We're through creative a branding and digital agency from Macclesfield near Manchester. We've put together this site to create a source of inspiration, we hope you like it.

All 4 identity to replace 4oD

Posted: September 11th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Digital, Graphic Design, Music Video / Film, Type / Typography | Comments Off

Channel 4 has announced that its 4oD service is to be replaced with a new brand, All 4, from next year. Envisaged as a  single destination for all of the broadcaster's linear channels and digital content, the new identity reworks the original Channel 4 logo designed by Lambie-Nairn...

The studio's 1982 "puzzle" identity remains an important part of the Channel 4 branding. While the new All 4 identity aims to emphasise that the reorganised services are born out of a single channel (and echoes the "pathwork" nature of the original design), it uses the various colours of Channel 4's existing brands (below) within the new look.

The static logo was created in a collaboration between Magpie, We Are Seventeen and Channel 4's award-winning in-house creative agency 4Creative (the overall brand identity was designed by 4Creative and We Are Seventeen).

"It's an important moment in Channel 4's history as this new identity links our digital future to our creative roots," says Dan Brooke, chief marketing and communications officer at Channel 4, "with the use of the much-loved multi-coloured logo, re-imagined for the multi-media 21st Century."

According to the broadcaster, the new All 4 user interface and functionality will launch initially on PC and iOS devices and will be extended to other digital platforms across 2015. The new interface will be structured around three "temporal states" – On Demand (past), Now (present) and On Soon (future).





Executive Creative Directors:
Chris Bovill & John Allison

Creative Directors:
Alice Tonge & Chris Wood

Business Director:
Nik Windsor

Senior Producer:
Nicola Brown

Senior Designer:
Kevin Price

Digital Producer:
Christos Savvides

Brand identity: 4Creative / Magpie / We Are Seventeen

Illustrator Mac Conner interviewed for New York show

Posted: September 10th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Illustration, Magazine / Newspaper, Music Video / Film | Comments Off

Illustration for "How Do You Love Me" in Woman's Home Companion, August 1950. Gouache on illustration board. © Mac Conner. Courtesy of the artist

An exhibition opens today at the Museum of the City of New York dedicated to the work of US illustrator, McCauley 'Mac' Conner, whose work helped define American advertising from the late 1940 to the early 60s. Accompanying the show is a filmed interview with Conner – who turned 100 last November – which you can watch here...

A keen admirer of the work of Norman Rockwell, which the young artist saw on the covers of the magazines sold in his father's general store, Conner in fact worked as a sign painter before turning his hand to portraiture and illustration.


Illustration for "Where's Mary Smith?" in Good Housekeeping, June 1950. Gouache and gesso on masonite. © Mac Conner. Courtesy of the artist

According to the MCNY, he came to New Yorkto work on wartime Navy publications, staying on to establish a career in the city’s publishing industry.

He then worked on numerous advertising campaigns for classic US brands such as Plymouth automobiles, United Air Lines, Bell Telephone and Ford, while working on magazines like Redbook, McCall’s, The Saturday Evening Post and Women's Home Companion.

In recent years, the illustrative style that Conner helped to define has caught the popular imagination once again through its exposure in the US TV series, Man Men.

As the New York Times pointed out, "To play up the Mad Men connection, an ad promoting the retrospective, appearing in magazines like New York and The New Yorker, bills Mr. Conner as 'one of New York's original Mad Men.' Along with artwork, the exhibition includes an oversize map of Manhattan in the '50s that depicts how clustered the big ad agencies, magazine publishers and artists' studios were."


Illustration for "Let's Take a Trip Up the Nile" in This Week Magazine, November 5, 1950. Gouache and graphite on illustration board. © Mac Conner. Courtesy of the artist

Illustration for "Killer in the Club Car" in This Week Magazine, November 14, 1954. Ink and acetate on illustration board © Mac Conner. Courtesy of the artist

The exhibition presents over 70 of Conner’s original hand-painted illustrations for campaigns and magazines. An interview with Conner is below.

Mac Conner: A New York Life is at the Museum of the City of New York until January 19 2015. More details at mcny.org.


Illustration for "There's Death for Remembrance" in This Week Magazine, November 13, 1953. Gouache and ink on illustration board. © Mac Conner. Courtesy of the artist

Illustration for "We Won't Be Any Trouble" in Collier's, November 13, 1953. Gouache on illustration board. © Mac Conner. Courtesy of the artist

Fantastic new video from Josh Cole for I See MONSTAS

Posted: September 5th, 2014 | Author: Eliza Williams | Filed under: Music Video / Film | Comments Off

Get your hankies at the ready – photographer and director Josh Cole has delivered another amazing music video, this time for I See MONSTAS' track Circles, which tells the heartbreaking tale of a man who is trying to get his life together after being released from jail but ends up making some terrible decisions...

Cole has only been directing for the past three years, having previously established himself as a documentary photographer, but with his work for Chase & Status and Rudimental has quickly proved himself to be one of the freshest voices around. And judging by this film, it seems likely that a move into TV and film won't be far off either. Watch and enjoy:

Men, Women & Children film poster

Posted: September 5th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Graphic Design, Illustration, Music Video / Film | Comments Off

This was a pleasant surprise on Twitter yesterday: the new poster for Jason Reitman's forthcoming film, Men, Women & Children, which looks at the impact of social media on young relationships...

Composed of a series of portraits of modern day folk doing what modern day folk do so much these days, the poster (below) is immediately eye-catching for being entirely illustrated aside from the type (close up, you can even see the texture of the paper the illustrations were made on).

Resembling the cover of a graphic novel, it features the main cast members – Ansel Elgort and Kaitlyn Dever in a green T-shirted embrace – while a bearded Adam Sandler (on left) and Jennifer Garner (right) engage in continuing smartphone studies.

The poster is by agency BLT Communications in Hollywood – though an illustrator's name has not been forthcoming, the studio preferring to credit the work more generally to the team of people involved.

Still, a lovely piece of drawn work for a film where the digital world is firmly at the centre of things.

More on the film at menwomenchildrenmovie.com.

The trailer for the film is here:

CR September iPad edition

Posted: September 3rd, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Advertising, Art, Books, Digital, Graphic Design, Illustration, Magazine / Newspaper, Music Video / Film, Photography, Type / Typography | Comments Off

Don't forget the September issue of CR - our grad guide - is also available for iPad, where you'll find print mag content and monograph plus exclusive additional content in Hi Res, our showcase gallery section, and CRTV, with video profiles of creative people, animations and other moving image work from around the world....

In Features we talk to six people in unusual and inspiring jobs in the creative industries to see just where a creative education can take you, including Gemma Jackson, production designer on Game of Thrones; Blair Battison, senior preservation conservator at the Victoria & Albert Museum; Rachel Louis, arts participation manager at Vital Arts; Brad Silby, Framestore lead animator on films such as Where the Wild Things Are and Guardians of the Galaxy; and Simon Henwood, creative director for musicians such as Kanye West and Rihanna.

Creative studio Shellsuit Zombie also give us their top ten tips for next steps for graduates looking to pursue a creative career.

Plus the true story of the Woolmark, with en extract from TM, a new book looking at the history of 29 classic logos by CR's Mark Sinclair; and Grey ECD Nils Leonard and William Fowler, Headspace creative director and CR-columnist Googlechat about the trend for advertising with a social conscience.

There's also reviews of Recontres D'Ares photography festival and a new exhibition of Ivan Chermayeff's collage work. And not forgetting our lovely regular columns from Michael Evamy, Daniel Benneworth-Gray and Paul Belford.

In Hi Res you'll find work from iconic fashion photographer Horst P. Horst ahead of a major new retrospective at the V&A; music-related posters from Print Club London's Blisters: Sound Sessions show; Martin Usbourne's photo series I've Lived in East London For 86 ½ Years; a peak at Illustation Now! 5 from Taschen; images from a new publication on contemporary photography and architecture, Shooting Space; rare and famous urban art from Hang-Up Collections; and a close up look at the making of Jim Lambie's concrete 100m long path, designed to look like a shelf of records.

CRTV includes Jeremy Asher Lynch's short documentary Church of Type about a Santa Monica letterpress studio; a profile of Tel Aviv based illustrator Geffen Refaeli; Monotype's Dan Rhatigan on Rhyman Eco; a look at the touring Open for Business photo project seeking to tell the largely untold story of British manufacturing; and new animations from Masanodu Hiraoka and 3D artist Ben Ridgway.


To submit work for consideration for CRTV or Hi Res, please emailantonia.wilson@centaur.co.uk

For further info on the CR iPad app or to subscribe, click here.




Ivan Cash’s Last Photo Project comes to London

Posted: September 3rd, 2014 | Author: Eliza Williams | Filed under: Music Video / Film | Comments Off

Over the last year, filmmaker Ivan Cash has been visiting various cities across the US and asking random strangers to share the story of the last photo that they took with their phone. For his latest short film, he has come to London...

In his previous films recorded in New York, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Alabama, Cash has set the tone for the series, which mixes frank confessions with examples of quirky everyday activities. Selfies and dogs also make regular appearances. His skill though is in his ability to capture a flavour of the different cities he visits through their people. He does this again in London – while the shots of the city might be mostly touristy fare, the people featured reveal a deeper picture. The photos they share prompt stories that are by turns sweet, bizarre, poignant and 'romantic' (yes, Cash's London film is the first in the series to feature a cock shot – ah Londoners, you do us proud!). And what's more, the people shown are nothing but friendly – dispelling, for once, one of the more popular theories about the big smoke.

View the rest of the films in the series at cashstudios.co.

Warp releases Syro artwork by The Designers Republic

Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author: Rachael Steven | Filed under: Graphic Design, Music Video / Film | Comments Off

Limited edition vinyl boxset

After teasing fans for weeks with blimps, online snapshots and mysterious street art, Warp Records has finally released the full artwork for Aphex Twin’s forthcoming album, Syro. Created by The Designers Republic, the packaging lists every cost involved in the making and promotion of the album...

Released on 22 September, Syro is Aphex Twin's (Richard James) first new album since 2001. The release of the artwork follows the appearance of a blimp featuring the Aphex Twin logo in the skies over London, and graffiti on the streets of New York last weekend.

A collaboration between James and The Designers Republic, which has worked on campaigns and sleeves for Warp since the label's inception, the artwork lists the costs involved in making and promoting the album, from courier charges to photoshoot expenses, expressed per disc and tailored for both vinyl and CD (shown above) versions:

Lists on both album and CD versions show the cost of making, distributing and promoting the album


Ian Anderson, founder of The Designers Republic, says the concept is based on ideas suggested by James in early discussions about the album's packaging. “At the beginning of the process we discussed a few ideas Richard wanted to explore – one was the idea of pressing the album or a single track into the fabric of the cover, effectively as a deboss; a second was to use shots of the raw vinyl pucks albums are pressed from; and the third was to document in some way every cost involved in the production of the specific album format the purchaser had in their hands,” he explains.

Bonus track, included in limited edition vinyl boxset

“The intense, and ultimately pointless detail of the list really appealed to me ... it was good working with James Burton and the team at Warp to stretch out this mantra that tells the reader everything and nothing about the creation of what I hear was an intensely personal album in the making reduced to the numbers of an album in the marketplace,” he adds.

The debossed bonus track appears in a limited edition perspex vinyl version (shown below, an edition of 200, it costs £250), while puck shots are used on vinyl labels. TDR has also created 'a disinfographic', listing all of the equipment used to make the album.

Limited edition vinyl boxset

The album is the third release that TDR has designed artwork for - the studio also worked on Windowlicker and Come to Daddy, which featured unsettling imagery shot by video artist Chris Cunningham (referenced in the deluxe slip case for the deluxe vinyl). While the new release has a notably different look, Anderson says all three are united by "a sense of non-design - of playing with formats and the preconceptions the audience may have of both what music packaging should be, and specifically what Aphex Twin’s packaging design should look like.”

"For Windowlicker, the video and images were so strong that really all we had to do was frame them. The skill here was to let the images do the work while creating space and something typographic which were recognisable in themselves in parallel with Chris’s work," he says.

"For Come To Daddy, there was a thicker plot involving a series of TDR™ generated text based promos as well as a remix CD featuring the music from an Orange mobile TV ad. There were issues about using an image from the ad so we resorted creating an orange cover with text describing the action from the ad. The typography was designed to appear neutral which is again a key factor in the non-design idea behind Syro."

Anderson also says the design is intended to challenge consumers and question notions of value: "The stripped down intentional un-typography, reducing the legibility of the bigger picture in its super detail, clashing with the inherent obsolescence of the pumped up format packaging, asks questions of the consumer that the content can’t alone," he says.

"It’s interesting that some people regard the design in terms of what they can see, designers judging it on craft and typography and fans seeing it in terms of value for money (ironically), for example, when the real message lies in the deconstructive absence of either."

Syro is released by Warp Records on 22 September. To pre-order a copy, click here.

Film4′s new look

Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author: Rachael Steven | Filed under: Digital, Music Video / Film | Comments Off

Film4 has launched an updated on-air brand identity with 16 new idents created by ManvsMachine. The films feature movie references throughout and were shot using a custom built in-camera device to create a moving film strip effect...

Idents were shot in five locations in the US and UK including Brighton's Grand Hotel and a gas station in California. Three films were shot at each location and each has a different ending and tone: scenes at the gas station show children riding on bikes, a burning tyre rolling across the screen and a parked police car, while idents shot in the woods include one with wolves, another with scenes of children camping and a third with a mysterious, eerie light shining behind Film4's logo.

"We wanted to avoid genres, such as horror or sci-fi, as they can feel a bit clicd, and create a set of moods instead," explains ManvsMachine creative director Mike Alderson.

"Locations are deliberately ambiguous and each film starts off ambiguously, before being taken in a different direction. There's a sense of wonderment in the children riding bikes, while the tyre is a bit more aggressive, and the police car suggests something darker and more ominous," he adds. "In the woods, the light provides a nod to Moonrise Kingdom, but avoids anything overtly 'sci-fi'."

To create the moving film strip effect featured in each ident, ManvsMachine built a custom in-camera device which 'stacks' live action scenes. Cameras had to be passed through the floor and ceiling of sets during filming and holes dug in the ground at exterior locations.

"It was trickier than it looks to do," explains Alderson. "The camera has to start the same height above and below the space, so we had to build elevated sets and dig a huge hole in the woods [in California]. We even had an archaeologist with us making sure we didn't dig up any Native American remains," he adds.

Each ident is littered with references to films in various genres to reflect the channel's diverse output and audience. Scenes shot in a pink corridor provide an obvious nod to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, as well as Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, but also reference films including Poltergeist and Gravity. One ident, shot in a motel room, references 42 different films.

"We wanted to create something film buffs would enjoy watching, but we also wanted the idents to appeal to anyone - I hope even people who don't spot the references will like them," adds Alderson.

In keeping with the cinematic approach to idents, titles introducing films appear in red and black and are inspired by film posters and sequences from the 60s and 70s. An intelligent typographic system resizes titles depending on screen space, to ensure each film is given an equal billing.

"Our core mantra, throughout the whole project, was that it needed to be a film channel, not a TV channel. We felt it was really important to keep red and black as the only two colours, and that every title should be given the same prominence, whether it's a high end production or something more lowbrow or low budget," adds Alderson.

With the majority of effects created in camera and CGI kept to a minimum, Alderson says the idents are "a homage to the craft of filmmaking". The studio has also released a making of video revealing some of the process behind the idents:

It's a lovely set of films and the stacking device creates a distinctive visual signature, while the set design, typographic details and visual effects create a suitably rich, cinematic feel.

Concept, Design & Direction: ManvsMachine
Agency & Production Company: 4creative
Creative Director: Dan Chase
Producer:Liz Arnott
DoP: Alex Barber
Art Direction / Set Design: Simon Davies, Max Orgell
Post Production: Analog
Music: Resonate

How Sivu’s Better Man Than He promo was made

Posted: August 27th, 2014 | Author: Rachael Steven | Filed under: Music Video / Film | Comments Off

Earlier this year, unsigned singer Sivu and director Adam Powell made a mesmerising video for single Better Than Me using an MRI scanner at London's St Bart's Hospital. To celebrate the single's release next month, Sivu has released a short film revealing how the promo was made...

Better Man Than He features footage of Sivu singing into an MRI machine, which uses magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of the body. The three-minute film offers a fascinating glimspe at the singer's brain, muscles and movements, with additional effects added in post production:

The video was released in January this year and has since received more than 600,000 views on YouTube. As Page explains in a new film on the making of the project, Powell, then his flatmate, suggested using an MRI scanner as a cheaper alternative to using costly cameras and filming equipment.

He contacted doctors Marc Miguel and Andrew Scott, who had spent a year researching how to capture moving images using MRI machines in an attempt to learn more about cleft palates and agreed to help make the film at St Bart's. As Miguel and Scott explain, Page was required to wear a large head covering, known as a coil, while inside the scanner, which allowed it to generate detailed images depicting 'slices' of his head.

It's an innovative technique - the video is allegedly the first to use real time MRI scans - and the result is visually striking. Since its release, Sivu has been signed to Atlantic Records, while Powell has since directed promos for The 1975 and Example. The film has also been screened in medical conferences and university lectures.

Better Man Than Me is released on September 29. Page's debut album, Something On High, is released in October.

Ciclope Festival 2014

Posted: August 27th, 2014 | Author: Eliza Williams | Filed under: Advertising, Music Video / Film | Comments Off

While there are a multitude of festivals devoted to the business and ideas sides of advertising, its craft can fall a little by the wayside. Not at Ciclope Festival, however, which is entirely devoted to the celebration of ad craft. The latest edition of the festival takes place on November 6-7 in Berlin.

Ciclope Festival has been running since 2010 and for its first three years took place in Buenos Aires, before moving to Berlin in 2013. This year's event is the second to be held in the German capital, and will consist of a conference and networking events, as well as an awards ceremony, celebrating the best work in advertising craft this year.

Among those lined up to speak at this year's festival are Andreas Nilsson, the director behind the Volvo Trucks Epic Split commercial; Mike McGee, creative director at Framestore; and Guido Heffels, co-founder of Heimat ad agency. There will also be top creatives from agencies including Wieden + Kennedy, Droga5, Saatchi & Saatchi, 72andSunny, and many more taking part in the networking events. For a full list of guests and more info on attending the festival or entering the awards, visit ciclopefestival.com.