Two of the Mr B & Friends Senior Leadership Team have been promoted and appointed to the agency’s Board level as the independent brand consultancy forges ahead with expansion plans.
Effective immediately, Kate Gorringe will become Executive Creative Director, and Strategy Director Adam Partridge will step up to become Executive Strategy Director. They will take up places on the agency Board alongside CEO Simon Barbato, Chairman Peter Gandolfi and Managing Partner Ellie Wilson.
Kate Gorringe has been with Mr B & Friends for almost a decade. In her capacity as Creative Director she has led large-scale projects for Principality Building Society, Persimmon and Canada Life among others. Leading the team of 13 creatives based in the Bristol office, Kate inspires the team to deliver truly extraordinary work to clients across a range of sectors.
Adam Partridge has led the agency Strategy and Planning department for the last seven years counting Bristol Bears, Bristol City Football Club and Hoare Lea among his successes. His ability to identify and articulate a distinctive brand positioning is highly valued by both existing and prospective clients. His new role has a broader strategic mandate to include the agency brand and marketing operation, product and service innovation and development
and overseeing the strategic output of the Bristol and soon to be opened London office.
The promotions will enable Mr B & Friends CEO, Simon Barbato, more time to concentrate on the company’s expansion plans including the imminent opening of London. Once Mr B & Friends London is up and running in autumn, he’ll be exploring options for a US base, having already scoped out opportunities in the market over the last couple of years.
Barbato says, “The appointment of Kate and Adam to Board level is testament to the skill and commitment they have shown over the years that I’ve worked with them. They’re both hugely talented and the best qualified people to drive the vision for Mr B & Friends forward. It also provides some much-needed headroom for other ambitious staff within the ranks. With
such an array of talent on our Board now, I’m excited to be able to forge ahead with expanding our presence in new markets as we look to challenge the ordinary for brands on a global scale.”
In a world of increasingly sophisticated wrongdoing, investigative platforms need to do more than just keep pace. They need to keep investigators ahead.
Built on ever-evolving technology, Clue Software makes connections and shapes cases to help shift momentum in the favour of investigators. Forever moving safeguarding operations forward.
Clue Software was created to enable continuous progress in one place. From data analysis and reporting to referrals and outcome management, it provides a single application to manage knowledge.
Initially trusted by Frog Capital to conduct due diligence, as part of the Series A investment round our role then transferred into that of an interim CMO post-investment. During this time we conducted a thorough repositioning of the brand to support the growth ambitions of the business and new investors, whilst helping to build the team and recruit a permanent CMO.
For more information, visit Talisman Sparro.
On August 1st, Park Street based agency Dirty Design unveiled their rebrand. Timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the company’s founding by Charlotte Hockey-Berry in 2003, the new look is a huge development from the previous creampuff logo and signature Pantone 806 pink.
After a tumultuous few years which saw the unexpected loss of their founder, the Dirty Design team felt it was time to take stock and find a way to mark the progression of the company and acknowledge this new chapter, while still paying tribute to their roots.
The fresh identity expands on the existing colour palette with the addition of primary and secondary shades, which are paired with a bespoke font and set of unique and fun illustrations. The new Dirty Design logo is said to “reflect who we are as a company today; it’s personal, flexible and friendly”.
“After many years of putting our own visual identity on hold, we finally decided to practise what we preach and give ourselves a long overdue refresh. We pride ourselves on being a friendly and approachable agency, and our aim was to show that in our new look. It’s been great fun working on this with the other designers and collaborating with the whole team, to develop a style that suits who we are now and the company that Charlotte started 20 years ago.”
– Steve Harris, Head of Design
The rebrand marks an exciting time for the agency, who this year are expanding their work within the charity sector, including producing all design assets for this years YoungMinds #HelloYellow campaign, supporting national children’s charity Barnardo’s in design for various campaigns, and creating a fresh look and feel for the Motability Foundation’s direct mailer pack.
“I’m so proud of the whole team. Our new Dirty look is simply fabulous, and although light years away from the original it still portrays what we’re all about; a creative and fun bunch – and of course it’s still very pink! I’m so excited to see what the future holds and for us to continue to do what we do best, produce stunning designs and provide outstanding account management – to work with and support our incredible clients.”
– Lucia Boccacci, Managing Director
You can see the full rebrand in action at Dirty Design’s website; dirtydesign.co.uk. You can also watch their 2023 showreel below:
The worlds of digital, product and service design are familiar with having end-users and customers involved in defining, testing and developing inclusive and accessible experiences. In brand identity design such involvement may be much less common but I don’t believe that that should remain the accepted norm. Always open to learning and developing my processes, I’m on a journey of discovery – exploring how I can ensure that The Co-Foundry takes a truly inclusive approach towards creating brand identities fit for the 21st Century.
Solving a branding brief can be done in any number of ways – there is never one single solution. But despite there being multiple angles and possible approaches, it’s not unusual to find that insufficient differing perspectives get explored during the strategic and creative stages of a project – something which can result in assumptions being perpetuated and generic solutions being delivered. And although no one sets out to deliberately exclude underrepresented voices, that thing where you assume your knowledge is all knowledge, is an easy trap to fall into.
Socially-conscious, human-centred businesses, institutions and organisations already understand the importance of listening to more than just the loudest and most dominant voices. They actively cast their net wider and ensure that individuals and minority communities get heard too. As brand strategists and designers, we should make creating space for, and listening to these diverse and underrepresented voices, an integral part of our practice too.
In this post I want to track the stages of a ‘typical’ brand project, identifying where we can embed inclusive practices and, in this way, exploring how brand designers, strategists and their clients can take practical steps towards a more inclusive approach.
Considering how brands are experienced by a more diverse range of customers and potential customers in the real world will lead to insights that then help create more meaningful and more widely resonant brand identities. These can, in their turn, contribute to extending brand reach and improving a brand’s accessibility and appeal across, for example, demographic divides, divergent thinkers, abilities and religions.
A 2022 study by the Design Council found the UK design industry in good shape but with a buoyant growth trajectory not being matched by a growth in diversity. More recently, speaking at Clerkenwell Design Week, Design Council CEO Minnie Moll spelled this out, saying, “only 23% of designers in the UK identify as female” while “88% of design managers identify as white”. It’s something I’ve written about on The Journal over the years here and here.
Inevitably, we’re all sometimes guilty of only viewing the world we live in from our own limited prism. So how can we ensure that the light we refract takes in the full gamut of possibilities and experiences, and not just a limited palette? How can we shine a light on underrepresented communities, reflecting life as it really is and ultimately driving change?
Apart from being an ethical, respectful, empathetic and positive way to design, there are several strategic reasons why inclusivity matters. In UX and CX design there is already a broad consensus around inclusive design extending market share and accelerating innovation, so how can inclusive brand identity design benefit the brand, and the audience it serves?
Key benefits of adopting inclusive practices include:
In other words, from a commercial perspective, you increase your brand value and drive higher brand engagement.
An inclusive approach starts not just with knowledge of your audiences but with knowledge of yourself.
The path to greater inclusivity starts with asking yourself: “Who might I be excluding with my design decision?” (Jeff Zundel, LinkedIn’s Inclusive Design Advocate). We need to recognise and acknowledge our own unconscious bias and begin with an open mindset, whether that’s through unconscious bias training or simply respecting and being open to the opinions of others.
So, start with the question: “Who are we not reaching or serving?”
Educating yourself on how current events and public discourse impacts the people you intend to reach is important too, but nothing beats actually consulting and working alongside your stakeholders.
Follow this link for the full article, where I look at this from a ‘typical’ brand design process and see where we can bring voices that may have previously been left out, in.
This year, we have been on a journey with Wall’s developing their new brand comms platform. From working through their strategic challenges, audience insights, and brand proposition we have landed on a brand line to bring their comms together under a single, unifying idea.
With a best-ever recipe, Wall’s continues to do everything it has always done, but now it’s better, not only in terms of quality and taste, but also there’s also a plan for the brand to do more for the people and communities that it serves, by tackling hunger.
When hunger calls, grab a Wall’s!
We have used the new recipe campaign to launch the new line.
With a challenge to use the new recipe story to get sausage rolls into people’s minds and shopping baskets, we developed a high-reach social campaign focused on awareness and consideration.
With 64 layers of moreish flaky pastry and mouthwatering sausage filling, Wall’s sausage rolls are better than ever with their best-ever taste and highest-ever quality. What more do you expect from the nation’s favourite?!
We knew that the creative needed a key focus, for us this was ‘hunger’ – one of the key purchase factors for the product (and brand!) and something we can all relate to.
And so ‘Chomp, chomp, chomp’ was born! A mouthwatering animation that highlights the product’s new recipe as the beautifully photographed sausage roll disappears, one chomp at a time! (Hungry yet?)
The animation uses a warm voiceover and most importantly, ends with our new brand line…
When hunger calls, Grab a Wall’s
The campaign is live on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube currently stopping thumbs and grabbing attention as we speak!
You’ll be seeing more of this line in months to come as we have lots of exciting things coming your way…. Watch this space!
2023 has turned into another milestone year for ADLIB.
In 2019 ADLIB became a certified B Corp, with a score of 82.3.
In 2020 ADLIB became 100% employee-owned.
In 2021 ADLIB launched the MotherBoard Movement.
In 2022 ADLIB broke all of its records.
In 2023 ADLIB recertified as a B Corp, with a score of 130.3, invested into HeyFlow and proudly refreshed our brand to reflect who we truly are today.
We’ve said for a long time that ADLIB is so much more than a recruitment agency.
ADLIB is a true talent partner, we go beyond candidate acquisition, we’ve created business solutions that tackle inclusivity, health, well-being and retention head-on.
We care authentically about the planet. We track and publicly report on our footprint, working with suppliers to support the regional business community.
All of which needed translating into our refreshed brand. From the look and feel, we opted for sustainable risograph techniques that reflect the business to perfection, whilst technically ensuring lean UX, negative space and page weights were priorities throughout our website build.
With our propositions growing at pace, geographical reach expanding into the US and influence happening at the government level, there has never been a better time to join ADLIB and make a difference.
Redeemer City to City is an international non-profit organisation with a heart for urban renewal – seeking to recruit, train and resource leaders to start new churches and strengthen existing ones.
Studio Floc were invited to create the identity and event collateral for Redeemer’s ‘Hub Weekend’; a high-profile fundraising weekend based in New York City.
Taking place at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, the driving idea behind the event’s campaign was one of connection, with delegates travelling from all over the world to join for the weekend. Studio Floc used the idea of connecting people and creating paths to new places as the core concept. This was rolled out across an extensive design suite of event collateral which was used in the lead up and throughout the weekend.
Never ending connection
At the heart of the event’s design concept was a vast illustration, created in-house to capture the breadth and vitality of life in New York City, the home of Redeemer City to City. Subtle details in the cityscape worked to honour other global partner cities. The mural, formed from continuous line drawings, was then, paired with type and colour, used both in sections and as a whole piece across the event assets.
Colour and typography
Supporting the illustration-heavy campaign was a subtle, yet extensive typographic system that was driven by the elegant serif, Chronicle Text (Hoefler & Co). Alongside the typography, a stripped back colour palette of navy and alabaster were used as the foundation for every design.
At the event
As part of the event, Studio Floc recreated the core illustration and hand drew a 17ft x 9ft mural in the atrium of the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, as a visual centrepiece to the event. Other designed collateral at the event included; table numbers, name cards, place cards, menus, bespoke fabric napkins, tote bags, information booklets and cards, signage, wayfinding, video creation and much more.
The Hub Weekend was a great success in raising money for the continuation of Redeemer’s work in cities worldwide. Studio Floc are already working on the event design for the next Hub Weekend in 2024 and look forward to further collaboration with Redeemer City to City in the future.
“Studio Floc are my go-to designers for event collateral. They are creative, sensitive, timely, very fun to work with, and brilliant at bringing my often-incomplete vision to a finished, effective, beautifully designed product. I’ve already recommended them to others and will continue to do so.”
Redeemer City to City
Global leaders in procurement and supply chain management, Efficio are the largest independent consultancy in the world. With this sole focus for more than 20 years, their specialist consultants are equipped with the expertise and technology to dig deeper, innovate faster, and deliver greater efficiencies for clients.
Talisman Sparro has played a critical role in Efficio Consulting’s repositioning and rebrand programme, delivering an impact that has helped the company stand out as the only remaining independent, specialist consultancy in the procurement and supply chain consultancy marketplace. With Efficio’s unique approach to delivering sustained client success at the core, Talisman Sparro has helped to shape a comprehensive strategy that has driven internal engagement and reflected Efficio’s ambitious growth plans.
The “Partners in Progress” brand platform developed has resonated with both clients and employees, driving engagement and building a strong internal culture. The rebranding programme delivered has overhauled Efficio’s branding, messaging, and positioning to be more contemporary, modern, and appealing to a broader audience.
Our support included:
Today, 6th June, marks the 17th anniversary of Mr B & Friends. Founder and CEO, Simon Barbato, reflects on the lessons that he’s learned since starting the brand and creative agency back in 2006.
It’s incredible to reflect on the journey that I personally, and the agency has been on since opening our doors on 6.6.06. What started out as a collaborative consulting gig – myself and my black book of talented creative friends – has flourished into a family of agency businesses that we are all immensely proud of.
You learn hundreds of lessons running a business – here’s the 17 that really matter to me.
If being the brightest, most experienced or most innovative person in the room is important to you, you’ll only ever grow to the level of your own limitations and probably live a life of frustration. Surround yourself with greater people and you’ll go further together. Your ego will thank you.
I have always believed in team play. We work in an industry filled with talented, specialised practitioners and power players. But unless you’re a freelancer or business of one, then successes and failures are down to the team, no matter how big or small the contribution. Celebrate or commiserate together.
One of the reasons I love this industry is because we have expertise that others do not possess. And when you use that expertise to help solve problems, to unlock the potential of your client, to do the things they cannot, then at that moment, you are at your most potent. This is the moment when selling isn’t selling, and your enthusiasm and ability to help is reframed as meaningfully different expertise. Help more.
Give without the expectation of receiving – the most important lesson I have ever learned. Transactional thinking – quid pro quo – will line your pocket today but means that you’re constantly filling your future pipeline. Be generous and think with long-term relationships in mind and your future pipeline will fill itself. I have NEVER been more sure of anything, as has been proved time and time again. Be a giver.
Is this a profession, or a business? A great question I was asked by Chris Noel-Johnson on my first day in advertising at McBains in 1992. That has stayed with me for my entire career, and at the heart of sustainable business is profit. Our staff need us to make a profit, owners and shareholders deserve a profit and good clients expect us to make a profit. Make profit a priority and life becomes a whole lot easier. Earn it.
The most impressive thing any leader can do is to give their people the environment to flourish. By a long way, the most expensive cost on the P&L is our people. But guess what, by a long way the biggest revenue generating asset is… our people. Substitute the word ‘cost’ for ‘investment’ and see the returns. Our Employee Value Proposition, The Friends Pact is just one of many of our people investments. It pays dividends.
Society is full of hubris right now – too many people winging it or believing their own hype, or rhetoric. Yes, being a leader requires strength, confidence and resilience, but it also requires humility; the ability to be, well, human. The fastest and most authentic ways to build trust is to show your human side. Be more relatable.
Never has David Brent’s prophetic words been truer: one day you’re the pigeon, another day you’re the statue. The creative industry is a wild rollercoaster and when you’re up: winning pitches, awards and plaudits, you feel invincible. But this industry has a habit of biting your ass and pulling the rug from under your feet. Never forget that you’re only ever one phone call away from a shitstorm. Stay grounded.
If only we had the access to tech, podcasts, media and social channels when I were a lad! I have learnt more about the industry I love in the last five years of my career than in my first 25. If you’re not taking advantage of the wisdom on offer from the likes of Blair Enns, David C Baker, Jenny Plant, Chris Do and Mark Pollard et al, you’re missing a bloody trick. Open your mind.
I’ve met very few assholes in this industry. Generally speaking the folk we come across (staff, clients, partners and suppliers) are intelligent, highly skilled, sincere and enthusiastic people who recognise the impact of collaborating with others, and offer a fair value exchange. With this in mind I’ve learned to see people through the lens of positivity. I’ve made a few mistakes here and there for sure, but generally this rule of thumb has taken me far. Be less cynical.
Curiosity is one of the greatest characteristics of a brand and creative consultant (and agency). You cannot be ‘over-briefed’, you cannot know too much. Yes, it’s up to you to discern the nuggets from the white noise, but to get to that point you need to be thirsty and enthusiastic for knowledge, and that means exposing yourself occasionally with naïve, cringey, child-like questions. Give zero shits. Ask away.
Staff resign. You lose pitches. Freelancers don’t deliver. Projects get pulled. If everything went to plan, what an unbelievably boring industry we’d work in! I’m a competitive person but accept that I can’t have everything. Focusing on how I deal with setbacks means that I can show leadership in the negative space, internally and externally. Our agency brand deserves composure and maturity at all times. Grin and bear it.
I learnt this way too late, but if you want to sleep at night, then invest in your finance team. Your goal: one version of the truth across the business. Since we have invested in a professional finance team, our brand agency has gone from strength to strength. We make decisions based on fact not fiction. We expect, not hope, to make profit and I’m freed up to dedicate my time to growth. A total no-brainer.
I have learned that my gut is far more useful than my brain when I’m at an impasse. I don’t know what it is, but instinct sniffs out the danger or opportunities far quicker than the logical patterns of the brain. It’s a trait that most entrepreneurs and founders have but can baffle others. Your business is in your soul and your DNA and no one feels the ebbs and flows like you do. Trust your instincts.
My late mum’s name was Antoniette. She was the hardest working person I’ve ever known, and one of the most special gifts she gave me was a work ethic that dictated that nothing was ever going to land in my lap. I grew up on effort and graft and having been given a chance in this very special industry, there was no way I was going to let it slip – I still feel that way 30 odd years later and pride myself on my ability to do the hard yards and make big impacts. Don’t expect anything for free.
This is controversial. The more established you become, the more people will ask of you. If I had a pound for every time a request for a call, meeting, podcast interview, lunch came in… well, I’d have a lot more pounds. But being open-minded, thinking about where a yes could take me has opened more doors than I could have ever expected. One of my best business decisions (accepting a lunch request from the lovely folk at Noble Studios Inc) led to the formation of our successful joint venture, Noble Performs. Eyes wide open!
If I’m honest, I’m still trying to work out how I got here: three agencies in our family, 55 talented and committed staff and the most amazing clients, so while I’m here I’m not going to let my bewilderment get in the way of doing something amazing. As per our agency ethos ‘Challenge the Ordinary’ we’re thinking big at the moment: London, LA, Singapore – an adventure that’s available for all that want to join us. With greater people around me, the limits of what we can achieve have grown exponentially and while we’re now an established teenage business, it still feels like we’re only just getting started. Seize the opportunity!
Sarson’s has been hard at work creating a fresh brand identity that launched in the spring of 2023, and with this, they’ve enlisted our help yet again for a fresh new website.
The new website design reflects the new style for Sarson with a bold, contemporary, and sleek designs. We’ve also taken a reductive approach to content and wording, which simplifies the overall experience, whilst also bringing freshness and clarity to the design. We’ve used interactive animation, interesting build loads, and a new colour-blocking design scheme To increase engagement levels across the site.
We’ve enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Sarson’s, so it’s been a joy to watch the brand develop and once again collaborate closely with the Sarson’s team on the project.
Even if we do say so ourselves, the result is fantastic! However, don’t just take our word for it; visit the new site and see for yourself.