Category Archives: Art Direction

Chris Hughes for Mental Health Awareness: Top man | CALM

Yesterday, Love Island’s Chris Hughes released a bizarre video campaign for a collaboration with Topman called “L’eau de Chris”. The video posted on Instagram received a lot of criticism, labelling Chris a joke and a narcissist for selling the drink for £2. The post saw the 24-year-old star posing in his underwear with “Mineral water infused with a Chris Hughes tears”.

 

As an avid Love Island viewer (no shame here) I assumed that the ad was a parody and a p*ss-take – Chris is known for his dead-pan humour and providing many giggles to millions of viewers this summer. To my surprise the campaign was in fact real, but not for a self-absorbed product to build his brand. Chris has teamed up with mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to raise awareness about male mental health and the male suicide epidemic.

CALM launched the #Don’tBottleItUp campaign to urge men not to internalise their emotions after it was found in a poll for YouGov that 84% of UK men say they bottle up their emotions. Chris collaborated with world famous photographer RANKIN for this project.

L’eau de Chris? What’s really ludicrous is that suicide is still the single biggest killer of young men in the UK. We live in a culture that encourages men to “man up” and bottle things up. That’s why I’ve become an Ambassador for CALM and why together with TOPMAN we want to show men across the UK that it’s okay to open up instead of bottling it up.

Hughes is now proudly an ambassador for CALM, and broke down in tears at an event yesterday whilst explaining his own struggles with mental health. Whilst on Love Island, Chris was praised for being very open with his feelings, something which men and boys struggle with immensely. Whoever chose Chris as ambassador certainly hit the nail on the head when it comes to targeting young people, as his name is everywhere in the world of gossip and celebrity since stealing our hearts on ITV2.
The limited edition promotional run of L’Eau de Chris water bottles (yes they are real) created for Chris’s campaign launch will now be auctioned here, with all proceeds going to support the charity. Also, Topman will donate £2 from every pack of Topman boxers sold from 10th – 31st October to CALM, in support of the #DontBottleItUp campaign.

 

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Period Equity: Periods Are Not a Luxury

Just like here in the UK, 36 states in the US still collect sales tax on tampons and sanitary towels. In June 2017, the federal Senate in Australia voted down a motion by the greens to remove the GST from all female sanitary products, a tax which does not apply to condoms or lubricant. Absurd right?! So, ad agency J.Walter Thompson and The Sweet Shop created an absurd product to go with this tax law, along with a tongue-in-cheek campaign for Period Equity.
Along with the help of actress/model Amber Rose’s sultry voice, they point out that 36 US states have failed to classify menstrual products as a necessity, therefore taxing them as a luxury… just like a diamond necklace! The campaign actually launched at Amber Rose’s OPENed Women’s Conference and annual SlutWalk on September 30th in LA.

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This isn’t the first time I have blogged about Period Equity – the redesign by Pentagram’s Paula Scher caught my eye earlier this year.
Most people are not aware that the tax targets half of the US population, and I definitely think this issue should be raised (again) in the Houses of Parliament here too. What a fantastic campaign.

Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, co-founder of Period Equity said:

We were thrilled to collaborate on this project with JWT and Amber Rose. There’s a long road ahead in the fight for safe and accessible menstrual products for all, as well as instigating open, shame-free conversation around periods. This campaign, coupled with Amber’s unflinchingly strong voice on gender issues, is a smart approach to drumming up much needed discourse around menstrual equity, and calling for systemic change as well.

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Wang & Söderström |Sneakersnstuff x adidas Originals

Creative studio Wang & Söderström are Copenhagen based digital designers who explore the combination of physical elements, technology and material. Commissioned by Sneakerstuff x adidas, the duo created a campaign for the release of the ‘EQT Materials Pack’ focusing on the diversity of materials in the shoes by zooming in to the shoe on a “macro level”:

The campaign included the animation (above) and store implementations in Sneakersnstuff’s Paris and London stores. For the digital aspects, they used 3D software such as 3ds Max, Vray and Modo, and extracted aspects of the physical shoe materials to inspire the concept:

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The brief was quite open and we are happy that our aesthetic wasn’t compromised — we shared the same vision as the client from the beginning. The inspiration to the brief came from one our personal projects called Treasures a series that shows contrasted material collections in a still life staging. We wanted to present a visual language that mixes our own, the shoe’s and Sneakersnstuff’s universe.

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This aesthetic and colour palette is very similar to campaigns I’ve posted about before, such as the Nike and ManVsMachine campaign. I love this style – it’s a really popular design trend as more designers are exploring 3D design.

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The Official Food of Everything: Domino’s | VCCP

As an avid Hollyoaks fan (don’t judge) I see the same adverts at 6.30pm every weekday evening. That means I am subjected to the atrocity that is these Domino’s idents:

Those cheesy (excuse the pun) idents were created by ad agency Iris. Domino’s appointed VCCP as its lead creative and strategic agency for the UK and Ireland in April, but Iris will continue to work on the pizza chain’s digital business.

VCCP’s debut for Domino’s concepts the brand as “The official food of everything” with six TV spots, 2 of which have been aired so far:

Ads are running across radio, digital, social media, Spotify, and DOOH, alongside placements the on dating app Tinder as part of target audience of 16- to 34-year-olds. Users will see a Domino’s-branded profile card and when people swipe right they will be served an offer message to click through to the Domino’s website.

The fully integrated campaign focuses on humorous, real-life situations that narrate how food brings people together:

Forget Sunday roasts, fancy nights out and basic nights in, treat yourself to a Domino’s instead. Whether you’re feeding your squad on the go or having a family night in front of the telly, give the oven the night off and choose a freshly handmade pizza.

I think these ads are a real step up from Iris’s work. Perhaps even the best Domino’s ads (created in the UK) that I can remember! Welldone VCCP!

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Trans* Ban: Not a Burden

There seems to be running theme with the illustrations I am creating. It’s impossible to ignore the garbage that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth, and it’s certainly impossible to ignore messages of hate, including transphobia.
In August, Trump’s directive issued a military policy that would prohibit transgender people from joining all branches of the armed forces and ban military healthcare plans from funding sex-reassignment surgeries. Trump has decided to discredit American heroes based on their gender identity by directing the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan (from 2016). The plan allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, along with a ban of the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment mentioned above.

Once more, many trans* heroes will be left in limbo in so many different ways – mentally, socially, financially and emotionally. Trump’s decision pours salt an already transphobic wound that a large part of the world is desperately trying to heal.
This illustration questions what exactly is the difference between a cis-soldier and a trans-soldier? Nothing.

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Spotlight: Marco Palena

Marco Palena has instantly become one of my top 5 favourite illustrators with his stunningly detailed and unique illustrations. The winners of this year’s Association of Illustrators’ World Illustration Awards have been announced, and Marco has won ‘The Overall New Talent Award’ for his work for the ‘Bookshops in Blossom’ book (below), which details Italian literature and culture:

His work has featured on the cover of plenty of magazine covers including ‘My Family and Other Animals’ for Illustrated Magazine (2015):

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Marco’s uniquely crafted illustrations are so incredible that it took me a while to realise that they aren’t digital illustrations, but in fact hand drawn!

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He often illustrates in monochrome, but his colour illustrations are just as incredible, and have been featured in children’s books:

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It’s hard to actually find information about Marco and interviews with him despite his successes, but I think his work speaks for itself. Stunning!

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Spotlight: Patrick Sluiter

Motion and 3D Designer Patrick Sluiter has a unique style to say the least. Patrick has designed fantastic work like ‘Strangers’, personal projects and my favourite ‘Stills’ in which he has created an ongoing series based on daily passing thoughts:

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His characters are smooth and almost melancholy which are all carefully created in Cinema 4D, a programme which he has shockingly only been using for 2 years. Patrick cites inspiration in the work of other artists such as Geoff McFetridge, Alexy Préfontaine, Mike Lee, Charlie Harper, Guy Billout, Thomas Hedger, Xavier Cardona and Liron Ashkenazi Eldar.
It’s not just the form of the characters that make his unique style – Patrick’s colour scheme consists of dull, flat colour combinations that go perfectly with the overall aesthetic. Love, love, love his work.

All the animations grew from an idea of a lucid dream that seemed tangible, but would have a sense of abstraction. Some were more ‘out there’ than others but my favourite was a couple that have an outlet and plug prong for faces. There’s a clearly sexual undertone, but the goal was to show compatibility and the subtle motions you use to communicate to your significant other.

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Global Breastfeeding Week: This Sucks

Directed by Jon Lawton, this campaign for Global Breastfeeding Week focuses on the tagline “breastfeeding is nicer than you feeding”. Featuring the empowering and vert apt song “F*** The Pain Away” by Peaches, Lawton powerfully conveys a juxtaposition of a peacefully breastfeeding mother and baby, and people scoffing messy food. It’s illegal to prevent a woman from breastfeeding, yet mothers still feel a stigma attached to feeding their babies in public, often feeling embarrassed and judged.

Jon Lawton, creative director at Stink Studios said:

A month ago I read a news story about a woman being asked to leave a restaurant because she was breastfeeding, which is total bullshit. Have you seen people eating? It’s disgusting. All lips, sauce and gob. It’s like we go backwards in our ability to do the most simple human task. Babies feeding, by comparison, is the most elegant form of the act. The Peaches post-punk track was just perfect. Loud, proud, with a fuck-you attitude. If one mother feels more confident breastfeeding in public because of the film – that’s all I want.

I love the direction Jon has gone in with this short film – it is incredibly empowering and goes to show that breastfeeding (the most natural thing any mammal can do) is in no way comparable to grotesque, slow-mo clips of mouths devouring greasy, processed fast-food.
Check out the GBW website linked above – it’s a shame they haven’t looked into a re-brand to match the bold film.

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Carlsberg: Black and Gold

Design agency Kontrapunkt’s (Denmark) have redesigned cans for Carlsberg’s Black Gold Pilsner. The design features a two-colour scheme with  a matt black top and ring pull. I love a bit of matte:

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Note how they’ve also added a hop leaf shape cut out on the ring pull. The devil is in the detail!

From the cool cat of beers to an overlooked lager in the Carlsberg range, Black Gold needed a facelift to revive its relevance. Paying homage to the historic Black Gold bottles, we designed a darker than dark can that reflects the bold and more full-bodied pilsner experience.

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Carlsberg is one of many brands who have decided to incorporate minimalist design into their branding by stripping back on detail and ornate features.

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