Make your corporate movie modular

Web based video not only has instant widespread and global reach but, when executed well, it influences audiences in ways that no other medium can. Video is a powerful platform for delivering your corporate and brand messages, whether that be for product promotions, introducing the new CEO or delivering effective training materials for your employees.

But how do you ensure that your corporate video has a long shelf life? How can it remain relevant and not become obsolete shortly after you have approved the final edit?

MM have just completed updates to the first version of ArcelorMittal Downstream Solutions corporate video which is entitled: “In the next 90 seconds…” The first version of the film was completed in 2018 and, since then, the film has enjoyed widespread distribution by ArcelorMittal and its stakeholders.

At the end of 2017, MM successfully pitched the concept of a modular structure for ArcelorMittal’s new video. The creative concept was built around multiple, fast paced journeys in different parts of the world. Throughout these journeys, to school, to work, to the airport, home, to a holiday destination, a business trip to the other side of the world, we pass countless instances of ArcelorMittal’s innovative products and their applications.

The highly visual video sequences are punctuated with momentary pauses where we can see selected ArcelorMittal Downstream Solutions products animate, as vivid 3D wire frame illustrations. Displayed against a temporarily frozen backdrop of live footage, a dropdown menu of further applications is revealed before we are hurled back into the accelerated journey towards the next pause and product feature.

“It is breathtaking stuff that breaks the mould of the traditional ’talking heads’ video (although this can be a very powerful format too), but what is truly exciting is the fact that this stylistic approach delivers a tonality to the film which underlines ArcelorMittal commitment, and its confidence, in ‘transforming tomorrow’. More than this though, the film’s modular structure gives ArcelorMittal opportunity to swap and replace featured products and applications as and when it needs to, in order to better reflect its changing business focus and priorities” says Martin Hinchcliffe, Creative Director at MM.

Sarah Brown, Marketing and Communications, ArcelorMittal WireSolutions adds: “Version 2 of the video has just been released. The modular nature of the storyline has enabled us to make important changes to version 1 and replace certain sequences with new ones, whilst still retaining the integrity of the film. What’s more, this is something we can keep doing into the future, without having to fund a totally new video”.

MM produce highly engaging video that captivates audiences, inspires action & drives results for businesses and their brands. 

Let’s talk about your next future-proofed corporate video.

martin@mmdesign.co.uk

New acquisition for MM Design’s studio gallery

art-blog-banner

MM Design is celebrating after submitting its winning bid to acquire a rare portfolio of original 1968 silkscreen prints by the British Pop artist Gerald Laing.

The portfolio of 5 silkscreen prints, recently purchased at auction in New Jersey, depicts dragster racing cars, an aspect of American culture that Gerald Laing first started to look at when he visited New York in 1963 .

“These cars, specialised to such a degree that their engines can only run for a few seconds, are designed solely for straight line acceleration over a (short) course. As wheels grip, vast rolling clouds of smoke from the burnt rubber of the tyres billow out behind the car, and when the engine is cut a few seconds later at the end of the strip, a parachute is popped in the sudden silence to bring the car safely to a standstill. The cars and helmets of the drivers are painted in bright heraldic colours and the cryptic symbols of sponsors; they race in pairs down the mile track in bright sunshine, and it seemed to me that they represented a modern version of the medieval joust in almost every respect. The extravagant and ruthless specialisation reminded me of the armour designed especially for the tournament; the ceremony and curious rituals, some necessary and some simply a matter of style, cried out for commemoration’.


art-blog-wall1

Painter and printmaker Gerald Laing, whose last works included pop art featuring the late singer Amy Winehouse, was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and had been living on the Black Isle, near Inverness up until his death in 2011. He spent much of the 1960s working between London and New York and was a close friend of artists Robert Indiana, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Laing’s particular interest was the relationship between photography and painting. For Laing, the dreariness and hardship of the post-war social landscape, suggested that the perfection of the photograph and the printed image, particularly in the form of the advertisement (with all its persuasive powers), represented not only an ideal but also a vision for the future. For many, this was a welcome and refreshing change and there was hope that this new aesthetic would gloss over a discredited past.

Although parallels existed between those US and UK artists who were to form the Pop Art movement, there remained a fundamental difference between the two. The Americans had experienced no recent social, economic or political hardship. They had grown up in the midst of the American Dream to which many young British artists were, at that time attracted, and by which many American artist were repelled.

The early 1960’s were were the earliest days of the “space race” between the USA and the USSR, which seemed to begin when the Russians put Yuri Gagarin into orbit in Sputnik I, followed in short order by the American Astronaut Gordon Cooper outdoing him by making 22 orbits. Pilots volunteered to attempt to withstand severe physical tests in the name of research. The general public followed these events with an avid interest, fascinated by both the risk and the technology – from the giant rockets, the capsules and launch sites to the spectacular space suits with their air conditioning in a small suitcase attached to each astronaut by a convoluted umbilical cord, and other arcane items such as zero inertia tools for use in weightless conditions.

art-blog-close-up1

Drag racing and hotrod building were a cultural phenomenon peculiar to the United States that was, to some extent attuned to the widespread and historic interest in speed and distance as a metaphor for progress. It began with illegal racing in hijacked cars on closed-off sections of the highway. (Think James Dean, “Rebel without a Cause” and cars racing side by side in pairs in a straight line). The ceremony, danger, imagery and accoutrements involved made it difficult for Laing to avoid comparisons with medieval jousting.

A Drag race is a quarter mile sprint from a standing start, in which the cars can reach a phenomenal 250 miles per hour in under four seconds. As the track or road runs out, engines are cut, there is dead silence, and a parachute is released behind the car to slow it down as safely as possible. Laing’s images such as AA-D and CT STROKERS show the moment of sudden acceleration and ferocious racket, when the engine howls and the enormous flat back tyres spin on the track throwing up clouds of black rubber smoke.

At the end of the summer of 1963 Laing returned (temporarily) to London to finish his last year at St Martin’s.

That November the shiny image of the USA clouded as Laing heard the news in his studio, when radio broadcasts were interrupted to announce the events in Dallas and Kennedy’s assassination.

Laing detested the talk of “Camelot” in Washington and Kennedy as the Arthurian hero and wrote:

“In spite of the extreme violence which pervaded the twentieth century, we had been presented with a sanitised version of the past, which produced in us a sense of stability and rectitude which was as deeply felt as it was false. Thus, when the President of the richest, most powerful, and apparently most moral country – the land of the good guys – proved to be vulnerable to the assassin’s bullet, it came as a terrible and fundamental shock, which obliged us sooner or later to adopt more realistic, if less comfortable attitudes. It drove from us our wilful naivete. Henceforward we became less easy to please or deceive, and much harder to placate.”

Gerald Laing revisited his interest in dragsters in 1968 and produced a limited edition portfolio of 5 screenprints: “AAD”, “Deceleration I”, “Deceleration II,” “Swamp Rat IV” and “CT Strokers”.

Thanks to www.geraldlaing.com for source material and Gerald Laing quotations.

Lots of Pictures, Lots of Fun at MM

photo-banner
photo-3

George Hatton, one of my art teachers at Cranbrook school in Kent was a major influence on my visual and creative development. George first showed Eduardo Paolozzi’s ‘Lot’s of Pictures, Lot’s of Fun’ to my GCSE Art O’level class in 1977 as an example, not only of an artist whose work crossed the disciplines of printmaking, collage and sculpture, but as an example of an artist who made reference to the work of other artists. George and the then head of Cranbrook’s art department, John Ivemy were both tremendous artists in their own right and very passionate teachers who arranged frequent school visits to London galleries. They helped students contextualise their own creative practise within a very wide historical and cultural sphere. I was able to talk about Paolozzi’s work at my interview at Maidstone College of Art where I studied from 1979 – 1980 with several of my friends from Cranbrook, John Skinner, Jo Godbolt, Sue Coombs, before moving to Sheffield to study painting.

Lots of Pictures, Lots of Fun (or ‘Pop Art redefined’ as it is sometimes known) was created by Eduardo Paolozzi at Chris Pratter’s ‘Kelpra’ Studio in London in 1971. While appreciative of Pop developments, Lots of Pictures, Lots of Fun is a cynical statement by Poalozzi, with Andy Warhol (Soup can), Roy Lichtenstein (coarse ‘dotty’ half tone printing technique), Ed Ruscha (SPAM) and Jasper Johns (American Flag) all receiving jabs, along with the collective weight of the elephantine American dominance over Britain, where Pop may truly be said to have begun, with Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton, Allen Jones, Joe Tilson, Peter Phillips and others including Eduardo Poalozzi himself, the Scottish born, eldest son of Italian immigrants.

What does a design agency do when a client wants to use their own photography?

A brave proposal by Tinder Foundation to use their in-house talent to shoot their own learner case study photography for the 2014 ‘Get Online Week’ campaign did, at first, strike terror in the minds of our design team. More used to art directing and shooting subject matter ourselves, the prospect of giving up control of this, the most visible of elements of a marketing campaign, was alarming to say the least!

You do however have to admire the motivation. Tinder Foundation’s unique business model and nationwide network of UK online centre delivery partners mean that they can deliver basic introductory IT learning for around £47 per head. When you consider the profoundly positive social benefits of a digitally literate nation, fronting this small cost should be a no-brainer for Tinder’s funders. The problem of course is not the unit cost but the sheer volume of people who are digitally excluded and the very large financial outlay required initially. There are an estimated 3.9 million disabled adults who have never used the internet and this is just under half of the 7.8 million adults who have never been online and who do not have access to social networks, health information or other life enhancing information and tools that the rest of us all take for granted.

Tinder is committed to reaching those left behind by the digital divide, and committed to providing their funders with more for less. Everywhere you look marketing budgets are being cut and yet there are inevitably, still big expectations and targets for engagement. By adopting a DIY approach to photography, Tinder is using limited marketing resources in a creative way, and in a way that involves their community of centres, learners and potential learners. That’s actually pretty clever, and it goes back to the basics of what Tinder does and why, underpinning their position as a credible catalyst for social change.

So, just exactly what does an agency do when a client comes to you with such a proposal? The decision to use real clients (learners in this case) in any communications campaign is one we applaud. The level of authenticity ‘real’ customers bring to a campaign can be very powerful and take the target audience a long way toward identifying with people ‘just like them’.

The question here though is not so much about the ‘what’ or the ‘who’ of the subject matter – which Tinder knows very well – but more about the location, lighting, composition, camera angles, relationship between subject and lens, consistency across the suite of images and that all important and magical element within a successful photographic portrait which is the photographer’s ability to elevate the sitter’s confidence and let them know that it is they who are in control, allowing themselves to be directed and photographed. In the words of the late Richard Avedon: “A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows they are being photographed, and what they do with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what they are wearing or how they look.”

It was our job as a design agency not to be artistically outraged at the thought of being usurped as professionals, but to enable and facilitate Tinder’s vision. MM spent time with Chris Andersson, Abi Stevens and Vicky Lawson prior to their first photo shoot advising on both technical and creative matters and we will continue to provide ongoing feedback on their photographs of real learners in their homes and in UK online centres as they move from location to location around the country. By helping them to consider the technicalities, design requirements and graphic message before they shoot, we’re creating a campaign that I think is going to be pretty special. And at the end of the day, that’s what MM is all about – working with clients to create great campaigns!

The 2014 Get Online Week campaign takes place 13-19 October.

Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom by Faille

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 09.43.47

Last night FAILE opened their new show in Vienna at Gallery Hilger NEXT, titled Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom.

“We are very excited to present a new body of work here. Both a personal show in its relation to our families and childhood memories as well as the looseness of painting and the process of making work in the studio.

As many of you know, we enjoy creating new bodies of work through various shows that relate to different themes or concepts. These help us grow as artists, explore new ideas that we’re playing with and push the boundaries of the work as we integrate these ideas and images into our practice.

This show is based at heart around childhood fantasy. From fairy tales, to drag racing stock cars, beauties and beasts, unicorns and jet engines this show explores the many archetypes of our youth. As we see our young children grow we are constantly amazed to see the way they interpret the world and the way the world is interpreted to them. This is especially true as we explore our own sense of myth making and fantasy through making images and creating visual stories that speak to the world of today – both from a current perspective and from the time that we began to be inspired as young kids.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 09.45.39

The artworks in this show are varied in medium. Harking back to the exploration of some of our earliest mono-prints with a series of unique works on paper, capturing the freedom and energy of painting and coloring. As well as larger narrative canvas works and assembled wood paintings. There’s even a series of patches that emblematize the many symbols found in FAILE artworks”.

While FAILE’s painting and sculpture have long played with fantastical characters and scenes, the new material that debuts at the Galerie Hilger NEXT delves into the uncanny realm of childhood memory, dreams, and exploration like never before.

Sometimes this is whimsical—many of the works depict familiar scenes of fairy-tales and mythology, re-imagined through FAILE’s system of juxtaposition and inversion. At other times—in the case of magazine-style centerfolds of tricked-out seventies muscle cars—FAILE invoke the near-talismanic objects of adolescent desire. Like the pop-artists that once inspired them, with Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom, FAILE zero-in on an icon of North American freedom during the 20th century, and the rich graphic culture that surrounded it, from uniforms and decals to posters and glossy magazines.

Formally, Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom is both an evolution and a departure from recent sculptural forms and assemblages with wood. Painting has long been at the core of FAILE’s practice, and here they take inspiration from the openness and simplicity of children’s drawings, emphasizing simplified but vibrant colors that underlie their screen-printing. While such an approach was pioneered by the Blue Rider Expressionists and Andy Warhol alike, FAILE’s work on paper adds a delicacy and chromatic intensity to this lineage. Of course, FAILE is well known for reinventing entire genres using their own rogues gallery of characters and typographies, and in Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom, they take on the graphic landscape of the racing world, envisioning “customised” new cars and presenting their logos as most teenagers would have seen them—sexy spreads attached to garage walls, or collectable patches to be sewn to jackets or driver’s gear.

Taken together, Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom’s works on wood, paper, and fabric are some of FAILE’s most personal to date, reflecting on multiple generations of family while creating an uncanny space of innocence and desire, and reveling in the freedom of the studio and the open road. You can see more at Faile’s website

MM’s new award winning home

MM-1-web

The University of Sheffield’s Arts Tower, incubator of architectural talent, was the fitting venue for the 2014 RIBA Yorkshire and Sheffield Civic Trust Architectural Design Awards on Friday night.

building-complete

SUM Studios, home to MM Design Limited, picked up 4 awards for Simon Gedye’s wonderful development of a Grade II listed Victorian School Board building. Heeley Development Trust’s amazing resurrection of a derelict school now provides some of the most inspiring and uplifting creative studio space in the region. SUM Studios was awarded The Peoples Award for Best Building (voted for by the people of Sheffield), and 3 Judges awards for Best Conservation, Best Community Development and The Sheffield Design Award.

A big thank you to all who voted, and also to the University of Sheffield, RIBA Yorkshire and the Sheffield Civic Trust. Congratulations also to the other winners!

B0LyOm5IMAA9sVb

Stiletto on the Lawn

IMG_3975

Moments of sunshine yesterday provided glimpses of strong linear shadows that stemmed from Michael Craig Martin’s sculptures and darted across the beautifully manicured lawns of Chatsworth House. Michael’s temporary installations in the gardens there are both powerful and witty. The collection of sculptures consist of 12 large 3 dimensional line drawings created in what looks like 20mm square section steel, forged and welded with the joints polished smooth and each one coloured differently using his signature colour palette of magenta, pink, purples orange and other bright colours. These pieces are both at odds with their green and pleasant backdrop and, at the same time, they relate strongly to it. The gardens and grounds are of course both natural and artificial. Artificial because they are the imaginative work of generations of Chatsworth House gardeners, including Capability Brown, and a long line of custodians to the estate dating back to the 1st Duke of Devonshire who retired there during the reign of James ll and who, in 1687, started to rebuild the house and gardens on the site of the house that was first started by Bess of Hardwick in 1553.

Michael Craig-Martin, the Goldsmiths lecturer who taught many of the YBA’s who rose to prominence during the 1990s including Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas, Tracey Emin, takes very familiar objects and re presents them to us in an unfamiliar way. At Chatsworth, some of what we see there is the representation of the tools that have been used to create these spectacular gardens. Pitch forks, spades, a wheelbarrow and other tools rest casually in or on the ground, as if the army of gardeners have taken themselves off stage and out of sight temporarily to allow visitors to enjoy the grounds alone.

Michael+Craig+Martin+Sculptures+Take+Over+_RzepsSCgMxl

In other areas of the grounds we see representations of other familiar objects. A series of 3 discarded umbrellas that acknowledge the wet weather, the adjacent spray from the Emperor fountain and our desire to shield ourselves from the elements. But here, these garishly coloured, dis functional umbrellas have been abandoned as if their owners have given up the fight to protect themselves from the weather.

And then there is the pink stiletto shoe that can be read in many ways. Seen late afternoon against the back drop of the house glowing golden with the setting sun, this is not unlike a scene from a surrealist fairytale. Or is it a reference to Allen Jones’ connection with Chatsworth (Carefree Man and Déjeuner sur l’Herbe)? Or the extent to which stilettos force the pelvis of the wearer to tilt so that the full length physical profile of the wearer is altogether more curvaceous – a vivid example of the fusion of nature and artificiality that echoes the relationship between Michael’s sculptures and the grounds that they sit within.

Michael Craig Martin is at Chatsworth until 29 June.