Category Archives: graphic design

Taking a step back to take a step forward

Are we as designers now depending on using a computer to do the work for us?

As a team in the studio we often have discussions on how we can give a greater service to our clients, how we can make life ‘easier’ and more productive between the clients and us. One of the issues we seem to come across quite often is portraying our ideas over to the client using scamps.

In previous jobs we have only supplied simple line drawings accompanied with a blurb about what our ideas are. Yes, this sometimes gets agreed first time, with the client getting the ‘idea’ straight away, but often the process takes longer than it really should. Once the idea is approved the client will often not see what the advert or campaign will really look like until the final piece, thus meaning the client could feel unsatisfied and the process may have to start again.

Our idea was to take a step back from the computer, and to create a personal hand drawn, finished scamp (as seen in the image below) using colour and detail, so that the client would get a real image of what the final piece would look like.

Scamping in progress

Using this technique is helping the process from getting the initial idea to the client, to the final piece, easier. The client is happy as they can see we are putting the effort in straight away from the initial ideas, and for our benefit we now have finished scamps that we can take to show potential new clients how hard we work for our current ones.

Final piece



Filed under art direction, branding, graphic design, logos, Presentation, Scamp, Uncategorized

The real world but not as we know it…..

The real world, but not as we know it. The film industry has a great influx of new digitally mastered films, with the likes of Transformers being a massive hit. There are more masterpieces in production, so I thought I would examine a few, that I think look amazing.

Tron: Legacy

Tron Legacy is a contemporary version of the ’80 cult classic’. The Big wigs in Hollywood have now made a more slick and finished version and it looks awesome. I’m not too sure of the plot, but as you can see from the trailer, the graphics will definitely impress.





Alice in Wonderland

The genius that is Tim Burton has re-made this Disney classic. It follows the familiar, weird, and wonderfull style of other Tim Burton films i.e. Beatlejuice? If you’re looking for an all round ‘realistic but surreal’ graphic set-up then this is one to see.



There is news of a new Toy Story film coming out early next year, so let’s hope it gets here sooner rather than later.

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Filed under branding, graphic design, Uncategorized, Video

The art of Art Direction

As a creative, one of my key roles within the industry is Art Direction. Mostly this involves steering the way projects end up, both strategically and aesthetically, through the use of substract, type, image, shape and colour and on the odd occasion with the use of light and/or moving image.

My most recent AD assignment took me down a quite unusual path as the requirements were very specific but at the same time awkward.

In short, a new client had asked for a photoshoot to help promote the launch of a new range of products. Established for over 140 years, but needed to develop and modernise the brand, re-invent themselves, new markets, new opportunities,  etc etc. Only problem was, the photoshoot that they wanted was full of high expectation… “ Can we have a 30-35 year old with an Audrey Hepburn feel/Claudia Schiffer age/Girls Aloud attitude, finally can we get it done and printed for Tuesday last week!!!

Of course we delivered, because that’s what we do! Right? Where was I going to find a FREE model of that age, hair that could be styled and with plenty of slap on could be transformed and commercially acceptable.

They say “never work with animals and children”. I’ve got one more to add to that…. THE WIFE!!!!!

Check out the before and after shots for yourself!!



After 1

After 1

After 2

After 2

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Filed under art direction, graphic design

Macformers – Robots in disguise

Quick blog…I recently came across this great piece of footage of a Mac that transforms…don’t believe me? Check the video out at

What’s amazing about this video is that it seems so ‘real’, the camera never really changes focus, there is still camera shake, as though this is ‘really’ happening, and the commentary finishes it off, as you can tell that the person who is watching the transformation, can’t believe whats happening.

Great piece of video manipulation.

Mac's can now transform

Mac's can now transform

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THERE IS HOPE FOR REDUNDANT CREATIVES – you just have to put your back into it!

Hi, I am Jules, the Studio Manager. When I was asked to write a Blog for Big Cat, I was a little nervous. Having never done one before, I was at a loss what to write, apart from the joys of studio admin! But then I thought why not write about my experience getting a job with Big Cat, and what I think so far…

I joined Big Cat in Jan 2009. Made redundant from an in-house Studio Manager role – which was as corporate as they come – recruitment agencies told me I would never get an into an agency, I felt a fight rise in me. I had the skills, and I wanted to show an agency what I could do. So instead of waiting for recruitment agencies, I got on the case.4278_96820457473_672137473_2524555_2650555_n

I understood the fees for recruitment agencies. They are extortionate. Especially when you think that those fees could be going towards 3, possibly 4 brand spanking new macs! So an excellent selling point was that my next employer would have no hidden charges or extra fees, plus, I looked pro-active, before I had even stepped into the interview. I searched on google and contacted as many as I could. Then I stumbled across Big Cat’s website, and I liked it, so I emailed.
When Big Cat called, they had a position, and it was exactly what I was looking for. It had been 9 years since I had been interviewed so I was nervous of course, but I really surprised myself, I came across well, and I came away feeling exhilarated, and inspired. I remember the Director saying, ‘We are like a big family’, and at the time, I thought back to all the politics in my previous job, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The change in environment is a lot different. It is, well, like a family!
The first night out I had with BigCat was at the Old Library in the Custard Factory, we had the whole venue to ourselves, we had a gorgeous meal cooked by the Director’s, and were all dancing around with no shoes in this huge, stunning Gothic room to eighties music, it was such a contrast, it was amazing.

I think it is safe to say I am glad I was made redundant. And, for those of you that are in that position, take control, don’t rely on other people to find you work, be pro-active, and don’t stop until you land a great job too! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you are fast approaching… if you really want to be. It took me three weeks, that’s all.
In fact, go on to google now and help your self, it’s much more rewarding!!

Follow me on Twitter: @glitzyjules

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The value of work experience…by Sarah Stephenson

One of the photos I took in Birmingham

A photo I took in Birmingham

I am currently studying a BA (Hons) in Graphic Communication at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. My University was very keen for all second years to gain some work experience in the summer holidays before we went into our final and most important year of our degree.

So before the end of term in June, I began emailing graphic design agencies all over Birmingham. Thankfully, Big Cat replied, and after a short interview I started at the beginning of July. I am so grateful for all the help and guidance that I have received in the few weeks that I have been here.  The opportunity has been so worthwhile and I have gained an insight into designing for the real world.
I have been on two photo-shoots, created illustrations, and produced ideas and scamps for live briefs. Nathan also joined us for a week’s work experience in mid-July, and we rummaged through rubbish bins and created letterforms. Our input into one particular brief helped to create a unique and exciting piece of design, which felt great to be a part of. I have also been around the sites of Birmingham and took some abstract photographs, and got very messy when I helped with the interior design of the Old Library at the Custard Factory.
I have had such a beneficial time at Big Cat, and would advise anyone who will soon be let loose in the real world to get some work experience. It has definitely been a wake-up call for me, and I am now wiser in what standard I need to be at by the time I finish University; it is so important to absorb yourself within the graphic design industry and begin to make contacts as soon as you can.

Thankyou very much Big Cat!

You can now follow me on Twitter: @sarah_steve

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The Beauty of Branding

At Big Cat Idea, we are often asked what is it that makes a great logo? The answer can often be very difficult as it is due to personal likes and dislikes.
There are some cool sites out, which talk about the beauty of the logo. So I thought I would take some time out to show these site and explain what they do.

Logo Lounge: Explains the current trends in logos, and has some nice examples of how these trends are being executed.

Just Creative: Nice blogging site, which is really informative about the world of design, the link, has nice example of ‘What makes a good logo?’

Graphic design blog: Looking for a weird or playful logo? Check this site out, there are some nice examples on this site spend some time on these, they are very clever!

Graphic design blog: Again this blog come up trumps! This time it explains certain logos that have hidden messages. This is cool.

Spyrestudios: A nice site to get inspiration from. You can get an idea for a logo from anywhere! Urban typography is the key here.

TobleroneToblerone is a logo that I recently discovered has a symbolic image, can you see what it is? it is really cool once you figure out what it is.
I hope this has helped, I certainly enjoyed looking at all the links myself have fun.


Filed under branding, graphic design, logos