Friday, 31 August 2012

So what's all this about infographics?

If you are a regular internet user it is highly likely you will have seen the term 'infographics' being banded about. Upon first reading this term I thought it was yet another boring social media expression that had been created to confuse people, but when I delved in to it, I was pleasantly surprised.

For fellow novices, Wickipedia's definition (I know this isn't always 100% accurate, but in this case it is spot on) states "infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge". 

More than just a boring chart or a quirky way of presenting information, infographics seem to be developing in to an art form all of their own.

They have been around for a long time but with the growth of social media, they have truly come in to their own.

They are a great way to present relevant findings, timelines, statistics, instructions; pretty much anything that involves data can be made to look amazing.

The beauty of an infographic is their use as a quick reference tool. All the information you need to present is there in an instant and it looks great. A picture is worth 1,000 words after all!

According to, infographics:

•Are easily transportable (ie simple to download, easy to share and quick to create).
•Attract a lot of attention and often go viral (are shared socially) because they look so good.

Also, infographics:

•Are another way of enhancing your brand.
•Keep people on your website for longer.
•Increase traffic to your site.
•Can be interactive and allow cross-channel promotion by linking to Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest and other platforms.

A little experiment carried out by an agency shows an example of the success of a well promoted and well designed infographic at

If you want to try and make one of your own, visit for 20 FREE infographic creation sites.

These days you get infographic specific agencies, infographic news, infographic awards-they really are taking the internet by storm and their popularity is set to rise.

So, a selection of our must-see infographic sources are detailed below, and we had a go at making one of our own!

Here is our attempt: Some Exmoor National Park facts and figures! (Made using For the high resolution or to share with your friends, visit:!/image.jpg

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Katz whiskers!

"Born in 1927-American Artist Alex Katz is one of the most innovative leaders in the return to figurative realism and representation among avant-garde artists in America and Europe today. By 1960, very early in Katz' career, Alex Katz had already found his original and poetic solution to the dilemma of choice between earlier, dominant abstraction and realism by giving primacy to style over subject matter.", 2012

After studying at the prestigious Cooper Union in New York and Skowhegen School of Painting and Sculpture, Alex Katz has gone on to have over 200 solo exhibitions and 500 group exhibitions and now has a wing dedicated to his works in the Colby College, Maine.

He splits his time between New York working and living in artists' residences, and Maine where he uses paint,  pencil, print and sculpture to create iconic portraits and landscapes.

His works explore colour, shape and light to create a distinctive artistic style that looks as new today as it did over 60 years ago when he created his first pieces.

His influence can be seen today in graphic design, painting and textile design. We absolutely love his signature style; clean, experimental and perfectly simple. Currently showing at the Tate St Ives, it is definitely worth a look.

A minimal colour pallette is used to its best effect.

This image gives the viewer a real sense of space and freedom
with a large foreground and small subjects.

Integrating everyday objects in to a timeless image.

This striking black and white image uses highlights for maximum impact.

One of the more well-known works which captures a simple
side profile creating a unique portrait.

Although the tree silhouette is at the forefront of the image,
the clever use of colour draws the viewers eye to the background.

A simple sunset scene which explores the sun, boats and foliage as shapes
rather than detailed images, but creates a clear portrait scene to the viewer.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Long Live the Olympic Logo

When I first saw the London 2012 Logo designed by International Brand Agency Wolf Ollins, I was less than enamoured. It reminded me of a child's drawing or a ransom note, neither of which I felt best represented what Britain was hoping to be the ULTIMATE Olympic Games.

First launched in 2007 it received bad press across the nation and when Wolf Ollins stated people 'would learn to love it', it went down like a lead balloon. 

People didn't quite get it. The jagged edges, the zany colours, it just didn't appear to represent the Britain people were familiar with.

"Lines reach out from the shape and angles of the Emblem to create a dynamic geometry that forms the basis of all elements of design for artists, architects, sculptors and graphic designers. The lines represent our invitation to the world to join together and be inspired by the energy of the athletes competing at the London 2012 Games."
London 2012

Well what exactly does that mean? who does it really benefit and who came up with that spiel?

People were used to seeing logos which did exactly what is said on the tin. Pretty much without exception they included red, gold, green or blue taken from the colours of the rings. Okay, so this makes perfect sense, keep within the grand scheme but Wolf Ollins and the Olympics committee wanted more than that.

" It is unconventionally bold, deliberately spirited and unexpectedly dissonant, echoing London’s qualities of a modern, edgy city. Containing neither sporting images nor pictures of London landmarks, the emblem shows that the Games are more than London, more than sport."

Okay, so when you look at it like that, it kind of makes sense...

Past Examples of Games logos.

Five years later and its become engrained in our psyche, and yes, I have to confess, irritatingly, it really has grown on me.

The logo and the rest of the branding including the four base colours of pink, blue, orange and green plus the Gareth Hague's 2012 and TFL's Johnston typefaces have translated well to a variety of surfaces, promotional items, buildings and whatever else they could possibly be applied to.

'That' pink and 'that' blue.

That's the impressive thing about good branding, when its done well, it's versatile, flexible and engaging and that is exactly what the brand has come to be. In a very short space of time people recognise 'that' typeface and 'those' colours and 'those' shapes ordinarily that type of brand penetration takes years.

I mean, who can really remember the Sydney Olympics logo? I am not being biased here, just honest. In case you need reminding, I've included it below!

So, all in all, Wolf Ollins and the Olympics Team have done a pretty good job of fulfilling what they set out to do and in creating something that really has gone up in people's estimations. Here's to an all round successful London 2012!

Friday, 22 June 2012


Since 1998 Google's Doodles have been gracing our computer screens with their punchy colours and eye catching design. 

Some of the days and events they celebrate, most of us, (well my colleagues and I), haven't even heard of, but it always brightens our day and encourages us to learn something new.

Simple and understated, but immediately recognisable as the logo and artists style.

For the avid internet user, the Google Doodle has become an item to be enjoyed and anticipated!

Obviously Google is a pioneering search engine company who like to do fun, ground breaking things like having grass in the canteen and a slide down to the food hall from their offices, so it is true that fun would definitely be a motivating factor in the Google Doodle phenomenon. However; the cold, harsh reality is, if it didn't make them extra money and gain oodles of publicity they probably wouldn't do it.

Like any strong brand, we know what it is when we can't really see it properly.
So for Google, it is a win win situation, people love them, the Google Doodle increases search and it has generated its own little pr whirlwind.

Offshoots like design a Google Doodle, sponsored by Crayola and other industry leaders is a great opportunity for budding artists worldwide to show their talents noticed on the World's most visited gallery.

you can even buy Google Doodle t-shirts, mugs, postcards, posters...the list goes on.

Google archive-much simpler and more the like 'actual' Google logo.

 All that aside, we Google Doodles! Check out the link for some of the Google Doodle finalists

Also, take a look at the Google Doodle store

We've chosen a couple from the Google Doodle archive and the 2012 competition that are our favourites. Opinions please! 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

We ♥ to Doodle-do you?

Okay, so time is precious, especially when you are snowed under in the office; however at First, we believe it is important to take a break so we've found a few cool sites to distract you (temporarily of course!)... Please don't blame us if you get addicted.

1) Pinterest-the perfect combination of pictures, text and expression. Get yourselves an account and get pinning!

2) to your heart's content. Great source of fun and a little bit of inspiration?!!

3) Jam Studio-fancy mashing up some funky beats? Well, is definitely the place to do it.

4) Remember the Milk-Okay, so not necessarily fun, but quite pretty useful for getting your life in order!

5) Crayola-Probably aimed at children but that's okay! Still good fun on a miserable Monday afternoon.

Somerset Top 10!

Being a Somerset company, we're always proud of Somerset brands who have made it to the top or are on the up. So, we thought we'd put together a little showcase of our top ten Somerset brands.
From cool logos to exceptional products, each has its own selling point that we want to give a little shout about! Opinions are our own and entries are numbered randomly!

With roots firmly in Somerset (no pun intended!), Mulberry have gone on to be world leaders in the fashion industry. Their exceptional products and unique styling make them stand out from the crowd. Posh rustic and refined country styling pay homage to their rural somerset heritage.


Ok, so it went out of fashion for a while but this little deer is truly having a renaissance. Shepton Mallett based Babycham has been in production for over 50 years and still continues to add masses of sparkle to parties worldwide with sales up 50% in 2011. One of the reasons we chose Babycham is the iconic logo. The ultimate kitsch 50's styling but the colours and overall impact ensure each bottle holds its own against today's contemporary drinks brands.

Yeo Valley
Rolling hills, happy cows, glorious sunshine and flowers galore. Yeo Valley Organic has been established for over 50 years and has become one of the UK's leading organic brands. Quite frankly, they've got it all right. Packaging, website, tv adverts, company ethos, logo....hence, why they are on our list.
Moooosey on down and check out their site

How could we not include them? In the 90's they had a bit of a lull but they are firmly back on track! Cool branding, excellently styled photography, great products. What more can we say?

Thatchers Cider
Well, it would be rude not to being from Somerset and all... The growth of music festivals, starting with Glastonbury has seen a huge surge in the popularity of Somerset's liquid gold. Thatchers have truly embraced this and their brand has become one of the front-runners in the market. The logo, website and bottle branding all evoke a real sense of summer in the somerset countryside. We particulalry love their 2012 television advert featuring the story from flower to glass.

Styles Farmhouse Ice Cream

Making the transition from small scale cottage business to large, international ice cream producer without losing quality and identity is a challenge to say the least. Exmoor based Styles Ice Cream have embraced this and through passion and hard work have seen unprecedented growth. Launching their Slim Ewe product in the noughties has sent them overseas too. Great products, cool packaging and a love for what they do places them firmly on our list.

Fox Brothers and Co Ltd
It's not often that a company stays absolutely true to its identity, but Fox Brothers buck the trend with their high quality heritage brand and products. This Wellington based luxury manufacturer of woollen cloth is internationally renowned and can be found in Saville Row's finest tailors. We particularly love their fabric labels which maintain their authentic heritage branding.

Brown and Forrest
Hambridge based brown and Forrest are producers of the finest smoked goods which are sold internationally. The essence of the company as a whole is the reason they have made their way on to the list, plus, although they've only been running for 31 years, you'd never know it. With a logo that depicts Victorian grandeur and a well selected company colour palette, Brown and Forrest are history in the making...

Wyke Farms

Another Somerset favourite-cheese. We just had to add Wyke Farm to the list. They've come a long way in the last few years and have managed to establish their brand at the forefront of people's minds not only in somerset but throughout the country. Their distinctive black and gold logo and bold accent colours can now be seen on shelves country-wide and their vintage themed television adverts can be seen gracing screens up and down the country. A great representation of Somerset and a brave use of colour on the packaging for quite a traditional brand.

Cotleigh Brewery
Last but not least, Wiveliscome-based Cotleigh Brewery have won their place in the top ten because we love their well designed graphics. They feature some great illustrations of animals, scenery and items of local interest without being cheesey! Full of colour and very distinctive, you can tell a pint of Cotleigh anywhere.
Have a look at

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Year of the Dragon-it certainly has been so far...

Breathing its fire and lashing with its tail, 2012, the year of the dragon, has been a somewhat turbulent and unnerving year so far for businesses throughout the South West and the rest of the UK.

Many of the businesses we've spoken to have experienced unprecedented growth or on the opposite end of the spectrum, sales have bottomed out completely. There's one thing for sure, allowing a business to just drift along, å la year 2000 just doesn't work anymore!

Our offices, like many of our customers', are based in a rural area and we have noticed shops closing on a weekly basis, companies who once thrived disappearing in to oblivion and 'drifters' no longer being able to sustain themselves by just being there.

It's cut throat in the country...okay, so that is a little dramatic, but let's just say what we make up for in countryside views, we certainly miss out on in passing trade and surrounding commerce thus we must do our best to stay ahead of the pack!

Not quite the First Design Print Web mantra, but some simple rules we do our best to embrace and adhere to:

Know your customers inside out.
They are your life source so it's crucial that you are always learning about them, their interests, their habits, where they are and what they are doing.

Embrace social media.
It's free, fun-filled and frankly, it's everywhere. It gets people talking, it creates a stir and it's a great opportunity to learn about your potential and existing customers.
We ♥ free promo' tools.

Keep your customers happy.
It's far more difficult promoting to new customers than to sell products to existing customers.
We ♥ happy customers.

Stay inspired.
It sounds pretty cheesy but it is crucial that your eyes and ears are always open. Knowing trends, habits, what's cool and what's not is important for any business. So sign up to blogs, get Tweeting and look out for super cool sites. One of our favourites is, an online pin board for things people love from food to fashion to farm shops-it's all there and it's free!
♥ cool stuff.

Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate.
It's important for businesses to take stock of their promotion, their marketing, where they are, what they are doing and where they want to be.
We ♥ taking stock.

Stay fresh
Nobody likes a stale brand or product so businesses shouldn't think what looked great 5 years ago still looks great today. Change and refreshment instill confidence in customers and shows your business is always pushing its way forward.
We ♥ being up to date.

Be concise.
Think 'Coke', think 'Apple''s immediately obvious who they are and what they do. Okay, so you probably won't have their gazillion pound marketing budget but the idea is clear-don't dilute. Be sure of your brand and your products. Don't be tempted to be reactive...
♥ clarity.