How COVID-19 prompted a return of the Poster

The return of the poster. Creatives around the world have been producing posters in response to the Covid-19 crisis. In the past few months, posters have become an important tool for sharing information and lifting people’s spirits.

The coronavirus has inspired a wave of creative projects – from short films to poems and digital artworks. But in the past few weeks, it seems the poster has become the go-to format for creatives responding to the crisis.

Designers around the world

Designers and illustrators in cities from Leeds to London, New York and Amsterdam have all been creating posters to raise awareness of social distancing advice and pay tribute to key workers. As a result, designers have created some witty, imaginative and heartfelt designs.

In the UK, street art project In Good Company has been bringing some much-needed positivity to public spaces. Designing colourful posters thanking NHS staff and other essential workers. The initiative started in Leeds. It has since been rolled out to other cities.

Over the past few weeks, In Good Company founder Laura Wellington has worked with designers including Morag Myerscough, Rebecca Strickson and Studio Build to create posters for billboards and outdoor ad sites.

In Good Company

Posters are also available to purchase from In Good Company’s  In Good Company website and proceeds from sales will be split between charities chosen by participating artists. It is good to see the return of the poster.

Above and lead image (top): Morag Myerscough’s posters on display in Leeds. Photos: In Good Company

Article by Rachael Steven (Creative Review)

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Royal Bank of Scotland £20 note

Royal Bank of Scotland's £20 note

Royal Bank of Scotland’s £20 note is designed to celebrate nature and culture

The Royal Bank of Scotland has launched the latest of its Fabric of Nature banknotes, featuring a design that aims to provide a more “unusual” representation of the nation.

The £20 notes are the third in the series developed by a team of Scottish creatives comprising Edinburgh design agency Nile, Glasgow studio O Street and currency specialist De La Rue.

Each aspect of the design, from the typography to the illustrated animals and bespoke-designed textile backgrounds, represents something meaningful to the people of Scotland.

Royal Bank of Scotland's £20 note

Nile conducted a thorough investigation to find out what the Scottish public would like to see on their banknotes, with over one thousand users contributing their opinions through co-design sessions and online communities.

“The idea of creating stories that are a bit more unusual and avoiding pictures of thistles and men with beards was a key finding from the research,” O Street co-founder David Freer told Dezeen.

“The theme of nature and the cultural elements that surround it emerged as something that people in Scotland are particularly proud of,” he added.

The Fabric of Nature theme

The Fabric of Nature concept was developed and realised through a collaborative process involving other creative agencies including GravenTimorous Beasties and Stuco.

Glasgow-based Timorous Beasties illustrated the red squirrels featured on the back of the note. They also created a pattern featuring Scotland’s infamous biting insects called midges that is visible under ultraviolet light.

O Street worked on the overall layout for the note and collaborated with the design team at De La Rue to ensure it conformed to the exacting security criteria demanded of currency.

“A banknote is an opportunity to communicate to a huge audience, so it’s a really enormous responsibility,” said Freer.

“Normally with graphic design, even if you’re creating a logo or a brand, it’s maybe going to be around for 10 or 15 years,” he added, “but a banknote is going to be in everyone’s pocket for 30 or 40 years, so you’ve got to get it right.”

Royal Bank of Scotland's £20 note

The project was initiated following the Bank of England’s decision to switch from paper to polymer notes in 2016, which resulted in a change in ATMs and other infrastructure used to process cash.

Unchanged for 30 years

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s banknotes had remained unchanged for 30 years, so the bank appointed Nile to develop a series of notes that celebrates the best of Scottish culture and heritage.

Royal Bank of Scotland's £20 note

The £5 note was the first from the series to launch in 2016, followed by the £10 note in 2017, with the new £20 note being released into circulation on 5 March 2020.

The “Fabric of Nature” theme is explored through the creatures depicted on the various notes.

The mackerel on the £5 represent the sea, the otters on the £10 the coast, and the squirrels the forest. The design of the £50 note will include a bird for the air.

Royal Bank of Scotland's £20 note

As with the rest of the notes in the series, the £20 note features a woman from Scotland’s past who the designers felt has been overlooked.

In this case, the portrait is of entrepreneur and patron Kate Cranston, who commissioned Charles Rennie Mackintosh to create her famous Glasgow tea rooms in the late 19th century.

Other bespoke details incorporated into the design include the exclusive tweed pattern. This was created for the background by textile designers Alistair McDade and Elspeth Anderson. The native flora used to dye Scottish tweed that was illustrated by Stuart Kerr of design studio Stuco.

“This is something that people will be living with and looking at for years so it’s important that there’s a depth of story in there,” Freer explained.

“There’s a big trend for immediacy in a lot of design today but this is an example of slow design,” he added. “People will hopefully still be discovering new details within these notes in ten years’ time.”

The Bank of England’s latest £20 notes launched in 2019 feature David Chipperfield’s Turner Contemporary gallery and a portrait of artist J M W Turner, while Norway’s 50 and 500 kroner banknotes feature pixellated images of the country’s coastline designed by architecture studio Snøhetta.

The article was written by Alyn Griffiths | 27 March 2020

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Graphic design – Stop! Think!


Graphic design is more important to your business than you think Stop for a moment and think of some of the world’s most iconic brands. What makes them so unforgettable? And what can business owners, of all sizes, learn from them to gain the impact we desire?

It’s usually standout graphics, powerful packaging, appealing advertising or well-written copy. These attributes are achievable for SMEs, even acknowledging that their budgets are minute in comparison to these giants.

Apple, Inc. is known for their amazing packaging designs, use of large areas of white space, gorgeous product photography and beautiful typography.

Nike uses type in a different way and creates maximum impact, inspiring imagery and bold colour palettes which all portray the energy and lifestyle their brand requires. Apple and Nike aren’t just examples of powerful branding, but outstanding graphic design.

If you are a business owner, you may have hundreds of concerns to address during your working day, so you might be tempted to ignore the need for professionally crafted graphic design.

However, utilising a professional graphic designer could be an integral step in the process of establishing and maintaining a successful business.

So what is graphic design, and how can good design help your business?

Graphic design is the process of visual communication, and problem-solving through the use of type, space, image and colour.

Graphic design helps you make a great first impression. Consumers tend to gravitate towards better-designed product, while providing a positive anchor in their minds. Good design gives you instant credibility, inspires confidence and trustworthiness, and clearly communicates its point to your audience.

Poor graphic design can have an adverse effect on your product or brand!

Have you ever visited a website that was hard to navigate or an advertisement in a magazine that was hard to figure out?

Perhaps you left the website feeling frustrated and didn’t complete the task that brought you there.

Furthermore, an advertisement that is difficult to read or visually disorienting would fail to get your attention long enough to convey the message it was trying to. Advertisers spent thousands of pounds that fail to convert to a sale, and worse the design the costlier it can be for a business.

Good graphic design connects a marketing piece together.

Typography, colours, images, and the hierarchy are the resources a graphic designer uses to create a design that clearly communicates brand, information and value in an eye-catching way. Designers use these principles to minimise distracting, less-important elements and highlight the things that are important, allowing viewers to quickly see what they need to know to decide on a purchase.

Good graphic design make good business sense…

If you feel that your branding is inconsistent or elements of design are letting you down, let’s have a chat. Give me a call on 01293 886805 or email me.

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