Tuesday, November 30, 2010

P&W Los Angeles | Noah's Ark Exhibit

Noah’s Ark is a wooden ark exhibit inspired by the ancient flood story, filled with hand crafted animals constructed from recycled materials and everyday items such as bicycle parts, bottle caps, mop heads, rear view mirrors.

The whole area is interactive with life sized puppets, places to climb, explore, play and learn.

Storms can be created, thunder, wind and rain using instruments and mechanical sound devices. There is even a rainbow projected onto the back wall.

Some of our favs:

Lyndsay: Flamingo made from handbags, combs and spools of thread

Danielle: Stag made from a tractor seat and pitch forks for antlers

Heather: Crocodile made from a violin case

Zebra made from keyboard and air conditioning drums

Polar bear made from bath tub, bucket and plumbing foam

Owl made from fans and a spring

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Premium Belgian Cookies | Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, USA

We have designed a range of premium imported Belgian cookies for Tesco’s US chain Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market. These imported cookies are covered in rich Belgian chocolate with various fillings such as coconut, caramel, hazelnut and orange.

The dark luxurious photography screams indulgence whilst ensuring the product is the hero of the pack. The photography is enhanced with a backdrop of its ingredients communicating high quality. Premium cues are delivered through minimal contemporary type in zingy colors balanced with a warm metallic silver for a luxury boost.

“The design treatment required for this range was that of indulgence. These products were selected as best in class and we feel our design communicated that with elegance. Merchandised in store, these would be identifiable as a top tier choice with the dark background blocking them out as a group and the matt varnish eliminating any glare from store lighting. The design solution utilizes the entire pack showcasing the cookies and through romance copy, describes what makes these the finest choice”.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

P&W Los Angeles | 1000 Journals Project

The project was launched 10 years ago by Brian Singer, a San Francisco designer, he sent blank journals with cover designs by a variety of emerging and well-known artists into the world with an open invitation to add writing, art, poetry, and musings to each journal and pass it along.

The journals have traveled by air, sea, and land throughout the US and 40 other countries. 15 of the returned journals were on display at the Skirball cultural center in LA.

This art form is a complicated combination of urban graffiti, rude bathroom wall musings, deep confessions, poetry and enlightening philosophy.

Our thoughts:


  • amusing
  • reading ‘between’ the lines in every sense of the word
  • legal and seemingly structured new age graffiti


  • unique
  • inspiring to see people’s creativity
  • relevant- I found an entry from London & an entry about Lomography

  • impressed with the variety of cities the journals traveled to
  • organized chaos
  • found the "confession-type" entries to be the most entertaining/interesting

Friday, October 15, 2010

Plantain Snack | Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, USA

We have designed Plantain chip packaging for Fresh & Easy, which lauched in stores this week. In Southwest regions of the world, plantains are a staple and are treated much like a potato, making this lightly salted crisp a great alternative to the ordinary potato chip.

Containing only three ingredients, Plantains, Sunflower Oil and Salt, this simple snack is free of artificial ingredients, unlike the leading chip brands. We decided to emphasize the simplicity through a clean honest design solution. The hand-painted playful typography and exotic shades of green applied to a wood-textured background helped us to achieve a design suggestive of a tropical fruit stand. Offering this unique product in an appropriately skinny bag will hopefully peak the interest of consumers, and secure it’s spot as a highly marketable item.

“The unusual nature of plantain crisps required a novel design treatment that would differentiate it from more conventional snacking products, while giving strong provenance cues. We were really pleased with the solution, which is simple, original and eye catching. The structure of the design offers plenty of scope for range extensions if it is decided to expand into flavored SKUs”.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

P&W Wins Pentaward for Fresh & Easy Kid’s Cereals

We have won a Pentaward award for our F&E Kid‘s Cereal!

The three-strong range, Cookie Bites, Cocoa Sharks and Apple & Cinnamon Smiles, have been designed to achieve cut-through in a category replete with bright colours, artificial flavours and cartoon characters, including well-known licenses such as The Flintstones, and TV "stars" such as Count Chocula.

The Fresh & Easy products are free of artificial colourings and flavours and contain less sugar than many of the mainstream brands, but we wanted to promote these core Fresh and Easy values with a sense of fun. We transformed the boxes into individual characters, each one about to guzzle back a bowl of their favourite cereal. Their bold, graphic style is unique to the market and stands apart from the more visually cluttered branded competitors. To increase engagement and repeat purchase, and imbue the packs with Fresh & Easy’s personality, we also created games, such as mazes and fun word-finders, to feature on back of pack.

“We are very proud of the new Fresh & Easy Kids’ cereals range. There is so much choice within breakfast cereals in the USA, that it can be fairly bewildering for parents who just want to give their children a nutritious start to the day. Our work with Fresh & Easy has been all about helping US consumers to choose top-quality products. To come up with a set of designs that not only stand out at the fixture but also use the whole of the pack to add a real sense of fun to compete with the brands, is testament to the insight and ability of our design team.”

UPDATE- March 2011
Read more about our kids cereal featured by other blogs and design magazines.

Friday, October 8, 2010

P&W appointed to gifting brief by Burnt Sugar

Design agency P&W has been selected by confectionery brand Burnt Sugar to design a range of gift packaging as co founders Justine and Colin Cather look to raise the brand’s profile in the gifting and sharing arena. Part-owned by distributors Petty Wood and Co, the Burnt Sugar product range, which has listings in Waitrose includes fudge, caramels and honeycomb available in 110g packs. With the continued growth of home entertainment and consumer interest in nostalgic and “comfort” treats, the new gifting range will be targeted at less formal gifting occasions such as dinner parties and Big Nights In.

Commenting on the appointment, P&W Founding Partner Adrian Whitefoord said:

“With the rise in interest in good old-fashioned indulgence, there is an opportunity in the gifting market to occupy a niche for unpretentious treats that show a bit more imagination and personality than a bottle of wine or box of chocolates. We are delighted to be working with Burnt Sugar on this project, which could provide the brand with significant new opportunities. We have always enjoyed working with entrepreneurs who have a genuine passion for their products, and Justine certainly comes into that category.”

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Around the world simmer sauce- Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market USA

We have designed a range of cooking sauces for Fresh & Easy. Inspired by recipes from around the world, the range offers diverse and authentic sauces, perfect for introducing the inexperienced chef to easy ethnic cuisine. The vivid imagery and design details make each pack unique, allowing you to travel the world without leaving the kitchen!

The design emphasizes the use of quality ingredients through colorful ingredients based photography. By using a crystal label on an elegant glass jar; we convey honesty and belief in the product allowing the consumer to see the sauce they are purchasing. Incorporating hits of silver metallic, bright color combinations and easy-to-follow 1,2,3, cooking instructions on the back, the results are a product that will be a strong competitor within a small but growing category.

“We are very proud of the new Fresh & Easy Simmer Sauce range. This is a fairly new category in the USA, so it was important to convey the convenience and ease of cooking using a simple 3 step process on the back. Our work with Fresh & Easy has been all about helping US consumers to choose top-quality products. To come up with a elegant solution that not only stands out at the fixture but also uses the whole of the pack to communicate the quality of ingredients and ease of use, is testament to the insight and ability of our design team.”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Anthony Gormley, Breathing room III

A while ago, Mark organised a creative lunch for the team, a tradition at p&w. 8 of us went down to Anthony Gormely’s latest Exhibition Breathing room III, at the White cube Gallery, in Mason’s Yard, Mayfair. The artist had created this installation using 15 interconnecting Photo-luminescent “space frames” that filled almost the whole of the gallery space. It was like being in the 1980’s film Tron, walking through the bright blue shapes, It was very calm and relaxing to look at until... we all got a shock as the brightest lights came on filling the whole room with white light, the point being to re-charge the florescent paint on the frames, and changing the whole experience and emotions triggered by the exhibition.

“Time and light are the principal materials of the work. Breathing Room III encourages the viewer to enter into and interact with a defined sculptural space, where intense bursts of light interrupt complete darkness, unexpectedly jolting the experience from one of quiet meditation to acute interrogation.”

The trip was a success and enjoyed by all who came along, we try and encourage monthly creative lunches, which can be anything
that will help getting those creative juices flowing, for inspiration and getting the team together in a different environment.

Who knows what we will all be up to on the next creative lunch?...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

P&W Los Angeles | Lomography

After hearing all about the London studio’s Lomography workshop and seeing their fantastic shots, we eagerly awaited our turn at the Los Angeles Lomography gallery in West Hollywood.

We signed up for the ‘lubitel lovers’ workshop, little did we know that this is the most advanced and most expensive piece of Lomography kit. It’s twin lens, fully manual, manual focus, exposures and apertures, with a waist level view finder and can shoot flexible 120 or 35mm format.

We were briefed on the basics and the features and off we went walking the streets of West Hollywood. Part of our shooting was the busy streets of Santa Monica Boulevard and part venturing into the quieter residential neighborhoods. The double exposure feature was our favorite.

Our anticipation built before seeing the results once our film was developed.......let us know what you think of our efforts.

This style of photography is so different to our digital age and is wildly fun, not knowing what you will end up getting when the film is developed is strangely wonderful! Not being able to use any special digital color or light effects gives you an uneasy feeling but also pumps you full of creative ideas, its just a good old glass camera lens working hard for you.

A manual for the manual camera would have been nice, I don’t know if I used any of the settings correctly? I don’t think any of us did.

But that’s what Lomography is all about ... NO RULES, NO GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW, NO WRONG AND NO RIGHT, right?

*Just a hunch, but I think the LA shots might have a bit more SUNLIGHT in them, and might be great as a slide show streaming to the song “California Girls” by Katy Perry. :) 

Lubitel Ladies - lubitel-workshop

Lyndsay's 120 format shots

Heather's 120 format shots

Danielle's 35mm format shots (with exposed sprockets)

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Our resident Lomography nuts, Nicola and Jamie, have often been overheard excitedly discussing fish eye lenses, vignetting, and multiple exposures, whilst the rest of us were left wondering what all the fuss was about.

All that changed when the studio attended a Lomography workshop as part of our creative lunch series, where we were introduced to the wonderful world of Dianas and Holgas (names of their most popular cameras not some foreign exchange students!).

After a brief introduction to the basics, we donned our toy-like cameras and ventured out into the streets of London. The brief was simple: shoot anything you like - just have fun! This seems to be the essence of Lomography as it's not at all a precise science, and encourages shooting from the hip and spontaneity. Also, the fact you're shooting on film (remember those days?) means you can't review what you've just shot, which at first seems frustrating compared to the modern style of photography we are all so accustomed to now, but is actually quite liberating as you don't waste time deliberating over details. You shoot, you move on. Simple.

With the films developed, we held our own private view down the local pub, with a judging panel formed by those who were unable to attend the workshop. So, along with Paul and Jess, Michaila (our self-decreed chief judge!) decided the winners. Drum roll please...

Mel's winning duel-frame multiple-exposure of Carnaby Street (groovy, man).

Sam's 2nd prize theatrical multiple-exposure.

Vicky's 3rd prize multi-layered multiple-exposure
(have you spotted the general theme yet?!).

Mark's abstract comment on the fall of Western society.....or just a pretty picture of a Coke can?

Jamie seemed to know exactly where in Soho to get this great shot!

Phil's homage (or should that be Lom-age) to Martin Parr.

A Wes-eyed view of London street life.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Footie Fashion

How could we let the World Cup go by without adding our own design slant to proceedings? So, on the back of our World Cup sweepstake we set the challenge for the whole studio to design a t-shirt for their selected country - creatives and non-creatives alike.

At the unveiling party we all voted for our favourites, with Akiko's 'cheesy' Swiss solution sweeping all others aside as she stormed to victory (which has proved a good omen for Japan so far, but less so for Switzerland!).

Paul and Mel (or rather Italy and Chile) were the runners up, but in true English tradition it's not the winning that counts, it's the taking part......although sadly England seemed to take this maxim a tad too literally!

The winners

Japan & North Korea make friends!

'Portugal - sometimes hot sometimes not'!

Germany & Spain enjoy a pint with North Korea

Old friends England & France

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Price of Fame

It was reported recently that Paul Rankin, Northern Irish celebrity chef, familiar from his regular appearances on TV, is also fairly big in FMCG. His Rankin Selection brand, including such products as pork sausages, soda bread and potato farls, has a turnover of £30 million per year. Coming in the week that Fred Perry announced that Amy Winehouse is designing a line of clothing, it got us thinking about the power of celebrity branding versus design.

Celebrity licenses are an awkward proposition for packaging designers – they are rarely conducive to great creativity, often not much more sophisticated than sticking a familiar face in question on the pack alongside the product itself. If this approach sells more product than our meticulously crafted designs then what does that say about the value of creativity? The reality is that celebrity is volatile, as Tiger Woods has recently proven. Celebrities are brands, and when they move into the food and drink market their brands need to be managed and protected just like any other.

Gordon Ramsay’s retail presence extends to a couple of chocolate selections, which by his own admission he does not rate. It is unlikely that the people at Kraft, surveying their newly acquired Cadbury brands, will be losing sleep. Jamie Oliver, on the other hand, has developed a portfolio of sub-brands to enable him to extend into multiple different categories, all of them a neat fit with his personality and values.

Of the top products of last year, reported in The Grocer in December, the only celebrity-endorsed brands are Lloyd Grossman in the cooking sauces category, and Ainsley Harriott Cup Soup, comfortably outsold by Batchelors. Powdered Cup Soup seems like an odd choice for a chef, but with Ainsley’s reputation for simplifying – witness his Fairy Power Spray ad campaign – there is a link. The varieties on offer are sufficiently adventurous to justify the celebrity tag. But brands like Phileas Fogg or New Covent Garden are equally well placed to guide consumers into new territory. And they come without the hassle (and price tag) of a celebrity license.

At the Grocer Food and Drink Awards, Ainsley’s Thai Chicken & Lemongrass Cup Soup, and Marco Pierre White’s Glorious, lost out to New Covent Garden’s Beef & Irish Stout in the soup category. Glorious also lost out in Chilled Savoury to Mash Direct. James Martin Belgian Chocolate Fondant Mix finished behind Mrs Crimble’s Gluten Free Bread in Bakery. The winners were selected not just based on the jury’s opinions, but also on the results of an online research programme using a consumer panel.

This would seem to suggest that genuine innovation and high-quality design can win out over celebrity endorsement. If you can combine the two, as Oliver’s has done, then you are on to a winner. But as far as Amy Winehouse branching out into other artistic endeavours goes, our response, to quote the lady in question, would have to be “No, no, no.”

Friday, March 5, 2010

A love/hate relationship? No thanks.

A few months back, we had a number of breakfast-related projects going through the studio. In one brainstorm we were debating the merits of breakfast on-the-go, and the subject of cereal bars obviously came up. One individual felt particularly strongly about the predominance of sweet variants, and the lack of a convenient on-the-go option for those, like him, who preferred their breakfast savoury. "Where", he wondered, "is the cereal bar equivalent of Marmite on toast?"

Well, now we know. It's on the shelves, in the shape of the new Marmite cereal bar. Strategically, this makes perfect sense of course, with the on-the-go market booming, and none of the other savoury snack brands having come up with a cereal bar. Theoretically, Marmite can hang on to existing consumers who are suddenly too busy to make toast in the mornings, and attract some new users who don't eat Marmite the spread but are nevertheless in the market for a savoury bar.

They were giving them out free on Marylebone Station this week, supporting a clever ad campaign featuring lots of outlandish possible Marmite products with the strapline "Have we gone too far?" Obviously we all tried them - design is hungry work. Sadly for the Marmite brand team, though, who declared boldly "Consumers really will either love it or hate it." (Daily Mirror, 25/10/09), the overwhelming reaction amongst the team was one of complete indifference.

Therein lies the problem with the kind of provocative positioning adopted by the likes of Marmite, Yorkie and Pot Noodle. The idea is that those people who are already consumers get a buzz and a certain pride out of being amongst the chosen few, and everyone else is driven to try the product by a bit of reverse psychology - if you say this is not for me, then I am jolly well going to have it. But when the product does not live up to promise, it ends up looking a little hollow.

Marmite, the spread, really does divide consumers because it is unique, unmistakeable, a bit eccentric, and above all it is potent - a little goes a long way. The unfortunate truth about the cereal bars is that they do not look any different from any other product in the category, they are tough and dry and taste vaguely of Marmite. Hardly enough to inspire extremes of emotion.

Perhaps they really have gone too far.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Designing out advertising

Writing in The Guardian earlier this week, Jackie Ashley called for a ban on advertising on such as public amenities as bus stops, payphones, taxis and so on. The main thrust of the article was that excessive advertising is the root cause of the unsustainable consumerism that drives British society, not because we are all driven, brainwashed, directly to the tills by every bit of advertising we see, but because it creates a sense of dissatisfaction with what we have, and a desire to seek happiness through material possessions. What really caught my eye though, was the above call for an end to advertising on public places.

"How much prettier and more restful the urban landscape would be" she writes. Clearly, this is a lady who has not been without her mobile phone for a long time. Such a fate befell me yesterday, and I had to use a payphone. As I approached the bright silver kiosk tucked away by the Tube barriers, her musings came back to me. There is a touch of rather un-Guardianesque nostalgia about them - echoes of Boris Johnson harking back to the days of red telephone boxes, routemaster buses and the like. But the fact is that most of today's amenities seem designed with advertising in mind. Certainly if all advertising was removed, my local bus stop would not be a more attractive or interesting place. The same can be said of stations, payphones and even libraries.

Of course the major flaw in her argument (and one that she studiously avoids) is the financial implication. The hand-wringing over the decline in children's programme-making is directly linked to the ban on advertising to kids cutting off the funding. Similarly, if train companies weren't allowed to advertise on their services, ticket prices would probably be considerably higher. The Guardian, the newspaper for which Jackie Ashley writes, would probably cost upwards of a fiver. You have to get money into public services somehow, and given the state of the nation's finances, cutting off advertising revenue does not seem like a prudent course of action.

Notwithstanding such pragmatism, it would be nice to see some iconic design adorning such public places, heirs to the likes of the bright red phone box. That advertising is the route of consumerism is an over-statement - the media, celebrity culture and the banks are complicit in the same circle. But it would be a shame if every area of life submitted to it. However, stripping away the advertising from today's urban spaces would reveal a joyless cityscape im which function has overcome form. We may not be able to change the world at a stroke, but why not start with the bus stop?

Ideas on a postcard please - or failing that, the back of a bus timetable.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Whole New (Brand) World?

In Tuesday's Metro, Simon Manchipp, "founder of the London-based design practice SomeOne" (it says here), wrote a piece about the death of the logo, declaring that the public don't want them anymore. Far better, he says, for brand to offer "immersive brand world experiences", citing a recent online survey. It is not made entirely clear exactly what this means, but from what we can deduce, it seem to mean a flexible identity that can be adapted to suit different pieces of communications.

There are are two possible responses to this, the short one, and the longer, slightly more considered one.

Let's go with the short one first: it's rubbish.

Now for the slightly more detailed version. Campaignable identities are not a new thing, but the idea that consumers have completely lost interest in logos looks a bit ridiculous when you consider the number of people walking around wearing a Nike swoosh on their trainers, eating at the Golden Arches, before getting into their Renaults and driving off into the Sunset.

The dominant trading environment for most brands and products remains the retail store (and yes I've read The Long Tail). These stores are not, for the most part, conducive to creating "brand worlds" and the visual shorthand of symbols and iconography remains the most effective way for brands to communicate and consumers to select the product they want. We all recognise and have some kind of emotional response to, for example, the Coca Cola bottle, the Innocent pip, The Famous Grouse's eponymous hero, etc. Yes we do have deeper and more active relationships with these brands through different communications channels, but these symbols are still hardwired into our conciousness and are guaranteed to trigger a response.

Now what Mr Manchipp was talking about was the 2012 European Championship identity, which has been developed to be customisable by supporters from individual nations. In the fact that it is designed to be more dynamic and flexible than the traditional static logo, it bears comparison to that other 2012 logo which got rather a lot of tongues wagging, the London Olympic Identity. The whole point of that, and why it was doomed to ridicule after being unveiled in such a ham-fisted way, was that it was meant to be animated so that it could be stretched across lots of different sub-brands for events, sponsors, merchandise etc. It was, and is, customisable.

But it is still a logo.

Symbols remain immensely powerful communication devices, For organisations of all sizes, they are as important internally as they are customers, providing a vital touchstone for all to rally around in good times and bad. This is why flags have such emotional resonance, even in cynical, sceptical, broken Britain.

The logo is not dead - technology and the communications revolution have given it new life.