Monday, 9 January 2017

Hairstyle Pasta Packaging

A good friend sent this brilliant conceptual design for pasta packaging back in March 2016, when it was featured on the contemporist. It has since gone viral, appearing on a number of respected design blogs. I just love how this fun concept uses the different pasta to signify individual hair styles. Designed by Nikita Konkin.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

50 + Designers, Agencies, Books, Websites, Blogs and Conferences!

At the end of 2016, as I draw closer to my final week with CTTC Design, I had been handing over as much information as I could to my then design team, to which I extend you all on this list now. I know that many have often laughed at me being such a design groupie… I promise that it comes from my love of what I do! To this end, before I left, I had decided to note down a few of the things that have helped to bring great joy, learning and passion to my design life over the years, and now wondered if you would also be interested to see what I had written. 

Its really a “for what it’s worth” list of designers, books, websites and blogs. I do hope that it is of some interest to you, and also that it maybe even helps to bring some creative passion and inspiration to your lives… I also don’t mind if it’s banished to the 'read later' part of your blog readers - you know the one I mean... AKA the bin ;-).

Below is what I had sent to the team at CTTC Design, a couple of days before leaving the business...


Hello team,

So as we all prepare to go forth and conquer in our new design challenges, I hope that the list below will be of some help and will inject energy into all of your creative passion buckets!

As with our supply base of printers and manufacturers, this list of designers, design books, agencies, and blogs has taken my career thus far, to get to know and love. In your creative journey you will also come across your own personal stimuli and I always get a great deal from sharing a good book or a website, where Ive seen an inspirational article or presentation. Please continue to build on this list and let me know! I am always hungry to learn...

This is a very small list. Believe me I could go on, just ask the design team, but I feel that this is a good place to start building your knowledge of design.

I hope that this list will also help you grow and build your passion for great design and designers. Its one of my deep loves and I hope that you get out of it what I do! Don’t forget, everything around us, everything we use, is at some point been designed… Keep asking why and looking in the opposite direction to everyone else. 

Do what you love and love what you do. Enjoy!


Design Books… Books, books glorious books!!!
I read a lot of design books. It really helps to get a good grip of the pioneers of design and to learn some of their principles. I often get asked about which fonts to use or how to get inspiration. Many of these book will help you get a good understanding of this and so much more. There are far too many books to list, so I have featured below some of my favourites. Let me know if you get through these and I will give you more!

Important design books:
Thoughts on Design By Paul Rand - The best book ever written on design!!!
Michael Bierut 79 short essays on design
Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Muller-Brockmann (A must read!)
The Vignelli Cannon by Massimo Vignelli (You will never need to ever ask again, "which font do I use!”)
How to be a graphic designer without loosing your soul by Adrian Shaughnessy
A Designers Art by Paul Rand
A smile in the mind by Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart
The art of looking sideways by Alan Fletcher (A must read!)
Beware wet Paint by Alan Fletcher
100 Ideas that changes design by Steven Heller
Damn Good Advice For People With Talent by George Lois
Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
Symbol by Steven Bateman and Angus Hyland
Design Your Life by Vince Frost
The Design Method by Eric Karjaluoto
Creativity Inc - Ed Catmull (Amazing - a must read!)
Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegarty
Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design
Steve Jobs By Walter Isaacson
Design To Grow By David Butler - Just read this and it’s an eye opener for any package designer
… Let me know if you want more, believe me I can go on… and on etc!

Design Agencies to know and reference often
JKR (Jones Knowles Richie)
Design Bridge
Why Not Associates
Form Design
Frost Design
Big Fish
Brand on Shelf
Brand Opus
Brand Union
Coley Porter Bell
Dragon Rouge
Homes & Marchant
R Design
Stranger & Stranger
Turner Duckworth
Research Studios

Design / Brand & Packaging Blogs
The Dileine
Band New
David Airey
Design Observer by Michael Bierut
Packaging of the World
Lovely Package
Aisle One
AceJet 170
Daniel Gray
Creative Review
Design Work Life
Graphic Journey
Ideas on Ideas by Eric Karjaluoto
Noisy Decent Graphics
Russell Davies
Design Intellect - This is a great website, where you can continue to reference links to the top 50, global branding and packaging design studios. The website is also ran by my old mate Matt, so it’s also great to support him… Originally, I don’t even realise that it was his site!!!
#Note any blog by David Airey (he has 3) or Eric Karjaluoto is worth a read!

Designers to know:
Paul Rand
Saul Bass
Michael Bierut
Paula Scher (she truly is amazing)
Massimo Vignelli
Neville Brody
David Carson (Check out his TED talk… It will blow your mind!))
Alan Fletcher
Margaret Calvert (obe)
Sir John Hegarty
Michael Wolff (One of the nicest and most inspiring men I have ever had the pleasure to meet)
Dan Wieden
Lindon Leader

The Design Indaba - Cape Town, South Africa - (Worlds best design conference)
100% Design - Began in London UK but also in Johannesburg SA now.
Cosmosprof - Bologna, Italy
Mason & Objet - Paris, France
Brand New Conference - under consideration - USA
The Dieline - Conference - USA
The Global Leadership Summit - USA
New Designers - UK


I hope you get a lot out of this and enjoy the industry as much as I do!!!

Love and design, Todd

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

My last day at CTTC Design!

I am sure that many of you already know that today is my last day with CTTC Design, before beginning an exciting new role in 2017, (more on this soon).

When I left the UK for South Africa back in 2009, my brief was to help grow a fully operational design studio. It has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears and I have loved every single second of it! I am so proud that today, not only have we achieved our objective, but I strongly believe that we have a world class design team with some of Cape Towns best packaging experts and many incredible business partners!

After eight years of playing a role in the company’s incredible growth and six unforgettable years prior to that, at our UK partner 'Somerset Creative’, I am so honoured to have been part of this incredible journey and wanted to thank each and everyone of you, who has touched my life throughout this time!

Thank you!

Love and design... Do what you love and love what you do… Stay hungry and stay foolish...


Below is an abbreviated version of a speech that I gave at my leaving party:

I want to start by thanking everyone in the business. Some of us have been on this journey for a while now and others have recently joined. It’s a great business and this has been the longest position that I have ever held… There’s a reason for that.
Over the years we’ve become quite a family and that’s what I really want to speak about toady. Family....

I can still remember our first offices in Black River Park, just four of us. We would probably still be there now if it wasn’t for me covering the front of the offices with spray paint, whilst rushing to get mock-ups made for a presentation.

Well in some ways, we have moved on massively. We have large offices now and a warehouse. We have a strong team of many people, all professionals in our chosen fields. Which is good as none of us were that professional in the beginning. We should all remember, that each and every one of us here brings something unique to this organization. All of us! ALL OF US!

In other ways we are the same as we were back in those early days. I am still outside spraying boxes with paint and every now and then I get one of my Eureka moments. We still have our reassuring hugs from time to time and Tim (CEO) and I continue to make our maverick calls, reaching for the next big thing… and I’ve loved every minute of it. I am going to miss all of you greatly.

So, why leave your family? It’s a good question right! Why… And just for the record, we should all keep asking ourselves why. Always ask why!

Well for me, it’s because you need to keep moving… You need to keep pushing yourself forward. If it’s feeling too comfortable then maybe it’s time for you to push yourself harder. I am going to tell you one thing for sure. If you stay in comfort you will not grow. You will not succeed and you will not have a full life. We all have the ability to achieve. We should all give ourselves the opportunity to fail and to remember that it’s not failing… but its growth. Renowned designer Paula Scher says, you have to get bad, before you get good!

Furthermore, If you get too comfortable, you will get complacent and when you get complacent, your no longer moving forward. Make sure that every morning when you wake up, that you have a purpose to get up for, and go and be great at it! Never make it just about the money. Money is the lifeblood of every business, but it is not the reason or the purpose that we do it for. The reason needs to be bigger. It needs to be your passion and your purpose. If you have passion, the money usually follows anyway!

I recently listened to a presentation by John Maxwell. He simply says, EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE, THAT IS WORTHWHILE, IS UPHILL… Your relationship.. uphill… fitness… that’s uphill… and success, that’s also uphill.

So I say again, "Why leave your family"… Well I had to actually leave my blood family to come to South Africa and it wasn’t easy… Still isn’t now! I am not alone in this. Others here have done the same. We do it to push ourselves forward and if our family loves us then they will support us. And just look at the journey I have had. I now have a new family, or should I say families. Since moving here I now have a son, born in South Africa and I have all of you here today! If I hadn’t of got on that plane back in 2009, I would of never met any of you… Can you imagine that?

Never miss an opportunity and banish regret. Remember it’s better to regret the things that you have done than to regret the things that you have not done!

So this is why I am leaving you now… my business family…

It’s growth… purpose and I hope that you all understand my reasoning.

Most importantly… Remember:

Never be too big to make someone a cup of coffee.

Work your arse off and don’t be an arsehole!

Don’t shit on someone on the way up as they will do the same to you, when you are on the way down…

... and as my mum used to always say to me, its nice to be important but it’s a lot more important to be nice!

I really believe in all of those things.

So I want to wrap up with five simple words. I want to give them to you and I want you to think about them from time to time. When Steve Jobs spoke these five words, they resonated with me and have kept me on track. They are simply…

Stay hungry and stay foolish!

And that is all I want for each of us here today…

Stay hungry and stay foolish!


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Taco Bell Logo Refresh

Many years ago, I travelled across the USA. It was an incredible experience that I will always cherish. Business has kept me traveling back and I have since designed branding and packaging for some of the countries largest retailers. One of my memories of my time traveling the US was the bright branding used by the many of fast food companies. Competition in the US was so much greater than that of the UK, where at the time I had travelled from. Now living in Cape Town many of the chains are starting to appear here. We recently saw the arrival of Dunk'in Donuts. I am not necessarily, someone that frequents fast food establishments, but the branding is of interest to me. I love how some are stooped in the history of 1950's America. I also love how they have subtly changed over the years. To read through some of my older posts, there are stories on the evolution of Burger King and Ihop.

Taco Bell is another of the brands that I did not got to see, growing up in the UK. Back in 2002, when I travelled extensively throughout so many of the countries states, Taco Bell, the brand and the concept was very new to me! In particular in LA, I was amazed by the rich Mexican food culture! The company was established in 1962 in California. Full company history here!

I can still distinctly remember seeing a blast from the past in the old brown and yellow, 1985 Taco Bell logo, still being used back in 2002. Reading through the design press, I was interested to see that Taco Bell was going through a subtle rebranding. One area of change that I really like is the new fonts used on the word-mark. See below for more news on this:

Brown and yellow Taco Bell Logo 1985-1994

Before and after - Left: How I remember the logo from my trip across US in 2002. Right: The 2016 redesign.

Below - From the Taco Bell company website, discussing new re brand.

Brand Evolution – 25 Years in the Making
While Taco Bell restaurants have seen continuous evolution, the logo has remained unchanged. In fact, the previous logo made its debut back in 1995.

In what the brand terms an “evolution, not revolution,” the new logo mirrors the new restaurant strategy: one size doesn’t fit all. In this modern take, color makes a splash and allows customization through patterns and textures, giving usage flexibility while maintaining its iconic framework.

Digital rollout of the logo refresh takes place today, while physical assets like restaurant design, packaging and impacted retail partners will roll out more gradually, depending on development and refresh timelines.

The refreshed logo was created is partnership with the leading creative consultancy Lippincott and Taco Bell’s internal design group, TBD.

Unveils Flagship Restaurant in Las Vegas, New Logo, and the Taco Bell Experience of the Future

Irvine, Calif. (November 14, 2016) – Taco Bell makes its debut on the Las Vegas Strip today, becoming the brand’s 7,000th restaurant and first flagship destination.

Alongside its opening, Taco Bell revealed its first logo refresh in over 20 years and follows the recent unveiling of new restaurant design concepts. These latest developments represent the brand’s evolution and growth plan to become a $15 billion brand by 2022 while adding 2,000 new restaurants globally and 100,000 new jobs in the U.S.

“If you’re going to throw a party to celebrate the growth and evolution of your brand, there’s no better place to hold it than Las Vegas,” said Taco Bell CMO, Marisa Thalberg. “This flagship restaurant is our ultimate expression of the Taco Bell brand, and lifestyle."

A Flagship Experience
Las Vegas becomes the fourth Taco Bell Cantina restaurant to open, following Wicker Park Chicago, SOMA San Francisco and Austin, and the first of its kind to offer 24-hour service. The flagship restaurant is centrally-located on the Las Vegas Strip on Harmon Corner, directly across from CityCenter and The Cosmopolitan Hotel.

The restaurant will offer a dining atmosphere fit for the lifestyle of the Vegas Strip, inclusive of experiences unique to Taco Bell Cantinas:

• Retail: The Taco Bell retail experience is the latest example of how the brand looks to create new cultural ground. For the first time, customers can now purchase exclusive Taco Bell merchandise and memorabilia in the restaurant. Selections include limited edition Las Vegas branded retail and newly designed brand merchandise, ranging from hats, shirts and bags to bikinis, rings and sweatshirts. Select branded merchandise will also be available online in Taco Bell’s Taco Shop.
• Freeze Wall: Eight Freeze drink taps line the back wall. Equipped with eight base flavors (Margarita, Cola, Pina Colada, Lemonade, Orange, Baja Blast, Cherry and Blue Raspberry), customers can add alcohol (Tequila, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey and Spiced Rum) and additional flavors for customized concoctions. Both Freezes and Twisted Freezes (those including alcohol) will be served in 16 or 32oz. souvenir cups.
• Technology: The flagship restaurant will feature digital menu boards and digital ques to monitor your order process, in addition to portable ordering tablets to reduce wait times. The 16 screens lining the interior wall will feature entertainment, live-stream video, sports and social media conversation.
• Transparency: An open kitchen design and food served in open-faced baskets gives customers a look inside Taco Bell’s quality ingredients.
• Shareables: Cantina restaurants feature a tapas-style menu of shareable appetizers – including nachos, quesadillas and chicken fingers, in addition to the full craveable and affordable Taco Bell Menu.
• Vegas Touches: Dedicated space for DJ entertainment, Wall of Taps, outdoor misters and heaters, community style seating, VIP lounges and unique custom artwork will also be featured. The two story building is faced with a wall of glass, an upstairs mezzanine and lounge overlooking the action and an outdoor patio right in the middle of it all on Harmon Corner and the Vegas Strip.


You can read original article from Taco Bell Site by clicking here.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Brand Masters Re-brand!

World renown branding agency Interbrand, have redesigned their famous word-mark, in-house. Moving the design into a clean but simple use of Helvetica, this supports their new look website. You can read more about interbrand below and can visit the site by clicking here.

More here:
Matthijs van Leeuwen project page
Johnny Trinh (website) project page

About Interbrand (from their website)
At Interbrand, we believe that growth is achieved when an organization has a clear strategy and delivers exceptional customer experiences. We do both, through a combination of strategy, creativity, and technology that helps drive growth for our clients’ brands and businesses. With a network of 24 offices in 19 countries, Interbrand is a global brand agency, and publisher of the highly influential annual Best Global Brands and Breakthrough Brands reports, and Webby Award-winning brandchannel. Interbrand is part of the Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC) network of agencies.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

World Aids Day - Designing to End HIV

On world AIDS day, I thought that it would be a good oportunity to give a huge shout-out to the amazing work that Vince Frost and studio Frost Collective are doing with ACON, to end HIV by 2020 in Australia. I love big ideas and they don't come much bigger than this. Please support the fantastic work that they are doing. Click here to read more at the Frost Collective Website. More here!

Image: Frost Collective

Image: Frost Collective

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

37 Great New Designers from Adobe Design Achievement Awards 2016

For the past five years I have had the great pleasure of being selected as a mentor for the ico-D and Adobe design Achievement Awards. This year however, I had the added bonus of also being chosen as a pre selection judge! I really enjoy what the awards stand for and it always feels so good to be able to support young design talent!

Below are some of the fantastic young/student designers that I discovered, whilst judging the awards. There's some amazing talent here! If your hiring new creatives I would certainly urge you to view some of these talented young design stars of tomorrow and please support the ADAA!