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Play By Your Own Rules: AGDA Workshop

The morning after Jessica Walsh’s AGDA keynote presentation, Julieann Brooker and a few fortunate Sydneysiders met to Play by Our Own Rules.

The task set by Jessica for the 2-hour workshop: Design, create and record a typographic piece within specific constraints. I recalled some of the bold typographic work Jessica Walsh and Stefan Sagmeister produce at Sagmeister & Walsh.

4 of jess work

Clearly, time was going to be our most challenging constraint,  and Jessica reminded us that limitations provide opportunities for creativity. The other three constraints were our team – we split into groups of five; the material – we scrambled to select only one set of media from the colourful range on offer; and the phrase we wrote – the shorter the better for by own rules DEWe dove for the reels of coloured crepe paper, spent less than two minutes on introductions, and eight minutes on brainstorming our words. We settled on Roll With It for the kinetic possibilities.

4 of process

We had 20 minutes to sketch some concepts, while Jessica played with a Sharpie and some typographic art in her notebook. She was clearly in flow, and soon, so were we.

Jess artline

We started big and bold, on the floor, red words on black paper. Jessica advised us to work small(er), both for speed and ease of production.


We changed process. Restricted to our one media, we innovated and twisted the crepe to produce a finer ribbon.

4 of process 2

We chose three bolder colours and complementary cardboard backgrounds. We worked fast, laying out the words and photographing intermittently in order to produce the stop-motion.

Roll with it-colour

We had an hour to create it, and 20 mins to photograph it. We used every minute, hastily inverted the pic order and created a gif of the piece for the quick group presentation.


Our team was strong – all AGDA members, practicing creatives or design educators. All eager to participate and contribute, five was perhaps too many, and teams of three may’ve been enough.

others 1.jpgOne group used party poppers to illustrate the verb ‘pop’, and another ‘handle with care’ with drinking straws.

One of Jessica’s mantras is: “Just get off the computer and make shit.”  And that’s what we did.

make shit_2

The results are raw and far from finished, but absolutely adequate to experience this innovative approach – taking chances, starting over, and experimenting with techniques not available via digital media.

Play has proven benefits for creativity, moving students – and businesses – from a ‘fixed’ to a ‘growth’ mindset. In his book Play, Stuart Brown writes, “Play is nature’s greatest tool for creating new neural networks and for reconciling cognitive difficulties.”

See Macleay College Advertising & Media students playing, and generating dynamic typographic and illustrative work for Pacific Artisan, in our Creative Process TypePlay® workshop here.

Pa thumb square

AGDA is the acronym for the Australian Graphic Design Association Limited, and is our design industry body. Annual membership starts at $65. Benefits include access to resources and discounts to local and international events.

What’s new? The idea…

Originally published in The Drum’s Cannes issue on 24 June, guest edited by Maurice Lévy.

As Cannes Lions kicks off, Publicis Groupe boss and guest editor Maurice Lévy shares his obsession with creativity in the leader article of The Drum’s special Cannes issue.

My first Cannes Festival was back in 1972. Over 40 years ago, can you imagine! This was the time when, mimicking the great festivals of the Grand Film, we were swinging between Cannes and Venice, and its splendid Mostra, obviously. I have vivid memories of the numerous festivals I attended: tensions, passions, rants, and even punches sometimes, to support an idea, a campaign, a commercial…

I have never strayed from this passion for creativity and it would be ill-timed to fall, out of nostalgia, into the ‘these were good old days’ pitfall. Of course, things have changed. However, we must greet this new world with enthusiasm. Today like yesterday, we shall beat the drum and hail every new era.

I am genuinely delighted to be here today, in these very pages. Not because of a tendency for egotism or self-centredness – a widely shared leaning within our industry. Rather, quite simply, to offer a perspective and an idea.

The perspective is the one I never departed from; that of the marvelled child – that of painters and poets, from Baudelaire to Picasso – who constantly wonders at a beautiful campaign. These images, those words do touch me as they should move our consumers. Marcel Bleustein- Blanchet, the founder of Publicis, used to refer to collective intimacy, and this is what advertising is all about: collective emotions that appeal to intimacy and sensitivity.

The idea is that creativity is very simply the newest imaginable idea. Another old trick, some might say, with yet another rambling on the methods of advertising that have done the job for ages. Alas, no! This is precisely the mindset that opens you up to the world, with curiosity, intelligence and sensitivity. This is about gaining a new perspective, seeing through a new prism, thus looking at the product, the brand or the consumer differently. Out of this discrepancy, a freshness arises that will once again give birth to beautiful stories that will change the brand’s tale.

Then of course, the variations are countless: movies, ads, digital, technology, illustrations, etc. Yet all remain a mean, a medium – serving the idea and the brand. Therefore, the medium is not the message (sorry McLuhan), since the idea will always be alpha and omega. Don’t misunderstand what I am trying to convey: creative ideas are what we find for our clients. I would never discount the media or other indispensable means of communication. I simply believe that the reason we succeed is creativity. In everything we do. From thinking to execution; from planning to media; from digital to POS.

Cannes Lions, here we go, once again. And the passion is still there; vibrant, powerful, although occasionally too commercial, I reckon (to top it all off, for an Ad Man! or a Mad Man as we put it nowadays). This year I will be looking for that discovery that will catch me by surprise, move me, marvel the child inside of me, and make me say with sparkling eyes, ‘I wish I had done this’.

‘Don’t disappear up your own arse’, warns William Hill CMO

This recent piece by Charlotte McEleny of UK publishers Brand Republic is great as it highlights that there is still room in marketing for ‘experience’ and ‘gut feeling…

William Hill CMO Kristof Fahy urged brands not to over-complicate content and measurement by “disappearing up their own arse” during a panel discussion at BrandMAX event in London recently.


Both William Hill and fellow panelist Just Eat admitted that they found the majority of content measurement to be irrelevant and over-complicated, suggesting that it’s better to get content “out there” and to measure later.

Kristof Fahy, CMO at William Hill, argued that betting companies are well placed to comment on the issue because as a business they have always had to create content to encourage betting.

“For the ROI big picture, we are the prime case study. What I do know is that it works, but one question is measuring,” he said, “Do it first and measure it later. You’ll never do the right thing otherwise. If you understand your brand and customers, content should be relatively easy.”

Fahy explained that William Hill doesn’t run a brand tracker because asking someone whether they liked the brand would depend on whether they’d recently won £20 or lost £20. He said the brand focused on two key metrics; new account growth and turnover, and directed all content and marketing KPIs to them.

“[WIlliam Hill is] horrifically focused on the numbers; new account growth and turnover. Once you start disappearing up your own arse as a brand, you have to come back to the fundamentals; who is our audience and what are they doing?” he said.

He referenced his time at Orange, which he believed fell foul to this mistake. “At Orange we did disappear up our arses, we forgot the point; how many phones are we selling?” He urged marketers to remember that customers were ultimately paying their wages.

He also cited William Hill’s World Cup success, claiming that they were the number one betting brand across the tournament earlier this year. However, he said that it was difficult to attribute that success to its investment in content. The brand launched an online TV show with James Richardson that featured famous footballers, but he also questioned whether it was down to its odds slashing for key games which was essentially “giving money away”.

Just Eat CMO Mat Braddy supported Fahy’s views on using brand and customer knowledge to power content decisions. He said: “Content is not king, it’s the context. The context of how I use Vine versus Snapchat, for example, they all have completely different contexts in my digital life. Context is forgotten in a lot in conversations about content.”

This article plus more from Brand Republic at:

The Future of Mobile

Hey guys, if you are interested in subscribing to “Business Insider”, you can check out this presentation on the future on Mobile.

The future of mobile is being redefined. The smartphone and tablet markets are nearing saturation. The days of heady hardware growth are long gone.



Mobile growth is moving into media, advertising, software, and services. Meanwhile, new devices are expanding the meaning of “mobile.”

Click here for the link to “Business Insider”


The emotional power of colour


Check out this great article by Talia Wolf from CONVERSIONER, reblogged below:

Have you ever thought about the effect the color of your landing page has on your users? With the average time on page decreasing from year to year (now 2.4 seconds), we have a limited amount of time to “convince” users to stay on our site. Images and colors are processed much quicker than words and so they play a very important role in your conversion.emotional effect of color

In the past we’ve written about creating the right call to action buttons and landing pages, emotionally and technically. Color has a very powerful hold when it comes to persuading your users to take the action that you require. Colors have proven emotional effects on people and can affect the performance of your landing pages dramatically. For example, in 2011 a research found that people who are exposed to the color red react in greater speed, or a another very interesting research found that the usage of blue streetlights was believed to prevent street crime! Emotional conversion optimization takes the color emotional guide into account when creating hard-working, successful landing pages & call to action buttons.

The Emotional Effect of Colors

Choosing the color palette for your sales site is a science. Wired into the human psyche is our emotional response to different wavelengths of color. Every color on the color wheel evokes a different mood or feeling. While color effects can be subjective, and vary from culture to culture, some colors have a universal meaning. For example, red is perceived as a warm color, and blue as a cold one. Since every color stimulates a corresponding reaction, we can use these emotional built-in triggers to our advantage on landing pages and in call to action buttons. Check out these call to action buttons below and the emotional effect of colors on conversion:


Source: Kissmetrics

Let’s consider a few examples:

Impulse shoppers respond best to red, black and royal blue. You’ll find these colours in fast food outlets, outlet malls and clearance sales – and they can work well as call to action buttons for impulse purchases.
Brands with a friendly, cheerful and confident brand personality will use orange in their corporate livery and on their websites: Fanta for example, is all about taking action, right now!
Fanta emotional colors

Looking to attract users who want stability and safety? Check out the brand colors of companies like American Express , Skype and Pfizer and choose blue for your website. A call to action button in blue will be saying: lean on us; you can trust us; we will give you a reliable service. Navy blue catches the attention of shoppers on a budget.

The Emotional Effect of Colors on Conversion

Whilst it goes without saying that your call to action buttons need to command attention without overwhelming your design, you can go a long way to improving your landing page performance with the right colors. So, if you find yourself asking, which color converts best, think of the qualities your target audience admires or resonates with, think about the action you want to provoke in your users. Guide your users through your sales funnel by using color cues to persuade them to make the choices that lead to conversion.

Consider Skype and their colors: which landing page below would you bet on conversion wise, and why?

Winners, winners, chicken dinners!

Thanks again to all of the students, teachers and staff of Sydney’s Macleay College who got behind this community project to achieve such amazing results!

61 entries, 39 participants, 8 gorgeous winners!

The artworks have now been installed in our Sydney campus and I encourage you to walk around and take in their beauty.

Here are the eight winners in no particular order. Congratulations to  Adriana Kind, Amy Miller, Gemma Cunliffe, Julieann Brooker, Katie Gow, Manny Aston, Mohammad Rassa and Rebecca Hopper…

MC Art on Walls vFINAL8 MC Art on Walls vFINAL7 MC Art on Walls vFINAL6 MC Art on Walls vFINAL5 MC Art on Walls vFINAL4 MC Art on Walls vFINAL3 MC Art on Walls vFINAL2 MC Art on Walls vFINAL

Head of Advertising Wins International Film Award

We are thrilled to announce that our own Head of Advertising, Ian Thomson, added another trophy to his mantelpiece overnight by picking up the Best Documentary award at the London Surf Film Festival.

“So stoked that ‘OUT in the Line-Up’ received the Best Documentary award at the London Surf Film Festival last night! Thanks so much to Demi and Chris for organising a great festival. Highlight was meeting surf author Tim Baker and fellow film-maker Ava Warbrick.”



This is Ian’s ninth international award this year for his breakthrough documentary ‘OUT in the Line-Up’ which he wrote and directed. He’s also won awards in San Diego, Newport Beach, Honolulu and locally for Best Surf Film at the Byron Bay International Film Festival and the Best Documentary award at the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival.

Ian has worked for many years as a writer and director for advertising and is now extending his know-how into long format film-making. The advertising students at Macleay College get the chance to learn from Ian’s hands-on experience as a director for film and advertising.

Congratulations on behalf of everyone at Macleay College, this is a tremendous acheivement.

To see more of Ian’s work drop by and for more information on the film visit