The Curse of Premium-Mediocre by Abigail Bowen

We loved this description when it came to us a couple of weeks ago via David Walsh in The Sunday Times. In a world that has 'gourmet' sandwiches, 'premium' vacuum cleaners, 'signature' burgers and even 'finest' sausages, what happens when you truely do have the best product or service on the market?

Bayview in Villefranche sur Mer

Bayview in Villefranche sur Mer

ONE Authentic Properties own and manage a range of James Bond worthy chalets, villas and apartments across France. Boasting cinema rooms, chefs, private jets and spa facilities, these architectural wonders are frequented by A-list celebs, Oligarchs and Royalty. Marketing at this level has to be understated and discreet, not to mention beautiful. We created handmade portfolios using embossed leather and produced stationery that was embossed in gold. Professional photography from Marc Berenguer spoke volumes in any language and the overall effect meant exaggerated Hyperbole was not required.


Delicious, Devilish Deals by Abigail Bowen

American Express. Brighton's biggest employer and dream client for the city's 24,753* design agencies and freelancers. Sometimes it can take years of hassling just to get noticed. Then even longer to pick up a real, bonafide job. This project was for the internal communications team to promote the exclusive offers that were available to all Amex staff. In a visually 'noisy' enviroment where every available wall is covered with brand messages, signage, team signifiers and current consumer campaigns a simple solution was required. Pick a nice picture from premium stock and add a simple strapline. Oh, and make people smile.

That'll do nicely.

*We made this up. It's probably more.

Barking up the right tree by Abigail Bowen

Pitching. It's one of the worst things about being a designer. You may have all seen that video doing the rounds when a customer asks a variety of highstreet professionals, a gym instructor and a restaurant to give their services for free with a promise of future work if he 'likes' it. It pretty much sums it up. But the reality is we are our own worst enemy and clients will always take free creative work if you hand it to them on a plate. Or in one case, we were told that the winning agency gave out 'nice leather folders' - sadly, I'm not kidding.

At Blank we have pitched, all agencies have. But we do have strict criteria around budgets, potential future value and the number of other agencies involved. And, so far, using this very-unscientific method the odds have been in our favour.

One of our biggest pitch achievements, years ago, was for the photo library, Imagestate. Our little team-of-two beat agencies from London and New York to win this very cool account that placed our adverts in front of the world's creative community. So in this instance the pitch was clearly worth it - and definately didn't fit in with our self-imposed 'rule book'.

So, what's your view on pitching? When has it really paid off? Would be great to hear from both designers and clients.

(Imagestate were eventually bought out by Getty Images.)