Trains mean so many things. We've just started working on a rebrand for the National Railway Museum and in these early stages, it's been really quite nourishing spending time amongst these big beasts.
I've been particularly taken with a 1930s locomotive designed and built in the UK for the Chinese that was captured by the japanese in WW2 (still going strong). It has 4 main wheels so it could climb the extreme landscape of the Chinese interior. It's enormous, a proper train.
These engines changed the world. And now they sit in a big building, waiting for the chance to do it again. Testament to the passion and engineering skills of Great Britain, they are an overlooked heritage and yet they inform the future of sustainable transport. These big beasts are more about the future than the past than we'll ever know.
We're doing some work with the highly regarded Sheffield lensman Shaun Bloodworth at the moment and purely by chance he discovered our interest in all things food related. Now I accept the blog has become somewhat food obsessive, but I'll rely on someone else to address the balance (it'll sort itself out in the long run).
Turns out he's done plenty of food related photography of world famous chefs and supre interesting food scenarios...here's just a few examples, I was well impressed:
Salt cod in situ on a Norwegian archipelago
Foodie superstar chef Alain Ducasse in Paris
El Bulli's Ferran Adria demonstrating his latest technique for making candy floss sardine bones (really)
For more great shots have a look at Shaun's site here
Was the off the record response from the client after we'd presented design work this afternoon to Leeds College of Music.
It's nice to get a positive reaction to any creative work as anyone in our game will testify. But this was over and above what we expected. So we can go on the record as being just as chuffed as the client.
The new brand refresh for Leeds College of Music is really only just underway and we're just getting to grips with this fresh and dynamic brand identity. It feels like a very exciting identity to be getting to grips with - it's kind of eccentric and difficult to handle, but we like challenges. As soon as we have some of the prospectus design work approved we'll let you have a look and you can tell us what you think. In the meantime, here's how it's shaping up...
As some of you know, I'm more than a little bit obsessed with food and it was with delight I saw that Little Chef had asked Heston Blumenthal to develop an experimental menu for one of their restaurants.
Now I've not been to the Fat Duck (heart of Heston's empire), but I've heard great things about his food and I was really looking forward to seeing what he had in mind for the Popham restaurant (no, I've no idea where it is either).
I couldn't quite work out whether the Little Chef bosses were serious about turning around the ailing food chain's fortunes by enlisting the creative thinking of one of the world's top chefs or just seeking a cheap publicity stunt. Although the last programme declared the experiment a success, I guess that time will tell and I'd be interested to know whether his recipes are still being served - Ox cheek and all. His new take on the road warrior's favourite meal - The Olympian Breakfast - looked tip top.
The revamped interior designs also looked the part I thought and the designers had certainly had some fun with the space. They didn't have a hard act to follow as previously they were absolutely shocking. I've never seen so much brown in my life. The graphics were by Praline - well done guys and interiors were by Ab Rogers - all very good stuff indeed and fantastic to see the design actually contributing significantly to the overall food experience.
If you haven't put your name down for one already, you have to get your hands on a Kingsbury Press 2009 diary. Designed by Thompson of course.
Just in today (what's a few days in January anyway) they really are a thing of beauty.
Richie Bassett's magnum opus, completed shortly before he left us for pastures new, has been beautifully and painstakingly produced by Rob and his team at Kingsbury Press. They have surpassed themselves and when you get one of these babies in your hands you won't be disappointed.
Keep your eyes peeled on the design blogs for a more in depth overview on the contents and production notes.
Spent a very cold but hugely enjoyable weekend in Berwick upon Tweed recently. Famous for being the town that has changed sides more than any other in the UK, it has a lot going for it.
If you've ever done the east coast mainline to Edinburgh you'll have travelled across the famous viaduct and seen the town sitting there, all picturesque and interesting. It has much to commend and on a winters book club visit recently we visited the best restaurant and the only pub that's worth drinking in.
I've never been to a town that's so heavily fortified - it started off with the Romans of course trying to keep the Scots out, then in the middle ages it was more of the same and then in Elizabethan times it was further fortified against the Spanish I expect. The second world war saw huge gun emplacements added to the armour. All defending against an enemy that never came knocking...
It really is business as usual in Thompson Towers at the moment. Back with a vengeance and only two weeks into the new year and the team is firing on all cylinders. We've not had the time to feel sorry for ourselves that we're in January - the way it's going, we'll have blinked and it's gone.
It's great to have so much new stuff to get our teeth into. Hot on the heels of the pre Christmas client wins, there are tenders everywhere (not chicken tenders, more's the pity) and opportunities all over the place. I'm quite buoyed by the activity and I'll try not to tip into seething rage when thinking about the media's economic meltdown message I'm constantly getting.
There's one thing that I've completely not done is introduce Paul - our new designer - who joined us just before Christmas. Now I did ask him for a photograph which he hasn't supplied so I'm afraid he'll just have to make do with this one. Quite a good likeness I can assure you.
Normal service will be resumed on the blog next week, its been so busy I've not had the chance to give it the love it so craves.