A ‘bostin’ day at Birmingham Design Festival

Recently I joined the Naked Marketing creative team on a day trip hto attend the first ever Birmingham Design Festival. A celebration of the local, national and international design industry, the festival indulged visitors by treating them to a very high calibre of speakers.

With a lot to squeeze in, we started with a talk from Lou Hisbergue, a graphic designer from design studio North, who spoke about their work on the Science Museum Group rebrand. Highly in-depth, the presentation gave a lot of insight into their strategy, the ideas they explored and developed, and how they used the final brand to create sub-branding for the family of museums. This was followed by a presentation on designing with data from the team at RG/A who gave their perspective into how using digital technology and data insight helps to innovative new products and exclusive services for their clients that have a casual yet direct approach to ensure closeness to customers.

Above: The Science Museum logo and brand guidelines

After lunch, we experienced a frank and honest talk from Russell Clayton of Rosie Lee on how they as a team use their differences of opinion to create some of the best creative work for the likes of Nike, Samsung and Heineken. He explained that he and his fellow director Mark are the complete opposites in so many ways, and that this often causes conflict between them. However, they use these contrasting views to create some of the best creative work for their clients. What was also interesting is how they both manage to run their business together despite one being located in New York and the other in Frome – Devon!

Above: Trevor Beattie, advertising extraordinaire

The pièce de résistance for us all took place during the evening, with presentations on advertising and branding from design heroes such as Marina Willer from Pentagram, Trevor Beattie, advertising extraordinaire and Norwich’s very own Jim Sutherland of Studio Sutherl&.

Bidding a fond ‘tara-a-bit’ to the festival, we all came away feeling truly inspired and loaded with new knowledge and insight. Always looking to develop what we do professionally, we can apply some of these new learnings and inspiration to our very own projects.

(Image credits: Science museum, Birmingham Design Festival)

Reposted from Naked Marketing


Winter series podium continues winning streak

In my spare time I rather enjoy being out and about on my mountain bike. Competing at a region level i’ve been fortunate enough to make the local news quite consistently over the past few months with my race successes.

Taking the Senior Female Champion win at Mud, Sweat and Gears was definitely the highlight of my 2017 summer season, and I’ve managed to continue this success at the Kings Lynn MTB 2017/18 Winter series.

A back to basics MTB winter race series for novices through to seasoned riders, the Kings Lynn MTB 2017/18 Winter series takes place across two counties, taking in some old favourites and fresh single track over four rounds.

Above: Just about managing to keep in-front of fellow racer Alison Goss

Having had three successful races in the series already, I was keen to finish off the season with a race win at the fourth and final round which took place at Shouldham Warren. Starting on the front row with yet another good start I found herself battling for the race lead with fellow racer Alison Goss who pushed me all the way to the finish. Luckily my consistent pace allowed me to break free and ride into the arena to secure first place, and more excitingly another series champion win.

Above: Taking the King’s Lynn MTB Winter Series championship

My ambition is to continue to train and race over the 2018 Mud, Sweat and Gears season with the aim (hopefully) to be faster and stronger to compete in the 2019 HSBC UK National Cross Country Series.

I’d best get training!


The art of hand-lettering

Typography is an essential skill for any designer to possess. The trouble these days is that it’s so readily at hand – a tap away on a keyboard in your favourite font and Bob’s your Uncle! Typography can have a habit of losing its personal touch and, with this in mind, I took part (alongside Simon and David of Naked Marketing) in a short course in hand-drawn lettering at Print to the People to inject some personality into our typography.

Our tutor, illustrator and hand-drawn typographer Beverley Gene Coraldean of Geneality Art, began with a brief introduction to typography; its origins, the basic rules and all the different formats and styles which can be created. Then, taking our newly provided brush-tipped pens in hand, we embarked on practicing the basic strokes required when drawing type. Holding the pen to its side and pressing down hard created thicker down strokes, followed by bringing the pen slightly away from the page, so that the tip is only just in contact with the paper, for the thinner up strokes. Sounds easy doesn’t it… it was surprisingly hard to get it right!

Next we progressed to drawing individual letterforms shortly followed by whole words with joined up characters. Once we’d mastered this (well sort of!) we where then encouraged to create extra flourishes and curves in-between the letters – this is where the character and artistic nature of hand-lettering could really be explored.

Above: Try out my brush pen to create some hand lettering

The afternoon session is where we advanced to the bit we were all really there for… creating hand-drawn postcards developed from our skills gained in the morning. We had use of layout paper (semi-translucent paper, perfect for tracing), allowing us to retrace our favourite lettering and refine curves and lines, and a photocopier in case we needed to enlarge anything. Once we were ready it was time to be brave and take pen to postcard! This is where the lightbox came in very handy as we could use it to trace our lettering onto the thicker A6 card.

It’s fair to say that myself, Simon and David loved the course and now feel fully prepped, armed with their brush-tipped pens, should the opportunity come along to add a personal touch to our clients’ work.

Reposted from Naked Marketing


Be Prepared

I’m quite an organised person. It stresses me out if i’m late for an appointment, if i’m lost when trying to get somewhere or if the house is untidy. Therefore it’s an absolute must for me to prepare the day before a race so I know, in my mind, that I’m all set to go. Heck, I can’t rest easy the evening before until it’s all ready. Most mountain bike races are on a Sunday and I normally have to leave quite early to ensure I’m at the course early enough to practice.

I think it’s the worry of forgetting something silly like my helmet or my cycling shoes, in the rush of packing in the morning, that unsettles me.

So preparation is key! A clear mind means more focus for winning the race, hopefully! Here’s a run down of how a prepare for a race…


I give the bike a quick once over, making sure it’s race ready. This includes making sure the nuts and bolts are tight – having your handlebars move halfway through an obstacle is not what you need! I make sure the brakes work and are not rubbing, and of course make sure the tyres have air. Exact tyre pressure will be assessed again in the morning of the race depending on the terrain. Bumpy grass or muddy wet trails for instance will require a lower pressure than a hard, dry and flat surface.

I also make sure I have my race number. If you’re taking part in a series of races you are allocated a number on your first race which you must keep throughout. Failure to do so means a new number and a charge!


Time to pack my big bag of kit. This list will differ depending on time of year. In essence less kit for summer races, lots of extra warm/waterproof kit for winter races. My basic kit bag contains the following:

Cycling shoes with overshoes if the weather is wet or cold

Helmet with buff underneath to cover my ears if its cold or particularly windy

Gloves normally I pack 2 pairs: full fingered and half fingered in the summer and a choice of full fingers thin and full fingered thick in the winter

Glasses (clear or sunglasses – although 90% of the time I race in clear due to a mixture of light levels during the race – wooded areas vs. open areas)

Towel for drying off after a wet race and it’s a useful aid for discretely changing out of your kit after a race too!

Dry clothes for after the race – normally jog bottoms, a t-shirt and a hoody – something warm and comfy. Add a warm coat, scarf, gloves and hat for winter races

Spare socks just in case – I hate wearing wet socks!

It’s abit sad, but my kit prep goes as far as laying out my clothes that I’m going to put on in the morning on the floor ready to go.


Food and energy is key when you’re racing, even for a shorter 1.5 hour race. For this length of race you may only need gels and electrolytes, but for 2+ hrs you may need to consider food also.

Most races I compete in are the shorter variety so I normally pack a gel for each lap (normally 4 or 5). I also pack enough energy drink for half a bottle per lap (drinking is important for me during racing as I often cramp up if I don’t drink enough. A banana comes in handyabout 30 minutes before the start, and a protein recovery drink for afterwards.

Some like to pack food for eating after the race too. I personally skip this bit as my stomach takes a while to settle after a race and I don’t normally feel like eating until at least 3-4 hours after.


I’ve almost finished prep, honest! Once the above is all done I pack everything into the car. Pop the back seats down, slot the front wheel off the bike and it fits in like a dream. I also at this point make sure I have an idea of how long it’ll take me to get the the venue and set my alarms accordingly. I like 3 alarms split 15 minutes apart for getting up in the morning.

Carb loading 

Now the last bit – carb loading. Yummy! Now all the above is done I can finally relax into my Saturday evening knowing everything is set to go for the next day. All I need is a good carb loading meal. Pasta is normally my choice with a side of garlic bread, veg and chicken breast.

Now it’s time for a good nights sleep…


‘Working out’ to create a brand

Helen Barnes has been my personal trainer for quite some time now. She’s totally awesome and has helped me get fitter, loose weight and get back on the podium at my MTB races! When she asked me if i’d be able to help with a little project which involved creating her a brand and designing a workout diary for her clients, I was delighted to have the opportunity.

First of all, after an initial chat about what Helen had in mind, I got sketching. Many of the concept where based predominately around stylised typography and fitness based iconography. After another quick catch-up the sketches where digitalised so that Helen could see a select few designs come to life.

Energetic personality

The final solution combines a ‘H’ and ‘B’ within a solid roundel. This represents Helen’s ability to provide an all encompassing fitness programme suited to her clients needs and goals. The blue mottled background adds depth to the logo and reflects Helen’s fun and energetic personality.

Now we had a logo we could move to the next stage and create Helen’s workout diary. To be used as a go-to guide, clients would be able to keep a record of each training session. Furthermore it would contain useful tips on what to eat and how to portion food out.

In conclusion brand and workout diary have been very well received by Helen’s clients which is great news. For me it’s been a great opportunity to mix two of my passions (fitness and design) and as a client myself, I love having my very own booklet to record everything in one place.


A zest for advertising

Zest Car Rental have grown to become the number one car hire broker in the UK. They needed an advert design which would feature within the National Geographic Traveller magazine in their ‘Natural wonders of the USA’ feature. In addition, the magazine doesn’t normally contain car hire adverts so this seemed like a great opportunity to capitalise and promote the brand.

The advert had two objectives: To drive National Geographic Traveller readers to book their car hire through Zest; and to promote the brand as honest, reliable and trustworthy in an industry full of unclear terms and pricing.

Creating a concept

Creating a concept based on the objectives came quite easy as a result of Zest’s USP’s. Furthermore their great customer service positions them as a leader in the market.

Zest are the only broker with zero-excess liability on all bookings and offer unlimited mileage and a fair fuel policy – this was sure to stand out to potential USA travellers.

The following selling points were also noteworthy:

No nasty surprises. All costs are outlined through the booking process.

Unlimited mileage. Enjoy the open road without limitations.

Feel covered. Zero excess liability as standard.

Fair fuel policies. You won’t be charged for someone else’s fuel.

Easy booking. Simple rental. Hassle-free car hire.

A picturesque advert design

The final result focuses on the unlimited mileage policy Zest offer. The USA is a big country and those who hire a car probably don’t want the worry of large bills for excess mileage. Consequently the advert design uses imagery of a road which seems like it goes off into the distance – a picturesque landscape with the sun setting between mountains. In addition the foreground of the advert has a barrier blocking the way – conveying the message that customers shouldn’t be held back by limited mileage.

In conclusion the advert design received great feedback from the client and has since appeared used in the National Geographic Traveller magazine.

This project was commissioned at Naked Marketing


How competitive are you?

I can’t help myself – I love to be a little competitive. Infact I think it’s a very healthy disposition to have. It helps you learn and strive forward – for something more, for something better.

It’s what makes me tick to some degree. Whilst i’m guilty of occasionally getting stuck in my own comfortable little bubble (aren’t we all?), it only takes someone to say something, or for me to snap out of it and engage the brain, to get right back on it again – to keep that yearning for something more.

“How competitive are you? How does it fit into your day-to-day life? I seem to use competitiveness quite a lot…”

In the design studio…

Graphic design in my opinion is incredibly competitive. On an individual basis, creatives are always searching for that really clever concept. The one where others go ‘I wish i’d thought of that’. This in itself can be a challenge, however it’s what drives us and keeps us on top of our game. It gains you respect from colleagues, from other agencies and of course from clients.

In a broader sense, design agencies as a collective often have to tender/pitch for work against each other too. It is a competitive market out there and, lets face it, it’s always really nice when your design work, knowledge and business/work ethics are enough to win over a client.

Working out at the gym…

I like to exercise, be that in the gym, running around the park, or cycling! Using competitiveness is a great tool, infact it’s the perfect tool for testing yourself against your last best time. Who doesn’t want to be on top form? Yes its hard, tough and very exhausting, but what a great sense of achievement when you’ve beaten your last PB. Even my personal trainer has cottoned onto my competitive streak and often sets me a gym challenge with a time to beat.

Away from the gym there’s the ParkRuns – I’m yet to do one where I haven’t beaten my last PB, which is great. This often comes down to the fact that on the day I always pick someone at my pace or slightly faster to try and keep up with. I just can’t help it!

And of course, I do compete in MTB races. This is where my competitiveness to be fitter in the gym pays off on the race track – though I do tend to measure my results over a season rather than just a couple of races due to the many factors that can make such a difference on race day. Sometimes it really can be about being the tortoise, not the hare!

…and even at home!

Ha ha, who doesn’t like beating your better half at something? Just this weekend I enjoyed a little gloating having beaten my partner at a game of table hockey in the seaside arcades. What great fun.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s good to be competitive – whether that’s for self improvement at work, getting fitter at the gym, or indeed for a little jovial fun at the seaside. It leaves you with a sense of achievement, confidence and best of all, happiness.


Go on, you know you want too

I’ve been thinking about it for ages. What’s stopping me? Life’s too short isn’t it? Go on, make it happen – bite the bullet!

It’s new years day 2017. My social feed is full of stuff about new beginnings, new years resolutions, fresh starts. There I am sat with the webpage open, daring myself to do it. To move my mouse over the button and hit submit. Click!

“Oh my goodness, I’ve done it! I feel so pleased with myself! I’ve just entered my first ever Spartan race.”

Obstacle races have gained immense popularity over the past couple of years. Tougher Mudder… Spartan… Bear Grills… all there to test your fitness, strength, resilience and most of all, your ability to get muddy… very muddy!

Setting the challenge

I’d been thinking of doing a Tougher Mudder or Spartan race for quite sometime (like two years!!) Having done some research on what each race was about, the levels of difficulty and seeing peoples feedback – I choose to enter a Spartan Beast race. The toughest of the Spartan races available, I’d read that the races themselves were more challenging than Tougher Mudder with trickier obstacles and often further distances. This would be a real challenge and something to set my mind on for developing my fitness over the coming months (mixed in with my MTB racing of course!) It wasn’t until I saw my personal trainer a couple of days later that she made me realise that I’d entered a half marathon with 30+ obstacles mixed in for good measure! Gulp!


So my main challenge for the event is learning to running – I’ve never (ever!) been a fan. With that in mind I joined the running club at the gym which meets every Wednesday evening, and when I’m not MTBing on a Saturday I do the local 5k ParkRun. Having other people to meet and run with is a real incentive for me. I’m pleased to say that to date, my longest run has been 7 miles, and i’ve achieved a PB at every ParkRun I’ve done… though I’m sure I can’t maintain that forever! My personal trainer has, rather sneakily, been slipping in sprints into my sessions most weeks too. It all helps I guess!

Over the next couple of months I need to be getting the distance in – to be running those 10k’s, and more if I can – to build up my endurance. I know I can do it, my head just need’s convincing.

Anyway, that’s enough about running! The moral of this story is to go out there and do it! Take the plunge and make it happen. Stop thinking about it, free your mind and push (or click) that button! It’ll make you feel elated I promise!

Go on, you know you want too…


Looks can be deceiving

This is Wilson, our very photogenic (if he stays still for long enough!) 2 year old Labrador. He’s the perfect candidate for some dog photography practice.

We love him to pieces and can’t imagine life without him now. He’s a real terror sometimes, especially if he’s not had his walk in the morning or night. Here’s a few photographs of him looking all cute and adorable…

Check out more of my photography here

Jodie Cole Dog Photography Norwich

Check out more of my photography here


Capturing a boutique essence

Capturing the essence of this boutique north Norfolk hotel and Michelin starred fine dining restaurant was a photography delight with so many lovely rooms to shoot.

Morston Hall is an award winning country house hotel and restaurant located 2 miles from Blakeney on the North Norfolk coast. They had recently built a new wing to accommodate more clients which needed capturing, and they also needed some fresh photos of the rest of the hotel for use in press releases and across marketing materials.

Efficient photography

This assignment taught me alot about being efficient with my time as I had a big shot list to get through in just half a day. I believe I still managed to capture some great photos and i’m delighted to have them as part of my portfolio.

This was a photography commission through Naked Marketing