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News from Elevation Creative Studios

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Repairing a broken logo

Sometimes it just slaps you in the face.

An idea for how a design could be improved is so obvious, you wonder why someone hasn’t done it already. Just a few simple tweaks might be all is needed to take a flawed company logo and make it better.

An example is the company logo we were given to work with by our new client Multidata Broadband

The logo had a nice clean, modern feel - suiting the high-tech Broadband, Telecoms & Networks provider - and it would work perfectly well in the literature and website we were designing for them. But we felt there was something not quite right with the identity.

Old Multidata Logo

The logo had a rounded rectangle surrounding the M of Multidata, which appeared to be broken, letting what might represent ‘Bubbles of Data’ escape through the chink.

It struck us that the company was supplying data to it’s customers down a broadband pipe, and by simply reflecting the Bubbles to appear underneath the logo, we could transform the ‘M’ into a ‘pipeline’ delivering the ‘Data Bubbles’ safely to the end user.

Refreshed Multidata logo design

We improved this further by horizontally reflecting the M to give the bubbles some forward momentum, and strengthening the colours used in the logo.

Just a few simple tweaks here and there, simple changes and adjustments… and Voila!! A fully repaired and refreshed logo.

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A Company Brochure in 72 hours

We thrive when a client sets us a challenge. This happened most recently when a new customer, Marlborough-based Environmental Pumping Solutions set us a brief.

The good news was that they wanted us to design their new 12-page company brochure. The bad news was that they needed it by Wednesday. Today was Monday lunchtime.

72 hours to design a 12-page brochure from a standing start? Not easy.

No matter. We’ve overcome greater challenges than these. Three days later (plus two very late nights), we sent the client the finished brochure as a PDF ready to present on-screen at their meeting.

Peter Wright, MD of Environmental Pumping said: “The difference between good and great is in the detail and Sam quickly understood the detail. Where changes were needed they were understood and delivered to create a professional but personal brochure that stayed true to our values. We would be happy to recommend Sam to anyone (except our competition).”

If you have a tight design deadline or need a brochure in a hurry, give Elevation a call on 01793 745400 and we will prove we are up for the challenge.

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Could you be a bit like Alan Sugar?

Another strange request from our local school. “We’d like you to come in and be a bit gruff with the kids. Set them a project, but be a little bit scary at the same time. Think… Alan Sugar.”

Red Oaks Rough Guide To Great BritainNow, that’s not my usual style, but that is how I found myself making mean faces in front of four classes of school children, briefing them on that term’s project. They were to research and write the content for a Rough Guide to Great Britain, which I would design and produce as a finished booklet. I would be the ‘Editor’ and they would be my ‘Reporters’.

Throughout the term the classes received my emailed instructions and were set assignments for the project. Some children were given Scotland as a topic, whilst others researched Wales or South West England. They went on trips to London, walked the length of the Severn Bridge and spent a day at the seaside. They tasted haggis, scones and Welsh cakes. They learnt how to ride a surfboard and designed their own flags.

The work was superb. I received a CD full of drawings, articles and photographs all produced by the children. There were instructions on how to make Welsh Rarebit; designs for their own tartan; poems about Buckingham Palace. Lovely stuff.

I selected the most interesting pieces (a difficult task as there was so much to choose from) and quickly filled all eight pages of the travel guide. With just hours to spare I sent the booklet to the printers.

This week I was welcomed back in to the school to present the booklets to my little apprentices. One by one, in front of a sea of smiling faces, they came up to the stage, shook my hand and received a copy to take home.

But this time I tried to be just a little bit less scary.


UPDATE: To see full details of the school project and a PDF of the finished booklet CLICK HERE

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‘Have you painted a map on a field?’

 

Photo courtesy of redhousephotography.co.uk

It’s not a question you get asked everyday, but this is how a recent phone call from the headteacher of our local school began: ‘Have you ever painted a map on to a school field?’

Has anybody? Why would anyone want to? She explained that the school’s topic for the coming term was to be Great Britain and the school had come up with an idea of painting a map of the UK on to the school field. The children would make artwork of British landmarks – Big Ben, Stonehenge etc – to place within the map and learn about it’s geography.

‘How big?’ I asked. ‘Bigger than a football pitch’ she replied. ‘How accurate?’ I asked. ‘We’re taking a photograph of the map from above’ she replied. Oh, pretty accurate then. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea how to do this.

But I’m happy to help the school whenever I can. My kids both go there. My wife heads up the ‘Friends of the school’ parent’s group. I felt I should do my bit. But this wouldn’t be easy.

My first idea was a non-starter. I naively thought that I could sit atop a large ladder in the field and direct other people below where they should be painting. Stupid.

But then I remembered the old enlargement technique we used at college of placing a grid over a small design and transferring the image within each square to a larger grid. So by pegging out a grid on to the school field, I might be able to transfer each section of the map piece by piece.

But how many pegs and how much string would it take to grid out the whole field? More importantly, how long would pegging it all out take? Surely there must be a shortcut.

That’s when my wife called me an idiot. ‘Why are you pegging out the WHOLE field?’ she asked. ‘All you need is to make a small grid which you can paint inside and then move along and use again and again… idiot.’

So I went for a shopping trip. 24 meters of Copper Tubing; 8x Copper Connectors; 10x reels of Orange Nylon Twine. I would make a square frame with the copper tubing and thread a grid within it letting me paint a 6m square area of the map at a time.

On the day, we were very lucky to have warm sunny weather and even luckier to have helpers from the school – school teaching assistants Mark and Bill – available to lend a hand. It went down very quickly. Starting at Lands End, we painted the whole of the south coast in yellow in no time at all. I sprayed the paint while Bill and Mark moved the copper grid. Scotland and the Outer Hebrides was trickier – using white paint this time the intricacies of the small islands making it quite complicated. After a break with a cup of tea and a penguin biscuit in the staff room, we finished up by painting the borders of Wales in blue.

However, the best was yet to come. Last week, in glorious sunshine, we were invited back to watch while all 480 pupils marched around our painted coastline for a series of aerial photographs. Ian from Red House Photographytook some great shots of the kids waving and jumping and mexican-waving around the outside of our map and surprisingly, the result is a fairly clear and in proportion image of Great Britain.

It’s not something I’d want to tackle again in a hurry, but it shows the kinds of lengths we will go to to satisfy a client’s request. For more information about how Elevation can think outside the box, see the Elevation website or call 01793 745400.

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To blog or not to blog. That is the question.

Does the world need yet another design agency spouting off about their latest commission / award / groundbreaking design? Is anyone interested in the latest design trends / social media theories / digital marketing strategies? No? I didn’t think so.

Having said that, we have decided to dip our collective toes into murky bloggy waters for the very first time, testing whether we have anything worthwhile to say and more importantly, an audience interested in reading it.

We’re not Ernest Hemingway. Not Kingsley Amis. We’re not even JK Rowling. We’re just a small Swindon-based graphic design company hoping to detail a (fairly) honest account of the kinds of projects we find ourselves getting wrapped up in. If all goes well, we might even move this blog permanently within our new website.

Let us know what you think! We are blogging virgins and will appreciate any feedback we receive.

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New look for Thamesdown website

Swindon bus company Thamesdown Transport has launched a brand new easier-to use website at www.thamesdown-transport.co.uk designed by the web team here at Elevation in partnership with SwindonWeb.

Thamesdown Transport Website

Thamesdown’s new website, which went live this month, includes interactive maps showing bus routes. Customers can also check, from the comfort of their own homes or from the office, the estimated departure time for buses at all stops, by following a few simple steps on the website.

“Our website re-design project has been a key part of our plan to be as transparent and accessible as possible to our customers,” comments Paul Jenkins, Managing Director of Thamesdown. “We also want to make it easier for people in and around Swindon who do not usually use the bus to find out what services we offer and when they operate. The website will help you plan your route, even if this means changing buses. Customers can also find out about the range of discount passes we offer to help them get the best value by travelling with us.”

Thamesdown Transport is a signatory to the Swindon Business Charter and has used local suppliers to update its website. Elevation Creative Studios was responsible for the new design and SwindonWeb developed the coding for the site.

“Our design for the new Thamesdown website was a logical extension of the house style we have established for the company over the last two years,” said Sam Allen, Managing Director of Elevation Creative Studios. “The look and feel of the new site is now in keeping with the Thamesdown brand and will be familiar to regular bus users and will make it quick and simple for visitors to find the travel information they are looking for.”

Phil Poulton, Managing Director of SwindonWeb added: “SwindonWeb was delighted to be involved in this project to develop Thamesdown Transport’s website, which utilises the latest top-of-the-range technology and content management systems. Looking to the future, we now have the right platform to develop the sort of features which customers want today, such as new mobile internet applications.”

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All ‘GO’ for websites at Elevation

Elevation has recently completed a major website design project for new gift experience company, Go Vouchers, at www.govouchers.co.uk. The company, which is part of the ‘Go’ brand and its well-known ‘Go Ballooning’ arm, sells vouchers for a wide range of experience gifts and activities, such as spa sessions, balloon flights, water sports and driving days.

Website Screenshots

“It was great fun working with such a dynamic new company,” said Sam Allen. “The challenge was to create an exciting brand and a striking website that makes it simple for people to choose from a wide range of experience gifts. I think we’ve achieved that with the new website, which is as easy to use as it is on the eye.”

Go Vouchers chose Elevation to work on the project following the team’s successful website redesign for partner company PSH Skypower, at www.skypower.co.uk. The project also saw the team creating stationery, company vehicle fleet branding, gift voucher designs, and a ‘put me in your pocket’ voucher gift box.

Go Vouchers is just one of a number of websites created by Elevation this year. Others includewww.aztecfacilities.com for a facilities management company, www.bondline.co.uk for a static control product supplier, www.ecotrak.co.uk for a vehicle-tracking specialist, and a community portal atwww.highworth.co.uk.

To find out more about Go Vouchers, call 0845 481 0880 or visit www.govouchers.co.uk. For more information on Elevation’s website design services, call Sam on 01793 745400.