Teaching Art and Design for Woking Borough Council’s Party in the Park 2017 Exhibition

It’s great to be in a position to give something back to the local community. For the last few months I’ve been working with Woking Borough Council to develop art and design presentations for local Schools, Art and Community Groups.

I was chosen having won their art and design competition last year which was celebrating H. G. Wells 150th Anniversary. This and the fact I collect music made me a very good fit to educate potential entrants on the subject and background for this years competition.

The subjects for the art and design competition are two bands with local connections, ‘Status Quo’ and ‘The Jam’. Rick Parfitt of Status Quo, who sadly died last year was born in Woking and all the members of the Jam went to School in Sheerwater and lived in the Woking area. It’s a celebration of Status Quo’s long career and the 40th Anniversary of the Jam’s first albums (they released two in 1977).

The aim is for entrants to submit their own creative response to the music of these bands within the size of an old standard vinyl LP (Long Player) sleeve which is approximately 31.5cm square. The selected entries will be framed and exhibited at ‘Party in the Park’ on the 8th July 2017. As over 20,000 people attended last years event, it’s an amazing opportunity for young and old artists alike to showcase their work. From those selected to exhibit a winning top three will be awarded prizes on the day.

One of the main problems to overcome is that despite the resurgence in recent years of vinyl most of the 15-16-year-old student’s parents, lets alone the students wouldn’t have used this musical format and as expected, most hadn’t heard of, let alone seen a vinyl LP. The same could be said for the two bands concerned, despite their respective long careers. They’re simply not on the school kids musical radar as they’re not in the charts, which even with the access to a vast amount of music via streaming sites tends to be at this age, the focus of their listening.

So a lot of the presentation I’m giving is about these bands, their music, videos and album covers. Also as nothing is written in isolation, I’ve explained in broad strokes what life was like in the 1970’s in England. This covered the 3-day week, the rise of the National Front and subsequently the Anti-Nazi League, the IRA and mass unemployment to mention just a few key issues. To counterpoint these rather depressing subjects I also explained that conversely, it was the most amazing decade for music, covering soul, glam rock, prog rock, electronic music, punk and new wave.

In some cases, I’ve also been asked to cover my path from school to graphic design and marketing. Covering the multitude of options an arts qualification opens up to you in the different sectors of the creative industry.

Talking about my two main passions, art and music has been a pleasure but also a challenge to make it relevant and interesting to this age group. Also as I said earlier, it feels great to be giving something back to these students and although it’s a lot of information for the students to take in over a relatively short period of time, they’ve all been attentive and wonderful audiences.

My tour giving these presentations finishes this week and then after the entry deadline has passed my next job will be as part of a panel, select the artworks to be in the exhibition.

I’ll post images of this as and when it happens.

The HG Wells based design for the Woking Beer Festival Glass 2016
The HG Wells based design for the Woking Beer Festival Glass 2016

Glass Design for Woking Beer Festival 2016

The HG Wells based design for the Woking Beer Festival Glass 2016

The HG Wells based design for the Woking Beer Festival Glass 2016

If you visit a pub in Woking of go to the Woking Beer Festival later this year you’ll see an illustration of mine adapted for beer mats and this year’s beer glass.

Last year Woking Borough Council had a competition to find an image that could be used to promote H G Wells 150th Anniversary and the series of events they had planned to celebrate this and his association with Woking. My image was one of two winning images and was made into a limited edition print, which as I write this has nearly sold out. So if you’re one of those who’ve bought a print, thank you. It’ll help raise funds for the Lightbox in Woking.

My image was also chosen to be the lead image of the events campaign throughout the year, to be used on posters, the programme of events, banners and signage throughout Woking. This has been great exposure especially as the 10 metre high banner in the centre of Woking is obviously quite visible.

The image was originally sketched out from memory on a Post‑it note (see image below) and then gradually refined.

War of the Worlds Post-it Note sketch

War of the Worlds Post-it Note sketch

A few months after the exhibition at the Lightbox in Woking, CAMRA (the campaign for real ale) contacted me with the idea of adapting the same image to be used on this year’s Woking Beer Festival glass and beers mats. Over the months we’ve adapted the design to suit the beer glass printing process. Beer mats featuring the main element of the glass design are already out in select local pubs.

Previous years glasses had been quite weak graphically speaking so I wanted mine to be bold, have impact, especially the typography, so it wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the powerful image.

Also being involved with promoting events for clients in my day job, I thought they were missing a trick, so I also added web addresses and hashtags to the glass design to help market the event and improve social media coverage.

Hopefully, this will help this now established event get more exposure that previous years.

If you have an event coming up, be it a business exhibition, a talk or any event where you’re representing your company and their brand values, please get in touch. I know we can help you maximise the opportunity.

H. G. Wells Exhibition at The Lightbox in Woking

H. G. Wells 150th Anniversary Exhibition at The Lightbox in Woking, March 2016

H. G. Wells 150th Anniversary Exhibition at The Lightbox in Woking, March 2016


Back at the end of March the Exhibition to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of H. G. Wells was held at The Lightbox in Woking. Woking Council are holding a series of ‘Wells in Woking’ events over the year. Details can be found here. H. G. Wells lived in Woking for only a short time but wrote his most famous book, ‘War of the Worlds’ in this period and used local landmarks throughout the book.

David Dragon and myself were the winners of the competition with my image being chosen to lead the whole season of events. You can see the event catalogue, just one of the elements using my image being held by the two ladies in the image below. My image can also be seen on pull-up banners at the Lightbox as well as poster campaigns in the local area, lamp post banners, a ten metre high banner in the centre of Woking and a whole host of digital applications and branding.

It’s great getting recognition for your work and to have it seen in the local area. Prints of both the winning designs were created in partnership with the Ochre Print Studio in Slyfield, near Guildford. They’re also made into a limited edition of 50 silkscreen prints, available to buy from the Lightbox in Woking for £80 unframed each. Profits go to help community programmes in the local area.


If you like the image please leave a comment and please get in touch if you’d like any event posters designed or know of anyone who does. If you refer me and it leads to business, I alway reward the referrer.




H. G. Wells Competition Winners and organisers at The Lightbox, March 2016

H. G. Wells Competition Winners and organisers at The Lightbox, March 2016

Wells in Woking Event Catalogue at The Lightbox, March 2016

Wells in Woking Event Catalogue at The Lightbox, March 2016

H. G. Wells 150th Anniversary Exhibition at The Lightbox in Woking, March 2016

Wells in Woking Pull-up Banner at The Lightbox, March 2016

Banner Design in Woking, Surrey for H. G. Wells 150th Anniversary

Banner Design in Woking, Surrey for H. G. Wells 150th Anniversary

5 Ways to get a better banner design

War of the Worlds Banner Design in Woking

War of the Worlds Banner Design in Woking

A banner design using imagery from my competition winning poster, has now appeared in Woking, Surrey.

We design banners for many companies, usually for company openings and business exhibitions but very rarely are they 10 metres tall!

Most companies when requesting a large exterior banner design, think it means they can put more information on. This simply isn’t true, especially when you consider that most people will be viewing the banner design from a moving vehicle.

We often get presented with paragraphs of copy and many images to try and use in their banner design. In these situations we have to show examples of good and bad banner designs and hope they realise we know what we’re doing.

Having had the really large banner erected in Woking this week, I thought it would be a good idea to give some simple rules to help guide potential clients. Following these tips for outdoor and indoor banner design will market your business in a positive way.

1 – Keep it Simple

When designing outdoor or indoor banners for your business, it’s best to keep the design simple and easy to read. Too much copy and too many images will just confuse. Each banner should contain one message and a clear call to action. Also the less copy you have, the larger it can go. This is really important on outside banners, where they’ll be viewed from a moving vehicle.

2 – The amount of copy will depend on the position of the banner

Outdoor vinyl banners have to be easy to read in a few seconds. If it’s and outdoors banner would you be able to read it all easily driving past at 30 mph? If an indoor banner design, can you read it all easily, passing at walking speed? If not reduce until you can. If you don’t the important piece of information like you telephone number or website address could be missed, making the banner, in effect useless!

3 – Make it stand out… but don’t make it look cheap, unless that’s your intention

In most cases we’re designing the banner to fit within a company’s brand guidelines and so the colours are set. If this isn’t the case, the best colour combinations tend to be contrasting colours, black on bright yellow, black on white and white on blue.

4  Call to action

You must always tell the viewer what you want them to do after viewing your banner design. It could be to visit a website, or call a number. Whatever it is make it clear using scale and colour. Studies have found that drawing extra attention in this way increases the likelihood it will be remembered by 78%.

5 – Consider the location of your banner

Before you brief us, do you know where it’s going to hang? If so take pictures, especially if it’s a long distance away. If local, we can always visit the site to make sure we can figure out how best to hang the banner design. As you can imagine, there are many options allowing for size, weight, weather conditions etc., the important thing is that we allow for these things when working on your banner design.

Banners can make a statement, but only if they’ve been designed effectively as you can see above. It’s quite difficult to get right and there are enough poor ones out there to confirm this. This is why we exist, we’ll take all these problems away, allowing you to do what you do best, work to your strengths. You’ll get a better final result, without all the headaches.

So if you’re thinking of having a banner designed for a local event or to promote your company, please get in touch using the form below. At the same time check to make sure you have permission to hang your banner in that location. Some landlords and local councils can have certain rules about these things.

We hope to speak to you soon!


Charity Logo Redesign – Share the Light

A Logo redesign for the charity Share the Light

A Logo redesign for the charity Share the Light

A month or so ago we were approached by one of the Directors of a local charity “Share the Light” who realised their logo was outdated and not exactly inspiring. They wanted a logo redesign but wanting to spend their money where it would have the most benefit, meant funds were always diverted somewhere else . This meant things like logos, branding and marketing materials tended to always fall by the wayside. As one of the Directors is a client of ours, our name was mentioned as being able to solve their problem and a call was made.

The charity has grown out of a school project which was so successful they wanted to continue the work. This charity raises money for scholarships to put Zambian children through further education. This financial support is needed as a lot of children sadly have lost their parents to the AIDS epidemic in the country. The aim is through education they’ll create the businessmen and women of the future, who’ll drive Zambia forward. Currently there is a knowledge gap and so a lot of expertise has to be hired in from abroad. This charity aims to change this. It’s basically helping the youth of today help themselves and providing opportunities that would, without this charity’s existence be out of reach.

I think you’ll agree it’s a very good cause. We thought so and agreed to help.

We’re still in the early stages of this logo redesign but already it’s taking shape and moving forward. Above is just one of the initial ideas we’ve submitted, placed next to their current logo. The new logo redesign takes the flame from the previous logo and using the colours from the Zambian flag creates a shield like emblem. This could also be used for their social media streams going forward, something you must consider when doing a logo redesign nowadays. The lettering is more compact and uses a pencil for the letter ‘i’, a reference to school and education. The new logo makes better use of space and so has more impact. The logos above are the same width but you notice the one on the right more due to the improved use of space of the logo redesign.

We’re awaiting feedback from the client but hopefully the new logo will be launched soon.

We redesigned logos for a lot clients over the years and if your logo is more than 5 years old, you might want to consider getting it updated. It’ll all depend on the type of business and your target audience as to whether it’s in need of a logo redesign. We can advise you on this so please get in touch. Also if you know of any companies who are looking for a logo redesign or may benefit from one please refer us to them. The initial meeting is free, so it’ll cost them nothing for professional advice.

Richmond Business Club introduction before the talk about design and marketing
Richmond Business Club introduction before the talk about design and marketing

Design and Marketing talk at Richmond Business Club

On Monday night I had the pleasure of giving a short talk on design and marketing at the Richmond Business Club.

The room was packed with local and not so local businesses. It was great to be able to explain how we help businesses large and small achieve their design and marketing goals.

Neville Godwin of ngd Agency giving an overview talk on design and marketing.

Neville Godwin of ngd Agency giving an overview talk on design and marketing.

One of the great advantages is that is it’s just outside of my usual networking area so all the business were new to me. I got a great response from the audience with many wanting to speak to me afterwards, which was rewarding. Quite a few people said that unlike a lot of the design and marketing talks they’d heard, I’d spoken in clear, simple terms, rather than using ‘marketing speak’. I’m glad they noticed that as ‘marketing speak’ is one of my pet hates, people ‘pushing the envelope’ and all that rubbish.

Neville Godwin of ngd Agency giving an overview talk on design and marketing.

In the presentation I outlined the areas of design and marketing we support business in. These are:

Graphic Design

  • Artwork
  • Design

Marketing Strategy

  • Review
  • Strategy
  • Implementation

Social Media

  • Presentations
  • Strategy
  • Training
  • Managing

We work with both companies and budgets large and small. We also offer a FREE design and marketing review, which is a great way for companies to see if they like what we see before asking us to support them in any of the areas mentioned above.

Neville Godwin of ngd Agency giving an overview talk on design and marketing.

If you run a business networking group and would like someone to talk about Branding, Design and Marketing, including Social Media Marketing please get in touch. If the logistics are possible and the opportunity rewarding enough I don’t charge to talk as meeting the new businesses is reward enough.

My next talk is this Friday on the benefits of investing in design for a company. All interesting stuff I’m sure you’re saying to yourself…

So get in touch for a Design and Marketing or to book me to talk. I look forward to hearing from you.

All images taken with gratitude by Denise Toye.




H. G. Wells Poster Competition Entry by ngd Agency
H. G. Wells Poster Competition Entry by ngd Agency

H. G. Wells, International Poster competition

Last year I did a blog post about a design I’d done for Woking Borough Council’s H. G. Wells International Poster Competition. Well today I’ve just had some great news, my poster design has been selected as one of the two winners!

The poster competition was devised to help promote the 150th Anniversary in 2016 of H. G. Wells, who wrote his famous book War of the Worlds’ whilst living in Woking, Surrey. The poster design will now be screen printed in an edition of 50 at Ochre Print Studio for Woking Borough Council.

The poster competition winners will then be displayed during several events this year including an exhibition at the Lightbox, Woking at the end of March 2016 and then in a permanent exhibition at the H G Wells Conference Centre.

What a lovely start to the year. 

Logo Design - Simplicity is often the best route
Logo Design - Simplicity is often the best route

Why Your Logo Design is Everything. (Part 1)


Nike, Shell and Apple. What do they all have in common apart from very large marketing budgets – they also have really simple, visually recognisable logo designs.

Your own business logo is just as important as these iconic brands. You may not have the turnover or public recognition but your logo still needs to summarise what your business is all about. Done well it’ll distil it down to a simple graphic or font choice. This is a pretty tall order but it is possible..

A great logo design tells customers your story.

A lot of small and not so small business owners believe this is one area they can save money because it seems like a simple thing you can take care of yourself. But in the same way that having a camera doesn’t make you a photographer, or pots and pans a chef, I’d suggest you hire a professional, so at the end of the day you look professional.

Sure, you’ve got a computer that has come preloaded with 50 fonts. You also like the colour orange so it’s pretty much a done deal! Well no… You should ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you want your logo design to be memorable and tell your unique small business story?
  • Do you want your small business to have a unique voice that sets it apart from your competition?
  • Do you want to influence your customers to feel things just by looking at your branding? Maybe you want them to understand it’s a premium service and so they shouldn’t expect you to be the cheapest but one of the best. This will stop many tyre-kickers even making contact and so you’ll be able to spent a lot more of your time focusing on giving the premium service to your clients.

Anyway if the answer is yes to any of the above points, you need our help. 

Give us a call, we’re here to help, we’ll work on a bespoke design options while allowing you to work to your strengths.

A great logo design tells customers you’re different.

I’ve been to so many networking meetings where I’ve been handed a business card with an obvious template based business card and logo. We’ve all seen those adverts for Vistaprint and the like. Press this button and type in your name and it’s done. The TV commercials make it sound so simple. This all sounds good until as happened at a networking event I was running, you meet someone with the exact same branding as someone else. I asked these two people what their company was and they had to explain that although they looked the same they were in fact two very separate companies! Worst still one was a bookkeeper and the other a personal fitness trainer! One or probably both of them had got it completely wrong. All this to save a bit of money but what is the real cost?

Basically if you don’t take your company seriously, how can you expect others to as well?

  • Admit it – when choosing from the selection of template logos, there wasn’t one that properly described your company? So even if you look at the one you selected, there’s something not quite right, something missing. It doesn’t matter if you can’t tell what it is, that’s our job and when you get in touch we’ll tell you.
  • Doesn’t your company deserve a logo design that tells your own unique story?
  • Doesn’t your company deserve a logo design that reflects the true quality of your product or service?

If the answer is yes, you need our help.

In part two the final part, I’ll talk about getting trust through Logo Design and take you through how we handle logo projects, some samples and testimonials.

Part two can be found here.

H. G. Wells Print Design
H. G. Wells Print Design

H. G. Wells Print Design Competition

Every so often I do a personal project to keep fresh and just to do something without the constraints of a brand manual of the client’s brief. This was one such project.

Next year, 2016 is the 150th year anniversary of H. G. Wells birth and local artists are being invited to submit a print design of H. G. Wells’ most famous book “War of the Worlds”. If one of the two selected, the print design will be made into a silkscreen print edition at Ochre Print Studio.

H. G. Wells moved to Woking in May 1895 and although only staying here for less than eighteen months, it was perhaps the most productive period of his writing career. While in Woking he planned and wrote The War of the Worlds and the Invisible Man’ along with a number of short stories.

H. G. Wells Poster Design

My H. G. Wells Print Design

To commemorate this anniversary, Woking Borough Council, has commissioned two original screen print editions.

Cllr David Bittleston, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Cultural and Community Development says:

“This exciting commission supports our plans to commemorate the life and works of HG Wells in 2016. Called the ‘father of science fiction’, Wells’ success and rise to fame is inextricably linked to Woking, which inspired him to pen The War of the Worlds and other best sellers.

A great illustrator himself, we hope this project will capture the imagination of local artists, who can still draw upon many of the things that influenced a young Wells’, while of course adding their own contemporary interpretations and artistic flare.

We look forward to seeing in print, two artworks that add to the next chapter of the enduring Wells and Woking story.”


My print design is titled “Look Up” and the image stemmed from listening to the Orson Welles radio adaptation at school to modern day movies via Jeff Wayne. War of the Worlds is something I’ve grown up with.

Having lived in this area most of my life, I’m proud of the local association, especially now as my home backs onto Horsell Common. This image was originally sketched out from memory on a Post‑it note (see image below).

War of the Worlds Post-it Note sketch

War of the Worlds Post-it Note sketch


I wanted to include elements from different ages to reflect the longevity of War of the Worlds.

In my mind I saw 1950’s film posters, 1970’s comic books, b-movies, Robbie the Robot and the quite recent Tom Cruise film of the story.

I wanted to create a classic Invasion poster but with a geometric, contemporary slant. This is why I placed the ‘Fighting Machine’ centrally and made the main heat-ray fan out to hit the bottom corners. This not only gives the image structure but acts as a tractor beam for the eye drawing you up to first the copy and then the alien’s Tripod.

I’ve used Benday dots to create a pulp fiction/comic feel. And then found an old comic of a running crowd to again hark back to old style invasion comics and films. To bring it up to date I’ve included two recognisable buildings from modern day Woking to sit behind the looming towers that creates the background for a screaming woman.

The selection isn’t being made until early next year so until then it’s fingers crossed.