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Primary School Enterprise Challenge – product design

Primary School Enterprise Challenge – product design

Posted by on Jul 3, 2018 in Blog

Being a judge at the Primary School Enterprise Challenge last December was such a brilliant experience that when I was asked to return it was an immediate ‘Yes’ from me! The guys at Primary School Enterprise go into schools and work with the children on real-life business challenges. According to PSE this helps the children to “develop the enterprise and employability skills of all the young learners who take part, including sharing ideas, aiming high, listening carefully, leadership, creativity, problem-solving and presentation.” The challenge is open to primary school children in years 3, 4, 5 and 6 all across Yorkshire, so there is a real variety of ages and abilities. I arrived at Tankersley Manor on the morning of 18 June 2018, met my fellow judges over a cup of tea and we were briefed about the days proceedings. Meanwhile downstairs children from all over Yorkshire were congregating ready to present their pitches. The children had been tasked with designing and marketing a music frame product which children like themselves could make music with in the playground, and could be sold to other schools. Throughout the morning the groups of children nervously entered the judging room armed with logo designs, pictures of their product concepts, their ideal customer and information on where they would promote and sell their products etc. One team even wrote a rap about their product! Everyone tried their very best – it was wonderful to see so much potential and how passionate they were about the project. After each team completed their presentation the judges asked questions about the products, how it was developed and how they worked together etc. As you can imagine, one of my favourite parts was seeing their graphic design skills as they presented their logos and also how they planned to market their products. I was very impressed that some teams even had branded t-shirts! After we had seen all of the teams we totted up our scores and reconvened over chip butties to work out who had won the various awards. After lunch we met in the main hall and the children did a dance that they had learnt throughout...

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A five year milestone for Black Bee Creative graphic design

A five year milestone for Black Bee Creative graphic design

Posted by on May 24, 2018 in Blog

On this day in 2013 I registered Black Bee Creative as a limited company and providing graphic design and illustration services for lovely businesses and organisations. The start of my business journey began a while before this, and my professional career in graphic design started nearly 20 years ago, but today marks the day that it all got real for me all on my own. Considering that more than half of new businesses in the UK don’t survive beyond five years, I’m pretty blooming pleased with myself for making it this far. Over  the five years I have worked with so many wonderful clients, in a vast array of sectors including manufacturing, coaching, healthcare and artisan crafts to name a few. I’m very pleased to say that many of them have gone on to become returning clients and friends. It’s onwards and upwards for the next five years. Wish me...

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A design challenge for Tour de Yorkshire

A design challenge for Tour de Yorkshire

Posted by on May 6, 2018 in Blog

This was the experience of a lifetime! Barnsley Council commissioned local charity Creative Recovery to produce a spectacular work of art to celebrate the town especially for the Tour de Yorkshire bike race which was starting its second leg in Barnsley town centre on 4th May 2018. The canvas was to be the top levels of Barnsley Market’s multi-storey car park which fills 2,773 square metres! The idea was that as the TV helicopters flew over the town filming the race they would see our message to the world – “Barnsley is here! We have a rich history and are moving forward to a bright future!”. I often design marketing communications for Creative Recovery so when founders Helen and Hayley told me about their plans my mind started whirring and I knew I had to get involved. Artists Helen and Phil worked together with the ‘Recovery Through Art’ group (Creative Recovery’s core visual arts project) to come up with concepts. We really liked the style of old war propaganda posters, with their graphic shapes and block colours, so took inspiration from this. At the next stage Phil stitched everyones ideas, sketches and graphics together to create this piece. As you can see the design features two cyclists speeding through the Barnsley townscape. The background reflects the town’s regeneration as the cyclists travel from the industrial landscape into the new. The Town Hall is featured prominently to make it recognisable. The design was developed to make sure it fulfilled the groups vision and the brief from the Council, and then it was over to me to take Phil’s artwork and transfer it into vector graphics. I simplified it, incorporating more straight lines and circles so it would be easier to draw out at the larger scale in the car park. We needed to keep in mind that if it was too detailed we would struggle to finish in the tight timeframe. My graphic design communications background meant that I was concerned that the piece should be easy enough for viewers to take in quickly on tv – this would not a piece that could be absorbed for a length of...

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A beginners guide to getting your documents professionally printed

A beginners guide to getting your documents professionally printed

Posted by on Feb 5, 2018 in Blog

 Have you ever created a document that you’d like to get professionally printed, but not known how to go about it?  Maybe you’ve always printed your company newsletter on your desktop printer but love the idea of having it printed on thicker paper stock and coated with a touchy-feely velvet lamination to grab your customers attention? Here is my quick run-down on printing basics to help you on your way. (I’m keeping this list short and sweet because there are so many print options out there. If you want spot varnishes, fancy folds or die-cuts, you’re best off employing a professional graphic designer.)   Document creation Firstly, it’s worth noting that not all software is set up for professional printing. Microsoft Word, Publisher or PowerPoint documents may print out ok on your desktop printer, but they’re not really compatible for commercial printing. Files created with Adobe products such as InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop are preferable.   Bleed This is not nearly as scary as it sounds! If your artwork includes a block of colour, photo or whatever that you would like to go right up to the edge of the page (with no white border) you need to include a ‘bleed’, which is where your artwork runs over the edge of the page. This is because the page is printed on a large sheet and then trimmed down to the required size. The trimming process is not always 100% accurate, so if you don’t allow for a bleed your artwork might end up with a white gap. Printers usually ask for 3mm on each edge.   Crop marks These are little lines on the edge of your print-ready artwork which indicate where you would like the page to be trimmed. You can add these on when you export your artwork to PDF.   Resolution Print files require a higher resolution (dots per inch, or dpi) than screen files. Print quality is 300dpi, whereas screens require only 72dpi. What appears on your computer screen will not necessarily look the same as what will be printed. If you print a screen-quality file it is likely to look pixelated and poor quality....

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LTL Enterprise Primary School Challenge awards

LTL Enterprise Primary School Challenge awards

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 in Blog

  It was a real honour to be one of the judges at the LTL Enterprise Challenge finals day at Tankersley Manor in Barnsley, South Yorkshire on Monday. Around 2,000 children from years 4, 5 and 6 across Barnsley Primary schools were involved in the challenge and 20 schools took part on the finals day. The scheme is run by the amazing team at Louder Than Life Enterprise and the contest was hosted by Ashleigh Porter-Exley, who won the BBC’s Young Apprentice in 2012, and is passionate about young people. This event is a seriously big deal! Each school was asked to produce designs for a product so that children can play music together outside. They had to come up with a name, look at their perfect customer, budgets, financial forecasts etc, just as if it was a real business. The judging groups were in 3 separate rooms, and throughout the morning the teams of school children came in to deliver their presentations to us. Every group had a different take on it, which was really interesting to see. Some came in chanting, some came with music, some came with models of their designs, but absolutely all of them came with enthusiasm! After they presented we had a few minutes to ask them some questions (like Dragons Den, but hopefully less intimidating!) and then we scored each team on different criteria. When totted up, these scores revealed our room winner. After lunch we gathered in the hall and the children have the opportunity to ask a panel of young professional business people some questions. Then came the awards ceremony! There were many different categories including: most enterprising girl, most enterprising boy, most enterprising teacher, most enterprising school, most enterprising team, the enterprise challenge awards (three trophies – one for each of the rooms of judges), the Vortex enterprise award, the Rotary of Stainborough award, the Premiere Personnel award and the LTL Enterprise Challenge winners. I has the great fortune to present one of the Enterprise Challenge awards, alongside with my friend Laura Hawkins from CopyCat Party Company, to our winners The Dramatic Drummers from Joseph Locke Primary School. As you can...

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Top ten tips to make a difference – World Kindness Day 2017

Top ten tips to make a difference – World Kindness Day 2017

Posted by on Nov 13, 2017 in Blog

    I wrote a list “Ten ways to make a difference without really trying” a couple of years ago, which I feel compelled to share with you again especially for World Kindness Day 2017. I’m pleased to say that almost everything I wrote back then still stands, the only change being that Diabetes UK no longer collect plastic bottle tops, so I’ve updated that point. “As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person.” Paul Shane Spear I used to believe that one person couldn’t change anything and that to make a difference I’d need to join an army of like-minded people to transform the negatives of the world in to positives. That was until the kindness of others changed things for me. I was feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed by life. Lots of stuff had landed on my plate and I found that my plate simply wasn’t big enough to carry it all. But after having a little help, being offered a friendly ear, a cup of tea when things got too much, some help at home and good advice, I no longer felt that I was alone in the world. I began to think “I can do this”. And I did. Those people who reached out to be there for me helped me get my life back. To pass it on, I now try to help others whenever I can, which is why I use my graphic design and marketing skills with charities, why I give my time to the Crafty Business community and it’s also why I’m often stood at the school gates long after the kids have gone in, chatting to stressed Mums. I love to see the ripples that kindness can make as it’s passed from person to person to person making them happier. It’s a beautiful and thrilling thing. You see, you don’t need to be rich or famous to make a difference. If we all make a small effort then things will change. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of small things that can start the ripples. In no particular...

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