Social Media: The second screen to the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is one of America’s biggest sporting events of the year, a lot of businesses tap into the fact they know the event will have millions of eyes watching it and therefore splash out the money to ensure their products are being seen by this mass amount of viewers.

More recently a second screen has been added to the Super Bowl, this second screen is social media. Over 24.9 millions tweets were generated in relation to the Super Bowl topping last years figure of 24.1 million. With these kinds of figures all the big brands have realised they need to have a strong presence on not only TV commercials during the event, but an online social presence.

Some of the big names include Budweiser, Audi, Jaguar and Coca-Cola all had a strong TV advert. The Budweiser advert topping the chart received an impressive 23.5 million views but on the back of that also received 317,885 social interactions as they had a strong social campaign running to support the TV advert.

Days after the event, Budwesier are still able to carry on the buzz surrounding their advert through the communication with their audience via social media.

You can view their Twitter profile here and follow them @Budwesier

Below, you can also view the TV ads mentioned






I used to pass The Sharp Project every weekend on the way to work, the thing that stood out to me was the glittery silver front.  I would be looking forward to a dull day at a fast food restaurant and passing it made me smile, but I never really understood what the building was. My second encounter with The Sharp Project was a little different; I’ve recently been selected to take part in a Social Media boot camp by another company, which I’d previously been rejected from. This time I wanted to stand out so I went in search of some work experience that would make me stand out from all the social media hopefuls.

That’s when my aunty suggested The Sharp Project, I immediately set out to try and find out a little more about it. After emailing SharpFutures they set up two days work experience for me to come in and talk to other people within the field, and gain a little knowledge about working within such an environment.

Although I had done some research prior to coming to The Sharp Project, it didn’t really prepare me in the slightest, pictures can’t really do the building justice. Apart from it being absolutely huge, it’s also extremely quirky and homely. It reminded me of the Google headquarters, all it needed was a slide! I was absolutely amazed by ‘Red’ which in normal speak is a row of glass cabins that different creative companies work from. It genuinely has a high street feel, and is a brilliant way for different companies to interact and exchange thoughts.

The Sharp Project feels like a community rather than office space, ‘The Campus’ (which in normal speak would probably be described as a canteen) is a hub of people eating, working and even playing ping pong. It feels like a courtyard with all the glass offices facing it, the air throughout the place is almost electric. I also had the chance to meet Sue Woodward, the Creative Champion behind The Sharp Project, talking to the person behind the extremely large building I was stood in was extremely exciting and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do so.

Being a young person trying to get into this particular industry at the moment is proving an impossible task, everybody wants to do it and trying to differentiate yourself from all the others is extremely difficult. It’s also very expensive to run your own business at such a young age, to make it work you need experience and that’s what The Sharp Project offered me.  Having spent time here speaking to the SharpFutures apprentices and looking around the office space I feel much more comfortable knowing that somewhere like this exists.

Spaces like The Sharp Project give the younger generation an opportunity to start their own business and let their own space for a small price, rather than trying to make a huge sum of money they’re trying to create jobs/opportunities and are trying to create a buzz around the industry.  My time at The Sharp Project with SharpFutures was short but I definitely won’t forget it, and who know in a few years I might find myself with a shipping container in Red!

Jessica, Student, 19


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.


Tech Predictions for 2014

( Image from )

2013 saw some good tech being released and some bad tech making its way out, the iPhone 5S and 5C was launched, Samsung tried to release a smart watch which eventually became a failure, and the Xbox One and PS4 both launched, and steam annnocuned their Steam Machine PC/Console hybrid.

But 2013 has been and gone, and now its the time to predict what tech we might be seeing in 2014.

Steam Machines

This is one of things I am 100% certian on.  In fact Valve showed off the different companies creating Steam Machines with some controversial price points at CES 2014.  These Steam machines are aimed at people who just want a living room PC that can play many of the great games us PC gamers have been playing, such as Serious Sam 3.  You can see a video of the announced Steam Machines below.

(ReviewTechUSA on YouTube going over the announced Steam Machines and comparing the price to the specs)

My main concern with the Steam Machines is that the highest price point for a steam machine is $6000US (£3659.65) a really high price point for a gaming machine.  However there are lower priced options which should play many games just fine.  Some of the Steam Machine will have both Windows and SteamOS so they should be able to play any games you throw at it, which is a good thing.

The idea with these Steam machines is that you can take them apart and upgrade the hardware which is benefical but that wouldn’t be its biggest selling point.

My prediction for this is that it’ll sell small ammounts, but not as much as Valve are hoping, this is due to the fact that most of the companies are placing a GTX Ttian graphics card in them, which alone costs £1000+ which obviously puts the price up a lot.

Tablets with phone functionality

The Asus PhonePad at CES is the first tablet that can have phone functionality without an app, however it requires another phone to be docked in the back of the tablet for it to use the phone functionality.  I’m hoping we start seeing more tablets with phone functionality bulit in as standard with certain tablet models, it would be brilliant to be able to answer a phone call while using my tablet as that would be awesome for multitasking.

(Video from TechnoBuffalo demonstrating the Asus Phone Pad Mini at CES 2014)

For example say your trying to watch a TV show on your tablet and someone rings your house, it would great to just tap a button and answer that call without having to go and get the phone.

Console quality mobile games

Tablet and Mobile games are still not all that great, however with nVida announcing the X1 Tegra chip its a real possiblity that we might start seeing much better mobile and tablet games. nVida claims that this new chip is more powerful than the PS3 and Xbox 360.  This new chip could start off a chain of new gaming tablets being released.

Information about this new chip can be found this found on this article from CVG.

My prediction is that we’ll start seeing affordable tablets and phones bulit specifically for gaming that use this new chip, tablets that are portable and light weight but pack power.

Google Glass release

Google’s controversial and amazing “Glass” hopefully sees release this year at a decent price as its something I personally want to use myself. This could start a whole chain of new wearable tech, and I hope it doesn’t meet the same fate as the Samsung Galaxy gear did.

Another thing I do hope is that people start accepting Google Glass more, because for YouTuber’s like myself it’ll be a brilliant tool to use for making videos without having lug around a camera.

You can see a review of the early access form of Google Glass below.

(Video from Engadget reviewing Google Glass )

My prediction is that Google Glass will do really well but not before there’s some heavy legislation which says what people can and cannot do with it.



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)
[alpine-phototile-for-picasa-and-google-plus src=”user_album” uid=”109238321103705156025″ ualb=”5956563295335543105″ imgl=”fancybox” style=”vertical” size=”800″ num=”1″ shadow=”1″ highlight=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]


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.

 photo TSP_logo-500px_zpse4675744.jpg

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.

 photo the-campus-logo-230px_zps73743404.jpg

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…

 photo campus-sign-xmas_zpsd3459209.jpg


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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Overview of my YouTube channel.

Before I became an Apprentice Web Developer I made a name for myself on YouTube doing screencasts.  What is a screencast you might ask? Its where someone broadcasts a recording of their computer screen for informative or educational purposes.

Where it all began

I signed up to YouTube back in April 2007, but I didn’t start making videos until much later, when a friend from school convinced me to give it a try.  I thought why not, I had nothing to lose by doing it.

My very first tutorial video was posted in April 2008.  It was a guide on how to use Microsoft Word 2007  and its makes me laugh when I see it as it makes me wonder how my videos could have been so badly produced.

I made pretty much every mistake with this video, the frame rate was poor, there was no narration, and I recorded me typing words into a word document while recording.

Around October the same year is when my channel started gaining some attention and some controversy with the following video.  A lot of people watched and liked the video, but on the flip side it was criticised for having too many links, poor video quality, pronouncing “Leopard” wrong and some people were even claiming the software used gave them viruses. (Which it didn’t by the way)  to this day it remains one of my most viewed videos on YouTube.

I’ve also done other videos which are not tutorial videos.  One such series is my controversial “Name & Shame” series where I would offer a comedic response to hate comments I got on YouTube, I actually had people in real life asking me to make more Name & Shame videos, but sadly due to me getting banned from YouTube the series had to be removed, and I have no plans to come back to it.  I also won’t be linking those videos for obvious reasons.

While I still make the occasional mistake here and there my tutorial videos have improved.  One of the more recent videos can be found below.

The feedback

The feedback I get on my videos is mostly positive.  With people saying thank you, and even now there’s people sharing my videos on Twitter and on Google+, and I have over 2340 subscribers at the time of writing this post.   I always love seeing constructive feedback too, as its helped me produce better content.

What influences the choice of topics I cover?

I don’t really have a standardised system of choosing what to cover in my videos, I usually look up stuff and then if it works for me do a video about it, this is of course for the tutorial videos. For my other videos such as the video blogs are influenced by what’s going on in the technology world or if there’s something I want to talk about.

How the videos are produced

To make the tutorial videos I’ve used a combination of software packages.  The ones that I like most are Camtasia Studio and BBFlashback.  They allow me to add zoom and pan effects to videos, record my voice and webcam at the same time, and they allow exporting in HD formats, and both are really easy to use they also allow me to tweak the format so I can get better quality.  A recent example of a video made with camtaisa can be found below.

As for my gaming videos, most of them are straight uploads to YouTube, but recently I’ve had a friend of mine edit the videos for me to save time.

Future Plans

Since I am a gamer and the fact tutorial videos are no longer what people want, I’ve decided to focus on creating gaming guides and lets plays instead, there are a lot of very large open world games out there and people will obviously need a helping hand with them, I also tend to think out loud a lot when playing games too which would make for a good video.  While I have done some commentaries like the one below, I’ve not done a massive series so far.


Designing The Sharp Project brochure by Dan Walsh

I recently completed my largest project to date, The Sharp Project‘s new brochure.

I was tasked with this project near the end of August, and it came off the press last week.

I really enjoyed working on such an important and comprehensive piece of work, although it was quite daunting to begin with, especially in the profiling and planning stages as I realised how much information we had to convey.

tsp-bro-blogI found it to be a steep learning curve, where I was challenged with using Adobe InDesign [for the first time doing anything more complex than flyers]. Working with Malcolm Garrett [] was incredibly useful and insightful and definitely gave me more of an idea of the precision and detail required of industry-standard graphic design.


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