Okay Aardman! Wallace & Gromit Project

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project – flex those Adobe Illustrator muscles. I have a new post to share… kindly, the team over at Paper Engine has now said that I can share and discuss my part in creating some of the packaging concepts for a new range of Wallace & Gromit themed products.

The artwork shown in this post was used to pitch to Aardman for a new range of British designed card products, otherwise known as – Build Your Own, For Paper Engine.

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project - box
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project Wrong trousers

Aardman Project | The Brief

The Brief | I was commissioned by Paper Engine to help create the core design for the packaging concepts for a new range of of Wallace and Gromit themed paper products.

Aardman had set up an agreement with Paper Engine for them to come up with a range of products, themed around Wallace & Gromit.

If you don’t know Aardman, they are the animation studio behind Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, Arthur Christmas, and Shaun the Sheep to name a few.

Paper Engine got in touch with me and asked for assistance in coming up with the core packaging concept to pitch to Aardman.

I won’t lie, I was excited and honoured.

Under a strict NDA, I was called in to help come up with some of the core concepts for the new eye-catching packaging.

The NDA has been relaxed now, as the products have been released onto the market. So don’t worry. And I asked the crew over at Paper Engine and they were happy to allow me to show my my part!

(All artwork on this page is the intellectual property of Aardman and Paper Engine. Do not copy, save, or download any of this content for commercial use ).

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Packaging For Paper Engine… Which was actually for Aardman

To spill the beans on the projects.

Here is a bit of extra information on the project process. Once Paper Engine had sent the brief across to me, and we did all the admin, the project was set in motion!

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project | The design process involved…

  • Coming up with some very early ideas for speech bubbles, titles, typography, backgrounds, and other accents and parts for the project.
  • Creating a variety of packaging front ideas for both products.
  • Developing rough designs into polished designs.
  • These were presented to Aardman ( gulp ).

It should also be said that this project was quite particular and that there were 2 companies involved in the approval process. Nonetheless, it still allowed room for design creativity.

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project Typography
Background idea

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project | Developing The Design

While I was allowed to work conceptually and creatively, I also had to adhere to 2 sets brand guidelines! One set was supplied by Paper Engine for Paper Engine and, the other was for Aardman!

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project
box
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project - 2 rockets
badges

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project | The Delivery

After working on the polished designs, Paper Engine pitched the artwork to Aardman. I was told on the grapevine that they were pleased with the project – with very few changes to the pitch!

Thank you Paper Engine, it was an honour! From there the look and feel for the range was set. It was an awesome project.

How I approached the project

When creating the packaging, I tried to create artwork that was exciting and matched the tone of Wallace & Gromit. I also tried to create packaging concepts that would excite both children and adults if they saw them on the shelf!

‘wow look at that!’

type of thinking with the hopes somebody would pick the product up and purchase it. The product did most of the selling in all fairness, these are very cool products.

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project | Paper Engine Testimonial

‘We worked with Jimm on some early packaging concepts for our collaboration with Aardman on three Build Your Own kits. He delivered some superb designs which enabled us to get ahead of the curve by keeping the client on board with approvals and saved us some valuable in-house studio hours. We would definitely work with Jimm again in the future when the occasion arises. Top marks. 5 stars.’

Geff – Creative Director, Paper Engine Ltd.

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project | You may be interested in some of the following

Retail packaging projects
Stem Project samples
Snakes & Ladders type board game
Board game playtesting post

Why not read more on my playtesting post?

3rd Party

Jimmsdesign Services

Dragon Bone Games ( Board game website )

How do I design an email marketing campaign for old leads?

So “How do I design an email marketing campaign for old leads?”… overview.

This post offers some potent tried and tested methods you can implement into your email marketing campaign to get those old leads to sit up and pay attention! They may be asleep now, but hopefully, by the end of this list, they will feel as refreshed as your with your marketing ideas.

Reading on – nuggets of juicy information on how to design an email marketing campaign for your old leads. Rock on!

Get responses from old email marketing leads - picture of old people
Get a response from old email marketing leads!

Who are your ‘old leads’?

A good starting point, who are your old leads? Why do you regard them as old? What have they done to warrant being targeted and regarded as ‘old’. Another way to look at your old contacts and subscribers is to view them are as loyal customers and clients. The list below covers tried and tested ideas, but perhaps a good place to start is how you perceive them, and how in turn they may come to perceive you.

1 ) Most important, offer something ‘they’ want

I wanted to start with this point as I felt it was actually the most obvious but possibly most overlooked. If you are failing to get the enquiries or interest are you failing to engage the reader? Are you selling a product that they no longer want or need? Are you talking about a topic they no longer care about? If so, how can you change it?

How to do it

Make your marketing about ‘them’ and their business – not yours. Tell and show them how you can help them to grow.

Fulfil their needs first!

2 ) Offer a loyalty scheme

So they have been on board for a long time but there has been no activity from them? You could potentially offer a discount to try and coax them back to life and become an active subscriber. Give a bumper service to the loyal ones and offer a reward.

3 ) Treat your ‘old email marketing leads’ as special customers.

In the body of your email consider using wording that makes your trusty old subscribers feel special and acknowledges that they have been loyal for a long time. Perhaps, writing a message along the lines of :

“Dear (name), as a loyal customer we have decided to offer you (x service) for a limited time. The company wouldn’t be where it is today without its loyal customers such as yourself and that is why we have decided to offer you this excellent reward!”

4 ) Talk about something new

It’s a very strong possibility that your old leads are bored with what you have to say, your brand your message anything and everything – people get bored very easily, and especially the internet user. In the past, I have noticed a strong correlation in campaigns with the wording “New” generally pushing more interest. So, create something new, or talk about something new.

5 ) If you have a tidy list, address them directly

If you have a contact list with all the personal *contact names as and where they should be you could write an email campaign addressed directly to them. But this only works as well as the cleanliness of the list. For example :-

Clean List

Dear Dave Higgins

Vs Untidy List

Dear 123 at qwqwq

Why is the second example like that? Because the name field was left with a trash name or a number in the field because somebody forgot to change it or the subscriber didn’t give you their actual name.

In other words, the form – personal name – form field will pull in whatever data is in the “name” column. be it good or bad.

6 ) Change up your email design to catch the attention

Visuals do work. Have some catchy images, logos and importantly a Call to action! Click me!

How do I design an email marketing campaign for old leads - example
Example of a responsive mailshot

My Old leads – They are still playing backgammon?

Made it this far down the list eh and your old email marketing leads still haven’t turned their heads away from their game of backgammon? Don’t worry just yet, we still have some thoughts and ideas yet that will hopefully help you in getting responses! Continue reading – How do I design an email marketing campaign for old leads!

7 ) Use stats and numbers

Analytics’ data or sales figures can be a good way or proving how good your service is – with numbers! It makes you look authentic. I also believe (my opinion) people love data and numbers as it makes information easy to digest.

Hey! don’t lie about your numbers or stats. There will come a day when people won’t believe what they read – if that day hasn’t arrived already.

8 ) Use a timed offer to encourage an urgent response from your old leads

I have mentioned this in a previous post (link) but placing a timed response or a limited offer can encourage urgent action. This approach can be a little pushy in my opinion but I can’t deny that I have seen it used effectively including by myself.

9 ) Consider who your old leads are – your message, your tone.

This is important, who are you talking to? Your messaging needs to resonate with them. It needs to talk to them and it needs to be useful to them – create good content for your quality readership. Connect.

10 ) Solve their problems, help with their pains

Companies/businesses/people have pains – not ones for a real doctor, business ones I mean. These pains can vary from: How to get more leads, how do I get people to stay on my website, how do I get people to sign up, how do I make this easier, I have no time, I’m tired, etc, etc.

So once you have identified their pains, and if you are familiar with your industry, you will be better equipped at answering their questions and helping to solve their problems. Using you, or your service will help solve their problems – or better still. Avoid them altogether!

11 ) Try to be helpful

As mentioned a couple of times in this post make contacting your email leads about them and how you can help with your experience. Answer questions create posts, try to see what types of questions your demographic ask by trawling forums and post online to give you indications or if you have a survey software use that to learn about them.

12 ) Speak their language

Try to speak their lingo. If they use industry-specific jargon use this in your email to make it sound like you know what you are talking about (oh, and check that you know what you are talking about). If your email marketing is more B2C then try to understand the demographics of your readership, how old are they, are they male, female, what are their hobbies and so on.

learn who they are.

13 ) Check you are emailing the right people

If you have a very specific few golden leads out there and they have stopped answering your emails or opening them, check to see if they are still working at the company or have moved to another department.

You can use LinkedIn to see who is correct contact and start building a new working relationship.

Summary | How do I design an email marketing campaign for old leads

I hope this post is useful. I have given you some tried and tested ideas which I have seen work first hand in the past with my email marketing experience. Many of these approaches should be useful for tomorrow and for the future as many of the tips approach geared toward what messaging is as well as how.

It is worth your while employing not just one of the tactics above for best results but many with a mix and match to see which are most useful for ‘your’ email marketing. There isn’t a golden bullet for things like this as some would like to sell to you, it requires learning and effort. I have sent out many, many campaigns over the years and have seen which works for gifting, retail, subscriptions, and general newsletters.

Setting aside the technical information, the tricks etc, it often tends to boil down to something you probably already know, and I knew but didn’t want to admit either – they weren’t interested...

So make them interested

Sell something your customer or client ‘wants’ or needs. Don’t push something onto them that they don’t want or need. It is a tired and boring struggle for both parties.

As time goes along, trial and error will show which tactics bare the most fruit – all the best in “designing email marketing for your old leads.”

About Me – A Designer

I have worked on numerous email campaigns over the years sending campaigns to 1000’s of contacts. Much of the data I have written here has been based on my first-hand experience of blood sweat and tears and also with keeping myself up to date with new email marketing ideas. You are more than welcome to read a bit more about me below.

You may find the article on the 32 tips useful for more visual design tips.

Other Helpful Posts

Packaging Projects | high street retail ready design

It has been while since posting a project update, as many of the other posts have covered industry insights and experiences.

One of core project that appears to get a lot of attention is the post on how we created a successful game project. A post that is packed full of information on our design approach and what we did.

This Design Post

This post covers a range of packaging designs that were used and are still actively being used in the retail market – a phrase that was used often when creating the packing was “retail ready”.

These designs range from Tech Girl, Satzuma Gifting, Stem and a whole range of projects and pre-production artwork. These products have graced the shelves of Boots, Tesco’s TK Maxx, Robert Dyas, Menkind, Staples and stores across the globe.

Unicorn Power Bank

Unicorn Power bank packaging
Yes… yes it is a Unicorn. And a Power Bank
Idesign for Smartphones, retail
Packaging and branding design for a ‘build your own Smartphone cover’ product

You can read more on the project on the portfolio website. It covers the branding, the packaging, the marketing and the digital design.

Proof Of Concept Packaging

The proof of concept packaging was used for design approval, used in product pitches to large retailers and also used to ‘visualise’ the package for print factories.

Beard Bib Packaging
Early Beard Bib Packaging, This was put together very quickly to get a feel for the concept.
Packaging design
Packaging illustration
Packaging design for game
Boogie Pong Game Box Mock Up
Packaging design - mock up
Another Tech Girl Mock Up – Typography would be ‘Rose Gold’
Jeantech Power Supply
Mock up / Render of a power supply box
Flash Memory Top - FSDU
Flash Memory Top – FSDU – Final Proof
Neon Packaging concept
Neon Packaging – Product – Testing look and feel

Packaging Nets

The images below show the flat nets of the packaging. This is the print ready or near print ready artwork that is generally sent of production after approval.

Early Joystick Design
Early Joystick design – Packaging – Card + PET – Concept (shelved)
Flat net of am expansion pack
Card box net for packaging an expansion pack.

This is one part of a larger gaming project, if you would like to read more this product please feel free. Or if you would help with you card or game design feel have a look.

Net for a VR Google Card
Google Card Design
AR Blaster Packaging
AR Blaster Packaging Net
Stem Product | Build You Own Robot
Stem Product | Build You Own Robot
Beard Bib Dev
Beard Bib Dev

Final Products & ‘In Situ’ Shots

These are the completed products based on the designs I supplied.

Memory Capture Box & Product Design
Memory Capture Box & Product Design
Head phones packaging
Head phones packaging
Counter Display for Product
Counter Display for Product – VR Goggles
Packaging design - neon sign
Make your own Neon Sign
Joystick
Joystick Packaging
Joystick Packaging
Flash Drives 8 GB - in store photo!
POS design inside a retail store.

That’s all on this packaging post!

Retail Read Packaging

If you would like any assistance in your latest packaging design be it the concept or putting together a punchy, relevant and cost effective solution feel free to get in touch or have a look at projects on the brochure website.

Retail Ready Packaging Projects – Perhaps you’d like to read :

Easiest way to make a Photoshop brush – short tutorial

The easiest way to make a Photoshop brush. This is a short tutorial on how to make a simple Photoshop brush in simple easy-to-follow steps. No fuss, no headaches.
I have used this exact same technique for making brushes over the years as a designer.

It is straightforward to make your custom brushes in Photoshop ( or Adobe Photoshop ) as an overview. All you will need to do in essence is draw your shape or item on a blank document and turn this selection into your new Photoshop brush.

The core steps : Start with creating your brush, defining it, and adding it to your palette! Let us draw a shape on black on a white background and see easiest way to do it.

Now to the steps on the easiest way to make a Photoshop brush.

1 ) New Document

1 ) Open PS and make a new document – 300 x 300 px and 72 DPI for good measure, make sure the background is set to white. ( You also work with other size and resolutions if you prefer )

2 ) Create Your Brush

2 ) Working in black and white (Shortcut ‘D’ for black and white) draw your brush shape (in black) onto your new document. For the sake of this tutorial, I have made mine a solid brush.

Photoshop brush splat - Easiest way to make a Photoshop brush - short tutorial
Create A Photoshop Brush

3 ) ‘Select’ The Brush

3 ) Either by using the marquee tool or Apple + ‘a’ to select all (CTRL + A for windows). And select the area or part you want to turn into your brush. For me, I wanted to use only the black splat in this example.

If you have selected the brush you want to define, you can go to the next step!  Make sure you have selected your brush artwork. With selections, you may see ‘marching ants’ around your selection.

4 ) Define Brush

4 ) Go Edit > scroll down to  ‘Define Brush Preset’ and click on or select it.
label your brush, I called this oneblob and then click ‘OK’

Name your brush | Easiest way to make a Photoshop brush
Label Your Brush

5 ) You have created a brush in Photoshop!

Well done, you should now have designed your very own custom brush and saved it to your library. If you press ‘F5′ to look at your brush palette, you will see the brush you have just made listed at the bottom of your library.

Why not open a new document and test out your newly created Photoshop Brush, I hope you enjoy making more awesome brushes.

Brush library | Palette tutorial on making a Photoshop brush.
Brushes!

If you need a Professional Designer experience in Photoshop come and say hello!

If you are a DIY designer or creator, you may find some of these topics helpful. How to edit text in inDesign for card games. Or how to draw on a computer.

How to get the black you want in print! Some tips and tricks to help

Working In Black In RGB & CMYK

The Great Black

Black can be a trouble to work with when it comes to print, especially with all of the varying print processes, paper finishes and general variations with commercial printing machines, inks, screen calibrations and so on – working with a black is a headache and I’m sure many others would agree! So, I have put together some tips and tricks to assist with your projects – it can be a dark and treacherous path. This post will mostly focus on creative approach rather than the pure technical aspects of Black ( K ). Working with 4 colour printing and spot colours is a detailed topic in its own right which is worthy of a post.

Illustrators, painters, artists and photographers

If you are a designer / work in print skip this paragraph!

Firstly, does it really need to be BLACK? When I say does it need to be ‘Black’ are there many things in the real world that are completely black? Aside from an all light absorbing, all-life-drinking black hole that absorbs all light and colour? Besides… that’s something that;s not of our world as far as I’m aware. Looking at the world around you, you will see come to see how lighting, surface, atmosphere and texture will absorb surrounding colours, including what you would what you would call a black surface. For example, someone is wearing a black t-shirt, more often that not if, even if it is new, light will catch on the folds, the creases and the contours of the fabric giving the black fabric a slight hue or tint depending on the light source and ambience.

Study things! I like to look at surfaces and objects that have an interesting finish for example : gloss surfaces, bottles, matte paint, skin, fur, hair, shadows, animals, sunglasses, cloth, etc. Another good source of reference of how to use light and dark with dramatic effect is Chiaroscuro – do some research online – research Caravaggio (one of many artist’s using this approach) and see what comes back. Caravaggio used light and dark with excellent dramatic effect framing the narrative in light and shadows. This is potentially subjective but hopefully… it will be food for thought – if its jet-black you’re after then please read on! ( I have attached a little image below with some dark but not black shading )

This image shows how tints shades can show some almost black can work. Most things are not strictly jet black

RGB BLACK… A HACK

A Preference

Typically, I like to work in RGB first and then convert my files to CMYK afterwards, especially if I’m working on a bitmap illustration or digital painting. Why? Because working in RGB generally gives me more creative freedom in the beginning and it also allows me to move between digital and print at a later date anyway. This is a my preferred method when working on an illustration and by no means a rule, just a preference. I’m not the only one working this way. By doing a Google search I stumbled upon a commercial artist who also likes to work this way – this writer and artist goes into much greater detail about the in’s and outs of color channels on their blog. I recommend having a read at some stage – perhaps after you have read my post.

(http://muddycolors.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/printing-your-work.html)

Unexpected Results – Designers a pleasant accident

I was always taught to work in CMYK for print and RGB for digital. I still champion this for working with professional printers as trying to print from RGB file may produce some erratic results, be it for leaflets printing, flyers, and other mediums. I accidentally ran a test print from Photoshop in RGB (Thinking it was CMYK) and the results were far more superior than the CMYK version. Both were printed on the same satin finish paper, on a Canon Pixma A3 with an impressive result. Despite my efforts and tinkering with the levels in the CMYK version to replicate what had happened In the RGB Version, I couldn’t produce the same results. I will make an assumption that my Inject printer translated the RGB to CMYK and just knew what I was after. I can’t complain too much as this project was sent to print and retained all the vivid colours and strong black colours.  Saying this, I still recommend trying to stick with the CMYK for design and print despite this result as this is typically what is asked – best to be safe, but something worth exploring for the future.

Digital Black Colour in Photoshop – Add a Hue

Unless your are working in RGB and your artwork will remain for screen (digital) only. Then may be best to work with ‘Designer Black’ check the numbers. Although the computer says it black (or you’ve had it calibrated) it is best to drop a bit of colour into the mix – and do test print it.

Photoshop Colour Palette
And Example of using the black in the colour palette

Last Round Up Hacks!

  • Take Notice of the colour warnings when you are in the colour picker window. This could save a lot of headache later on. (Yellow Triangle)
  • Let the printer do the leg work. Send your artwork to the printer and try to let them help you. A printer worth their salt will want to help you and have your return custom. To reinforce your expectations, send them a physical sample from your home printer – assuming you have a good quality home printer.
  • A HUE, if you are working on an image with a lot of dark areas why not add a little hue / tint of colour? 20% cyan for example or some magenta/red for a warmer image.
  • Avoid working with 0, 0, 0, 100 K, as this best reserved for font/text printing and can your work charcoal appearance. Use a ‘Rich black’ or ‘designers black’ instead. 20, 20, 20, 100 k for example.
  • Avoid 100, 100, 100, 100, CMYK as this is reserved for crop marks and using this colour can drown the paper – no one wants drowned paper!
  • Don’t be fooled. Your screen can be way out of the sync with your printer. Do some test’s first and see what results come from your printer (even printing on your home printer cannot guarantee the finish you require when you send your work to print) So take note.

    Yes… black can be painful to work with! And can be tricky colour to tame!

Thank you for reading how to work with black in print!