Bauer Media wins Gold

This week we were thrilled to see our rebrand of Bauer Media’s City Network of radio stations pick up Gold for ‘Best Brand Consolidation’ at the European Transform Awards 2016. For almost a decade, the Transform Awards have set the standard for brand development, rebranding and brand positioning around the world and each year, the benchmark is that little bit higher. This year was no exception.

Amongst tough competition, including brand consolidations for DPD, Odeon and Premier Inn, we were honoured to walk away with top honours within the category.

For a closer look at the case study with Bauer Media, where The Allotment helped consolidate over 43 different brands into a single unifying brand architecture around the proposition ‘Your’, please click here.

Design Effectiveness Gold

Last week, The Allotment won Gold at the 2016 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards for our work with White Logistics!

This particular award is special, as it illustrates the effectiveness of our work and the tangible impact it has had on our clients’ businesses. With White Logistics profitability soaring 403% and new business wins rising from 8% to 43%, it was a proud evening for The Allotment and our client White Logistics.

Huge thank-you to the DBA, our client Judith Stracey and to Ellis Pitt, who worked as a Design Mentor on the project for The Design Council.

To see the full case study, check it out here.

Emerging Themes

Once again, The Allotment are delighted to announce the launch of a brand new project with our long-term client, International law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP). We’ve been working with BLP across brand, internal engagement and digital and our latest work, an annual Emerging Themes report is a great example of how design can help grow interest in thought leadership.


We developed  the visual look and feel for the entire report (104 pages), with a monetary theme running through the publication. Tasked with utilising stock imagery, the creation of images with typo interactions and a consistent bank note themed visual style helped bring the various insights and document to life.

Brand Impact Awards 2015

Last Wednesday we attended the 2015 Brand Impact Awards where our new products and retail strategy for The Donkey Sanctuary was just one of nine projects globally to be shortlisted for it’s brand and design work in the Not for Profit Sector. In a very competitive category, dare we say, the most competitive of the evening, we were delighted to walk away with a Highly Commended, alongside 3 other agencies.

To be recognised on a global stage alongside the very best agencies in the world, was a real honour and we’re delighted for everyone associated with the project and of course, our client The Donkey Sanctuary.

A big thank you to Computer Arts and Creative Bloq for a fantastic evening. To see the award-winning product ranges and retail strategy for The Donkey Sanctuary, click here.

Growing The Donkey Sanctuary

Having worked with The Donkey Sanctuary over a number of years across numerous projects, we were delighted to go visit our latest piece of work for the charity: their brand new (and very first) charity shop in Otley, Leeds. The store aptly named ‘For the love of’ is a modern charity shop come cafe concept which was designed by The Allotment and features a number of our new product ranges.

You can click here for a closer look at our retail and product work for The Donkey Sanctuary.

Here’s some highlights from our recent visit to ‘For the love of’:

The Seedling Diaries – Volume 3

Name: Alex Page
Studied: Nottingham Trent University
Interned: June 2015
Likes: Thai food & pub trips
Dislikes: Peanuts
Featured project: A Universal Solution, John Lewis

I came to The Allotment just a week after finishing university and was unsure what to expect. The transition from education to the real world can be extremely daunting and something that cannot be taught. However during my time at The Allotment I felt very welcome and included; it was a great introduction to the industry.

I gained hands-on experience, working on real-life projects and tasks that required me to develop all aspects of my skills. This ranged from from copywriting and idea generation to designing documents. I believe this responsibility has been invaluable, has allowed me to grow as a designer and understand more about preparing myself further for the graphic design industry. These experiences are something that I believe I wouldn’t have been able to gain at a larger agency.

A Champion Fundraising Scheme

Early in 2015, we were fortunate enough to be approached by one of the world’s most iconic animal and conservation charities, previously home to Guy the gorilla and Winnie, a fairly well known bear you may have heard of. The charity is of course The Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

ZSL approached The Allotment to help develop a new global fundraising scheme for the charity, which complemented their new brand proposition ‘Working for Wildlife’. Working closely with the charity, it became clear that the work of their conservation and research teams in local territories wasn’t being communicated to donors and harnessed in an effective manner. With such a substantial footfall in the attractions, something purchasable in-store and online was a necessity.

It was important to bring the new brand proposition to the fore and ask donors to take responsibility, make a difference and take the fate of endangered animals and research development into their own hands, to become ‘Champions’. The idea of ‘in your hands’ became the prominent big idea for the scheme, which encouraged donors to become ‘Wildlife Champions’. We developed two focused schemes under the ‘Wildlife Champions’ idea, one for ‘Animals Under Threat’ and one for ‘Conservation Technology’.

Click here to see how we’ve helped grow ZSL.

A new chapter with QFC

In 2014 The Allotment helped rebrand the UK’s largest sofa manufacturer, QFC. Since the launch, our work for the market-leader has seen a huge change in the business, with internal and external stakeholders alike widely praising the transformation of not only the brand, but the culture of the business more broadly; with a real focus on questions and innovation in every part of the organisation.

To instill this new purpose and proposition even further, we were recently asked by QFC to help develop a new identity for the company-wide intranet, ‘Sofanet’ and a subsequent internal engagement campaign to encourage employees to become more immersed within the business; to become real brand advocates.

Our response was an identity for Sofanet, featuring a subtle sofa within a light bulb, portraying the ambition for ideas-driven thinking and innovation with sofas at the fore. The identity was rolled out across the new intranet (featured below), with the architecture and design being very much extended from the new QFC website we designed.

The logo also featured in the internal engagement campaign, across a range of collateral from posters, roller banners and environmental graphics, where the use of questions pushed traffic to Sofanet to find the answers. In the short period since launch, Sofanet has become the centrepoint for all information regarding the business – a community where everyone can engage with one another and is proving very, very popular.

See more of our work with QFC here.

For The Love Of…

Nearly 16 months ago we sat down with The Donkey Sanctuary in a 2 day workshop, organised by The Allotment, to collaborate and define a creative strategy for the Charity’s vision to create a charity store proposition and a more exciting product range which would be sold online and in the shops via their commercial arm called Donkey World.

The outcome of these deliberations (and a lot of hard work in-between from all concerned) was launched in Otley, Leeds two weeks ago. For The Love Of … Is The Donkey Sanctuary’s new store concept and is an immersive retail experience and community hub which reflects the Charity’s selfless devotion to the welfare of donkeys worldwide.

It achieves this with a sense of wit (people sat in the window look as if they are wearing Donkey ears) and a strong consciousness of aesthetics that flows from their new gift product lines (view a case study here) to the interior design which creates a comfortable and authentic experience.

Two Golds at the EBMA’s

Last month, we were delighted to win not once, but twice at the Employer Brand Management Awards (EBMA) for our work with Lucite International.

Our work with Lucite International overcame competition from The British Army, Transport for London (TFL) and Heathrow to win Gold for best short-term campaign alongside McDonalds which, given the competition, was an outstanding achievement and we’re absolutely delighted for our client Lucite International.

To top it off, our engagement campaign for Lucite International won Overall Best Creative Execution of the Employer Brand for the entire EBMA’s.

The Employer Brand Management Awards exist as the true benchmark of the employer brand management process. Recognising the best work by internal communicators, HR teams, corporate leaders and recruiters in developing, implementing and evaluating successful employer brand strategies, it acknowledges the amount of effort required to create a strong employer brand.

To see the case study, please click here.

Roses are Gold

We were delighted and humbled to win 2 Golds at the 2016 Roses Awards for our work with Lucite International. The Roses Creative Awards recognise the very best creative work in the UK by agencies and clients.

The Golds were awarded for Use of Illustration and Best Art Direction in the Craft Category against stiff competition, including the likes of Umbro, Clarks and Gill Marine.

It’s particularly rewarding to win in the Craft Category- it provides recognition for the passionate attention to detail that we bring to all our work.

As always, a huge thank-you to our collaborators: Geoff Appleton (Illustration), Mike Feather and Andy Grimshaw (Photography) and Weareseventeen (animation).

To see the full Lucite International case study, click here.

The Beautiful Game vs The People’s Games.

As summer kicks off in earnest, sports fans once again mourn the end of another eventful football season, but fear not, we have the Olympics and Euro 2016 to look forward to. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for sport. Put me in front of someone chasing, kicking or batting a ball, or trying to go faster, higher or further than their opponents and I’m probably in. Especially if there’s a pint involved!

It’s not always the action I’m keeping an eye on though. As a designer, I’m always looking at the bigger picture; the design of the kit, the event branding, the on-court design elements. I once bought a Russian rugby top, while great at many things, the Russians aren’t renowned for their rugby prowess, but I’ve yet to find a better rugby logo.

Ask most designers what their favourite Olympic logo is and you’ll get a varied response. Most tend to champion Tokyo’s simplicity, Mexico’s repetitive lines that work across everything bringing a sense of fun and, in stark contrast, Munich’s beautiful use of space, limited colour palettes and crafted minimalism. But ask designers, or anyone else for that matter, to give their favourite Euros logo and they might be hard pushed to name the host nation, never mind recall an excellent logo.

There have been lots of average Olympic logos, so I don’t want to suggest that they have found the winning formula. Similarly, I don’t want to slate a load of logos because there are plenty of places you can go to do that. Instead I want to identify what might improve them. I’ll admit the rest of this article could well sound like a rant similar to that of a disgruntled football fan calling Robbie Savage on BBC Five Live. (What was Wenger doing bringing Walcott on so late?) But it doesn’t stop them and it won’t stop me. So here I go, here I go, here I go…

A lot of the Euro’s logos show generic shapes, almost always include footballs and don’t say much else. It’s all just a bit predictable and lazy. There is real heart in football, but I think it might be found in the stands more than it is on the pitch or in the governing bodies – UEFA, FIFA and their likes. That real sense of heart that die-hard supporters have for the game just isn’t being captured in this iteration of the Euro’s identity. Why?

You can blame the brief and death by committee, but if you look at the Olympic logos that have been done well, they have a simple, singular thought that gives them a memorable look and feel that transcends the entire event.

Take London’s 2012 logo for example, I don’t think this was as bad as it was initially made out to be. Even if you take away the undoubted success of Team GB, I look back at it as a successful identity. What it did was fly in the face of the convention of Olympic logos.

Ive Nwokorie, now CEO at Wolff Olins, said that they always expected mixed reviews and that people, “tend to point out the rules we’ve broken, and in that sense they tend to be correct. ‘It’s too dissonant…’. Absolutely, the dissonance was intentional. ‘It doesn’t reflect any of London’s famous landmarks.’ Absolutely, the world knows about those, we don’t need to tell them. ‘It’s too urban, it’s too young.’ Absolutely.…the reviews shine quite an acute light on exactly the points we were trying to make.”

While in Creative Review editor Patrick Burgoyne perhaps more pithily said: “(the logo) almost wilfully disregards the accepted way of these things: no overt geographical reference to the home city, no ‘welcoming, joyful’ attitude, no rounded, friendly organic shapes.” I don’t think that anyone can fault the reasoning or how brave it was, it’s just the actual execution and style that jarred, which was definitely the intention.

Introducing Progressive

We’re very proud to have helped design and develop the Progressive brand with our friends Matt Nicholls and Ken Valledy. Progressive helps organisations unlock and commercialise new growth opportunities more rapidly than their competition and more effectively than traditional innovation programmes.

It builds faster, more agile, industrial-strength Growth Acceleration Programmes that have a proven track record of enabling senior management to more rapidly define, build and deliver new corporate growth and ROI.

Working across retail, automotive, financial services, media and entertainment, FMCG and professional services sectors, Progressive has already helped organisations bring over 40 new solutions to market.

Big thank-you to Mike Feather for photography and to our friends at Evil Donkey for building the website.


Air Business: From A to Beyond

We are delighted to launch our new rebrand of leading distribution and subscription services business, Air Business and their subsidiary, Quadrant. Our early research indicated that Air Business are the ‘first and last link’ in managing subscriptions and distribution of magazines and newspapers, and are known within the market and particularly by their clients for their reliability, exceptional customer service and human approach.

The ‘Big idea’ was that Air Business doesn’t just take things from A to B – they use their exceptional customer service and support to take clients on a journey spanning acquisition and retention right through to data analysis, physical and digital delivery and beyond. It was this insight that led to the brand proposition; From A to Beyond. This clever twist on language familiar to the sector perfectly sums up Air Business’ strong service mentality and illustrates the added value they provide through their brilliant customer service.

The new brand and proposition has been bought to life across all Air Business touch points, including the website ( The design uses a red flowing line which runs throughout the whole brand, connecting and interacting with human photography and clever brand messaging to tell compelling stories of success.

If you’d like to learn more about The Allotment’s rebrand of Air Business, you can see the full case study here.

Finally, a big shout out to Roll Studio and John Angerson, both of whom we collaborated on throughout the project; Roll on the build of Air Businesses stunning new website and John who shot some beautiful black & white people shots which are integral to the new human look and feel.

The Seedling Diaries – Volume 5

Name: Shohaib Iqbal
Studied: University of Central Lancashire
Interned: February 2017
Likes: Accrington Stanley, design exhibitions & good design
Dislikes: Bad design
Featured project: Peckish Bird Seed Packaging

I have learned a lot during my time at The Allotment.

The Allotment has taught me to dig into a project from the roots and allow each stage of the design to blossom.

I made my move down to London after finishing internships up north in Manchester, allowing me to take a bigger step onto the next big challenge! The Allotment was my 3rd placement in London and has been a memorable experience for me. Talking to the Designers, Strategists and Creative Director has given me a great insight into what The Allotment as a design agency aims for in design; idea solutions and also listening to their experiences, advice and guidance towards making a rebrand meaningful and most importantly, successful.

I have experienced the strategic, ideas and design aspects of the branding process, which has allowed me to grow into a better designer and creative thinker.

Victims or Victors

“Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.” Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix

Working in ‘brand space’ has always been fascinating but in the last few years the speed of change in technology and its impact on customer’s expectations has given rise to a preponderance of businesses that are potentially either digital ‘victims’ or digital ‘Victors’.

Clients that come knocking at our door are often either incumbent businesses, striving to grow, retain and protect what they have, or are start-up upstarts looking to reinvent the value proposition in a product or service sector. Often the mindsets in these two businesses are poles apart. One sometimes risk averse and ponderous, the other agile, bright and sometimes shallow in experience. It’s intriguing and I have often wondered why ‘big brands’ with all their smarts and deeper pockets fail to grasp their role as ‘market makers and innovators’.

I think there is still a legacy ‘systemic’ issue of a brand management structure that rewards custodianship rather than creativity but I think it also goes deeper than this. Management also has a short-term ‘denial’ perspective that counters mid-term risk taking, even though disruption is clearly on the horizon. Many successful organisations fail to look for new things their customers want because they’re afraid to hurt their core businesses. This has been called the innovators dilemma (1). An inertia caused by the risk of the unknown and the fear that the distraction of focusing on the horizon will lead to a lack of focus on near term sales and revenue plans.

The interesting model below from McKinsey clearly illustrates the point where an incumbent’s existing business model, for a short-time, out performs the theoretical new model. Adapting to market change has created some stagnation in growth but in the longer-term has ensured the sustainability of the business. Kodak and Blockbuster are good examples of businesses that succumbed to a period of myopia, ignored the inevitable digital disruption and failed to adapt as a result.

BLP Emerging Themes 2017

Following the success of BLP’s Emerging Themes publication in 2016, we were delighted to collaborate once again with our client BLP in developing and producing this years Emerging Themes brochure. The annual thought leadership piece offers advice, practical guidance and opinions on the regulatory risks facing individuals and firms in the financial services sector in 2017.

With uncertainty looming over the economy and Article 50 potentially just around the corner, ‘Redrawing the Lines’ subtly depicts how both negotiations around the EU, and financial regulations more broadly are being redefined this year and beyond. The transition from print to pencil illustrations is a gentle nod towards this uncertainty whilst also beautifully bringing the brochure to life on the cover and divider pages.

Launched in late January, feedback on the brochure has been fantastic with the subsequent Emerging Themes seminar attracting a record attendance.

Radical Sportscars Rebrand

Radical Sportscars have always done things differently. In racing terms; they take their own line.

Radical Sportscars set out 20 years ago to do just that. Our rebrand needed to capture this attitude, evolve the brand and focus on communicating an ‘incomparable racing experience’.

To understand what Radical meant to the drivers of these awesome racing cars our creative director went to a Race Day at the Circuit De Jerez, Spain.

This insightful weekend led to the inspiration for the rebrand. The drivers, including Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny (yes, the Olympians), and the Support Team believe that the Radical Racing experience is second to none. Heart pumping, adrenaline fuelled joy!

This thought led us to the brand proposition that ’Nothing Compares’ to the Radical experience. The identity with the ‘R’ racetrack and the red ‘Race line’ reflects Radical’s maverick spirit, and the uncompromising performance and thrill of the ride. The resulting brand feels premium yet authentic.

See the full case study here.

Imagine a world
without wildlife

We are incredibly proud to see our integrated brand campaign for global conservation charity, ZSL go live today across social, cinema and OOH channels. It’s the first brand campaign in the charities 190 year history and The Allotment have developed a big campaign idea, ‘Imagine a world without wildlife’ to help build awareness and donations for ZSL.

Over the last 40 years, 52% of wildlife has been lost and the campaign depicts this shocking loss of wildlife and their habitats over time and how ZSL is working to protect and conserve these precious animals. The campaign has a twist, in that it shows the impact within the context of people’s everyday lives. It was evident from focus groups and research, that although the loss of animals in far reaching parts of the world is terribly sad and shocking, it still felt very detached from the hustle and bustle of people’s daily routines and therefore, people often wouldn’t act or donate.

By bringing the loss of wildlife into an environment people can resonate with, the campaign will have the cut-through and disruption required in a saturated market.

The campaign will use the hashtag #WithWildlife to encourage consumers to share what they would miss in a world without wildlife and to encourage others to ensure we continue to live in a world #WithWildlife.

The Seedling Diaries – Volume 4

Name: Jack Parker
Studied: University of Central Lancashire
Interned: July 2016
Likes: Bolton Wanderers, good design, beer
Dislikes: Blackburn Rovers, bad design, wine
Featured project: Hovis Anniversary Packaging

I really feel like I have grown as a designer from being at The Allotment.

Having just finished my second year of my sandwich course at university, it was time for me to begin my placement year down in the big smoke.

What I have found so far from being out on placement is that every design agency has different values and views with a specific area they usually specialise in. The Allotment work a lot with charities and campaigns to help better people’s (and in some cases animal’s) lives. It’s inspiring to see the difference a bit of good design can make and working here I have been lucky enough to take part in two briefs that are both focussed on design for good. The Allotment is also a company with a strong reputation for good work and big creative ideas, so coming here as a placement I wasn’t expecting to be granted as much responsibility as I have. They really let you get stuck in and value your opinion with real hands-on problem solving.

Living values

The Allotment have developed a brave and vibrant graphic language for New Street Group’s (NSG) brand new offices in Central London.

New Street Group are a leading recruitment business which has enjoyed dramatic growth. They have developed strong brands in Interim Management (Interim Partners), Financial Services Resource Contracting (BrightPool) and Executive Recruitment (New Street).

Adam Cale, designer for The Allotment, said; “We were keen that the environmental graphics built on the previous illustrations, which were created for their website, in collaboration with artist Tang Yau Hoong, and received such widespread praise internally and externally for their clever use of negative space and messaging.

We wanted to avoid the usual visual clichés and create something that would spark conversation, highlight NSG’s values and create stand out. We developed a set of 12 wall graphics featuring quotes from inspirational individuals that epitomise NSG’s values. The quotes were used as inspiration for a set of beautiful and bold illustrations”.

A welcome to remember

We were recently asked by our client, ZSL to design the brand messaging for the entrance ticket office at the London Zoo car park. The car park is many visitors first experience of the Zoo and the ZSL brand and it was critically important to develop a user journey and design that pushed both Zoo’s (ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo) whilst also promoting ZSL’s wider, global conservation work.

The Allotment transformed the portakabin and payment station to give a big, bold welcome to everyone visiting. It builds anticipation, understanding and excitement of ZSL London Zoo as you enter, encouragement to visit ZSL Whipsnade Zoo when they leave and importantly, builds brand awareness for all those members of the public walking by, to keep ZSL at the forefront of their minds.

This is just one of many exciting developments to come with ZSL & The Allotment.

Design, THE agent of growth

Over a career spanning 24 years I’ve seen how design grows businesses of all sizes and ages across all sectors and geographic markets. Design and its intrinsic value are what get me out of bed in the morning; it’s what inspires everyone at The Allotment. Time and time again I’ve seen that when businesses and boardrooms embrace design fully it can totally transform every part of their organisation, from bottom-line revenues through to culture and internal/external perception of the company and its brands.

There are many definitions of design. Here’s what I mean when I talk about ‘design’. Design is all about asking the right questions. Answers to these lead to really powerful strategic insights, which in turn lead to the development of exceptional ideas and innovation. It‘s these insights that help businesses achieve their vision and full potential. Design helps define, clarify and illustrate why a business exists; why it’s relevant to the world. Design takes that core purpose and makes it tangible, makes it real, relevant, understandable and differentiated. Design makes that purpose emotionally engaging and compelling, which in turn changes behaviours and adds a direct value to a business’ bottom-line.

Design WILL grow your business. Here’s what we’ve learnt:

1) Value design and design will add value

Many businesses see design as a cost. It’s not. If used effectively throughout a business, design represents a sound investment – an investment that delivers exceptional ROI over many years. Research by The Design Council confirmed that every pound spent on design provides over £20 in increased revenue*. We’ve seen this statistic play out for real in the results of our clients time and time again.

Find out how we helped White Logistics grow revenue by 403% here.

2) Design defines the real problem/s that need solving
Design is all about asking the right questions – the really difficult and challenging questions, like: ‘Why do you do what you do?’, ‘Why is that different – prove it?’, ‘Why should customers and staff listen or believe what you have to say?’ The answers to these and many more questions inform and define a much clearer brief. And getting the brief ‘bang on’ means you are going to solve the right challenge, saving you time and money. You’re also likely to see the benefits and the ROI quicker too!

Find out how we grew the world’s largest equine charity income by 60% in four years here.

3) Design reduces risks and maximises value

Design creates a map of the future – a plan that helps your business identify the opportunities and challenges. Design helps you navigate the risks and mitigate the negatives allowing you to maximise the potential and value within your business. It’s a map that helps business leaders show their workforce the future. It can illustrate the destination and bring both excitement and clarity to the journey it’s going to take to get there. In turn, having absolute clarity about why and how this will benefit all stakeholders is proven to increase productivity and profitability – so everyone wins.

Take a look at how we helped a UK-based furniture business grow through a shift in strategic direction here.

4) Design defines competitive advantage

We’ve mentioned questioning earlier, but answers to the difficult questions are where design really starts to add value. By getting to the core of why your business exists means designers can then set about translating that into a unique and differentiating proposition, which makes decision making for customers very much easy. Design cuts laser-sharp through the noise so your brands, products and services become infinitely more relevant and stand out in today’s cluttered and complicated marketplace.

Find out how we helped grow Bauer Media’s listener base here.

5) Design connects values to direct behaviours and positive action
Design helps translate vision and purpose into highly emotive employee engagement campaigns. Just imagine a global workforce being able to see and feel the impact they have on the world and why they come to work each day. Imagine the sense of pride and responsibility you could foster. The Macleod Report shows that businesses with a top-quartile engagement, compared to businesses with bottom-quartile engagement, generate twice the annual net profit, 2.5 times greater revenue growth and a 40% lower staff turnover**. Design is absolutely vital to creating and maintaining sustainable businesses with motivated people at their heart.

Find out about our multi award-winning work that helped Lucite International grow a sense of pride and purpose here.

6) Design allows you to fast-track knowledge and insights
Plug a strategic design consultancy into your business and you immediately tap into years and years of insights, innovation, creativity and passion. Imagine instantly unleashing all the learnings from every previous client challenge, every project and every market and sector (respecting confidentiality, of course) . What other business partner could grow your knowledge and bring matching value to the table? Instantly.

We love our work with charities and each project benefits the next. Here are just two examples of how we’ve helped them grow. View our work for ZSL here and our work for Give London here.

7) Fast paced world; design is a great for streamlining and simplification
If I haven’t made it clear already, design is simply a great simplifier. It puts the customer experience first and strips out unnecessary complexity. It makes decisions, and therefore life, easier by making choices intuitive and natural. Businesses often have an instinctive inclination to build ‘process barriers’ between themselves and their customers. Design questions these and objectively streamlines their offer to help ensure customers achieve their goals faster and more efficiently. The commercial benefits of simplicity are proven, with 69% of customers more likely to recommend a brand that provides simpler experiences and communications***.

Our work with Currencies Direct illustrates how we helped them grow understanding through simplification. View the work here.

The above list is just the tip of the iceberg. Embrace design then plug the right design and brand consultancy into your organisation and watch it grow every area of your business.
Creative Director and Co Founder.



* Design Council.

** Macleod Report, Engaging for Success and

*** Siegel+Gale, Global Brand Simplicity Index.


Images shown below are a snapshot of some of the projects mentioned in the article above.

The Seedling Diaries – Volume 2

Name: Chris Webster
Studied: Norwich University of the Arts
Interned: April 2015
Likes: Rock music
Dislikes: Onions
Featured project: Eden Project Rebrand

It’s been about 10 years since I first knew I wanted to become a Graphic Designer; my first glimpse of Graphic Design was when I was in year 9 at school and completed some work experience with a printing company.

After college I studied at Norwich University of the Arts where I realised that what I had learned up to that point just scratched the surface of what Graphic Design and branding is and what the industry is all about. Having lectures with design agencies, talks and critiques about my work with Tutors and past Norwich graduates was great. What I learned from lectures, the tutors and other graduates is what helped me become the ideas driven person that I am today.

Interim Illustrated

Over the last couple of months, we’ve had the pleasure of working on a transformative and innovative brief with our long-term client, Interim Partners. The Allotment has worked with Interim Partners for a number of years, helping to build their brand from a £1m turnover business to a £30m market-leading interim management recruitment organisation in just 12 years.

We were delighted to be asked to create a new visual style for Interim Partners, which will be utilised on their recently launched website and other vital touch points moving forward. To create this distinctive style with real visual cut-through, we worked in partnership with the Malaysian illustrator, Tang Yau Hoong to help differentiate and visually depict varying parts of the business, from IP’s values, experience and global reach, through to Case Studies, Practice Groups and Return on Interim (ROI). Tang’s style is very unique, with subtle imagery twists and negative space creating beautiful messaging.

Here are some of the final creations and a link to the new Interim Partners website:


We are delighted to announce that our work for Marlin Hawk and Currencies Direct picked up awards at the 2015 Transform Awards Europe, with Marlin Hawk winning Gold for Best Visual identity in the Professional Services sector whilst Currencies Direct received a highly commended for their brand transformation in the Financial Services sector.

The judges commented on the rebrand for Marlin Hawk, saying the “rebrand is the epitome of visual evolution, storytelling, and ingenuity. The visuals present a beautiful balance between the maturity of the brand and the personal stories behind it.”

The Transform Awards Europe set the standard for brand development, rebranding and brand positioning work in Europe. Each year it sets a stronger benchmark with agencies from all over the UK and Europe attending the ceremony in London.

For a closer look at the award-winning work for Marlin Hawk and Currencies Direct, please follow the respective links.

A new perspective creates opportunity

The Allotment has created the new website and a set of internal vision and values communications for Endpoint, an international brand implementation and wayfinding consultancy that specialises in the built environment.

The creative concept is underpinned by the brand story of ‘We see opportunity’. Referencing a brand truth uncovered through research, it refers to the differentiating value Endpoint deliver by looking at the built environment in a different way. They uncover opportunity for clients to improve performance in the built environment – be this strategic, aesthetic or commercial – by bringing a fresh perspective or viewpoint to their work.

The concept of perspective was used in the graphics and messaging on the website and bought to life via parallax functionality (see website).

For the internal launch The Allotment produced a clever booklet that gave meaning to Endpoints vision and values – messaging and graphics in the booklet demanded that the reader physically change their perspective.

A set of large scale posters have also been produced for Endpoints offices in London and Dubai. In each case there is a clever visual trick to engage the passer-by.

Click here to see the Endpoint case study in full.

The new Endpoint identity was created by Goosebumps.

ZSL Membership Pack

For any brand, Membership is a great way to encourage loyalty, belonging and repeat visits. For ZSL providing unlimited entry to their Zoo’s, as part of an exclusive membership scheme, allows people to enjoy the Zoo experience at a leisurely pace knowing they can return, again and again.

Designed by The Allotment, we are delighted to share the brand new ZSL Membership pack and proposition. Using the line ‘Welcome to the Family’, we have created a playful and engaging pack which includes bespoke quarterly guides for both ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos plus tons of surprises for their younger members.

The packs look fantastic in the memberships kiosks at both ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos. You can also order your membership online.

Tea with a twist

In Britain, a staggering 60.2 billion cups of tea are made every year.

A large proportion of these will be made in the office where making a cup of tea can be a somewhat nerve-racking experience. Is it strong enough? Did she want sugar? How much sugar? He wants fruit tea…what on earth is fruit tea?

One of the biggest decisions in a day can sometimes be ’whose turn is it to make the tea’. This decision can cause tension, arguments and outright war!

At The Allotment we have turned this into a competitive game based on intelligence – well, we are a bunch of designers, so let’s call it luck! But you can join in. We call it the daily Tea Question.

From Student to Studio

When I was younger my dream was to live in a caravan in Weston-super-Mare and become an artist. I had it all planned out; I was going to live in the double bedroom and convert the twin room into a studio. I would look out of my window onto a beautiful sea view for inspiration and I would sell my masterpieces to the abundance of willing customers who would fill the promenade as they clambered over each other to get their hands on my latest works. Thankfully I soon realised that this was a terrible idea as art is notoriously hard to make money from, Weston-super-mare is 98% mud and most importantly, I’m not a retired bus driver. It was probably at around this point that I first looked towards graphic design.

Fast forward eight years and I am just coming to the end of my first year working for The Allotment, but how did I get here? Well, first there were two years of cutting, sticking and learning to draw the perfect ellipse for my GCSE, then there were a further two years at college where leaflets, posters and even the odd business card were thrown into the mix, and then finally there was university which is where it all started to make sense and I was hit with the revelation that ideas are king. I Graduated from The University of Gloucestershire in the summer of 2013 having loved my time there and feeling that I was ready to take on the world (of design). It is only when I look back now that I realise how drastically unprepared I was for what was coming my way. It is for this reason that I am sat here now eagerly typing away in the hope that I can impart some wisdom, help just a few people make the leap from student to studio and guide them away from some of the mistakes that I made.

Say cheese!

Last night we had our lovely gathering of clients, friends and colleagues. It was a great celebration of another year for The Allotment and was an evening of beer tasting and cheese. So, so much cheese!

Thank you to everyone who came along. A special thanks to our Brian and Tom who organised the event and also to Viv, my wife who organised the cheese (I think we will be eating it until 2016!). Also to Mike Feather who took some great pictures – thanks Mike. And finally to all our creative partners – illustrators, writers, photographers who support and inspire us with brilliant words and pictures all year round.

A very, very Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.

Why is design important?

Why is design important?

I suppose because history is about the past and design is about all of our futures. It’s focused on making things better – breaking down barriers. Its about inspiring transformation and progress rather than dogma and blandness.

Tom Peters, who wrote a brilliant book called Re-Imagine, amongst many others, could see the value of design to business . This is what he captured about design in his book:

“Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation.” A quote by Steve Jobs, who knew a thing or two about building a successful business.

“If there was no design there would be nothing to do, and nothing would progress or get better. The world would fall apart.” Anna, aged 11 (Design Council research about the meaning of design).

“Design is not a surface thing or prettying thing.”

“Designers are people who think with their hearts.”

“Design is not about like or dislike. It’s about Passion, Emotion, Attachment.”

“Design is the No.1 DETERMINANT of whether a product-service-experience stands out or not.”

Top 5 in UK for branding

Design Week have recently released their renowned annual Creative Survey to the public, with creative agencies, and the industry as a whole looking on anxiously to see who made the top 50. Being just 4 years old, making the survey alone is a great achievement, however we’re delighted to announce that in the overall top 50 agencies in the UK, The Allotment came in joint 28th alongside global advertising agency, BBH.

What’s more, in the branding category, we came joint 5th in the UK.

8 Lessons in Story Selling

This week has been a bit different but exciting. In the last few days I have given a presentation, to a group of partners in a professional services company to explain to them about how storytelling can be an effective approach to selling. The aim was to change their emphasis from selling ‘what they do’ to selling ‘why they do it’, using emotive and expressive language. One of the examples of exemplary storytelling I used was the John Lewis Christmas TV commercial of 2011. To view click here. I still think this is the best John Lewis have done so far.

Branding radio for Bauer

The Allotment create a new brand identity system for 43 UK radio stations.

Bauer Media, part of Europe’s largest privately owned publishing Group has today announced a new multi-platform brand identity system for its Bauer Place local radio portfolio across the UK. The new identity system and brand, designed by The Allotment, will be applied to more than 17 regional radio brands and more than 43 individual radio stations.

The new identity system with ‘YOUR’ at the heart of the concept communicates the core ‘Closer To You’ brand proposition of Bauer Place. It will be used to promote and emphasise Bauer’s uniquely engaging approach to the delivery of news and entertainment based on a deep understanding of their local radio audience.

Paul Middlebrook, Managing Partner of The Allotment said: “It’s early days but we are excited by the prospect of this identity system reaching out to millions of radio listeners. We have created a simplified and cohesive brand structure for a radio portfolio that has grown organically and significantly in the last decade. The ‘YOUR’ concept will be applied from January 2015 and will be bought to life with the ‘YOUR’ graphic acting as a window for local content messaging. The gradient colour system has been designed to differentiate the two or three radio channels in each region.”

For further information please contact Paul Middlebrook at The Allotment on 020 7404 6841.

Alternatively, see the full case study for Bauer Media here.


Two words to inspire . . .

What and If and are two small, unsuspecting, yet very, very powerful words. Although on the surface they seem, somewhat ordinary, when combined, they form a question that has driven progress and innovation for centuries. What if?

What if we could make things better? What if we looked at things in a different way? What if I could make change happen today?

Busy Law 6 – an epic

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP (BLP) is slightly different to your average legal firm. A top 15-law firm in the UK, one of the most innovative in Europe and an abundance of learning opportunities for both qualified and up-and-coming lawyers, one being the ‘Busy Lawyer Programme’. The Busy Lawyer Programme offers lawyers the opportunity to attend a day of workshops, presentations and insightful discussions. One of the other benefits to the programme, aside from valuable knowledge, is that attendees are able to use the programme towards their accreditation and qualifications.

Each year the highly engaging event uses a fictitious business as a theme for the day. This year The Allotment created a spoof independent cinema chain called ‘Caught On Film’.

Cash with humour

The Allotment are proud to have designed first direct’s first high street cash points.

We have produced two designs – the first based on the theme of security uses a Space Invader-theme (‘Look out for people invading your space’) and the second based on the convenience of cash points uses a set of scales (‘Gain some pounds’). All the messages have been developed as part of first direct’s ‘unexpected bank’ positioning.

Turning Lives Around

The London Community Foundation (LCF) were last years lucky winner of The Allotment’s ‘unwrap a designer competition’. The competition is for charities in need of design expertise and the winner receives strategic and design guidance donated by The Allotment.

The first task for The Allotment was to find out where and how they could add the most value to an already successful charity – LCF ‘turn lives around’ by connecting Londoners who need the most help to donors who are willing to give. We found that their biggest challenge was to explain what they do, simply, in a way that does their role justice.

Unwrap a designer 2013

Early in February Kids Company were drawn out of the hat by Charity Comms as the winner of our annual ‘Unwrap a designer’ competition. This is where we donate a few days of our time to support a charity.

We have now completed our initial work with the Kids Company. The project involved looking at different ways to visually bring the Charity’s positive and truly wonderful stories to life.

It’s a gift!

Designing for social impact and good causes is an important part of the Allotment’s work so we were thrilled to be approached by The Big Lottery Fund to help them manage their interaction with the voluntary sector. The Big Lottery Fund is the largest distributor of the good cause funding raised by the National Lottery and it distributes over £700 million a year to incredibly worthy causes.

In order to maintain the awareness of the ‘good’ that the National Lottery and the Big Lottery Fund does it is vital that all grant holders, regardless of size or the nature of their project, publicly acknowledge the grant they receive.

The journey continues . . .

With the focus on the values and ethics of companies so prevalent in the press it seems an apt time to share our most recent work for The Donkey Sanctuary. This client exemplifies the power of a set caring and consistent beliefs to drive the positive impact and growth of an organisation.

The publication below is the outcome of a strategic review by The Donkey Sanctuary which looked at their plans and ambition for the next 5 years. They approached the Allotment to develop the words from this plan into a document which would be used as a support to internal communications and values engagement. Through this notebook their sincere values of Compassion, Collaboration and Creativity have been bought to life in away that connects the past, with today and tomorrow. The timeline that runs throughout the book, starting in 1969 when the late Dr Svendsen (Dr S) purchased her first two donkeys, leads the reader to the future and the big goals the charity has to transform the quality of life for donkeys, mules and people worldwide.

Wonderful People!

On Thursday, last week, we had a fantastic celebration for our third birthday as a business.It included some specially designed vegetable cocktails and sticking with the theme an amazing ploughman’s spread.
Thank you to all those who came. It was a great evening for all our clients and partners who share our passion for doing amazing work.
Mike Feather, one of our photographer friends kindly took some pictures to record the event for prosperity. Hope you like them!

New Talent

We are delighted to announce that Brian Eagle, ex-creative partner of Unreal in London and Biggie Smalls in Sydney, Australia, will be joining The Allotment team at the end of September 2013.

At Unreal, Brian worked for clients such as Coca-Cola, BBC, Penguin, Hodder & Stoughton, Mayor of London and P&G and won numerous international design awards, including a D&AD Yellow Pencil.

Brian (in the middle of the picture) will join as a creative director and will work directly with James Backhurst (left) and Paul Middlebrook (right), the founding partners of The Allotment.

Charity sector branding

The Allotment are delighted to announce that we will be talking at the CharityComms brand development conference on the 24th October 2013. We have been given an hour’s breakout slot to talk about the need to align ‘brand to values’ in the charity sector. The session will illustrate how this princIpal was applied to our award winning work for the The Donkey Sanctuary.

The breakout session will be co-hosted by Paul Middlebrook, The Allotment and Mark Cross from The Donkey Sanctuary.

For further information or to book a place go to

Momentous 3

The last few weeks have been momentous for The Allotment.
Apart from quickly approaching 3 years old (and that’s something to celebrate), we have finally moved in to our very own, special studio at the top of an old print works near Holborn. It will be somewhere that we can grow into as we support all our clients and colleagues to achieve their dreams and ambitions.

A brand at the heart of nations

Since the founding fathers of Cable & Wireless connected Portcurno in Cornwall to Bombay in India in the 1860’s, the business has been at the heart of nations prosperity and telecommunications infrastructure.
In recent year’s Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) has been through a significant restructure and transformation and now has a strategy which is focused on being the leading Pan-American full service telecoms business. They aim to build on their number 1 position in the 12 of the 15 markets they operate.

Using design to transform lives . . .

The built environment has a huge impact on all our lives. Where we work, live and play affects our well-being, our opportunities and our potential.

No one knows this more than the Cabe (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) team at the Design Council. They have played a key role in influencing architecture and the built environment for over 80 years. The Cabe team makes places better for people. They focus on ensuring places and communities are sustainable, adaptable and resilient.

Cabe at the Design Council approached The Allotment to look at how their offer could be integrated into the new Design Council brand proposition of being a ‘design navigator’. They wanted to create a document and a presentation which would convey their authority, insight and ability to inspire social and economic value in the built environment. The tone of voice needed to be ‘Inspiring Simplicity’.

A creative spark . . .

The Allotment has designed the identity for a new US-based design award. The JUST IMAGINE Awards have been launched at GlobalShop, Chicago by Lucite International, owners of the Perspex® and Lucite® global acrylic brands. The annual awards will celebrate US designers’ work with LuciteLux® cast acrylic (known as Perspex® in the UK) in all its guises from interiors, to corporate imaging, lighting and product design.

A supportive brand idea

Global design recruiter Bespoke Careers approached The Allotment after the Design Week Awards last year and asked us the following question, ‘How can we build on our positive brand profile and tell our story in an original and compelling way’? Our answer was to engage with them to find the ‘thing’ that really makes them stand out within their sector. What we found, after extensive research, was that they are not just focused on delivering the best candidates to their architecture and design clients, they also go beyond the call of duty to support individuals, their careers and the design sector, in general. It’s the things they do that can’t always be seen which makes them different in the minds of their clients and candidates. Support. therefore, became the big idea for the rebrand, and this at Bespoke is more than an arm around a shoulder. It’s very much relationships built on intimate knowledge, enthusiasm and trust.