Branding, Design and the Apprentice


apprenticeI’m a massive fan of the Apprentice and Sr’Allan and I watch with glee every week to see whether the contestants will attempt to sell cheese to France or E-numbered up lollies to kids or anything else that would be deemed car-crash TV. It’s fun to watch and to imagine you’d do it differently.

This week however, took the biscuit.

Granted, none of this weeks team losing claimed to be creative but they did have a  Sales Consultant, Retail Business Manager and Senior Business Manager on the payroll. So how on earth did they fail to get the message of re-branding ‘MarGAYte’ accross in their posters and leaflets..?

Not enough time to design

Design can often be left to the last minute but with design adding so much value to a business it deserves a lot of time, care and attention. Particularly in this task where the branding and design was everything.

Too Much Information

Their posters included a small essay on each, loads of teeny tiny pictures and correct me if I am wrong, but was that not a diarrhoea brown throughout the design? It’s too easy to try and get as much information as possible packed into a small space, whether in print or the web. The hardest part of design in my opinion, is knowing when to stop. With last nights episode, it would seem the contestants had the same difficulty.  Simplicity is they key with a poster, it needs to be visable from a fair distance away (think from a train carriage, moving car etc) so legible text and striking enough to grab attention.

To quote a poster design website:

Getting your message across clearly, inventively and in as few words as possible is key to making a casual glance into a desire for more information.

Unfinished Product and Dishonesty

When we design, we will often show a client a semi-finished design so they can see the website is progressing and lets them provide feedback. What we would never do is provide a website to them with empty areas – these would be filled with anything from Lorem Ipsum  text to stock images, really anything BUT an empty space. Why did they not draft a quick advertising box with dummy text and images then repeat throughout the whole of the whitespace? They could then have easily got away with saying it was left for advertising and would have taken minutes to knock up and repeat (and would have avoided lying!)

Research and Improvising

Maybe it’s the Geek in me but does no one know how to Google on that programme (are are they not allowed)? When researching Margate why didn’t they spend 1/2 hour on the Internet looking at how other seaside towns have done it in the past. Maybe they are not allowed to go on the Internet but if they are then here’s another option for the ‘”bad photography”…iStock or some such similar!

I’d love to see them use Google a little bit more and see how it would improve their tasks, imagine the time they would save, the people on Twitter that would no doubt offer help and all those extra resources at their fingertips. But maybe that wouldn’t be such good telly?

Want to see the pitch in action…

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  1. I guess they probably don’t – even Nick only says the odd word like his comment on the blank space or the perfume/oil costs!

  2. The ice queen has got to go but she’s great tv which is why she managed to survive last night. I guess the designers they use on the show aren’t allowed much input cos I can’t imagine any of them choosing the beige brown.