Can the sea make you happier?

Take a moment to look at the photos below and see how they make you feel.

We all know that being around green spaces can have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing, but a recent study has found that living by the coast can be even better for you.

The study by the University of Exeter as part of the ‘BlueHealth’ research project examined the relationship between ‘blue spaces’– like green spaces but with the sea – and mental health and wellbeing.

The study surveyed nearly 26,000 people to analyse the wellbeing effects of being near the coast. It found those living less than 1km from the coast are 22% less likely to have symptoms of a mental health disorder, compared to those who live more than 50km away.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to me. I remember the feeling I used to get when I’d fly back to Jersey to visit whilst living in London. When the plane was coming into land, something would shift. I felt lighter and generally more relaxed. I’m not sure if it’s the sight of the ocean or the sound of the waves crashing, but I can definitely say that living by the coast makes me happy.

Of course, not everyone can live by the sea. As part of the BlueHealth project, researchers are looking into how they can apply virtual reality technology so those who are unable to access blue spaces – whether it’s those who are in cities, elderly people in care homes or those in hospital – can still benefit from them.

The team at University of Exeter have created a series of 360 videos which feature the Cornish coast and allow users to experience high definition ‘real life’ blue spaces – some being more relaxing and others more stimulating.

Commenting on the BlueHealth research, Dr. Mathew White, environmental psychologist at the University of Exeter said “this kind of research into blue health is vital to convincing governments to protect, create and encourage the use of coastal spaces. We need to help policy makers understand how to maximise the wellbeing benefits of ‘blue’ spaces in towns and cities and ensure that access is fair and inclusive for everyone, while not damaging our fragile coastal environments.”

You can find out more about the project here

Nadine Jagger

Art & Craft (Beer)

Art & Craft (Beer)

Although lockdown means we can’t meet up down the pub, we can still appreciate the art & craft of beer. I remember the first time I noticed a shelf of craft beers in my local off-license and thinking wow; firstly at the designs and then at some of the prices! But, let’s concentrate on the labels for this post. As a graphic designer that’s what really matters to me. I know I’ll spend more for great packaging – that’s just who I am.

Seeing craft beers on the shelf next to the usual big beer brands is like will.i.am sitting next to Tom Jones on The Voice. Ironically, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a young hipster swigging a can titled ‘What’s New Pussycat?’  The beers come in all shapes, styles and sizes but have one thing in common – the artwork on each label is usually extraordinary with cutting-edge design dripping with modern aesthetic. The beer writer and consultant Matthew Curtis says, ‘Craft brewers needed an updated image to match the modern flavours in their beers. Breaking with traditional brewing imagery was essential.’

I’d like to share my top five freshest, eye-catching beer labels from designers, illustrators and agencies. In reverse order:

5. Beavertown

These cans perhaps stand out the most with their vibrant illustrative style and matte-finish by their in-house Creative Director, Nick Dwyer. When asked about the skeletons which feature on most cans Nick said, ‘They’re ageless, genderless, sexless, and raceless. We’re being 100 per cent inclusive!’ He’s joking, but it is true.

4. Northern Monk

What’s really great about Northern Monk is the patron’s project which is an initiative set up to celebrate creativity and community between artists, athletes and creatives across the North of England. The labels peel back to reveal images and information about the patron and they never disappoint. Check their stuff out at https://northernmonk.com

3. Printer’s Ale

Traditional styling with a story to back it up is always great to see. This brewery opened in Germany over 200 years ago and they have a full suite of colours/beers including Cyan IPA (pictured), Magenta Amber Ale, Yellow Golden Ale and a Black Porter. Rather satisfying for a designer.

2. Magic Rock Brewing

A real favourite of mine are these colourful, understated but recognisable character based designs by Richard Norgate, Magic Rock’s designer. They’re unlike anything else on the market. You feel bad throwing them away but if you keep empty cans around your flat people do start to question why!

1. Hopfully Brewing Co.

“We love art in general, from graffiti to culinary, that’s why we have decided to combine craft beer with emerging artists. Brewing is an art and we try to be the most artistic we can be, from our branding to our recipes. Art is creativity, innovation, and this is our daily life,” says co-founder, Vilson de Mello. I feel that quote nicely sums up the thinking behind craft beer branding and it’s great for designers and the arts in general.

Take a break. Take a Nano break.

Take a break. Take a Nano break.

Creative and mental exercises are as important as keeping yourself physically active at home. Creativity can reduce stress, stimulate the mind, enhance problem-solving or is a fun way to get rid of boredom when you can’t change your scenery. 

Creative exercises don’t have to be complicated or result in super artistic output but great if they do. Some like to doodle, take pictures, paint, colour, do crafts, write poetry.  The most important part is that you enjoy it and it makes you happy.

Arbee’s creative exercise of choice is playing with nanoblocks. Here’s a 20 second video she’s made about her latest nano break.

It was edited with Adobe Rush mobile app.

Feeling inspired? We recommend this tutorial by Animoto if you want to try creating your own stop motion video. 

The Impossible Image | Richard Mosse

The Impossible Image | Richard Mosse

Richard Mosse’s film and photographs document the ongoing humanitarian disaster in the Democratic Republic of Congo in which 5.4 million people have died since 1998.

Mosse uses a discontinued military film that renders all the greenery in a landscape in vivid hues of pink. The striking hot pink landscapes are at odds with the subject, drawing the viewer in and shedding new light on this largely overlooked humanitarian disaster. From a creative perspective, his work is a reminder that a simple devise (like colour change) can make people sit up and pay attention. His works challenge our perception of beauty; by depicting the ugly conflict in a beautiful, shocking pink, the viewer is left feeling uncomfortable, making them contemplate the subject further.

Source: https://vimeo.com/67115692 – Richard Mosse: The Impossible Image

Don’t Simply “Think Pink” – KOOKIE Magazine

Don’t Simply “Think Pink” – KOOKIE Magazine

Our surroundings hold an enormous impact over our development. Young girls are bombarded by messages in print, social media and on television that portray a certain view of beauty and success.  This view can have a huge impact on their approach to life. For some it can inspire and drive them to succeed.  For many others, it leaves them questioning life and never feeling quite good enough.

KOOKIE Magazine are looking to change this. Started by two mums, KOOKIE is a quarterly magazine for “tweens” that was launched on Kickstarter last year. Rather than presenting the “think pink” attitude of most magazines for tween girls and older, its editorial focus is on expanding the reader’s horizons and encouraging them to succeed. The magazine welcomes contributions from its readers and prints articles they write and photos they take.  KOOKIE is providing a platform for these kids to have a voice on topics they are interested in, projecting a viewpoint beyond the sphere of beauty and celebrity. Nicky Shortridge, one of the founders and co-editors, explained in an interview that KOOKIE is “a magazine for all kinds of girls, by all kinds of girls.”

To reinforce their ethos, KOOKIE carries no advertising.  Being ad free, it relies solely on strong, engaging content being enough to attract a subscription income. It’s a brave approach on the part of founders Nicky Shortridge and Vivien Jones and shows the confidence and belief they have in their product and its message.

I know that this is exactly the type of magazine that I craved when I was young and I’m so pleased to see a magazine hit the shelves that is designed to build a girl’s confidence rather than tear it down. Plus, boys can enjoy it too, as well as adults. KOOKIE is open to everyone. This is a magazine that accepts young people for what they are – individuals with their own opinions who can be incredibly insightful, clever, and creative. It is helping give the younger generation the support, voice, and power they need to be the best they can be.

Lets Talk PANTS

Lets Talk PANTS

As my children grow up and become more independent, they are being exposed to new social situations.  With that comes my responsibility as a parent to teach them what is right and wrong and how to stay safe.  But where do I start?

The ‘Lets Talk PANTS’ campaign from the NSPCC really jumped out at me.  It’s taken a totally different approach in tone and style to help us teach children how to stay safe from abuse and to speak to an adult if they’re upset or worried.

The campaign focuses on five key messages using the anagram P.A.N.T.S:

Privates are private. | Always remember your body belongs to you. | No means no. | Talk about secrets that upset you. | Speak up, someone can help.

This is supported with a comprehensive activity pack for parents to use when talking to their children.  Packed with fun tasks, word searches, games and stickers, it helps children learn without you having to use any scary words.

The whole campaign has been created to give parents a tool to use with their children and to feel confident when talking about difficult topics. Key to the campaign is ‘Pantosaurus’, a dinosaur who promotes the PANTS rule through series of animated videos, games, prime-time TV adverts, activities and guides. The creative execution uses bright and cheerful illustrations and custom fonts which makes the whole campaign feel authentic, engaging and approachable to both adults and children.

Sensual Dining Toys

Sensual Dining Toys

Traditional tableware is usually composed of your regular knife, fork and plate – more if you’re Mr fancy pants, and gourmands are expected to show proper dining etiquette.

This traditional eating ritual has been challenged by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Roxanne Brennen who has created dining toys that trigger the same pleasure centre and release of endorphins as sex.

Ms. Brennen’s tableware is a series of irregularly shaped vessels, plates and utensils (with various textures) that allows diners to interact with food and flavours in a unique way. To the designer, this tableware redefines eating as sensual activity rather than a necessity. It also deliberately slows down the process of eating, which builds anticipation and intensifies enjoyment. This is comparable to eating a delicacy in its natural vessel, such as slurping oysters in the shell or plucking grapes from the vine with your lips, adding an aphrodisiac experience to eating.

Innovations such as the dining toys are very refreshing in the sense that simple objects, easily taken for granted by most, can still be reimagined and redesigned to elicit a different response, produce something better or something completely different from its original form. This shows how design can be a powerful tool that can shape perspectives, change behaviours or make the simplest of activities even more satisfying.

Sick Isn’t Weak

Sick Isn’t Weak

At ORCHID one of our core values is good.  We are passionate about working with brands that do good and make us feel good.  With a growing portfolio of not-for-profit clients, we track global charitable campaigns with interest as non-profit marketing rapidly matures. It’s an extremely crowded marketplace to stand out in.  This campaign from SickKids is possibly the most powerful cause related marketing we have ever seen.  SickKids, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, is Canada’s largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health in the country.

Their brand proposition is simple – they are fighting a battle against disease.  A battle that began in 1875.  Their campaigns are beautifully scripted, crafted and produced.  Heart-breaking and inspiring in one.  Battle analogies wash through the voiceover and visuals, providing sustained impact and drama.  The video style is brave; the tone emphatic.  Their current campaign invites you to join their battle to shatter the limits of boundaries and help them move from defence to offence in their desire to build a new hospital.  It will be their new battleground to keep waging war in order to save lives.  I don’t even live in Canada and I donated!

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Images and videos courtesy of www.sickkidsfoundation.com

Sh*tholes Fight Back

Sh*tholes Fight Back

In January, President Trump announced that immigrants from Norway would be preferable over immigrants from “sh*thole” countries like Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations.  According to The New York Times, when Trump heard that Haitians were among those who would benefit from the proposed immigration deal, he dismissed the idea and asked: “Why do we want people from Haiti here?”

Instead of hiding in a corner, licking their wounds, some residents of said “sh*tholes” grabbed the opportunity with both hands.  Fabien Dodard, a Haitian-born creative director, has launched a “shithole”-themed ad campaign for his Island home.  His creative embraces the President’s remarks and features images of Haiti’s landscape (“A majestic shithole awaits”) and beaches (“Our sh*thole beaches go on for days.”).

Image courtesy of Parkour Studios

Sir, we salute you.  A fantastic example of taking what, on the surface, was a pretty damning statement, turning it 180 degrees and generating significant positive PR exposure.  The campaign is now raising funds to enable the ads to run on billboards in Washington DC.  We watch with interest to see if Haiti’s tourism industry benefits too.

Image courtesy of Parkour Studios

Image courtesy of Parkour Studios

Cubic Landscapes

Cubic Landscapes

I often use websites like Behance, Dribble or Creative Bloq for browsing designs, trends and inspiration but I also find a lot of interesting work on Instagram. I think due to the site being more social, artists and designers tend to upload much more experimental work that may have previously remained unseen.

One designer that I have followed for a while is @peteulatan. His work mainly consists of photography that has been edited and tweaked in various ways. The images that draw my attention the most are what he calls, ‘cubic landscapes’. These artworks are usually made from one image that has been mirrored, reversed or ‘cubed’ by creating corners where they have no right to be. Inspired by Christopher Nolan’s Inception, the technique is relatively simple but totally transforms the image into something quite magical.

All images courtesy @peteulatan on Instagram