Communication & Publishing

THE BIG IDEAS COLLECTIVE

Intelligent creativity.

‘How to Be in Business’ by Jacky Fitt FRSA.
“What an amazing, truly authentic book for startups…”

Small, medium and large wise owls

WE 

create beautiful brands, books and websites. Produce inspiring and engaging content matched by technical expertise.

Brand Identity

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Content Creation

Words and images to inform and engage, move and motivate.

Web Development

Let’s make it bold and beautiful.

Search Engine Optimisation

Be found.

Publishing Design

A book is a thing of beauty.

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The Big Blogs

Lettering design and 15 words of genius…

Some authors are so popular, that they get their own series style. Alan Scholefield was one. With writing skills to master a range of genres, at Sphere Books we focussed on Alan’s ‘epic adventures’.
The lettering style for Alan’s epics was the first ‘author style’ I designed and drew up myself at Sphere, rather than commissioning one of the lettering artworkers we used. I was inspired by the Albertus font, however, because the name Scholefield is so long, I had to adjust the proportions and embolden the serifs, so it would work at a size that could be seen across a book store and attract his many readers. 

Content Marketing – profitable engagement

The main focus for content marketing is not the hard sell; its function is to consistently communicate valuable information to engage current and attract new ‘buyers’. And by ‘buyers’ I mean people who you need to either buy, buy into, comment upon, support or participate in what you are offering.

15 Things every Indie author needs to do…

Of course, there are far more than 15 steps to making all this work and each indie author will need to make their own path to publication. There is a huge amount of professional help available and often the whole process is easier when you have someone project managing the production process so it takes the pressure of the writer.

Anarchy and Invention: cartoons, exhibitions and a fine dinner out

From a tender age I have loved cartoons. From Top Cat to The Flintstones, Roobarb and Custard to Asterix, I loved the anarchy and the invention. I have already written about my work with Ed McClachlan and, during my time at Sphere Books I went on to draw a number of cartoons for covers and company Christmas cards for Sphere and some of our suppliers. One morning I got a message to see Barbara Boote, Sphere’s Head of Editorial; with no idea what was in the wind, off I trod…

Inspiration

My design degree, from Exeter College of Art and Design, was focussed on typography and lettering design, and, during my studies, I was lucky enough to be taught by some extraordinary and influential lettering designers and calligraphers. 

Bottleneck and the Summer ’77

I began working as a designer when I was still at school. I used to love sauntering into WH Smiths with my friends and see my covers on the shelves and I still get that same thrill seeing my work in shops 43 years on. How I came to be designing puzzle book covers is as odd as it is satisfying…
My father was obsessed with The Telegraph cryptic crossword and one compiler in particular, Colin Parsons, was his nemesis. After finally completing one of Colin’s crosswords, in his great excitement, or relief, my father dashed off a letter of victory. Weirdly and despite, I’m sure, receiving other fan mail, Colin wrote back and so started a long correspondence. 

Never Lost for Words

Recently I came across a great new tool: what3words. It’s a way for anyone, anywhere in the world to be found.

Briefing my heroes – don’t ask, don’t get

This was one of those jobs; as soon as I read the brief I had a crystal clear idea of the image I wanted for the book cover. In Designers that have influenced and inspired me. 1. I mentioned being a huge fan of iconic cartoonist Ed McLachlan’s work. So, when I was given Dig Up Your Family Tree and allowed to commission the illustration, I got the chance to brief and art direct one of my heroes. At 24, this was in equal parts exciting and utterly terrifying.

“I’ll have a B please Bob…”

During the 1980s Blockbusters was a hugely popular TV quiz in the UK. An American import, the show’s enthusiastic contestants answered trivia questions based on an initial letter that they picked from a board. The idea being to complete a run of letters and create a word before the opposition.  Say, “I’ll have a B please Bob” to anyone of a certain age and they’ll know instantly what you’re talking about. 

Photoshoots and the birth of 2H

Six months after joining Slatter-Anderson, I was offered work on a freelance, rather than a permanent basis. Looking back on that often intense and chaotic time, I’m sure it had a lot to do with their tax position and off loading full-time employees.

To their credit, my then current bosses Robin and Derek did me the massive favour of letting me use the Slatter-Anderson darkroom to make up artwork out of office hours. The deal was that I could do freelance work outside office hours and deduct any materials I used from my monthly invoice. They knew that in order to be seen as bona fide freelance by the tax office I would need to have income from sources other than their company.