January 2009

The Project Agency brand is away

The Project Agency is an emerging Melbourne based marketing, brand and events consultancy that works in the areas of fashion, lifestyle, beauty, food and… Read more

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The Rio New Years Design Carnivalé is here…

2009 Studio Pip and Co. publication

Oh yes, big, big, big on colour, words, ideas, and celebration. Three lift out posters, thirty two packed pages, eight typefaces, highlight posts from Nowality curated and edited by Brita Frost. Read more

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The process of public image

Few people become public figures. The people that become public figures have developed their community status via a unique set of talents, skills, right of passage, knowledge or birth right. Above all attributes required by public figures is the ability to deliver, engage and grow an audience. This quality is where the magic, the fuzzy stuff, the ooga booga, the charisma is found, this quality lures the audience and subsequently creates folk heros.

In the contemporary world of cooking and food preparation one may be bold enough to define contemporary cooking history into two distinctive periods — as cooking and food preparation BEFORE JAMIE — BJ, and AFTER JAMIE — AJ. Not since Antonin Carême the French haute cuisine chef circa 1792 Paris Revolution, or Elizabeth David and her influence on the British diet post World War II England, has one person been so influencial and prominent.

Oliver‘s food musings are designed for high impact in the western world‘s vision for food. His activities extend well beyond typical recipes, restaurants, cook books and cooking on tv… Oliver‘s food conversation speaks via the internet, blogs, mobile video casts, live shows, community projects and word of mouth. The act of making food crosses to forums that assist people make better food, making food preparation fun, empowering people to grow and invent food, readdressing food in schools, helping the under privileged via careers in food, to traveling fused with food fused with culture.

Oliver‘s humble and infectious enthusiasm for food is quirky as his wayward quiff, (which back in 1999 my Grandma called bed hair). Food in Jamie‘s world is above status and your bank balance. In his world, good food is a right, rather than a case of which western city suburb you live. Oliver is the popular voice for good food that doesn‘t come in a box, delivered via “drive thru“, or has an option to up size.

The design of Oliver‘s image seemed to be driven by Oliver himself. Unlike many big brands that are highly controlled and calculated Oliver‘s sense of brands is erratic, and driven less by convention and more by instinct. In the 10 years since Oliver published ‘Jamie Oliver — The Naked Chef‘ in 1999, Oliver‘s career and his cook book covers, tell a subtle story of Oliver‘s development.

In the early days the image simply communicated a vibrant upstart boy passionate for food. The design and image reflected his youth being naive, personal, uncomplicated, raw and somewhat clunky.

Money, children, success, travel, celebrity, the public life, and media harassment have shaped a media and marketing savvy Oliver over time. The raw images portrayed at the beginnings of his career are a sign of Oliver‘s vision to continually fine tune and style his image, allowing the audience to grow with Oliver as his career evolves.

Oliver‘s latest book — Jamie‘s Ministry of Food — is yet another visual milestone documenting his career. In the previous publications Oliver‘s raw wild boy image gave way to a young time poor dad, and now Oliver has buffed up and tightened up. His Daddy fat is gone, the kitchen skin has been retouched and perfectly lit, the hair is just right, his imperfections groomed. The natural settings are gone too and a stylised set keeps the viewer‘s gaze firmly on Oliver‘s naughty angel like composure. The food is strangely unsophisticated, and his poised clichéd pose — looks like he is about to tuck into Mum‘s Sunday roast. The type treatment continues to be highly refined and brand like. The wording is lean, carefully scripted and designed. The series title — Jamie‘s Ministry of Food — hams up the hype surrounded by Oliver‘s celebrity — the cult of Jamie, Jamie the high priest of food, amen. The cover image now so refined that at postage stamp size — the size used by book reviewers and displayed in publishers catalogs, to poster scale the cover communicates clearly and effectively. The content beyond the cover is another journey in publishing where the simple act of publishing recipes is intertwined with continuing process of story and information making.

Often it is easy to gaze over market favourites, like Jamie, to seek out the cult design, yet in the instance where the brand is the person it is compelling to observe how they continue to invent their story over time.

Following are the covers tracking Oliver‘s work, at home we don‘t have all his books, that said Oliver‘s books are prominent in our cook book collection and we have enough to show the changes he has made to his image over ten years. This post came to be just for the simple reason that cook books are familiar in the kitchen space and are a good sample of a designer‘s work. Rather than extensively labeling these images we chosen to let the covers tell the story, as they did to us.

Published 1999

Published 2000

Published 2004

Published 2007

Published 2008

Bless you Jamie for exploring a very commercial arena and bringing something different to it.

Visit Jamie Oliver here

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Ideas of Australia

Idea 01 According to the State Government of Victoria “Australia Day celebrates the anniversary of Captain Arthur Phillip unfurling the British flag at Sydney Cove and proclaiming British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia on 26 January 1788.”1 Australia Day also marks the unofficial end of the holiday period in Australia. Not unlike our friends in the north, Australia‘s major holiday period occurs over the summer, a month or so, spanning from around Christmas day to around Australia Day, more or less. This description is intentionally vague as the summer period is unofficial. Australia Day is a public holiday and it is typically spent following official events, watching the tennis — the Australian Tennis Open, or by the bar-b-que. Idea 02 In recent times the notion of being Australian has been brought to the fore, when racial based riots in Cronulla, a beach side suburb of Sydney, errupted on 11 December 2005. Since that dip in Australian history, a small group of white Australians have taken to adorning themselves with the Southern Cross as a Symbol of their vision of being Australian. Like this sample, this symbolic display takes a prominent scale, with tattoos taking up an area bounded by the base of the neck to the lower back. An intimidating sight on any beach scape. Idea 03 Another opinion of what it is to be Australian — comes from fallen businessman and comedian — Steve Vizard. In May 2008 Mr Vizard handed back his 1997 Order of Australia medal (awarded on Australia Day) for his past wrongs in the spirit of a ban introduced in 2008 of stopping people with civil convictions receiving medals. Prior to Vizard‘s fall from grace, on Australia Day 2005, Vizard provided a frank and colourful portrait of what it is to be Australian to The Age newspaper in Melbourne. The piece is long lost and no scouring of the internet found any crumbs of his sentiments, apart from these introductory musings for a speech delivered for the Australian Republican movement in Melbourne in 1999, see here. Please note we are impartial to the Australian Republic debate.

A searing 39 degrees day. A gaggle of waxed Greek youths, a friend of mine included, more body hair than a herd of Yaks at altitude, duck-dive in Port Phillip Bay for a wooden crucifix hurled from St. Kilda pier by a Greek orthodox bishop, shrouded in black and sweltering like Demis Roussos on Centre court. Two burning days before. The asphalt backways of Geelong. Availing themselves of a road works detour, two small children, say nine and seven, freckled and thirsty, furtively waiting at a card table outside their suburban home, a hand made sign propped up “Horse Manure. 70 cents a Bag. Two for $2.00.” Spelt ‘MANYOOR’. Hovering in a crowd of holiday tans and mobile phones watching a Portsea beach bathing box the size of my wife’s handbag sell for a king’s randsom. Imbibing outside Tolarno’s, Fitzroy St, St. Kilda, engaging in a chat with the local aboriginals. Homeless, squatting in the empty building next door, everyone of them related to someone else – Ernie Dingo’s cousin, Gary Foley’s nephew, Lionel Rose’s younger brother. It’s like an audience warm-up for “This is Your Life”. They’re arming me with unrepeatable dirty jokes for use in my Australia Day speech. Bemoaning Jabiluka. Not knowing where it is. But knowing what they haven’t got. Exploring with my kids, Tommy, Jimmy, Steph and Madeleine, the banks of the Barwon River. Pretending to catch a Redfin, skinny-dipping and recounting for them, more or less, the story of William Buckley the escaped convict who for thirty years wandered the rivers and coastlines near Geelong as a member of the Wathaurong Tribe, the first real link between our penal colony roots and our indigenous citizens. A black and white photograph of me hugging Dad just before he died: Dad, who would be proud as punch to see me here talking on this great occasion, celebrating this nation he loved so much, this nation of lawns he mowed so vigorously, and of family holidays to wineries he explored so enthusiastically and from which he sniffed Bill Chambers Special Shiraz and across which he dragged sprinklers and kicked footies and bowled leggies…

One notes that in the body of Vizard‘s speech this quote — Our nation is made strong by challenges. The test of our identity, the price of citizenship is how we respond to those challenges. Vizard remains deeply ashamed for his wrong doings, and handing back of his Australia Day medal, in a way, responds to his personal challenges. Idea 04 Many indigenous Australians label the 26 January as ‘Invasion Day‘. Some are protesting this day viewing it as a celebration of white people suppressing the indigenous people. This year there are calls to move that day itself to make Australia Day independent of the official proclaiming of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia. Idea 05 Australia Day is also an opportunity to look back and potentially look forward. 2009‘s NSW Australia Day Address by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO2 explores New South Wales‘ fifth Governor Lachlan Macquarie. One of the stand out ideas that Bashir explored in her speech was the notion of the origin of Australia‘s “fair go“ tradition.

It was, however, Macquarie‘s treatment of the convicts in his charge that earns our respect and admiration today. This was more than humanitarianism; it was nation-building. The colony needed a workforce, the larger the better, and Macquarie believed that when a prisoner had discharged his debt to society he should be “eligible for any situation which he has, by a long term of upright conduct, proved himself worthy of filling.“ Bligh had granted only two pardons during his term as Governor. Macquarie, between 1810 and 1820, granted 366 pardons, 1,365 conditional pardons and 2,319 tickets of leave. According to Ritchie, the policy of emancipation was “the child of Macquarie‘s heart, more instinctual than theoretical“. In his softer moments — Ritchie wrote in 1986 — he viewed the convicts as children of misfortune. Believing in the intrinsic worth of individuals, he offered them hope; he aimed to encourage redemption, to promote self-respect and, ultimately, a social regeneration. He nurtured a dream of what the new country might become … In raising people to positions of trust and authority, he drew no distinction between the free and the freed; his object was to eliminate faction and to introduce harmony. Can we not see in Macquarie‘s example of tolerance and humanity the beginnings of the great Australian tradition of the ‘fair go‘ — the spirit of egalitarianism, the sense of fair play that many regard as our defining characteristic as a people?  He believed that everyone deserved a second chance, whatever his past deeds or reputation. And to a large extent that belief was his undoing.  It led to the appointment of J. T. Bigge as a commissioner to inquire into the colonial administration. Bigge‘s damning report was deeply wounding to Macquarie‘s pride and reputation. But he never abandoned his faith in human decency and the principles of fairness for which he stood throughout his term.

Several ideas that Australia Day has left us with the idea of exploring the ideas that make Australian culture and physicality unique. We welcome the 13,000 people that have become Australian citizens today, we wish everyone a “fair go“ in the coming year. Notes. 1. Australia Day Wikipedia 2. Australian Republican Movement 3. ABC news Vizard hand back 4. Australia Day speech 5. Governor Macquarie Wikipedia

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Travel well Fleet Foxes

2009 kicked off in a subdued manner. Over our heads lay the threat of doom, gloom, crisis and all good stuff that sells newspapers. Out of place least expected came the Seattle born indie outfit Fleet Foxes.

The Foxes played Melbourne January 2, 2009 at the Prince in St Kilda, to a capacity crowd. In the silence we waited with bated breath for Robin Pecknold, Skye Skjelset, J. Tillman, Casey Wescott and Christian Wargo to enchant one and all with their eccentric lyrics and vocal harmonies — what a special experience in live performance. One recommends to bend over backwards to see these extraordinary people soon, while they are playing in smaller and in humbler venues.

Visit Fleet Foxes here

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