And the prize for funniest shop display of the week goes to…

Boots – and their somewhat misplaced display of water filters and purifiers in the ‘weak bladder’ isle.

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Egg on your shop display designers!

(Or the POS department)…

Messy.

Messy.

What a shame! Someone in the display section of this major high street retailer really missed an opportunity. These egg timers have all the promise of making an eye catching product in the kitchen department. Why not try to feature them with an equally eye-catching display? Egg cups anyone? Or even better an egg box to be truly authentic with the amount of egg timers and different colours available.

I found this egg packaging endearing: behance – though just an open egg box would have been fine…

Lovely simple egg display…

A simple egg box would have done...

A simple egg box would have done…

Branding doesn’t stop with a good product and messaging. The packaging is just as important – and if there is none in a retail environment, POS or display design takes on a crucial role in expression that brand message. Looking at the shelf now it says bright and will fly around the house. Not sure.

If it was neatly displayed, and looked organised, that would be more my cup of tea. Kitchens get messy without anyone doing much of anything! If you compare this display to any of the  Joseph Joseph brand, I am quite certain they would have made a feature of the holder as much as of the product.

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Ladle stand..

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Chopping board file…

Ad hoc” tea infuser design with stand – no dripping, rolling off or mess after use

Branding is in the detail. And those little extra details can make all the difference in the busy shelves or high street shops…

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Pandora – and that Valentine’s ad with just a bit too much flesh…

It’s made me stop every time I walked passed, which may be considered a good thing in the world of branding and advertising, but this advert has actually lost its charm for me.

I can’t decide if it is the strange nose like bit on the top of the ad or the background looking far too much like flattened skin with a ribbon and items spread across it. It’s just not working for me! It clearly can’t be skin because it would seem very peculiar to spread a number of bracelets across someone’s tummy and still have that much space left in-between without showing any limbs.

Oh well, Valentine’s is over so hopefully there will be another less curious advert appearing there instead.

Is it skin? Is it a nose? Whatever it is, it's not making me want to get near it!

Is it skin? Does it have a nose? Whatever it is, it’s not making me want to get near it!

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Title screen designer – you’re fired.

I know it’s personal taste and subjective but where was it ever a good idea to mix left aligned and centred especially in such close proximity and without any apparent need to?

The Apprentice titles are never a typographical feast for the eye but this really narks me. It would have been so easy to add a sub title that matches in style – or was this one of Lord Sugars’ unpublished tasks for ‘the candidates in the process’?

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Give me a franchise, give me some merchandise — please!

Parents of adventure-loving boys might relate to this. My son – and credit to him for his endurance – has been an avid Shark boy and lava girl movie fan for more than a year now.

That’s ok – but when his letter to Santa only contained one wish, it became more of an issue. He desperately wants a shark boy outfit.

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There is however little or no merchandise around – and the few retailers that do have some items are so niche that it all becomes very expensive.

It will need to be a DIY job, but it will never be as good as the original.

I think it shows how kids movies these days almost demand a product to satisfy fans. Out comes the movie, followed by the goods. Toy Story, Shrek, Frozen, Cars, Monsters inc… Or the more grown-up Starwars, Spider-Man and Batman (I think it’s funny that he can’t watch these, yet has already bought into the products).

Somehow this movie got away, and whilst I congratulate the fact that it means the lack of character merchandise actually stimulate his creativity and makes him create his own material, the part of me does not want to sit sewing shark fins on jogging suits wished shark boy had been branded a bit more!

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James Spader transformed into an elf – by design

Sometimes brand identities just get in the way. Like this one advertising The Blacklist on Sky, turning James Spader’s ear into an elf shaped one… Made me smile.

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Back to basics

We have a newbie in our family – which is why it’s been quiet on the blog. Now that life has settled in a bit, I think it’s time to go back to basics.

Branding is not only relevant to businesses, personal brands have been expanded and monetised for a long time – think Jamie Oliver, the Beckhams or in a crude way, politicians vying for votes.

Brands help categorise not only products, but also personalities, and as a combination of both they make us belong to our own little (or large) tribe. We all naturally brand ourselves not just by the clothes we pick, the phone we buy and the car we drive, there are also professional differentiators, such as job titles – and which company we work for.
With business social media sites the likes of LinkedIn, personal and professional branding has become more and more connected to our status in the market place.

Previous jobs, references, titles and responsibilities shape an image for those researching ‘human resources’ or useful connections for their own venture. Taking care of your image online is now high on the agenda – and it’s not down to make-up and work wear.

We have become official representatives of the businesses we are connected with, be it employers or our own. And they in turn need us to complete their own brand image. It is one big branding soup served as the market dish of the day.

Have a go and google yourself! It’s quite insightful to see what the world sees when your name comes up.

There are lots of little helpers to create a personal brand image for yourself. Depending on how you value your privacy and perhaps how ‘delicate’ you everyday life is, Facebook is one of the most known platforms. But, for a more business related approach, here are some thoughts on what to look out for:

Personal profile websites

Flavours.me
Flavours

About.me

About.me

Pixelhub.me

Pixelhub

Other useful sites to build – or check – your online brand reputation

Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users.

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking.

Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100.

Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”.

Many more are available and it depends on your location, your situation and your intention.

There are however boundaries to even the best attempts to brand yourself professionally – at least when it comes to insurance quotes! We work so hard on differentiating ourselves with job titles and descriptions, yet the IT systems behind the insurance broker websites don’t recognise half of them.

I have specialised in brand consultancy for many years now, combining the analysis and development of a brand strategy and visual brand identity / implementation, being, if anything, more of an art/creative director – yet I will always end up being a ‘graphic designer’ in the field of ‘marketing’. :-) I don’t mind, because at the end of the day I work with people and not form fields.

Personal branding is not about pigeon holing and it’s not about being crazy (unless there is a strategy for that) – but at the end of the day we are all professionals and the titles will only matter if someone actually has a tick box for them in their system.

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