Sometimes when you’re developing a creative for a campaign, the stars align in terms of subject matter, objectives and, in the case of one of our latest projects at least, the time of year.
All communications professionals can all agree on one thing – a marketing campaign needs to provoke an emotional response.
Shitposting masterclass or just a plain shitshow? That’s the question that everyone is asking after the design horror show in the government Covid-19 public health campaign. And it’s not only communications professionals.
As DTW marks its 30th year in business there’s a significantly bigger birthday going on over our garden wall. Our neighbour Gisborough Priory is celebrating 900 years.
Gisborough Priory is an English Heritage site which is run by a dedicated group of volunteers who catalogue, restore and host events on this historic site. To launch its 900th year, DTW joined forces to help produce a timeline, which is displayed in the visitor centre, detailing the many events the priory has endured through its turbulent lifetime.
We were happy to give our services free of charge as it’s important to look out for your elderly neighbours.
If you want to know more check out the work of the Gisborough Priory Project– they do a great job.
PS – the spelling pedants amongst you (we know who you are and we salute you – you are amongst friends here!) might think we have a challenge spelling our home town.
But don’t worry, it’s OK.
Guisborough is the correct spelling for the place and for our address, but very confusingly Gisborough is the correct spelling for the Priory (and the nearby Gisborough Hall Hotel).
Don’t you love the English language!
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How to be your designer’s best friend
Have you ever been bamboozled by a request for logos in a particular format or struggled to work out why that 5KB version copied from a word document can’t be made the size of the Empire State Building?
Then read on. We’ve created a simple starter guide to make your life a lot easier.
Your company logo probably exists in a whole range of formats.
The different formats can be identified by their extension, e.g. logo.jpg or logo.eps etc. But why are there so many formats? And which one should you use for different things?
The most common/useful formats and their best uses are:
These large files are the holy grail to a designer. An EPS file (known as a vector file) can be scaled to any size without losing clarity. They are perfect for print work and, as they are often the master file can be saved into other formats.
These are usually developed for web work, but these vector files will always be crisp and clear at whatever size they’re used. The small file size makes this format a good all-rounder.
You’ll recognise pdfs as being more often used as downloadable documents, but they can be used to provide a logo, as long as the logo was a vector file (not JPEG or PNG). As Acrobat Reader is free to download it is an increasingly common and accessible file format.
This file format has different qualities like low, medium and high. Usually used to store photographs, image posts on social media, emails and websites. This format is great for digital work – although it doesn’t support a transparent background – low resolution (72dpi and small in dimensions) is not recommended for print work.
This has all the features of a JPEG file but supports a transparent background, which means no more unwanted white patches around your logo. This format is ideal for PowerPoint presentations and Word documents. Again, low resolution (72dpi and small in dimensions) is not recommended for print work.
Does it really matter? The answer is yes if you want to put your best foot forward. You can see from the different versions of the DTW logo included here what a difference it makes.
Best logo file for digital purposes – PNG files
Best logo file for print purposes –EPS files
And finally, three top tips to remember.
- Changing the extension manually on a file (e.g. from a .jpg to a .eps) sadly does not alter the type of file – if only!
- On behalf of our design team, please don’t send your company logo embedded in a word or excel document!
- If you haven’t got or can’t find the right format, try your marketing or design team – whether they are in-house or outsourced – they will (or they should!) know exactly what you are talking about and be happy to help.
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Animation is an important and increasingly affordable option for communicators and influencers. At its heart, good PR and communications is about engaging people with simple narratives or, if you prefer, telling great stories and keeping it simple. Plus, what’s not to like about cartoons.
Good animations can engage with your target audience, drive behaviour change, challenge preconceptions and educate and inform. In our always switched-on and highly visual world, animation can be thumb-stopping, attention-grabbing and shareable. It also offers several advantages over traditional video.
It can give context to difficult, abstract concepts
It allows you to explain difficult or abstract concepts in a way that no video or press release can, no matter how complex or sensitive the subject matter. Animation can show anything – from the atomic structure of hydrogen to the scale of the universe – in an engaging and memorable way.
It can be more flexible and creative than video
There are many situations that are too difficult, expensive, dangerous, or just downright impossible to capture with video. That’s where animation can be invaluable, allowing you to stretch time-scales or show large projects with ease. You can make it snow in the middle of summer, don’t have to worry about actors’ schedules, and don’t have to cram everything into the tiny allowance of daylight we get in winter.
The characters are totally under your control
What happens if that person in the background of your lovely new video didn’t sign a release form or the star interviewee is later found to have embezzled the company’s profits and run off to Guatemala? Unlike human ‘stars’, animated characters can be moulded to suit the message/audience, don’t demand a fee for any re-shoots and can be called back at any time for updates and amends. They also rarely embezzle or bring the company into disrepute at a later date…
So, if that sounds good but you’re worried because you’ve never commissioned an animation before? Don’t be. Here’s six starter tips to set you on your way.
1. Get your ‘why’ right
The fundamentals of good animation are the same as with any piece of comms work – focus on your objectives, understand your audience and get your head round your key messages.
As usual, you can save a lot of time, money and heartache further down the line by getting the brief right at the start and making sure the creative team understand your why.
2. Make sure you share your message in a style and tone tailored to your audience
From clean, flat graphics to sketchy, hand-drawn styles, there’s an animation style to suit every audience and budget. Don’t worry about knowing the technical terms – choose something that works for you and, if you’re not sure how to describe your preferred style, use a mood board or examples so your animator knows what you want. Describing visual animation effects linguistically is a challenge – you’ll probably end up using terms like ‘whoosh’ and waving your arms around a lot. This is perfectly normal and only embarrassing if you knock your animator’s coffee over.
3. Re-use your assets to develop your brand identity
The assets (characters, slogans, concepts and style) you create for your animation can be used across different media, allowing you to get more bang for your buck whilst maintaining a consistent and coherent visual identity.
4. Think about future-proofing
Animated content can be updated and amended comparatively easily (especially compared to video), but if you can save yourself some hassle at the start, then build this in. In an ever-changing world, content needs to be kept up-to-date. It’s worth bearing in mind that if you have a voice-over, changes to this will need to be factored in and this may have a knock-on effect with timing in your animation. If a voice-over is a must, make sure your script is final or record several variants at the same time.
5. Understand the process
You don’t just ‘create an animation’. You need buy-in and approvals for a visual style, a storyboard, and a script before you start bringing it to life. Changes are much easier (and cheaper) to do at the early, story-boarding stage before the actual animating is done.
6. Testing testing 1,2,3
If you’re engaging with a sensitive audience group or about a difficult topic, get feedback and input from audience representatives before you go public. A minor change in how something or someone is represented can make a big difference.
This little sample might give you an idea for some styles and approaches that work for you – have fun!
*** Don’t forget to turn up your sound when watching! ***
We have really enjoyed working with you in 2015 and look forward to catching up with you again in 2016.
Thankyou for helping us do what we love. Have a fantastic Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.
We’re a multi-talented bunch here at DTW and we’ve had great fun creating illustrations for, and animating, our advert for the Law Society’s ‘Use a professional. Use a solicitor’ campaign.
The advert, which launched on ITV Player in March 2015, highlights how wills are not just for old people – everyone should have one!
(Turn up your sound)
We wanted to capture the attention of all of those people who don’t yet have a will, or whose circumstances have now changed making their will invalid, and highlight the importance of making a will and using a professional solicitor.
We created an engaging and thought-provoking animation that promoted wills to a younger audience in a fun, creative and eye catching way. By combining clean line drawings with injections of colour and using cute animated characters, we created a stunningly simple but highly emotive advert that resonates with a younger, as well as older, audience.
The 30-second advert was part of a larger campaign DTW worked on for the Law Society as part of its Consumer Campaign. Integrating PR, social media, video, online advertising, out of home advertising and ITV player advertising, 2015 marked the second phase of DTW’s work on this national campaign, pointing consumers to the Find a Solicitor website to search over 140,000 legal professionals to find the best solicitor to suit their needs.
*** Don’t forget to turn up your sound when watching! ***
When working in the world of film there is one strict rule of thumb – don’t work with children and animals. In the spirit of DTW we thought we would challenge it, get ten children, two dogs and a pretend horse to re-create Christmas for our video greetings.
A very early morning start saw props, staff and toys for all girls and boys loaded up and carefully and decanted into one of the director’s houses. As if by DTW magic, a converted church and outdoor woodshed that doubled up as a perfect grotto, were dressed and filled with fun and mayhem.
The script was carefully recorded and, amongst the very crazy chaos, perfect gems of elvish monkey business were captured. Much to the DTW team’s surprise, there were no diva fits, tantrums or doggy mishaps. Although the children were quite bemused as to why members of staff were enrolled on the mock naughty and nice list.
The children’s camera elfie – selfie photography was outstanding – obviously their parent’s artistic nature has rubbed off onto said offspring.
The elves did a sterling job; they were extremely happy, full of chocolates from retakes and covered in glitter.
The smaller members found the wrapped presents with no contents very misleading, so took it upon themselves to rewrite the naughty and nice list, as team DTW have of course, been absolutely amazing this year!
Its’ important not to become entrenched in what we think, we should do, as designers and artists, it’s important to listen to other disciplines. This can only enhance what we do as agencies. The Design Museum is a fantastic example, lines are blurred, boundaries are broken and this place brings all walks of life together.
Times like this reminded me of the importance of leaving the bread and butter for a day, and how important in an ever-changing design landscape, it is to renew our ideas and thinking and to lead in our field.
I travelled through the life and work of Louis Khan, a revolutionary architect of our time. There was such a strong bond between his work and the work I had been presented last month by Suzhou and Wuxi University from China.
Daniel Weil is a partner in the international art group Pentagram. Like myself he questions and shakes those boundaries. I simply loved the personal approach of raw sketchbooks. It is an intimate journey as you see more than a sketch – from beginning to end you see someones outpourings of expression and critical design thinking.
He draws on personal exploration whether that is exploration, travel, parenting, sport or fashion. Showing his relationship between personal aspirations and clients aspirations are fused.
Hairs stand on my neck as he quotes,
“My design doesn’t compromise the opportunity to invent, it gives you the sense that everything is connected.”
This man sings from my song sheet, this is my ethos too. As designer, artist or visual thinker we must make connections. It could be through the context of social media, a visual conversation or collaboration.