A new colour palette is on the way for Arjowiggins Curious Collection and the wonderful photography for the marketing material has me curious as to what we will be seeing soon here in Oz.

Arjowiggins, the international paper company carried here by Spicers and Doggetts Paper, has teamed up with trend experts Studio Edelkoort to developed a new colour palette of 27 metallic and translucent papers. Along with french photographer Gregoire Alexandre, Arjowiggins have dreamed up this incredible project designed to portray the creativity behind the Curious Collection.

Your in Design,

Alice in Wonderland!


Only nine more months until we can see Tim Burton’s beautiful new take on Alice in Wonderland! Johnny Depp is the Mad Hatter, Helen Bonham Carter is the Red Queen and Anne Hathaway is the White Queen. The movie is currently in post-production. Live-action sequences will be merged with whimsical motion-capture creations and then the whole movie will be converted into 3D. Can’t wait!

Brand Obama

When reflecting on the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, it seems that he owes a substantial part of his success, not only to his message and promise of change, but also to something more understated. It was not simply the message, the man and the speeches that convinced democratic voters, but the way these elements were presented to the public using a meticulous branding strategy. Enter Brand Obama, a comprehensive assembly of fonts, logos, slogans and web and print design. President Obama was the first presidential candidate to have an all-encompassing marketing system, like a high-end consumer brand.



The first step for marketing Obama was coming up with a logo. With the philosophy that ‘The strongest logos tell simple stories,’ designer, Sol Sender, based the logo on the rising sun and a new day. Encapsulated in the ‘o’ of Obama’s name, “The sun rising over the horizon evoked a new sense of hope.” The path leading to the sunrise also references the stripes from the American flag. The delicate serif font used for the writing of the name ‘Obama’ is sophisticated and literary-looking yet conversational and pleasant. 

The primary typeface used in all of Obama’s branded collateral is Gotham. It was chosen because it was sleek and unadorned but elegant. It is different to other sans serif fonts because it is not German, Swiss or French. It is, in fact, very American. Gotham was originally designed for American magazine, GQ.

The colour scheme to support the brand is primarily a deep blue, with highlights of the lighter blue and red found in the logo. White text is often reversed out of the blue, creating a clean, calm sense of well-being. The colours are obviously patriotic, but the way they are proportioned is what gives Brand Obama its point of difference. The extensive use of blue and the minimal highlights of red make the brand feel calm and passive as opposed to violent and forceful.


obama-08-logo-7                                                    obama-08-logo-12


Sender and his team were required to come up with various design options for the logo to be considered for the campaign. These options got narrowed down to three. One involved photographic images appearing through an ‘o’ shape which was used as the letter ‘o’ for Obama and the number ‘0’ for 08. The other was a more cutesy design based on speech bubbles. While these designs had some good elements, they didn’t make the final cut, possibly because their underlying messages were not as strong or all-encompassing as the chosen design.



Conceivably the most pleasing application of Brand Obama is seen in the website. Soft gradients of deep blue dominate the design and give it an ethereal feel which reinforces the message of hope. The site is clean and offers the user very clear choices. Gotham is utilised for the headings and menu and the logo features as a prominent link to the home page. The ‘people’ section houses an innovative application of the logo, with a tailored version of the logo for each segment of people. The iterations are supported by detailed gradients and subtle background illustrations. Personalised typography for each heading is supported by the primary typeface, Gotham. The executions are quickly identifiable and show the brand’s connection with the relevant group of people. This playful flexibility develops Brand Obama’s relationship with its consumers, but without damaging the brand’s integrity.


Of course, the website didn’t always look like this. When the site was first launched in early 2007, the design was clean and easy to navigate. It emphasised the logo, but very few of the other branding elements. The colours were understated and the site was lacking in visual depth. By July, the site had developed lots of new features, for which there was no room. Thus, the site was crammed full of banners making it quite unorganised and confusing – not a great representation for Mr Obama. The new website employs the branding strategy much more effectively.



Brand Obama works so well because you can find it anywhere. A conscious effort to make the President as accessible as possible results in extensive brand exposure. You can find Obama on facebook, twitter, myspace, youtube and flickr. You can log on to ‘’ and find local events/groups or post blogs in support of Obama. You can get Obama on your mobile by texting ‘HOPE’ to the Obama hotline. Brand Obama really is everywhere.

It’s fair to say that Obama can attribute a good deal of his success to the quality of this branding. Utilising new media to market a consistent and effective branding strategy ensured that he was ultimately triumphant in communicating his message to the public.

Fete de la Musique Brisbane 2009 a success

Fete de la Musique Brisbane 2009 was a huge success seeing more than 220 musical acts perform. The event, which took place on Sunday June 21, was simultaneously hosted by more than 330 cities around the world.

Despite the rainy conditions some of Brisbane’s biggest acts were among the hundreds of artists who performed.

Famous French, singer, pianist and guitar player, Martin Rappenea headlined the festival and was joined ny local headliners Tyrone Noonan, No Limits, Sound Collective and Ruby Tigers.
Brisbane was a scene of musical diversity: from blues and classical to reggae and rock, captivating the city in over 60 unique spaces such as libraries, musueums, cafes, churches, parks, hospitals and city cats.

The festival was celebrated around the world with the help of a few star players. The home of Fete de la Musique, Paris, saw US singer Chris Isaak and British pop star Seal headlining an evening concert in Bois de Boulogne, while the Paris orchestra performed at the Louvre museum.

Check out some of the images from the event below.

You can check out the offical website here:




Yours in design,

Million – genius or evil?

You may have seen Droga5’s campaign for the Million (a mobile phone for school kids in New York City that’s based on incentives), which just won a D&AD black pencil. Personally I think the idea is brilliant as the Million program offers short-term incentives and rewards to motivate students, increase classroom participation and contribute to their overall success in school. In New York the Department of Education selected schools to be a part of a pilot program and  partnered with Verizon Wireless to provide a free Samsung U740 to every student. Each student receives start-up Million points, which can be redeemed for minutes and texts, for the first month. After that, the student must earn additional Million points by doing well in classes and exhibiting good behavior. Rewards are allocated based on attendance, behavior and three additional performance indicators (e.g., homework completion, class participation, etc).

Though some people think the Million is evil and ‘simply an allegory for all that is wrong with education in America’.

What do you think?

You can read more about the million at their website:

Yours in design,

Exquisite Typography Poster Exhibition (QLD)


Exhibition Opening
Monday 29 June 6.15pm
AGDA International Speaker event — Kris Sowersby, NZ typographer
Queensland College of Art Auditorium, 226 Grey Street, South Bank

The theme ‘NZ identity’ – how nine separate designers from all over the world imagine New Zealand through typography. Now it is possible to discover our contemporary world through Flickr, webcams, online news, in a ‘couch journey’, from wherever you are… how new technologies degrade our imagination, and potentially create a fake identity of the world…

To find out more head to the AGDA website.

Yours in Design,


It really is that time of the year again. The 30th June is a nightmare for many business owners because there is so much to do, and you have to get your staff’s payment summaries right, and make the correct Super payments, all to a deadline.

My advice is to start now, with a checklist.

Make an appointment with your friendly accountant, ask him (or her) what he needs, and when, and you are already half way there.

Number one on your list is to reconcile your bank accounts; you should be doing this monthly anyway. (One of the big 4 banks has since January 2009 made it a default of their system that you get your statements quarterly; do not accept this, you must reconcile at least monthly.)

You should have a list of the reports you will need for the end of the year, not so different from your end of quarter report list, but again, your accountant should be your guide.

And last but not least, back up.

Back up twice and send a copy to your accountant.
Back up 3 times and hide a copy at your mother’s.

There are too many sad stories of people who could not see the need to back up, or to keep it off the premises, until they had no computer, no desk, no office, no building, no back up, and no business.

If you have a back up you can start operating your business immediately you can load it into another computer.

I wish you smooth sailing through the EOFY sea!

Yours in design,