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Fourteen Years of True North....

On the morning of the 9th July 2001, True North came into the world.

Weighing in at three people, two macs and a printer, we were a tiny new life. Fourteen years later we’re twenty-five people high, 3 printers wide and have more macs that we’d care to admit - boy how we’ve grown.

Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to work on an amazing range of projects, with a wonderful range of inspirational clients. We asked some of the team to talk about the projects that really had an impact on them. This is what they said: 

Tree Tabernor, Head of Operations remembers working with The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum on the project Breaking the Chains. 

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"In 2007, as part of a programme of events to mark and reflect upon bicentenary of the abolition of slavery, True North was selected to design the exhibition graphics and marketing collateral for ‘Breaking the Chains’.

I remember our reaction after first reading and digesting the sensitive and sometimes shocking content of the exhibition, and understanding from the start the importance of getting the job absolutely right. 

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On seeing the creative concepts, the eventual chosen look and feel leapt out of the page. It was bold and striking, yet simplistic and clear. I felt very proud to play a part in bringing it to life, using it as a way to weave all aspects of the exhibition, print and marketing together to create a successful and impactful exhibition.

But the real pleasure working on this project for me, despite deadline pressures and long hours, was that it felt effortless because of working with such a great, professional team. Anne Lineen, the exhibition Project Manager was always honest, passionate and totally trusted us to handle the work with skill and care. The design team worked around the clock to lovingly craft the panels and get maximum clarity and impact, leaving no barrier between the audience and the story they were designed to tell. The results were that visitor numbers exceeded initial target figures, an Art Fund Prize top 3 placement (an event at which I sat at a table and chatted with Joan Bakewell, which was a personal thrill!), and lastly a benchmark for me of how a successful project could and should work."

Ady Bibby, Creative Partner on Imperial War Museum North.

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"Imperial War Museum opened its ’Northern branch’ on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, in the summer of 2002. As a newly formed creative trio, the chance to work with and launch such an iconic project was high on our wish list. We pitched as rank outsiders against the good and great of the creative world and were cock-a-hoop to be chosen by a brave client.

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Warfare and art aren’t always natural allies so we chose to promote a series of major art exhibitions at IWMN by recreating war-related imagery in the media of each artist. Bold and thought provoking, the images conveyed IWMN as a great place to see art.

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The work won us huge praise from the client and creative juries alike. And importantly, it helped cement with the three of us that brave ideas should be at the heart of everything True North produced."

Adele Littler, Designer on The Jersey Post Superman Stamps.

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Two of my favourite things combined, a geeky topic and expensive print processes. The Jersey Post Superman Stamps were created to celebrate the release of Man of Steal staring Jersey native Henry Cavill. The set are something I’d happily put on my wall, alas only as an admirer as I can’t take credit for them. The imagery is Hollywood grade so the production had to match with each stamp illustrating one of the superhero’s many powers. Techniques included printing on Simili silver foil reflecting strength, transparent film to achieve the effect of flying, glow in the dark and heat reactive ink, one even had granite from Beauport Bay, Jersey. It didn’t just stop at print techniques with one of stamps triggering an augmented reality app. For me this is an example of what can be achieved when working on a vision with a client and investing in creativity and production." 

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Karen Hughes, Creative Director on Peel and Gudgin.

Unfortunately, I can't take credit for this one, but for me it's ideas like this simple clever identity for Peel and Gudgin opticians that attracted me to work at True North in the first place. Unassuming, yet pure graphic wit. I can't help but feel lifted a little every time I see it. To me, ideas like this are just sat there waiting to be found, just wish I'd been the one to find it. Of course, times have moved on a lot since the days of brands living purely on a set of stationery, but for me there will always absolutely be a place in brand for these 'I wish I'd thought of that' ideas. After all, those are the ideas people remember.

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Dan Horsfall, Placement Designer on the 2012 London Olympic Stamps. 

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"The Gold medal stamps for the 2012 London Olympics has to be the project that really inspired me. The idea of designing for a sporting event of that size and magnitude is incredible. To successfully create stamps within a 24 hour period and for them to be completley up to date with daily sport results is an amazing acheivment."

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