An ongoing stream of some of our relevant thoughts, experiences and findings that we think you might enjoy. Maybe even just a bit of fun.


Cyclocross Madness - War of the logos

Drove down (from Berlin) with my brother to check out the Cyclocross World Cup races in Plzen, Czech Republic. Despite a cold coming on, snow storm over the mountains and unfinished Czech motorways, we had a great time (thanks to the Pilsner Urquell brewery across the street and some great cyclocross racing).

My design senses couldn’t help being overwhelmed by the cacophony of identities slathered all over the place (mainly onto skin-tight lycra). All sponsors vying for their share of exposure. Designing one of these race suits must be an exercise of trying to organise chaos on a stretchy fabric. There are some gems out there to behold and at the end of the day, it’s all covered in mud. Maybe a fitting place for one of these suits...


Skype Out!

In London today and saw these great adverts for Skype at Bank Tube Station. Very cool to see such huge type adorning the tiled walls between the many exits at Bank.

Part of a £7.5 million campaign which has gone live in the UK and US (today) and created by Pereira & O’Dell, aimed to demonstrate the "much richer communications experience Skype can deliver, and how it can bring people together in a way which is much more human than an alternative".


A Nice Idea

While visiting family in Encinitas, California last Christmas we were turned on to Toms shoes by my kids’ cool resident cousin. The perfect casual warm-climate shoe, they’re sort of like a more refined espadrille (without the twine sole), so we just had to get them to bring back to cold, wet, London, just to see how short they would last. One of the main marketing ideas behind Toms is their ‘One for One’ policy: “with every pair you purchase, Toms will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.” It all started with Toms founder, Blake Mycoskie, after a visit to Argentina in 2006, realised how many kids were running around with no shoes to protect their feet. He returned with 10,000 pairs of shoes, made possible by Toms customers. Since then, they say they have given over 1,000,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need around the world. How bad? I'd say, nice idea. Read more:

Aside from being a nice idea, I think they've executed the design quite well. Not only the shoes, but the brand as a whole and all the bits that make them Toms. From the little logo on the heel of the shoes (reminiscent of the Argentinian flag) to the sticker and little cloth bag they give you with every shoe purchase. The websites are beautifully done and now they're launching an eyewear brand with a similar ‘One for One’ idea: with every pair of shades you purchase, Toms will help give sight to a person in need. Hey, another nice idea. My only hope is that they’re not made in China by little kids who don’t have any shoes...Read more., View more.

On returning to London, I’m noticing Toms everywhere! Good marketing.

Nice idea, nice design...


Nobody Needs One...

Driving through Germany on a recent ski trip to Austria, we stumbled upon the Porsche factory and museum in Stüttgart after following a sign off the Autobahn that read simply, ‘Porsche ->’. For someone who has been a fan of anything Porsche since childhood, this was a real treat. The building, dubbed ‘the edifice’, designed by Vienna‘s Delugan Meissl Architects is pretty impressive.

I was a bit nervous walking into this beautiful building with my 4 and 7 year old children, knowing that I'd be herding them around the place saying Shhhh! and DON’T TOUCH! My childhood excitement, not to mention the cool-factor of the place, overtook me and the electronic guided tour occupied their curiosity for a while and I was able to drink in the shear excellence that is Porsche.

Ferry Porsche (b. 1909), son of Ferdinand Porsche, summed it up well with this statement:
“It is the pinnacle of achievement to create something that survives the test of time, is immune to the eccentricity of certain epochs – in other words, has a timeless character.”
- Ferry Porsche

To my delight, the museum focussed mainly on the Carerra models and its race cars and racing heritage with later models like Boxter, Cayenne, Cayman and Panamera not even getting a mention. Maybe rightly so, as these are just babies in the grand scheme of Porsche history.

The exhibition design is what you'd expect from a company that is all about precision engineering and design. Sleek, minimal and precise. As if you need any reminder, bold type statements on angular panels drive home what an incredible engineering company Porsche is:

“It is thanks to our tireless dedication to quality that more than 70% of all Porsche cars ever built are still on the road today. Our vehicles are not only remarkable – they are also designed to last...”

And the ever-popular phrase coined by the late Ferdinand Porsche and used in the 70’s as a marketing tagline: “The car that nobody needs, but everybody wants.”
- Ferdinand Porsche

A quick scove into the Porsche factory über-dealership across the road so I could drool some more and we were back on the Autobahn, poodling at 90mph in the slow lane.

A great experience. A great company.