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BoatscastleriggTarnGrassmere LakeCastleriggCastlerigg MountainsGrassmere LakeMountains

The Lake District is my usual holiday retreat at least once a year and while I am there I like to take photos, as you would expect. This is just a small selection from over my many years of visits. If you care to notice… two of the images look a bit fantastically strange! This is because they have been cross processed.
(now for the technical bit)

Cross processing, sometimes abbreviated to ‘Xpro’ is the procedure of deliberately processing photographic film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film. The effect was discovered independently by many different photographers often by mistake in the days of C-22 and E-4. The process is seen most often in fashion advertising and band photography, and in more recent years has become associated with the Lo-fi photography movement.

However, there is a downside to cross processing. That is the cost! It is also incredibly hard to find somebody to do it for you as your average high street lab will not touch it with a barge pole as it messes up the chemicals.



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My favourite beer garden, graveyard and campsite

Luddenden Village Luddenden GraveyardThe Lord Nelson PubLudddenden Graveyard 2

If you have never visited Luddenden village – you really should. It’s an absolute jem, situated not far outside Hebden Bridge. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered it myself on a camping trip to Jerusalem Farm, which is a campsite just up the road  from Luddenden (also very much worth a visit).

However, none of this has much to do with what I planned to write about in this blog in the first place. I wanted to tell you about the beer garden at the back of the Lord Nelson pub. I wouldn’t normally feel the need to share a beer garden experience, as most are very underwhelming and not worth a mention. This is however very much the exception to the rule as it is quite honestly – the prettiest beer garden I have ever visited.

I could write more, but you really have to visit it yourself to understand why I love it so much. Also, not forgetting the lovely pub itself which serves fantastic food.

As if this wasn’t enough, you should also give the graveyard a few minutes of your time. This is situated just over the road from the pub. I know some people find looking round graveyards a bit odd, but I find them really interesting. This one is especially worth a wonder through, with all it’s ups and downs and nooks and crannies.




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So Much More to a Brand Than Just a Name

A short time ago I was told by a friend that they had recently started to shop at a lower priced supermarket.

He was pleased to let me know that their weekly food bill had come down considerably and in all honesty, they were more than happy with the standard of produce. The logo’s on the boxes were different, but the taste was still there.

Now as a senior creative at a respected marketing agency, I work with brands all day long. I work with global brands and small scale start ups. So you would think that when it comes to consumerism, I would be savvy, seeing past shiny packaging and buying smart. You would be wrong.

In reality I am a magpie for all things matte laminated, foil blocked and shaped like a bitten apple. So it had never crossed my mind to move away from Warburtons and Tetley Tea.
Well this weekend I dragged my wife and children off to ALDI to see what we could see. Overall the experience was pretty much what I expected. The presentation was lacking and the customer service on the checkouts was a little on the impersonal side but I guess that’s why I am paying lower prices, but there was one thing surprised me…

Just how naturally we found our regular weekly items but packaged differently. We may have been looking for ‘Coco Pops’ but we instantly picked up ‘Choco Rice’. We looked for ‘Dolmio’ sauce and ‘Raguletto’ seemed to be a natural replacement. We didn’t realise it at the time, but on reflection these products seemed to pick themselves, we were shopping without looking.

The design of the branded products were near enough identical to the everyday consumer.

Colours were the same, graphics married up the only thing that was evidently different were the individual characters within the logo itself. All of this combined just goes a little way to prove, that there is much more to a brand then just a name. That can also be said about the supermarket itself. We may have saved a little money, but we will return to Morrisons next Saturday.



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A Lovely Day for the Zoo

There aren’t many better places to be when the sun is shining and you have a telephoto lens to hand.

Catching the details of ‘wild’ animals up close is something I love to do and here are some of the results from a recent, family trip to Chester Zoo. Once I had overcome the admission prices, I steadied my hand and started to shoot. There were hundreds of shots from the day but he are some of my personal favourites.



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Always a Pleasure

Always a Pleasure - Webmotion

To celebrate the launch of the now ‘established’ Webmotion website, I created a small set of custom ‘Always a Pleasure’ wallpapers for download. Have a look and let me know what you think?

Take a look here to download your preferred resolution.



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Out and About with a Camera

I honestly can’t think of two better suited hobbies than walking and photography.

Luckily for me, I love to do both! Even better for me, as I step outside of my front door I am dropped in the centre of the idilic settings of Thornton, Bradford.

As you can see from my recent images, Thornton is a great place to live if you like walking and photography, apart from the countryside it also has a very nice graveyard which is teaming with rabbits at this time of the year.
I don’t think there is much better then taking a stroll on a late summers evening with a camera in hand and finding that perfect sunset.

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If you haven’t considered it before, why not take a look around Thornton and surrounding areas. You can find out more information on Thornton, the “true” Bronte Country.


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How Can My Brand Make the Most of Exhibiting?

TSG Exhibition

Exhibitions can present a wealth of opportunities if executed correctly. However, there are many factors that, if not considered carefully, can lead to disappointment. Sometimes, it can be bad luck, but I’m a strong believer that you have the power to change your fate if you eliminate the possibilities that could work against you.

I think we’ve all been the green eyed monster at exhibitions at some point, looking over at competitor’s stands that are bustling with people and are so impressive that you contemplate removing all association with your own stand. If you’re disheartened by your stand’s appearance, you’re more than likely to shrink back into the crowd and hide rather than attempt to draw people in.

Which is why it’s important to be prepared and proud of your offering, and it starts with planning. Don’t enter into an exhibition lightly. If you’re going to bother, throw yourself into the project whole heartedly. Firstly, do your research and make sure you’re entering the most appropriate exhibition for your brand. Try to get hold of last year’s exhibitors list and attendance records – these should give you a good idea whether or not your target clients are going to be there.

Secondly, acknowledge your reasons for exhibiting in the first place and set yourself objectives of what you want to achieve. Can you make a profit after all of the expenses? Bear in mind that exhibition costs are not just the hire of your space, but the design and manufacture of your stand, literature, merchandise, cost of manning the stand, travel expenses and so on. The whole thing can equal quite an expense, but there is usually a correlation between investments and profits.

The stand itself must be designed well to fight for attention amongst your competitors and instantly tell passers by whom you are and what you do. If observers can decide within a couple of seconds whether you are relevant to them and you have made a good first impression with your aesthetics, hopefully they’ll stop to explore your offerings further and give you the chance to convert them from a person in the crowd into a potential client.

After putting so much time, planning and investment into your exhibition, don’t leave attendance to chance. Be pro-active. Maximise numbers by making it public knowledge that you’re exhibiting. Send press releases into trade magazines, mail invites to existing and new clients, add it to your website events, or even sponsor the event and get the chance to advertise around the exhibition hall.

Do whatever you can to make sure that you are the stand, that all others are envious of and be a landmark within that exhibition hall.



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Get Experience in ‘The Industry’


Recently, I was asked by a teacher friend if I could advise one of her students who has the ambition to get into the digital design industry, but doesn’t know where to start. Jumping at the chance to rant about my world, I jotted down a few tips below:

First and foremost… he needs to live and breathe the design industry.

I would recommend that aside from developing his actual technical skill (self taught or further education based), he needs to start exploring and become part of the industry. He needs to learn who the industry leaders are in this field and why. A really good couple of places to start looking would be:

FormFiftyFive– General site with the latest inspirational pieces

The Partners – The Partners is Marketing Magazine’s Branding Agency of the Year

Carsonified – Their passion for the web makes them a leading digital agency

Brass Agency – One of the countries (and local) leading integrated marketing agency


He then needs commercial experience, so tell him to go out and do some freelance work. This could be for people he knows, charities or personal projects that showcase his talents. Most importantly, he needs a creative CV (online and offline)! He needn’t go OTT, but please do NOT create a standard word document. In the industry we hate this… when we receive CV’s through that are not creative, we instantly question the talent of the person applying. If their CV says they’re creative, it needs to show it too.

He can find a really good example of a creative CV from the link below:



So once he knows the industry, has a creative CV, and has a small portfolio of work – he needs to send out his CV with a personalised cover letter to local companies he’d like a placement at. He’ll probably be reluctant, but tell him to call the agencies to find out the name and title of the person the letter needs to be addressed to, so that it lands on the desk of the right person.

Then it’s the waiting game, but he mustn’t give up. He will get a break somewhere if he’s talented enough. Even a small studio like mine gives young potential a chance if we think they’re worth it. If we see enough creative spark, and most importantly – think that the guy can fit into our organisation, we’ll give him a shot. He doesn’t have to be a designer clone, but figures show that most agencies out there have 6 – 12 staff members and these teams are tight. Yes they’re fun and intense to work in, but this means they can be unbalanced by a disruptive work placement if their personality doesn’t fit!

It’s also a lot of effort on the agencies part to find the time for a placement student. We are very busy day to day, so to move our paid work around to find time to tutor and set mini project for placements can be a struggle. So he needs to tick a lot of boxes for us to see the potential, and allow himself to be a help and not a hindrance.

It’s not easy, but he shouldn’t become disheartened by knock backs because most of the time agencies are just too busy to take somebody on. However, with persistence, at some point he’ll get lucky, and once he’s got in with one agency, he’ll find it a lot easier to get further experience.



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How to Refresh a Brand on a Budget


It can be hard for a business owner to admit it’s time for change, especially if your current branding has served you well over previous years. However, just as you rotate stock to retain customer interest, it’s important to update your brand’s aesthetics too. If the thought of rebranding has crossed your mind even once, it’s probably time to seriously consider it. You don’t need to look at it as a full rebrand if that phrase scares you. Think of it as a “brand refresh.”

It doesn’t have to be hard work either. Keep the name that you’ve built your reputation on, and consider revitalising it with a more relevant, newer font design. Or if you wish to keep your original type, you could simply create new supportive elements to work around it. For instance, perhaps introduce a contemporary background pattern, change your colour palette or even create a new emblem.

The brand refresh is to represent what your business stands for today, not who you were yesterday. It’s most likely that your message and objectives have changed as the business has developed and the marketplace has moved on. So think about your current unique offering and aspirations for the future, then develop a new strapline to support your brand that will stimulate your target consumer.

Of course, I’m not going to deny that any change to your branding is an expense. It may lead to you replacing your shop front, garment tags, packaging and promotional material. However, I can guarantee that if executed well, the investment will be worth while when your existing customers remain faithful, and new customers buy into your brand with enthusiasm.

The refresh also gives you new PR opportunities, providing you with a great story for a press release that may interest local or trade press. The media is always keen to print business development news, which gives you the perfect chance to get your name out there and draw in interest from potential customers.

So my advice is to not allow your branding to pass its sell-by date. Don’t wait for your customers to get bored and venture elsewhere. Introduce an exciting burst of energy and treat your customers (and employees alike) to the chance to be part of an ever evolving brand.

This advice was recently published in WWB (Womenswear Buyer) Retail Trade Magazine


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Experience the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

As I grow up in Wakefield the Yorkshire Sculpture Park has always been on my door step. I have visited it many times and always enjoyed the surroundings, but this particular *exhibition has got to be one of the best I have ever visited. Particularly for me, as a designer, the typographic nature of the pieces really resinates well.

If you have not been to the sculpture park before you really need to see this, to be frank this is brilliant. Find out more at: www.ysp.co.uk

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* The Artist – Jaume Plensa

YSP presents an extraordinary body of new and recent work by renowned Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. Encouraging tactile and sensory exploration, this vibrant exhibition includes a 50-metre curtain of poetry made of suspended steel letters, large illuminated sculptures in the landscape, and engraved gongs that visitors can strike to fill the gallery with sound.



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