A huge thank you to all the clients we’ve worked with this past year! We’ve had an amazing range of projects from identities to books, websites to promotions. We wish you all a restful Christmas and a happy and fulfilling New Year!
What a great year! Thank you to all our clients and a very Merry Christmas and successful 2018 to you all.
A special thank you to Neil Stewart at Made Bare, Robert Punter at Orchard Brands, Nic Evans www.word-it.co.uk and Bernadette Baksa www.bernadettebaksa.com for continued and very enjoyable collaborations!
Robin Linde Productions, London | www.robinlindeproductions.com
Cobblers Cove, Barbados | www.cobblerscove.com
The Rugby Portobello Trust, London | www.rugbyportobello.org.uk
Taylors Construction, Kent | www.taylorsconstruction.co.uk
Kent Creative, Kent | www.kentcreativearts.co.uk
Oh My Coffee Shop & Larder, London | www.ohmyltd.com
Boom Done, London | www.boomdoneshop.com
DNAe, London & California | www.dnae.com
Edge Framing, Kent | www.edgeframing.co.uk
Branding | Print | Web design | Art Direction | Packaging
As the Folkestone Triennial draws to a close, our thoughts turn to which artist's work will join the permanent Folkestone Artworks collection. This 'gallery without walls' is made up from 27 works from the past 3 Triennials by artists including Tracey Emin, Mark Wallinger, Pablo Bronstein, Yoko Ono and Richard Wilson.
A friend recently asked how often the Triennial came to Folkestone as I was always talking about it. I told her the clue is in the name! Every 3 years artists are commissioned to create public installations that form an art trail around the town. We love the lead up to the event – discovering which artists will be exhibiting and what the theme will be. This year was particularly exciting as we were one of 3 agencies shortlisted in a 3-stage pitch for the Triennial branding. A great achievement for Salt and something we are keen to win in the future.
This is our 2nd Triennial since relocating from London 6 years ago. Attracting creatives and tourists to the area by 'rebranding' Folkestone as a creative hub is the Creative Foundation's mission – with the Triennial being their flagship project. And it seems to be taking hold. There’s a definite buzz in the Creative Quarter this year, with local artists referring to the ‘Triennial effect’ increasing their sales as tourists look to take away a piece of the action.
Hitting the art trail with a 6 year old means it's as much about the experience as it is the concepts behind the pieces. There was a beautifully designed family guide this year to keep the kids engaged, as well as a programme of free family workshops at Block 67, Tontine Street. Here's what we've enjoyed and whether we think they will stay.
Richard Woods' colourful cartoon holiday homes were standout pieces for us – with 6 homes to spot floating in the harbour and dotted around the beach and cliff tops. Like the seasonal residents that inspired these installations, they are surely temporary. Midway through the 2014 Triennial a Banksy piece entitled 'Art Buff' appeared. Unfortunately these 'Holiday Homes' have been decorated with less welcome graffiti.
Likewise, the Antony Gormley cast-iron figures, which despite looking very much at home beneath arches or staring out to sea, were only ever visiting.
A teetering white wall by Alex Hartley is perhaps the most immediate expression of this year's theme 'Double Edge' – exploring anxiety (being on the edge), boundaries and balance. Its future seems precarious.
When we visited Lubaina Himid’s ‘Jelly Mould Pavilion' it was being used to frame a bride and groom on their wedding day – already paying its way as a local landmark!
We enjoyed discovering new parts of Folkestone and gaining new perspectives. Sometimes it's as simple as looking up – to see Jonathan Wright's little boats perched on tall poles, or taking a moment to listen, to Emily Peasgood's sound installation 'Halfway to Heaven' in an18th-century Baptist graveyard. We’d like to think the giant 'Siren' by Marc Schmitz and Dolgor Ser-Od could have the longevity of the concrete 'listening ear' at nearby Dungeness that it references.
A Guardian review was not being complementary when it commented that some of the artworks ‘put design some way before art’, mentioning Sinta Tantra's colourful paintwork for the Cube Building and the Gothic plywood structure by Studio Ben Allen transforming the Quarterhouse Clearing Cafe. For us that is no bad thing. Art and design may have different roles, but they are both about emotional engagement. About challenging and changing perceptions. If art is about questions, design is about solutions, with the Triennial being one solution to the ongoing regeneration and repositioning of Folkestone.
The Folkestone Triennial finishes on 5th November. For more information www.folkestonetriennial.org.uk
Photography kindly provided by Kevan Smith www.smithstudios.co.uk
When TEDx came to Folkestone for the first time, we were thrilled to be there. The day of inspirational talks at the Quarterhouse gave 13 local speakers the chance bring TED's mission of 'ideas worth sharing' to the town.
The theme of the day was 'pushing the boundaries' and although none of the talks were about design, a common theme was creativity, and how creative thinking can improve our experiences. Here are our highlights, and if you're inspired to hear more, all the speaker videos are available on YouTube.
Illustrator and educator Jim Lockey invited us to 'make our mark' and follow his instructions to do a simple drawing – proving everyone can be creative. He believes drawing should be a pleasurable form of expression and a visual language, not something to be measured against accepted standards. We particularly liked the idea of his mobile comic factory, a social arts project aimed at giving young people access to the arts and giving them the confidence to try something creative.
Jazz vocalist Randolph Matthews didn't exactly deliver a talk – but an original and witty performance about using the power of our voice. His music and stories also reminded us of the value of observing and absorbing the world around us.
We loved business writer Paul Brassington's phrase 'corporate robotic' describing the depersonalised way some companies speak to their audiences. Plain speaking and honesty leads to a more fruitful and intimate dialogue than when companies write everything down in a manual. As Paul explained, we relate better to people than to 'things'.
Emily Peasgood, a composer and sound artist, had no problem with honesty and shared her highly personal story. Success and fulfilment came when she stopped suppressing her off-beat creative ideas that usually met with the response "Emily! Don't do that!". Her music challenges the norm and her piece 'Lifted' was recently performed at the Royal Festival Hall – in the lift of course!
Social entrepreneur and care innovator Chris Gage explained how a little creative thinking could go a long way to enrich the experience of people in long term care, something 1 in 5 of us will rely on. He used the example of a simple prop or an meaningful activity to spark a memory or create a connection which can make all the difference to someone's day. This talk was timely for a current project of ours, designing a brand identity for a care app which uses technology to achieve this aim.
What TEDx Folkestone meant to us
Salt were honoured to play a small part in this massively successful event which bought together Folkestone's amazing creative community and gave us another opportunity for collaboration. We had the chance to be involved from the start, supporting creator Liu Batchelor and the team with design for the programme and signage. But we were still blown away by the quality of the talks on the day, and by the amazing production and atmosphere. We left feeling inspired and motivated to step out of our comfort zone more often. We were reminded creativity is about 'pushing the boundaries' – exploring, inventing, experimenting and most importantly – sharing.
1. Liu Batchelor, LVB Creative, Creator of TEDx Folkestone
2. TEDx Folkestone Committee: Liu Batchelor, Kier Humphreys, James Avery, Ioannis Ioannou, Caroline Howden
3. & 4. TEDx Event Branding Flourish, Illustration Cognitive, Literature & Signage Salt.
TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity. TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection.
To get involved with future TEDx Folkestone events or to be added to the mailing list, contact Hello@TEDxFolkestone.com
Along with Nichola from Word It, we joined the group of women aged 15 to 23 at one of their workshops at the Quarterhouse, Folkestone. Led by founder member Emma Westbrook, the team had created a room full of impressive sketches, visuals and slogans for the campaign based on issues important to them – grouped into the themes of sexual harassment, media representation of women and gender roles. We helped select a concept they could develop into a public installation to appear in various locations in Folkestone. One idea stood out instantly and told their story of what it's like being a young woman today in one clear message – 'Being a girl is not a crime'.
Emma explained "The result (of the workshops) has been an overwhelming feeling that women and girls are often made to feel that they are being punished for simply being themselves."
The posters and banners popped up guerrilla style around central Folkestone last Sunday morning, designed to create intrigue among the general public and resonate with local young women. We were delighted to see they demonstrated great restraint in the design using bold black type, free of embellishment or any obvious expression of the feminine. It captured the spirit of the International Women's Day theme 'Be Bold for Change' perfectly.
The hashtag #NotACrime was used to encourage engagement during International Women's Day and beyond.
Following the project's success, the 'Bossy Girls' aim to have regular meetings and workshops across different areas. The posters are available from Folkestone Quarterhouse Box Office this week.
Emma said: The Boss(y) Girls Project came about after the WOW (Women of the World) Festival at Folkestone Quarterhouse last year (2016) and has been heavily supported by them and Folkestone Fringe throughout. The name was inspired by Beyoncé's quote, "I'm not bossy… I'm the boss." and was designed to address the double standard that girls were seen as bossy and fussy when they were assertive, but boys were seen as strong and having good leadership skills."
Before we sign-off for the holidays, here's a quick roundup of our year. We've gained some amazing new clients here in the UK and overseas, including a marina restaurant in Liverpool and a luxury Caribbean hotel (yes, we'd like to visit!).
A highlight for us was receiving a 'Special Mention Award' at the Kent Creative Awards in May, in recognition of our work for the Creative Foundation. We continued to fulfil our goal to work on more projects in the arts sector, creating brand identities for London Arts Festival HP Fest and not-for-profit arts organisation Kent Creative.
We collaborated on a branding programme for a medical diagnostics start-up, and worked on retail graphics, internal comms, literature and websites, art directed shoots and had fun supporting local groups close to our hearts.
It's hard to believe 2017 is almost here and we look forward to further growing our brand, and those of our clients. Seasons greetings from Salt!
We've got together with writer Nichola Evans from Word-It to share our top tips on keeping your website content fresh and relevant – keeping your audience engaged and giving them a reason to visit again.
1. Polish and shine
When was the last time you went through your website with a fine-tooth comb, checking how up to date it is and if there are any typos or broken links that might have crept in? Before adding new content, we recommend reviewing what you already have to see if it can work harder for you.
If you have written, or even built your website yourself, having a fresh eye on it is helpful as all these things have an impact on how your potential customers, and even existing ones, view you as a company. It’s that attention to detail that makes you stand out.
2. Be a customer
It’s also useful to look at your website from a customer’s perspective. Is the basic message of your company clear? It may be obvious to you what you do and how it can benefit your customers, but it’s easy to get lost in detail and overlook stating your purpose clearly and quickly. Too much written content to wade through is off-putting to visitors, so make sure your basic information is easy to find.
Nichola says "I am often asked to edit website copy that has been written with with too many keywords, which mean the message has been lost and it no longer makes sense. For small companies, new business often comes from word of mouth recommendations rather than an online search, so although having keywords is essential, too many can confuse the message"
3. Get personal
Why you do what you do can be just as interesting to potential customers as what you do. Small businesses often avoid including personal information to appear bigger than they are, mistakenly thinking it isn’t professional. But telling your story and putting a face to your business can actually help build and define your brand – having a stronger impact and being more memorable. You may not think you have an obvious story to tell, but it’s always there.
4. Share your success
Customer testimonials, news stories and case studies allow you to keep your content fresh whilst demonstrating your skills and building credibility. Adding real information, in real time, about your successes has greater impact than generic text that just says you’re good at what you do.
5. Spread the word
Adding your social media feeds to your website, such as Instagram if your business is very visual, or Twitter for latest news, is a simple way to keep content fresh automatically, and acts as a news feed. Including social sharing buttons helps your readers spread the word.
6. Be an authority
Publishing a blog – giving people advice, offering an opinion, it all helps to bring people to your website. It shows you are an authority in your area. Plan a blog calendar and publish regular nuggets of gold to your clients and further afield.
Stella says “If you are unsure of what to write about or have exhausted obvious topics, consider getting together with another business to feature them as a guest blogger, or to share your expertise, just as we did.”
A website that is always changing, or a company which interacts with its audience gains more engagement and potentially more business. If you update your website often with high quality content and visuals, search engines look at your site more frequently, giving you the opportunity to achieve higher rankings.
We know that running your business well, ensuring you have happy customers and building your customer base is the most important issue for you. You may not have time to update your website regularly or to produce a blog. Or perhaps you just don’t have the skill and need some help with it.
Word-It can help with words whilst Salt can bring in the aesthetic energy with a brand refresh or some new visuals for your website. Together we can revitalise your brand and ensure your website is on message.
Get in touch to find out more about how we could help.
Word-It is a writing, editing and proofreading service. Be it web content, news and PR, or more formal reports, Nichola can help take away the pressure of having to think up new content and publicising your successes.
Summer is over but I'll still visit my favourite beach, Dungeness – a vast expanse of shingle on the Kent coast. What it lacks in traditional seaside charm, it more than makes up for in character, and if you look closely, design.
The monolithic Dungeness nuclear power station sets the tone of the unique landscape, which the Guardian perfectly described as 'the wild west meets the post apocalyptic'. It's this otherworldly, unconventional atmosphere that keeps artists and creatives visiting, and if they are lucky, making their homes here.
Mini Moderns beach house
The two designers behind one of our favourite interior brands, Mini Moderns chose Dungeness for their retreat from London life. The 468 acre Dungeness Estate is home to only a handful of residents so they were lucky to snap up one of the Victorian railway carriages that were converted into homes for local workers in the 1920s. They stripped it back to reveal original features, opened up the space and gave it a signature retro twist with mid century furniture and their fabric, prints and homeware collections on show. There are some great before and after pictures, an overview and comments from designers Mark and Keith on this Design Sponge blog.
Inspired by their visits to Dungeness, Mini Moderns created the The Hinterland Collection including wallpaper and fabric featuring the two lighthouses that the beach house sits between. The collection is featured in Issue 4 of the collectable Penny Newspapers, which is sold out but has been published online here.
Yes, Dungeness is a bit ramshackle, littered with old fishing boats, bits and bobs from the Second World War and discarded bits of machinery. Even the contemporary architecture that has been added over the last decade does its best to fit into this patchwork. The Pobble House by Guy Hollaway Architects, The Shingle House by NORD for Living Architecture and Gelon Hanna House by Simon Conder Associates were designed to meet strict planning rules. But they are all the more creative for it – black rubber cladding and other materials designed not only to withstand a battering from the storms, but look better for it. The Pobble and Shingle houses are available as holiday rentals if getting 'back to basics' in style is your thing.
You can't mention Dungeness without Prospect Cottage. The most famous resident, filmmaker Derek Jarman, spent his last years here in the former fisherman's cottage, where he created a stunning garden which is well maintained today. It feels both wild and sculpted and its development is lovingly described in his book 'Derek Jarman's Garden' – his last and an inspiring read 11 years on. Dungeness is classified as a National Nature Reserve, filled with unique wildlife and over 600 different types of plants. That said, it seems Jarman had his work cut out getting plants to grow in the barren shingle!
Prospect Cottage itself is also memorable – it's black walls filled with the lines from a poem and gorse yellow window frames. I'm not a gardener but would love to give my coastal garden some Dungeness style.
If Dungeness was a font, it would look like ‘RX12’ by artist Paddy Hamilton at Dungeness Open Studios, inspired by hand painted roadside signs. Romney Marsh Brewery commissioned a bottle label, pint glasses and pump badge design using this lino-cut alphabet, which is available to buy in a digital format or as artwork featuring a personalised message.
If you visit Dungeness, the first thing you notice is the magical light. Then you notice the details, the unusual textures, patterns and forms. This exhibition by Philip Hughes Art captures this spirit – the scale, colour and energy. It's currently on tour and will be back at their London Studios next month to view.
So, although creativity is flourishing in Dungeness, it remains unspoilt, peaceful and unique, and there's always something new to explore.
For an entertaining local's guided tour see www.dungeness.org.uk/what-to-see
If you read our blog about the Folkestone Book Festival Visitor Experience, you'll know how much we enjoyed this project with arts charity Creative Foundation, so we were really pleased to be finalists in two categories for the Kent Creative Awards for this work.
We designed a papercut box to present our work to the judges, who included Turner Contemporary director Victoria Pomery and celebrity photographer Brian Aris, in the hope that we would stand out from the other 142 entrants. We included samples from our bespoke papercut installation which represented the creative process of writing, as well as our moodboard, photography of the event and a set of screen printed typographic posters featuring quotes from the Book Festival authors.
Before the event
We had the opportunity to display artwork on the tables during the ceremony, so we created a bespoke papercut flower display with Suzanne at Paper Tree Design, who created the papercut installations for the book festival as well the presentation box. Suzanne developed three new flower designs in our brands colours using GF Smith Colourplan paper. Our logo was cut from the leaves using dots of only 1 millimetre diameter! They were displayed in a glass vase filled with rock salt (of course!) and were really popular as little mementos of the evening.
The awards night at the Alexander Centre in Faversham was great fun – close up magician Chris Harding did amazing things with a kiwi, and we met a lot of talented people. We shared a table with category sponsor Sian Murphy from Stormchasers Digital, Deborah Turner from YOU Image Consultancy (one of the judges) and fellow nominees Sue Blakesley and Sadie Hurley from Jim Jam Arts. We were pleased to see our clients the Creative Foundation and the Quarterhouse theatre were also shortlisted in the 'Community / Arts Organisation of the Year' and 'Cultural Venue of the Year' categories.
Although we lost out to worthy winners artist Kate Linforth in the 3D category and Dr Susanna Paisley, Newton Paisley in the design category, we were very proud to receive a 'Special Mention – in recognition of valuable contribution to the arts and culture of Kent'. Special Mentions also went to artists Jo Dyer, Joan MacKarell and Christopher Sacre.
Our thank you's
So we'd like to thank Nathalie Banaigs, the founder and director of Kent Creative Arts CIC for organising such a great event and for her encouragement and support. Nathalie was a winner in the Kent Women in Business Awards 2016 – Women in the Arts category. She is a real inspiration and the enthusiasm for her many projects is infectious. We loved her Eiffel Tower hat at the awards, we now understand what she meant by dress creatively! We agree with Nathalie that "a good use of culture is at the heart of successful economies" and look forward to working on more campaigns, events and promotions to help raise the profile of Kent and improve the local economy through creativity.
From birthday gifts to what's on TV here's what has inspired our design or just caught our eye this week...
1. Read this if you want to take great photographs
This book was one of my more useful birthday gifts, and I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to improve their photography. Not only is it beautifully designed with a foil blocked cover, it's visual rather than technical in its approach, and the playful tone of voice keeps you reading. It's broken down into five sections – Composition, Exposure, Light, Lenses and Seeing and refreshingly suggests you to start by ignoring everything!
2. Made of Sundays
Whilst working on an illustrated children's character, this caught our eye. The Finnish company make fun and quirky wall decals and homewares and ship to the UK. And they are not just for the kids' room, even a fridge gets a monster makeover!
This new BBC4 drama gives you chills from the unsettling title sequence to the beautiful but dangerous landscape, photographed in an elegantly reduced colour palette. Set in a small Icelandic town, the police work to solve a murder as a blizzard sets in, trapping everyone including the killer inside. Gripping and stylish in equal measures.
4. Sydney Opera House identity
Interbrand Australia have created a new visual identity for the Sydney Opera House. A sculptural typeface and graphic device work with the existing logo to help draw attention to the iconic venue's many facets – only one of which is opera. The 3D Utzon typeface by Studio Laurenz Brunner reflects the building's contours and is named after its architect Jørn Utzon. We think the lettering looks as good in print as it does rendered in 3 dimensions.
Colour is used as part of the visual identity but we like the striking simplicity of black and white which reminds us of Swiss designer Josef Müller-Brockmann's poster work during the 1950s.
We usually favour the simplicity of flat graphics and find logo animation often gimmicky, but the motion graphics by Collider used across all digital platforms are beautifully subtle and appropriately rhythmic, based on the shapes and shadows of Opera House sails.
5. Veja white trainers
Any finally, we have our eye on these Veja Esplar white leather trainers – nailing this season's pale and eco-chic trends in one. Bring on Spring!
We have a love of all things mid-century so were pleased to catch The World of Charles and Ray Eames retrospective exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery in its final weeks.
We were most familiar with the American design duo's iconic chairs designed in the 1950s, still regularly featured in our favourite style magazine Elle Decoration. We also knew Charles and Ray Eames were a husband and wife team, described as the amongst the most influential designers of the 20th century, but the scale and breath of their work over more than four decades was a surprise.
The beautifully presented exhibition by 6a Architects shows there wasn't much Charles and Ray Eames didn't design – from the familiar furniture pieces to architecture, products, film, photography, graphics and exhibitions. Here's our quick tour of all things Eames...
On display are, of course, the many Eames design classics in plywood, aluminium, fibreglass and steel, including their first moulded plastic chair and a range of prototypes and sketches. Connecting them all was their desire to make "the best quality, to the most people, for the least money". As Ray Eames put it "What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts".
In 1999 Time magazine named the 'LCW' chair as The Best Design of the 20th Century. It's body hugging curves came from Charles' designs for plywood leg splints for the US Air Force!
The plywood Eames Elephant as part of the children's seating exhibit deserves a mention too. Designed in 1945 as a toy, it never went into production but is now produced by Vitra in moulded plastic.
We loved the chairs that had been doodled on by illustrator Saul Steinberg, a friend of the couple, proving design classics don't need to take themselves too seriously!
Charles Eames (1907–1978) was an architect and photographer and Ray Eames (1912–1988) an artist, graphic designer and art director. Visual communications was a major part of their work and there were some wonderful examples of graphic design for product advertising, literature and editorial design. This display shows Ray's gorgeous covers for Arts & Architecture magazine.
The home Charles and Ray designed and built in Pacific Palisades, California was bought to life with scale models, original drawings and film. It's thought to be one of the most important post-war residences anywhere in the world, and today the studio is used for the continuing work of the Eames Office. We liked the contrast between the prefabricated sleek steel exterior and the warm and highly personal interior filled with toys and artefacts collected on their travels, some of which were on colourful display at the exhibition.
The model room designed for the Exhibition For Modern Living, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1949 looks as fresh as ever and featured flat-pack storage furniture for a new attitude to living. We liked the peg wall and the sculptural curves of the 'La Chaise'.
We enjoyed the glimpses into Charles and Ray Eames' relationship and their playful approach to life and design through private letters, back of envelope sketches, photos and scribbled notes. In one touching but amusing handwritten letter Charles wrote to Ray "I am 34 (almost) years old, single (again) and broke. I love you very much and would like to marry you very very soon".
We couldn't take photos, but we were pleased to take home a piece of Eames design for ourselves – the Dot Pattern tote bag, just £15 for the abstract print designed for a textiles competition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1947, but never produced in their lifetime.
An exhibition visitor had commented you can see Eames furniture for free at the London Vitra store, but whether you know a little or a lot about them, we think there's something to fascinate and inspire almost everyone. And if you didn't make it, The World of Charles and Ray Eames Catalogue by exhibition curator Catherine Ince is a great keepsake and source of reference.
The World of Charles and Ray Eames : 21 October 2015 - 14 February 2016 : Barbican Art Gallery
Find out more about Charles and Ray Eames on artsy.net/artist/charles-and-ray-eames
Looking back over the past year our standout projects were mostly about food, fashion and art, three of our favourite things! We worked on brand identities, branded spaces, literature and websites. We art directed shoots and had some great collaborations with other artists, photographers, strategists and designers.
Our aim for Salt is to work on projects we feel passionate about and if we can put something back into our local areas (which we were able to do with Oh My Cafe and the Folkestone Book Festival) so much the better. We were very pleased to have arts charity the Creative Foundation as a new client last year and our aim for 2016 is to develop our portfolio in this area.
So, a big thank you to our clients, colleagues and friends for all the support, inspiration and fun. We look forward to bringing you new more work on our blog soon. Happy New Year!
Boom Done Shop / Ethical fashion / Photographic art direction
Oh My Cafe / London coffee shop / Brand identity + retail graphics
The Flying Piglet / Gourmet street food / Brand identity
Nic West / Artist / Brand identity + stationery
This project began with a timely tweet inviting artists and designers to submit their proposal for a visitor experience for the Folkestone Book Festival. Salt has been involved with a number of interior display and exhibition graphic projects and we knew this was a pitch we had to win.
The Creative Foundation, the arts charity behind the festival and many other local events, had been in our mind for a while. Their flagship project the Folkestone Triennial, a contemporary arts exhibition, was so amazing we created a blog about it! They have attracted big name artists in previous projects and are a well respected arts body.
The brief was to transform the interior spaces at the Folkestone Quarterhouse, the venue for the 10 day November Book Festival. The aim was to create a warm and inviting environment to gather together and share stories with well known authors including Mark Billingham and Melvyn Bragg alongside local writers. We immediately wanted to put our loves of books and obsession with type and paper at the centre of our idea.
We distilled our ideas into the concept ‘Finding Magic’ inspired by a Dr Seuss quote "You can find magic wherever you look, sit back relax all you need is a book" and pitched it to Tania McCormack at Creative Foundation. An artist herself, Tania instantly understood we wanted to lift the stories right off the pages and display them around the venue in unexpected places.
We designed typographic quotations as floor and wall vinyls in the entrance foyer to lead visitors through the space up to the focal point in the bar – a 4m high hanging installation of type and snowflakes cascading from the double height ceiling through the circular atrium to the foyer below.
Commissioning the artists
From early on we knew the perfect collaboration would be with bespoke paper artist Suzanne Allen at Paper Tree Design. Due to the tight schedule there was no time for testing our design, and working from our visuals Suzanne began one of the largest project she’d undertaken. Over 100 bespoke paper cut snowflakes set the magical and festive mood and Suzanne produced the festival poster with letters opening like doors on an giant advent calendar.
It was important for the Creative Foundation and us for the production to be bespoke and crafted, and with this in mind we also commissioned local artist Samuel Capell to screen print limited edition quote posters, as souvenirs of the occasion.
The whole project from pitch to installation was achieved in less than a month, with the help of Tania, Ioannis and Chief Technician Anthony with an impossibly tall ladder! For flexibility, everything was assembled on site and installed over 3 days by ourselves, Paper Tree and the Creative Foundation team. Local company Sign Graphics did an amazing job with the cut vinyl lettering.
All the elements were designed to have a permanent nature so they could be re-used for future Book Festivals and we were delighted to see the work being left in place over the Christmas period too.
The festival, which opened with author Louis de Bernières switching on the Christmas lights, was a great success with record numbers attending. It was great to see everyone from the celebrity speakers to local school children enjoying the festive space.
We really enjoyed the collaboration and hope it's the first of many projects with the Creative Foundation. We are proud to be involved in their mission to use creativity to bring Folkestone to back life and prosperity.
"Stella and Victoria quickly came up with a concept for the Book Festival 2015 decorations and worked to a very tight deadline. Their initial ideas encompassed the brief and at all stages there was excellent communication and we worked together to problem solve within the limitations of the space and budget. The finished outcome transformed the space beautifully and was well received by our audiences. It was a complete pleasure to work with Salt."
Alastair Upton : Chief Executive Creative Foundation
"I loved the decorations, I thought they were very festive, original and elegant. They were definitely a great addition to the Quarterhouse. I do hope we work again with you in the future!"
Geraldine D’Amico : Curator Folkestone Book Festival
Alongside our corporate clients we often help start-ups and small companies who are looking to launch a new business or take their brand to the next level. We've been lucky to have worked with several creative businesses and wanted to share three recent projects we've especially enjoyed.
Our collaborative design process worked particularly well with these creative clients, who had a visual as well as strategic direction in mind. We made sure we listened to and worked with them to interpret and bring their vision to life.
Bernadette Baksa Photography
We’ve collaborated with London-based photographer Bernadette Baksa many times, for both client and personal projects including shooting our website portfolio. Bernadette had pinned down the direction she wanted to take her business, moving into specialising in children’s portrait photography. Her aim was to strengthen her existing brand, better reflecting her distinctive photographic style.
Bernadette had created a small moodboard for our briefing and we developed her ideas into a strong, expressive brand which better communicated her new direction. We customised a cursive script font to capture the spontaneous and personal spirit of her photography. We then helped Bernadette create a presentation package and stationery in keeping with her new look.
"Thank you very much to Salt for their brilliant work. These ladies have done a fantastic job combining me and my photography under one distinct brand. If you are thinking of taking your brand to the next level, try them!"
Nic West is contemporary abstract artist we particularly admire, currently living and working on the small island of Alderney. Her work features wild seascapes and rugged landscapes and she describes her paintings as 'visceral, full of texture and vibrant aqua and turquoise colour'. We were very excited to be asked to work on her brand identity.
After meeting and experiencing her paintings first hand Nic asked us to create an identity that was elegant and simple as a contrast to her textural style. The typeface we proposed was elegant, structural and created a sense of space to complement her full and energetic paintings. We took detailed photographs of four different textural sections of her oils and used them for the reverse of business cards and letterheads which gave her clients a taster of her dramatic work to take away. We applied the branding to other elements including her existing website.
"As a newly emerging artist I recognised the importance of getting the branding right for my website and promotional material. Salt design were able to provide the expertise to create exactly what I had hoped for in terms of identity styling and professional service."
Paper Tree Design
Paper Tree Design is a bespoke wedding stationery start-up owned by our good friend and entrepreneur Suzanne Allen. Talented in many design disciplines, Suzanne has designed everything from fashion to jewellery to homewares. She came to us with a clear brand vision and range of beautiful papercut wedding invitations. Her brief was to produce typographic styles for her stationery ranges, which are handmade to order in her Cotswold studio. We share her passion for paper and fascination with how things are made, so we were more than happy to be involved in her new venture.
We focused on the high quality finish and attention to detail in her intricate papercut designs, working closely with Suzanne to create stylish and well crafted typography. We used details from her illustrations to embellish the type creating two distinct looks for her ‘Natural Charms’ and ‘Modern Vintage’ ranges.
We really enjoyed our role in helping the Paper Tree brand come together and we were pleased to be asked to advise on everything from the brand identity, tone of voice, website, business stationery, promotional postcards and exhibition stand. We also joined Suzanne to art direct a product shoot with photographer Cristina Colli to create a beautiful seasonal story illustrating each range on the website.
Papertree Design was awarded the National Vintage Wedding Fair 2014 newcomer award in their first year of trading and are becoming well established in the luxury wedding market.
“For me it was very much a team experience, working together and sharing ideas. Salt have also acted very much as a mentor, more recently encouraging and guiding me in developing a typographic style myself. Salt work with you, and take the time to understand your brand needs, whilst at the same time being proactive in suggesting innovative new ideas”.
Suzanne : Paper Tree Design
Guiding these businesses in creating and evolving their brands allowed us all to share and develop our creative skills. We care greatly about what we do. Our small but flexible setup means we are hands-on and willing to go the extra mile to make things work. Collaborating in this way is not only cost effective, which is essential for a new or smaller business, it allows their own type of creativity to direct the outcome, which we hope will bring them every success.
When I moved to the pretty coastal town Hythe in Kent, I wasn't expecting neighbouring Folkestone to offer more than a handy high-speed link to London, where Salt's clients are mainly based. But over the four years I've lived here, I've watched the harbour town being transformed through creativity, reinventing itself as a cultural destination and an inspiring place to live as a designer.
It was the public art exhibition, the Folkestone Triennial that first opened my eyes to the creative projects going on in the town. Every three years the nine week festival turns the town into an open-air gallery with specially commissioned works by artists that have included Andy Goldsworthy, Tracey Emin, Mark Wallinger and Yoko Ono. There is also Folkestone Artworks, a permanent public collection of 16 works created from the previous two Triennials, plus fantastic independent street art which graffiti artist Banksy temporarily added to during the Triennial last year. The Banksy may be gone, but there's still a lot to see. Here's a selection of my favourites, which I think are worth a visit to Folkestone in their own right!
As a graphic designer I love Spencer Finch's colour wheel on the cliff-top Leas Promenade. Spinning the palette of 100 colours and picking the Pantone swatch to match the sea is a brilliant idea! For the 2011 Triennial, flags were dyed to match the swatches and hoisted to declare the shade of the sea each day. Colour, light and the natural world are key themes in the New York artist's work.
At first this collection of stones on the Leas seemed decorative, but I learnt the numbered pebbles represent the 19,240 soldiers killed on the first day of the battle of the Somme in 1916. The installation by 2007 Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger is a simple and moving reminder of Folkestone's past.
Also echoing the past, is a quirky row of bright green bunker-like beach huts on the coastal promenade which sculptor Richard Wilson constructed from the abandoned crazy golf course. It is good to think art is filling the place left by traditional seaside amusements and attracting a new type of tourist. At last year's Triennial, thousands of people came to dig up artist Michael Sailstorfer’s buried treasure on the outer harbour beach in his public participation event Folkestone Digs.
Folkestone Triennial 2014
The 2014 Triennial was curated by Lewis Biggs, the former director of Tate Liverpool. The theme 'Lookout' was about the future of Folkestone and the 21 artists each had a different take on what's here now and what's to come. I really enjoyed following the trail with my 3 year old. Being outdoors and being able to touch and interact directly is a great way for children to discover and learn about contemporary art. We loved the colourful geometric maze which made a surprising contrast to the Victorian grotto it's built into to. Dwelling by Krijn de Koning is part architecture, part sculpture and has an ‘identical twin’ at the Turner Contemporary who commissioned the work.
One of the most inspiring things about Folkestone is the quality of coastal light which is why I loved Green/Light, a light sculpture by Folkestone born artist Jyll Bradley. Created for the old gas works site where electric light was first generated for the town, the shimmering poles map out her personal journey and connection to the area. Yes, the sky is always this blue!
A creative future
Arts charity the Creative Foundation is behind the Triennial and Artworks as well as many other creative projects, events and activities, including the regeneration of the Creative Quarter in the old town, home to artists' studios and creative businesses. I love these two recent pieces of independent street art by Folkestone-based artists Leigh Mulley and Sam Millen for their unexpected locations and local themes. The 13m high seagull mural is a landmark to be proud of!
So art continues to make Folkestone a better place to be. I look forward to seeing which 9 Triennial works return as permanent attractions in May and am already counting down to the next one in 2017.
For Livewire, a fast growing communications agency, recognising they had outgrown their visual identity was the starting point for us to help them create a stronger and clearer brand. Here's how we did it together...
Getting to know Livewire
Livewire is a large group of highly experienced consultants who specialise in communications for the pharmaceuticals industry. We were introduced to Lucille Weinberger, founder and CEO, by an existing client and quickly established a good working relationship which led to the opportunity to rebrand her company.
Lucille has a great enthusiasm and can-do attitude, taking her company from a kitchen table start-up to one with a million pound+ turnover in an impressive five years. She is personable and to the point, highly principled and committed to treating her staff, be it freelance or employed, as part of a large extended Livewire family.
Working it out
We began with a brand workshop ran by ‘brand maker’ Neil Stewart, a natural story teller who we collaborate with often. The workshop helped pinpoint what makes Livewire different and created the proposition ‘intelligent communication’ based on their bright and flexible people. This gave us our creative starting point and pushed our exploration – always the fun part!
Their name in lights
After presenting a number of options our ‘Neon’ concept came out top. It worked brilliantly to communicate the ‘bright’, ‘live’ and ‘switched on’ Livewire personality in a contemporary and eye-catching way. We translated the neon logotype into a range of media including print, digital and signage, commissioning two neon artworks for the Livewire head office by Electro Signs in East London, famous for their God’s Own Junkyard neon signage exhibits.
A set of quirky glowing characters gave the website we designed a human and non-corporate feel, important to make sure Livewire stand out from their more staid competitors. We involved Livewire at every step, a process which took almost three months resulting in a refreshed brand identity, website, signage, stationery, launch materials and enewsletter.
Building our relationship
Lucille has a great way with people, building lasting relationships with her clients, staff and us! The strong, cohesive brand we created together truly reflects her personality. Their future is looking very bright.
Client comments about SALT
Lucille Weinberger: 'SALT are great at coming up with ideas, and then going on to execute them effectively and professionally. In addition the whole process ran smoothly, and from our perspective, effortlessly. I would recommend SALT to anyone wanting a distinctive and elegant branding look for their company or product'.
Neil Stewart: 'Most designers are so preoccupied with what it looks like, they tend to ignore what it is actually communicating. SALT think as well as design, which helps immensely when you are working with a brand concept instead of a logo and trying to develop it visually'.
See more of the project on the SALT website.