Design for growth


I recently attended a talk for the DBA ( Design Business Association) by Michael Thomson an eminent design strategy specialist and an expert on national design policy.

His talk was to a group of design agencies, VMAL included, and the focus was a deeper understanding of design-led strategic thinking that will enable business growth.

I found his talk quite eye opening and practical and realised that it has a strong relevance to a lot of small to medium companies and that is why I am writing this post

Michael has worked in Austria, Iceland, Ireland, Italy and Qatar and with the European Commission in Brussels. and has also advised large public sector clients in the UK and well known brands such as Ecco, Tupperware and Dyson.

I will present some of his facts and add some of my own:

Lets start with an example:

Schreyer, the designer of the Audi TT Coupe, was hired to overhaul Kia’s lineup and allow the Seoul-based automaker to charge more for its models.

Here is a little quote from Kia’s website

DESIGN MEANS EVERYTHING.It could only be a Kia. Our commitment to design is such that we hope when you look at Kia, you’ll recognize it instantly. Clean, contemporary lines. Bold, aggressive touches. The distinct tiger nose grille. An aesthetic that’s both playful and considered—that’s Kia.

Governments and the public sector and many companies big or small do not necessarily view design as an important part of their marketing strategy. They see it as a nice thing to have . The thinking is “If things are clean and look good then it will project a nice image”

… but the facts on the ground show that companies with design as a strategy actually increase their bottom line.

Here are are some interesting studiers:

The design council says “For every £100 a design alert business
spends on design, turnover increases
by £225.”

Another study on the impact of design innovation service on technology companies show the following:

— 80% changed strategic direction– accelerating
them towards a customer rather than
a technology focus
— 80% reported a changed mindset, culture
and vision
— 75% invested significantly in design and
are confident of a return on investment
— 50% saw better management or a reduction in
commercial risks
— 35% changed product or service

Some companies that have used design very effectively as an integral part of their brand include Apple, Fisher & Paykel, Dyson, Joseph and Joseph, IKEA to name a few.

Here is a quote from an article by Adam Swann on Forbes website:

To illustrate, Apple, the epitome of a design-led organization, now has a market capitalization of $570 billion, larger than the GDP of Switzerland. Its revenue is double Microsoft’s, a similar type of technology organization but one not truly led by design (just compare Microsoft Windows with Apple’s Lion operating system).

I rest my case!


40 Hidden messages in Brand Logos


Great logos can look really good without being overly clever and surprisingly some of the best known brands have incorporated clever hidden messages within the logo that many of us haven’t even noticed! British plastic business card printer Oomph! has compiled a nice list of these logos, see below:


VMAL 3D Animation Showreel


3D Animation

As well as static CGI’s for building developers we also excel in 3D animation.
View our new 3D animation show-reel . Give us a call to find out what we are capable of.

Directional signage at Alexander House



Hi All,

VMAL create gorgeous professional signage and finally we are putting up directional signage at our own Offices – Alexander House!
Here are our signs in Darren’s office waiting for Garry our fitter.

Shana Tova greetings from VMAL



Shana Tova greetings from VMAL

Is your branding, marketing or website not Attracting clients ?

NEW Union flag for post Scotland independence



As reported widely, the Union Jack that we all know fondly and has been our national flag in its current format for over 200 years could be changing if Scotland votes yes on Thursday.
VMAL a london based design agency has been entrusted the task of redesigning the Union Jack for post-independence Scotland if that happens.
Ok only joking!, but here are some versions amongst them some serious contenders:



This version is the one we know and recognise, and have had since 1801


This version is leaves out the St Andrews a white diagonal “Saltire” cross on a blue background and replaces the white background with a navy blue to contrast with the royal blue thereby keeping the original iconic shape of the flag but in effect removing the St Andrews flag.


This version also leaves out the St Andrews cross and replaces the entire white and Royal blue background so that there is no remanant of the St Andrews cross.

This version is a very likely contender as it leaves out St Andrews cross and keeps the white coloured background of the St George’s and St Patrick’s Crosses.


In the next versions we retain the iconic shape of the three crosses but in order not to represent Scotland we have changed the complete colour scheme:


This version is in classic racing green reminiscent of Britain’s great motor history and a homage to Ireland’s national colour. This version of the Union Jack is similar to ones emblazoned on the roof of Foxton’s Fleet of Minis!


This version is my favorite! The colour of England’s Crosses are red, and orange is a softer red, besides looking nice and retro!


This version is a very nice compromise as purple is a cross between red and blue of the orginal flag.


This version is a post-ISIS version that we created to future proof the flag since they aim to rule the world. ( I hope I am joking …)

Interactive Media Award for VMAL


Interactive Media Award

Hi Everyone,

The VMAL website has just scooped an Interactive Media Award – and I am not surprised! are you :)




Marketing yourself or your business – what you need to know




Here are 5 W’s of Marketing yourself or your business:

1) Who – Identify customer groups
2) What – What are their needs
3) Why- Why should they buy from you?
4) Where – Where can I catch them to sell to them
5) What – Identify the media

There is also an H…
How – measurement of KPI’s that give you the ROI

Lets run through the 5 W’s first…

1) Who – before Identifying who you think your ideal customer is or what broad appeal your product or service has you should do some research.
Many businesses have failed because they relied on a whim of someone who liked a particular food or type of clothing only discover that it was a subjective need or taste.
A fashion brand once invested a lot of money in the early eighties is a pair of trousers that had a wide rubber inner waistband so that people could wear the trousers round their stomach without it falling down to their waist .. yes you got got it,most people wear their trousers at their waist! and yes; it did fail!
So do some research first search Google , that is a good starting point, look at your competitors, conduct a survey in your local area or if you have the money contract a Marketing Research company – this will tell you the “Who” and maybe answer the next question…

2) What are their needs, You need to market a product to your customers needs, hopefully you have recognised a real need for what you are marketing but you can actually create a need…Hagen Dasz created a market for ice cream in the winter by marketing  it as an appealing and indulgent.

3) Why – the reason why they should buy from you is because you or your product is unique – this is your USP – unique Selling point.
A good exercise in working out your USP is by creating a tagline or strap-line or in Networking terms your 30 second introduction.

4) Where  - see example in my previous post in June

5) What – What method will I reach my client:

TV or Billboard campaign – Both these types of advertising are for businesses with big budget who want to raise awareness of their product.

Email campaign – if you use an email service such as Mailchimp, Aweber or others  - An Email campaign has an added benefit of being easy to track who has opened your email.

Do I do a leaflet drop – This is a relativity low cost marketing method but not as cheap as email!

Social media or Google Adwords campaign – you pay per click but can bring good and targeted ROI

A Website is both an online shopfront and if created with marketing in mind can capture leads for a targeted campaign.