Greenery! Pantone colour of the year 2017

Greenery! Pantone colour of the year 2017


Colour is a powerful marketing tool, reflecting the message and meaning of your brand. Because first impressions count, and colour is the first thing you notice in a logo or visual footprint (80% of visual information is related to colour), your colour palette works really hard to tell your story before even getting to your logo shape, typography, image style, use of white space, your tone of voice, and use of language.

Why green this year?

Here is the ‘Sollox*’:

“There’s a growing desire to reconnect with Nature and what is real, and find ways to disconnect from technology. We need a break. We need to stop and breathe,” Laurie Pressman, the Pantone Color Institute’s vice president. “(Greenery) is about unity and community—connecting to oneself and others and a higher purpose, Nature.”

Do I need to go Greenery?

It’s a trending colour, if you are doing something to catch the zeitgeist, consider weaving it in to a campaign, you don’t have to change your core colour palette. If that doesn’t work for you – how about a bowl of Granny Smith’s in reception?!

Check out the Pantone Instagram page.

So, what does green ‘mean’

When the colour green strikes the eye it requires no adjustment. It is at the centre of the spectrum, it is cool, the colour of balance, positively symbolising: nature, stability, abundance, fertility, tranquility, good luck, health and healing. It has a negative of course … judgemental, jealousy, greed. And for fun, don’t forget Kermit!

Colour is an important part of how we express ourselves. Colour can make us feel more comfortable, more assured, more attuned, whether it’s what you wear or what your company wears. Is your colour palette working for you? Does it need a seasonal tweak, perhaps some new accent colours. I’m not saying go green! Have a think, and then contact us to discuss!

* Sollox is a term for ‘Sales b*llox’

Designed to… attract graduates

Designed to… attract graduates

graduate attraction

Does your company want to attract graduates for recruitment? If so, now is the time of year to think about how you are going to go about it.

Remember, a graduate is looking to start their career – not get a job! And you are most likely looking for someone who can grow with your company. You both need to make the right choice. It’s a long-term commitment for both sides – employer and employee.

Judi and I have been working with companies for many years now who attract graduates. We have found that although the method of graduate attraction changes – how much is online and offline – a number of constants remain.

It’s all about finding the perfect match

Because finding out about a person or a company is ridiculously easy now, as an employer you need to be up to scratch (OK – same goes for the graduate!). Nothing will discourage potential candidates, or customers for that matter, more than an organisation falling short of boasts or promises.

So what will a graduate be looking for? In our experience, to varying degrees they’ll typically be after the following qualities in a potential employer:

Graduates want:

  • to know what they will be doing day-to-day
  • an identified training programme
  • clear professional progression and future prospects
  • friendly orienteers, buddies or mentors
  • variety of work
  • to feel valued
  • to have travel opportunities
  • to join a company that behaves ethically
  • to join a company with a responsible environmental footprint
  • to make friends

Did you think money was going to be in the list? Surprise! Although it’s obviously important, that’s NOT always a top priority!


Tips on attracting graduates

Be honest – or you’ll be found out! If you are a small company, you most likely won’t be able to tick all of the ‘want’ boxes, but that’s OK – just be clear about what you are offering. And if you’ve had bad press, get that dirty laundry out and wash it in public – everyone makes mistakes.

Don’t try to be hip – unless you are a company of recent graduates and that’s just the way you are. It’s like dad-dancing – don’t go there!

Be concise – a graduate needs to be able to make an informed decision.

Choose the right media platform – you need to be where your graduates are. This isn’t being trendy, it’s about being accessible. Being on social media platforms means that you are open for dialogue and collaboration – honesty and transparency are what graduates are looking for.

Write well – match the tone of your writing to the graduate – whether that’s on your website, Facebook page or in a brochure or exhibition stand. Write with your reader mind. Think about what they need to know, not what you want to tell them!

Show them what your organisation is like – use real (not stock!) images of people at work. Pay attention to aesthetics because that may be what first attracts an individual to look at your company.

We have examples on this site of graduate attraction projects – most recently for Baker Hughes, and also BP. If you’d like to find out how we can help you attract graduates, please get in touch!

Sky-blue-pink is the new black?

Sky-blue-pink is the new black?

the new black?

Colour is an important part of how we express ourselves. Colour can make us feel more comfortable, more assured, more attuned.

First impressions count, and colour is the first thing you notice in a logo or visual footprint – 80% of visual information is related to colour* – it does so much work to tell your story before even getting to your logo, typography, image style, use of white space, your tone of voice, and use of language.

You may not like pastels and they may not be appropriate for your business, but each year there are trending colours. I tend to stay away from pastels as they are notoriously hard to colour match on-line and in print (your logo colours should always be colour matched to appear the same on-line in RGB, and when printed as Pantone and CMYK), but if you are a fashionista, ‘Rose Quartz’ and ‘Serenity’ are the trending colours for 2016 from Pantone.

Two colours were selected this year, which is a first for Pantone. They were chosen to connect with the zeitgeist for gender blurring, along with the idea that using two colours reflects ‘a soothing sense of order and peace’ (Leatrice Eiseman/Pantone). What do you think – did they hit the mark? Is your colour palette colour matched for use both on-line, and in print?

2016 will see a move towards logos that lend themselves to animation, as video content becomes a more important factor on websites and social media (think of the new Channel 4 graphics, rather than the new BBC 3 logo!). For example, take a look at the logo Angie designed recently for the Milner Therapeutics Institute. It’s based on the idea of a Möbius strip with a bit of Escher influence – a three dimensional structure with two ‘faces’ that are separate but inter-dependent, representing the symbiosis of research and industry facilitated by the institute. With its building block, three dimensional form, it’s perfect for animating. The colours represent the mix of creativity (orange) and stability (dark blue).

Milner Therapeutics Institute

How is your company logo standing up – does it still match your business purpose? Does it need refining? Is your colour palette working for you? Does it need a seasonal tweak? Or consider adding some accent colours. I’m not saying go pastel! Have a think, and then contact us to discuss!

This is how Instagram tweaked its logo and added colour


More reading on logo colour

Monkeys and chainsaws

Monkeys and chainsaws

Monkeys and chainsaws

My first boss – Frank Schofield would often mutter ‘monkeys and chainsaws’ – as he tackled clients let loose in the typographic world of Microsoft Word.

I have been known to mutter these words myself over the years. As a graphic designer I have on occasion had to work with a client offering, as a design suggestion, something from a relative. That’s fine – I can work around that, every idea is valid, and if it is a good idea, and I can make it work, I will. My heart totally sank some months ago when a client, who had fallen on hard times and had their budget slashed, asked for the InDesign files on a recent job. ‘Yes, I have them – are you having a re-print?  [all quiet]  … er… Why do they not just need the PDFs?’ – it transpired that their boss had floated the idea, in a bid to save money – that my client make any changes themselves to my files – after all – it can’t be that hard can it?

This raised all sorts of questions – who owns the copyright to the artwork (I do) – my client can print it. How do get them out of the pickle – do I work for free, (passing thought…) does my client even know how to edit an InDesign file, do they realise they have to buy the programme, the fonts – and if – in a dim moment – I happened to let them make changes, when it goes wrong – the artwork is still associated with me, it’s still my artwork (make note of that all of you who have had your printer make a few changes – you know who you are!). Thank heavens for PDFs, they close off a file, client gets the artwork – they don’t need the source files – although saying that – PDFs can also be tampered with if you know how. Letting a client near artwork  is akin to giving a monkey a chainsaw, so sorry – the answer is no!


design muse #1

design muse #1

website design tips

define the site’s goals

It sounds obvious, but if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, why bother building a site? Also, you want everyone who has a stake in the site to agree on the content and purpose. Defining a site’s goals solves all of these problems.

define the audience

You need to know who your website is aimed at. Sounds obvious, but if you don’t know who you are designing for, how can you get a good result? When you sit down and think about it, it’s likely to be a number of different people with completely different motives (ie investors, clients, customers).

create the structure

What pieces of content does the site need? What sorts of functionality will be required? Think of it this way: If you want to build a spaceship out of Lego, you need to pick out all of the pieces you will be using. These pieces represent the content. If you want your Lego to do things, you need to choose which motors and processors you need. These pieces represent the functionality.

define the navigation

The site’s structure is the foundation on which you build everything else. After creating a good site structure, everything else will fall into place. A well-designed structure makes it easy to define a navigation system, and the two together make designing page layouts and templates easy.

look and feel

The visual design, is perhaps the most satisfying aspect of site design, my favourite bit! One of its main purposes is to provide users with a sense of place. It will give them a feeling of who you are, by how it looks, for instance, open and friendly, fun and human — reflecting your brand values of who you are. As far as navigation goes, they need to know where they are on the site, where they have been, and how to get to where they want to be – to be in control of navigating the site. A good site structure combined with an effective visual design enables users to construct a mental map of the site.


There used to be a ten-second rule – keep your overall page size small, that way you won’t lose visitors who just want to skip the intro, with all the bandwidth we have now, it’s only an issue if your clients are in far-flung corners of the world…