All the buildings in New York City

I [heart] NY. No really I do. I’m ridiculously addicted to the city. I love that the city holds everything that you need (well, if you’re partial to urban living & non-stop activity – of which I am). Once in NYC, you don’t really need to leave. Why would you? 24-hour choice is at your finger tips.

Do you want Thai that comes in cute little white boxes and matching chop sticks at 3pm? No worries, they’ll even deliver it.  Do you want to escape the cement for an hour and revel in the biggest man made park in the world? Head to Central Park, you’ll feel like you’re walking through scenes from your favourite New York-set movies. Do you want city pockets that ooze the flavours, scent, and people of a foreign city? Head to China Town and you’ll second guess if you stepped into Hong Kong for a second.

So, as someone totally impassioned with the city that never sleeps, I was very excited when I stumbled across this Australian-born illustrator’s blog: All the Buildings in New York.

James Gulliver Hancock, based in Brooklyn, has an inspired goal: to draw all the buildings in New York. I love his simple sketches that are stamped with that natural, NYC cool flavour. They’re bold. They’re honest. And they’re eclectic. I’ll definitely stay tuned for my visual adventure back to the city that owns part of my travel heart!

Here are some of my favourites by Hancock.

What’s your favourite NYC memory (real or in the movies)?

Yours in illustration,


Brand and Design for Business Success – how to ask the right questions

As design and brand specialists, the team at Brio Group are accustomed to fielding loads of questions from our clients about their design and communication needs. To help you know the right questions to ask we’ve enlisted managing director Belinda Vesey-Brown to help.

Q. When designing for a business’s marketing collateral, what constitutes good design?
A. A clear hierarchy of information. It’s pretty simple, but it allows the key messages to communicate correctly – and in the right order for audience engagement. For example, at a top level the audience reads the headline, picture and generally the caption to see if it’s something they’re interested in. When qualifying your business, your audience asks themselves “Do I need this information?” and “Can these people help me?” The next step is the secondary level of information that outlines additional key messages. And finally, at the third level, a general rule of thumb is the more expensive the item, the more detail will be read.

Q. What questions should a business ask their agency?
A. Firstly, I believe it’s important to understand the breadth of service your creative agency offers, as some may be specialists in just one area. Once you learn a little more about their service menus, you can determine if they’re giving you advice on one specific area and perhaps not offering a holistic service – if this is important for your business. It’s vital to understand their turnaround times – is it a one-person business or an agency with a large team who can be flexible with pressing deadlines? Also you should request who will be managing your account and what systems they have in place should they go on holidays. Graphic design forms part of the big picture of your marketing and branding initiatives, so why not ask if they’re clued up with the latest technologies, like social media, and understand how to design for them effectively.

Q. What are the essentials to include in a graphic design brief?
A. I love it when a client has outlined a detailed history of their brand; listed their current marketing collateral and where it is in the market; revealed what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for them; and importantly – has shared with me a deep understanding of their target market. For example, I’d want to know where their target market communicates in all the new channels. If you don’t know, this is something to ask your agency to help out with. And of course, it’s essential to outline your expected timeframes and a budget, if you’re working to a strict one.

Q. What’s one special tip you’d like to share?
A. You can’t think of just one brochure or an advertisement in isolation; it needs to be part of the big picture. One of the questions I ask my client first up is: “How is your new marketing piece going to integrate with your sales process?” Having a total appreciation for your brand and every touchpoint (website, direct mail, press advertising, outdoor, social media, etc) that communicates consistently and leverages on each point is the key to a successful collection of marketing collateral that support each other and has optimum market saturation at the same time. It never really begins and ends with one brochure!

To discover Brio Group’s full suite of services, from Design, Digital, Advertising and PR, please visit our Services page.

Yours in communication design,


Brio Group’s vision is to create vision

Our advertising agency in Brisbane has a vision that can impact our immediate community, but also the greater community. When we rebranded to Brio Group (formally known as RED-i Design) in July 2010, we created not only a new brand and a more strategic business direction, we also created our vision: to give vision to our clients, to our team, and to the world by supporting The Fred Hollows Foundation.

So from Monday to Fridays, while we work hard to create vision for our clients’ brands by magical ideas and concepts, we simultaneously create vision for our team. Anything from our Monday morning TED talks to our monthly team training help us create vision for our individual professional lives. But the most rewarding part of this process is that the whole time, Brio Group is helping to give the gift of sight to the equivalent of 365 people in one year (by June 2011). We can’t do this without the support of our wonderful clients and team.

By supporting The Foundation we’re helping to make a difference the world can see. Since 1992 The Foundation has helped to restore sight to more than 1 million people in more than 34 developing countries throughout the world. At the time of blogging, we’ve well and truly reached half way to our goal. We’ve given 184 gifts of sight!

At this time of year, when we take time to stop and cherish those close to us, it makes me really warm inside knowing that this Christmas we’ve helped many, many people to see the colour and beauty of the season.

Yours in supporting worthy causes,


How to never miss a deadline in 2011!

When you work in the advertising/design/digital world it’s a given that you’re going to have days where you have to juggle a lot of urgent projects and deadlines at once. Sometimes, you’ll have so many deadlines, you begin to feel like you’re a part of a circus act! If you’re not organised and don’t have your head together, you’re going to struggle trying to work out which urgent deadline is more important than that urgent deadline and you may miss a deadline altogether, which will spell catastrophe!.

So, just how does one get their head together and get themselves organised? If you’re a designer looking for inspiration to get your organisation into gear for 2011, look no further! I stumbled across a great article today by Brian Casel, a freelance web designer and entrepreneur. Titled How to never miss a deadline Brian happily shares his advice to other designers on how to tackle obstacles and tasks constructively without losing your mind (or fallin.

Of course, there are still going to be days where you will be so under the pump that you feel like you’re walking a tight-rope, but if you take Brian’s advice, these days will become much easier to work through and become more of a one-off rather than a daily occurrence – which is much better for your office karma and colleagues!

NYE in Brisbane!

It’s that time of year again, when the sky lights up with the promise of new beginnings, fresh starts and clean slates. We start our new resolution lists, set new goals to achieve and start planning our unforgettable experiences that we can tell our grandchildren, so they know their grandmother/father was once a hip youngster.

So if you’re still scratching your head over how to spend New Year’s Eve in Brisbane, keep reading! Why not make it a night to remember – one that will definitely get your grandkids wide eyed with disbelief that YOU were that rare-sighted party animal that stayed out till sunrise. Here are some great New Years Eve events happening in a suburb near you!

The Blu Experience NYE 2011

Blu Energy + Magic City + Electric Playground present
The Blu Experience NYE 2011

25/27 Warner Street,
Fortitude Valley,
Queensland 4006,

Tickets $35 on the Door
Presale Tickets Available from $25

Fifth Element

New Years Eve 2010 A Masqueraded Affair

188 Grey St,
South Bank,
Australia 4101

Tickets $130

Byblos bar + restaurant

French Carnival New Year’s Eve 2010

Portside Wharf,
Queensland 4007,

Tickets $185

South Bank NYE concert featuring British India

Suncorp Piazza, The Parklands
Queensland 4101,

Tickets $25+BF

Google’s new $1.9bn home in New York

With over 2000 employees, Google has decided to upgrade its office to one of the largest, most historic buildings in New York. The former Port Authority building has a helipad on the roof, and elevators that are big enough to fit 18-wheel semi-trucks.

The building was specifically chosen by Google, because it sits almost directly above the Hudson Street/Ninth Avenue fibre-optic cable highway. The fibre-optic cables travel in large bundles under the New York asphalt. The previous owners of the building knew that this would boost the value of the real-estate and decked out the building to have equipment set up in a ‘network-neutral’ meeting room, allowing tenants to connect with each other and the fibre-line. Because of this, the building has become an important telecom carrier hotel. Read more in this article.

Nice move Google! I hope the interior design will measure up to the Zurich office!

Yours in design,

Nothing but the Best

This is the time of the year when we all like to reflect on the past year’s “great” and “not so great” achievements and make personal changes to help us achieve our new goals next year.

Tuesday afternoon was one such time at the Brio HQ when I was both laughing and teary at Belinda’s “Time to Reflect 2010″ staff videos. However, it was very hard for me not to feel a sense of pride, knowing I am working with such a great team who strives for nothing but the best. This video best describes the moment for me and really demonstrates what Brio Group is all about.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !!!!


Yours in Design

KPI time!

OK… so it is now officially the end of the working year and I was thinking the other day about a few things I have set for myself to have done by the yearly reviews next year in July.

One of my ‘KPI’s’ was to have an iPhone application submitted to the app store. Now I just remembered this and thought I better get cracking and get an idea together for an app that would be useful to people. In saying that, I have come up with my idea, and I will reveal once we are published in-store!

Something that I came across for the app I am creating, is that the user must have an internet connection to use it. Apple are very kind and have provided a class called ‘Reachability’. This class checks to make sure the user does have a connection and if not, then warns the user the app is not going to work until they manage to get one. Having no internet connection and not warning the user about it, is the (according to Apple) third most reason for an app to be rejected.

The ‘Reachability’ code can be found on the Apple Developer site

Now that I have got this under control… I know what i’ll be doing over my Xmas break!

Yours in iPhone development,

Julian Assange book deal leaked

The editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has signed a deal with UK publisher Canongate and US Publisher Knopf (a division of Random House) for his written memoirs. Canongate is partnered with Melbourne publisher Text, so it’s possible that the book will also be published here in Australia.

Ironically, the news was first leaked in a Spanish tweet, from Claudio Lopez, who works for Random House.

In another ironic coincidence, Canongate and Text also publish Barack Obama’s memoirs, whose government has been publicly embarrassed by the secret documents made public by WikiLeaks.

Assange has to deliver the manuscript by March for publication later in 2011, unless it gets leaked before then!

Yours in WikiLeaks updates,

Biggest PR disasters of 2010

As 2010 draws to a close I thought it might be time to remember those who’ve made our time at the hairdressers reading trashy mags just that little bit more exciting. So I started to do a little searching and came across this article on Mumbrella about the top 10 PR disasters of the year. Quite amusing…

The worst media disaster of 2010 was the Qantas A380 emergency, public relations blog PR Disasters has said.

According to the list, compiled by blogger and PR Gerry McCusker, the near-catastrophe and its aftermath was a bigger PR disaster than CommBank’s controversial interest rate hikes, Labor’s bodged mining tax and the Melbourne Storm salary cap rort.

The ten PR disasters:
1. Qantas – A380 fleet consecutive engine issues and passenger delays
2. Commonwealth Bank – premium interest rate hikes
3. Labor Party – corporate backlash against the proposed ‘super tax’
4. Melbourne Storm – salary cap scandal
5. Stephanie Rice – homophobic comments posted via Twitter
6. Canberra Raiders – Joel Monaghan ‘dog sex’ photo
7. Virgin Blue – reservations and check-in system crash
8. Matthew Newton – after alleged assault of then partner Rachel Taylor in Italy
9. David Leees – CEO sexual assault scandal
10. Lara Bingle – media relations following split with Michael Clark

McCusker worked with online and social media monitoring agency Cyber Chatter to analyse the blunders.

McCusker said: “We’re seeing that social media is increasing influence in determining the impact and duration of PR disasters. As citizen media clearly aids commentary and sharing of bad news stories. It’s essential to have strategies to cope with online sniping and gossip.”

Source: Mumbrella

What do you think was the biggest PR disaster this year?

Yours in Schadenfreude,