Kazu Suwa, please remember me when you’re famous

You know the feeling you get when you meet someone who is not only super nice, but also super talented? The joy of knowing you’re not stuck with the task of entertaining the Loch Ness Monster, and that you might actually enjoy the day? That’s exactly the feeling the first time you meet Kazu Suwa. He’s a classical guitarist here in London, and if you don’t believe me when I say he’s ridiculously talented then you only need watch this:

We made that video with Kazu. He found that quaint little room over in Crystal Palace and he spent a couple of hours with our Creative One (of PIP PIX fame) and they put together that video for his YouTube channel. We’ve been working with Kazu for a while now. He makes a valiant effort to teach classical guitar to the boss, and we ensure to give him gorgeous, creative artwork to make up for it.

For example, late last year Kazu needed new photos in order to spruce up his website. These days it’s so important that your website is visually appealing. Especially as a musician, people want to see you and get to know you as a person, rather than just as an mp3. So we set up a shoot in Greenwich, and here are just a few of the images we ended up with:

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This business card is flippin’ amazing

A few weeks ago this specimen of print artistry ended up on my desk:

ovenden funflip

Originally from Ovenden Papers to announce their change of address, this wee beauty soon became a fixation in the PIP office. Sure, it wasn’t the most beautifully designed card we’d ever seen, wasn’t the sparkliest, didn’t have all the bells and whistles as far as print effects go (no embossing, foiling, microchipping, doesn’t sing you a song or help you make the tea). Heck, it wasn’t even on the top 57 most impressive paper stocks we’d ever seen. So why is it so addictive? Because it’s interactive. You fold it around over and over again and for some reason you never tire of the news that Ovendens is moving to a new office. Well, I didn’t, but evidently, I’m quite easily entertained.

I see a lot of business cards. Most are plain and functional. Names, numbers, logo, email. Useful if you know the person but otherwise mind numbingly boring. This was different. I didn’t feel the need to throw it away after it had sat for a few days amongst the mess on my desk. People liked picking it up, playing with it. Everyone made a point of showing it to someone else. It was like those folding triangular fortune telling things that everyone made in school to waste time and avoid doing any actual work, but infinitely more corporate.

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Groucho Marx and Twitter

Groucho“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”  – Groucho Marx

I think that pretty much sums up my scepticism of my fellow tweeters. Not that I don’t love each and every one of you… it’s just that I know what hard work it is building up a profile and a following. And when somebody wants to bypass the hard work and go straight into the hard sell my defences go up and you’re no longer a human I can interact with, but rather a big corporate robot painted an unappealing shade of PMS 402 Gray.

I don’t actually have many of these conversations with my own Twitter crowd, as I try to follow the “no nutters” rule on Twitter as in life. But you see it often with the newbies. They spend an hour lunching with their social media guru and they burst into the Twittersphere full of joy and energy, just itching to get tweeting about their business. They seek Twitter folk with thousands of followers, and tweet to them politely demanding to be followed. They seek Twitter folk who have vaguely mentioned a product that their company may sell and politely demand a visit to their website. Every Tweet from them reminds you to join their mailing list, to like their Facebook page, to give them feedback on their website design, to book now, to buy this, to go here, to do that. After a couple of weeks they realise that no one has clicked on any of their links and they slink off into the darkness again, throwing their toys out of the metaphorical Twitter cot, mad that no one wants to play with them. Continue reading

15 Shades of Grey

I’ve been reading that book. You know the one. The fun one. The one that’s got everyone talking. The ummmm… colourful one. The Pantone Colour Guide.

To be honest, I’m a little disappointed in the sex scenes. They’re not nearly as naughty as some people have been making out. Sure, there’s an occasional burst of magenta, a streak of fuchsia and a thrusting of lime, but nothing really to blush about. I must stop hanging out with colour-shy prudes.

Anyway, everyone seems to be getting caught up on the greys. So many shades of grey. What does it all mean? Well, I’ll take it upon myself as a professional in this arena to explain the grey areas to you all. Someone mentioned something about fifty, but sod that. Fifteen shades of grey is enough for anyone.

Look now at the fifteen shades I have selected, and choose the one that is the most “you”.

15 shades of grey

Got it? Good. I shall now proceed to tell you all the things about yourself that you secretly suspected but never had confirmed by that nice man in the white coat that came to visit all those years ago. He did have quite a lot to cover, so it’s understandable that this would be left out. Good thing you’ve stumbled upon this blog.

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London is my Valentine

Sometimes over the Summer months we get bored. Everyone has gone away on holiday, and sitting in an office full of machinery and printing can leave you hot and sticky in all the wrong places. So we threw the creative one out onto the streets and told him to come back with something pretty. And so PIP PIX was born. We ended up with thousands of beautiful photographs, starting with Mayfair and Marylebone but gradually we managed to cover most of Westminster and even some other corners of London.

With so many gorgeous photos, it would be a shame not to use them. Being the generous creatures we are, we stuck them all up on our Flickr account. They’re totally free for anyone to use when they indulge in some print or marketing with PIP Mayfair or Marylebone. So I’ve decided to put together a collection of my top ten PIP PIX. I’ll probably have a new top ten by next week, but at the moment these are really floating my boat.

1) A whole heap of beautiful over Westminster

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What’s not to love about this? Clouds, sky, water, big circular tourist attraction. All the good stuff. Continue reading

Does your choice of font signify you as a terrifying beast?

This is a question we should all be asking ourselves from time to time. Let me begin by assuring you that I’m no saint when it comes to typography. I’ve done terrible things. I’ve been known to mangle the kerning, to terrorise the leading, to poke, prod, smoosh and to generally commit all kinds of ghastly typographical crime at the whim of some particularly ill-informed and fussy clients.

I have no wish to be a big, judgmental fun sponge, spoiling the good times you’ve had procrastinating the day away in Microsoft Word, playing with Papyrus and pretending you’re in Avatar. I really don’t. But this must be said:

Stop using weird fonts in weird places, you weirdo.

we all know this looks bad

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5 easy ways to drive your printer INSANE and increase your print and marketing bill

You need printing. Like it or not, you need those business cards or letterheads or brochures or posters. Whatever they are, they’re required for business, just like computers, pens and Monday morning coffee. And sometimes they can be annoyingly expensive. It doesn’t have to be that way – some of the things you’re doing maybe increasing your print bill unnecessarily. Here are the stupid mistakes you’re probably making:

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Your friendly neighbourhood printer wants to tell you how lovely you are

Hello there! If you’ve ever required a spot of printing, you know that you have options. Just a quick Google will bring up more printers than you can fan a Pantone book at.

So, who do you choose and why? Do you make a list and grab quotes from the first 5 you see on the internet, or do you take a chance with that weird, little place around the corner? You know, the one about 3 blocks away, in the back street, with the mess behind the counter?

Surely that place has a geographic convenience, but  wouldn’t you be missing out on all the good deals online by going with them? To help you out of your quandary, I have compiled a list of all the reasons why your neighbourhood printer is a certified bevy of good times and sexy print results.

colour paper

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