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Simon Burdett Creative services ident

compelling branding & marketing design
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Presentation example

Identity examples

Image making example

Report example

Services

Through my graphic design services I can work with you to develop the most effective ways to visually communicate your ideas.

With careful consideration of your brand perception and marketing aims, every piece of ingenious and engaging visual marketing communication can be precisely tuned to relay your message with impact and clarity.

What is unique about the service or product that you are providing? What makes your proposition more attractive than those of your competitors? Who are your clients or customers, what do they like, and what do they expect and require you to provide? What are the most important factors for them in choosing a product or service? How do you ideally wish them to view you in the marketplace? Through which communication channels are you most likely to capture their attention?

Perhaps you are an experienced marketing professional and know that it is advantageous to initially reach your customers or clients through web ads, through press ads or via a direct mail campaign. Maybe you are launching a new enterprise and require some advice on the types of branding and marketing communication that we can develop together. Either way, I can help by presenting creative options that are tailored to your particular needs.

If, for example, the product that you are promoting provides highly competitive value for money as well as quality, a brochure/folder pack with client specific inserts can project a sense of practicality and efficient economy. With well crafted design and finish it can also be effectively sleek and stylish.

Example slides from a webinar promoting local TV, each featuring extensive photo-compositing. The full presentation for Charteris and Deluxe was then built using the online 'Prezi' presentation system.

Alternatively, if you are planning the introduction of a new prestigious service, you might print exclusive literature featuring lavish original photography on suitably luxurious stock. Initially though, this service could be announced to your selected audience through a direct mail campaign that invokes a special sense of occasion. A hand delivered package featuring branded and personalised promotional items and an invitation to a drinks reception/presentation and networking event would help to build expectation and instil an impression of prestige.

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Opening a channel

Flash web ads in three common sizes, leaderboard, MPU and skyscraper. From a campaign created for Spread Co.

Flash desktop advertising is alive and kicking.

view these ads on a desktop or notebook computer to see them run in all their animated glory.

lots of online Advertising is static, forgettable and unwelcome, especially on mobile devices. if you'd rather engage with your audience through dynamic desktop ads featuring 'storyboarded' animation, flash remains the most powerful, flexible and widespread technology.

Communication online

If you require dynamic impactful online promotion, either via your own website or someone else's, Flash is still the most powerful, flexible and efficient method for bringing richly interactive animated media to the web. Flash advertising is a commonly used marketing tool and we can work together to develop concepts and storyboard animated content. For the development stage, I have in-depth coding knowledge of Actionscript 3.0 enabling the inclusion of as many interactive as well as animated features as you require.

Flash has a wide range of interactive web applications beyond ads though, such as the portfolio on the projects page. Including its animation routines, this portfolio application is fully coded in Actionscript. It is constructed from custom 'classes' - packages of code specially designed to perform specific localised functions which produce complex functionality when combined. For example, it utilises a 'loader' class that loads over four megabytes of external work examples as and when they are selected. This allows the Flash file to be a fraction of that size in order to initialise with minimum loading time. Without significant coding expertise the portfolio's full functionality would not be achievable.

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Below Left: Various webpage designs. The icons focus on individual sites. Below right: Interactive Flash pages from an online magazine. Produced in collaboration with Boi Creative for Ealing Council. The full 'Zmag' is here.

Another application is online magazines. 'Zmags' is a Flash based publishing site that allows users to present uploaded pdf artwork online with neat animated page turn effects and some basic interactive features. For enhanced visual dynamics and far more advanced interactivity, Actionscript coded Flash swf files can also be inserted into the magazine pages as indicated in the examples below.

If you need either a brand new design or a revised design for a website, I can help you there too. This includes both creating the look and feel through to developing a site taking full advantage of the developing capabilities of HTML5 and CSS3. These form the backbone of this site for example, with additional support from the jQuery Javascript library.

Whatever your needs and your budget, we can work together to successfully achieve your branding and marketing aims. By determining what it is you wish to say, to whom and through which channels, we have a great starting point from where we can develop imaginative, stylish and highly effective ways to communicate your message successfully to your audience. Key to this process is understanding your brand.

Sending out the right signalUnderstanding your brand

Whenever and wherever your clients and customers see your brand they are reminded of the perception they have of who you are and what they believe you stand for. Ideally this is in harmony with how you wish to be perceived and I can help you to establish and/or maintain that desired identity.

Behind logos, corporate styles and straplines, the foundations of effective branding reside in an understanding of your purpose and vision, sensitivity to the perception you wish to engender, and consideration of how the strength of your brand will be maintained across various communication channels. Well conceived and executed branding is instantly recognisable signalling a clear distinction between you and your competitors. It is sympathetic to your values in its look and feel and adaptable enough to maintain a unified sense of identity across various media.

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Simon Burdett Creative has developed identities for companies and divisions across diverse sectors and of many different sizes.

Working with you to ensure that your communications material represents your brand values consistently will reduce the risk of sending mixed signals that will dilute the strength of your identity. Saying what you need to say as fluently as possible every time will help you to form the productive relationships that you want to have with your clients and customers.

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In short, a clear confident sense of you are and what you offer will help to inspire a sense of confidence in your customers and clients. This is true whether we are developing a new branding strategy or producing marketing material that respects and reinforces an existing brand.

Look and feel branding your marketing
and marketing your brand

As previously mentioned, it is always highly advantageous to retain a distinct flavour of your brand style and values across the variety of communications material that you produce. Ideally your audience should easily recognise both the specific message of a piece of your marketing collateral as well as the unmistakable signature of your identity. Maintaining a consistent look and feel will clarify and strengthen your brand's impact.

Identity and examples of branded literature for Creative Benefits financial advisers.

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Development brochures for Savills, the 'real estate services provider'. The designs were tailored to reflect the unique distinct nature of each development.

As well as developing new branding strategies, it is frequently necessary to work within established branding guidelines. Reflecting that branding in the design of marketing material by echoing cues such as typographic style, colour and graphic layout devices is an important issue and needs to be handled sensitively and respectfully.

If you are starting up a new business however and are wondering whether you should commission a website, a brochure or stationery first, it is always advisable to start with a strong logo and a branding style featuring enough flexible forward thinking to fluently and consistently carry through to the subsequent communication materials that you will require.

To engender consistent client perception, it really pays to build it from the ground up. This, together with an awareness of and respect for your heritage, is also true if you are to refreshing or overhauling an existing brand.

While these branding guidelines are applicable in many cases of marketing design, they are by no means hard fast rules in every single case. There is the occasional need for truly standalone items which for various reasons may need to be distinct from your standard materials such as if you wish to appeal to a new type of audience.

That's a good ideaInventing the concept

When you've decided upon the message you wish to send, to whom and through which channels, the next step is to create the conceptual and visual means of doing so.

Brands in industries such as fashion, luxury, construction and automotive manufacturing may wish to communicate the quality and desirability of their physical products very literally through product 'beauty shots' etc.

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Keywords/phrases and preliminary visual research leading to the development of marketing campaign concepts for Prime Professions and Hume Brophy.

However, if a brand is promoting a more intangible service, sense or concept, like the peace of mind and trust associated with insurance or financial advice, then a more analogous, interpretative approach is often required, such as visual metaphors for protection, guidance and happiness. A good starting point is to distil 'keywords' from the brand's core values and communication aims. This gives strong initial directions to visual research, which will not only serve to visualise preliminary concepts but also to inspire further ideas. If desired, 'moodboards' can be presented.

For their Grimsby store, Wilkinson required a set of window display graphics depicting aspects of the town. I proposed and then designed this sequence focusing on the port's historical heritage.

While any piece of design 'tells a story' so to speak, this is especially apt when a sequence of designs need to work together like 'chapters' do in telling an overall story. Examples are advertising campaigns which may use 'teasers' to gradually build up expectation or a series of display graphics depicting different aspects of a business. The way that a set of connected designs visually relate to each other is very important in ensuring that the 'story' is both coherent and consistent.

There is often a union of headline/title concept and imagery at work, usually with one in support of the other while sometimes one or the other is utilised solely. In all cases, it is the idea that is behind the visual. I will always work with you to serve the concept as effectively as possible through both imagery and/or typography, developing a balance that is both visually pleasing and contextually appropriate.

Routes to successOutlining your options

There are always alternatives when considering the creative concept through which your marketing material will communicate its message, always more than one viable approach that can be employed when seeking to achieve an effective design solution. Therefore it is generally useful for the designer as well as for the client to explore and present a small selection of the most appropriate and advantageous potential routes.

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Left: Optional visual treatments for an app icon and logo. Below: Box graphics options for a limited edition collection of train simulation software.

It's reassuring to focus on a preferred approach after weighing up the alternatives and unexpected possibilities can sometimes lead in fresh and exciting directions. This creative process isn't always practical due to time and budget constraints, but when explored, a little food for thought often brings about its own rewards, sometimes straight away and sometimes at a later stage.

The process can also help to promote a more intuitive and productive client/designer relationship by developing a mutual understanding of your communication preferences and my aesthetic sense and adaptive problem solving capabilities.

Picture thisVisualisation methods

At the concept development stage, ideas can be described by utilising various visualisation techniques. These range from hand drawn sketches demonstrating a general approach, to fully mocked-up design samples.

Left: Initial sketches and finished website icons from a set of ten for Alexander Forbes professional indemnity insurers. Below: Software collection box mock-up, created for online pre-ordering.

I am also highly adept at advanced Photoshop image manipulation to simulate the appearance of graphics in situ. This is particularly effective when proposing packaging, signage or exhibition and display graphics. There are a number of other ways in which Photoshop can be effectively employed which are described under the 'IMAGE MAKING' section further down the page.

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Fluent in the language of graphic designFrom concept to reality

Graphic design is the visual language through which your chosen marketing concept 'speaks' to your audience. As with any written or spoken language, it should be carefully crafted to accurately portray the emotional or intellectual information that the idea intends to communicate without getting in it's way. This design process is guided by a design philosophy.

Effectively existing in one form or another for as long as humans have related pictures and writing, graphic design came to be respected as a formal discipline in the early twentieth century. Its strong connections to the modernist movement of the time are still evident to this day in regards to clean, functional typography and layouts. When postmodernism emerged later in design, ostensibly as a critical reaction to modernism, the abstract philosophical differences between the wider movements tended to divide designers in disciplines such as architecture and product design into different schools of thought. In graphic design however it had some rather less polarising effects.

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Left: A simple layout presenting an image that evokes popular culture and cinema. Below: Minimalist cover for a Lockton professional indemnity insurance guide for Architects, Engineers and Contractors.

A life insurance factfile for Alexander Forbes placing formal copysetting within a decorative layout. The style of a stocks and shares certificate imbues the content with the innate sense of value in investing for the future.

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The consideration of the relative merits of modernist and postmodernist design thinking tends to be inherent within many of the decisions that graphic designers make. When exploring the nature and aims of a given project, the application of the most appropriate approach should depend more on the context of the problem than a rigid adherence to any particular school of thought. A very simple example would be deciding whether the needs of a communication project are best served by a clean minimalist modernist design approach that provokes a primarily intellectual reaction to the information it imparts, or by an overtly decorative, unapologetically emotive postmodernist approach.

Furthermore, graphic designers can draw inspiration simultaneously from both design philosophies to whatever degree of each is most appropriate when addressing specific challenges within any one project. All of this is connected to the comparatively fluid and ephemeral nature of many graphic design requirements, in that it primarily exists to create and sell ideas of the here and now that may very well be revised tomorrow. Unlike with architecture, industrial design or product design, the job of graphic design is not to create artefacts or edifices to live with for years to come or to literally set statements in stone. It is less suited to adhering to a particular philosophical design movement because it needs to remain reactively flexible to reflect ever changing communication needs.

A website, brochure, newsletter etc often displays modernist design thinking through various technical elements such as page grids, style templates and corporate guidelines, the things that exist to establish simple yet powerful rules for consistency, accessibility and legibility. These forms follow the functions of effective communication and brand consistency and establish a formal visual language as distinct, efficient and free from extraneous detail as possible. Intellectually based design minimalism clearly enables the logical consistency that is desired between your brand identity and your promotional material and can create a powerful yet flexible framework. Smart design in other words.

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Left: A play on the power of words to conjure up mental imagery. This personal composition presents a familiar phrase but literally warps the "perspective" to play a visual trick on the word and the metaphorical meaning of the phrase. Below: A decidedly informal play on the style of a Clint Eastwood movie poster in celebration of an award winning employee.

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The main business of graphic design though has always been to persuade an audience to engage with a message. As many of these messages operate on an emotional as well as an intellectual level, a purely technical design approach can sometimes be seen as somewhat clinical, leaving an audience a little cold. Depending on the nature of the message and it's intended recipients, the consideration of something to 'warm up' and personalise a design can often be a very helpful.

In a wider context, postmodernism's affinity for recognising individuality and breaking with convention is also reflected by the need to consider the unique challenges of different projects, each with concepts requiring specific design solutions. It is this sensibility that often stimulates the desire to experiment, innovate and add special value and uniqueness to products, services and brands that may go beyond the minimum required to do the job.

I feel that if modernism provides much of the intellectual framework and good sense of effective graphic communication, postmodernism provides much of the warmth and humour that so often connects well with a wider audience. The proper balance of these factors helps to ensure that your messages are represented in a way that is both inventive and evocative; efficient and effective.

Grab their attention and hold itPage Composition

M any websites, reports, information guides etc require that a significant amount of information is presented to the reader. Obviously this information needs to be legible and accessible and it is also highly advantageous if it is laid out in such a way that it actively encourages reading. In other words, it needs to grab their attention and hold it. A balanced, logical and attractive composition will positively entice the eye into the page and guide it around the content. The exact form that a layout will take depends on the consideration of a number of factors.

Is the content appearing online or in print and in what volume?

The fluidity of resizable, scrollable content tends to present one set of challenges and solutions and a fixed number of physical pages containing finite space for content presents another.

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Left: Property details webpage for luxury properties agent The Private Home. Below: Page layout for Alexander Forbes Wealth Management with very clear demarcation between large scale imagery and moderate text. Bottom: Image led, minimal text layout for Shreeves & Partners property developers.

What is the nature of the written content?

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Below: Alexander Forbes page layout demonstrating a balance of text, image and infographics. Bottom: Combination of a leading image with economic use of white space in a Charles Derby newsletter layout.

If the intention is to promote the value or necessity of a brand with which the reader may be unfamiliar, it is generally wise to avoid confronting them with pages full of text with little free space. To put it plainly, the page layout requirements of most marketing literature has little in common with the page layout conventions of the novel and 'pageturners' aside, layouts crammed with unbroken text can appear intimidating and indigestible. In the light of this, space is your friend.

Fundamentally, deciding how to relate free space (negative space) to content (positive space) on a page naturally entails consideration of the alignment and relative positioning of elements and that gives rise to visual patterns in the layout. Because the human brain is attuned to recognising patterns and order, content that is logically structured into aesthetically pleasing patterns should be easier to navigate and digest than content that is not. Adequate negative space around text areas can allow the page to 'breathe' rather than deluging the reader with information and heavy content can be further lightened into more readily digestible portions with carefully positioned images. These factors help to present an approachable, comfortable and even pleasurable reading experience.

If a layout is imparting mainly technical or official information though, a sober and space effective style of presentation is often appropriate. When a combination of both this type of content and the type in the previous couple of paragraphs need to appear alongside, the use of differentiated content areas and typesetting styles, such as notes in a separate box, would tend to be suggested.

Another distinct case is that of newsletters. Whether appearing online (indeed some websites are essentially regularly updated newsletters) or in print, a different approach to space is often justified. Like a newspaper, a newsletter is primarily designed to import substantial amounts of important information on a regular basis, with economy of available space an important factor. The reader will often be an established client that expects to receive this information and already places a certain value on reading it. The primary purpose of the layout design is thus not to persuade the recipient to want to read, but to put the available space to the most efficient use.

It is nevertheless important to combine economy of space with good readability. A reasonable degree of visually interesting flexibility is also advantageous. I have produced many newsletters in this way.

Words and pictures?

Will imagery be utilised for essential illustrative purposes, for the desirable purpose of increasing visual impact and variety or not desired in order to aid economy?

Does the content feature charts, graphs or other infographics?

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Infographics is a highly skilled discipline in it's own right but it is also effectively a highly focused version of the fundamental purpose of any graphic design — to represent information of a significant level of complexity in an easily accessible and understandable graphic form. Thus the value of effectively designed infographics is considerable, whether acting as standalone communication (such as information signage) or as an integral part of your marketing material (such as charts, tables and diagrams). I have substantial experience in effectively representing information this way.

These are just some of the factors that well constructed layout design takes into account and when considered along with issues such as production and budget, they will aid you in engagingly and efficiently conveying your messages.

Works of artImage making

With illustrative and image manipulation skills and techniques developed through a wealth of art and design experience, I'm able to either adapt existing imagery to your particular needs or to produce entirely new imagery from scratch. This can be produced either as standalone work or as part of a larger project.

Illustration

More than merely an alternative to photography, illustration is also by no means limited to the support of editorial articles. As always, the function of a design project will tend to suggest the suitability of a visual approach, but for the right type of project, the perceived value and uniqueness of a specifically commissioned piece of illustration can add memorable distinction and individual flair to a project.

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Right: Character illustration. Below Left: Personal works. Below Right: Exterior panels for Wilkinson's Grimsby store illustrating the town's history. Presented in alternative colours.

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While it is traditionally employed to literally 'illustrate' articles or themes, an illustrative approach is often utilised in less obvious ways. There are many logos and branding schemes incorporating illustrative elements for example and most web and desktop icons are illustrative in nature. Further applications exist such as certain types of concept visualisation that rely on artistic/illustrative techniques.

'Photoshopping'

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Below: This yachting image received considerable retouching and branding was added. Bottom: This beach shot required extra image content to the left and right so those areas were 'cloned' from parts of the original composition.

As mentioned in the 'picture this' section, photo-manipulation and image compositing is an area of service with a wide range of highly useful applications that you can take advantage of.

Image-manipulation ranges from retouching and removing undesirable artefacts or elements, to evocative colour and balance adjustment treatments. An advanced technique is to extend an existing image by generating and blending new areas that look as natural as the source material from which they are 'cloned'. Sometimes the original proportions of a favoured image are not quite right for a given layout so seamlessly cloning 'extra image' in this way may be just what's needed to make the composition work.

Compositing involves the creation of unique compositions or 'scenes' from separate image components. These scenes often need to be naturalistic, such as the addition of graphics to a photographed location, giving a realistic impression of how they will appear in situ, or when separately photographed elements are combined in one lifelike composition as if they were photographed together.

Alternatively, an abstract composition may be desired. Not a naturalistic scene but a collage of elements, forming a visually cohesive whole while retaining their individual distinctiveness. All of these techniques can help you to greatly broaden the scope and flexibility of your visual resources.

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A way with wordsHeadlines and straplines

Both web based and print advertising campaigns have been briefly touched upon under the 'knowing what you need' and 'look and feel' sections. Sometimes a concept and headline idea is supplied along with ad copy, based on input from both the client and a copywriter. The design requirement in that case is to visually express/support that idea and create the layout.

In other cases, the copy alone is supplied or even just roughly outlined and a more in-depth creative interpretation of the message is required. In those cases I am more than happy to investigate the overall ad concept through the creation of headlines/straplines as well as the supporting visual treatment. Sometimes this process works well in addition to or in collaboration with a copywriter's work because found imagery can stimulate new headline ideas as well as headlines and copy stimulating the search for appropriate imagery.

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Examples of headlines used in themed ad campaigns. Sometimes they work in concert with imagery (left) and other times they stand alone (below).

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Ads are not the only marketing material that can grab the attention and stick in the mind by employing the equivalent of an effectively snappy headline. Brochures, websites, newsletters, exhibition graphics for example, often seek to sum up a concept or instil a notion in the form of brief carefully honed wording, sometimes in conjunction with imagery and sometimes not. Examples of this are to be found in the section headings shown throughout this page, ranging from 'that's a good idea' to 'picture this' to 'branding your marketing and marketing your brand'. As graphic design is a wide, diverse, evolving field and perhaps a little mysterious to some, the intention is to give a quick, impactful and reasonably clear sense of what each section covers and what simon burdett creative can do for you in just a few carefully chosen words.

Signing offArtwork and build

Following the conceptual and design stages, projects will require some form of 'artworking' stage to reach completion. In the loosest sense, this may simply entail final careful checking of the design elements and text flow etc to ensure that potential graphic and technical errors are eliminated in the completed material. This is necessary for any project whether online or in print, but print projects also require the preparation of files that meet the technical specifications for print production.

imageI am highly experienced in working with technical issues such as colour specs, printer's marks and bleed and the production of flat cut guides for oversized artwork such as folder packs. Liaising with printers and other production specialists is also often advantageous in ensuring that the finished material is practically perfect.

While this page has described a number of advantageous ways in which we can work together in reasonable depth, it isn't practical to elaborate on every possibility here. Some jobs entail quite specific, unusual or unique requirements, requiring an especially adaptable approach that comes from truly creative thinking and broad design experience. I am very interested in constantly exploring new areas of creative service, mastering new disciplines and enjoying the satisfaction of adapting to new challenges. I thrive by working with clients and designers that share my passion and respect for the value of really good design. If you would like to discuss a project of a type illustrated here, or enquire about assistance in a slightly different area please feel free to email or call via the details below.