My last day at CTTC Design!

I am sure that many of you already know that today is my last day with CTTC Design, before beginning an exciting new role in 2017, (more on this soon).

When I left the UK for South Africa back in 2009, my brief was to help grow a fully operational design studio. It has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears and I have loved every single second of it! I am so proud that today, not only have we achieved our objective, but I strongly believe that we have a world class design team with some of Cape Towns best packaging experts and many incredible business partners!

After eight years of playing a role in the company’s incredible growth and six unforgettable years prior to that, at our UK partner 'Somerset Creative’, I am so honoured to have been part of this incredible journey and wanted to thank each and everyone of you, who has touched my life throughout this time!

Thank you!

Love and design... Do what you love and love what you do… Stay hungry and stay foolish...


Below is an abbreviated version of a speech that I gave at my leaving party:

I want to start by thanking everyone in the business. Some of us have been on this journey for a while now and others have recently joined. It’s a great business and this has been the longest position that I have ever held… There’s a reason for that.
Over the years we’ve become quite a family and that’s what I really want to speak about toady. Family....

I can still remember our first offices in Black River Park, just four of us. We would probably still be there now if it wasn’t for me covering the front of the offices with spray paint, whilst rushing to get mock-ups made for a presentation.

Well in some ways, we have moved on massively. We have large offices now and a warehouse. We have a strong team of many people, all professionals in our chosen fields. Which is good as none of us were that professional in the beginning. We should all remember, that each and every one of us here brings something unique to this organization. All of us! ALL OF US!

In other ways we are the same as we were back in those early days. I am still outside spraying boxes with paint and every now and then I get one of my Eureka moments. We still have our reassuring hugs from time to time and Tim (CEO) and I continue to make our maverick calls, reaching for the next big thing… and I’ve loved every minute of it. I am going to miss all of you greatly.

So, why leave your family? It’s a good question right! Why… And just for the record, we should all keep asking ourselves why. Always ask why!

Well for me, it’s because you need to keep moving… You need to keep pushing yourself forward. If it’s feeling too comfortable then maybe it’s time for you to push yourself harder. I am going to tell you one thing for sure. If you stay in comfort you will not grow. You will not succeed and you will not have a full life. We all have the ability to achieve. We should all give ourselves the opportunity to fail and to remember that it’s not failing… but its growth. Renowned designer Paula Scher says, you have to get bad, before you get good!

Furthermore, If you get too comfortable, you will get complacent and when you get complacent, your no longer moving forward. Make sure that every morning when you wake up, that you have a purpose to get up for, and go and be great at it! Never make it just about the money. Money is the lifeblood of every business, but it is not the reason or the purpose that we do it for. The reason needs to be bigger. It needs to be your passion and your purpose. If you have passion, the money usually follows anyway!

I recently listened to a presentation by John Maxwell. He simply says, EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE, THAT IS WORTHWHILE, IS UPHILL… Your relationship.. uphill… fitness… that’s uphill… and success, that’s also uphill.

So I say again, "Why leave your family"… Well I had to actually leave my blood family to come to South Africa and it wasn’t easy… Still isn’t now! I am not alone in this. Others here have done the same. We do it to push ourselves forward and if our family loves us then they will support us. And just look at the journey I have had. I now have a new family, or should I say families. Since moving here I now have a son, born in South Africa and I have all of you here today! If I hadn’t of got on that plane back in 2009, I would of never met any of you… Can you imagine that?

Never miss an opportunity and banish regret. Remember it’s better to regret the things that you have done than to regret the things that you have not done!

So this is why I am leaving you now… my business family…

It’s growth… purpose and I hope that you all understand my reasoning.

Most importantly… Remember:

Never be too big to make someone a cup of coffee.

Work your arse off and don’t be an arsehole!

Don’t shit on someone on the way up as they will do the same to you, when you are on the way down…

... and as my mum used to always say to me, its nice to be important but it’s a lot more important to be nice!

I really believe in all of those things.

So I want to wrap up with five simple words. I want to give them to you and I want you to think about them from time to time. When Steve Jobs spoke these five words, they resonated with me and have kept me on track. They are simply…

Stay hungry and stay foolish!

And that is all I want for each of us here today…

Stay hungry and stay foolish!



Taco Bell Logo Refresh

Many years ago, I travelled across the USA. It was an incredible experience that I will always cherish. Business has kept me traveling back and I have since designed branding and packaging for some of the countries largest retailers. One of my memories of my time traveling the US was the bright branding used by the many of fast food companies. Competition in the US was so much greater than that of the UK, where at the time I had travelled from. Now living in Cape Town many of the chains are starting to appear here. We recently saw the arrival of Dunk'in Donuts. I am not necessarily, someone that frequents fast food establishments, but the branding is of interest to me. I love how some are stooped in the history of 1950's America. I also love how they have subtly changed over the years. To read through some of my older posts, there are stories on the evolution of Burger King and Ihop.

Taco Bell is another of the brands that I did not got to see, growing up in the UK. Back in 2002, when I travelled extensively throughout so many of the countries states, Taco Bell, the brand and the concept was very new to me! In particular in LA, I was amazed by the rich Mexican food culture! The company was established in 1962 in California. Full company history here!

I can still distinctly remember seeing a blast from the past in the old brown and yellow, 1985 Taco Bell logo, still being used back in 2002. Reading through the design press, I was interested to see that Taco Bell was going through a subtle rebranding. One area of change that I really like is the new fonts used on the word-mark. See below for more news on this:

Brown and yellow Taco Bell Logo 1985-1994

Before and after - Left: How I remember the logo from my trip across US in 2002. Right: The 2016 redesign.

Below - From the Taco Bell company website, discussing new re brand.

Brand Evolution – 25 Years in the Making
While Taco Bell restaurants have seen continuous evolution, the logo has remained unchanged. In fact, the previous logo made its debut back in 1995.

In what the brand terms an “evolution, not revolution,” the new logo mirrors the new restaurant strategy: one size doesn’t fit all. In this modern take, color makes a splash and allows customization through patterns and textures, giving usage flexibility while maintaining its iconic framework.

Digital rollout of the logo refresh takes place today, while physical assets like restaurant design, packaging and impacted retail partners will roll out more gradually, depending on development and refresh timelines.

The refreshed logo was created is partnership with the leading creative consultancy Lippincott and Taco Bell’s internal design group, TBD.

Unveils Flagship Restaurant in Las Vegas, New Logo, and the Taco Bell Experience of the Future

Irvine, Calif. (November 14, 2016) – Taco Bell makes its debut on the Las Vegas Strip today, becoming the brand’s 7,000th restaurant and first flagship destination.

Alongside its opening, Taco Bell revealed its first logo refresh in over 20 years and follows the recent unveiling of new restaurant design concepts. These latest developments represent the brand’s evolution and growth plan to become a $15 billion brand by 2022 while adding 2,000 new restaurants globally and 100,000 new jobs in the U.S.

“If you’re going to throw a party to celebrate the growth and evolution of your brand, there’s no better place to hold it than Las Vegas,” said Taco Bell CMO, Marisa Thalberg. “This flagship restaurant is our ultimate expression of the Taco Bell brand, and lifestyle."

A Flagship Experience
Las Vegas becomes the fourth Taco Bell Cantina restaurant to open, following Wicker Park Chicago, SOMA San Francisco and Austin, and the first of its kind to offer 24-hour service. The flagship restaurant is centrally-located on the Las Vegas Strip on Harmon Corner, directly across from CityCenter and The Cosmopolitan Hotel.

The restaurant will offer a dining atmosphere fit for the lifestyle of the Vegas Strip, inclusive of experiences unique to Taco Bell Cantinas:

• Retail: The Taco Bell retail experience is the latest example of how the brand looks to create new cultural ground. For the first time, customers can now purchase exclusive Taco Bell merchandise and memorabilia in the restaurant. Selections include limited edition Las Vegas branded retail and newly designed brand merchandise, ranging from hats, shirts and bags to bikinis, rings and sweatshirts. Select branded merchandise will also be available online in Taco Bell’s Taco Shop.
• Freeze Wall: Eight Freeze drink taps line the back wall. Equipped with eight base flavors (Margarita, Cola, Pina Colada, Lemonade, Orange, Baja Blast, Cherry and Blue Raspberry), customers can add alcohol (Tequila, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey and Spiced Rum) and additional flavors for customized concoctions. Both Freezes and Twisted Freezes (those including alcohol) will be served in 16 or 32oz. souvenir cups.
• Technology: The flagship restaurant will feature digital menu boards and digital ques to monitor your order process, in addition to portable ordering tablets to reduce wait times. The 16 screens lining the interior wall will feature entertainment, live-stream video, sports and social media conversation.
• Transparency: An open kitchen design and food served in open-faced baskets gives customers a look inside Taco Bell’s quality ingredients.
• Shareables: Cantina restaurants feature a tapas-style menu of shareable appetizers – including nachos, quesadillas and chicken fingers, in addition to the full craveable and affordable Taco Bell Menu.
• Vegas Touches: Dedicated space for DJ entertainment, Wall of Taps, outdoor misters and heaters, community style seating, VIP lounges and unique custom artwork will also be featured. The two story building is faced with a wall of glass, an upstairs mezzanine and lounge overlooking the action and an outdoor patio right in the middle of it all on Harmon Corner and the Vegas Strip.


You can read original article from Taco Bell Site by clicking here.


Brand Masters Re-brand!

World renown branding agency Interbrand, have redesigned their famous word-mark, in-house. Moving the design into a clean but simple use of Helvetica, this supports their new look website. You can read more about interbrand below and can visit the site by clicking here.

More here:
Matthijs van Leeuwen project page
Johnny Trinh (website) project page

About Interbrand (from their website)
At Interbrand, we believe that growth is achieved when an organization has a clear strategy and delivers exceptional customer experiences. We do both, through a combination of strategy, creativity, and technology that helps drive growth for our clients’ brands and businesses. With a network of 24 offices in 19 countries, Interbrand is a global brand agency, and publisher of the highly influential annual Best Global Brands and Breakthrough Brands reports, and Webby Award-winning brandchannel. Interbrand is part of the Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC) network of agencies.


World Aids Day - Designing to End HIV

On world AIDS day, I thought that it would be a good oportunity to give a huge shout-out to the amazing work that Vince Frost and studio Frost Collective are doing with ACON, to end HIV by 2020 in Australia. I love big ideas and they don't come much bigger than this. Please support the fantastic work that they are doing. Click here to read more at the Frost Collective Website. More here!

Image: Frost Collective

Image: Frost Collective


37 Great New Designers from Adobe Design Achievement Awards 2016

For the past five years I have had the great pleasure of being selected as a mentor for the ico-D and Adobe design Achievement Awards. This year however, I had the added bonus of also being chosen as a pre selection judge! I really enjoy what the awards stand for and it always feels so good to be able to support young design talent!

Below are some of the fantastic young/student designers that I discovered, whilst judging the awards. There's some amazing talent here! If your hiring new creatives I would certainly urge you to view some of these talented young design stars of tomorrow and please support the ADAA!


Design for Woolworth Longmarket Soap Shop

A recent project that I had the great pleasure to work on with the brilliant Woolworths beauty team is getting some positive attention at the Woolworths Instagram page. This is the new oval tin that we have just introduced with a flat lid base, for the Longmarket Soap Shops


Lukie's Farmhouse

Lukie’s Farmhouse / The Story
I can clearly remember the first time that I ever tried authentic west country cider with strong cheddar cheese. I was with my father and it was from a place that he called Lukie’s, in the mendip region. On a recent trip back to the UK (I currently live in Cape Town), I could clearly see that Lukie’s no longer existed… that’s even if it was called Lukie’s in the first place as my dad seems remembers it as Luke’s, without the ‘i’.

A Link Back To My Past
To conceive an idea for a range of food packaging and to breathe life back into the Lukie’s name as a brand, seemed like a great concept for a project and a lovely link back to my own personal past, being brought up close to the area in Bristol. My addition of the word Farmhouse helps to reinforce the ranges tone. A working title was also Homemade, but ultimately, I felt that Farmhouse just felt right for the range and worked so well visually in Bodoni, contained between two lines, with the Lukie’s word mark set in Capitolina above.

The Design of the Range
I entered into this self set brief really focusing on what the memory of Lukies really meant to me and what considerations I would make for the design if it was still around today. I wanted to use modern technologies with printing and packaging, yet being sympathetic of the company’s heritage through it's design.

The Identity System
The Lukie’s range needed to have a beautiful shelf appearance with large photographic elements and clear typography to navigate the consumer to each of the products. To accommodate the large and diverse product range including meat, dairy and beverages, I strived to create a clear visual identity system, using three distinct design elements that come together. Starting with a large image to either set the tone or as a secondary ingredient element, then the typography device backed with a colour tint for clarity and finally the image of the core ingredient or item.

Pre Press and Production
My vision of a large product range but in small batches seemed like a perfect candidate for production using digital printing, ideal for low runs in CMYK with no set up costs.


David Carson - All For a Few Good Waves

David Carson is arguably one of the worlds most recognised graphic designers. his experimental, deconstructed typographic style is a fusion of the commercial and the expressive, graphic design and art.

From 1982 to 1987, Carson worked as a teacher and also at that time was also a professional surfer, reaching 9th in the world ranking. Carson himself often attributes his recognisable style to discovering graphic design and never being taught it. Without knowing any of the rules has allowed him the freedom to not be confined by convention. To read more on Carson click link to visit his website: David Carson Design.

I also love his humour filed, motivating TED presentation. Click here to view.

Quotes by David Carson:

“Graphic design will save the world right after rock and roll does.”

“I’ve never had a problem with a dumb client. There is no such thing as a bad client. Part of our job is to do good work and get the client to accept it.”


All For a Few Good Waves is a short, beautifully shot documentary that presents an interesting insight into the reclusive side of the designers life, almost at odds with him being one of the worlds most renown graphic designers. We get to witness his love of surfing and some of his unconventional working practices.

Below is a short write up from the films creators, Dress Code:

David Carson is arguably the world’s most well known graphic designer. All For a Few Good Waves is a short documentary portrait offering a raw glimpse into the life and work of David, an uncompromising genius, who refuses to be anyone but himself.

After a career as a top ranked pro surfer and high school sociology teacher, he rose to prominence in the 90’s after art directing Transworld, Beach Culture and Ray Gun Magazines before going on to start his studio. With no formal design training, Carson took the design world by storm, upending conventions and breaking traditional rules he didn’t even know existed.



Starring: David Carson + Ola Carson

Produced and Directed by: Dress Code (
Executive Producers: Dan Covert + Andre Andreev
Producer: Tara Rose Stromberg
Cinematography + Sound Record: Andre Andreev
Edit + Color: Mike Cook
Assistant Camera: Mercy Lomelin
Production Cordinator: Rose Glaeser
End Titles: Mike Cook + Mercy Lomelin

Music + Sound Design: YouTooCanWoo

Shot on Location in Tortola, BVI over a couple years on:
A Red Epic, a GoPro Hero 3, and a Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera


Quantas Brand Update

Australia’s largest airline has introduced a new logo and livery, designed in partnership with Quantas consultant Marc Newson and Australian branding agency Houston group.

In a press release, Quantas write:

The change is only the fifth time the red-and-white image on the tail of Qantas aircraft has been updated since it was first introduced in 1944. The last update was in 2007 to coincide with the introduction of the Airbus A380 to the national carrier’s fleet.

Marc Newson, who has helped design Qantas’ lounges, the A380 cabin and the iconic Skybed, said:

“Aircraft tails are fantastic canvas to work on and the Qantas logo is one of the most recognisable in the world. This re-design aims to retain the fundamental essence of the flying kangaroo but also move the brand forward.

“This new brand is more streamlined and the shading behind the kangaroo gives a better sense of movement and depth.


On the Houston Group Project Page:

The key opportunity for us was in contemporising the ‘roo. Making it more streamlined, and simplifying the shape. It’s evolved beyond a literal kangaroo - it’s become a unique brand symbol. We spent just as long handcrafting the Qantas logotype. We focussed on making it more streamlined, as if air is pushing across the top.



The History of the Shell Logo

This is the history of one of the worlds most recognised brands.

For more than 100 years the Shell pecten emblem and distinctive red and yellow colours have visualised the Shell brand and promoted the company's products and services all over the world.

The Shell logo has changed considerably since it's inception in 1900, yet you can still apreciate it's iconic form, whether viewing the original logo or in its current form.

I always remember Michael Wolff recounting his work on a redesign of the Shell logo, whilst running his agency, Wolff Olins. Wolff chose to simply warm up the colours. As he says, sometimes its what you don't change, that can be as important as what you do. That couldn't be more true than with the the iconic symbol of the red and yellow shell icon.

I stumbled across this brief history of the brand on the company website and thought it was well worth a read.

The word Shell first appeared in 1891, as the trademark for kerosene shipped to the Far East by Marcus Samuel and Company. This small London business dealt originally in antiques, curios and oriental seashells. These became so popular – the Victorians used them to decorate trinket boxes in particular – that soon they formed the basis of the company’s profitable import and export trade with the Far East.

The word was elevated to corporate status in 1897, when Samuel formed the Shell Transport and Trading Company. The first logo in 1901 was a mussel shell, but by 1904 a scallop shell or pecten emblem had been introduced to give a visual representation of the corporate and brand name.

When the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Shell Transport and Trading merged in 1907, the latter’s brand name and symbol (Shell and the pecten) became the short-form name and emblem of the new Royal Dutch Shell Group. And so it has remained ever since.

The form of the Shell emblem has changed gradually over the years in line with trends in graphic design. The current emblem was introduced in 1971. Thirty years on it stands the test of time as one of the world’s most recognised symbols.


Origin of the Red Bull Brand

I will always remember my first trip to Thailand! It was one of those life affirming moments, a sensory overload of experience and learning!!! Travelling has been a great way for me to experience other brands and how consumers interact with them on a daily basis. Brands that I have never seen before visiting that country. Brands that are like the ones I grew up with but different! I love it. 

One of the most confusing for me was seeing what look liked the Red Bull brand, but when I tasted the product, it wasn't fizzy and was a lot thicker and more like a syrup. It seemed stronger in it's effects and they were sellking T shirts everywhere with the two bull branding on. It looked like the brand, but the product was different. Over the years, I read more and started to understand why this was. The following excerpt explains why this was!

I found this excerpt from global design agency, JKR's book 'Champions of Design 4', and it's a really interesting read, especially if like me, you were once confused why it tasted so differently in Thailand! The article was also featured on David Ariey's blog 'Logo Design Love.'

JKR's Champions of Design series, examines the history of some of the worlds most recognised brands. In this particular article, they feature the history and success of Red Bull. It's an absolutely fascinating story! Enjoy!

Under the leadership of Austrian brand owner Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull’s epic forays into art, racing, flying and even space have made the brand a global phenomenon. In terms of experience and communication, Mateschitz’s company added incalculable value to the brand. Where they didn’t add value was the design of the original Thai energy drink. And that of course, is what has added value. Sometimes, knowing when not to meddle with the magic is the thing that makes the magic itself.

In the 1970s, Red Bull was being marketed at farmers, construction workers and truck drivers in Thailand. Krating Daeng (‘Red Bull’ in Thai) was a populist drink for the working man: one that allowed you to overcome fatigue, pull a double shift, or drive all night.

It formed a long-standing association with Muay Thai (Thai kick boxing), which gave it popularity and street cred. With a potent mix of sugar, caffeine and taurine all packed up in a small medicinal brown glass bottle with a bright, colourful label, Red Bull became something of a success amongst its working-class consumer base.

It started with a humdrum business trip to Thailand for Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz. He stumbled across the drink and apparently discovered that it ‘cured’ his jet lag. In partnership with Thai inventor Chaleo Yoovidhya they launched a version of the Thai drink slightly modified to suit European tastes. The rest, as they say, is history.

Red Bull’s evolution from quirky local drink to global mega-brand is a master-class in how to execute a brilliantly joined-up communications idea across big-idea events. But it’s also a lesson in the value of restraint and sensitivity. When Mateschitz decided to launch ‘Krating Daeng’ in Austria, he was careful to retain the iconography of the brand, leaving its charging bulls virtually untouched. He recognised, perhaps, that a sense of the ‘foreign’, the exotic, the quirky and the doubtless potent would be positive associations for a new energy drink brand.

Design icons aren’t built overnight, and knowing when not to change them is a valuable skill. So now the world is richer for having two Red Bull brands that are of course, same same but different.

Did you know?

Thanks to Red Bull, its co-owner, Dietrich Mateschitz is the richest man in Austria.

Red Bull owns four football teams (based in Leipzig, Salzburg, New York and Campinas in Brazil) and two F1 outfits. Its F1 operation is said to cost the company half a billion dollars annually.

Red Bull racing hold the record for the fastest ever pit stop, timed at 1.923 seconds at the Austin GP in 2013.

As well as its famous extreme sport sponsorship, the company also promotes a paper airplane tournament called Red Bull Paper Wings.


Edible Drone - The Future of Aid Delivery

This incredible invention from Windhorse Aerospace could see a revolution in the way the world delivers aid to those effected by natural disasters.

The Windhorse website writes:

"For the first time ever, aid will be delivered accurately to those in desperate need with this use of a revolutionary and unique Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV).

There were over 125 natural disasters last year, add this to areas of conflict and the number of people starving as a result gets to breath taking levels.

Access to the people affected can be restricted due to the loss of infrastructure and many other dangers. Also, traditional methods of deploying aid can be ineffective, inaccurate or just impossible to use.

Windhorse has developed a specialist UAV called POUNCER™ that will be loaded with appropriate food, transported to the disaster area and fly independently to its pre-planned destination and land accurately into the selected landing zone, avoiding all infrastructure problems, corruption or hostile groups while saving time, money and more importantly lives.

POUNCER™'s pre-formed shell can be reused to provide shelter, the frame can be burnt safely to cook food, and the payload, which is food and water, provides life saving nutrition."

For more information on this amazing innovation you can  click here to download the factsheet.

You can view a short film about the Pouncer by Windhorse Aerospace by clicking here.

You can read more about the Pouncer by visiting the Windhorse Aerospace website by clicking here.


10 Ways To Be More Creative

Ever wondered how to improve your creativity and stay inspired? Why some designers have been a lot more successful than others? Well read on...

I recently wrote a post for the design life, which also featured here, titled, "The Most Important Word You Use Is Why!" The post was inspired by an incredibly motivating Design Indaba presentation by Sir John Hegarty, that I was lucky enough to attend back in 2013. Just the other day, I was reading through the design press and I stumbled upon a fantastic article at The Drum by Ishbel Macleod. The feature was based on Sir John Hegarty's 2014 book, 'Hegarty on Creativity' and lists his top 10 ways to be more creative. Check out number 8... 'Ask Why? A lot!' I have re blogged the list below as it makes for super reading:

1 Be fearless - be single minded in the face of opposition

2 Keep it simple - don't try to say or do too many things at once

3 Stop thinking, start feeling -creativity is driven by the heart, we respond more to emotions than logic

4 Get angry - channel the things that annoy/upset you into more creative tasks rather than getting stressed

5 Juxtaposition - don't be afraid to place two things next to one another that wouldn't normally sit together - even in your head

6 When the world zigs, zag - look in the opposite direction to everyone else

7 Avoid cynics - they drain your confidence - see number one

8 Ask Why? a lot - question everything like a child

9 Philosophy - always be looking, thinking, watching. Absorb everything around you

10 Remove your headphones! - don't cut yourself off from your environment.

You can read the whole article at The Drum by clicking here.

'Hegarty on Creativity' is Printed by Thames & Hudson Ltd and you can buy it here

Maclean writes that the book, "looks to guide readers through the process of creativity, from choosing your best ideas to dealing with fame when your product becomes successful."