The past 12 months have been full of firsts for Playgroup, and one of these ‘firsts’ that really really stands out for me — not least because I’ve found myself saying this word about 50 times a day for the past few months — is animation.
At Playgroup we have managed and delivered many extremely successful, engaging and well received animations and videos for clients in previous years, so animation in and of itself is not new for us. What is new however, is that rather than working alongside various talented freelancers and external studios to handle the end-production as we have in the past, we made the decision to change things up and bring it all under our own roof. (more…)
My week had started out by staring at the greenery and trees turn into skyscrapers, on the train. I’m born and bred in East Devon (much to my dismay as a teenager) so London was going to be a different style of living for me. The thoughts running through my head were ones of worry and excitement; the UK’s capital is one of my favorite cities so I couldn’t wait to be commuting in it. But, sitting on that train I was asking myself if maybe 15 was too young for what I had set out to do? Was it a too bigger jump from my sleepy village? (more…)
It’s a digital revolution at the Barbican and we went along and had a look. Digital has come a long way since young Matt designed his first graphics with a Mac Colour classic 25 years ago. We now have lasers left right and centre, movement tracking cameras, 3D projection mapping, the world wide web, fibre broadband and phones that would have been capable of launching a man to the Moon in the late 60′s to name a few. (more…)
We have had some fantastically ambitious and creative young interns in the studio recently – all benefitting from the rich and varied work experience on offer here at Playgroup. Like all good agencies, we’re committed to giving design students the opportunity to expand their horizons and experience the pressures of the commercial world in a busy and stimulating environment. Our designers are experienced mentors. They’ve all been through a creative education (some more recently than others) and understand the challenges faced by students and recent graduates. Consistently we’re told that life in an agency is completely different to the art school environment. Hopefully they leave with a better perspective of what life at work is really like.
A collection of things that have brightened our week just a little bit. From the Playgroup team for your enjoyment.
The World Cup is well and truly underway, England have been and gone, Robin Van Persie, James Rodriguez and Tim Cahill have all scored stunners, Suarez has bitten someone else and Spain forgot how to play football, we’re loving it. We recently received this beautiful World Cup wall chart from our friends at Team Karoshi, the World Cup is a great excuse to wheel out a nice a bit of graphic design so we decided to go looking for more. We found loads, so here are a few of our favourites plus a few classics.
Yesterday I popped next door to have a nose around the Clerkenwell Design Week exhibition in the Farmiloe Building. Playfulness in furniture, object design and interior accessories has been a trend for some time, but this year tops it all. A chair is no longer just a chair to sit on, a cable organiser isn’t just doing it’s job and who said that a table top has to be flat?! Objects no longer simply serve a purpose, they are here to entertain and they are full of attitude. They surround us and reflect our personalities. Some try a little too hard but others just get it right. The rule is that there isn’t one. Anything goes really. A mix of different materials and finishes, flat colours, gradients, patterns etc. All very tactile and sensory and a joy to behold.
We’re really pleased to have been classified an Elite agency after being ranked 12th by The Drum in the Drum Design Census 2014. The Design Census comprises three polls measuring financial performance, client satisfaction and peer recognition.
We are incredibly proud of this achievement which marks a successful year for Playgroup both in new business wins, ongoing client work and the opening of our new office in Lymington, Hampshire.
Ask any designer or illustrator about their dream brief and quite a few would gladly offer up their right eyeball to design a record cover for an established artist. We are, therefore, super-excited to have two contributors to this year’s Secret 7”s amongst our ranks. (more…)
Playgroup have recently become members of the Design Business Association (DBA) – the trade organisation for the UK design industry. The DBA has a remit to promote professional excellence and to build productive partnerships between commerce and the design industry. The end goal is to champion effective design that improves the quality of people’s lives. (more…)
Our studio is situated in the centre of one of the most creative parts of London – and therefore the world. We feed off the buzz of Clerkenwell and embrace the many opportunities the area offers us to network and collaborate with like-minded people.
Last Friday was the 30th anniversary of the Apple Macintosh. Over the past 30 years the Mac has become an iconic and indispensable part of the creative tool box. If you’re a graphic designer, filmmaker, photographer or illustrator you almost certainly work on, or have worked on, a Mac, but how and why did the Mac become the designer’s computer of choice?
The beers were flowing and the beards were growing at the annual Graphic Design Pub Quiz last night. It’s the grudge match of the year, pitting a dozen teams of design freaks and type geeks against each other in a battle of huge insignificance. (more…)
We are pleased to have recently contributed a poster design for inclusion in an exhibition on Braun design – alongside 33 other international design studios including; Experimental Jetset, Spin, Hey Studio and Bibliothéque. Under the title ’systems’ the brief was very open, contributors were asked to respond to the systematic approach that Braun design became renowned for. The only stipulation being a set size, typeface and exhibition details. (more…)
Earlier in the year we designed a Ben & Jerry’s branded Camper Van for Unilever, so it was a sad day yesterday when I heard that after 63 years of happy camping, this iconic vehicle has been read it’s last rites. Brazil is the last country to still make the VW Camper Van, but the introduction of new safety regulations means production will have to stop at the end of the year.
A design classic synonymous with the hippy culture of the 60’s and early 70’s it was cool enough to feature on the cover of Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Owners would often repaint them in bright primary colours, others with psychedelic flower patterns.
Check out Camper Blog which has is a great collection of retro Camper Van ads over the past 60 years.
Today saw one of the momentous days of the season, no, not mince pies hitting the shelves (that happened weeks ago) no, today saw the unveiling of the John Lewis advert.
Going head to head with M&S these adverts now have their own press screenings, they last well over 2 minutes and are eagerly awaited. Famous faces, famous voices and even famous directors are all drafted to make the short films something to remember all year. The real aim here though is to make us spend more, double dip recession aside it is estimated that the Christmas revenue generated more than £1 billion in profits for John Lewis over the last 2 years. With profits down no doubt Marks and Spencer will hope for the same. And I’m going to make one prediction both Lily Allen and Keane will have a very Merry Christmas …
In just 24 hours I will be boarding the cruise ship Aurora. Destination…the Channel Islands. Yes, I’m attending the annual Communication Directors Forum and I have to say that I’m pretty excited. The last year has been a buoyant one for Playgroup – no life rafts needed here! The key has been collaboration. Collaboration with clients and a real emphasis on understanding their needs before we embark on a project. We hope to meet many more interesting people over the coming few days. If you’re attending do come over and say hello.
Hope to see you on board!
A few months back I was kindly asked to be involved in a new initiative called “Mentor Me”. It was set up in response to the lack of industry support for creatives in higher education. Mentor Me offers 10 graphic design students the chance to be paired up with 10 design professionals to help mentor them through their 3rd year giving them industry experience and helping them with the transition between being a design student and working commercially within the industry. (more…)
Conqueror paper is hosting an olympic based poster competition called the Typographic Games!
The entries will be judged by an international jury of leading typographers lead by Jean Francois Porchez and the winning work will be displayed in Creative Review. The First prize is a pair of VIP tickets to the olympics, while 5 Silver medalists win a pair of Nike ID trainers!
Entry is free and designs must include the phrase “it’s not what you win but how you conquer it” I’m going to enter and I’ll post my design up when complete! The deadline is the 30th April.
Tonight we are heading to the Christmas 2011 Glug! conveniently located around the corner from us at Fabric nightclub! Its set to be one on the best set of talks this year with a mammoth list of speakers. These include some industry leaders such as Anthony Burrill, Airside and Studio Output.
If you are going look out for us and feel free to come and say hi! (more…)
We have recently been involved in the branding of a new social dining platform, designing their identity.
The purpose of Smith is to connect people from around the world that share similar interests and love to push boundaries. Smith brings these people together while sharing sensory experiences within unique settings combined with premium tasting experiences. (more…)
We had lots of fun implementing the decor I’ve designed for our daughter’s nursery. I’ve always adored handcrafted things that are made with care and I want Frida to appreciate them too when she grows up. Each piece is hand-sawn plywood, treated with bio oil and hung a few centimeters away from the wall that creates a nice depth with the shadows… (more…)
I recently went to the opening of this year’s Unilever-sponsored Tate installation: ‘Film’ by Tacita Dean. Having been involved in Unilever’s launch evening, designing elements for the night, it was good to finally see the finished film after it being shrouded in secrecy. (more…)
September saw some of the biggest changes in my life so far, the first, making the transition from intern to a full-time member of the Playgroup team (I can still hardly believe I’m getting paid for doing what I love), and secondly, from student to graduate. (more…)
Last month myself Ben and Alistair attended Glug ‘Make mine a Music Video! The event had a music twist with directors, producers and commisioners talking through their work and the creative process. The evening was truely inspirational and one of the best glugs we have been to – thought ‘The Found Collective’ really stood out. (more…)
Earlier this month we headed down to the Design Museum Summer Party. The fete style evening featured hat making, cucumber in crustless white bread, random fabric cut into triangles and games including the ‘poppermatic challenge’ to become this year’s Design Museum ‘Frustration’ champion. As you will see Gem was the champion from our table – she just kept on taking me and Ben S out. There was also an after-hours opportunity to see the museum’s exhibitions. These included the well reviewed Wim Crouwel A graphic Odyssey and Brit Insurance Designs of the Year. (more…)
It is officially degree show time. One of the most exciting/nervous times of the year for many in the creative industry. For the studios and agencies it’s a chance to see what the new kinds on the block are doing and finding your latest intern or junior designer. For the host of freelancers it’s another wave of competition to spur them on to even greater promotional heights to make sure they aren’t forgotten in the flood.
And for last year’s graduates they can take it one of two ways. Either they are no longer the fresh-faced coffee kids and can now take a more senior role, however slight that seniority may be. Or they can see it as an invasion on their new blood credentials and look at the new applied pressure to in the hunt for work.
All in all it should be good fun and some cracking work will be strung up around London I’m sure for all to admire.
Playgroup will be attending some of the London based shows this years and having a peruse around D&AD New Blood, Free Range and New Designers which are sure to draw the big crowds once again. I have had a sneaky look back around my old Norwich University College of the Arts and have to say they are still coming out with an avalanche of great new designers, illustrators, typographers and other arty type fellows.
It will be a joy to behold once again this year I’m sure.
The Playgroup gang recently ‘pulled a sicky’ and indulged in a spot of inky mayhem, at a screen printing workshop at Print Club London. In an increasingly digital world, screen printing is a refreshingly imperfect analogue process. The workshop gave us the opportunity to roll up our sleeves, get creative and get messy – yes even the bean counters! (more…)
One Word Brief is a bunch of people who love great graphic design, calling on graphic designers everywhere to show what they can do. The brief is simple designers had to choose one of the following words and respond by designing an A3 poster. (more…)
London’s graphic art fair is back at Somerset House – Pick Me Up opened today and runs until March 27. This year it will feature exhibited work by 24 artists plus a range of collectives, live printing workshops and lots more cool stuff…