March 6, 2014
The National Open Art Competition is now calling for entries of new, original artwork from both amateurs and professionals for this year’s competition. Celebrating the 18th year of the competition, this year’s judges include Norman Ackroyd RA, Vanessa Branson, Caroline Irby, Chris Orr RA and David Middleton. Read more about the competition and the judges here.
With a total prize fund of £60,000, and entries welcomed across the mediums of painting, drawing, original prints, wall hung installations and computer generated art, it is truly an open art competition. The competition exhibition will be held at the prestigious Somerset House this year from 18 September – 25 October, as well at other venues through the year.
The closing date for entries is 6 July 2014. Spread the word.
View all the competition information here.
February 5, 2014
Pancreatic Cancer Action have recently launched a range of ‘Understanding Pancreatic Cancer’ guides, the first three of an extensive series.
Designed by the team at Mzuri Design, we are very pleased to be working closely with Ali Stunt and the team at Pancreatic Cancer Action, alongside Consultant Surgeons and a Medical Writing Manager, on this important project.
Only 10% of the 8,000 or so patients who are diagnosed each year in the UK are eligible for surgery, and this is the only cure. This is because 90% of these patients are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at a stage which is already too advanced. The goal of Pancreatic Cancer Action is to get more people diagnosed at a stage where surgery is still a possibility.
These booklets are intended to educate, inform and advise. They are comprehensive guides to explain every step of the cancer and the surgical procedures not only to the patients but also family and friends, in an easy to read and easy to understand manner, providing help, support and information at a time when patients and those around them need it most.
We hope these guides are a great success and look forward to continuing to work with the PCA team on the next instalment of guides, which will be released later in 2014.
If you would like to find out more about the wonderful work carried out by Pancreatic Cancer Action visit pancreaticcanceraction.org
January 15, 2014
We hope this blog finds you all well rested after a lovely Christmas.
If you are anything like us, you arrive back from work in the New Year fired up and ready to take on the world. Or, at least, those jobs that you really want to get licked this year. There is a unique optimism and energy at the beginning of a new year that needs to be harnessed to the max.
Like lots of businesses, as well as looking forward, it is also the perfect time for some reflection and the team at Mzuri plan to take a good hard look at our own marketing (what’s that I hear you say about practicing what you preach!) and have started to plan the changes we want to bring about this year. It is a red letter year for us this year: 2014 – the year that sees Mzuri Design turn 10! Exciting times.
So, we have started putting pen to paper writing our 2014 wish list – a new website, renewed email marketing, exhibiting at events, upping our social and mobile presence, an office refresh, more team get togethers (including a 10th birthday celebration of course!), exploring new opportunities and markets, creating inspired direct mail for Mzuri… the list goes on and on (and then will be sensibly tempered to what is achievable!). We will also be reflecting on our values and mission - the reasons we established a company 10 years ago and have been giving it our all ever since. It’s all about making sure we keep achieving the very best for our clients each and every time.
Enjoy writing your new year lists everyone – I hope you are feeling inspired, motivated and energised and that you have a great 2014 in business.
December 19, 2013
This year we would like to show our support for our friends at the charity Dreams Come True, in their work to fulfil long held dreams for children with terminal and life limiting conditions.
So, instead of sending printed Christmas cards, we will be making a donation to Dreams Come True to help them give these brave children and their families some golden memories and happy times together, despite their illnesses.
See below for more information about Dreams Come True and the fabulous work they do. www.dreamscometrue.uk.com
Wishing you all a merry Christmas and very best wishes for 2014.
Please note our office will be closed for Christmas from 5pm Monday 23 December until 9am Thursday 2 January inclusive.
For any urgent queries during this period please email email@example.com
November 5, 2013
It’s not often that we are asked to access the child in us in the course of a day’s work but the new website for Kids Clubs Directory demanded just that! The design of this site, with its fun ‘clublets’ and attractive brightly coloured layout, was the result of a careful balancing act between appealing to adult/parent site visitors and advertising members but also creating an eye-catching ‘childlike’ look and feel to express the intent of the site to offer an activity directory for children.
This innovative new directory site is aimed at parents looking for one off and on-going activities for their children and its enormous breadth and diversity of options meant that our challenge would be centred around making the site as intuitive, simple and straight forward to use as possible for both visitors and members alike.
To achieve this clear-sightedness in the site, by definition, meant that a huge amount of data would need to be processed efficiently and in a number of ways. As a result the programming and build of the site was a complex project with layers of architecture and automation to facilitate as much as possible internally, reducing the load on the site administrator and simplifying the front end processes.
Our client, Rachel Harris – Director of Kids Clubs Directory, wrote a lovely letter after the site was launched…
I just wanted to thank you for all your hard work in putting my website together. The website has been a great success with the clubs and activities that it represents.
I was particularly impressed at the way that you grasped an understanding of my business needs and the complexity of the website it required. You came up with some fantastic enhancements which will really make a difference to the way the business develops.
…Your commitment to producing the website was exceptional. I always felt that you were keen to give me your best work and it was pleasure to do business with you. I’m looking forward to Phase 2 and will be in touch in due course…
With Kind Regards
November 4, 2013
While thumbing through a recent paper over the weekend we came across some interesting and staggering statistics on Google and the growth of the web since 1998. We were so surprised we thought we would share them with you in our own infographic style…
October 16, 2013
We recently designed, developed and launched a new website for our client ESS LLP. Although the overall site plan is a simple one the challenge lay in accommodating all the necessary variables. As the company has more than one focus or ‘arm’ the website needed to accommodate the potential requirements of several very different groups of visitors and express a range of stand alone key messages while staying firmly on brand and retaining the simplicity required by the client.
We approached this project by planning the site in two halves, both relatively similar but accessed independently from icons on the home page. The two halves of the site, ESS LLP – Energy Saving and Contracting and ESS LLP – installing and servicing Nuaire Ventilation are not interlinked and so act as separate and independent resources. In addition, an icon linking to a pre-existing site (Oleonix Solutions) was also added to drive traffic to that area of the client business.
This solution to the challenge of bringing multiple areas of the diverse client business together in one website, whilst maintaining their individuality has worked very well and the client is delighted by the result.
Predictions from those in the know suggest that the rise in real time, social related marketing heralds a distinct decline in the traditional scheduled ‘marketing campaign’. This new style of fluid relationship marketing will change the face of the traditional spend on marketing and alter the landscape of accepted channels of communication. Customers interact with websites, on social platforms and with offline content at their own pace, when it’s relevant to them, the challenge for marketers is to be there when the consumer is ready, not when the business is.
So what else is new?
The increasing fluidity of the marketing mix is affecting Search Engine Optimisation too. Looking ahead, SEO will become less and less about the technical aspect of on page promotion and more about really good, valid, original content that can be socially consumed and shared.
Lines between SEO, social media and content are continuing to blur more and more as time passes and focus shifts from on page SEO to the mix of off page SEO options.
While we understand that the focus of online marketing is all about the content, it shouldn’t be forgotten that a picture paints a 1,000 words. Sites like Instagram and Pinterest have it sussed but the expansion of social sharing is a huge opportunity to make sure that your pictoral content is working as hard as everything else you do.
Along with everything else you need to consider there’s now a new term for making sure you are seen as a good company to do business with. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ‘Reputation Management’.
Reputation Management, as you might imagine from the name is the practice of managing your business reputation both on and offline as a provider of goods and/or services. We’ve all seen reviews of businesses online that make you determined never to use that particular provider….ever…but just how do you legislate for that one, ‘impossible to please’ customer who just won’t give you the chance to resolve the issue? Well the answer is you can’t, but you can turn it into an opportunity to demonstrate just how good your customer service actually is via a range of media and with a selection of effective tools.
October 15, 2013
We were recently approached by local catering equipment hire company Crystal Hire Ltd, who asked us to help them update and modernise their company brand as part of a business wide brand development project. The project, going forward, will encompass web, printed collateral, stationery and email marketing, livery and signage. However, the brand itself was our first priority.
We were delighted to be asked to help with this project and rose to the challenge by working with the client to create a detailed and target specific brief for the new brand. Parameters regarding colour, font and style were soon established and the final selection was swiftly narrowed down during a meeting in which we were able to make amends and adjustments on the spot until a winning version was refined!
The new brand is clearly an evolution of the old one but is elegant, modern and clean with a dramatic twist provided by the peacock blue key colour which will look striking against the client’s black livery as well as on more standard white backgrounds for stationery and email.
The remainder of the project is still a work in progress so watch this space for new updates!
October 7, 2013
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You may remember a recent blog of ours showcasing our latest work for Prior’s Field School to design promotional stationery for the Art Festival, which gave people the opportunity to sign up and try new crafts for a day. Trying something new always gets my vote, which is why I couldn’t resist signing up for a class. I chose an introduction to silversmithing, I mean it can’t be that hard, right? Wrong!
The day started off quite nicely, a cup of tea and a tour round the school to get acquainted with surroundings (and the obligatory health and safety briefing). Then off to work we go.
Firstly, we had to decide if we wanted to make a ring or a bangle. I don’t think the instructor Mr Rood (who was excellent) expected trouble from his adult class, but he soon realised that for most students, a simple straight ring or bangle wasn’t going to satisfy the creative bunch who had arrived.
We then had to measure our finger / wrist to work out how much silver we needed to make our chosen piece of jewellery (using paper, which is far trickier than it sounds), including any extra we might need for design elements. We then cut the wire with piercing saws ensuring no rough edges. Then the hard work started, using a mandrel to shape the metal from straight wire to ring or bangle shaped. Some members of the class even decided to shape their pieces with twists and create extra loops to add a flourish to their design.
Once round, and overlapping (or a very small gap between the two ends), pieces were fluxed, so that when soldering the metal wasn’t scorched. A bit of silver solder and a hand blow torch was all that was needed to join the two ends together, though as we soon realised, it was much easier to achieve this with a ring than a bracelet. The pieces were then quenched in water and filed to remove any bumps or sharp edges to give them a more professional finish, then further filed with a fine file to remove any scratches.
Then the best bit, polishing to a sparkling piece of jewellery. All members of the class produced a piece of jewellery of a decent enough standard to wear. I’ve been wearing the ring I made every day since I made it, and was surprised at the achievements we all made in such a short space of time.
Thanks to Prior’s Field School for organising such an enjoyable weekend! I know that when I met up with other participants who had been in sculpture and sewing groups, they had just as good a time as I did. My only regret was not having signed up for a class or two on the Sunday….
If you fancy trying something new, keep an eye out for next year’s activities which should not be missed!