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Author Archives: Franki Goodwin

BAFTA Games

I’ve now CD’d THREE Interactive and Gaming BAFTA nominated projects. Which basically makes me Meryl Streep… doesn’t it? Fingers crossed for Glitchers Games on the night. 

The Gunn Report

Great to see our Magenta campaign for Deutsche Telekom up there with the best from this year.

The Bestest and the Braverest

Saatchi & Saatchi were recently named the Number #1 best and bravest agency on the planet by Contagious. This is their global ranking of the agencies that consistently set the standard for creativity, innovation and excellence in marketing.The  list is based on an analysis of the Contagious I/O intelligence tool. Only campaigns that demonstrate the highest levels of creativity and strategic thinking are chosen for inclusion on I/O. They include my work for T-Mobile and Direct Line.

Asda Halloween

I really have to post my work as it happens. Let’s start as we mean to go on with this little cracker that we just launched at Saatchi London… my work is all up to date in the side bar too! Yay me.

Promo and Activation Jury

Give my opinion on stuff solidly for 5 days? In the South of France? Oh. How well you know me.
Very proud and grateful to be invited to do this.

My name’s Franki, and I’m a Digital Pioneer.

Rob Ford very kindly featured me as one of the FWA’s digital pioneers and it was very nice to get the chance to write this ode to my old F&J family.

What I’ve been doing since Paris.

I actually forgot to tell most people I even came back from Paris but then Screen Daily told everyone for me in this article – which saved me the job.

In a nutshell: I have partnered-up with writer/producer Vaughan Sivell in Film Production Company WEP, I’m developing my role as ‘Assets Producer’ which no one understands (but they WILL), I’m going to Shoreditch House a lot, I’ve sorted out my Linkedin, updated my portfolio (allow me to direct you to the shiny new menu items to your left), and I’m freelancing for some good people – old and new.

Also (and kind of the point of this post) I have just got back from the Berlinale and EFM and I can officially unveil the pack image/identities.. (if you think go them of “assets” and you’re totally on the bus!) of the first 3 movies on the WEP slate:

A Round Around the World

In the Absence of Mrs Petersen:

The Corsican Brothers:

…and the zoom to the particular genius of the logo that will be made sense of by the fact that this movie features identical twins and pistols.

If that wasn’t exciting enough I have created some boards on Pinterest for WEP and our movies if you’d be so kind to follow them.

That’s all for now. Back soon with news.

On the eve of my first lesson at Parsons Paris a teacherly post…

I’m going to tell you a story.

And that’s where the creation of a brand should always start – with a story – even if it has to be written as part of the brief, a brand should have roots. They give someone like me a meaningful place to start, a line to follow and rationalise back to. I am fortunate that when I work on feature films that there is always a story to draw from. But sometimes these stories stretch much further than you expect…

In February 2010 I was working on a film called “Barafundle Bay”. It was a working title that had stuck but it was hard to say, hard to spell and the Sales Agent wanted it gone. With approximately 3 years of unpaid hard graft to get this independent British movie to the post-picture lock, pre-grade stage (also known as the titles window) you could forgive the production for putting it off but the time had come to change it and a new name wasn’t coming easily.

I was asked if I could carry on looking at the design for the titles without a name so as not to miss the deadline.

“Er.. Yeah. I kind of need to know it…”

And finally, after much debating (and some actual tears, I think) it was decided – the film was now called “Third Star” – taken from a line in the film where Benedict Cumberbatch mis-quotes Peter Pan (that’s the short version of the naming story, you can read the long version from the Producer here) and I could start.

My approach to the typography developed for titles design is that it should become the identity for the film. It’s a difficult concept for an industry where traditionally the titles, posters etc are designed and, most crucially COMMISSIONED by different teams. (If I had a penny for every time I have heard “yeah but once they’re in the cinema watching the titles, they’ve paid their money – what does it matter if the logo doesn’t match the poster?”)

Oh My God! You’re SO right! Has somebody pointed this out to those losers putting the same old boring logo on everything at Apple?

But regardless of what bastardisation may happen beyond my involvement I always begin with the creation of a logo and work from there to develop the titles. In this case the shot in which the main title comes up over the film was a shot of Mr. Cumberbatch blowing out his birthday candles. It came to me quickly that adding a four-pointed star (aka a diamond) to a slab-serif would create the feel of a candle and also a not-too-obvious reference to the star. Or even.. three stars?

It was one of those rare jobs where everyone was happy – the Director liked them, the Producers liked them… hey! I even liked them. The stars replaced the i’s across all the credits to creative a twinkle on every card and as the final shots were set over a starry night sky it evolved almost magically, hitting every mark when tracking back on the story trail.

A year later, I went on to implement the logo into the printed materials, the website and the social media for its cinema release. We created a fully branded “Third Star” world on a shoe-string and had an amazing reaction from the fans (we even got them to tell us their stories about seeing the movie) as we rolled the four out the pointed stars (oh, and the film) across the country in early summer.

Last month, after a Q&A screening in Aberystwyth, I was sitting in a pub with the Writer/Producer, Vaughan Sivell – literally a few 100 miles from where the film was set, shot and where Vaughan is from. We were basking in the battles won (many lost), plotting future world domination (more on THAT here) and then he told me about his family history – it was, apparently, a story he’d been meaning to tell me for a while…

His grandfather was a Welsh artist and designer who, after being injured in the First World War, headed to the USA. He started a sign writing business in Steubenville, Ohio. (The business was called Star Displays.) He designed the Steelmark logo for a friend at the Weirton Steel Works which was then sold to the American Iron and Steel Institute and many years later adopted by the Pittsburgh Steelers team who use it to this day.

He then pulled out his phone and showed me the logo. I almost fell off my chair.

“Nooooooooo waaaaaaaaay”

Now. This IS just a big old design coincidence but nonetheless it is now part of the story of the “Third Star” identity (never under estimate a designer’s talent for post-rationalisation – I list it as a skill on my CV!). But, for me, is also  wonderful lesson in the importance of applying meaning and story to visual work. We mustn’t forget there is narrative and history to everything we do as visual communicators. And we must write it into our creative process in order to do good work.

I’ve done a bit of research for this post and discovered the logo was used in the 1950‘s as part of a major marketing campaign to educate consumers about how important steel was in their daily lives. The campaign attached the following meaning to it: “Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure and widens your world.” During the 1970s, the logo’s meaning was extended to include the three materials used to produce steel: yellow for coal, orange for ore and blue for steel scrap. (It was also adopted by the Pittsburg Steelers in 1962 when they had to replace the numbers on their helmets and, after a particularly successful season that year, it remains on one side of their helmets to this day – the “ers” only being added in the 1980’s!)

So is this tenuous, corporate gumph designed to sell, erm.. well. Steel? Or is creating a story and attaching history and meaning to a corporation, a metal or a team through applied colour and shape a very valuable, powerful tool?

For me, stories add weight, they add personality and integrity and can invoke pride in those working with and for that marque – incentivising good usage. They also give you hooks and steers for visual decisions – be it factual or fictional stories create a set of rules and from that comes good concepts, good design and good businesses.

I’ll leave you with one final story. Apple Computers was named in homage to Alan Turing, the brilliant World War II codebreaker who committed suicide in 1954 after being prosecuted for homosexuality and forcibly treated with female hormones. He killed himself at age 41 by eating an apple laced with cyanide. (This is why the Apple logo has a bite out of it.) Microsoft, I assume, is the merging of the words microchip and software.

You tell me which identity brief you’d rather work on.

“Third Star” is released on DVD on 12th September.

D&AD Blog on Personal Work

This is an article I wrote recently for the D&AD education resource. I hope you enjoy it.

Running your own graphic design company from a young age, in my case 23, you think all the work you do is “personal”. You aren’t working for anyone else, you target the clients you want to work with, you choose your staff, you decide what to pitch for, how much time to put in, what to turn down, which battles to fight and which to concede. You take it home with you at night and it’s right there with you the next morning – if indeed it hasn’t troubled your sleep as well. My name is on the door, my holiday photos are on the website – it’s pretty damn personal.

It wasn’t until I was 30 and on sabbatical in Japan that I realised the drawing and research I was doing there was the first I had done purely for myself for almost 10 years and it was quite a revelation. When I was a student I was a fervent drawer and obsessive maker of visual diaries but that all fell by the wayside as my professional life took over and consumed my creative world. I’m not complaining – we built an incredible team and I have a portfolio full of stories, adventures and memories that are all incredibly personal. But it there was always a client. And that’s the key difference.

I have gone on record many times to say how much I detest designers bitching about their clients – seriously, either get better ones or shut up and take the money. And this isn’t about client-bashing. Problem solving and working towards a common creative goal with motivated people who pay you for your services is an immensely satisfying way to earn a living. But I have realised I have to have my own work alongside. It keeps your eyes fresh and your soul intact – it also helps to really understand where they are coming from. (It’s only until it’s YOUR product on a website you understand why maybe, just maybe, the “Buy it Now” button should be a little bit bigger, and while you’re at it, maybe the logo too?)

I moved to Paris last year and a chance meeting with a very talented writer lead to a collaboration we call “Mademoiselle London”. Kat writes, I design and Illustrate as well as managing the brand and the online activity. We self published our first book to a great reception in France and are working on the second. It was born out of a mutual need to create a new voice in a place where our language is not the “maternelle” – to find a way to belong here. No client, the only deadlines self imposed and the only brief to make something we were proud of. It has brought back to my life what I left behind in my student days – an ownership of my visual language, my free time and my creative purpose. It puts you back in the centre of your work and, I think, makes you better at the paid stuff.

So I implore all students reading this; whatever it is you do for yourself  alongside the structured workload of courses and student briefs; as the all consuming beginnings of your career threaten to take over – don’t stop doing it.

Follow Mlle London on Facebook / Twitter

1000 Cranes for Japan

I was recently asked to contribute to an inspired project by Anomoly and Unit 9. 1000 Cranes for Japan is based on an ancient Japanese legend says anyone who folds 1000 cranes will be granted a wish. The project has brought together a collection of illustrations which you can download and fold into cranes and at the same time make a donation to the victims of the Japanese tsunami and earthquake.

I sent them this illustration that I did whilst in Japan in 2009. It’s a drawing very close to my heart as seeing this woman dancing Yoyogi-koenr was such a special moment on a trip that fuelled my creativity in so many ways and without which Mlle London would not exist.

I have downloaded, donated and made my crane. It was a very peaceful little act and would highly recommend it!

Hello

I'm Franki Goodwin, Creative Director at Saatchi&Saatchi London and Executive Producer at Western Edge Pictures. Please feel to have a good old root around my work below. Some of it has won lots of awards. Some of it hasn't, but I'm proud of every single one of these projects. Thanks for visiting, say hi at franki@frankigoodwin.com