Welcome to the latest Studio Spark, where the CWA design studio shares whatever has been sparking our creative imaginations over the past 7 days – whether that be Art or Design, Film or Theatre, Music or Dance, Technology or Nature…

Here’s this week’s roundup.

A Brit of class

Written by Chris Nobbs

Brits 2015 event+award

This week’s Brit Awards have been hitting the news for various reasons, not least Madonna’s fall from grace. But, albeit on a less dramatic note, the branding of the whole show seemed to be particularly strong this year, with the award statuette itself being given a makeover by Tracey Emin, following previous versions by Vivienne Westwood, Peter Blake, Damien Hirst and Philip Treacy. While you could argue that these are obvious and possibly slightly stale choices (much like many of the winners themselves), I think in principle it’s a neat concept, producing some great results. Emin’s version is adorned with a rosette, ribbons and her trademark handwritten script, spelling out the message Congratulations on your talent on your life. On everything you give to others. Thank You.

Her handwriting theme was applied across the event, from a huge video screen runway and neon scrawls hanging from the venue roof to video stings combining the handwriting with origami, strong colours and bold typography. There may also have been all the usual awkward silences, crap jokes and an overly long rambling acceptance speech (hello Paloma Faith) but at least the event branding didn’t let it down.

Brits 2015 video graphics

This girl can

Written by Karen Hall

Sports England’s ‘This Girl Can’ nationwide campaign began recently, a campaign stretching from TV commercials to big billboard advertisements. The campaign promotes and celebrates active women everywhere. No matter who we are, what size, we are inspired to enjoy keeping fit and healthy in whatever activity we want to.

The campaign shows case studies of different women sweating it out, pushing themselves to the limit but most of all, having a fantastic time exercising. I enjoy my fitness, so evidently I love this campaign. There’s a lot of stigma in the media for women to look flawless but why can’t we look good sweating too? This Girl Can shows it is possible. It shows great stamina, fun and a positive attitude to fitness/life.

Sports England and its partnership with a wide range of organisations have a fantastic approach to This Girl Can campaign. As a designer, I love the combination of dynamic and fun photography/footage of women enjoying their fitness with playful copy, which works effectively alongside. For example:

‘Sweating like a pig. Feeling like a fox.’
‘I kick balls. Deal with it.’
‘Hot and not bothered.’

A definitely tick in both aspirational and inspirational boxes. Hats off to the creatives!

For more information, check out www.thisgirlcan.co.uk


Beautiful botanics

Written by Robert Millichip

Rory McEwen illustrations

A couple of days ago I watched a programme in the Secret Knowledge series – this episode featured Jools Holland presenting a programme about his late father-in-law, Rory McEwen. It started off by exploring the similarities in their careers as both had presented music programmes featuring a wide range of musical styles.

Born into an aristocratic Scottish family, he was influenced at an early age by American Blues and Leadbelly in particular. After touring around America with his brother playing various clubs, he returned home and began a very successful television career presenting and playing music.

What was fascinating was that at the height of a very successful musical career he turned his back on it all to concentrate full-time on his art. There then followed a fantastic array of beautifully detailed botanical illustrations, painted on vellum with very fine brushwork, with the finished illustrations having an almost hyper-real look to them.

I highly recommend watching this programme while it is still available on the BBC iPlayer (it’s only half an hour long!)


Just a matter of taste (and presentation)

Written by Martin Lovegrove

A recent article in the New York Times compares what the average child in America eats for breakfast with other children all over the world.

This inspired Video Production company The Cut to make a short film inviting a selection of American children to sample some of these early-morning delicacies, with humorous results.

Unsurprisingly the look of many of the dishes puts them off straight away, with comments such as “Oh my gosh, I just found a dead fish in it. It’s gross” or “I know I won’t like it”. When asked whereabouts a particular dish originates from, and told “Finland”, one child’s response is “What’s Finland?”

Other breakfasts go down better though. Despite the suspiciously smelling dish from Vietnam – “It kind of has a portable toilet smell” receives reviews such as “This is delicious”, and “This is really good”, proving that it really is good to step outside of your comfort zone and be brave to try new things.

Whereas Poland’s offering – looking more like a plate of traditional bacon & eggs – gets one child worked up into a frenzy, but when tasted looked like he was going to throw it up. So it just goes to show that you mustn’t judge a book by its cover.

One thing’s for sure, Netherlands’ offering of ‘Chocolate Sprinkles on Bread’ has them all smiling.


A fistful of desynamite!

Written by David Neville

If you like movie title sequences then this is the website for you.

I’ve picked out the Dollars trilogy by Sergio Leone – the music score, titles and graphics – inventive in every way.

The site is well worth exploring – as with many movies, the opening sequence can be the best bit!




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