Monthly Archives: December 2016

8 great logos for 21st century

Thanks to the brilliance of modern branding and logo design, most companies today seem like creations of the modern world, despite almost all of them being rooted in the 20th century. (Some, like Coca-Cola, are even older). In fact, very few brands launched in the current century have yet become truly global concerns.

That will change over time, of course, as young upstarts grow and take the place of older rivals. But right now, companies founded during years that start with a ‘19’ continue to rule the roost.

There are exceptions, however, and not surprisingly they all come from the fast-moving tech world. In this post we pay tribute to some of the movers and shakers who’ve stirred things up in the 2000s and 2010s, and the branding that’s helped them establish that dominance.

01. Firefox

Literal logo Firefox has stood the test of time

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there were two rival browsers dominating the web: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape. The former eventually eclipsed the latter, but out of Netscape’s ashes came a new browser, based on the same code, and created as part of an open source project.

The logo for what became Firefox 0.8, launched in 2004, was a concept from Daniel Burka, that was sketched by Stephen Desroches and then rendered by Jon Hicks using Fireworks MX; you can read more about how it was created here. The strikingly literal logo has been tweaked and updated many times since, and yet its basic essence remains: a true modern classic.

02. Chrome

Chrome’s logo has moved from skeuomorphic to simple and flat

If the early years of the century saw tech observers fretting over the dominance of Internet Explorer, the ensuing years put their minds firmly at rest. Following the success of Firefox, in 2008 Google launched its own browser too, Chrome, and it wasn’t a bad move at all: by November this year StatCounter estimated it had a 51 per cent share across all web platforms.

Created by illustrator Michael Lopez and front-end tech lead Ben Goodger, amongst others, the Chrome logo tied in nicely with the company’s overall look, extracting the red, green, yellow and blue colours from the letters of the main Google logo. The original design had a glossy, 3D skeuomorphic look, but was given a simplified, flat makeover in 2011 that has pretty much stuck to this day.

03. Facebook

Facebook’s logo is instantly recognisable, everywhere

It’s hard to remember a time when social media meant Friendster and MySpace. But it was only in 2004 that Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook onto the students of Harvard University, eventually infecting the entire globe with its schema of pokes, shares, likes and status updates.

Designed by Cuban Council in 2006 in collaboration with Joe Kral and Peter Markatos. the Facebook logo has become one of the most recognised symbols in the world today. Largely unchanged since then, it features a slightly modified form of the Klavika Bold typeface.

This 2015 version of the wordmark was designed in collaboration by Facebook’s in-house design team and Eric Olson of Process Type Foundry.

04. Twitter

The Twitter bird represents everything from the freedom to speak your mind to freedom from tyranny

While Facebook has become one of the world’s most profitable companies, its real-time rival Twitter is still trying to work out how to monetise. But the microblogging service, created in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, has nonetheless made a huge impact on the world, from the Arab Spring uprisings to the success of Donald Trump.

As such, the Twitter logo has remained constant, and the brand is determined that it remain so. “The Twitter logo is a powerful symbol for what’s happening in the world now, and the power of the voices and unique conversations that happen on the platform everyday,” they point out, in urging people to stick to its strict brand guidelines.

The original wordmark for Twitter was created by graphic designer Linda Gavin, who was given just one day to develop a new logo in time for its official launch on July 15 2006. The third Twitter redesign, created by in-house designer Douglas Bowman and released on June 5 2012, saw the introduction of the famous bird icon. You can learn more about Twitter’s logo evolution here.

05. Netflix

There’s a subtle sense of the epic about the Netflix wordmark

Netflix has the dubious accolade of becoming a euphemism for sex, in the form of ‘Netflix n’ chill’. Perhaps more importantly, the brand which in 2007 transformed from a DVD rental company to a streaming media service has changed the way we watch TV forever. Watercooler talk has morphed from ‘Did you see the latest episode last night?’ to ‘No spoilers, I’m binge-watching season 5 this weekend.’

In fact, it’s become such an institution, so quickly, that this year there were howls of anguish over the dumping of the ‘classic’ Netflix logo in a favour of a minimal red ‘N’ icon. The good news is that those fears were unfounded: the latter is a secondary icon for use at very small sizes, and doesn’t replace the tried and tested wordmark.

While that logo has been tweaked and flattened over the years, it retains its essential essence, with a pleasing curve to its seven letters that conveys idea of a comfortable, widescreen experience. You can see the latest version above, designed by Gretel.

06. TripAdvisor

Tripadvisor’s owl has traffic lights for eyes

How did we manage to book hotels before TripAdvisor? The online travel forum, founded in 2000, has made good customer service paramount for any tourist-facing business in 2016, and a jolly good thing too.

It’s logo has become an icon, proudly displayed by the best-awarded businesses, with its owl emblem representing the wisdom of planning your trip ahead, and the binoculars symbolising the search for a good deal. Did you ever notice that one of the bird’s eyes is red and the other green? This is a traffic light effect, symbolising the places tourists choose to visit (green) and not to visit (red).

07. Airbnb

Airbnb’s unusual logo has become a modern classic

While TripAdvisor has changed the way hotels operate, Airbnb has changed what we think of as a hotel. Enabling normal people to rent out rooms to visitors has opened up a whole new type of tourism, which the company is keen to trumpet with its slogan: ‘Don’t Go There. Live there’.

Launched in 2008, Airbnb had fairly mundane branding until it released its current logo design in 2014 to howls of controversy and comparison of the graphic with genitalia. Since then, though, it’s bedded in nicely and has become instantly recognisable wherever it appears, from giant billboards to tiny mobile screens. Created by DesignStudio, we’d argue it’s already become a modern design classic.

08. Instagram

Instagram’s ditched the leather look for something simpler

Launched in 2010, image-based social network Instagram was the first to have Facebook seriously worried. So they bought it, two years later, for an estimated $1billion. In the same year, Instagram debuted its faux-leather camera icon, which its massive worldwide community took to their hearts.

There was a big backlash this May, then, when that skeuomorphic design was jettisoned for a radical flat redesign (shown above). But despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, it’s unarguably a more flexible design for small screen sizes, as  Ian Spalter, Instagram’s head of design, wrote in a blog post on Medium. And we rather like it. Time will tell, but we think that eventually, the world will too.


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10 beautiful examples of illustration in print ads

Most print ads feature some combination of photography and typography. But when you next come to design a print ad, ask yourself whether a custom illustration could do the job better?

To show you what we mean, in this post we’ve brought together 10 great examples of illustration in print ads from around the world.

Of course there are plenty more besides, so we’d love to see your favourites too.

01. Puy Du Fou

History comes alive in this print ad for a French theme park

This epic advert was created by French agency Les Gros Mots to promote Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in the Vendée region of western France. Illustrated by Julien Joly, it cleverly draws on frescoes combining all the different eras that visitors can experience at the attraction.

02. Kiss FM

A Beatle takes the place of Uncle Sam in this ad for a rock radio station

This ad to promote a rock radio station is the work of Sao Paolo agency Lua Propaganda, with illustration by 2020 Studios. It smartly updates James Montgomery Flagg’s 1917 “I Want You” Poster for the American war effort, swapping Uncle Sam for John Lennon. The radio station itself features only on a small badge on Lennon’s chest, a subtle detail that somehow makes the message all the more powerful.

03. Red Cross

An evocative illustration and a thought-provoking tagline combine to great effect in this poster for the Red Cross

We’ve all become so used to shocking photography of disaster zones that we’ve started to become immune to it. Consequently, an illustration can sometimes be more effective, and that’s certainly the case with this grimly evocative scene for an attention-raising campaign for the Red Cross. It was created by Paraguay agency Verde and the illustration was by Edgar Arce.

04. Saint Bier

Saint Beer gets the religious seal approval in this tongue-in-cheek ad

Catholic monasteries have long been associated with the brewing of strong beer. and this tongue-in-cheek tableau, with the tagline “Convert yourself” and a slightly blasphemous reference to the Holy Grail, conveys the point succintly and stylishly. It was the work of Brazilian agency Propague and the illustration was by Pimp Studio.

05. Assassin’s Creed

This ad for videogame Assassin’s Creed points to the brutality of poverty in Victorian England

Another ad making effective use of vintage style illustration, this ad was part of a campaign for the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate videogame, which is set in Victorian England. While that era is often associated with the clipped accents and refined behaviours of costume drama, this impactful poster reminds us that it was a brutal time for many. It’s the work of Montreal agency Bleublancrouge, with illustration by Yeaaah Studio.

06. Ford

WPP makes a point using pointillism in this ad for Ford

This arresting, although somewhat headache inducing ad for Ford, comes with the tagline ‘Don’t Emoji and Drive’. Using a very 2010s form of pointillism by creating an illustration from individual emojis, the ad was produced by BlueHive, the bespoke WPP agency for Ford’s advertising in Italy, with illustration created by Illusion.

07. Skullcandy

This attention grabbing illustration for Skullcandy keeps the brand looking cool

Now here’s an illustration that gets your attention. It was created for Skullcandy, a headphone brand keen to appear on the cutting edge, and this stunning print ad certainly does that. It’s the work of J. Walter Thompson Shanghai, and the illustration was created by Visionary Bangkok.

08. SPCA

This ad for a cat protection society makes brilliant use of a tarot card motif

Playing on the idea of tarot cards, this lovely ad for the Society for the Protection of Cats sells its message without needing to get overly cutesy or sentimental. It was produced by Havas Suisse, with illustration by Yeaaah Studio.

09. Evans Cycles

This ad for Evans Cycles takes a trip back to the past

Vintage illustration mixes nostalgia with parody in this gorgeous print ad for Evans Cycles. It’s the creation of London agency Antidote and the illustrator was Bruce Emmett.

10. Behance

A creative ad for a creative community

Owned by Adobe, Behance is a global portfolio sharing social network for creatives of all types. But it’s not just online: the company also brings together community members and top artists to carry out portfolio reviews in person. This ad to promote its Brazilian event features a stunning mixed media collage created by art director, illustrator and photographer Antonio Rodrigues Jr.

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Marketing Tips For The Holidays

It always seems like the holidays sneak up on us faster and faster each year. They also seem to bring the best out of people — everyone is filled with cheer, gratitude, and compassion. That being said, the holidays are a perfect time to connect with family, friends, customers, and future prospects. For this reason, your company should have a killer marketing campaign, since people base their buying decisions on their emotions. Marketers can leverage these feelings to engage with their customers on an emotional level and build trust and credibility. The holidays are always a popular time to market, so it’s important to put some thought into your campaign. As you must know, there is a lot of spending during the holidays, which means you want to get your customers to spend their money with your company, and not your competitors.

Check out these four marketing tips to use during the holidays:

with content from and

Social Media Marketing

According to The Pew Research Center, more than ¾ of adults ages 18 to 49 use social media. This is an outstanding number of people with purchasing power. Why wouldn’t you want to use social media to market during the holidays? It is so important to take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other channels your prospective clients are on. Using social media is the perfect way to engage during the holidays, especially when you can interact and track if this is successful for your company.

Tug at Their Heartstrings

This might seem like a no-brainer, but the most memorable and successful marketing campaigns rely on “tugging on your customer’s heartstrings”. It’s all about making the customer feel something, or having a lasting impression on them. A lot of the time, if you see an emotional ad, video, blog, or story, you are more inclined share it with others because you believe it will impact them like it impacted you. This is just another benefit to “tugging on your customer’s heartstrings” because they are likely to share with their friends, family, and co-workers, which could potentially be your new clients. This also shows that your company is kind-hearted, generous, and everything else positive a customer wants during the holidays.


Consistency is always important when marketing, but during the holidays, consistency across all channels is crucial. You want to create a consistent experience for your customers, no matter how you’re reaching them. During the holidays, people are filled with positivity and gratitude, and they will be expecting that from your company as well.


Storytelling still works, especially during the holidays. Storytelling sometimes is the best way for your customers to really connect with your company on a more personal level. Consumers are more likely to spend money with your company rather than your competitors when they feel they are a part of what your company is doing. This is also a way for your customers to get a firsthand account of what your company does for your employees during the holidays and prospective customers. For example, highlight a story when your company went above and beyond for a customer, just because.

Thanks for reading this week’s blog! To learn more about how to take your brand to the next level, contact us today. Happy marketing!