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Season’s Greetings 2014

Categories: Silly

'Tis the season for impossibly busy shopping centres, boiler-breakdowns and treacherously slippery pavements. Bah!

But it's not all bad …

Decorations!
Christmas trees, nativity scenes – and especially fairy lights.

Christmas music!
There's a suitable festive tune for everyone, whether Bublé's your bag or you're more the South Park Christmas Album type. (Howdy-ho!)

Food and drink!
Mmmm; stollen, nuts, mulled wine, spiced biscuits, chocolate coins, satsumas, party food and Christmas dinner … except the sprouts.

Relaxation!
There's something special about (almost) everyone having the same day off work at least once a year.

Elf!
Needs no explanation.

Warmest winter wishes from Supercool.

A fine vintage?

Categories: Silly, Useful/interesting

Official Pantone image of Color of the Year 2015 – Marsala

Towards the end of each year, Pantone announce their Color of the Year, and for 2015 this honour has been bestowed upon Pantone 18-1438 – named Marsala for descriptive and, potentially, ease-of-copywriting purposes.

The Pantone website describes the colour with words like robust, earthy, full-bodied, rich, elegant – borrowing many an adjective from a sommelier's handbook.

I don't know if it's just me but Marsala seems very 1970's. See what I mean?

Seventies-tastic images of clothing, bike, radio, cars – all 'marsala' coloured

It brings back childhood memories not because I used to drink marsala as a child (I didn't) but because I'd automatically call this colour 'maroon' – a word which as a 4-year old I simply could not pronounce. "Ra-moon." "Raaa-moooon!" Nope.

It's possibly a bit of a weird one for a 4-year old but I had a maroon coat that I loved showing-off, and my parents – sticklers for colour correctness – weren't about to let me call it 'reddish-brown'. (Mum worked in the Dulux paint lab before having me, so knew all the colours.)

Other than its retroness, another immediate reaction I had to this colour is that it's very much in the make-up department; show me a cosmetics counter without this exact shade of blusher, lipstick and nail polish.

But I understand the name Blusher wouldn't really cut it so, for what's essentially a wine-like colour, Marsala is as good a name as any. Especially as a similarly appropriate word is already widely associated with something else …

Ron Burgundy

Give me a minute …

Categories: Silly, Useful/interesting

One Minute Briefs logo

For the past few weeks I've been taking part in a daily Twitter-based thing called One Minute Briefs (OMB).

The idea is simple: every weekday morning @OneMinuteBriefs tweets a 'thing' to advertise, and folks're invited to spend 60 seconds (give or take) coming up with a way of promoting that 'thing'. (We're not talking slick and polished designs here; it's all about the idea.) At the end of the day, all entries are compiled and the winner or winners are decided using a mix of votes and the organisers' favourite/s.

One day you could be tasked with advertising restraining orders, the next it'll be the World Cup, and another day cold sore treatment; it's a mixed bag and no mistake.

Explained more succinctly using their tagline, One Rule. One Minute. Create An Ad – One Minute Briefs is the brainchild of Nick Entwistle and James Clancy, a creative team working at McCann Manchester. I have tonnes of respect for these guys running a daily competition alongside their day job; thinking of a new topic, retweeting all the entries, compiling them into a blog post and then picking a winner every single day must be pretty time-consuming. Hats-off to them.

The concept reminds me of the one-day briefs we used to be given at university. They were always the most fun, frustrating and productive projects – when every second counts, it's an excellent way to get your brain thinking quickly and laterally.

It's pretty interesting to see how other people tackle the same problem too; and there's a really nice sense of community about the whole thing. People are always ready with a compliment for the best solutions; the OMBLEs* are a good bunch.

I tend to use OMB as a little bit of 'punctuation' between projects at work. It acts as a nice, neat break to separate tasks but keeps my brain working in the right way for solving design problems. Plus it's really good fun! Perfect. Mostly a win is purely for the glory but every now and then there are prizes too. (I've won a ticket to a fancy awards shindig, and my design printed on a t-shirt; get me!)

If you're a designer, advertiser, copywriter, or just like coming up with quick-fire ideas, OMB is a fine way to spend a minute (or so) of your day.

*Anyone and everyone who takes part in a One Minute Brief is an OMBLE.

Some of my OMB entries so far …

A selection of my entries for One Minute Briefs