Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Don’t Think Outside the Box

May 14, 2017

Think outside the box

It’s a term we hear all the time in business, and especially in the creative industry –  ‘”Think outside the box”’.

I see it in briefs, job descriptions and I hear it said in meetings.

I hate it!

The term has become meaningless, if everyone thinks outside the box then all you do is create a larger box!

The fact is there is no avoiding the box. Everything we do in business and in life has boundaries. There are laws on the street, marketing campaigns have a budget and designing a billboard always has size constraints.

The best way forward is to be creative within the box – Use the boundaries, work within the limitations and show people that you are still, more than capable of being different and creative.

I love the box!

Paul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Creative block

February 26, 2017

 

Fuzion - Creative block infographic

Creative block– It, quite simply, sucks!

Not just for creative people, we all encounter that mental block in life at some stage. For some reason you do not know how to take the next step. Being a graphic designer, creative block is a demon I know all too well. Something you do for a living, that comes naturally to you all of a sudden is the most frustrating thing in the world.

Facing the issue over and over again throughout my career, I came up with little things to try and break the barrier. I cannot guarantee that any of these will work but what I can always recommend is get up, go out, take a short walk, grab a coffee – just take a few minutes!

Hopefully you will unblock the block..

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Boojum Mania

February 6, 2017

Boojum van in Cork

Our client Boojum is due to open in Cork this week…and the excitement is Cork is well and truly building.

Late last month the Boojum team came to town and caused a major buzz as they travelled around in their branded cars filled with Boojum goodies.

While I knew Boojum was popular I didn’t quite realise how popular it was and how much people wanted it to open in Cork!

I can’t believe the buzz and anticipation in Cork City for the award winning Mexican restaurant to open its doors. With stores already in Belfast, Dublin and Galway, Cork will be the first new city for Boojum in 4 years, and their 3rd new store to open in the past 12 months.

Boojum addict t-shirts have become a highly coveted item belonging only to the most loyal of customers and Boojum Cork have commissioned special edition t-shirts especially for the Cork customers designed (and modelled!! See below) by our very own Paul Wade in our Fuzion design department.

Boojum t-shirt modelled by Paul Wade, Fuzion Design

Since they were revealed we have been inundated with calls from people looking to get their hands on one.

The t-shirts will be available exclusively from Boojum Cork so keep an eye on the Boojum Cork Facebook and Twitter accounts where they may just give away a t-short or two!

The new store, which will be located on 7 Winthrop Street, is approximately 2700 sq ft over 2 floors, seating 50 people.

Will one of these be you?!!

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel Cox is a Senior PR Account Manager with Fuzion

Fuzion Communications are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

Two heads are better than one!

February 1, 2017

A few years ago I worked in a company where I was the only designer.

This was nice in a few ways – I had creative control over everything and there is a lot of satisfaction to be had from fixing a problem by yourself. But on your own you can only take things so far – there is always someone who will think of something you won’t, know something you don’t and see things from a different perspective.

This is something that Fuzion does incredibly well. Whether it is design or PR – everyone attends a brainstorm.

Every idea passes through many minds, gets questioned, gets analysed, gets pushed. For an idea to be truly great, it needs to travel different avenues. Even if the idea comes back to where it started, it needs to make the journey. I genuinely believe some of the ideas the team have come up with could not have been created by a single person, but needed a group to help them develop and grow.

I am a big fan of brainstorming. Check out some ideas I use whether in a group or on my own:

Fuzion Brainstorming Inforgraphic

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Fuzion Fast!

December 11, 2016

Mad Men

Hello!

My name is Marianne and I’m the Intern. It’s been 4 months since I started at Fuzion and the time has literally flown. That’s a common theme in Fuzion. I call it Fuzion Fast!!

One dreary Thursday morning after trawling online looking for work in graphic design I decided to narrow my search. I typed in ‘marketing’ ‘PR’ ‘design’ and came across Fuzion. Their work spoke for itself but it was really the Fuzion blog that held my attention.

I spent an hour reading entries by everyone who worked there, the tone of each one was warm and friendly and personable. I fired off a quick email, asking if they had any intern vacancies with only the smallest hope that I would hear back. 3 whole minutes later I got an email, from the co-founder herself who informed me they had a vacancy and that the Creative Director would be in touch. 8 minutes after that email I had an interview date for the following Monday afternoon. The Friday after I had a job offer.

Fuzion Fast!

At this stage I should point out that although I’ve just graduated, I returned to college as a mature student. Before that I had a steady career in Human Resources and experienced the usual highs and lows that working life entails.

What I found working at Fuzion was a new experience. Perhaps it’s because it’s a smaller company than I’ve worked in before but that still doesn’t necessarily explain the sense of comradery that I’ve found there.

Everyone supports each other and most of all the client is King (or Queen!). There are times when pure alchemy is at play as we literally make miracles happen to meet the needs of our internal and external clients.

‘No’ is not part of the Fuzion vocabulary. Don’t get me wrong there are times when we’re under the pump and the vocabulary can get quite colourful but there’s always a workaround or alternative solution to any given problem.

I work with the graphic design team who are more affectionately known as the ‘Colouring In‘ team, which isn’t a fair assessment of what we do – we also outline!

No two days are the same and I’ve been lucky enough to work on a variety of projects that have actually seen the light of day and received some pretty positive feedback from my boss and from clients. Each day is a new learning experience and I’m even learning to overcome obstacles such as quick commands and working with a Mac (#PCGirl).

Not only am I learning about the design world but because of where I work there’s exposure in marketing, PR and social media activities that are current and exciting and ultimately about people which is what Fuzion is all about.

My favourite weekly event is our ‘brainstorm’ meeting that gives everyone an opportunity to throw ideas into the pot about upcoming projects. No idea is a stupid idea. Even the humblest idea gets a hearing and can start a whole other conversation that might trigger a fantastic marketing or branding concept.

The experience is the closest analogy to any episode of Mad Men except that it’s lead by a larger stronghold of women and far less alcohol than you’d think!

As I sign off I’m reminded that 2016 is coming to a close and our Christmas party is about to begin. Of course it’s a Fuzion party and our pre-dinner hi-jinks will begin after lunch with what I am told are some fun and games to get us into the festive spirit.

I’m not sure what to expect which is par for the course but I’m hoping it’s the one time of the year that’s not so Fuzion Fast.

Marianne

Marianne Tierney is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion who have offices in Dublin and Cork

Raise Your Game

June 5, 2016

CiT - Architecture course

I’ve been to a few final year exhibition openings as part of my life as a student, as a college lecturer and as creative director here in Fuzion.  Not just in graphic design, but in multi-media, fashion, ceramics and the full gamut of fine art courses on offer in a number of third level colleges.

It’s a great way to see up-and-coming talent, current trends in the various fields of study, and hiring talented staff (we have taken on two graduates from the final year exhibition in CIT’s Visual Communications courses in the past few years). But its taken until this year for me to be absolutely blown away by both an exhibition and an attitude from a course in the way that the Interior Architecture course in CIT did when I visited it last Wednesday.

Titled TRANSCEND 2016, the exhibition is primarily a showcase for the graduating 4th years, with work on display also by the 3rd years (and if you wander off the beaten track a little, some incredible work by other students from other years too!).

A number of things happen from the very moment that you enter the building.

Firstly, from the exterior of the building, it’s a pretty grotty looking 80’s dull-as-dishwater brown factory. But this is the beginning of the magic show.

Marc Riain - CIT Architecture

It has been commandeered by the department a couple of years ago and transformed (by Marc O’Riain, a senior lecturer in the department and an architect in his own right http://www.ruaarchitects.ie/ ) into a multi-award winning space that starts to impress you immediately, from the large Norman Foster model at the entrance to the innovative use of space and materials.

And this is all before you get to see any of the students’ work. As a space, you can see how it inspires the students to work harder and better, to want to be more creative and strive towards a career in their chosen field. There are several shipping containers along the left hand side of the space that create offices, work spaces, physical walls/dividers in an open space that appears to be as large (and open) as a football field.

You can see how it was a factory – and in that Warholian sense it still is a factory, but now instead of manual operators creating loss prevention devices, it nurtures talent and creativity. Students within this vast building have individual spaces to design and work, with communal areas so people can see what others are doing (and perhaps be inspired by this work) and it’s a space to be immensely proud of.

You would love to come to college here.

Transcend 2016- CIT ArchitectureBut back to the exhibition itself for a moment. The work level seems incredible – a standard of finish and design skills that were very high. Again, it looked like the students themselves had pushed themselves as much as any encouragement from teaching staff. Like they wanted to succeed. Like they had a hunger for it, a passion.

The work is displayed, especially by the 4th year graduates with professional precision and with purpose (have a look for Kristina Malantsuk’s work based on the Cork Bonded Warehouses). And this is where one of the most impressive factors struck me. They wanted jobs. They wanted to become employed practitioners. They could clearly see that this wasn’t a party as a self congratulatory pat on the back for turning up a few hours a day for 4 years, this was a recruitment drive.

And at the opening of the exhibition, something that I have never seen before happened. As Katherine Keane, Department Head & Marc O Riain finished their speeches, Marc ended by pointing at a door towards one of the more private areas of the building and said that anyone who wanted to interview a student could do so in that space.

And no messing, a number of people immediately walked towards that door to do so!

I think that there is a certain irony that the model at the main door is by Norman Foster Architects, because that is exactly what they do in that space – foster architects.

Attitude is so much a part of any success story.

Of course you must want to succeed and you must have a genuine product that is worthy of success. But you must look like you want to succeed.

Whats the point in having the best service or product in the world if it looks rubbish? You are only fooling yourself, because no one else will believe in something that looks like you don’t believe in it. From the minute you step into the space that is the Architecture Factory, you want it to be amazing, because it tells you that its amazing, and you believe in it.

Check out the superb work that is happening right now in Cork by visiting the Facebook page or the website for the exhibitions.

Well done to all these hungry students and the lecturers who are inspiring them to be the best.

Jonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

 

Offset 2016 and ones boy’s obsession with design

April 18, 2016

Offset 2016

If you know me, then great… if not, here are a few starter points:

This post is like me, it requires a bit of work. You’ll have to click links. You’ll have to forgive my overuse of exclamation marks, parentheses and the Oxford comma. And possible bad language that I wouldn’t even dream of using in the company of my mother, or even more, your mother. There may be mentions of testicles (all relevant). And finally, like a goldfish needs water, I need design.

Some people watch football. Others collect stamps. Some people go train-spotting.

Me? I look at design.

It started in 1990, when Mr Nott, my art teacher recognised that I was pretty rubbish at art, but I knew vaguely how to construct things into an order that conveyed a logical sense of information. I could tell a visual story. And he showed me some work that wasn’t art, but was artistic. It was creative, it was design.

From here I figured out what I needed to do to get into college and onto a design course (mostly fail all my Pre’s in the pursuit of the perfect portfolio of 18 year old rubbish art samples that showed the slightest glimmer of hope), and over the course of many years, of different directions, of false starts, and hard, hard work, I made it!

I graduated with a degree in design, and I got a job. But since the early 90’s I’ve watched television with an eye for fonts, I’ve read newspapers with more of an eye on the layouts than the stories, and I’ve bought countless books for the covers, never ever opening them or reading the content.  

But the thing about design is – or at least was – that it was largely something that you read about in Creative Review, or Eye, and marvel at. Then the Internet happened (yes, I am that old) and a community of discussion & sharing grew where we could discover things that we’d read about them, and see more, see similar and learn more. But there was a disconnect.

What could you do with that sort of lust from a distance?

Offset 2

Offset

I don’t remember my first Offset. I just remember being mind-blown by talent, passion and determination. But I remember being in the same room as some of the people who inspired me to create, to learn, to try and try harder. I remember that sense of astonishment that someone on a stage in front of me was the person who designed something that I’d known for years and wanted to know more about.

Remember your first concert? – it’s a bit like that.  

And 5 years later, it’s all there again. that sense of bewildering, confusing, heartbreaking brilliance, where someone describes the experiences of their professional journey and the highs and lows of being a creative.

Looking back at my notes from this year, I sat through 21 hours over three days of talks by my peers, and here is a small selection of those who, as a friend of mine so eloquently described as “not so much having lit a fire inside me, more created an inferno” of wanting this more, and more, and more.

Shred of Decency

Rothco, one of Ireland’s foremost advertising agencies spoke about their structure of gangs – a less Marketing-Speak term for ‘teams’. But despite the BS, they shared their process (anyone can bring anything to any department at any time), and the creative freedom that failing and mistakes bring. And their genuine elation of being part of the defining moment that the Yes campaign helped bring to a New Ireland last year, through their involvement in their Shred of Decency campaign (see more about it here: https://rothco.ie/rothco-daintree/ or here: https://vimeo.com/124607988)

Also, their honesty in bringing a stick and a football and combining that with the incorrect use of a bus companies logo and just how on the edge of fresh underpants they all were while presenting was refreshing (this is the result: https://twitter.com/NetworkNoel )

20 euro note

Robert Ballagh told us how he sold his bass to Ireland’s first black man, and started painting, ‘cos “He thought he could”, and my admiration for him, and his talent multiplied by a huge degree. There’s a piece of his work on display in Cork’s Crawford Art Gallery – go and see it, and sure if you have ever held the last issued £20 punt note with Daniel O’Connell on it, then you’ve handled a masterpiece. 

Mr. Bingo

Closing the first day was the unstoppable Mr. Bingo. A force in modern post social-media dynamics, and a vocabulary coarser than even mine, he was a master class in rejecting the approach that everyone else follows and carving a path that others couldn’t dream of.

Go to his website and click on the link about him working for free. You may know him from his hair portraits (http://www.mr-bingo.org.uk/index.php?/latest/hair-portraits/ ) but what you really should know about him is his wonderful Hate Mail project, and the insanely brilliant kick-starter project that he ran to fund the book of Hate Mail.

Click here at your peril!

Day two started well, the Assemble Studio of architects/creatives/disruptives who explained how, well, if you want to do something, then do it. They made me think of space (not the thing with worm-holes and Wookies in it, but the immediate area that surrounds each and everyone of us) and how we accept what is “our” space, and how we use it.

And then the day went batshit crazy!!

Jonathan Barnbrook

Piranha Bar, Jonathan Barnbrook and GMunk arrived on stage, one after another to literally shake the bejesus out of us.

Suffice to say this, Piranha Bar’s new film “Doom Newt” looks on fire, and their approach to doing what they want, because that’s why, reinforced so much of my own thinking. Barnbrook has had the enviable position of being the late David Bowie’s graphic designer.

His work on ★ was an eye opening 40 minute talk of working with a genius. Plus his work on the brilliant Adbusters from the 90’s was phenomenal. And then there was GMunk. I’d seen a bunch of his work over the past few years, not knowing who had done it.

At this point of the day I was pretty tired, but he bounded onto the stage, and it was like a missile going off in a fireworks factory, in about 50 minutes, blasting us through his ‘8 Pearls of Wisdom’. Click here for a slightly older version of this talk. I will never do him justice so take a long lunch and watch all 68 minutes of this, I promise that you’ll clap at your screen at the end.

The motion control projection mapping in was utterly incredible (it’s called ‘The Box’ and it’s at 28.28 in the link above), and the work on the Windows 10 and Adobe Brands is jaw dropping.

Una Burke

Sunday was wrapped up beautifully by the Studio Dunbar people, talking about (amongst other things) the misappropriation of their work for the Dutch Police, Una Burke (image above – Big Shout Out to the LSAD graduates! High Five!) spoke about how fortunate (its not luck, she’s bust her chops to get where she is) she’s been in the fashion industry.

Ok, there’s been a bit of luck but also that research is a key part of any project and how it influences your decisions and end goals.

mcBess

mcBess, a French illustrator brought a wonderfully cynical sense of humour to his talk, complete with highly inspirational quotes (“I like to draw” mcBess, 2009,”) and some great illustrations to illuminate his quotes

So what did I learn?

..so much. but I’ll try to wrap it up like this:

  1. Fail, but learn from your failings.
  2. Collaborate. More often than not someone else may bring something to the table that shakes things up for the best.
  3. Be brave. Take your hands out of your pockets, and run through nettles. People will admire you.
  4. Check your testicles. Check any outsourced work for testicles. And grow some testicles. Three different speakers mentioned testicles, and in more ways that you can imagine, this may have been the most important lesson for all of us to take away.
  5. Reference, catalogue, credit.
  6. Always try to reinvent yourself. Stay fresh.
  7. I need to design.

Bonus learning: Gifs. No matter how much we are told, it’s impossible to pronounce it Jifs. Even if 2016 was the year that gifs were in every presentation.  

Phew…see you next year

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads our creative Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland 

The balls to rebrand!

February 22, 2016

Everyone changes, life happens.

Businesses are no different. A company grows, the economy changes, employees migrate, employees return – this is all part of what makes a business exciting and challenging. As you grow your brand must grow with you. The brand is the essence of what you do, to quote Jeff Bezos of AmazonYour brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room‘…you need to make sure people are saying the right thing.

A lot of the time a rebrand can be more interesting than the day one design. Its an evolution rather than a solution. This process of looking at where you started and where you are now can be eye opening. How, where, what and why all come into play. Its a big task to take on, both as a company and from a design point of view.

Lets take 2 examples, one that got it wrong and one that got it right.

The wrong way – Gap.

Internationally renowned clothing store. They have been around a long time and have a logo that represents that. We all know who they are and recognize their logo, but for a brief 6 day period back in 2010, it all changed. That’s right, 6 days!! Take a look…

The Gap logosThey tried a modern, bold font with a floating blue fading square – what does it mean? Is it progressive? Modern? Trendy? Or just plain terrible? The logo got immediate criticism from all sides and Gap reverted back to their well known logo, almost immediately. It is estimated this brand blunder cost in the region of $100 million.

A lot of money for a Microsoft Paint logo! So how did they get it so wrong? My opinion is lack of research. They went straight to ‘looking cool‘ rather than ‘what we are‘. They wanted something trendy instead of what was right for them. Change for the sake of change is never a good idea and a very costly mistake. But even the top dogs can get it wrong!

The right way – Google

in 2015 Google, the most used word and answer to all our questions, rebranded.

Google logosI, for one, love the redesign. Google is representative of our modern day and it needed to meet us here and now. A new sans serif font, slightly softened colours and they held onto the playful tilt in the ‘e’ (also note the clever flow from the ‘g’ into the ‘e’). Simple, friendly and uncluttered. The logo is representative of a modern age and the use of its service across multiple platforms.

The proof that this was a successful rebrand was that it didn’t take long for the world to accept it, almost like it had always been there. This image we see every day changes and we sit back and say ‘That works’.

So, what have we learned? Not everyone needs a rebrand. If you do rebrand, it can go wrong. Research everything, not just your customers but your own business. Have you changed? Have you grown? What do people say about you when you are not in the room?

What would you like them to say?

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

Paul Wade is a Graphic Designer with Fuzion who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Art of Photography

June 15, 2015

Cork Lee baths

Yesterday during my lunch I was enjoying the sun and taking in the sights and sounds of our beautiful city, Cork.

As I walked past the Irish Examiner office, I couldn’t help but notice a whole array of old photographs displayed in the window.. you know the ones, black and white and of times gone by, a selection of imagery that has been printed in the paper down through the years.

As I stopped and admired the images, one thing that struck me was how all the people in the photographs were completely mesmerised by the camera. One in particular is of a swimming pool and there must be over fifty people in the shot. What is really impressive is how all of these people have stopped what they were doing and are now fixated on the photographer and his camera.

Firstly, a day out at the swimming pool in what looks to be around the late 60’s or early 70’s would have been a massive big deal, and obviously someone taking a photograph is equally amazing.

While a photograph in those days commanded so much authority this is in stark contrast to now when photographs are a regular everyday occurrence, so easily generated with our phones and shared digitally, with a huge percentage of them never even making it to print.

With such a large volume of photographs being taken, a lot of them have lost their beauty and intrigue, which was once so evident in these old photographs.

This ‘loss’ is from both sides; the photographer is not restricted by expensive film, they just want to get the photo as quickly as possible and share it. The people in the image don’t really care as much because they know another one will be taken again shortly.

Our new era is more than ok with me, because it’s a great thing being able to capture and share so many moments so easily and so instantly. Even better it is easy for us to browse through them, like and comment on them and share them even further when we want..fantastic!

However, what does bother me a little bit is when you think of those old photographs they were created by such talented craftsmen. They were so impressive in their appearance, that people really paid attention to them.

Whilst the advancements in technology is brilliant, it makes everything so easy for everyone and with a couple of tutorials everyone becomes a “photographer” or so you would believe.

This is clearly not the case – as a creative person I tend to observe a lot of things that others just would not and unfortunately I see that our visual intake everyday is completely polluted with photographs and imagery that have just been made by someone with a nice camera or the latest version of photoshop.

During the course of my graphic design work it is staggering to see the difference that a great photo can make – without great photos it can be very difficult to bring something to life properly. With our PR team a great photograph can help to tell a story brilliantly and get a story to “land”.

That is why it is so important in today’s world that if you want a great photograph that you should go to a professional photographer who loves doing what they do and someone who has served their time training to become what their heart desired.

At least then you know that this person will take that stunning well composed photograph even if it is a swimming pool packed full of people!

Ray Keohane

Ray Keohane is a Graphic Designer who works with Fuzion from offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland.

The Pencil is mightier than the Sword: Je Suis Charlie

January 15, 2015

Chalie Hebdo

The New Year has started with a strange turn of events, where moral and pseudo-religious outrage has turned into a horrific and tragic attack on not only the press, but free thinking and the right to believe differently.

Wednesday the 7th January saw an attack on the offices of the publishers of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that has a track record of poking fun at authority, politics and religions. Much has been written by people far more eloquent than I am in regards to the rights and wrongs, the justifications and unjustifiable following the attack (and subsequent incidents in France).

My position on the writers, cartoonists and editorial team is simple, I believe that they were right to challenge, to fuel debate and to publish what they did. My stance on the attacks is that they are wrong.

Je Suis Charlie

What I would like to do, is draw attention to the manner in which the world reacted to the attack, in a collection of defiant and beautiful powerful messages. As someone who works in a creative industry, one where people differ frequently, where passion and commitment cross paths with opinions and counter opinions, I saw a unified movement, where once again, the adage that the pen is mightier than the sword was proved correct.

The powerful imagery that has emerged has been incredible, moving, supportive and full of emotion and empathy once again capturing our attention about these issues visually.

Reaction to the initial attack quickly moved from an informative/news based set to messages of support, loss, horror and disgust, and the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie began to emerge. Within three days it had been used over 5 million times, peaking at approximately 6,500 times a minute. But in my opinion, the most poetic and the strongest reaction happened by artists and cartoonists, the very people who the attempt to silence was aimed at.

Their dignity and solidarity was incredible, and it made the power of their message stronger through its absolute rejection of intimidation. The acts of violence are a stark contrast to the peaceful counter demonstrations, but I would argue that they are a more powerful and (hopefully) successful act, using nothing more than ink and paper to deliver a wholly defiant two fingers in retaliation.

Some of the images below are the ones that I feel best show the levels of emotion and defiance. It’s just a shame that such work has to be created in the first place.

Thank you for reading ..

#JeSuisCharlie

Je Suis CharlieJe Suis Charlie

Je Suis CharlieJe Suis CharlieJe Suis CharlieJe Suis CharlieJe Suis CharlieJe Suis Charlie

Jonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads our creative Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland 


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