Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Phoenix Cinema launches new logo ahead of restoration

Have a look at what the local press are saying about the Phoenix centenary, the fundraising for the restored cinema and the new logo designed by - Hughes | Design.

Sunday, 6 December 2009


Our Favourite band of the moment Spring Park Motel give away their Christmas single Frosty Me & Jim Beam, click here and download it for your iPod or iTunes.

Monday, 2 November 2009


It's been a while, and this year is slipping away very quickly, but we've been very busy.  Busy with a variety of work - some website, some print, some marketing and a considerable amount of voluntary stuff but it really does make the weeks fly by.  Suddenly we realised that we have been neglecting you, our reader, so, if you want to see what we've been up to have a look at our showcase.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

hughes design virtual brochure

eagle-eyed visitors to our website will have noticed the brochure with some examples of our latest work (courtesy of Issuu) on our home page. We are increasingly being asked for emagazines, online brochures and the like and, having tried and tested a few bits of software, we have found Issuu to be the best because it offers a free service in addtion to the premium service.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Pepsi revsioned

Back in February we noted that the Coke can had taken a bold step backwards by loosing all the bells and whistles off it's packaging and reverting to their bold white and red packaging of yore... well, in a bold step forward it has come to our attention that Pepsi have redesigned their packaging too. The results are above.

There is definitely a move towards simplicity here and we like the how the 'e' in Pepsi has a wave on it's centre bar, reminiscent of the swoosh in previous Pepsi logo. The new Roundel however we are not convinced by. We've seen all the tins together of for diet and zeros sub brands etc and each roundel is slightly different, representing soemthing but we are not quite sure what. But in fairness, we need to see them together in the flesh - or tin - to decide if we like or not. At this moment, this design is purely a US development as far as we can tell.

Monday, 24 August 2009

We love holidays, and we love brands...

Here's our journal from our holiday

We've just spent 10 days at the fabulous Sensatori Resort in Crete and we're bubbling over with enthusiasm to share it with you.

Sensatori is not just a hotel complex, but a whole holiday experience. From the swim up rooms, 5 different restaurants, spa treatments, kids' sporting activities and the high quality entertainment for adults and children alike, it really it is impossible to say a bad word about this fantastic place.

The hotel's architecture breaks with traditional hotel design: every block was different and looked as though they had been built at different times, rather than the more usual regimented linear 'stacked box' design that is the norm in resort hotels. The end result resembled a village, built around several swimming pools, with the added advantage that that many of the balconies and terraces offered a private space, as no one balcony seems to overlook the other.

Inside: Our room and bathroom were 5 star luxury which is not something you'd expect from a family resort. As a family with two small(ish) children, we had a two-room swim up suite. Each bedroom opened onto the decking terrace with its sun loungers and table and chairs. Both our children can swim, but there were cleverly designed safety gates that were an integral part of both doors.

Foodwise: We were spoilt for choice with 5 restuarants, all serving good quality food, from the main resturant buffet, to the excellent Thai, the Stonegrill and the A La Carte. We ate in every restaurant, and they were all very impressive, as was the service in all of them.

During the day, the kids could spend hours by the splash pool - with its slides, sprays and ever-filling buckets. Other activities included children's clubs, Reebok football, Razzamatazz drama as well as pool-based sea scooters and SCUBA trials.

Some evenings we'd go to what's called "The Boardwalk", which is an open air theatre where the Sensatori Show Cast would entertain the grown-ups. Other evenings were spent with the kids watching Playhouse Live - featuring Danny & Becky, the co-hosts, in a hilarious and frenetic kids show, that all the children watched and joined in.

Now, we couldn't talk about Sensatori without mentioning the spa, as mum and dad need a little pampering while they are away too. So we also took advantage of that, going for a massage and sauna, which left us both very relaxed. Julia's feet are still glowing from her pedicure!

If all of the above seems a bit full on, what's really incredible about Sensatori is you wouldn't know that it is going on around you. You can be as busy and involved or as laid back as you like - there are no pushy staff trying to get you involved in activities and no annoying announcements. And talking of the staff, everyone we had dealings with were warm, delightful and professional.

But that's enough about the holiday, what this blog is really for is to talk about is creative stuff and brand experience etc... which why we are talking about Sensatori. Thomson Holidays and Atlantica Hotels launched Sensatori in Crete about 18 months ago. We understand the huge undertaking of launching and sustaining a task of this size. The work and the effort that goes into creating a new 'brand' experience from scratch is phenomenal. Considering it was only launched in May 2008, to have established and perfected this 'brand' experience in under 18 months is an incredible achievement. The attention to details in every aspect of this place is brilliant. From the front entrance with its waterfall windows, to the decor of the hallways, the landscaping between the pools, the splash pools, the swim-up rooms, the comfortable furniture throughout, the excellent spa, the overall cleanliness of the resort and the clearly well trained and prepared staff. This is clearly a well oiled machine.

Finally a word on the logo. Mike thinks he read on the wall in the spa, next to an "arty" artwork print of the logo, that the artwork was either inspired by the logo or the inspiration for the logo - but he's not quite sure. However he can confidently state that the Sensatori logo is based on the stones used in a spa.

Thank you Sensatori for a fabulous few days.

Our "swim-up" room.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

July Design

Permin Capital LLP
We recently produced this interim identity for a City of London based investment fund. Building on the theme of solidity we used a cubed block as the basis of the of the logo. The idea being that this, like the fund itself can be built upon.

Shetlands Arts Biennial Report
In a lovely piece of symmetry, one year to the day that we agreed costs, Shetland Arts completed the their Biennial Report. Check out the link to free online publishing tool ISSUU. It's really simple to use. Simply upload your pdf document to their servers and they convert it into this online publication with animated pages. You can then embed the link in your own webpage, blog or post it facebook etc...

Monday, 29 June 2009


Long standing client and good friend to HUGHES | DESIGN – Tim Hill – returned once again to us to assist with the packaging for the new Ferguson Hill FHOO9 Home Theatre System. 

THE FHOO9 is A hi-quality sound system to complement your Hi-Def tv. The system comes in two boxes - so we took advantage of the extra surface area to demonstrate the various sets-ups you can have with FHOO9: floor standing, tabletop or wall mounted horn speakers.

We also produced a sales brochure and an instruction manual for FHOO9 – that included a location photoshoot in furniture store Chaplins in North West London. Thanks to them for the use of the location. 

We also recently completed this website for Fiona Hurlock, a local Acupuncture and Shiatsu practitioner. Click through and and have look.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Ooops. Should really be blogging

Apologies visitors, but we've been rather lax on the old blogging front. But for good reasons really. We seem to be weathering the storm. Clients keeping us busy, so busy in fact, that finding time to write for the blog has been difficult.

Coming soon we'll be showcasing new packaging work we've produced for Ferguson Hill. Plus a new website for a highly regarded Acupuncture and Shiatsu practitioner based here in East Finchley.

June sees the East Finchley Festival spring up in Cherry Tree Wood. Once again we have been hard at work, along with all the other volunteers, in creating this year's festival handbook which is now at the printers. Posters will soon be going up all over East Finchley promoting it. Thanks to everyone who advertised in this year's book.

Talking of which, did anyone notice the similarities between our poster for last years festival and a certain coffee chains new promotion? We've checked the dates, and we're certain we did it first. And we must say it's very flattering to see our work being the possible inspiration for their campaign. And of course we're the first to admit that we'all prone to a bit of plagiarism – anyone spotted the similarities between the Milton Glazer's I LOVE NY with the I LOVE N2 that adorns many so many premises and vehicles around here? :)

As Paul Arden Says in his book Whatever you think Think the opposite: Chaper: Steal –

Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination
Devour films, music, books, paintings, poems, photographs, conversations, dreams, trees, architecture, street signs, clouds, light and shadows.

Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.

Authenticity is invaluable. Originality is non existent. Don't bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it.

Remember what Jean-Luc Godard said "It's not where you take things from – it's where you take them to."

We stole this from Paul Arden – who stole it from Jim Jarmusch :)

Monday, 16 March 2009

Monday, 9 March 2009

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

If a man you've never met before, calls you up and offers you a 2 month free offer on Yell.com – save yourself the grief and just say No!

Why? Well unless you really, really, want to have an advanced listing on Yell.com, don't bother.

Firstly, we had zero enquiries in the 2 months we were on Yell and secondly, when we tried to cancel it, we were told we couldn't. We did get to cancel eventually. But it wasn't easy.

Let me take you on a journey. Back in November 08, a very charming man kept calling me to discuss advertising on Yell.com. I said no – nearly – every time: "It's not for me", "I'm not interested", 'it's a lot of money for no real guaranteed return", etc, etc, etc. Eventually, he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. "Try before you buy. 2 months free". Okay I think, I'll give that a go. Free is good. We agree that he'll contact me in February to see if I am satisfied and if I wish to continue. I make a note in my desk diary to contact Yell.com in mid February, noting that the cut off date they give me is the 14th of Feb – a Saturday.

Monday 16th February – bad customer service day
I email the salesman who was supposed to contact me, to tell him, "Thanks but no thanks, I don't want the advert". He emails back saying that I need to contact customer services in order to cancel. I speak to the a very patronising young lady by the name of Lamb, Dumb or Dawn, I'm not sure, but she says "sorry, you should have called us before the 14th. I'm afraid you are now under contract. You really should have read the agreement, sir." I point out that the cut off date fell over a weekend, and ask "is it really that unreasonable to contact you on the first day of business after the weekend?". "Well actually sir, it is. the onus was on you to call us. So I'm afraid you are now under contract. You really should have read the agreement. Sir".

Now, I like to think I understand a bit about business – simple things like: both parties should benefit from a transaction. So I offer the following – as a good will gesture "How about you invoice me for the 2 months, I'll pay for that, but take my listing off Yell.com and we'll go our separate ways, I really want nothing to do with your company if you are going to insist I have to pay for an ad that I wish to cancel.". "I'm sorry sir, but the contact is not negotiable".

The situation is getting very frustrating, dumb lamb is clearly not understanding the nuances here. The more insistent she is that she can't do anything, the more I don't want my company associated with Yell.com. Firstly I disapprove of their sales tactics and secondly if this is their idea of their customer service... it stinks.

"Is there anything else I can help you with today?".
"Yes, who do I complain to?"
"I deal with complaints, sir. I'm a customer service executive"
"What's my case complaint number please?".
"We don't do case complaint numbers, sir"

And then the penny drops... Yell.com customer services and complaints is actually modeled on the Ministry of Truth from 1984. As in, it's anything but. This is a drone centre where modern day Winston Smith's absorb customer complaints through the illusion of customer service. I end the call, bristling and get on line to see if there's anyone who can help. One quick google search produced some interesting results – I'm not the only one who's been through this. Click here

Energised by the above, I write a big long email to Yell.com customer service, add my moans to someone else's blog, speak to an online legal adviser who advises negotiating, but says ultimately to expect Yell.com to enforce the contract. I decide then and there, that if Yell are going to insist I pay, I shall make my ad read, SCAMMED. WE NO LONGER WISH TO ADVERTISE WITH YELL.COM. which I do through the control panel. Finally I contact the consumer adviser at the Guardian newspaper.

24th February – good customer service day
A few days later, Maria Bridgen of Yell.com customer services contacts me to tell that she has cancelled the order. She also apologised for her ill informed staff and any stress they may have caused and that she would inform the relevant people of their mistakes. She also explained that I would receive a VAT invoice, but was not to be alarmed by this as a credit note would shortly follow, but most importantly, I would not have to pay a thing.

Now that is great customer service. It is just a pity I had to go through all the other stuff because they don't train their dumb lambs properly.

Always, always, always read the contract...

This is a story about a part-time job, an events company, a printer and a magazine publisher.

About a year ago, an associate of ours worked 2 days a week, at a compny we'll call for arguments sake, Slippery Dodge & Wing it – an outfit who put on events for small business owners. During her employment, our associate was instructed by the owner of Slippery Dodge & Wing It to organise the production of a printed 6 page flyer and to arrange for it to be inserted into a major business publication. We were involved in the design of the flyer, which our associate got the business owner to sign off the whole project. It was printed, delivered, inserted and distributed as agreed.

The event came and went, and in July of last year our associate left her part-time employment with Slippery Dodge & Wing It. In September, the printer of the 6 page insert contacted HUGHES|DESIGN, and wanted to know if we had heard from Slippery Dodge & Wing It recently. As they still hadn't bene paid by Slippery Dodge & Wing it for the February print job. All we could say was sorry to hear that. Our associate no longer worked there, but we'll mention it to Slippery Dodge & Wing It.

In early November 2008 our associate, answers the door to her home to find a bailiff standing there.
"Are you X of Slippery Dodge&Wing It?" he asks. She replies that she no longer works for them. He informs her she has a CCJ against her and 7 days to find seven thousand pounds or else he'll be coming back for her stuff. All she can think: WHAT??? The Bailiffs have come for her, because Slippery Dodge & Wing It haven't paid their bill to the publisher of the magazine that their flyer was inserted into.

On further investigation, it becomes clear that this publisher doesn't muck about when it comes to chasing invoices. They issue it, and if you don't pay it in 30 days, they pass it onto debt collection – who are a rather obtuse bunch based in Merseyside. They claim to have written letters to our associate addressed to X of Slippery Dodge & Wing It at Slippery Dodge & Wing It central London office. The business owner of Slippery Dodge & Wing It, lets call him, James Nicholas, received these letters and chose to ignore them – why? Because X didn't work there anymore and the publishers invoice wasn't made out to Slippery Dodge & Wing It "Ltd". So therefore he felt confident he could ignore it, and it would just go away.

Naturally our associate was incensed by this – and so began a long and expensive procedure of having to clear her name. Initially, any correspondence she had with the Merseyside Debt Collecters was met with with one line curt reponses. Requests for copies of the paper work were denied. When a stay of execution was requested the county court agreed and they also agreed to have it rehaeard at a local court. But, the publisher and their debt collectors still refused to negotiate or listen to her version of events. Nicholas James of Slippery Dodge & Wing It offered, to pay the invoice if it was reissued to Slippery Dodge & Wing It "ltd" but refused to pay any court fees.

At this point, our associate decided it was time to get her own solicitor involved. She explained the sitiuation, the solicitor read through the correspondence and wrote one letter to the Merseyside Debt Collectors spelling out his clients position and inacted a procedure where he "joined" Slippery Dodge & Wing It to the case. Merseyside Debt Collectors suddenly became very talkative and agreed to drop the case and not pursue our associate any further for the money - but only if she agreed not to be compensated. Unbelievably, this episode cost our associate nearly a £1000 in legal fees, plus hours of lost time, not to mention a whole lot of stress.

You'd be right to ask at this point, "Blimey! How did all this happen?" Well, it turns out that there is a clause in the contract that publishers present you with when you take out an advert or insert in their publications:

“the Buyer” shall mean the person placing the order for an Advertisement, whether or not that person is the Advertiser.

What this means is that if you, on behalf of your employer or a client, place an advert and that client or employer refuses to pay the bill, if your name is on the invoice, you will be pursued for the money. Now, we think this is outrageous. This clause can make an employee liable for the debt of their unscrupulous employer and the employer is under has no legal obliagtion to protect it's employees.

But the good news is, becuase of the recession, as advertisers, we now have a bit more leverage with the publications, which is why since the beginning of 2009, we insist that that clause is removed before we place an advert with anyone, and we advise all our clients to do the same. But even if you're not a client, we tell anyone who cares to listen, " If your boss (or client) asks you to take out an advert on their behalf, do it, but do it in their name."

As we said at the beginning, always, always, always read the contract...

Friday, 6 February 2009

A taste of things to come?

I was in the supermarket recently and I walked down the soft drinks aisle and was warmed to see that Coke have repacked their famous beverage. It was like going back in time to better days. In what is probably a brave departure for Coke, they've stripped the bottle and can design back to basics. Red background, white type and a swoosh.

I think this is fantastic. And I say this for two reasons. Firstly; The packaging to date with it's bubbles, and swooshes, fizz effects, water droplets, drop shadows and 5 colour printing was in my mind more like a tutorial for Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop than a classic piece of packaging. All that pizzazz never really added anything to the brand and every new design seemed to be utilising every vector and layer trick in the book.

Secondly, years' ago I worked at an agency that dealt with Coke and regularly we had to adapt artwork from their supplied files and it drove me mad. It would be returned marked up showing how we'd missed off a miniscule bubble here or water droplet there - as if the future of absolutely everything hinged on this oversight. Added to that the files were so large they would take an age to process, so that the simple addition of a bubble required the processing power of a small nuclear facility. The lights in the office would visibly flicker when you pressed 'save'. I remember swearing under my breath for a return to the days of simplicity. And now those prayers have been answered – I should stress at this point that we don't work with Coke, and their decision wasn't influenced by my prayers (or maybe it was, they say he moves in mysterious ways). But all said, I'd just like to say, well done Coke.

I think over the next year we'll may see a trend emerge with this return to simplicity from other brands. Personally I say bring back the the old Pizza Hut logo, that was proper. I might even consider eating there again.
Do we really need highlights, drop shadows, water droplets reflections, shadows, pizzazz, jiggerypokerey, dancing clowns and pokerdots on our logos and brands? Does a static logo need
to appear as if it's in motion, bursting with energy implying excitement – yes I am still talking about Pizza Hut? These are questions worth asking. If the logo/logotype doesn't work in one colour, will the addition of whistles and bells make that much difference? The Coca Cola Company don't seem to think so.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Great News

We are pleased to announce that we recently secured work with a major client after pitching for it early last week. We are keeping the details of this brief until we have more information. But we are looking forward to working closely with them over the next few months.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Good Service?

I got an HTML email from a software company the other day – I won't name them – where they offered me an upgrade patch.

Okay, I may have sped read the email, but I clicked on the link and downloaded the patch and installed the software. I was then asked for the serial number of the software. I dug it out and entered it, but it wouldn't accept it. Puzzled by this I contacted their support service, who got back to me telling me I needed to pay $50 for the latest version of the software.

Puzzled further, I asked why I was on a mailing list that was sending me a patch for software I didn't have? Clearly they knew that I owned version of it, but not the one that needed patching. At no point had they communicated to me that a newer version was available, in fact the first I knew about it was when they sink me a link to the patch, which I assumed was for the version I already had...

This bothered me for a couple of reasons. First, it felt like a cheap scam trying to fleece me. Second, knowing that the product needed patching before I knew it existed put me off the idea of buying it completely. Their communications basically said: "We've got a faulty product, but here's the fix, er.. it costs $50 and er, um... it's new."

Then to compound things, when I pointed this out to them, the senior person dealing with it sent me an email saying they thought the email comms I was complaining about were innocuous... I replied stating that I was not impressed in the least bit with that as a reponse. He replied, sorry I didn't mean to send you that email, it was meant for a colleague...

They immediately issued an apology, an explanation and a discount voucher. However, I'm reluctant to take advantage of the discount because even with money off I'm left with the impression that the product isn't quite right and that the apology was issued for the customer service email gaffe and not my original complaint.

I think there's important lessons for everyone there.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Back in business!

Apologies for not updating the Blog. Christmas just takes over, and before you know it it's new year and well, then it's nearly the middle of January... anyway we've actually only had a little time off over the festive period due to work commitments – but we're not complaining.

The early part of this year is already looking busy, which is fantastic news. A few of the clients that we picked up via the Deal Generator website have come back for repeat work which we put down to our attention to detail, not just to the work but to the working relationship.

Other projects are still on-going, including the website for a property development company that we started last year and may have mentioned before.

We are also pleased to announce that we are working on an extensive branding exercise for a web-based business, details of which we'll post when we have completed the initial stages of the project. All the signs to date are very encouraging so... watch this space for updates.

And of course, if you, dear visitor, are interested in getting a quote from us for any up coming projects, then please contact us via the website.