Filtering by Category: Design blog

The Triennial Effect

Added on by Stella Chapman.

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.

Richard Woods – Holiday Home

Richard Woods – Holiday Home

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.

Alex Hartley - Wall
Alex Hartley – Wall

Alex Hartley – Wall

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!

Lubaina Himid – Jelly Mould Pavilion

Lubaina Himid – Jelly Mould Pavilion

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.

Marc Schmitz & Dolgor Ser-Od – Siren

Marc Schmitz & Dolgor Ser-Od – Siren

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

 

Be Bold For Change

Added on by Stella Chapman.

Salt were among a group of female professionals invited by a young women's project, Bossy Girls to advise on creating a poster campaign to celebrate International Women's Day.

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.

Awareness campaign by the Bossy Girls Project

Awareness campaign by the Bossy Girls Project

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."

The core team were Chelsey 17, Livvy 17, Josie 19, Chani, 23, and Emma Westbrook, 18. For more information visit the Bossy Girls Facebook page.

 

Refresh and energise – top tips for a more engaging website

Added on by Stella Chapman.

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.

Salt Blog Refresh & Energise

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.”

And finally
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
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.

www.word-it.co.uk

 

Design and Dungeness

Added on by Stella Chapman.

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.

Design and Dungeness - View towards Mini Moderns beach house

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.

The living room

The living room

The living room view / kitchen detail

The living room view / kitchen detail

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.

Dungeness Wallpaper – Mini Moderns

Dungeness Wallpaper – Mini Moderns

Dungeness Fish Shack sign inspired Mini Moderns typographic fabric prints

Dungeness Fish Shack sign inspired Mini Moderns typographic fabric prints

Contemporary architecture

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.

The Pobble House – Guy Hollaway Architects

The Pobble House – Guy Hollaway Architects

The Pobble House

The Pobble House

The Shingle House – NORD Architecture

The Shingle House – NORD Architecture

The Shingle House view

The Shingle House view

Prospect Cottage

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. 

Prospect Cottage

Prospect Cottage

The Sun Rising by John Donne   

The Sun Rising by John Donne 

Dungeness spirit

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.

Dungeness font in production

Dungeness font in production

Romney Marsh Brewery packaging

Romney Marsh Brewery packaging

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. 

Dungeness Exhibition by Philip Hughes Art

Dungeness Exhibition by Philip Hughes Art

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

My son George exploring Dungeness

My son George exploring Dungeness

 

Salt loves...

Added on by Stella Chapman.

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!

Henry Carroll /  Laurence King Publishing
Henri Cartier-Bresson 1932
Salt loves blog - Read this if you want to take great photos book spread
Salt loves blog - Ernst Haas 1960s

Henry Carroll : Laurence King Publishing

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!

Salt loves blog - Made of Sundays Aaron the Charming Dragon door decal
Salt loves blog - Made of Sundays Tiny Waffles the Sloth wall decal

madeofsundays.com

3. Trapped

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.

Salt loves blog - Trapped BBC4 title sequence
Salt loves blog - Trapped BBC4 title sequence
Salt loves blog - Trapped BBC4 Icelandic drama

Trapped : BBC4

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.  

Salt loves blog - Sidney Opera House visual identity by Interbrand Australia

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. 

Salt loves blog - Sidney Opera House visual identity by Interbrand Australia
Salt loves blog - Sidney Opera House visual identity by Interbrand Australia

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.

Salt loves blog - Sydney Opera House motion system by Collider & Interbrand Australia

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!

Salt loves blog - Veja Esplar white leather trainers