Archive for June, 2013

Juice Creative in the news

Journey Into The Future With JuiceIf you pick up a copy of today’s Leicester Mercury, you’ll find Enderby-based design agency Juice Creative are in the news! According to the full page feature, Juice was set up in 2003 by Nick Taylor and Mark Hodgkinson, experienced professionals who shared a common vision to create “a small studio with big ideas”.

Ten years later, we’re expanding our premises to accommodate a rapidly growing team of over twenty people. Here’s what Nick has to say: “We’re proud to have built such a formidable team of passionate and talented individuals. They are without doubt the key to our ongoing success.”

The article goes on to present the services offered by Juice Creative and outline some of the methodologies we use. Between them, Nick and Mark let slip a few of their top tips for achieving success in the competitive in-store environment. There’s even a teaser about some new technology we’re all really excited about. It’s called augmented reality, and it’s going to change the way we see the world.

The Juice Family Day Out

Drayton Manor Park LogoThe entire Juice workforce – families and all – descended on Drayton Manor Park last weekend for a big day out in the glorious summer sunshine. Oh, all right, it rained a bit. But we didn’t let the weather dampen our spirits. We are British, after all!

The West Midlands theme park, with its mix of white-knuckle rides and child-friendly attractions, proved the perfect venue for Juice kids of all ages, from toddlers all the way up to those with, ahem, one or two grey hairs. Everyone did their own thing, but we all met up for a communal lunchtime picnic under the big awning in the middle of the park, just in time to plan the afternoon’s activities and compare notes on the day’s highlights.

What’s that? You want to know what some of those highlights were? Okay, here goes:

  • The kookaburra in the zoo laughing at all the people gawping at it
  • Lots of firsts for the children, including an overnight stay in a camper van and, for some, their very first trip to a theme park at all
  • Hot donuts!
  • One of the Juice directors looking suspiciously like he’d passed out on the Apocalypse ride photo
  • The giant fibreglass dinosaurs prompting one of the little ones to ask, “Are they real?” … and one of the older ones to ask, “Are they actual size?”
  • Deciding not to go on the log flume so as not to get wet … only to get drenched by a downpour shortly afterwards
  • A budding romance between two of the younger members of the party …
  • The smart decision to bring along partners who were content to look after phones, wallets and pushchairs while their other halves got propelled at high speeds around a variety of looping metal tracks
  • Scaring people while they were looking at the tarantulas in the zoo
  • Having the high-speed thrills of the Shockwave rollercoaster enhanced by the jet-wash effect of a perfectly-timed rain shower
  • And finally … simply enjoying the opportunity to meet up with colleagues and their families, hanging out and having a great time

Happy summertime, everyone!

Design? Keep it simple, stupid!

Design ABCLots of people think good design is all about making things look pretty. Well, we’ve got news for you. It isn’t.

Oh, all right. It is. Sort of. Aesthetics is a big part of any design project, and we couldn’t hold our heads up as a creative agency if we weren’t striving constantly to present our clients with work that looks just plain gorgeous.

But it’s not just about being gorgeous. Good design is fundamentally about clear communication. It’s about deciding exactly what it is you want to say (and yes, that really does mean getting rid of all the peripheral junk and boiling everything down to a single key message) then devising a memorable way to say it. This rule applies whatever you’re designing: a consumer ad, a merchandising unit, a company logo, an exhibition stand … it’s like the man said: Keep it simple, stupid!

If less is more, does that mean all design has to be minimalistic? Not at all. Visual flourishes are great, just as long as they serve the underlying message (we all like our twiddly bits, right?). And there’s always room for a secondary message, just as long as the primary communication gets to stand in the spotlight.

Good design also takes into account the practicalities. Or, if you prefer, inconveniences. You know, all those irritating things like deadlines, budgets, corporate guidelines … the list goes on. Actually, we like to think of these not as restrictions but challenges. Deadlines focus the mind. Budgets mark out the playing field. Guidelines restrict the design palette in ways that can actually enhance creativity. Give an artist a blank canvas, a million tubes of paint and all the time in the world and a year later he’ll still be dithering. Set him in front of a still life with one stick of charcoal and a ticking clock and watch him create a masterpiece.

Good design is more than just showing a pretty face. It’s about being smart. And, in order to be smart, you need to be single-minded.

It’s stupid not to be simple, don’t you think?

The Woodland Carbon Code

Woodland Carbon Code LogoEvery time we print something, we also plant trees. Not literally, of course. We wouldn’t want compost and earthworms getting into our delicate printing machinery, would we?

Juice is a member of the award-winning Woodland Carbon scheme. What does that mean? Well, everything we print conforms to the UK Government’s 2011 Woodland Carbon Code. This reduces our impact on the environment, mitigates our carbon emissions and provides the Woodland Trust with vital funds to plant brand new woodland.

The way it works is pretty clever. Every time we print a leaflet, brochure or piece of promotional literature on one of our state-of-the-art digital presses, we calculate the impact of the job on the environment in terms of carbon emissions – a kind of environmental ‘star rating’. That rating is then converted into a cash value that goes straight to the Woodland Trust, who use it to fund one of their many tree planting and woodland creation schemes.

In other words, for every gramme of carbon we pump into the environment, we support the planting of the trees that are needed to remove it again.

Here’s what the Woodland Trust has to say about the scheme:

By turning your carbon into woodland you’ll be doing your bit for the environment and, at the same time, helping us create thriving new pockets of woodland to benefit wildlife and people alike

The Woodland Carbon scheme works equally well for both personal and business uses, and can be tailored to your individual needs. You can even arrange to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty at one of the Woodland Trust’s specially organised tree planting events.

If you really are a fan of compost and earthworms, don’t you owe it to yourself to get involved?

The Enderby Boot and Shoe Works

Enderby Boot and Shoe WorksDo you take your workplace for granted? Let’s face it, most of us do. We just turn up, do our jobs and go home again without ever thinking about where exactly it is we’re doing business.

Here at Juice Creative, we’re lucky enough to be part of a rich heritage of design and industry in what might appear to be an unassuming Leicestershire village. But appearances can be deceptive …

The village in question is called Enderby, and its recorded history extends all the way back to 1086, when it first pops up in the Domesday Book under the name of Endrebie. Before then it was part of the Danelaw (the huge area of north and eastern England that fell under Scandinavian control during the 9th and 10th centuries). If you thought there was a Viking ring to the name, you were right.

The Juice premises don’t go back to Viking times. Nor do our staff wear helmets with horns on (well, not very often). Our design studio is part of the former Enderby Boot and Shoe Works, built in 1898 by the Co-operative Society. The Works was a major employer in the area, with the Society building cottages for its workers on nearby Cross Street. Back then, there were knitting mills here too. One way or another, Enderby was quite the hive of industry.

While we don’t go in for knitting – and our skills with a cobbler’s last and bradawl leave a lot to be desired – we’d like to think that traditional combination of technical innovation, design flair and good old-fashioned hard graft has rubbed off on the creative work we do in Enderby today. We’re not sorry to have left the smoky chimneys and noisy machinery behind, but we love the sense of continuity we get from the place.

Location, location, location. That’s what they say you need. Here in Enderby, that’s exactly what we’ve got. We’re perfectly placed at the heart of the UK’s motorway network less than an hour from Birmingham and barely two from London. And this old factory’s solid foundations are just right for supporting a design studio filled with energetic staff and state-of-the-art technology.

At the same time, our local bank has a thatched roof. What’s not to like?

Old and new. That’s what it’s all about. If we can channel even a little of Enderby’s industrial past into the things we make for the future, we’ll be happy.