Enrich your design: leaflet printing from Solopress

20 May 2013

Explosion Inspired Cupcake Logo from Acer

I remember watching an advert in recent months that featured Kiefer Sutherland, some explosives, and cupcakes. It sounds like a light moment in 24, however, it wasn’t. It was in fact a YouTube advert (commercial if you’re American) that showed off Sutherland’s comical macho baking style alongside an Acer laptop that I can’t actually remember the model of.

Why did I bring this up now? Well after reading a naff inspirational article explaining that business card ideas are everywhere I decided to find the most obscure inspiration I could find for a business logo - enter the most memorable part of this video.

Check out how Sutherland gets his logo inspiration when rebranding this nerdy kid’s cupcake business:

The explosion of a 4x4 is definitely one of the most random and arduous ways to get some inspiration for a logo that I’ve seen in my time, however, it just goes to show that design inspiration in general is everywhere.

Point made, that is all.

29 April 2013

The Mercedes Logo: A Simple Depiction of Dominance

The three pointed star has become a well-known symbol, a visual representation of the embodiment of class that all Mercedes vehicles ooze. But where did it come from?

The three points initially stood for the three methods of travel. That is land, sea and air. Upon the Daimler and Benz merger the three pointed star became encompassed in a circle, and the Mercedes-Benz logo as we know it today was born.

The colour silver also has a strong tie to the Mercedes brand. This dates back to 1934 in Nurburgring, when Mercedes entered their first grand prix. The vehicle was just a little over the weight limit so the Mercedes engineers spent the night sanding off the paint and stripping the car back to its original colour. This car went on to be better known as “The Silver Arrow”.

The beginnings of the Mercedes-Benz company was formed back in 1926, although the origins can be traced right back to 1886 and Karl Benz patent Motorwagen.

Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach formed the company after merging with Benz & Cie. The name Mercedes was chosen after one of Maybachs daughters.

Written by Hayley Reeve on behalf of Service 4 Service, offering approved Mercedes Service Southend, Essex.

23 April 2013

BMW Logo Origin Myth Debunked

When searching for the origins of BMW's logo you will no doubt come across the common myth that it was based on the propellers/ air screws of their aircraft (the white part of the logo) cutting through the sky (the blue part of the logo).

We say myth because since this presumption, which originated from a 1929 BMW aircraft magazine that illustrated two planes with the logo placed in the centre of their propellers, BMW recorded and published the following video to explain the actual origins of its logo:

So the first documented instance of the logo was actually in BMW's archives dated 1918 - way before the magazine was printed and was not based on propeller blades cutting through the sky.

Instead the BMW logo was actually based on the RAPP's original logo (the aircraft manufacturing company that eventually became BMW) alongside the national blue and white colours of Bavaria. When you see the two logos side by side you can identify the similarities in letter spacing and design.

Now if someone talks to you about the origins of BMW's logo and how it was based on the 1929 publication you can correct them. To add extra trivia you can also tell them it didn't first appear on a road vehicle until 1923 on BMW's R32.

Created by Service4Service, independent BMW specialists offering approved BMW service Derby in Derbyshire. With up to 60% off main dealer costs, every service includes free pick up, delivery, and car wash.

5 March 2013

Avengers Assemble - TueVie Day

The Avengers movie poster successfully advertised one of the biggest blockbusters of 2012 with the help of previous Marvel franchise movies that had short teaser clips after their credits - all of which were leading to Avengers Assemble.

Today we're going to analyse some of the design choices made within this movie poster to better understand the relevance of it to the movie content.


Character Fame

Each superhero in this poster had feature movies created for their character's storyline, except Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and all of the original cast from these previous films were kept with the exception of The Hulk who was played by Mark Ruffalo (played in two previous Hulk movies by Eric Bana and Edward Norton).

The popularity of each feature movie character most-likely lead to their apparent visual rank in the poster: Iron Man stealing the most focus (as the most famous character in the franchise) leading all the way back to a more discreet Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who has been cleverly positioned in the centre of the poster - this is an illustrative representation of his relevance to the other characters as the one that brings the superheroes together.

The Scene

The scene presented is almost lifted straight out of the movie content, featuring a beam of light above Stark towers (a focal point in the plot) and the destruction of a city - an expected setting for almost all Marvel movies.

Interestingly the good guys are all featured within this illustration but the enemy is not - a deliberate choice to add mystery to the enemy’s identity or to avoid confusion the potential confusion that the enemy is a part of The Avengers?


The poster does look a bit unimaginative by just placing all of the superheroes standing together, almost as if they were photoshopped straight out their feature movie scenes and placed together. 

On the other hand, what the poster lacks in imagination it makes up for in quality of appearance as the filters applied give it a hand-painted look - a homage to the paper format this story originally came from?

In all honesty you wouldn't expect as good of a poster as this is to have been produced for such a big name franchise anyway as you'd presume that the Marvel company would've generated enough hype through trailers, entertainment media, and their fan base that a poster wouldn't have provided anything more other than a pin up for die hard Avengers fans.


If you have seen the Avengers then you will agree that the poster gives good insight into the storyline minus an appearance of the archenemy, which adds mystery as to who it is unless you follow the films and their end of trailer clips.

Overall I admire the artist's attempt at re-creating the hand-painted medium that historic poster artists previously used but in a digital format, giving the poster more association with the illustrated comic books.

The film itself is very entertaining and worth watching if you are a fan of big action scenes and previous Marvel movies. Just for your entertainment, here's the official Avengers trailer:

28 February 2013

UK Print Illustrators - 3 of February's Favourites

February has been a quick month but I’ve managed to find 3 favourite illustrators for the month whose impressive artworks have been brought to life through print. I wanted to share their work because their creations are very imaginative, which should help if you’re in need of some “outside the box” inspiration. Also, they’re based in the UK - a bit of patriotism is always fun!

Illustrators have a competitive industry to battle within whilst remaining cool-headed and creative so help these artists out by sharing this article if you’re as impressed by their illustrations as I am.

James Oconnell

Mr Oconnell is a professional all-round creative based in Manchester and his website bio makes you imagine him as the Spiderman of the illustrative world: “I'm a firm believer of using my skills for good”.

Oconnell Be Good Together

The first of his creations that appealed to me is titled Be Good Together and is intended to provoke non-collaborative creatives into working with one another to form something collectively awesome by presenting the message that it does.

His design reminds me of a dream catcher that has been hung, which almost ties in with his theme i.e. the dream that all creatives will one day work with one another.

Carl Koch

I’m a great fan of visual artists who have imaginations that can create an entire fantasy world within a single piece of art. One type of scene that has always appealed to me, since my love of the anime movie Howl's Moving Castle, is the floating island.

Koch High Rise Livin

What I admire most about Koch’s floating island, titled High Rise Livin’, is the realistic appearance of this imaginary house he has created - similar in appearance to a child’s tree house with the characteristic charm of a vintage potter’s shed.

Created with watercolours, this artwork reminds me of the Disney film Up because of the childhood contraptions created by the movie characters - an association that Koch may or may not be happy with.

Daniel Schooler

I’m not sure if the anime side of my life is running this article but my reason for showcasing this illustrator’s work is because of the connection it has with my adoration for Dragon Ball Z. Rather than explain the plot I’ll leave it for you to research and find out the relevance of giant monkeys.

Daniel Schooler

Schooler’s bio gives great insight into some of the design choices he’s made within this illustration, for example he’s added a depth of field and focus element that you’d usually find in photography by making the larger plantation, which is seemingly closer, blurred and out of focus. Within his bio he explains that he “has a curious relationship with photography” which would explain this combination of the illustration and photography forms (http://www.danielschooler.com/about.html).

Graffiti and tattoo artistry also spring to mind when analysing this piece of art which Schooler again explains are his influences and aspirations.

19 February 2013

The Matrix Movie Poster - TuVie Day

Today we’re taking a look at the promotional poster for a movie that transformed many people’s perceptions of reality and left many questioning the validity of our existence. Starring Keanu Reeves & Laurence Fishburne, The Matrix is going under the microscope in today’s TuVie Day!

The Matrix is one of the must see films that made an impact in the 90s when it was first released because of the way it took what you’d perceived as real life and made it appear like a piece of software in a complex computer program (The Matrix) - a virtual reality.

One of the reasons for The Matrix’s massive impact at this time was the boom of computer usage in households in addition to the fact that there had been no movie made like this before its birth. It was therefore inevitable that forum user handles began appearing over the internet as Morpheus, Neo and Trinity - the lead characters from the film, after its launch.

The Storyline

Without giving too much away, the basic storyline involves a hacker named Thomas A. Anderson (Reeves) who moonlights as a hacker whose alias is displayed as Neo. His online quest for “The Matrix” leads him to connect with Morpheus (Fishburne) who is initially described as a terrorist in the virtual reality, however, he is later discovered as the leader of a mercenary group who have been searching for Neo outside of this virtual reality.

To explain The Matrix Morpheus compares it to Alice In Wonderland and gives Neo the choice to remain in this virtual reality by taking a blue pill or find out what The Matrix is by taking a red one (chasing the rabbit down the hole to Wonderland).

Actual reality is a much poorer world in appearance where hard graft is needed to survive against technology that the humans had initially created. In this world where technology is self-maintaining it still needs human life as a source of power, which leads to humans being manufactured by the machines - a complete reverse to our current situation where we manufacture machines for use.

As I said I don’t want to give away too much about this film and its a hard one to explain, however, all I will say is that the story continues to show Neo as “the chosen one” who has been woken from the virtual reality in order to help save the human race from the machines that rule that world.

The Matrix Movie Poster Critique

The Matrix movie poster designed by Concept Arts

In overall appearance The Matrix movie poster is very striking with the lead character or Neo given primary focus alongside his leather wrapped colleagues. Almost none of the plot is given away in this poster, however, themes within the film are presented e.g. the falling lines or text that look similar to binary code are placed on the background to the characters. In the film we realise that this virtual reality is made from this code, therefore, the designer’s choice to place it on the walls (an element of this virtual world) is a subtle hint at what The Matrix is.

The fragmented logo of the movie has a similar appearance to an image that is loading on an old PC line by line but also looks like it is struggling, which subtly displays the technology theme. Additionally, the clear evidence of guns gives away the fact that this is an action movie, confirmed by the subtitle containing the word “fight”.

The photoshop cutouts of the characters is somewhat laughable when you consider the budget that would’ve been spent on the film’s content. You’d think that a slightly more exciting and imaginative representation of The Matrix could have been created rather than just having the characters standing around with guns, however, action film posters of the late 90s followed a very similar format so you can’t entirely knock it.


To summarise I’d have to say that not only is the movie well made but the poster is well structured for its time. I’d like to see a more imaginative representation of this poster created by an artistic fan as I feel with the current technology available to graphic designers there is something more impressive to be made that will give this film justice.

This week The Matrix gets an 8 out of 10, mainly because the poster’s design isn’t as imaginative as I feel it could be to present the great themes within the story.

If you haven’t seen The Matrix before, here’s the movie trailer for your enjoyment:

6 February 2013

Sexy Beast Movie Poster

As a fan of British gangster movies I got to see a great one created by the Film on 4 company, which was a perfect combination of edginess and comedy like the kind you’d find in Snatch. The movie I am referring to is Sexy Beast, which is brought to life with the terrific performances of Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley (otherwise known for roles such as Ghandi and soon to be in Iron Man 3).

The Storyline

The storyline of this movie is a classic heist plot where Don Logan (Kingsley) is sent by the mob to convince an old-time gang member, Gal (Winstone), out of retirement for a job that he is reluctant to take part in. The comedy comes from various angles but none more memorable than Don’s methods of persuasion that only make you laugh but also strike moments of fear from his unpredictability.

Without giving too much of the story away I’d have to recommend this classic film to lovers of this genre but if you take great offence to the C word you might need to re-consider it – you have been warned.

Sexy Beast movie poster created by Empire Design

Movie Poster Critique

The movie poster for Sexy Beast is totally reflective of the opening scene where Gal is living the high life. The image of Winstone lounging back on a floating armchair inside of a cocktail glass is one that contradicts the film title itself and additionally after watching the film I’ve noticed the subtle connection of the red fluid at the bottom of the cocktail glass and the by-line “it’s hard to say no”. Its down to you to watch it to notice the giveaways in the poster too.

I’m torn between deciding whether or not the cocktail glass image is artist’s representation of the film or pieced together from images in Photoshop. Whichever it is, I’m drawn to the smooth appearance of the whole image like film posters from the 80s.


Overall the poster for Sexy Beast is a great piece of work that perfectly reflects the themes inside of the film without giving too much of the storyline away. I wish more movie posters were this clever these days rather than just taking a scene from the film with no subtleties like those I’ve explained. I know it goes against my stance on posters that don’t give away the film clearly enough but this one is composed with such finesse that I would have to admit more like this could sway my overarching opinion on the matter.

The movie gets a 10/10 from me. It ticked all the right boxes that a British gangster film should and the poster is impressive in its portrayal of the film. If you haven’t seen Sexy Beast before, here’s a trailer:

29 January 2013

The Boxer Movie Poster

It’s been while since we’ve had a Tuesday movie poster review (TuVie Day) so let’s kickstart the habit with a film I recently caught on Sky Movies called The Fighter. Staring Mark Wahlberg (famously known for performances in flicks such as Ted), Amy Adams, and the best Batman in history Christian Bale; this film is one for you aspiring boxers out there who love to see inspiring true life stories reach the big lights of Hollywood.

Image courtesy of BLT Communications, LLC

The Storyline

The film follows the story of Micky Ward – a junior welterweight professional boxer, and the journey that lead to his professional career as a boxing superstar. What captured my attention most was the relationship between Micky and his brother Dicky, who was said to have trained Micky all the way through to his professional status. With family problems being a persistent theme throughout the movie, the reality of the story and performance of the actors makes you feel closer to the characters rather than the rose-tinted nostalgia of the Rocky series, which fails to captivate you on the same emotional level but is set around the same time period.

Movie Poster Critique

The Boxer’s poster is a personal favourite due to the fact that I am a gigantic photography geek and a fan of monochrome imagery. The artist’s choice of presenting the lead character in the boxing ring at the moment he has been awarded the win from a bought with one of his challengers gives a simple, clear pre-cursor of what to expect from this movie – as you can tell from previous articles I’m not a huge fan of mystery. The typical display of main characters by using angled headshots is nothing new at the head of the poster, although the contrast between the clear typography and the grainy effects of noise added to the images creates an old vintage feel mixed with modern day style – an excellent way to show that the storyline is of historical content.


Overall I’d give the film a 4 out of 5 as the quality of the actual boxing scenes disappointed me. It’s possibly because I am used to the edginess of fighting scenes such as those in Warrior and The Bourne series. Just in case you haven’t seen the film before here’s the trailer:

18 January 2013

What is the Purpose of a Mini Business Card?

I was having a read through Squidoo this afternoon and came across an article that specified the standard sizes of business cards (http://www.squidoo.com/standard-business-card-size), as I’m thinking of getting some printed soon now that I’ve become more competent at designing in Photoshop – mini project visuals to follow soon.

After reading through it I got thinking about the mini business cards that printing companies provide and wondered what is the purpose of them? To me it says that all that extra margin around your copy isn’t needed from a standard-sized business card, however, fitting a mini card into your wallet could lead to it getting lost amongst the receipts and more.

If you are carrying a business card then these mini ones are easier to have on you at all times without occupying too much pocket space but other than that I’d like to know what the real benefits of them are?

Leave me your thoughts in the comments below and explain the purpose of a mini business card from your point of view.

9 January 2013

Adobe CS2 Available for Free Download

Many people in the design community may already know about this but I thought I’d spread the word for those who fancy having a copy of Photoshop CS2 for free to learn the basics.

A friend of mine told me about it so I thought I’d do a bit of research and truth be told you can download Adobe’s Creative Suite 2 for free on their official website here: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/cs2_downloads/index.html. If you don’t know what you are doing with these files then I recommend you read through the installation guide first: http://download.adobe.com/pub/adobe/magic/creativesuite/CS2_EOL/MLTI/CS2_install_Win.pdf.

I can say from firsthand experience that I downloaded CS2 this evening via these links and obtained Photoshop and Imageready CS2 with Adobe Bridge chucked in of course. The serial key is provided on the download page so be sure to use that when it asks for one – worked fine for me! What is worth noting though is that CS2 is a package that dates back to 2005 so your operating system may or may not impact its functionality. I fortunately have a Windows Vista laptop which I installed it on successfully. Other operating systems may have different experiences.

There have been a number of blogs saying that Adobe has said that this is not a free download of CS2 (e.g. http://www.itworld.com/consumerization-it/334669/free-adobe-creative-suite-cs2-maybe-maybe-not), however, I can say with confidence that I have been able to use the software this afternoon and if you’re looking to get your hands on a copy for yourself, well you know where to find it. This whole thing is definitely beginning to sound like a scene from Tron Legacy when Sam Flynn gives away Encom’s new operating system for free:

7 January 2013

From London to Mexico and Back

Hello to all of our readers and a happy New Year! As you may have noticed we took a brief break from the world of Inspiring Print in December. Why I hear you ask? Well the answer is simple…we went to Mexico!

If you are considering taking a winter break in Mexico to get away from the grim weather of the UK then I strongly advise you give it a go. We took a long break in the wonderful Playa del Carmen where the clear skies got up to 30°C (over 10 times hotter than the day we said goodbye to Gatwick). The full review is definitely more suited for another type of blog so let’s talk about some design related stuff.

Whilst out there we took in as much of the culture as possible and seeing as the supposed end of the world was nigh, we decided to indulge in some Mayan-style history by visiting the two closest ruins to us which were Coba and Tulum.

These great structures were clearly devised by some intelligent people and commonly featured a prism form of some sort with a chamber at the top. Also there was a gigantic staircase to climb, located on one face of the building (which you are permitted to climb at Coba).

As well as learning about the local history we also adored some of the unexpected visual pleasures, one of which appears very touristy because of the shops we found them in, however, we liked it because of the Mexican people’s celebration of death:

In Mexico they celebrate Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) every year, which is a tradition linked with Catholicism that here in the UK we’d celebrate as All Saints’ Day. It is a way for those who have lost loved ones to remember them in a celebration that glorifies the life they had, which results in some beautiful artistic skulls such as those shown in the image above.

That’s just a little taster of things to come this month that glorify Mexico and its artistic beauty. If you’ve experienced it differently we’d love to hear from you in our comments below!

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