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

New World, Old Friends

Towards the end of 1988 the announcement was made that Chatto, Jonathan Cape, Chatto Poetry and The Hogarth Press were to become part of Random House Group. This would also mean a move from Chatto’s lovely Georgian offices in Bedford Square to Random House HQ that occupied a modern building in Chandos Place, Covent Garden. The ground was shifting under my feet and as publishing world began to change it was a worrying time.

Is There Anybody There? Know your customer and get your marketing mix right

A key aim of a good marketing team should be to take the guess work out of your marketing mix

Design, Running ‘the Board’, the Gauntlet and the power of Healing Ash

My 20 months at Slatter-Anderson were a blur… Learning a lot in a short space of time, I worked on a truly diverse range of design jobs

AI, Ethics and Equality

While Edmonds investigates the ethical decisions needed for driverless cars and ‘care bots’, Fanzo discusses trust in workplace technology and how it will be essential to greater productivity and innovation – ‘trust’ stands out as the key to both articles. The issue with trust, however, is that it’s an emotional response to a myriad of interpersonal signals. Let’s just digest that for a moment what’s being considered here: a machine-led, consistent approach to right and wrong that humans can learn from to better themselves… But who is teaching the machine? Who’s the role model?

“Can I draw your house?”

In the cheerless Autumn term of 1979 the Head of Art at my school, David Willacy, called me into his office to inform me, in his bluff Cumbrian tones, that Robert Runcie, the then Bishop of St Albans, wanted to talk to me about a drawing and I was to go to the Bishop’s Palace straightaway.

First day, first cover

My first day at Sphere Books. I was living in Kennington in south-east London at the time and had already practised my commute via Chancery Lane Tube up to Gray’s Inn Road several times before arriving way too early on my first day. After an anxious wander around the traditional street market in Leather Lane, nine a.m. finally came and I walked in. 

80s Gaming: paper heroes, tight kerning and silver foil

Back in the late 80s the Falcon Game Book Series was highly innovative; the reader was the hero, taking a story path of their own choosing. Today, this is laughably tame and laborious, compared with our easily accessible digital escapism, role playing on our smart phones across time zones and continents. But, remember, this was all before Alan Sugar introduced the Amstrad home computer, complete with its 3.5” floppy discs. Internet for all was in its infancy and Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) was THE ‘gaming’ experience.

Me? Illustrate a cover?…

During my time at Sphere Books I designed a series by Peter Tinniswood, which afforded me the opportunity, not only to design, but also draw all the cover images. An unlooked for, but hugely rewarding moment!

Espionage, Architecture and Ann Victoria Roberts

Seven months in to my fledgling freelance career a wide variety of covers and publicity campaigns kept flowing in from Chatto & Windus. The Royal Horticultural Society’s book on companion planting; anthologies of poetry by Norman MacCaig and Carol Ann Duffy; Farmwork a photographic book capturing agricultural life, The Pitman Painters by William Feaver and the cover design for her first book that set the seal on an enduring professional relationship with much loved novelist, Ann Victoria Roberts.

Danielle Steel | 1985-6

For relatively small publishers, like Sphere Books, there are always a few authors about whose axis the company’s survival often revolves. Prolific, high-profile, bestselling…  Danielle Steel was just such an author for Sphere where she had full cover approval and maintained a very tight control on all design decisions.