Family (and friends) – Hothouse talk 

Hothouse Talks, Inventivity

Today Derek co-founder of Family (and friends) branding agency, who really incoorporated the philosophy that you have to love who you work with and love design.

Derek stated that our company is not about colouring in, we’re about brand strategy, about thinking and working things out. We work with a wide variety of designers which come together as a nucleus to form a strong unit.

“The best way to generate clients is if you do a good job on a project, its word of mouth.”

Derek said we work in a specific field, because its hard to tackle all the other competitors out there, it’s best to be specific and be good at it. We work with healthier – better for you – life style brands. We’re known for this now.

“Our idea is that we want to create brands that people love to love. We want to make people feel that they need the product.”

In life we are experiencing brand overload, you walk down an isle and theres hundreds of brands and you walk down the isle in 30 seconds, so you give each brand a split second and its gone. We want to open up a dialogue in that small space of time.

We have to find a way of being different. Its all about personality.

A case study on Gaymers showed how they changed the personality of the brand.

Gaymers went from and old Englishmen’s cider, and was not doing particularly well with their sales.

To this hip festival brand. By understanding who they wanted to target as an audience. They created quite a transparent brand, to build a sense of honesty. Gaymers became the official cider of Glastonbury shortly after.

Focusing on quite a technical side a technique they use is an eye tracker when looking at a clients old packaging. The old packaging showed that the eyes darted everywhere, there was no one plae to focus. And the new packaging showed that the eyes stayed centred and focussed into the middle.

A brand identity created for Seed and Bean was aimed at the high end Waitrose audience. People at Waitrose expect the best of the best, so it wasn’t necessary to explain the ethics of the brand. So the branding was focussed on developing this kaleidoscope of flavours and colours. And once they established a look, it was all about saying what they’ve already said across different platforms.

One final comment was that metrics and analytics is absolutely the way forward to help shape better brands.

I asked a question “after you’ve created an identity, who owns the work you or the brand?” The answer was complicated to explain because if you’ve sold the work then who owns it? You are the creator but the brand is the owner, and they can replicate the identity.

The talk was very pasionate and I really believe their ethos that they love their colleagues and design work, they really do come across as a family.


Hot House – Abram Games

Hothouse Talks


We recently had a Hothouse talk from graphic designer Abram Games’ daughter. Abrams Games was a visionary in the 1930’s using his hard to master technique the air brush.

“Difficult to use, but my dad was a wizard at it”

Hothouse Talk – Lakwena 

Hothouse Talks

On Friday we had a talk from Lakwena. I was really intrigued by her story, which seemed to start somewhat similar to where I am now, and now she’s jetting around the wall painting huge wall paintings in LA, Vegas and so on. 

Lakwena had a fantastic energetic styke which she executes wonderfully. She definieyly brings a little energy to the enviroment she decorates. 

Hot House – Sara Boris

Hothouse Talks

Sarah Boris is a graphic designer, art director and artist based in London. She was Associate Art Director at Phaidon Press until February 2015. Sarah talked us through many of the projects she has created over the years. I particularly enjoyed the zines she produced for the Barbican Centre, they were a fast turn around project, which sometimes leaves imperfections, however outcomes like that can bare a lot of charisma.

Hot House – It’s Nice That

Hothouse Talks

It’s Nice That its nice that

I attended a HotHouse talk from It’s Nice That this lunch time. I would explain who they are but I’ll let them speak for themselves; this is from their website.

‘It’s Nice That believes passionately that creative inspiration is for everyone and by championing the most exciting and engaging work online, in print and through our events programme, we want to open up this world to the widest possible audience.