Author Archive

Listen up Manchester

Posted on: November 20th, 2023 by TellingStories

We’re supporting a good friend’s fundraising club night in aid of Fighting to be Heard – a secondary breast cancer charity.

The night will feature DJ’s Clint Boon, Craig Charles, Dave Haslam, Across the Tracks and Adverse Camber, with 100% of ticket sales going to the charity.

For more info and to book tickets, please visit Skiddle.com here.

A global sponsorship deal for Lift

Posted on: October 20th, 2023 by TellingStories

Lift Nutrition & Wellness (Faye’s other business) are proud to announce a new sponsorship deal with the mighty Winton Wanderers U11 Lionesses.

Arduous but fruitful negotiations have ensured WWFC remain within UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations (FFP) whilst helping Lift to extend their global exposure with an agreement to sponsor and supply the half-time oranges. 

Good taste… at the Fox & Barrel

Posted on: September 20th, 2023 by TellingStories

Congratulations to our friends (and clients) at the Fox & Barrel in Cotebrook who, amongst an incredibly competitive field – won Best pub in Cheshire at the Taste Cheshire Food & Drink Awards. 

The judges praised their amazing food, incredible drink… and sublime branding.*

*Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

A history of changemakers at Dulwich Cranbrook

Posted on: August 25th, 2023 by TellingStories

It was an honour to help Dulwich Cranbrook relaunch their brand, delivering a new identity, website, brochures, signage, wayfinding, outdoor media and a press campaign – all in time for the beginning of the new school year.

A big thank you to all the children who contributed to our strategy workshops (which were more like playshops!) and especially top-marks to those who took part in our fun-packed portraiture shoot. Take a look at our case study here.

Up the wall in Dubrovnik

Posted on: July 25th, 2023 by TellingStories

Designers are always busy, always. How’s work?.. Busy. What you been up to?.. What haven’t I been up to. Sounds great, who have you been working with?.. Can’t say as it’ll break my NDA.

Thankfully, despite these tightened times, we’ve been pretty busy too, honest. So we took a well-earned break in the beautiful city of Dubrovnik. If you find yourself there and have a head for heights – head for the city walls to clear your, well… head.

Grass roots

Posted on: June 25th, 2023 by TellingStories

I (David) have a touch of OCD when it comes to clean surfaces and visual symmetry. The four chairs surrounding our round studio table are positioned at three, six, nine and twelve o’clock. I like a nicely striped lawn too.

So the destructive results of our Daughter’s newly renewed passion for football would usually send me into a flat spin – but I’m just happy to be a football Dad again. Sod the lawn.

Talent spotting

Posted on: May 26th, 2023 by TellingStories

We spent a great couple of days working alongside photographer Mark Howe at Dulwich Prep Cranbrook in Kent, as part of the brand project we’re undertaking with the school. 

We shot both reportage and campaign-style imagery with a particularly talented bunch of children who loved the camera (which is always a relief) and we can’t wait to put the results to good use in the coming months.

Fighting (and walking) to be heard

Posted on: April 28th, 2023 by TellingStories

Faye joined her amazing friend Kate, on a bright and blustery fundraising hike up Moel Famau – the highest hill in Flintshire, Wales.

Kate is one of the founders of Fighting to be heard, a charity set-up to raise awareness and support those living with incurable secondary breast cancer.

To find out more about their inspiring stories, please visit their site. 

Every day’s a school day…

Posted on: April 13th, 2023 by TellingStories

It’s actually one of the reasons they chose to work with us, the fact we weren’t ‘specialists’ in education – although we obviously had to prove our ability to learn and apply our insights within a really thorough credentials pitch process (as we always do our homework).

Which got me thinking…

Each to their own, and I get why focusing on sector specialism gives you gravitas and is therefore a potentially easier ‘sell’ with many clients… but I’ve always thought that a variety of brand challenges, and therefore a variety of people to work with – keeps you fresh and interested.

And after 25+ years, I still am (well, most of the time).

Naturally, we’ve been unsuccessful in the odd pitch for not having a certain level (or any) sector experience – but I’ll always back us to put the hard yards in and learn what we need to learn. Because we’ll always bring some fresh insight and ideas to the table (or a graffitied desk in this case) – as opposed to a sector specialist who has seen and done it all… or have they?

That’s not a snipe, just our preferred approach.

To cut a long story short, we love telling new stories and every day should definitely be a school day… as long as it’s not maths, obviously.

Every day’s a school day

Posted on: March 28th, 2023 by TellingStories

After a competitive creds pitch win, we’re dead chuffed to be working alongside a prestigious Kent-based school on a particularly ‘studious’ strategic brand repositioning project.

Aside from the visiting lecturing that we do, it’s lovely to add another string to our bow and expand our repertoire within the education sector – and as usual, we’ll try our best to be the teacher’s pet because we always do our homework!

A little New Year Lift for BJS

Posted on: February 2nd, 2023 by TellingStories

As a Happy New Year gift from Telling Stories, we sent our resident health guru (Faye) to run a health and nutrition workshop for the ladies at BJS Home Delivery.

Faye’s session helped kicked-off ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ – an initiative that BJS are now implementing to run regular talks and events which focus on wellbeing in the workplace.

The A–Z of Telling Stories

Posted on: January 26th, 2023 by TellingStories

After more than a decade of Telling Stories, we’ve managed to create a set of A–Z letters from the many logos we’ve designed.

Unsurprisingly, we had plenty of A, B and C’s but not so many X, Y and Z’s!

We just about managed it though – so perhaps see if you can spot a few whilst perusing our brand case studies.

Shake it off…

Posted on: December 15th, 2022 by TellingStories

Our wonderful CEO (Chief Elation Officer), Ember, knows all about it – shaking off the mud from a hard day and sprinting full pelt into the next… because you never know, there may be an amazing stick just around the corner.

So we’re doing the same by looking forward to a great New Year with some brilliant new brand challenges for 2023 – we’re off to the park, see you there!

Lift off

Posted on: November 23rd, 2022 by TellingStories

Our very own resident health guru, Faye, has recently completed a gruelling three-year Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy Diploma and has therefore added lots of additional ‘clever-clogs’ letters to the end of her name.

And because running one business isn’t enough for some people, Faye has also now officially launched Lift Nutrition & Wellness, so if you need a health lift – why not take a closer look here, here and here.

Somewhere

Posted on: November 22nd, 2022 by TellingStories

Sleep well bonny lad x

The stars and (black and white) stripes

Posted on: October 17th, 2022 by TellingStories

In 2007, we created an identity for a friend who moved from Newcastle to New York. They promptly joined a Newcastle United supporters group that met-up at outrageously early times to watch the games together, but they didn’t have a banner to unite behind.

So we designed a double-sided flag logo that mirrored the teams black and white stripes alongside the ‘stars and stripes’ flag. Fast forward 15 years and the logo has now been adopted by over a dozen other US-based supporters groups – which is very canny, like… man.

The 11th hour

Posted on: September 28th, 2022 by TellingStories

For once, we haven’t waited until the 11th hour to complete 11 years of Telling Stories – our retrospective newspaper containing 11 of our favourite projects.

However, this is a limited run and they aren’t eleven-a-penny… so if you’d like a copy, just join our mailing list and we’ll be in touch.

Rolling out the (Fox &) Barrel

Posted on: August 2nd, 2022 by TellingStories

The Fox & Barrel in Cotebrook is a renowned Cheshire pub that has been helping relax and replenish weary travellers for over 250 years.

To celebrate the launch of their exclusive new Hide restaurant – we’ve helped Dicky Cotterill and his lovely team to reinvigorate their brand and website.

So now, this wonderful pub looks as good as their delicious food tastes – full case study here.

Turn it up to 11

Posted on: July 11th, 2022 by TellingStories

We began Telling Stories in 2011, but we didn’t make much of a fuss about our 10th Birthday in 2021, which came and went without much, well… fuss.

However, turning 11 is different. 11 looks cooler. 11 sounds cooler. 11 is the name of the coolest character in Stranger Things – and 11 is hidden within in our name, too.

So to celebrate, we’re producing a newspaper containing 11 of our favourite stories from 2011–2022… join our mailing list and we’ll keep you posted!

Putting BJS on the map at the MTA Awards

Posted on: June 24th, 2022 by TellingStories

More smiles per gallon with BJS – as for a 2nd year running, our brand work has been short-listed in the MTA 2022 Livery of the Year Awards.

Whereas last year it was the Construct IT truck livery which drove away with the top prize, this year it’s the turn of BJS Home Delivery’s nationwide fleet of location-based map vans.

Fingers crossed we can achieve the double!

Kitchen-sink drama

Posted on: May 20th, 2022 by TellingStories

With the help of photographer, Paul Husband – we’ve directed a really enjoyable photoshoot with Dicky Cotterill and his brilliant team at the Fox & Barrel pub in Cotebrook, Cheshire.

We can’t wait to show-off Paul’s dramatic images alongside our new brand work for this outstanding country pub… alongside the launch of their brand new top-secret venture.

The (black and) White Buffalo

Posted on: April 20th, 2022 by TellingStories

Absolutely nothing to do with work and just because we can, here’s a snap of The White Buffalo playing at Newcastle Riverside… it’s great to be ‘living’ live music again.

Keep your ear to the ground

Posted on: March 1st, 2022 by TellingStories

We’re working with a very cool bunch of lovely people to create a very warm and welcoming place to eat, drink and hide from the outside world.

So keep your ear to the ground as we’ll be able to reveal more, very soon…

AskMarc… for innovation (and awards)

Posted on: January 4th, 2022 by TellingStories

Since launching AskMarc 18 months ago, Marc Owen has been sharing his refreshing mix of advice and action to businesses of all shapes and sizes. 

So it’s lovely to see him gain recognition for doing things a little bit differently by winning the Northern Enterprise Award for Most Innovative Emerging Business Consultancy of 2021.

No words – so here’s one thousand pictures*

Posted on: December 20th, 2021 by TellingStories

What can we say that hasn’t already been said about 2021. 

Nothing, really… other than to wish you a joyful, restful and peaceful festive break with your friends, family and loved ones.

*May not be true… or anywhere close.

Old dog with a few tricks… at Preston University

Posted on: November 3rd, 2021 by TellingStories

It’s been a few years since our Daughter arrived on the scene – and as time became increasingly valuable, something had to give… which turned-out to be my lecturing role at Chester University.

Fast-forward a few years and it’s been a real pleasure to tentatively get my educative-eye ‘back in’ with Preston University (UCLAN) – and help-out on a course which has such a thoughtful and ideas-led approach to design.

Seeing isn’t always believing with Irlen Syndrome

Posted on: October 3rd, 2021 by TellingStories

Irlen Syndrome is a little-known perceptual processing disorder where the brain has difficulty handling visual information… And as it’s Irlen Syndrome awareness week – we thought we’d tell you a little about the condition that our Daughter was diagnosed with at seven years old.

She struggles with reading, depth perception, light sensitivity – and sometimes she just can’t sit still! There are ways to manage it though, and a natty pair of pink-tinted glasses help vastly reduce her symptoms. If you’re curious to know more, please visit the Irlen UK website.

Construct IT… Bagged IT

Posted on: August 7th, 2021 by TellingStories

We’re really chuffed that our truck livery design for Construct IT has won the Motor Transport Awards 2021 Livery of the Year. 

For a young business in an established market, amongst such esteemed company – to win such an award is pretty remarkable.

And aside from the award, the fancy London ‘do’ was a nice opportunity to get dressed up and let our hair down.

Space…

Posted on: July 7th, 2021 by TellingStories

The final frontier… No, not that space.

Space to breathe, space to think, space to switch-off. 

We managed to steal a week away from the office to enjoy one of the most outstanding areas of beauty we have on our doorstep.

The Lakes… Keswick, Buttermere, Grassmere. Wonderful.

Doubling our chances – MTA Livery of the Year 2021

Posted on: June 10th, 2021 by TellingStories

It’s been a long time since we’ve entered any work into the design awards circuit and 2021 has been no exception.

However, our client, BJS, has… entering the BJS Haulage and Construct IT livery into the Motor Transport Awards, and happily both have been short-listed for the big prize.

For us, it’s actually just nice to be recognised by industry specific judges who commented that “a lot of thought has gone into this”… That’s all we need to hear.

A bright idea for Construct IT

Posted on: May 10th, 2021 by TellingStories

It’s not easy moving bricks, blocks and tiles up and down the country… in fact, the construction haulage business is pretty heavy shIT! 

So in helping create a stand-out brand in a seriously safety-conscious industry, we literally had a bright idea – to ensure the Construct IT livery could be easily seen on even the dreariest of drizzly days.

See the full case study here.

Supporting the supporters at ADWF

Posted on: April 19th, 2021 by TellingStories

The Anne Duchess of Westminister’s Fund supports charitable projects that focus on people’s mental and physical health and wellbeing, living in disadvantaged communities or providing learning and training. 

To reflect the recent evolution from the original charity (ADWC) to a newly named fund (ADWF), we were asked to redesign their website, highlighting the change whilst creating a more user-friendly experience.

To have a look please visit the ADWF site here.

Adding some spirit (and pride) to Spaghetti junction

Posted on: March 3rd, 2021 by TellingStories

Hot on the heels of the BJS Haulage brand launch, we’ve helped the team reappropriate one of our motorway junction designs to support Pride History Month.

We’re sure there’ll be extra bonus points available for spotting this gem up and down the UK motorway network.

Truck spotting with BJS Haulage

Posted on: February 1st, 2021 by TellingStories

BJS have expanded their broad offering of logistics-based delivery businesses by launching a dedicated general haulage service.

Inspired by our love of maps, we’ve helped create their brand-new brand – and you’ll now be able to ‘spot’ over 20 junction designs rolling up and down the UK’s motorway network. 

View the full case study here, and you can visit their site here.

Straight to the point for Fedrigoni 365

Posted on: January 4th, 2021 by TellingStories

We can’t go into the mind-bending complexity of this project – other than to say that some very clever people, intricate management processes and highly technical production standards resulted in 4,000 utterly unique digitally printed Fedrigoni 2021 calendars.

What we can say is that we were given the number 27 and the word point to ‘illustrate’ – which became the selection of 27pt type… obviously.

Shit news

Posted on: December 4th, 2020 by TellingStories

Our worst fears became a reality as 2020 continued to challenge like no other in living memory, so we haven’t posted any work related news for an entire six months.

However, whilst juggling home-schooling and an almost ever-present Manchester lockdown, thankfully we’ve been surprisingly productive and hope to share more of our projects in the New Year.

2020 (di)vision

Posted on: May 28th, 2020 by TellingStories

COVID 19, BLM, Brexit… 2020 continues to cultivate division.

So we really don’t want to talk about our working lives at the moment – as it doesn’t feel particularly important right now.

All we would like to say is that during this crisis, let’s try a little bit harder to treat people the way we’d all like to be treated.

Image rights… and wrongs.

Posted on: April 16th, 2020 by TellingStories

Because sometimes our way isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine as long as we all know where we stand ‘from the off’ so there’s no surprises further down the line. If a job’s worth doing, n’all that.

We also get a bit miffed if anyone pinches our work and ideas as we don’t believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We usually let go of the ‘grey areas’ as we have no choice really, but blatant plagiarism gets our full attention.

It’s not normally our style to be this self-aggrandising and we’re only putting this down in black and white to set-up the punchline, as our black and white approach to right and wrong has gone a little, well… wrong.

We’ve been caught red-handed using an editorial image on our website news page that should have been licensed and paid for through an international press agency – but it wasn’t.

We could go into the whys and wherefores of how it happened but in the end, we let ourselves down by not doing our due diligence – no excuses. We were made aware of this by their legal-eagles, we confessed to our sins immediately and paid-up the usage fee just as quickly.

So why are we telling you this and not keeping quiet about the whole affair? To be fair, I don’t really know other than perhaps we’re looking for redemption. Or perhaps we’ve been on the ‘wronged’ side of the equation a few times recently and we know how it feels.

Either way, we’re taking the positives from the situation to remind ourselves that it’s critical we meet our own high standards and continue to take ownership of our mistakes when they occur.

_____

Written by David Thompson

 

AskMarc… for a little extra help with your business

Posted on: April 15th, 2020 by TellingStories

Marc Owen asked us to redefine the next stage of his working life – specifically, helping him offer his expertise and experience to a wide range of ambitious companies whilst avoiding the term ‘business consultant’ at all costs.

So whether it’s a peculiar time or the perfect time – perhaps you could AskMarc for a little extra help with your business.

Safe and sound (recording)

Posted on: March 13th, 2020 by TellingStories

We love creating strong narratives, especially when a really quirky film project comes along.

So it was great working with the expressive voice of Russell Richardson and the engineering nous of Audio Always to record the voice-over for a lovely short animation we’re producing.

And after shaking hands at the end, we all used plenty of soap and water – to be safe as well as sound.

Life after launch for Flood

Posted on: February 17th, 2020 by TellingStories

When we renamed and repositioned Lime Creative’s brand identity to become Flood Studio, we created a constantly evolving logo idea that could support and sell their photographic talents whilst highlighting their sector specialisms.

We’re really pleased the team at Flood have fully embraced the idea, as they continue to create playful little photographic vignettes from time to time – which never fail to bring a smile.

Putting BJS on the map

Posted on: January 8th, 2020 by TellingStories

We love a good map, and so we naturally loved receiving these snaps of our most recent campaign for BJS Home Delivery which hit the road just in time for their busy festive period – adorning dozens of their liveried vans.

Based upon the premise that All roads lead to home  the campaign celebrates their full nationwide coverage and highlights a multitude of UK locations by using some great maps, a bit of quirky copy and plenty of pins. 

No news…

Posted on: December 20th, 2019 by TellingStories

No politics, no sceptics.
No arguments, no judgements.
No angry debate, no hate.
No offence, no nonsense.

Oh, and no doubt…
Die Hard is definitely a Christmas film.

A sweet tooth for Fedrigoni 366

Posted on: November 27th, 2019 by TellingStories

We’ve contributed to Fedrigoni’s 2020 calendar, being one of 366 design studios who were invited to submit a graphic idea based upon a given day of the year – we bagged 6th March.

As fans of The Big Lebowski, we nearly chose to celebrate The Day of the Dude, but in the end we couldn’t resist National Dentist’s Day as we do we have a particularly sweet tooth.

Mix it up

Posted on: September 28th, 2019 by TellingStories

If we do one thing well, it’s being interested in all sorts of things.

So in keeping with our desire to constantly vary the projects and people we work together with – take a look at how our ideas-led approach can help lawyers, image-makers, automotive manufacturers and powder processors stand-out from the crowd. 

Making (and registering) a mark for Sempai®

Posted on: August 23rd, 2019 by TellingStories

Sempai is a digital lean management and training consultancy which helps ambitious manufacturers develop a culture of continuous self-improvement.

To accelerate their journey we’re helping Sempai develop their story, a key part of which is their new collaboration-based logo which has recently achieved a registered trademark – something we encourage all our clients to do in order to protect their brand.   

British Rema know how

Posted on: July 22nd, 2019 by TellingStories

A thorough strategic assessment led us to recommend that British Rema merge their three separate businesses under one common name – simplifying and transforming their organisation to create a monolithic corporate structure. 

To join the dots between each division – we created their ‘know how’ proposition to underpin over 90 years of experience and specialist knowledge in powder processing, process equipment and rotary engineering.

Weddings, woods and wellies

Posted on: June 8th, 2019 by TellingStories

An events venue with a difference, White Syke Fields in North Yorkshire has a lovely rustic charm and their historic farm buildings ooze personality and quirky originality. Events range from weddings and networking to foodie gatherings and ‘little explorers’ clubs.

We created an identity which feels a little bit raw, utilising textures and features from the environment to distinguish their unique event spaces – whilst helping guests to create distinguished memories too.

A clear vision for Optimec

Posted on: May 10th, 2019 by TellingStories

Optimec provide measurement and inspection technology for the world’s best contact and intraocular lens manufacturers. So if you wear contacts, there’s a good chance they’ve been quality tested with Optimec’s inspection equipment.

Based upon the proposition, Driven by precision – we’ve helped Optimec to refocus their sales and marketing activity, firstly to promote their latest technological advancements but also to celebrate their 40th year in business. We’ll post a full case study here on our site shortly.

Down to a fine art with Jolliffes

Posted on: April 4th, 2019 by TellingStories

We’ve really enjoyed helping Chester-based law firm Jolliffes rejuvenate their brand to better reflect their forward-thinking legal expertise – built upon over a century of hard-earned experience.

Taking Sun Tzu’s The art of war as our inspiration, we’ve created a visually rich and playfully copy-led identity to express the many reasons why Jolliffes have got their legal skills down to a fine art. Visit their new site here.

Panic buying

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by TellingStories

There’s been much consternation here in the UK due to the threat of short-term panic buying and the damaging side effects it could cause, all thanks to Brexit… the rift that keeps on giving.

As we’re enjoying a really busy spell here this has got us thinking. If we’re in the midst of a panic buying period in the design world too – will we need to start scrapping for our favourite fonts when the inevitable hits the fan?? 

No news is bad news

Posted on: February 15th, 2019 by TellingStories

In fairness it’s been a while since our last misdemeanour, but we’ve again broken our own rule and failed to post something of interest at least once each month.

We’ve given ourselves detention and a good talking to.

The wilder side of Information Governance

Posted on: January 31st, 2019 by TellingStories

And who said it had to be boring?.. That was the challenge – to create an engaging campaign that raised staff awareness of information security in the workplace. 

We created a series of fun weekly ‘guerrilla attacks’ offering bite-size advice from characterful animals which popped-up in various places – including behind the monitors, desks, bins and notice boards of our client’s UK based offices.

Have a chilled Christmas… together.

Posted on: December 21st, 2018 by TellingStories

2018 has been quite a year with much contention, conflict and downright hostility flying around – sadly splitting our nation in two.

Perhaps we’re typical of our ‘breed’, but we believe that we work best when we work together. So let’s make the most of the little things that bring us all together… and kick Brexit into touch come the New Year.

Mermaids

Posted on: November 7th, 2018 by TellingStories

We’re helping long-time collaborator Mark Howe to promote the work of Mermaids – a charity devoted to achieving a happier life for children and young people who feel at odds with their birth gender.

Mark’s great portraiture will be the cornerstone of an upcoming public awareness campaign, of which we’re happy to play our part.

The highlight of Hannover

Posted on: October 24th, 2018 by TellingStories

Coupled with our recent brand work, we helped Fontaine Fifth Wheel launch their fresh lick of paint at IAA Hannover 2018 – one of the world’s most prestigious international automotive shows.

After a gruelling but productive week, the show team enjoyed not only record enquiries but also high-praise as the best stand ever produced by a Marmon Highway Technologies group company (of which Fontaine Fifth Wheel are part of).

Supporting the DNRC

Posted on: September 21st, 2018 by TellingStories

Through our close working relationship with Grosvenor Estate, we are extremely proud to be a small part of an inspiring collective effort to raise vital funds for the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC). 

The centre was instigated and heavily supported by the late 6th Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor – to ensure that seriously injured soldiers, sailors and airmen receive the best possible care. If you would like to support the DNRC, please donate here.

The best kind of (Fontaine) fifth wheel

Posted on: August 19th, 2018 by TellingStories

Specialists in truck and trailer coupling, Fontaine Fifth Wheel products enable HGV’s to excel across a variety of on and off-road conditions, including cornering – which is pretty useful in post-Roman Europe.

Coupled with the strategic proposition ‘Fit for the long haul’ – we created a sales-driven brand based upon clearly defined USPs and a long-term commitment to strong customer relationships. A full case study will follow but in the meantime please visit the new-look site.

Getting to the point for BJS

Posted on: July 24th, 2018 by TellingStories

After completing several stages of campaign livery for the BJS delivery fleet, we’ve now turned our attention to their heavy rollers – the HGVs.

Our cab design directly references the door-to-door nature of the home delivery business, whilst also pinpointing their West Midlands headquarters at the same time.

7

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by TellingStories

We’ve been Telling Stories for seven years now, which feels pretty special given that we didn’t know whether we’d even last seven months after starting up in the midst of a recession.

We’ve had our ups and downs but it’s been a roller-coaster journey that we’ll keep riding for a good while yet… Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way.

The Good Life… by design.

Posted on: May 18th, 2018 by TellingStories

One day I arrived at the office as usual, parked up, turned off the ignition, and then it struck me… I couldn’t remember a single thing about the last hour. I got into the car, then I got out of the car – and could not recall anything about my journey to work. To all intents and purposes I may as well have been asleep at the wheel (something we can probably all relate to).

At that moment I decided to change my work life balance and find a way to ensure I didn’t waste another hour of the time I have left on this planet, whilst reducing my carbon monoxide contribution at the same time.

Soon after, I founded Telling Stories with my wife, Faye – working initially from the attic in our rickety old cottage before moving to our first ‘proper’ office at the Granary around six months later. 

The best thing about this office? Well it wasn’t big, it wasn’t even cheap, but it was quite lovely and also just across the road from our little house in Worsley, which is on the outskirts of Manchester.

Believe it or not we could have found far cheaper digs in central Manchester – but then we’d be back to the daily crawl, and that wasn’t part of our brief. So what we spent in additional rent, we saved in time. And in any case, we had our own posh coffee machine so what else do you need?

Fast forward six years and we’ve made another push towards self-sufficiency, although we’re not getting our hands dirty planting homegrown veg in the garden like Tom and Barbara from the The Good Life, we have converted our humble (but relatively large) detached garage into the new home of Telling Stories.

Our short commute around the corner has become a hop, skip and a jump across the back yard. 

We’ve wrestled with the usual Grand Designs scenarios along the way, but the proof is in the pudding and after proudly hosting several client visits already – we don’t know whether it’s the fancy coffee or the fancy office that makes them want to hang around for so long.

We realise our approach isn’t for everyone, but we’re sticking to the original blue-print of running a tight ship with a small crew for a select few – hopefully resulting in a good life… by design. 

_____

Written by David Thompson

 

Grand Designs

Posted on: May 18th, 2018 by TellingStories

Having recently completed our well overdue renovation project, we’re now settling in and ready to push on with the next chapter in our story.

Taking the opportunity to design not only our environment but also our whole work/life balance has been a privilege and is something we don’t take for granted. If you’ve got five minutes, we’ve written about our search for the good life here.

Creating spaces and places

Posted on: April 30th, 2018 by TellingStories

Hannah was looking for an elegant identity to demonstrate her creative talents – transforming interiors for both residential and public spaces. 

We came up with Creating spaces and places – as her transformations are much more than just a fresh lick of paint. The resulting typemark and hw motif emphasise Hannah’s bespoke approach and positive use of negative space.

Getting rendered with Boardwalk

Posted on: March 28th, 2018 by TellingStories

We’re currently in the thick of an interesting brand refresh for the European arm of a global truck parts manufacturer, but until it goes live we can’t really talk too much about it.

However, we can talk about the great CGI product rendering and animation work that Boardwalk Studio are producing for us. It’s been a fascinating learning curve and we can’t wait to show it off.

Beaming / bricking it

Posted on: February 27th, 2018 by TellingStories

It’s par for the course we suppose, but after much wrangling of floor plans, drainage plans, lighting plans and plans of plans – construction work has finally kicked-off on our long planned studio renovation project.

Every time we open our mouths the budget opens our wallet, so from now on we’re keeping schtum.

Radio silence

Posted on: January 27th, 2018 by TellingStories

If there’s one thing we impress on our clients, it’s our insistence that if you have a news page on your site – update it regularly or don’t have a news page at all. Our own rule is to add at least one story per month.

But for the first time in nearly seven years we’ve missed our monthly entry! So to mark/commiserate the occasion we’re filling the offending month with this confession along with a promise to try harder in the future.

Deer Park Dash

Posted on: December 8th, 2017 by TellingStories

The inaugural Deer Park Dash saw runners endure a challenging 10km circuit of Eaton Park to raise almost £12,000 for the DNRC and Alzheimer’s Society.

They say that life is a marathon and not a sprint… but alongside the Grosvenor Estate we moved pretty fast to encourage locals to lace-up their running shoes.

A Flood of change

Posted on: November 1st, 2017 by TellingStories

Lime Creative are a bunch of good guys who specialise in beautifully produced lifestyle product photography with an emphasis on ‘natural’ lighting… They actually shot our recent Kirkpatrick campaign so we’re obviously big fans of their work.

One good turn deserves another so we’ve helped the team reposition their brand offering with not only a new lick of paint, but a name change too – all to help potential new customers see the light (sorry). Take a look at the new site here.

Canal life to parklife

Posted on: October 1st, 2017 by TellingStories

After five years working in the historic Granary building, we’ve made the short move across to Broadway – a lovely tree-lined avenue situated behind Parr Fold Park in Worsley.

In the coming months you’ll probably find us despairing over delays, ballooning budgets and build issues as we embark on a new office conversion – and we’ll let you know how well it goes (or not) as the project progresses.

Jesmonite – a best kept secret no more

Posted on: September 13th, 2017 by TellingStories

We’re happy to say that due to our brand refresh and ongoing relationship with Jesmonite, their days of being the ‘best kept secret’ of the building material world are fast fading.

So much so, they have been awarded ‘Material of the year’ at the London Design Fair – so it looks like the cat is well and truly out of the bag.

Read the Evening Standard article here.

It’s a win-win for Bee

Posted on: August 13th, 2017 by TellingStories

They say the harder you work, the luckier you become – so Bee must have worked their socks off to achieve two outstanding accolades.

Congratulations to Paul Wardell who, with the help of his Bee race crew, has become the NGRRC Mini Twins Champion… and well done to the whole team for winning the Chamber of Business Awards Best British Small Business of the Year 2016.

See our brand work for Bee here.

Opening new doors for Kirkpatrick

Posted on: July 2nd, 2017 by TellingStories

Faye loves shopping… So when it’s time to refresh the Kirkpatrick product and lifestyle imagery, naturally she gets the gig to plan and art direct the shoot.

From products to props, every detail is planned with military precision – and you can see the results of Faye’s eye for style very soon.

Finding our own voice with David Appleton

Posted on: June 1st, 2017 by TellingStories

David Appleton, a wonderful actor and all round lovely chap has narrated our very own brand film with character, warmth and clarity.

Once we’d settled on the script (probably version 101), finalised the storyboard and chosen the music, it was essential that we found the right voice to stitch the whole film together. David’s subtle Northern charm coupled with his quiet but self assured confidence is music to our ears.

Manchester’s about where you’re at

Posted on: May 24th, 2017 by TellingStories

We (David & Faye) are adopted Mancunians who have lived in the great city of Manchester for a big part of our adult lives now.

Personally speaking, Manchester is probably the only place outside of my home town of Newcastle where I’ve felt no bias whatsoever. Nobody cares what you look like, what you sound like or where you come from… only where you’re at.

Terrorism won’t change that.

Getting to the point

Posted on: April 21st, 2017 by TellingStories

We often give each other needle in the studio. Sometimes it’s about our taste in kerning, other times it’s about our taste in music (or lack of) – and we also regularly partake in acupuncture sessions with Phil Trubshaw.

So we’ve created an identity for Phil that gets straight to the point of what he does… naturally.

A genuinely world wide website for Jesmonite

Posted on: March 7th, 2017 by TellingStories

Our successful strategic rebrand for Jesmonite has resulted in a significant increase in international sales enquiries – so we’re helping the team extend their global reach and, quite simply – simplify their conversations.

We’ve just completed and launched the first phase of a staged roll-out to provide a comprehensive selection of language options for website visitors – making it easier for international customers to understand the key benefits of Jesmonite’s premium decorative building materials.

A big hand for the BJS team

Posted on: February 22nd, 2017 by TellingStories

As part of our commitment to build and nurture a strong brand culture for BJS Home Delivery (on the inside as well as out), we’ve helped the team to create their inaugural Stars of 2016 awards ceremony.

Trophies were handed out in recognition of the tireless effort and dedication provided by the delivery, customer service and warehouse teams – who overcome demanding operational and service-led challenges week in, week out.

Congratulations to the winners and the whole team.

Adopting a new way of working

Posted on: February 16th, 2017 by TellingStories

And it really isn’t because we have nothing more to say or share, there’s been plenty going on in the world which deserves our two-penneth. We’ve simply been struggling to make the time.

Those of you who know myself and Faye will be aware that we’ve enjoyed and endured a roller coaster period in our personal lives.

Nearly two years ago we began the adoption process – which we soon discovered was a thoroughly intimidating and often painful journey coupled with profound lows and incredible highs.

What I’m about to say will feel very negative, but there is a happy ending so please bear with me.

Imagine being handed a checklist of the things you do and don’t want in a child?

The difficulty/guilt of making decisions based upon physical, mental or socially challenging issues was something we were not readily prepared for. Parents who conceive naturally don’t get to choose whether they’d like a boy or a girl, nevermind the myriad of other options which were presented to us.

This is just scratching the surface.

We attended numerous training days and workshops. Spent many hours completing paperwork. Our whole life stories were put under a microscope. The worst bit? Being subjected to several adoption panel assessments where the great and the good decided our fate. These felt like an interrogation in Room 101. Or worse, people playing God.

The process was exhausting, and for many good reasons I suppose it should be.

The detailed training, questioning and soul-searching all fell into place and our lives changed forever. One whirlwind year later, we were placed with a strong and sassy little girl who was far better prepared for her new life than myself and Faye ever were… She’s perfect. I’m welling up.

And so during the majority of 2016, such a horrid year for many – myself and Faye have been undertaking our toughest but most rewarding project to date – getting to know and love our new Daughter.

It all feels really normal now. So every now and then we need to remind ourselves of how we got here, because in many respects we are now a perfectly ordinary family. Albeit, a family who has been on an extraordinary journey.

So despite our hiatus we’re still Telling Stories – and in a few years, we may even be adding another family member to the Telling Stories team.

_____

Written by David Thompson

 

Perception ± reality = brand

Posted on: February 16th, 2017 by TellingStories

Rupert Murdoch (we’re not fans of his, but…) pinpointed the power of personality when he said “For better or for worse, our company is a reflection of my thinking, my character, my values.”

Paul Rand simply said “Perception is reality, reality is not reality, it’s only what people think.”

I love the work and graphic impact of Paul Rand – along with the witty way in which he really distilled big ideas down to their most simple, effective and iconic form. I don’t agree with his sentiment that perception is reality though. I mean, it is… but only up to a point. Branding for us is like an equation – perception, plus or minus reality.

Businesses spend time, effort and money to create a positive and perhaps unique idea of who they are. In our work as brand designers, we thrive on creating stories that audiences can feel curious about, enthralled even… but it is always based upon the truth, and here’s why.

A compelling brand will entice customers into experiencing reality, perhaps by walking into a store, talking to a real human, purchasing a product and then enjoying (or not enjoying) said product.

It is at this point in the equation that a customer can decide whether their perception has been enhanced or diminished by the real-world experience of a product or service. In essence, a strong but misleading brand can potentailly accelarate the demise of a company whose offering does not live up to the hype.

The act of branding is an evolving, fluid and never-ending pursuit to find and defend a distinct and hopefully truthful position in the marketplace, which is difficult to distill down into a pithy observation.

So if you’re still trying to get to grips with this thing called branding (and who could blame you) – here’s several more vox pops on the subject:  What is your definition of what branding is

_____

Written by David Thompson

 

A failure to communicate

Posted on: February 1st, 2017 by TellingStories

The ability to hastily put our two-penneth out into the ether for all and sundry to enjoy, ignore or recoil from is exhilarating and instantly gratifying for many of us who, until recently – hadn’t previously been afforded the luxury of such an immediate and powerful outlet.

As a species, our ability to adapt to the changing world around us is arguably our most important evolutionary trait. Humans have not been designed to travel at 70mph, and yet (for the most part) millions of us do this on a daily basis. An ability which has been developed over mere decades.

Like the invention of the automobile which was (and still is) a monumental but perilous stage of our industrial progress – we shouldn’t be suprised by the hazards associated with our ability to quickly and anonymously communicate en-mass through the vehicle of social media.

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

_____

Written by David Thompson

 

An eye-opener… Ways of seeing by John Berger

Posted on: January 16th, 2017 by TellingStories

Early last year two great storytellers, Bowie and Eco, passed away. Now, early in 2017, we have also lost John Berger – not only a great storyteller, but also a phenomenal theorist and critic of storytelling in all its forms.

Many of us who studied Art & Design have read his renowned book of critical reflection on the visual world – helping us form a stronger understanding of how, as practitioners, we shape the ‘media experience’.

John Berger helped us all to see more clearly.

Enjoy the sprouts

Posted on: December 16th, 2016 by TellingStories

2016 has been a mixed bag to say the least – a funny old year, a real roller coaster of ups and downs where it feels like the whole world doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going… It’s been exhausting.

So let’s have a laugh, take some time to unwind and drink in those precious moments with family and friends – oh, and enjoy the sprouts.

An innovative thread for Dent

Posted on: November 4th, 2016 by TellingStories

Dent manufacture innovative sensors which check thousands upon thousands of miles of thread running through colossal textile machines – all to ensure production doesn’t get tied up in knots.

To highlight Dent’s thoughtful and technologically progressive approach – we recently launched their ‘sense of innovation’ campaign at the world-renowned ITMA Asia expo in Shanghai. You can view our full case study here.

A good old fashioned experience for Kirkpatrick

Posted on: October 1st, 2016 by TellingStories

We’ve produced a 100 page product guide to support and promote the customer-focused rebrand, intuitive website and ongoing transformation of our long-term collaborators at Kirkpatrick.

Although many people prefer to view online,  there’s plenty of us who still prefer the good old fashioned experience of ethically sourced, beautiful print. If you feel the same, why not request your own copy?

The CBM – a cast-iron support network

Posted on: September 29th, 2016 by TellingStories

The Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM) are the only UK-based specialist manufacturers’ organisation for people who work with metal.

We worked closely with the CBM team to let Forgers, Fasteners, Press workers, Cold rollers and Sheet Metal workers know why they should join up, connect with their peers and benefit from the CBM’s cast-iron support network.

View the case study here or put your steel toe caps on and take a look at their site.

Crafted by Ciarán

Posted on: August 29th, 2016 by TellingStories

Ciarán Ó Braonáin is a highly skilled woodworker who hand-crafts bespoke furniture and specialist gun box commissions, as well as teaching woodwork courses from his workshop near Delamere Forest, Cheshire.

He thought it was about time his brand met the high standards of his furniture – so we’ve sanded the rough edges to create an identity which clearly defines his position as one of the foremost furniture craftsmen in England. See for yourself by visiting the website here.

An uncommon thread

Posted on: July 29th, 2016 by TellingStories

Recently, long-time collaborator Mark Howe visited us to shoot our 2016 Dent Sensors campaign. Dent think-up, create and make bespoke sensing devices to ensure vast textile machines do exactly what they’re supposed to do.

If you’re familiar with our approach, you’ll know that our work often employs a ‘thread’ (idea) which runs through everything we do but in this case, Alice’s idea employs an actual thread which playfully interacts with a series of quirky illustrations – which we’ll be showing-off very soon.

Ali… all greatest things must come to an end

Posted on: June 29th, 2016 by TellingStories

The impact of Muhammad Ali’s words were far greater than his massive fists.

Dulwich Cranbrook

Posted on: June 19th, 2016 by TellingStories

KAWS for thought at YSP

Posted on: May 29th, 2016 by TellingStories

We’ve been making the most of the nice weather and popped across the Pennines to visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park as they are currently exhibitiing an incredibly broad range of work by the renowned American artisit KAWS.

If you’ve not been, the YSP is a truly inspiring place to visit time and again, come rain or shine – and if you’d like to see the KAWS work inparticular, his impressive open-air sculptures will be exhibited for the whole of 2016.

Fox & Barrel

Posted on: May 17th, 2016 by TellingStories

BJS Haulage

Posted on: April 16th, 2016 by TellingStories

From Bishop’s Castle to Milan (via a rebrand)

Posted on: April 5th, 2016 by TellingStories

When we first met Jesmonite, the team fully understood the creative potential of their product. However, their brand needed to work much harder to promote this highly specialised material – not least because of their remote Shropshire location.

Since the rebrand, Jesmonite has made it all the way into the top ten trends at Milan Design Week and attracted coverage from a wide range of both design and business related publications… so we’re having a gelato to celebrate!

AskMarc

Posted on: March 29th, 2016 by TellingStories

It’s time to Look at Cheshire

Posted on: March 26th, 2016 by TellingStories

Cheshire is a wonderful place to work and live, but it’s also one of the UK’s best kept secrets. So Marketing Cheshire asked us to produce a short film to highlight the best bits – whilst being careful to avoid the pit-falls of the often misguided Cheshire-set stereotype.

With the help of Daylight Moving Image we created a narrative and tone-of-voice which really shows-off the good stuff, without actually showing-off at all… Take a Look at Cheshire here.

 

The imitation game | Loser part II

Posted on: February 23rd, 2016 by TellingStories

I wrote about our experience of losing a credentials pitch several months ago in this very section (have a read if you’ve got the time), and the disappointment of putting so much effort into a client that we knew we could make a big difference for, but in the end it wasn’t to be.

Little did I anticipate that the feeling of disappointment would turn to a feeling of injustice though, now that the brand project we missed out on has recently been launched… and ouch, it’s like a poke in the eye.

I know what you’re thinking, this is just another rant from a sore loser, and it is… a rant I mean, but not necessarily from a sore loser. In a way we are winners here; we ended up contributing to the resultant project anyway, without lifting a finger.

That would be an impressive feat if it wasn’t for the fact that said client and the ‘winning’ agency took a large dose of inspiration from a previously launched brand project we had talked them through (as part of our credentials pitch).

Because this is what we do in a creds pitches – we get a handle on a business’s problem and demonstrate how we’ve solved similar-ish problems in order to convince the client of our ability to take on the challenge.

The prospective client was impressed, “I like that” he exclaimed as we showed him the idea and how it worked to communicate a difficult technological solution in a very simple and engaging way (making difficult things look simple is usually very difficult).

He must have liked it an awful lot, because now he’s using it!

Or a big part of it anyway. But actually he’s not using it, he didn’t get it at all. It’s a graphic style that has some relevance to his business, but it isn’t telling their customers anything, it’s not highlighting their strengths, it’s not showing-off their skills, or services, or intelligence, or determination… it’s just there, existing for it’s own sake… blandly, and obviously – a watered down version.

So it’s a very poor interpretation of our original idea, and that’s almost more annoying than being ripped-off. As Pablo suggested, if you’re going to steal – at least do a great job of it.

But what about the designers who ‘created’ the work? I haven’t mentioned them yet, why am I pushing my ire on to the client and letting the designers off the hook?

Well, I know that the client has seen our work, but I don’t know for sure that the designers have – so maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt. There are many ways in which similar work can be created, I’m sure we ourselves have unwittingly created work that has a similar idea to something created before. Like Umberto said,“every story tells a story that has already been told”.

Maybe the client suggested the idea without even realising that they had seen it somewhere before, we all do it I suppose.

Perhaps the designers were struggling with a very difficult brief (it was very difficult) and were happy/relieved for the input from the client when it arrived.

This stuff happens in our world. It’s not worth calling our solicitors about, it’s not worth worrying our own clients about, and it’s certainly not worth picking up the phone to the designers either… I guess that they’ll not be feeling much pride about their/our achievements anyway.

I also imagine that in the near future they’ll be rethinking their solution, because it won’t help them solve their problem… If they even know what their problem is.

That was a proper rant actually – I feel better now, thanks.

_____

Written by David Thompson

 

Great storytellers live forever

Posted on: February 23rd, 2016 by TellingStories

Umberto Eco’s work spanned all four corners of literature, creating seminal works in academic texts, fictional novels and children’s books. David Bowie was a musician, actor and cultural icon who created and celebrated difference in everything he did.

They were from different worlds and appealed to different audiences but both were prolific storytellers, and their influence will continue to echo through time as we continue to enjoy their enthralling stories for many years to come.

Jolliffes

Posted on: February 2nd, 2016 by TellingStories

Flood

Posted on: January 25th, 2016 by TellingStories

Turning the spotlight on Bee Lighting

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by TellingStories

The bright sparks at Bee create and make pioneering exterior and interior lighting for some of the most renowned vehicle manufacturers across the globe – including Lamborghini, Bentley and McLaren to name but a few.

We’ve helped Bee to strategically reposition their business, creating a clearer brand story which not only celebrates the sublime finished products – but also the achievements of their unique people who make it all happen.

Take a look at our case study here.