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The 2014 thoughts archive

There's no doubting the value of strategic thinking.

True North are proud to have received further praise for results achieved for our clients (Gold Medal Stamps at The Drum Marketing Awards) and now also acknowledgment of results achieved for ourselves (the financial poll in The Drum’s Independent Agencies Census).  Provide intelligent solutions and everybody wins!

John Lewis, how do I love thee?

Well, it seems we don’t love John Lewis as much as we thought we did. Is it no longer enough to be the beacon of steadfast reliability? Calm and controlled as others circle like headless chickens? Speaking at Mumsnet’s Mumstock conference this week, Rachel Swift, John Lewis’ Head of Marketing for Brand, said that while the retailer is seen by its audience as authentic, high quality, good value and reliable “they don’t love us quite as much as you’d think…They want more inspiration and fun [from the brand]”. Actually, in research customers had been asked about whether they would ‘hang around’ with the brand if it were at a party, and had answered ‘not necessarily’. Now, granted I’ve not seen the full research findings and the context in which this was delivered, but do we want party people in all aspects of our lives? I for one would be hugely disappointed if John Lewis became fun. I have other places to go for fun. I want them glacially calm, never knowingly undersold and delivering everything I need with a minimum of fuss. Where else can I find that in a world of unrest? John Lewis frequently tops lists of favourite brands and revenue increased 6.6% during its last financial year. Just goes to prove that we must be careful how we interpret consumer research. Or at the very least, how it is reported.  'Fun' weekends all!  Sara

Barcelona head back to Manchester

Last week the team headed down to 2022 in the Northern Quarter to take in some work from the continent at the BCNMCR exhibition.

After attending the talks and exhibition last year when it was first organised by Dave Sedgwick we were happy and excited for it to be returning. The Exhibition and event showcases some of the top talent from Barcelona including Solo, Tormix, Clase BCN, Two Points and Alex Trochut among other talented studios.

The exhibition featured a series of one-off prints (available to purchase if you were quick enough) from all the featured agencies, all beautifully crafted and executed through type, colour and illustration, creating an exhibition that made you sit back, stare and admire some lovely pieces of graphic design.

We would fully recommend heading to the exhibition if you’re in Manchester between now and April 23rd. The event appears to have been even more successful than last years and hopefully it will return again in 2015. We hope so.

It must be mentioned that Dave Sedgwick does a fantastic job in organising this event, running the talks and exhibition. He has brought Manchester something that we don't have enough of. 

More information can be found here

After enjoying time in Barcelona last year I'm returning this Easter weekend and looking forward to sampling even more of the city's design culture first hand.


Cheltenham Design Festival

Last Friday saw the design team take a breather from the studio to attend the Cheltenham Design Festival.

In its third year and with past speakers such as Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Johnson, Adrian Shaughnessy and Marina Willer the Design Festival has become a popular event for students and professionals alike.

This year’s line up included the likes of Erik Kessels, Morag Myerscough, Jim Sutherland, Jamie Ellul and Laura Jordan-Bambach. It was our first time attending and we were not disappointed.

Although an early start for everyone, it turned out be a very inspiring day out. It was great to hear other designers talk about their work, the approach and the challenges they came up against during those projects. The great thing about the Cheltenham Design Festival is that there was something for everyone. The topics were varied and the speakers were from different backgrounds. We heard talks from Jack Schulze, Harriet Vine, Morag Myerscough, Erik Kessels and ended the day listening to a panel of experts from various disciplines debate Britain’s creative direction.

On our way home, we had our own debate about which talk we enjoyed the most. We couldn’t agree in the end, but the one thing we did all agree on was the Design Festival was definitely worth the trip.

Looking forward to the next one already!

D&AD makes it a very happy Friday for True North

More celebrations here at True North today as we hear that two of our projects from last year (for Wellcome Collection and Royal Mail) have made it into the latest D&AD Annual:

Big thanks to our wonderful client partners who enable us to do such great work.  We hope you're as proud as we are!

Awards season!

It’s a period of celebration here at True North. First we won a Silver at the Design Effectiveness Awards for our Royal Mail Gold Medal Stamps campaign. The Gold Medal Stamps were also shortlisted last week, along with our Bugs campaign for Chester Zoo, at the Marketing Design Awards. We’ve been shortlisted for a Drum Marketing Award (again for Gold Medal Stamps) and our Football stamps are shortlisted in the Print Comms category at Design Week. To top it all, we’ve now been recognised for all of our hard work by reaching no.6 in The Drum’s list of Elite agencies. I think it’s true to say that we could all find easier jobs elsewhere, but to work in an environment that you love, constantly have new and interesting problems to solve, have great colleagues and clients to learn from, and then be awarded for it, more than makes it all worth while!

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