26 February 2013

How do you rebrand something that nobody wants?

Or put another way, how to rebrand funerals! It's a sensitive subject, but that's exactly what GBH were asked to do for BBC2's TV show The Fixer, which airs on BBC2, February 26th at 8pm. Each episode of The Fixer sees presenter and business advisor Alex Polizzi help a struggling family business to recognise its failings, before offering straight-talking advice on how to reposition itself to be relevant, desirable and ultimately more successful.

For episode three of this series, Alex charged GBH with the difficult job of analysing the funeral home market - audience, shops and marketing - with a view to helping David Holmes and Sons, a stagnating funeral home, re-engage with its potential customers in the local community.

The project required us to spend time with David and his family at their funeral home, getting to grips with what is a sombre business, while helping them understand how they are perceived (or not) by locals. This learning process was then put to use as we set about rebranding the name, identity and shop. Despite being an unusual project, it was business as usual for GBH, except for the fact that we're not usually filmed on the job!

We're pleased to say that Alex's advice and GBH's branding have led to a huge increase in street awareness for the business. But don't take our word for it, tune in to BBC2 on February 26th, 8pm and see for yourself.

19 February 2013

Introducing Miss Kō

Miss Kō is an underground Asian fusion restaurant. Located in the heart of Paris, Miss Kō is not just a restaurant; it's a crazy place where street food, cocktails, art, and music meet to create a unique culinary experience. Inside Miss Kō it’s the future; a place where cultures collide, fantasy rules and nothing is what it seems. It’s like Blade Runner – only happy.

Phillipe Starck has channelled his limitless creative madness into the Miss Kō interiors, creating a place where art has no barriers and dinners are surrounded by endless technology. One of Miss Kō's most unusual features is a 26m long table running the length of the restaurant entirely made from digital screens, each playing news channels from all over Asia.

The restaurant’s name and identity are based around the character of Miss Kō. A young, sexy but eternally mysterious symbol of Asia, and the embodiment of its traditions and its strangeness. Miss Kō shows us her 'Yakuza' full body suit tattoo, a sign in some Asian cultures of ties to the underworld.

The artwork for Miss Kō's intricate and beautiful tattoos was created by Horikitsune (Alex Kofuu Reinke), the only European to have trained as an apprentice in the traditional Japanese art of Irezumi. He studied for more than 15 years in Japan under of the world-renowned Irezumi artist Horiyoshi III. Photography by celebrity and fashion photographer Uli Webber.

The Miss Kō logotype is simply 9 grains of rice; the staple of all Asian cuisine and integral to the Asian way of life. Each of the 9 grains represents one of the Asian countries which inspired the creation of the Miss Kō menu

Informal and formal logo:

Embossed logo:

Logo lockup:

The logo and the imagery of Miss Kō come together in the business cards to create an unexpected juxtaposition of strangeness and tradition.

The Miss Kō identity is an eclectic mix of things taken from Miss Kō’s world. The cocktail menu is her private sketchbook, each cocktail is depicted as a crazy Asian character and named after one of Miss Ko's friends (Ginza Boy, Madame Keiko, Li Mon Li, Crazy MoFo). The dessert menu is a photo album saved from her childhood.

The food and drink menu covers are a celebration of Miss Kō’s tattoos. The repeated disembodied tattooed body-parts are both strange and beautiful, almost symbolic of the Asian relationship to food and to the animal kingdom.

The Miss Kō signage was designed to replicate the many different bright, overlapping signs found in a busy Asian street. The final signage ended up being a perfect replica of an early paper and card mock-up created in the studio.

Connected to the signage by a tangle of wires is a chest high animation of the Miss Kō logo to draw in passers-by from the street. Each part of the signage displays the name Miss Kō in a different Asian language creating a strange hieroglyphic effect.

Animated logo box:

 The logo has animated versions, an ambient dancing rice animation is projected onto the floor. The rice occasionally comes together seemingly at random to create the Miss Kō logotype.


14 February 2013

InCycle is the new recycle

This is a big week for the future of sustainability in retail. PUMA have just launched the sportlifestyle industry’s first fully biodegradable and recyclable collection of shoes, clothes and accessories. Named PUMA InCycle, it also launches with Cradle to Cradle certification which it's been awarded thanks to the two sustainable cycles it uses as part of it's process.

We were thrilled to be asked to create a short film to introduce the collection and help explain the very clever recycling process. As the process is pretty scientific and complex with a lot to try and squeeze in, our main challenge was how to ensure the story was made simple, engaging and entertaining.

Rather than shoot live action, we decided to make an animated film with bags of charm and humour. The script and illustrations were all created in-house at GBH and huge thought was given to the choice of soundtrack and voice over artist.

Visually, the story is told through scenes made from fragments of fabric, inspired by the recycling process which sees used and unwanted products either shredded or eaten by bacteria! The aesthetic isn't just good to look at, it helps position the film within PUMA’s bigger sustainable world and gives the collection a strong identity which we'll be applying across wider applications this year; in-store window displays and POP as well as on-line stories will all get the InCycle visual treatment. Here's to going round in circles!

To learn more about PUMA InCycle products, visit: http://www.puma.com/bringmeback

12 February 2013

Knock knock. Who's there?

We're extremely pleased to share the new set of 50th Anniversary Doctor Who stamps we've been busy working on. Commemorating the first broadcast of Doctor Who in 1963 and all the subsequent Doctors up to 2013, the work celebrates 50 years of time-travelling adventures with the most famous Doctor in the Universe.

As well as the main set of stamps, we were responsible for the design of all supporting products, including the exclusive Mini Sheet Stamps, Presentation Pack, Prestige Stamp Book, First Class Definitive Stamp Sheet and First Day Covers. Having started the project in early 2012, we were only completed a year later, such was the amount of history and detail in the subject.

The main set includes 11 First Class stamps featuring all of the Doctors from William Hartnell in 1963 to the current Doctor Matt Smith in 2013. The stamps were created as composite images, and with each stamp we endeavoured to distill the iconic Doctor Who title sequence in such a way as to capture all of the most memorable moving imagery and visual elements in a single freeze frame, as well as pay tribute to the brilliant actors that have played the Doctor over the years. The set communicates the constant visual evolution of the show and the ongoing regeneration of the Doctors into new and distinct personalities.

An exclusive 50th Anniversary Mini Sheet will bring together Second Class stamps featuring four of the Doctor's most iconic foes around a centrepiece First Class stamp, portraying the TARDIS itself. The four stamps feature a Dalek, Ood, Weeping Angel and Cyberman reaching for the Doctor's central TARDIS stamp. Specially designed die-cut borders allow for the villains to break out from beyond the stamp perforations and reach towards the viewer when removed from the self adhesive backing.

Many hours were spent searching the extensive BBC archive for the best footage and stills imagery to capture these iconic Doctor Who moments, and great care was taken to remaster the selected source material across all of the products. The main focus was always to represent the show as a whole, and pay tribute to the substantial and diverse history of Doctor Who, and his adventures, across all of the products.

Sadly for now we can only show you what the First Class stamps and Mini Sheet stamps will look like, and you'll have to wait until the official launch later next month for all the other collectible goodies we've designed.

Watch this space from the 26th March 2013 when the stamps will be available to buy online.

7 February 2013

Thank you sunshine

Banner Artwork

It’s a lovely sunny day so you decide to buy some new sports socks. You jump into your electric car and head to the PUMA flagship store in Germany, but wait... you don’t have enough battery to make the return journey. Have no fear because PUMA have launched a new solar powered electric car charging station in the car park.


We were asked to create a banner to hang behind the solar power station to let drivers know they can charge their electric car here for free using nothing but the sun. Banner translation: Electric cars welcome, Shopping and free recharge, Thank you sunshine. We then created three simple neon icons that subtly reference the light from a car’s dashboard to help illustrate our message. As well as the banner we also added a little touch to the parking spaces at the station to help differentiate them for the other spaces in the car park.


5 February 2013

Say 'hello' to your new Mama

MAMA Logo smallRecently we've been busy helping Parisian hotel Mama Shelter prepare for its rapid expansion which will see the opening of three more hotels in Lyon, Marseille and Istanbul, with another two to follow in Bordeaux, and Los Angeles.

In case you didn't know, the Mama brand is positioned as an 'affordable luxury' hotel offering a unique mix of friendliness and communality, where guests sit together at large tables enjoying hearty food like your granny used to make, or party hard together in the bar at nights. Design interiors are chic and eclectic with a drop of surreal humour and exposed concrete walls collide with graffitied blackboard ceilings and retro artefacts. The overall atmosphere is a combination of relaxed cosiness meets offbeat artist commune!

Briefed to design the identity and all touch points throughout the existing and new hotels, something memorable and unusual was required to reflect the eclectic nature of Mama .

The result is a logo that is bold and unconventional, warm and cozy and plays off the name 'Mama'. A chicken sits over the name, the negative space between its legs making the shape of an egg. Meanwhile, the hotel locations are differentiated by adding 'leg tags' to the logo. The logo is used sparingly within the hotel, appearing only on an iMac screen in each guest room, stationery and the occasional feather pattern used to line envelops and bags.
MAMA BusinessCards SmMAMA Stationery smallMAMA Bag sticker small

This was part of a deliberate 'non-branding' attitude and allowed us scope to ramp up the creative, eclectic aspect of Mama. As such every application has been created to surprise and delight in its own way. From a range of quirky key card holders, to alternating and unorthodox menu designs to a variety of do not disturb signs - the graphic language is diverse, encompassing cross-stitched statements, kitsch objects, famous French characters and vintage postcards. 

The graphic applications will continually change across the different locations making them the perfect expression of the philosophy of the hotel itself - expect to be charmed, surprised on your next visit!
MAMA Keycards smallMAMA Menus small

MAMA DoNotDisturb smallMAMA DoNotDisturb postcard 2 smallMAMA Polaroids smallDoNotDisturb 1 clean small