema into the most incredible immersive experience. No one knows what film they are going to see, the location and dress theme are revealed just before… its on tonight tomorrow and Sunday night. Go if you can!
21. Dennis Sever’s House – a beautiful house in East London that brings the past to life in the most charming way.
…Brick Lane is so good on a Sunday too, if you go, wander down to their famous 24 hour bagel shops and check out Beyond Retro – its one of the best vintage stores in London.
22. The Luminaire, Kilburn - best gig venue in London, small, intimate, amazing sound. Just don’t go there for a chat, its famous for throwing people out who talk over the music, as the signs on the walls warn you. The King Head pub below (as in the king of rock not the king of England) is a great place to meet before. 
23. The Brixton Windmill - - second best gig venue I London, although a bit of a mission to find, its small again, feels like its falling down and has a dog who lives on the roof. Bands play every single night and big names are know to play sneaky warm gigs here too. Plus there’s free BBQs and cake at the weekend gigs.
24. The 100 Club - - This Oxford street jazz venue is an institution and has its place sealed for ever in music history, the basement venue might look like any other gig venue but as the pictures on the walls testify the great and good of rock and punk have played here, everyone from the Rolling Stones to The Sex Pistols to Oasis. Bands always try harder at The 100 Club. 
25. Bandstand busking ( if you can catch it – a lovely way to spend a weekend afternoon. Sign up for the emails, they tell you who, when and where …just go along a enjoy some free music!
26. Gordon’s Wine Bar ( A small underground bar with nice wine, low ceiling and a good atmosphere
27. Broadway market for all it’s little shops and weekend food stalls ( …then sitting in London Fields with your picnic 
28. Greenwich – market on Sat and Sun including clothes, antiques, food etc, interesting independent shops and architecture, nice bars and cafes, exhibitions, beautiful park, walk by the river, even get the river taxi. Cutty Sark and National Maritime Museum based here if sea-faring history is your thing! A great destination for a lazy Sunday.
29. The Nag’s Head in Kinnerton St – a small, traditional English boozer in a quiet little mews at the back of bustling Knightsbridge. Strict no mobile phone policy which is quite refreshing! Lots of interesting brick-a-brac and stuff to look at (from memory the land lord appeared in Grange Hill in the 80s and his Dad was something to do with Doctor Who so there are strong links with theatre and TV). Chris Evans’s famous hangout when he used to go boozing in the day with Billie Piper and not turn up for his radio show.
30. Borough Market – great foodie extravaganza and fantastic atmosphere, mornings definitely best time to go (open Fri – Sun)
31. Marylebone High Street on a Saturday for a stroll taking in La Fromagerie, a beautiful cheese shop complete with a specialist cheese room (
32. Walking across Waterloo Bridge for the best view of London to then experience what the South Bank has to offer. 
33. St. Paul’s – Climb the stairs to the Whispering Gallery and up to the Golden Gallery for an unexpected, but amazing view of London (

Bluesky report 2014: ‘Brand China’

by Sarah Cameron

Every year, CPB launches an internal competition to broaden our minds and fill our personal ‘experience banks’. The competition asks; what would you do and where would you go with £2,500 and two weeks extra holiday. Last year’s winner Alex Ririe (CPB Business Director), was interested in how a cultural flow has started to shift from East to West. She wanted to visit China and surrounding cities to understand this shift and find out just what’s so appealing.

To help understand how Asia is impacting on western design in the future, Alex focused on four themes – Fashion, Food, Drinks and Architecture.

Places she went to include The Red Dot Museum in Singapore which is Asia’s first contemporary design museum, The Hong Kong Design Centre founded to promote Asian design and numerous flagship stores of luxury western brands in Shanghai.

After two weeks of travelling, exploring and documenting Alex left Asia with a backpack full of new insights, more experience and stories to tell.

The result of her research was an inspiring, lively and colorful exhibition at the CPB studio where Alex presented her findings. She not only showed photography from her travels and presented key findings, but also made comparisons of American influences on Western culture versus those coming from Asia like Bubble Tea and Dim Sum. She also presented key cultural motifs in Asian visual language, in Chinese clothing, decorative designs and traditional colors – emphasizing the importance of symbolic meanings in China.

 “My BlueSky trip was a brilliant experience. I have always been fascinated by Asian culture so to spend 2 weeks immersed in it was really inspiring. The interesting thing for me, was that at the moment the transfer of culture seems very one way – America and the West influences much of Asian contemporary lifestyle. However, the seas are changing and we are starting to see more and more brands emerging that are not only flying the flag for Brand China, but doing it proudly and in a way that has huge appeal to Western tastes. America has had over a century of influence and it is still early days for China, but I’m sure we will embrace more and more of Asian lifestyle, craft and culture in the future.”  Alex

Chinese Consumers – an unseen opportunity

by beautiful

I’m Alex from Germany and have just started a work experience placement at Coley Porter Bell. Before coming to London I spent six months in China at Xiamen University to study Economics and Chinese, as well as travelling in my spare time. I gained intriguing insights into the Chinese culture, attitudes and especially their spending behaviour. What I found was the Chinese way of spending money on products differs greatly from the European way.

According to Reuters, the Chinese are the top consumers of luxury goods globally. They significantly buy more luxury goods overseas than domestically because the brands are often much more expensive within China due to tax reasons. Chinese people like to travel, since China opened up to the West, exit regulations are loosened up and the income in the county is rising. They come for shopping trips to London, Milan, Zurich and Paris and arrive with only one goal: to buy luxury goods and high-end brands.

Large amounts of money are spent on expensive bags, watches and jewellery for themselves or gifts for their relatives and friends back home. In the Chinese society it is a big issue to “not loose face” and their gifts should reflect the importance and respect for the recipient, so the amount on the price tag is a big issue.

The problem I see is that most marketers in Europe are not approaching Chinese customers effectively. They often fail to market and communicate their brand messages in a relevant way – perhaps due to the lack of Chinese language skills.

Last week I read in Marketing Magazine that most Chinese do not even know the important shopping districts in London because travel agencies carry Chinese tourists by coach to out of town fashion outlets, Bicester Village being the most popular. New and Old Bond Street as well as Sloane Square, are unknown places for most of the shoppers.

It feels that the Chinese consumers are underestimated by the UK in terms of buying power because I think they are increasingly aspirational consumers. Retailers and other marketers largely fail to tailor their messages to Chinese consumers – opportunities are unseen and very often completely missed.

I come from a small town in the Black Forest in Germany, where there are many souvenir and tourist shops. Even these small shops have Chinese speaking sales people or even Chinese sales assistants who are able to help Chinese shoppers.

When are European businesses finally going to see the importance of this profitable target group and start hiring consultants who have Chinese marketing and spending insights? Where are the company websites and online shops translated into Mandarin? We’ll see which businesses are faster to adopt and adapt then others…

Alexandra Rombach, Marketing Intern at Coley Porter Bell











Will Packaging Cease To Exist?

by Sarah Cameron

Global warming, being green and carbon footprints have been a hot topic since the turn of the century, and the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra of environmental waste awareness has been firmly engrained into our consumer lives.

Design student Aaron Mickelson examined whether it was possible to eliminate packaging waste entirely, instead of merely reducing it. Thinking outside the box, his project, ‘The Disappearing Package’, investigates how to create packaging that becomes the product itself. Amongst Mickelson’s collection is a soap packet that dissolves upon first use, creating no need for unwrapping or disposal (an innovative use of soap soluble ink, and water soluble paper). The student’s solution for Britain’s favourite beverage is similarly resourceful: an elegant concertina of tea bags that are torn off one by one.

Mickelson is adamant that a disappearing package doesn’t need to mean a sacrifice for the brand. He says, “Disappeared packages retain all identity and marketing opportunities of traditional packaging solutions.”

Some might argue that the internet is the answer to the future’s sustainable packaging, with virtual shopping meaning that the consumer buys the product based on a photo of it, as opposed to the tactile draw of traditional packaging. However, if Mickelson’s designs are a glimpse of the future of packaging, consumers (and the environment) have something to look forward to.

5 Beautiful Things. Summer Edition

by beautiful
With the summer season now in full swing (and even the weather to match!)  our latest 5 Beautiful Things has been themed around the delights of summer.  With exhibitions, architecture, wonderful summertime occurrences, and some  inspiring pieces of design included, there is something for everyone.


1.      As if a trip to Fiji wasn’t tempting enough?
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Fiji Airways got our attention when they released previews of their redesign earlier this year. We have now been able to see their full rebrand, complete with aircrafts proudly embossed with Teteva Masi symbols, and cushions to match. We love how the theme doesn’t vary from its origins, with direct symbol translations communicating Fiji’s welcoming nature. The design is simple, distinctive, and sophisticated; perhaps a trip to Fiji is in order?


2. Get in touch with your roots
This beautifully creative new envelope concept by the Swedish postal service is both unique and arresting; this new trend of designer envelopes has swept over Sweden and we hope it comes our way soon! With each of the four envelopes representing each season, we love the transformation of such a banal object into a work of art, to be treasured surely by any recipient.


3. Showcasing the freshest artistic talent

If you are in London this summer, head down to the Royal Academy for this year’s Summer Exhibition. This display is a true celebration of artistic talent, with works from both the well-known, and the unheard-of. What really distinguishes this exhibition is the sheer scale of the event. This has earned its title of the largest open exhibition in the UK, boasting a collection made up of paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural design and models. With a collection uniquely chosen and hung by artists, this is a spectacular must-see.
For tickets:


4. Summer pavilions just got playful…

This striking take on the summer pavilion by Atelier Zundel Cristea, has been installed in the Museum Gardens in Bethnal Green, London. We urge you to dismiss all existing mental imagery of summer pavilions, and take a look at this satisfyingly symmetrical, undulating inflatable structure. Perhaps simply a coincidence, or a factor in its very design, the pavilion has been located next to the Museum of Childhood.


5. Manhattanhenge

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Manhattanhenge is a stunning, half natural, half man-made occurrence in which the setting sun aligns with the East-West streets of the main street grid. This amazing phenomenon happens just 2-3 times per year and as people local to the area flock to the best viewing spots, this attraction has been likened to the crowds that gather to celebrate the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. So if you happen to be in Manhattan over July 12th, be sure to secure yourself a good vantage point. If you aren’t lucky enough to be there, the Pinterest page is well worth looking at!


stop thinking. start rapping.

by lauriehills

the inimitable lupe fiasco

I recently came across a study on what brain scans reveal about Freestyle Rappers via my lovely nerdy friend Dr Jess.

Now I’m not about to pretend that I know anything about the world of functional MRIs, but what did get me interested was how this is essentially a mapping on creativity and the fluidity of language.

Yes it is a small and subjective study in a very niche area of medicine but it does have fascinating implications for understanding such incredible processes of creativity. Although it is somewhat ironic that in order to study “creativity” we have to structure such uncreative study designs…

In a nutshell the study compares the functional MRI results with those of freestyle rapping (improvisation) and a set of learned rap lyrics.

Using freestyle rap as a means of image mapping the areas of the brain, and connectivity mapping to analyse the complex interplay between the areas of the brain that control coordination, fluency, information processing, intention, multimodal sensory processing, language, rhythm … (the list is as long as it is complex!) what it suggests is

“… the conscious, deliberate, top-down attentional processes mediated by this network may be attenuated during improvisation, consistent with the notion that a state of defocused attention enables the generation of novel, unexpected associations that underlie spontaneous creative activity.”

Whilst sadly proof that not all of us have the gift of the gab on hip-hop karaoke night, let alone freestyle hip hop karaoke night, what’s interesting about the results is the sense that the inherent creative result comes from a non-conscious process of decision making and adjustments.

Perhaps this has implications for our individual creativity and we should just… not think too hard.

As they put it; “…ongoing actions, moment to moment decisions and adjustments in performance may be experienced as having occurred outside of conscious awareness. This is not inconsistent with the experience of many artists who describe the creative process as seemingly guided by an outside agency.”

So next time you’re in a creative pickle – whether it’s writer’s block as a strategist or an ideas rut as a designer – maybe you shouldn’t jump straight to the interwebs for inspiration/the answer and instead embrace your inner Lupe or Dr Dre.

Failing that, the festive season is upon us, so for the on-stage divas amongst us maybe it’s time to make a name for yourself at the Christmas Party?

If you’ve had enough of pre-frontal gyrus’- and made it this far into the post- you deserve to be rewarded and may now gyrus to Will Smith’s (of Fresh Prince Of Bel Air brilliance) casual free-styling… hold out for the FPOBA drop at the end. Probably NSFW but well worth it. Happy Friday Everyone!

Five Beautiful Things – Autumn edition

by Sarah Cameron

The leaves are orange, the fog has come down and we’ve finally had to accept that an Indian Summer is not just around the corner… Don’t worry though; wrap your hands round a steaming cup of tea and check out our latest (and particularly bright!) Five Beautiful Things for inspiration despite the drizzle.


60 Shades of Royalty



Throughout the madness of her Diamond Jubilee, it seemed impossible to escape the Queen’s face, but a piece of colourful genius stood out amongst the generic QEII masks and biscuit tins. Leo Burnett has created a masterpiece ‘Pantone Queen: 60 Years of Matching Colours’.  Each colour of outfit is accompanied by the date it was worn, and the Pantone colour reference. And after all the press the younger royals are getting these days, we suspect Her Majesty will be blushing a rosy Pantone 231.



Jolly Brollies



This playful exhibition of colour and abstract beauty was featured in Agueda Portugal, as part of the Agitagueda Art Festival. The Wonderland-esque display carried a soothing elegance while maintaining a stunning array of colour across the sky. The umbrellas also proved to be somewhat practical by providing a shaded stroll for all those admiring the aerial spectacle; an umbrella function us Brits can only envy.



Inside London



OK, so it’s one of ours, but our drinks team at Coley Porter Bell are rather pleased with their new identity for Beefeater’s limited edition ‘Inside London’ bottle, planned as celebration of 2012 – a truly momentous year for London.
Our idea for the bottle stems from the British outwardly conservative appearance and ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude, contrasting with our ‘inner eccentricity’ seen in London’s diverse range of people, culture and activities.



Nice And Toastie



If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the… bus stop? Caribou Coffee, along with the trusty sous chefs at Colle + McVoy, launch their ‘Hot ‘n Wholesome’ breakfast sandwiches by converting bus shelters in Minneapolis into oversized ovens. Not to miss a trick, these public appliances have been fitted with digital clocks and fully functional heaters.



Living With Patterns



Eley Kishimoto, a husband and wife duo, opened their ‘Living With Patterns’ exhibition at The Aram Gallery, London in September, coinciding with both London Fashion Week and The London Design Festival. The exhibition showcases their collection of women’s wear, named ‘In Shape’, and is on show until 27th October. If you like these retro inspired prints, Clarks will be launching a range of shoes inspired by this work in March next year in the UK.


Coley Porter Bell Creates New Member of Chivas Regal Family

by Alex Benady

Coley Porter Bell has designed the packaging for the newest permanent member of the Chivas Regal range, The Chivas Brothers’ Blend.

Launched this month, it is Chivas’ first new launch for five years and will be available as an exclusive in Global Travel Retail outlets. It is intended to strengthen the brand’s relationship with this all-important channel and to help position Chivas at the forefront among international travelers.

The new ‘The Chivas Brothers’ Blend’ has been created as a tribute to the founding brothers, James and John whose story began in the mid-1800’s when they first worked together at the Chivas Brothers’ Emporium in King Street, Aberdeen. Paying homage to this rich history, it is a thoroughly modern interpretation of the famously smooth Chivas style.

This unique 12 year old blend uses a carefully selected range of malt whiskies including Strathisla and Longmorn to recreate the extra smooth taste that is perfect for sharing with friends.

The main design challenge was to differentiate ‘The Chivas Brothers’ Blend’ from other Chivas variants and the existing 12 year old in particular. It was also important to convey the brand’s heritage and the story of James and John without feeling too traditional or old-fashioned.

One of the solutions to this was the selection of the colour purple – not only does it bridge the gap visually between 12 and 18 year olds, but it balances tradition and modernity whilst creating stand-out at fixture and providing a sense of authority.

Extending the brand’s visual equities beyond colour, extracts from the Chivas brother’s original royal warrant have been used to add authenticity and relate the story back to the brand’s beginnings. The brand’s iconic crest is silk screened directly on to the bottle providing a more contemporary reference back to the Chivas family.

Coley Porter Bell design director Richard Clayton said. “The Chivas Brothers’ Blend is a unique product so we wanted to give it its own distinctive identity while being sympathetic to the broader family of Chivas Regal. We’ve created a design that is vibrant and sophisticated with a strong on-shelf presence. The packaging celebrates Chivas Regal’s history but is completely relevant today and in the future.” ENDS

Look for Longer

by Craig Barnes

As I was standing waiting for my train this morning I noticed this beautiful poster on the platform, which engrossed me and confused me in equal measure. A quick bit of research on twitter upon arriving into the office (on twitter somebody, somewhere has the answer to everything)  and I have discovered it is a cryptic piece of art depicting 75 London Underground station names. I am going to have to struggle not to spend my whole working day tying to crack them all! I’ve got Barbican (Barbie and Ken, get it?), Angel (easy) and Green Park already. This could take some time…

I’m still not sure why these posters have come about, but as a bit of a London Underground nerd, I do know that next year is the 150th anniversary of the world’s first underground train network. Perhaps this is all part of a bigger countdown campaign? I hope so; with all the Brititshness of the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee this year now over, leaving a lot of us on a post-patriotic comedown, a Tube Birthday Party in 2013 could be just the ticket…
Take a look at the website for a full resolution version and say goodbye to your lunch hour!

Wine wraps cast new light on labelling conventions

by Alex Benady

Beautiful game changer?

At the risk of sounding like straight talking former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, it’s very hard to know what you don’t know, especially if that’s all you’ve ever known. By which I mean that often we are not aware of the limitations of things because they are so ubiquitous and so pervasive that it doesn’t even occur to us to question them.

Sometimes it takes a new way of doing or looking at things to expose the short comings of convention.

A new series of utterly beautiful wine bottle wraps for California wine maker Truett Hurst does just that for the design of wine labels. They  seem to have been running  on the same tram lines for at least the last two hundred years.

It’s not until you see the Truett Hurst designs that you realize quite how lazy and self-centered wine labelling has been. Conventional wine labelling is all about provenance, (Grape, country, year,) (aka me, me me) the producer.  Imagine a chocolate bar wrapper that just listed the ingredients and when and where it was made. Want a bar of, glucose, caramel and chocolate, Slough 2012 anyone?

In contrast, the Evocative Wrapped Bottles line designed by Stranger and Stranger is defined by the way the wines are to be consumed.

Consumer research helped the company to identify 22 events that trigger wine purchase. Each wrap design is covered in recipes, pictures and words that relate to that particular occasion. There’s ‘Curious Beasts’, a red blend made for Halloween which has a dark foil wrapper decorated with skeletons and skulls; Schuck’s pinot noir, has fish illustrations and recipes on its foil wrapper. A brut rose from the Russian River Valley is designed for occasions like an anniversary or the birth of a child.

It’s easy to see how and why the  restrictive conventions in wine labelling came about. In a highly competitive and fragmented industry with world-wide markets, it has been hard to establish brands. Country of origin was the main discriminator so labels have tended to be little more than stamps showing ingredients and where the product was made. Slap on a crest of some kind to show that the estate has been around for a while and there you have it.

The surprise is that those conventions have been so rarely challenged. OK Truett Hurst’s lovely designs are not the first or only wine packaging to take a different approach. For decades wines have gone the branded route. Think Blue Nun and Black Tower in the eighties. But these were designed to be nonthreatening entry level wines for plebs who found themselves intimidated by conventional wine livery.

But consumers are changing. No longer are they prepared to be cowed into deferential subservience by category conventions. reports that Research by the US Wine Market Council says that 60% of those aged 26 to 34 find “fun and contemporary looking” wine labels of great importance when purchasing wine.

And the fact that these designs are strikingly handsome is not just bunce. It is a fundamental part of changing the game. Blind and branded taste tests reveal a totally different perception of the wine, claims Stranger and Stranger.

There is the possibility that the 22 usage occasions may prove to be too restrictive. Will I drink Curious Beasts at a time other than Halloween. Can I drink Schuck’s with poultry?

But at the very least these designs have cast light on the walls of the prison that confines wine label design. It is up to each brand to make its escape as best it can.



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.