All posts by Dan Walsh


Branding – Business Cards


I was tasked with project a month ago, where I was to create one business card for both sites.

However according to the branding guidelines; the two logo’s cannot appear next to each other, which presented a slight challenge.

I created a version for five members of the management team, across biz-card-photothe two sites. Some of these members work solely at one site or other or both which dictated the two sides of the business cards.

I had slight challenge at one point with colour formatting in one of the logo’s, the studio at the printers had a problem with the PMS colour formats used in the PDF logo’s which I’d not come across before. The fix for this was to simply save out the PDF’s as CMYK colour images ready for print. I’m pleased with the outcome and hope they are used effectively for networking and marketing the two sites.


Mondrian & his Studios – Tate Liverpool

I recently came across an exhibition at Tate Liverpool of Piet Mondrian and the relationship between his work and environment, called ‘Mondrian & his studios’ – which focuses as much on his work as it does on how and why he created the pieces he did.

This interested me in particular as it gives you a fresh angle on his world famous style and technique. I’ve visited Salvador Dalí‘s House-Museum at Port Lligat on Spains’ Costa Brava, which I found fascinating as it gave you a window into his world; his inspiration and what stimulated him. And I think this a gives a similar, although slightly contrived simulation of how it might have been to be Piet Mondrian.


Classic Mondrian Design

The main focus of the exhibition is to explore the connection between his work and urban environments, as he had studios in Paris, Amsterdam & New York at different times during his life – all very unique and iconic cities which had a profound effect upon his work at the time. You can see how urban 3 have influenced his work with, the grid-system of modern cities like New York reflected in his most famous works like the iconic red/yellow/blue rectangles & black line paintings. For example his reconstructed Parisian studio of circa 1925 is essentially a giant living Mondrian made up of movable coloured wall panels.

The exhibition is running at Tate Liverpool until 5th October, find out more here.


Z-Card Production for The Space Project

The Space Project is Manchesters newly-built flagship drama & production facility, located in West Gorton 5 minutes from Central Manchester – it is the site of the old Fujitsu & ICL  computer housings. The Space Project was built in response to meet the growing demand for high quality, flexible production space in the North West.

I was recently briefed on a design project for a combined marketing, technical specification and business card functioning print device for The Space Project.

We chose a Z-Card format, as we thought this would be the most suitable and effective for our needs. The Z-Card is useful as it functions like a business card whilst folded up but as a double-sided sheet when unfolded (much like the classic Ordnance Survey map layout). The target audience are production teams so we thought this format would be easy to distribute , and are pocket/wallet-sized rather than having a large A4 folder like The Sharp Project brochure.

The Z-Card needed to be graphic guide to the site for productions and visitors, and also display all the features of the site and the technical specifications of the production facilities. At times this proved to be a challenge as we don’t have any photographs of the site, and we had no customer-facing footprints of the space except for the stylised logo.

On the first side I produced a simplified footprint of all customer-facing rooms and areas that will be used on the Ground Floor and First Floor with detailed dimensions and power specs for each sound stage.


On the reverse side I used stills from the CGI animated marketing fly-through (produced by The Drawing Room) to annotate and visually demonstrate the spaces without using too much text which wouldn’t be read.


We tried to leave empty space on both sides so that the diagrams could be annotated and people could make notes on them to enhance the card to their needs. The card will also serve as a preliminary basic marketing tool until we produce a proper brochure, like we did for The Sharp Project.

I designed the Z-Card with supervision from Tom Clarke (SharpFutures) and brand consultation from Malcolm Garrett (

I’m pleased with the outcome of the printed Z-Card and I hope it proves useful to staff and customers.



IWD-14-logoMarch 8th marked the 100th annual International Womens’ Day (IWD) and also the second annual Digital Teapot event at The Sharp Project – After last year’s event was so successful and well received.

The event is aimed at encouraging women and especially young women to embark on careers in the Creative Digital sector.

SharpFutures hosted over 150 women at the free, sold-out event which saw inspirational talks, workshops, networking, biographies & interviews with some famous and aspirational female figures. Again the event went down very well, and we encouraged attendees to network and meet each other by setting up a competition to win an iPad mini via Twitter for people who tweeted about who they’ve met and what they do!

Our in-house social media marketing team managed an interactive DT-logo14social media campaign on the back of Digital Teapot 14. This campaign was strategically very content driven as it was to create a live feed throughout the day for people who were unable to attend. It was also an opportunity for attendees of the event to add content of their own and spread the positive atmosphere from within the event. The campaign and conversation resulted in #DigitalTeapot14 trending within an hour from the doors opening due to the high volume of people talking about #DigitalTeapot using the hashtag – an achievement which took over five hours last year!DT14-trending-ss

If you are interested in reading some of the material from Digital Teapot 14, we will be making some of the presentations available for download:

Digital Teapot Main Presentation LHV3_edit‘ etc. | ‘Blog-Your-Way-to-Success_PaulAspden_edit‘ |

You can also follow our speakers on Twitter or Linkedin:

Viktorya Hollings | Christine Bellamy | Hilary Bevan-Jones | Paul Aspden | Stuart Almond | Ann Davies | Mark Ashmore | Rose Marley | Phil Coen | Graeme Ankers | Paul Frift 


Graphic Design & Branding in Social Media

With every company now setting up a business presence online whether it be Twitter, Facebook or Google+ it is important that they are consistent with their brands across their chosen platforms. This is so your audience can be sure its you and that it seems as if it is an extension of your existing forms of communication.

Setting up social media accounts for business is fairly straight forward, the most popular problem people encounter is that Social Media channels are all different and all require different sized graphics. This can cause a lot time being wasted searching for the correct specification that an image needs to fit as some will ask for different pixel size, some different resolution, some different format all together. You then have to go through the stress of finding relevant images for your profile pictures, avatars, backgrounds, cover photos (the list is endless)…

Through these issues myself and our Graphic Designer – Dan Walsh have created an infographic to help anyone else struggling to find the correct size graphic for the most popular social media platforms. We hope the infographic is of use as it has become a vital tool to our own social media branding tasks.



Colour Psychology in Branding

Today we’ve been looking at colour and its use in branding.

We are subconsciously subjected to the effects of colour psychology by brands on a day-to-day basis, and although we are unaware of it they will invoke certain emotions within us – encouraging us to feel a certain way towards a brand or product; making assumptions regarding what they stand for.

As you can see from this infographic it can be applied to any brand, and although some may be unintentional; the majority will have been designed using colour psychology to translate a message  which projects the brand in certain ‘favourable’ light. Colour psychology is a powerful tool. Although there are people that believe that there are too many variables such as, personal taste, cultural background, upbringing etc. which can affect peoples attitudes and perceptions. However I think although the latter will factor and possibly override or compete with naturally occurring human reactions, there is definitely a common shared response to brands and colours – even if it’s as simple and basic as red = warm & blue = cold…

brand-colours-psychologyFor example, in Manchester there are many famous brands which are synonymous with the city and region. Such as, Manchester United – Red is a very primal colour associated with power and victory. Red is also the colour of Lancashire, and studies have shown that historically teams and sportsmen who wear red – perform far better than those wearing blue for example. This believed to be a psychological reaction from the opposing team/sportsmen and also the referee to assume that the Red wearing team is dominant and superior.

The Manchester Metrolink utilises the colour yellow in their MUFC-logobranding (offset by a neutral grey) – personally I think this a mistake, aside from the fact that it means that the trams are bright and visible; the connotations of the colour yellow aren’t what you’d imagine Metrolink would want to convey e.g. “Yellow is an unstable and spontaneous color, so avoid using yellow if you want to suggest stability and safety.” – although others say it invokes warmth and happiness, which are positive associations but maybe not necessarily suitable for a public service.


metolink-logoAs you can see from this infographic it goes alot deeper than that and this is where cultural and environmental factors may affect peoples opinions on colours – however there is nothing stopping a company altering their marketing (and use of colour within that) for different audiences. The most obvious example of this would be for foreign markets, where languages would have to be altered regardless – meaning it wouldn’t be a huge effort to alter the colour.

Next time you see a brand or logo, have a think about how it makes you feel and why; but also think about what messages you feel are being re-enforced by the colours used…


Manchester Urban Sketching Workshop

urbanSketching-300pxOn Friday 17th of January I attended an Urban Sketching Workshop on the 3rd floor of Selfridges in Manchester. The workshop was part of the Selfridges Festival of Imagination, which is hosting events until 20th February.

The urban sketching workshop was held by Simone Ridyard, who is an architect and lecturer at The Manchester School of Art.

The workshop seemed to attract a wide array of people of all ages and abilities, although I was probably youngest there. Urban sketching is a fairly loose term which one can apply to sketching from sight (she was very particular about this point) of anything that can be found in an urban environment, including interiors.

We were told to go off into the immediate surrounding area and sketch whatever we saw, this allowed for a great deal of diversity in subjects and styles from everyone in the group. I personally went onto exchange square and sketched the Corn Exchange – but some people drew the interior of Selfridges, from escalators to clothes rails – which was very interesting when we came back together to look at everyones work, as there was no two sketches the same and very few sketches of the same subjects.

Although there wasn’t a great deal of tutelage it was an interesting experience, and we were encouraged to come along to the Manchester Urban Sketching Group (of which Simone Ridyard is founder) if we enjoyed and wanted to build upon what we’d done.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 15.31.36

Christmas cracker marketing with Mighty Giant

I have spent several days working with one of The Sharp Project‘s tenants Mighty Giant, who specialise in design & motion. They came up with a very creative and original way of marketing themselves this Christmas; by creating 120 home-made crackers and sending three in a box to 40 of their clients who they’d like to work with again.

I was drafted in to help with the production of these crackers, which I think were very well thought through; each cracker is one piece of card cut and scored as a net featuring their logo in the central panel. They are of a much higher standard in design and contents than your average christmas cracker; featuring gourmet tea, personalised pixel rulers and festive thorntons chocolate! They will definitely catch the attention of potential clients due to their originality and creativity and the fact that they are entirely home-made. I think to stand out from the crowd these are very important factors to consider when marketing your company, which was a useful lesson to learn.

Please see this link for Mighty Giant’s showreel to give you an idea of the work they do!



Ghost of Christmas Future

The following project was the brainchild of Neilson Reeves; to create a ghost of Christmas – showcasing the some of skills and facilities on offer at The Sharp Project and create a Christmas-themed image.
Below are some images of the process and the making of film, along with the finished product. Please click here for the full article from Neilson Reeves.
(click to enlarge)
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How it’s made:

Here is the finished image:
(click to enlarge)
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Neilson Reeves [Photography]

Joanna Pomfret [Filming & editing]

Hogan Burrows, MoCapOne [Model]

Rebecca Tupman [Make-up]

ELP [Lighting]

Tom Rothwell, SharpFutures [Runner]

The Sharp Project [Venue & Location]



Working with Colour

After reading this article. (Summary: Brands should utilise colour more to attract customers and to stay fresh & unique.)

I was inspired to write about my experience of working almost exclusively with a colourful brand. The Sharp Project‘s branding was designed by Malcolm Garrett of [], who I worked with closely on the re-design of The Sharp Project’s new brochure for 2013 as brand consultant.

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This made me realise how the colour of the brand is inherent in the building, it’s identity and also from a practical sense – all the colours apply to different areas of the building (which all serve different purposes) and are used in the way-finding graphics and colour schemes which contribute to The Sharp Project’s uniqueness.

 photo wayfindi-tsp_zps9caf93e7.jpgWorking with the brand is a bit of a double-edged sword; as on the one hand it’s nice and useful to have the variation in colour – meaning I have different attributes to draw upon and have more freedom with my designs whilst still staying within the boundaries of the brand guidelines.

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It also means that depending on the nature of the design and where/how/what it’ll be used for dictates the colours I use e.g. If we have an event in The Campus, the colours I’ll use are gold, orange and grey…

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However on the other hand it can be a challenge in that the logo has to always feature atop a white background or this fairly neutral green/grey colour [#dce2de], which can sometimes be limiting when designing a promotional piece or if using it alongside other branding. But in terms of versatility it’s very good to work with, and can be varied using a combination of the lettering and/or roundel.

I’m looking forward to working with Malcolm Garrett on future brand work for The Sharp Project, SharpFutures and beyond.

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