Archive for the ‘Thinking’ Category

Infographic: Facebook reaches 1 billion monthly active users

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Facebook announced yesterday that the site has now reached 1 billion monthly active users. Have a look at our infographic to find out more about the recently released statistics:

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Expect the Unexpected – PechKucha Night Derby #4

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

PechaKucha Night Derby #4

After three fantastic events, PechaKucha Night Derby has gained an impressive following of those who hunger to hear all things inspiring . PechaKucha Night Derby#4 on Thursday 26th January promises a line up of speakers as entertaining and inspiring as those who went before them.

PechaKucha Night Derby #4 lineup:

# Peter Gibbon – Cuba 50 Years On
# Ben Spiller – Challenging Perceived Barriers, Meeting in the Middle and Finding Common Ground
# Keith Jeffrey – Noir
# Chris Wakeman – What Would Olaf Mellberg Do?
# Simon Foote – Chapter 28
# Adam Russell – Self Organising Word Soup
# Clare Foye – What’s Love Got to Do With It? (Using Statistics to Explore the Abstract World)

Due to the popularity of the event it would be best to arrive early to avoid disappointment, as entrance is on a first come first served basis.

PechaKucha Night Derby #4 will be held in the Box at QUAD at 7.30pm on Thursday 26th January. Entry is £3 or free with a valid student card.

Have a look at the pictures taken of the enthusiastic presentations from PechaKucha Night Derby #3 to see what you can expect.

Also see the Pecha Kucha Derby page http://www.pecha-kucha.org/night/derby/

Proposed cuts to arts and culture could threaten future business investment in Derby

Friday, October 28th, 2011

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I speak for us all at Katapult when I say that we were shocked and hugely disappointed to read that Derby City Council are proposing to make drastic cuts to arts and culture in our city. The plans show the intention to completely withdraw funding to two of the city’s key venues, QUAD and Deda over the next four years. Alongside other cuts to cultural and community organisations, this sends out a very concerning message about our city, its ambitions and its future.

The ‘Revenue Budget Proposal’ acknowledges that these venues will now need to source alternative funding and/or become self financing. These organisations were never supposed to be solely commercial venues and would never have received Arts Council Funding if that were the case.

The 2009-2011 Cultural Strategy for Derby ‘Action Plan’ outlined its vision in ‘ensuring that the importance of culture in the economy of the city is better understood’, which is now just one of many points which seems contradictory.

Culturally incredible progress has been achieved in Derby in recent years. Format has been internationally recognised as a leading photography festival and Derby Feste, founded by Keith Jeffrey (QUAD) and Stephen Munn (Deda) attracted over 25,000 people to the streets of Derby last month. This demonstrates the potential for cultural activities and their associated opportunities.

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As well as the social impact, businesses in the supply chain to these venues will be directly affected. QUAD spent £377k with local suppliers in 2010/11, ironically this is more than Derby City Council invested in the venue. Between them, QUAD and Deda have generated millions of pounds worth of international profile for the city, helping to attract new investment. Drastic cuts not only devalue these organisations and their impact, but demonstrate a lack of understanding over the social and economic benefits that culture plays in the development of the city.

It’s certainly important to Katapult, which is why we have invested in and supported cultural activities in the city. A strong cultural offer is key to attracting and retaining creative professionals which is important to our business.

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A city to invest in?

The cuts raise a wider discussion on the future of Derby’s city centre. We know that Derby is home to some strong and established businesses that provide the economic backbone of the city and we hear great things about the city’s industrial strength. However, every top-drawer city has more to offer than industrial heritage.

By further developing the cultural offering – more independent bars, shops and restaurants for example – we could increase footfall, encourage localised spending and help attract new business to the city. It is only through long term commitment and investment that success will be achieved.

The Council states that it expects to make a loss in rental income from Derby’s indoor markets of £210,000 in 2012/2013 and a review of markets will take place to understand the pressures faced. This provides a perfect opportunity for the Council to work proactively with independent and creative retailers on finding a potential solution to these pressures.  The aim should be to produce a more attractive retail offer in line with the type of markets found in nearby cities such as Leeds and Birmingham.

Reports such as the Centre for Cities ‘Shifting the Gears’ claim that Derby must reach out beyond its borders and its traditional industrial base to grow. Shouldn’t now be the time that the city looks to further invest in the creative and cultural industries: the third fastest growing sector in the UK?

The short-sightedness of the council makes businesses like ours concerned about the future of our city.  Culture is a vital aspect of an aspirational city, not just a nice-to-have.

Here’s how you can make your voice heard and support the ‘Save Derby Arts and Culture’ campaign:

1)      Get informed about Derby City Council’s specific plans by looking at the budget proposal
2)      Fill in the feedback form. The section relating to arts and culture cuts is under the ‘Neighbourhoods’ section. You have until Friday 18 November to do this.
3)      Send your stories in a polite email to Derby City Council leader Philip Hickson and deputy leader Hilary Jones.
4)      Share your stories on the Facebook page Save Derby Arts and follow the campaign on Twitter @SaveDerbyArts
5)      Write to the Derby Telegraph with your stories and ask the editor Steve Hall and entertainment editor Nigel Powlson to run a campaign.
6)      Support the organisations affected by the proposed cuts by going to their events and exhibitions, eating and drinking in their cafes and bars and taking part in their participatory projects.

Author: Dawn Foote, Managing Director

Success of first PechaKucha Night in Derby

Friday, April 1st, 2011

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PechaKucha is an idea born in Japan, where creative people get to talk about something that makes them tick. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat”, it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.

Having known for some time that Derby is brimming to the rim with creative talent, and having been to a PechaKucha night before, Katapult MD Dawn decided to find out if this was something that creatives in Derby would go for. Having applied for the permission/the handshake agreement to run PechaKucha nights in Derby with support from Derby’s Creative Industries Network, QUAD and University of Derby, she set about organising the first event with BBC Radio Derby presenter Aleena Naylor and Simon Foote from Simon Foote Architects.

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As soon as event details were announced, there was a wealth of interested speakers and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Speakers on the night included :

Emily Howlett | Actress & Writer
Martin Broadhurst | Social Media Fanboy
David Cross | Polymath & Architect
Jonathan Wallis | Museum Manager
Helen Gallimore | Creative Thinker
Pranali Parikh | Urban Designer
Liam Sharpe | British comic book artist, writer and publisher
Bimal Jangra | Teacher & Musican
Ewa Wollinska | Polish Journalist
Barry Thomas | Silver Smith
Jerry Tseng | Architect
Finbar Lillis | Analyst, evaluator and melody maker

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The aim of the events are to share ideas, inspirations and insights with other creatives about any topic or theme of interest to you. PechaKucha is a not for profit set up and PK nights are run in 382 cities across the globe with Derby now being one of them. Each event will be organised with an open mind and with the hope to feel bemused, inspired and entertained by the thought provoking presentations. This first event was certainly all of those things and has received a wealth of positive response on the Twitter and Facebook pages after the event.

The first event was a huge success with the space at QUAD filled to its capacity.

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A raffle was held to raise money for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami appeal so thanks to everyone who helped raise over £100 on the night.

The next event is on June 30, 2011 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

If you’re interested in presenting at a PechaKucha Night in Derby please visit the website and submit your details.

You can follow event details on Twitter: @PechaKuchaDerby or Facebook

PechaKucha Night – devised and shared by Klein Dytham architecture

Derby PechaKucha Night is sponsored by CIN, University of Derby and QUAD.

Meet Katapult’s new designer – Martin Stewart

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

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We’re pleased to welcome a new face into the Katapult fold…say hello to Martin Stewart, the latest member of our creative team. Known in-house as Martin Junior so as not to confuse him with Senior Designer Martin Enright, ‘MJ’ joins us having graduated last year from Lincoln School of Art and Design with a Graphic Design BA Hons and a BTEC National Diploma in Media Production.

Martin’s accolades include receiving an In-Book nomination for the world renowned D&AD awards and having a piece of his work selected to represent Lincolnshire for World Aids Day with Positive Health Lincolnshire. Martin also comes with experience under his belt having completed a number of agency placements where he worked on briefs for a wide range of clients. To help you get to know Martin a little better, we asked him a few questions:

Q: You were asked to bring in three items that inspire you when you came in for your interview, what did you bring?

A: I brought in a lomography camera because i’m really into photography and particularly the lomography style. I brought in ‘my box of things’ which is just a box filled with random things i’ve found and liked such as little stickers, labels and toys – anything interesting and small enough to fit in the box. I also brought in my Dave Gorman book because i’ve got a bit of a man crush on him! I’ve followed him for a while now, from the drunken bets he used to have with his flatmate which evolved into the show ‘Are you Dave Gorman?’

Q: What sort of projects are you most looking forward to getting your teeth into?

A: I would really like more opportunity to create spreads for brochures, publications and digital projects. I am really interested in typography too so getting the chance to design fonts for clients would be great.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of design?

A: Not really, I prefer just finding out what new design trends and styles are around so that I can gain inspiration and keep my work fresh.

Q: If you weren’t a designer, what else would you want to do?

A: When I was a kid I wanted to be an IT Technician. Then I went through a phase of really wanting to get into Forensics – before finding out that i’m not that great at science! Now however, I really can’t imagine doing anything that isn’t creative.

Q: What is the last film you laughed out loud at?

A: I watch a lot of daft films and laugh at really silly things. The last time I laughed out loud was at the film ‘The Other Guys’ with Will Ferrell. Not a great film but there’s a really funny quote about a shark.

Q: What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

A: It’s not really a guilty pleasure but it’s quite embarassing – the first album I bought was Aqua (Q:  are you sure you want to admit to this in a public space Martin?)

Q: What was the last gig you went to?

A: It was a Lee Evans comedy gig actually. The last music gig I went to was The Streets.

Q: What in your opinion is the greatest invention of all time?

A: It was actually on Dave Gorman’s show ‘Genius’ where members of the public submit inventions and then the studio audience has to vote whether it’s ‘genius’ or not. One invention was for perforated bread which I really liked (Q: erm, isn’t this the same as ready sliced bread?)

I also applied and was accepted to be on the show with my own invention. It is a coat with a large hidden hood that can be pulled out so you can disguise yourself to look like a giant rubbish bag. I guess you’d use it to avoid people you didn’t want to see. I had to turn down my five minutes of fame though as it was my end of year show at Uni that day.

Katapult: We think Martin makes a much better designer than he does an inventor. We look forward to watching him flourish in his new role – if you would like to give him a friendly welcome, you can do so at martinstewart@katapult-studios.com

Format International Photography Festival in Derby, Right Here Right Now

Monday, March 21st, 2011

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Photography by Graham Lucas Commons ©

This year’s Format International Photography Festival launched at the beginning of March and runs until 3 April, in over 30 venues all over Derby city centre.

The title this year is Right Here, Right Now: Exposures From the Public Realm, the theme being contemporary street photography from all over the world. The line up is stronger and already more popular than ever with contemporary street photographers such as Alex Webb and Polly Braden, Joel Meyerowitz and Bruce Gilden. Many of the photographers will also be hosting talks, conferences and master classes across the city.

The Katapult team attended the opening night which was packed full and had a great buzz which was made even more colourful with the opening speeches from Brian Griffin and Joel Meyerowitz. Thanks was also provided to all those behind the festival and in particular Louise Clements who is the festival’s co-founder and curator. Dawn from Katapult attended the Format conference on the 5th March at QUAD, and said it was great to hear about the various projects and speak to practising street photographers from around the globe, covering subjects from a geo tagging project, social media experiments and the work of individuals such as Bruce Gilden. One of her highlights was hearing from John Maloof and the work of Vivian Maier.

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Photography by Graham Lucas Commons ©

For the second time, Katapult have created the Mob FORMAT submissions process – an international mass submission online project in association with Flickr. The website functionality enables photographers to submit their work and pay for their submissions online. The administration of the site enables the FORMAT judges to view submitted entries and shortlist them independently online. The final shortlist will then be judged by a panel of industry experts. The best images will be selected by a high profile jury & special guests and shown in the premium section of the site. Selected images will be exhibited in an evolving exhibition throughout the festival on the BBC Big Screen in Derby Market Place, and on mobile screens around the city.

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Alongside the FORMAT11 website and Mob FORMAT submissions portal, Katapult designed the marketing materials for the festival such as banner stands, flyers and posters, roundabout and roadside posters, window vinyls, teardrop flags, press adverts and then produced the VIP launch invites and the official Format Festival guide which featured full event listings and a detailed map featuring the locations of all the Format venues.

So far there have already been well over 8,000 submissions to the Mob FORMAT area of the site from all over the world, a 300%  increase compared to FORMAT09.

The FORMAT team have told us that they are well on target to achieve 100,000 visitors to the festival this year, a 25% increase in the corresponding figure for FORMAT09.

Have a look at the Sky Arts at Format Photography video documentary: Sky Arts at Format Photography

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Photography by Graham Lucas Commons ©

KATAPULT + FORMAT

It was Derby’s reputation for Photography that played a significant role as to how and why Katapult was formed and is located in the city today; two of Katapult’s founding director’s came  here to study at the University of Derby back in 1998 due its reputation for Photography degrees.

Katapult have been working with FORMAT International Photography Festival since 2007. For FORMAT09 – Photocinema, Katapult worked closely with the FORMAT team to develop the  marketing campaign, festival materials and website. We also did significant development work on MOB FORMAT which integrated flickr with a flash gallery within the site to increase  international engagement and participation in the festival.

Katapult into the New Year

Friday, January 7th, 2011

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Happy 2011 to all our clients, suppliers and friends – hope this year is a prosperous one for you all.

Katapult have started the year as we mean to continue it, with the first week including an exciting new pitch, work on the fast approaching Format Festival launching in March, and the next stages of the launch of a new drinks brand – the photo above shows Phil from our video and motion graphic division K-Motion filming in late December for the viral ads.

We’re working on some other great projects at the moment too, including giving our own Katapult website a facelift with some new functionality, info and features.

The year ahead promises to be an interesting one with all things digital growing even more in prominence. We expect to see more interest in digital brand development as client organisations increase their presence and activity in digital channels and need a clear strategy across website, search, social, mobile, apps et al. The challenge is to get all of these working together in complementary fashion to build brand equity at the same time as meeting specific objectives. For example, are HR and Sales presenting the brand consistently to potential employees and prospective customers respectively?

This perhaps presents a window of opportunity for start-ups to build multi-dimensional brands from the ground up and use this agility to steal a march on established, and perhaps less responsive competitors in the digital arena.

We also expect to see the ‘C’ word take centre stage as clients realise the increasing importance of content at the heart of their digital strategy. More will embrace the publisher role of their brand as a key tactic for attracting new customers and creating advocates.

Another ‘C’ that is sure to boost its profile is cloud computing with 2011 providing a better barometer for its impact on capital expenditure and management costs. We’ll see whether the cloud delivers the freedom it promises and whether organisations will make the leap of faith and entrust suppliers with their infrastructure in return for lower costs and greater agility. For marketing folk this could mean less administration, improved access to more up-to-date data and more flexible campaign planning, execution and adjustment. Interesting times ahead…

Anyway, enough of the stargazing for now, we’ll share more of our thinking throughout the year. In the meantime, we’re cracking on with various current brand, marketing, design and digital projects including an online game and viral videos.

Here’s to a healthy and successful 2011.

Influenced by new documentary

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

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I’ve just seen the short film ‘Influencers’ and have recommended it to the rest of the Katapult team. It provides a valuable insight on how influential individuals can be to the world around them and the nature of fast moving trends within popular culture.

The film attempts to understand the essence of influence, what makes a person influential without taking a statistical or metric approach. Written and directed by Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson, the film is a Polaroid snapshot of New York influential creatives (advertising, design, fashion and entertainment) who are shaping today’s pop culture. Influencers belongs to the new generation of short films, webdocs, which combine the documentary style and the online experience.”

Released as both a web video and an iPad app, the film features leading ‘influencers’ in both the media and the virtual world.

The trailer tells us that “An influencer is someone who has a different way of thinking and a different way of expressing themselves.” They are typically early adopters who embrace all forms of culture, people who others listen to and respect, who have the ability to recognise what the next best thing is and popularise it, people who can take an unknown idea and send it mainstream. A few people in the film give Jay Z as an example, claiming he is an influencer over culture, communities, kids and his peers, from the clothes he wears, to his attitude and music. But influence is totally subjective, in terms of what you like and how much you choose to be influenced by it.

This creates a separate, equally interesting discussion about the concept of unique vision. By looking at the success of influencers, we see inspiring individuals with many similar traits – innovation, creativity, vision and risk-taking – who have changed the face of popular culture. However, what about the people who share these traits but haven’t had the same success? Doesn’t being in the right place at the right time and ultimately luck,  play the biggest role in the uptake of popular trends? Only those consuming the product, music, entertainment that is being advertised can really make the trend contagious and no ‘influencer’ however visionary can foresee or predict that.

In addition to this is the fact that there are so many people who are early adopters of trends and then immediately turn their back when the trend takes off. Similarly there are those that take up something for the ‘cool factor’ which the film also discusses. This highlights the fickle nature of trends in many ways. One of the film’s subjects even suggested that ‘cool’ is what you do at home, on your own when you’re not trying to impress. Should this term ‘cool’ even be used anymore in the creative industry? Isn’t the very word outdated?

Deirdre Maloney from BPMW agency mentions that her business partners inspire her, but the film mentions little about the ideas generation process that agencies go through together to analyse and debate concepts. The notion that it is the creativity of individuals that is significant is quite disappointing. Sky Gellatly, however, director of strategy for Epiphany says “when you get to a certain place, if someone has helped you get to where you are, you must help identify younger talent and be the mentor for somebody else”.

The co-CEO of Cornerstone explains what we all know, that influence is all relative to what you like and who you look at; “what i’m infuenced by is incredibly different to what you’re influenced by”. For example, i’m not a big fan of Jay Z but I really like the soundtrack to this film!

Make your own judgement on the 15 minute film by watching it

Illuminating Derby – Gleam:Festival of Light

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

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The winter nights are drawing in fast but Gleam: Festival of Light will be shining down on some of Derby’s best loved public spaces between 12 November and 20 November.

The world-leading interactive technology collective Seeper will be lighting up key buildings in the Market Place in exciting light and music performances on 12 and 13 November. The launch marks the beginning of a spectacular series of events in the city centre.

The following week will see a range of free interactive light events in the Cathedral Quarter with a Light Trail every evening,  a Lantern Parade, a light garden, ‘Rhythms of the World’ drumming performance, River Fire Display and the Christmas Lights Switch On to include just a few. A range of free workshops are also taking place for families and young people with fire drawing and lantern making, with the art produced becoming part of the festival finale.

Katapult created the Gleam brand which conveys particles of light gradually spreading. The logo represents both the traditional shimmering of fire lanterns combined with new cutting edge light technology and the digital display of light pixellation.

Read the ‘Gleam festival identity designed by Katapult’ article on the Drum website.

Retro food – the taste of nostalgia

Friday, September 10th, 2010

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Being a bit of a foodie, I have noticed a few food and drink fairs popping up over the country lately. So it was unsurpring to read an article on MSN yesterday informing me that it is British Food Fortnight. The article goes on to mention some of ‘The UK’s most iconic food brands‘: Lyle’s Golden Syrup,  Barratt’s sherbet fountains,  Birds Custard Powder – brands that typically evoke a feeling of nostalgia in Britons of all ages.

This nostalgic feeling about food brands has led to ‘retro’ sweets making a big comeback over the last few years. In 2008 Mars returned their ‘Starbust’ sweets to ‘Opal Fruits’ for a limited time, Orangina brought back their iconic glass bottle and Cadbury (though no longer a British brand!) brought back my favourite chocolate bar, Wispa. Recently, Neil who handles brand development here at Katapult mentioned he liked the old/new Monster Munch packaging, which has a ‘new’ tab on the corner of the packet which has been crossed out and replaced with ‘old’. We agreed it was a nice touch.

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This nostalgia has extended further into brand advertising. For example the heart-warming Hovis advert with the little boy who picks up a loaf of bread in 1886 and literally runs home through the brand’s 122 year history stopping off at those memorable points in our British past. Voted advert of the decade by the British public last year, the ad clearly evokes the life-affirming feeling in us all. In a more personal way, the old red car/blue car Milky Way advert has a similar affect on me. I surprised myself by still knowing all the words to it even though I haven’t seen it for over a decade. I found three Facebook groups with a large cult following for the red car/blue car ad – an advertising legacy if you like.

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An article in The Times suggests that during hard times such as the recent recession, people revert back to familiar brands not because they are cheaper, but because they remind people of those ‘rose-tinted’ times in their past, when things were perceivably more secure. This recession-induced emotional eating is quite clearly seen by Asda’s reports that even through the recession, customers were still buying well known nostalgic brands over their cheaper own label products.

It has even been claimed that the relaunch of classic retro sweets has actually boosted the economy and helped lift us out of recession! That people continue to buy sweets even when they have no money is quite clear. Possibly another example of the classic ‘comfort eating’ we all know so well.

However, I think it goes further than this. The re-launch of some of these products are clearly great PR stunts when they work in this way. It was actually Facebook that was responsible for bringing back the Wispa proving that social media is a great way for brands and food producers to get some vital market research. The loyalty to such brands after so long is clear evidence that they are still meeting their consumers needs in a fast moving market.

What will be back next?