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D-Day: A story we can’t stop telling


‘Best piece of #branding I’ve seen for ages. Can feel the story and history.’ @CatherineAnnR


You might have seen our brand identity and advertising campaign for the new D-Day Story popping up across Portsmouth, on the London Underground, on Twitter, and in Design Week.

Located in Portsmouth, the museum tells the story of the Allied forces’ invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944 during the Second World War, which led to the liberation of large parts of Europe from Nazi control – and ultimately Allied victory.

We worked with Portsmouth City Council to give the museum a new destination brand and marketing aimed at moving expectations away from a strictly ‘military’ brand, to one which appeals to all generations.

Our Associate, brand strategist Scott Sherrard spoke with everyone from veterans to volunteers, and councillors to students, to find out what the D-Day Story meant to them. The resulting brand is built on juxtaposition: The epic made personal, the personal made epic.

The D-Day operation was so huge that no one person could ever comprehend every facet of it – but we sought to make it personal.

There’s an intimacy to the impact that D-Day had on so many individuals – we sought to shine a light on that and make it epic.

The brand uses archived photography and diary entries to get a real perspective.

Marketing and advertising designed to stand out from the crowd.

Inclusive symbols concept design and testing feedback

Following on from the concept workshops, we’ve been busy developing the design for each symbol including a number of options which were tested with groups of people living with dementia.


Concept design phase

Getting into the design we quickly realised there were many different route to explore. After a series of iterations, we developed four options for each symbol to test various factors that could make the symbols more easily understood by people with dementia i.e. showing perspective, including people/figures ‘doing’ the action, shaded flooring.

We considered the styling of the ‘symbol people’ – if they should be ‘morph like’, if they should have necks, or if they should be more human in feature, showing details like clothing and hair. We varied their level of movement, the number of people interacting with each environment, and their activity in each context.

Environments were explored in perspective as well as elevation/straight on, and shading on floors and on objects like toilet seats were visualised to gauge people’s understanding. And we changed the scale on some symbols to see how much information is needed, on close up items like a hand on a door as well as entire rooms and the whole shape of an escalator.

The testing stimulus was prepared as A3 sheets with four options for each symbol alongside the relevant current symbol, and a ‘wash up sheet’ of alternative existing options to help stimulate the discussion. Facilitated by Steve Milton, Director of Innovations in Dementia, these sheets were used to evaluate the legibility and understanding of each of the concepts with groups of people living with dementia across a number of locations. The sessions were recorded and subsequently transcribed.


Testing and feedback

The symbol concepts were tested with 39 people of varying ages and stages of dementia. 33 of these were across five groups and there were six 1-2-1 interviews. Groups were consulted in Shrewsbury, Liverpool, Glasgow, Canterbury and Salisbury. Five interviews took place face-to-face in Stockwell and one via teleconferencing in Salford.

There was an overall enthusiasm from participants to feedback their views on something ‘practical’ rather than policy based that will impact positively on people’s everyday life.

Key learnings:

People

Feedback overview:

‘Morph’ figure (on the left) was generally preferred as people found it clearer/simpler.

Male / Female / Accessible Toilet

Feedback overview:

Everyone recognised this as a toilet.

Symbol ‘B’ in perspective with shaded flooring was unanimously preferred and the white figure on black background was least preferred.

Escalator

Feedback overview:

Although ‘C’ got the highest number of votes, there was a preference for whole shape
of escalator handrail to differentiate it from stairs. The rounded shape also implies movement which is helpful. The two people interacting with the escalator in ‘A’ and ‘C’ was well liked. Maybe we could develop ‘A’ in 3D with perspective. Many liked the idea of adding an arrow going up, or down for a different version of the symbol, to emphasise the indication of movement.

Exit

Feedback overview:

There was a clear preference for ‘C’ showing perspective noting that the person should be clearly stepping from one space to another, rather than walking past the door. The tree and cloud were identified as representing the ‘outside’ and this was liked, as if moving from one environment to another. The floor shading could be understood better if lower down, so less like the person is in water.

Lift

Feedback overview:

There was a clear preference for ‘D’ showing perspective, doors and shading within lift.  There was absolute consensus that the people interacting are important to the understanding of this symbol. There were comments about the button increasing in size!

Stairs

Feedback overview:

Everyone recognized the options as stairs. Although ‘B’ got the highest number of votes, there was a preference for whole shape of the staircase as shown in ‘A’. Everyone agreed that the handrail helped them feel reassured.

Parking

Feedback overview:

Almost everyone recognised this as parking and there was a unanimous preference for  the simplicity of ‘C’. Some of the options i.e. ‘B’ showed too much information and detail which was confusing for people.

Information

Feedback overview:

None of the options shown were popular. Concensus was for the original ‘i’ symbol to be retained.

Tickets

Feedback overview:

Much discussion was had about whether the symbols represent buying or or showing the ticket. In the end ‘A’ was agreed the most popular.

Priority Seating

Feedback overview:

Symbol ‘C’ was preferred and most people identified this as a seat for people who
need it. It was pointed out that, for example on buses, there is a space reserved for wheelchair users so we don’t need to include the wheelchair access symbol. We need careful development of the wording to support understanding of this symbol.

Waiting Area

Feedback overview:

Symbol ‘C’ was the clear preference because of its simplicity and perspective. The doorway through to another room wasn’t necessary. Everyone found the seated people helpful to the meaning, though they should look less rigid and more active. The clock (with no time shown) could be included as it was popular with most participants.

Fire Escape

Feedback overview:

The perspective of symbol ‘C’ was preferred, with the fire from symbols ‘A/B’. It would make sense to include the outside elements from the previous Exit symbol, as well as movement of the person from one space to another.

Wheelchair Access

Feedback overview:

Everyone correctly identified this and ‘A’ gained the majority of votes. Some pointed out that the person was controlling their own chair rather than being pushed as in the existing symbol. Some felt an attachment to the existing symbol and questioned whether we need to update the design of the symbol at all.

Hidden Disability

Feedback overview:

Most weren’t able to identify any of the options shown but for those who recognised some sort of need, symbol ‘D’ was preferred. Adding colour (red) to the cross at the next design phase may be helpful to the understanding around ‘health’. Careful consideration of the words that support this symbol is needed to aid understanding.


Next Steps

Our next step is to look at the user testing feedback in detail to develop and refine the design of each symbol.

We’ll consider the impact for the user of language and colour – which words that accompany symbols are most easily understood i.e. toilet / restroom / ladies /  WC / public convenience.

The trickiest words to consider and resolve will be ‘Priority Seating’ and ‘Hidden Disability’ and we will be working with language strategist Ben Afia https://www.benafia.com to develop some options for testing at the next phase.

We will also consider colour i.e. does a green exit symbol or a blue parking symbol effect its communication?

The design development will lead into the next phase of testing with new groups of people in July.

Tackling big issues: needs to learn

[4 minute read]

As designers we’re ambitious to tackle society’s big challenges – that’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. So when we were asked to design an accessible website aimed at 12-15 year old children with additional support needs, we jumped at the chance to work on a project that will really make a difference.

Living with additional support needs means that school can be a real struggle for children without the proper support. These children and their parents or carers may be feeling worried, frustrated or confused about getting the right education to suit their needs. They’re looking for help, and there’s a chance that they have felt let down before and have come to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal as a last resort.

Our aim was to develop a communication channel that would instill a sense of empowerment for its audience and feel like a helping hand. Something that is welcoming, informally informative, and is easily understood. And something that helps in getting all children the education they are entitled to.


The design of the site was led by the people that would be using the site. The colours, fonts and layout were all chosen based on research and knowledge of accessibility for web, for people with support needs, and in particular children with Autism. The site was then user tested and assessed for ease of use and general understanding.”

– Kimberly Carpenter, Senior Digital Designer


We started off by considering a new, original name for the service to replace Additional Support Needs as part of the Health and Education Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland – which we didn’t feel was accessible!

So, we developed the name needs to learn to capture both ASN [needs] and education [to learn].

The name works well when we talk about putting children at the heart of the judiciary service: All children in Scotland should benefit from a school education. When this isn’t happening we look at each child’s individual circumstances and their unique needs to learn.

 And also when we talk about the child:

We look at Jamie’s unique and individual needs to learn to make sure that he benefits from school education.

To build on the power of needs to learn, we developed a new visual language to help with signposting the user to navigate through the information provided. We created a carefully considered colour palette, soft shapes, an engaging illustration style that would appeal to the age group, accessible language and a font that was highly legible on screen. The content was edited down to short blocks of text and bullets points so that information could be easily read and digested by the viewer. There’s also a section on the site titled ‘word meanings’ to explain the meanings of tricky words, especially legal terms that are hard for all of us to make sense of.

As we developed the website design we wanted to ensure the navigation was simple and clear, and it provided plenty of reassurance. The landing page asks:

Are you in the right place?

If you’re 12 to 15, have additional support needs and want to make a change to your school education, then yes you are.

We created a prototype, using Invision, and conducted user testing with a group of 12-15 year olds with additional support needs. We observed their interaction with the site, including ease of use, and asked them what they generally thought of the site. Their feedback played an important role in the final development stages of the website.

Since the site launched, feedback from users is very positive. All children are entitled to, and deserve an education, and if needs to learn helps their education needs to be met then we’re proud to have played a small part to achieve that.


Unsurprisingly children with additional support needs need additional support. That includes the way we communicate with them, not just visually but also understanding that their cognitive functions work differently. The design thinking and execution had to take all this into account when creating something of real value to them.” 

– Mark Wheeler, Design Director


 

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Last updated: 24/05/2018

The brand experience at Terex Trucks gets the Big Nod (the grand prix)

“Creativity for an audience in a place where you wouldn’t normally expect to find creativity” – Mt RAINEY, chair

Last week, we were over the moon to be standing on the stage at the Nods Awards in Glasgow to be picking up two awards for the Terex Trucks brand experience.

Including:

  • Best Brand Experience
  • The Big Nod (grand prix)

Here’s Nic and Dave picking up the Big Nod (sponsored by Jura) from Muriel Gray:

About the winning work:

Nicola Laurie: Young Designer of the Year nominee

We’re very proud to announce that our youngest team member Nicola Laurie has been nominated for Young Designer of the Year in the The Drum’s Design Awards, entered globally.

A FEW Words about Nicola:

It’s easy to be fooled by her youthful appearance; StudioLR designer Nicola Laurie has the confidence and wisdom of a designer who’d far outweigh her in design-years.

In little over a year since joining us after graduation, Nicola (Nic) has gone from strength to strength. Her systematic approach brings complex ideas and source materials together in a clear and concise way – demonstrating a rare maturity. As a result, she was promoted from junior designer to designer in a very short time. She has been instrumental in a wide range StudioLR’s highest profile projects, including the branding of the D-Day Story, museum now open. Nic also played an important role in rebranding Investors in People Scotland to Remarkable. And the design of an identity and visitor experience of the new Playful Garden at Brodie Castle for the National Trust for Scotland.

Nic is already confidently taking the lead and managing projects. Most notably in developing the brand and packaging for a new premium drinks product. The client commented: “I can safely say I could not have asked for a better start to the branding journey. It is GENIUS”.

Nic was also our main designer on the global event launch of a new industrial vehicle for Volvo which took place in April. It was a resounding success with Volvo and their customers, her brave ideas and impressive brand understanding made this a Volvo event to remember.

To top it all off, Nic is a creative idea powerhouse in the studio she churns out diverse creative ideas with enviable ease. No doubt she is one to keep an eye on.

Inverewe: great experiences get great results

[7 minute read]

We’ve got some great news! We’ve been shortlisted for a WON a Gold Marketing Society Star Award in the Design category [UPDATED].

The Star Awards focus on projects which deliver measurable results to clients. Our shortlisted Inverewe project for the National Trust for Scotland is a wonderful success story that we’re delighted to share with you.

Here are a few snippets from our submission:

Inverewe Garden in Wester Ross is an award-winning, world class garden. But a world class garden no longer guarantees an audience.

The National Trust for Scotland took the decision to open Inverewe House to the public – for the first time in its history.

We worked with them to unlock the vibrant eccentricity of the garden’s founder Osgood Mackenzie – developing an identity and visitor experience to attract a new generation of visitors.

Launched in 2016, the work was evaluated throughout 2017.

Ambition:

Create an experience of marvel for all ages. A day of inspiration and wonder that leaves visitors with a sense of admiration for the place and its creator. Departing without doubt that they’ve been immersed in something special. Something worth sharing.

Key Objectives:

  • Increase visitor numbers and spend
  • Attract a much wider demographic – families, younger couples, non-enthusiasts
  • Maximise visitor experience, enjoyment, interaction and learning
  • Promote community engagement and involvement
  • Tell the story of the garden’s creator Osgood, his daughter Mairi Sawyer, and the house and garden
  • Conserve and respect the integrity of the place
  • Bring key stakeholders on the journey, involving them in the process

We created a vibrant identity with colours inspired by the garden’s plants, eccentric typography inspired by Victorian Circus posters, and playful language that draws poetry from botany.

We then brought the identity to life across the site and throughout the house. Packed full of multi-sensory and interactive elements, there’s a surprise in every nook-and-cranny. From sculptures made of gardening utensils to a recipe printed on the kitchen ceiling; from the giant tea pot outside the café to the tiny drawings on the dining room plates; from the gun-room ring toss to the phone that rings when you walk past (go on pick it up)… There’s something for everyone to discover for themselves, and we guarantee you won’t spot it all in one visit!

The re-invigorated Inverewe has gone from strength to strength.

We have evaluated impact across:

  • social media posts (Twitter, Instagram & Facebook)
  • online reviews (TripAdvisor, Google & Facebook)
  • media coverage & political response
  • visitor book feedback
  • staff feedback
  • visitor numbers

A few examples:

Press:

Online/social:

Many glowing reviews with an overall rating of 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor & Google, 4.7 stars on Facebook.

Get in touch to find out how you can

Let’s talk about bad language

[2 minute read]

Something’s been bothering me for some time. I call it Bad Language and I see it a lot. Especially in public places and services.

I voiced my frustration last November at the OneTeamGov Scotland un-conference https://www.oneteamgov.uk/scotland. I realise the irony of doing this at an ‘un-conference’, but I hoped we might start something together to make things better.

A revolution to make complex communication simple, and human.

My provocation: let’s debunk and reinvent the confusing language used in public services

Bewildering examples are everywhere, you don’t need to look too hard…

On trains we’re told to ‘alight here’ for Falkirk or Croy.

In hospitals we see signs directing us to ‘Ambulatory Care’.

Children in the care of the state are described as ‘service users’, and the services responsible for meeting their needs are called their ‘corporate parents’.

Out there, in the everyday world, we don’t need to use language that de-humanises and trips people up. Let’s not set the train alight… let’s just get off at the right stop!

Please share your examples #letstalkbadlanguage

Up for a challenge

[2min read]

January is a good time to reflect on the year gone by.
Here are a few of our favourite challenges from 2017…

Taking a well-known brand, shaking it up and making it remarkable

Investors In People Scotland came to us as a well-known brand looking to breakout of the preconceptions that prevented them from reaching the clients they really wanted to reach. We helped develop a brand strategy that ultimately led them to take the brave decision to wipe the slate clean and rebrand as Remarkable. It wasn’t going to be easy. To get from concept to launch, collaboration was key – it took an ambitious client and a strong team of designers, strategists and marketeers working together to achieve this.

Attracting families to a visitor attraction that has a playful story to share

Changing the visitor demographic of an attraction is no light-hearted challenge. This is exactly what Brodie Castle is setting out to do with the introduction of the Playful Garden, which is expected to be a big hit with families when it opens in the Spring of 2018. We’re working with National Trust for Scotland to bring the unique stories of over 400 daffodil varieties into a bright visual identity that adds unbound playfulness to the Brodie experience.

Turning good design into design for good

We believe that good design can change the world. We’ve worked with a number of clients to use design as a way of rallying people to a cause, changing behaviour, or improving public services. In 2017 we received funding from the Life Changes Trust to re-design and evaluate everyday symbols for people living with dementia (The Life Changes Trust is funded by the Big Lottery Fund). It’s an ambitious project that aims to enable people with dementia to live an independent life for longer.

Read more at: #InclusiveSymbols

This year we’re aiming to spark something in people.
Why not send us your challenges for 2018?

Lucy appointed to the Education Design Council’s Expert Panel

In January 2018 Lucy was appointed by SBID (The Society of British and International Design) to the Education Design Council expert panel.

The Society of British and International Design is the UK-based standard bearer organisation for the accreditation of professional interior designers, product suppliers and educational institutions. 

The Education Design Council seeks to put effective design at the core of the learning process and show how evidence-based design decisions can transform the learning experience for everyone. The council consists of experts across the sector of the industry.

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