How to make an impact with charity copywriting

What effect do the words you use have on your fundraising success? Here we investigate the impact of good charity copywriting. At the last count, there were over 195,000 charities in the UK, all looking to attract support, donations and – wherever possible – life-long allegiance to their cause. Whether charities succeed or fail in […]

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Jungian branding for beginners

Jungian branding. So what does that mean, exactly? Branding where you analyse your client’s dreams to choose the colour of the logo? Where you place the product in broad daylight to see what kind of shadow it casts? Or perhaps where you fling open the doors to your unconscious mind and let that decide the […]

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Nick Drake in Northumberland

A pint of fruit cider and a dish of cockles It’s mid-afternoon on a Wednesday in February and I’m sitting in a village pub by a station a few miles outside Newcastle. A man wearing black jeans and a smart jacket walks in, looks around the silent, almost empty bar, and asks: “Who died?” Then […]

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Royal visit to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

More and more of my work these days is for charities. In the last month, I’ve written an annual report for Help Musicians UK, fundraising materials for The Brooke and a report for The National Trust. But as well as my everyday work as a freelance writer, I also wheel out my harp on occasion […]

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7 things I learned at The Story

Every year, Matt Locke and his crew bring together extraordinary speakers for The Story, an exploration of storytelling at Conway Hall in Holborn. The ideas fizzle and crackle all day, colliding and coalescing, firing up synapses and sparking a host of connections, leaving the audience buzzing. This year’s edition, on 20 February 2015, was my […]

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Why it pays to be professionally nosy

What skills do you need to become a successful graphic designer? According to Lydia Thornley, nosiness is up there as a core skill, along with design sense, visual awareness and lateral thinking. Nosiness generally gets a bad press, but maybe it’s time to rehabilitate the word. According to Lydia, who runs a design practice in East […]

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How architects can learn to love marketing

Recently I’ve been involved in writing proposals for architecture firms, and have gathered that architects can be quite dismissive of the value of marketing. “We’d prefer our work to speak for itself,” one architect told me the other day, “rather than having to schmooze potential clients and jump through hoops to prove our worth.” Which […]

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Swansong at Bannockburn

Sheila Stewart chose a momentous day in a momentous place for her final concert. It happened in Bannockburn on 18 September 2014 – the day of the Scottish referendum for independence. When the concert started the polling stations were still open, and the man sitting next to me had skipped off polling duty for a […]

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Julie Pickard: drawing the music

If you go to a jazz or free improv gig and see a woman up on stage in amongst the musicians, not playing but drawing, it’s probably Julie Pickard. Julie’s an artist and writer who produces extraordinary expressionist drawings that are a response to her experience of live music. Details of instruments and musicians emerge from the […]

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Tom Dixon: a designer’s view of Finland

About a year ago, Nokia asked me to interview some people for a new book that Gestalten were publishing on Finnish Design. I talked to Finns in Brighton about their love of Iitala glassware and gin in a tin, and interviewed designers Jasper Morrison and Wataru Kumano about a chair they were making for Finnish furniture company […]

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Designer Soapbox: Gill Wildman

Gill Wildman has been on a circular journey to Hackney Wick. She grew up in the area, studied in Manchester, and worked all over the world before returning to E9 a few months ago. Together with her husband, Nick Durrant, she makes up Plot, a refreshingly forward-thinking interaction, innovation and design agency. I met up […]

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Uncovering a Georgian chocolate kitchen

Charlotte Barker tells me how her research led to the discovery of a hidden Georgian chocolate kitchen at Hampton Court Palace. A few weeks ago, I went to a storytelling workshop at the Tower of London. At the end of the day, we all had to tell a story relating to our work. Charlotte Barker, […]

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Ten things I learned at The Story 2014

You never know quite what will happen at The Story, except that it will illuminate distant areas of your brain with unpredictable copper sparks for some time to come. Here are a few of the things I learned from this year’s gathering of storytellers of all stripes – from film makers, writers and artists to […]

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Keith Hann: chilled opera buff

If you ever want an expert in opera, frozen foods and idiosyncratic PR, Keith Hann’s your man. He wrote The Bluffer’s Guide to Opera and is PR for Iceland Foods (you might have seen him in BBC  Two’s ‘Life in the Freezer Cabinet’). Keith describes himself as “the most honest man in PR” and has a notice […]

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