I was interested to read about the delivery company Hermes undergoing a rebrand, as it changes its name to Evri and launches a new visual identity. Interestingly, it comes after a report by The Times that saw couriers throw parcels around depots, against cages, walls and onto the floor, as well as showing a video of a manager advising that drivers should ‘act stupid’ when dealing with complaints from customers (however the company says the rebrand is not related to this investigation). Hermes also ranked very poorly in the Citizen’s Advice league table that was released last year.
In my eyes, it brings up the question of what a rebrand really means. A rebrand should look deep into the core values of the business, which, once decided, should then shape its decisions and behaviours. An output of this rebrand could also include a new visual identity and tone of voice, as seen here by Hermes. It will be interesting to see if Hermes/Evri uses this opportunity to create an improved reputation of the service it gives its customers, or if the company sees this as a quick way to distance itself from the existing reputation now associated with the word ‘Hermes’. If it doesn’t re-evaluate its values and amend its processes, it could run the risk of having the same brand reputation, but with a different name.
Nadia Lee Cohen’s latest book, Hello My Name Is is a surreal transformative series of portraits where a whole imagined world is created in Cohen’s trademark 1960s and 70s Americana aesthetic.
Throughout 2022, the V&A is staging Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature, a major exhibition in partnership with the National Trust. We've all become so familiar with her works that it's easy to forget how talented Beatrix Potter actually was, and how intricate a world she created. Potter lived in social isolation for much of her childhood and adult years, taught by a governess at home and with nobody of her own age to play with besides her brother Bertram.
Her stories and illustrations are testament to the magical realm she created to fill this void, and demonstrate the amazing power of the imagination. And of course, there's more to Potter than Peter Rabbit. As the exhibition shows, she was also a keen botanist and an expert in fungi, as well as a dedicated conservationist and landowner. For those who can’t get along in person, the V&A website has interesting reads and interactive features, including a full illustrated manuscript to feast your eyes on.
My head is pretty filled with what’s going on in the Ukraine at the moment. So for those that are able to, consider a donation to Choose Love, which is providing support not only to Ukrainians, but all those displaced by war.
Quaker Oats recently produced a six-pack of oats for the Super Bowl, and I love this idea as it’s so playful and simple. Being a big porridge fan, I can get behind anything oat-related, although I’m not a fan of the use of plastic packaging for a PR stunt…
I enjoyed exploring this interactive tech radar. Not only is the data beautifully presented, but it also visualises connections between the different technologies that could impact our future, and when they might reach widespread use.
Despite having an exciting and busy new job in my life, I still find time to do a few radio shows a month for Exeter Community station Phonic.fm. My favourite show to do is The Eighties Time Machine where I can explore my passion for 80s music, particularly that of an electronic/dance persuasion, and especially hard-to-find remixes and extended versions of tracks. I am lucky to have an equally obsessed co-host and a loyal group of listeners on Twitter on the hashtag #80sTM. My previous shows can be found online over at Mixcloud.
Not long ago, Apple announced that it would start selling the parts and tools needed to fix your iPhone. I’m an Apple lover but I’m also the type of person who doesn’t upgrade their phone after the two-year period that phone companies and Apple seem to try to pressure you into. This is partly because phone contracts seem so expensive now, because it seems so massively wasteful, and because it makes me feel a little bit rebellious. If my phone has broken I like to try and fix it. If I drop my phone down the toilet, I don’t put it in a bag of rice and let it slowly dry, I take the screen off, dry it with a piece of kitchen roll and carry on using it. Apple devices used to be almost modular in their construction but currently I can’t even change the battery in my laptop, so this news is really exciting for people who like to fix stuff.
I love the ingenuity of Paper Lounge’s eco modular furniture, made from reinforced, recycled paper that can be folded away or opened out, concertina-style, to create portable seating that looks stylish and doesn’t hurt the planet. The undulating curves of their folding paper bench added to the retro feel of a school common room redesigned on Episode 3 of Interior Design Masters S3 on BBC1.
I’ve found listening to Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place extremely stimulating and thought provoking. She talks to guests about some really difficult topics and it’s interesting to hear people’s ways of tackling and managing the things that crop up in life which can be hard to deal with.
It’s definitely a podcast I have recommended to many friends, and I’d recommend to anyone to take a listen. It’s certainly helped me over the last two years, during these strange pandemic times we’ve been living in.
Within the current version of the new normal, with price rises and fuel rises and the constant threat of war from Russia, Cadbury is trying to find ways of spreading some joy and connecting people virtually.
With this in mind, they’ve kicked off a virtual egg hunt, in which you can invite someone close to you to find an egg somewhere around the world. The person hiding it places it somewhere that has significance to you both, and then leaves you a clue to help you find it. Once found, the egg is sent out in the post to you.
In a world in which Easter eggs are continually scrutinised for their cost and the amount of plastic they use, it’s great to see a brand add some value and some fun to the giving of eggs, not only extending the holiday period by being able to set this up in advance, but also building anticipation for the recipient when it comes to what they will finally receive in the post.
Of course, this incurs a slightly greater charge to allow for the postage, but when others are simply hiking up their price, it’s great to see a brand actually giving something to the consumer for their extra spend. Long may this continue.
Ask anyone in the studio (or on Slack, post-pandemic) and they'll say that I use the word Dropbox like a swear word. We have a constant love/hate relationship – well, more hate than love actually – and I use it out of necessity rather than choice. And then along came Instrument with a lovely typography system (although I'm sure WeTransfer might have some grumblings), and all of a sudden I'm thinking that this isn't so bad. It’s funny how a clever system, a playful tone of voice, and compelling imagery will instantly make me forget the actual product. Find out more about the campaign here.
I'm off to try some Brussels sprouts to see if a rebrand will have the same effect.
I'm old enough to remember buying Ian Dury's ‘Reasons to be cheerful (Part 3)’ as a single back in 1979. I was 14 and played it until the grooves wore out! At the time I was also a big fan (and still am) of Talking Heads.
The Heads’ lead singer David Byrne went on, of course, to have a hugely successful solo career, and he always struck me as an inspiration as well as an optimistic, curious and highly creative soul. A wonderful manifestation of his approach to life can now be discovered via a website he's founded, which is dedicated to bringing the world stories that make life seem a little less darker than current events might make you believe. Their Instagram is also worth a follow.
It's a recipe book for solutions, with no dietary restrictions!