You've probably noticed things have gone a bit quiet here on the Baseline website, but rest assured that we haven't gone anywhere. In fact we've been busier than ever, hard at work making some big, integral changes that we're all very excited about.
As a result of these changes we've taken on two new additions: lead programmer Sebastian, and Lee, our new manger of communications.
In the new year we will also be recruiting a new office manager, expanding our ever growing team of talented staff and creatives.
In the meantime, keep an eye on our blog for further news and notifications.
Hurrah! It's only taken me two months (55 days to be precise. Whoops, I'm meant to be writing blogs on a weekly basis!) to write another blog!
I hope you are all well and enjoying the spring weather that we're receiving at the moment (apart from Sunday, Sunday was bad! 'I got wet; by rain' - read that in the voice of Brick Tamland from Anchorman. If you've seen it, you may chuckle, on the flip side, you may cringe. If you haven't seen it, what's wrong with you?!).
Firstly, apologies android users but you may want to give this one a swerve if the following games aren't available in your download market.
Obviously, I have nothing against android users, I just have an iPhone (an outdated 3GS, I must point out), simple as that.
Right, my useless drivel out of the way, I will begin!
As the blog title states, I will be telling you all about my favourite iPhone games so far this year. You know, those games you play, when you're either bored at home/work, on public transport and probably the most common; when you're going about your erm… business. You know what I'm talking about.
In no particular order, below are my favourite games:
I might be late in catching up with Temple Run as people have been playing it for quite some time, but, my word is it addictive!
Basically, for those who don't know, Temple Run involves you controlling a man that has just found the secret treasure and is trying to run away from the creatures who want to take it back!
You have to turn, jump and slide your way through the course, picking up coins and other bonuses as you go along!
Sounds simple right? It is until you get a few hundred thousand on your score (well, that's what I find anyway!).
It is a really addictive game and once you get caught/run into a tree/fall off the course/get cremated by the fire, you'll be wanting to do it all over again.
As far as I'm aware, it's free! So if you haven't already got it, I'd definitely recommend you get it!
In Tiny Wings, you are a small bird who has really tiny wings (hence the name) who slides up and down hills in order to fly before the sun goes down.
You slide down the hills 'eating' the sunshine and progressing through the levels with varying heights of hills. Only problem being, you need to create momentum otherwise, you'll end up sliding really slow, missing all the sunshine and then the sun will go down and it's game over for you!
Another annoyingly addictive game that you can easily pass a good amount of time playing.
It's only 69p in the app store and it's well worth a purchase.
Now, this game, I really enjoy (and unlike the previous two, I'm actually pretty good at this one).
Cut The Rope is all about feeding this little 'thing' called, Om Nom (cool name eh?), his candy.
However, the candy is attached to multiple ropes and you need to cut them in order to feed little Om Nom!
Sounds pretty simple right? And yes, it is, but, you have to make sure that you get as many out of the three stars available as possible, avoid the electric wires, use the bubbles correctly in order to float the candy, use the magic hats right to teleport the candy and stop the spiders getting to the candy!
Throughly enjoyable game and it's only 69p.
Now, I'm going to go all nostalgic on you. The next two games are a throwback to the good old days and let's have it right, just pretty damn awesome.
Oh yes, on the app store you can download Streets of Rage 1, 2 and 3!
Apparently, the first Streets of Rage has been available on the app store since 2009! I bought Streets of Rage 2 though (for Eddie "Skate" Hunter!).
For people who aren't aware of this incredible game, Streets of Rage was basically a 'beat 'em up' game where you'd walk through the streets, fighting with people in order to progress through the levels, ending up with a fight with the boss at the end of each level.
The game on the iPhone will never replace how good it was to play on the Mega Drive but, if like me, your parents got rid of your Mega Drive years ago when you stopped using it, it's a decent little alternative.
Slightly more pricey than the other games, depending on which one you want:
Streets of Rage: 69p, Streets of Rage 2: £1.99 and Streets of Rage 3: £1.99
"Hadouken!" Sorry, got a little bit excited there! You can download Street Fighter II for your iPhone.
Lovers of the original game will definitely like this. Like Streets of Rage 2, it's not as good as playing the real thing on the console (the SNES in this case) but it's definitely a good alternative.
Choose your character from around the world (mine was always usually Ryu or Ken, wasn't everybody's?!) and take on fighters from around the world in a bid to become the greatest street fighter in the world!
Great app, however, it's a little bit pricey at £2.49, so it all depends on how much you want to play it really!
Right, that's it for my current favourite games for the iPhone, I hope you've enjoyed reading, I'll try and write another one again soon (like I should be doing!!).
Quick little fact before I sign off, did you know that in 1993, sales of Street Fighter II exceeded $1.5 billion in gross revenues, not bad eh!
Thanks for reading!
By Justin O'Connell
It's been a while! It's just, you know, winter and all that, I go into hibernation, hence, no blogs! Anyway, happy belated new year to you all, hope you are well! My first blog of the new year is to review my most favourite apps of 2011.
My list includes things that; keep you amused for half an hour - to things that I use on a day to day basis.
So, here goes, in no particular order…
A nice little camera app that allows you to take photos and add different effects to your images. You also create an instagram account (justinmyfocus, in case you were wondering) with which, you share your photos with the rest of the world. It creates a news feed of other instagram feeds that you follow and other users can share and like your photos.
There is also the option to upload your photos to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and many more, which is handy if you want to show your photos off to a wider audience.
The app is free to download and is only available on iPhone.
A third party messaging platform where users of iPhone, Blackberry and Android can all send each other messages over data - at no cost. You can also send your contacts pictures, videos, voice notes, contacts and even share your current location.
Great app that helps me to keep in touch with friends in America on Blackberry's without the added dent in my bank balance.
The app costs 59p to download on iPhone, free on Blackberry, free on Android for the first year and $1.99 USD/year after that.
Such a great app; an up to date TV guide that shows you everything on every Sky channel for the next 7 days, the ability to search for programmes and a showcase section. Once you have browsed for these, you can then schedule your Sky+ box to record the programme and if it's a series, you can even series link it.
You can do all this, from your phone and it is automatically sent to your Sky+ box, how can this not be cool?! I once set Match of the Day to record whilst I was in Brugge!
The app is free on both iPhone and Android. I don't think it's available on Blackberry but I am not 100% sure on that.
You also need a Sky iD to be able to use this service.
A great little app where you can create your own images using endless amounts of colours, shapes, backgrounds, text and much more. You can then upload your created pictures to both Facebook and Twitter.
The app definitely keeps you entertained during those boring times and is well worth it's value at only 59p!
This app is only available on iPhone.
Lovers of the web game stick cricket will spend endless hours playing this game, just as I did! Using your expertly timed button pressing, you slog the balls out for fours and sixes (if you're good enough) and have a certain amount of overs to beat the score that the bowling team have set.
There are options of all star slog, world domination, two player and more.
The app is free to download but to add the extra games to it, it costs £1.99 but it is definitely good value for money.
It is available on iPhone and Android.
Again, Sky have made another cracker of an app here. This app allows you to watch your movies and sports channels on your iPhone, iTouch and iPad. As long as you have Sky Movies and Sky Sports in your Sky package, you can watch live television over 3G and Wi-Fi.
The app is free to download and is available on iPhone and Android.
You also need a Sky iD to be able to use this service.
The app from the popular TV game show on ITV1. You get to take on the cube and carry out the same activities that contestants on the show tackle.
Obviously, it's not as good as doing it in real life for real money! But it's a great app nonetheless.
The app costs £1.79 for iPhone and $2.32 USD for Android.
There you have it, some of my favourite apps for 2011!
Hopefully it inspires some of you to explore the apps mentioned above! All the best for the coming year.
By Justin O'Connell
Ironic really, when I started thinking what to write for this blog entry, I was feeling uninspired, asking what I should write about? What is exciting in the world of Baseline? Then I remembered; I was sent a press release by Julian Hall of Beating Anger Derby last night.
The topic was something 'very inspiring', something that needs to be shouted about!
What is exciting in the world Baseline?
...and more imminently the Inspiring Derby event which is due to take place shortly, at this point I will hand over to Julian Hall:
Derby Hub, a non-profit making business network in Derby, is hosting a launch event with the help of Kavita Oberoi Derby’s own Secret Millionaire.
Craig Barker of Baseline Creative is part of the membership committee “The vision for Derby Hub has always been one of collaboration amongst Derby businesses and nurturing the business talent we have in this great city.”
Derby Hub is a member run, non-profit business network where members meet regularly to assist each other with improving their businesses. “The difference with this group,” says Julian Hall of Beating Anger “is that it is focussed entirely on the membership and not one someone seeking to make a profit from the members.
The vision for Derby Hub grew out of concern for the demise of Business Link as a force for local business advice. While it remains an online support function there is a gap left in Derby for business advice and education from fellow professionals. With Derby Hub, as membership grows and the member businesses grow, more and more employment will be generated at a time when job losses are at the top of the headlines.
Derby Hub has been in the planning stage for a few months and is launching in style with guest speaker Kavita Oberoi. Yvonne Gorman of Essential Print Services said of Kavita “not only is she an inspirational figure in Derby’s business community but she is generous with her time to causes that she thinks will benefit local businesses. We feel very privileged to have her addressing our group.”
If you want to hear Kavita speak about how she has overcome adversity and meet other like minded professional business people to network with you must book. Tickets are £20 for non members (£10 for members) and demand is high with limited numbers.
Karen Sheldon of Sheldon Financial Services says “ if you are serious about growing your business, and you want to help other businesses grow then Derby Hub is where you need to be.”
Derby Hub’s launch event is 10th November at Chartwell Group, Pride Park. It starts at 5.30pm prompt and will end at 7.00pm. Ticket price includes wine, soft drinks and light snacks.
Available for comment and/or Interview are:
Essential Print Services
Melbourne Business Court
Beating Anger Derby
51 Ashbourne Road
0345 505 2450
By Craig Barker
I think that we must have gypsy blood in our veins because Baseline is off to pastures new… again. We have been very happy at Friar Gate Studios, it has been an excellent spring board for Baseline. But now is the time to make our next move.
We have secured a new studio in the fantastic William's Yard in Melbourne.
The main reason for this move is quality of life, I live in Melbourne and it will mean I can walk to work, but also, it halves the journey time to work for other staff. The new lease begins officially in October, but Richard Blunt, the developer, has allowed us to move in early, so our first working day will be 2nd September.
We are in the process of moving some of our office furniture and equipment into the new studio, so that we don't have one big upheaval.
This new space is fantastic and will give us lots more scope for expansion, we are really looking forward to the next chapter for Baseline. We are looking forward to a studio warming party once we have settled in.
Farewell to all at Friar Gate Studios, you will be missed, but we will be back regularly, as FGS is a fantastic base for any meetings we need to have in the city centre.
By Craig Barker
In these uncertain times it is more important for businesses to have flexible payment options available. It can be the difference between a thriving business and one that is a step away from the scrap heap.
So many (otherwise) good businesses have been crushed by cash-flow in the last couple of years.
Great news for our clients! From now on we will be able to accept credit and debit card payments!
This means that we will be able to take deposits for work quicker and get projects started quicker, it also means that we will be able to give clients the option to pay for the project over a period of time, on their own terms.
We have an excellent relationship with our Bank Manager at Natwest (Emma Thrall). Emma has helped us to set up this Streamline facility (amongst other things). Emma has been an asset to Baseline, if you are unhappy with your bank, ask and we will introduce you.
We are are constantly looking for new ways to improve our business and our customer experience.
To find out more about our creative services or our payment terms / facilities, get in touch.
By Craig Barker
There are millions of us out there who own an Apple iPhone and why not? It is probably the best smart phone out there (my view, I've no factual evidence here as it's irrelevant because this blog is about an app, not the phone!).
As the users of the iPhone know, there is the app store which harvests over 300,000 third party apps and Apple had reached 10 billion app downloads on the 22nd of January 2011.
So, on the topic of apps, I've one to recommend to everybody out there; Artpad.
Artpad is a fun graphic design app where you can make your own art with pre-defined images and symbols, manipulating them as you wish. You can create hundreds of different masterpieces, however you want!
Artpad has a huge set of tools which allow users to adjust the: brightness, transparency, tints and intensity of it's images. It is also very easy to undo, copy and paste items. You can also save your images to edit them at another time and also share your images with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and send them via Email.
It also works very well on the iPhone 4, using it's retina screen to full advantage. Currently the app is selling for £0.59 on the app store which is a complete bargain and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.
Currently rated as the #1 productivity app in the UK and is ranked in the top ten for productivity apps in 15 different countries.
It's not just for graphic designers or people who like art, it's for anybody.
If you like to sketch, manipulate images or just even fancy something to do on your phone when you're bored, get the Artpad; you definitely won't regret it.
Jump on board now and find out what all the fuss is about!
You can find out more about the Artpad here:
By Justin O'Connell
Sunday the 17th of April 2011 is a day that will forever stand out in my mind, the day I completed the London Marathon.
There are many things that I consider personal achievements in my lifetime: Managing to change my ways during GCSE's, Acquiring my A-levels and Graduating from University, just to name a few.
It has to be said though, running 26.2 miles in memory of my friends sister, Hannah, for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young, is by far my biggest personal achievement to date.
Considering that I could of (and should of) trained so much more, I completed the London Marathon in a fairly respectable 6 hours 14 mins and 31 seconds - not bad for my first marathon.
The time could of been a lot better though. At one point during the race, I was informed by a friend that I was on for a 5 hours 14 mins finish, which is probably around the time when disaster happened really. I managed to complete half of the course in 2 hours 26 mins but shortly after that, I tore my ligaments in my left foot.
At the time, I wasn't aware of what I'd done. I just thought it was cramp and continued to run/walk from about mile 16 to mile 18, after that though, I really couldn't run on it. The pain in my foot was so excruciating that I was now walking and I had to stop every half a mile to take some weight off my foot and try and stretch it out a bit.
At this point, it would of been very easy for me to pull out of the race; there were St. Johns Ambulances at every mile and I could of just easily gone to them and sat it out. But this is something I can't do, it's in my genes, I never give up, I'd come too far and I was determined to finish.
It was by far the most I have ever challenged not just my physical strength, but my mental strength. Knowing that you've got at least 7 more miles to go and the only way that you'll get to the finish line is on your own two feet when in quite some pain, is a very daunting experience.
I had to dig in deep, people everywhere were passing me, people I had gone past earlier in the race. I needed to block this out of my mind and just concentrate on other things other than that annoying and horrible pain in my foot.
Mile 19, mile 20, mile 21, mile 22, mile 23, mile 24 - They kept ticking by, albeit very, very slowly. I had no idea (and still don't) how I managed to pull myself through this patch, I believe this was me hitting what is known by marathon runners as 'the wall'.
After the mile 24 marker had passed it was down to Embankment where I could see the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. What I could also see, were thousands of people packed down the side of the street.
Let me just make one thing clear right here, the crowd at the London Marathon is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life before. Thousands upon thousands of people encouraging you, whom you never have and probably never will, ever meet. Children and adults alike, putting their hand out to you, yes you, an average ordinary person, to 'high-five' them as you go past, it is incredible and is undoubtably one of the things that kept me going during the race, it's like they were an extra load of oxygen every time you took a breath in.
Walking down Embankment, I see a man holding a piece of paper with the words 'AMAZING PEOPLE RUN MARATHONS'. This is something that really, really inspired me to get to that finishing line and if I'm honest, it nearly brought a tear to my eye (obviously emotions were running high, I'm a big masculine macho man really and we don't cry! grrrrr! *macho man face*).
I turned past Big Ben and could see the Mall further down the road - the home leg. Walking down the Mall, I look to the crowd and see my dad. He wants a high five but I don't think so dad, I've just done over 25 miles, my mind is all over the place and I'm quite emotional, you're getting a hug old man!! I gave my dad a hug and spoke to him as I was walking down the Mall and he was recording me on his camera.
I got to the '400 yards to go' sign, I could see that finishing line and something amazing happened. I still don't know how but, I started running and after walking the last 7 miles in a lot of pain I had no idea I was able to. I guess adrenaline and the crowd just give you the legs down that home straight and I was going for it!
I have never, ever, had a feeling like that crossing a finishing line and it still hasn't properly sunk in that a completed a course of 26.2 miles.
The event was very well organised and everybody there on the day was brilliant. I am completely in debt to all the volunteers and the crowd watching who helped me on that day.
I am still raising money in memory of Hannah for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young and if you're feeling charitable and would like to sponsor me, it really is going to a good cause.
To donate, click the link here: http://bit.ly/eNiCuA
By Justin O'Connell
With the recent news that Portugal are likely to get a bail out, it leaves many small businesses (the future of our economy), asking why is there not more funding and support for us. Small businesses, if supported, will help boost employment, then spending, then the economy as a whole.
It makes sense for the government to help support small businesses and lay the foundations for them to become the large businesses of the future.
Many people are unaware that there is actually funding and support available for small businesses (Although it is reducing). The problem is; there may be funding available for various purposes, but it is not very well publicised, plus, there are many hoops that you have to jump through and sometimes seemingly impossible criteria to meet.
At Baseline we have made it part of our business to be as clued up as we can on any funding pots available (that can be utilised by our clients for various aspects of our service). It is already difficult enough for a person to make a business succeed, so we like to try to lighten the load a little if we can.
At the moment, we have three different funding pots available and we are constantly working to find any other opportunities for our clients.
Examples of the kind of funding amounts available are:
There are very strict criteria to see if you are eligible to claim the funding available. Sometimes it seems like they have made the funding available, but then they make it as hard as possible to apply.
The good news is that there are people out there, who have made it their mission to help as many people as possible. They will help to guide you through the process. We can introduce you to them...
If you are interested in working with us and would like to know more about our 'part funded' opportunities, the please get in touch.
We can talk you through the criteria and help you to understand what opportunities (if any) are available for you.
By Craig Barker
…but working towards it.
Over the last couple of years, I have been really focussed on 'continuous self improvement' and in turn; 'continuous business improvement'.
I would be very complacent if I ever thought that we were perfect. If you look hard enough, you can always find things to improve. I have a massive long list…
Over the last few months we have been working very closely with two business consultants, Neil Harvey and Mark Greenhouse, who run a company called Levantar.
They are helping us to look at the business from the outside in, to make sure that Baseline is as efficient and profitable as possible. We have been looking at the business from every angle, but the area I am focussing on today is 'customer experience'.
Our company offers a variety of creative services with different members of the team having different specialisms, but this article is mainly focussing on the website design and development services that we offer.
We have absolute confidence in our abilities as a website provider, but we decided to look at what could set us apart from our competition.
We did some research and found that many customers (not necessarily ours) felt that there was not enough support, during the website production process. They often found the process painful and were unaware which part of the project they were responsible for and why certain aspects were important. They found the process bewildering.
We decided that we need to make sure our customers are consistently given the information that they need in order to make informed decisions. We decided to produce a series of documents explaining important aspects of the website production process and the choices that they have to make. The documents also explain the benefits of paying a professional to carry out certain tasks rather than adopting a DIY approach.
This is great for us because there are less likely to be any misunderstandings, this is great for the client because they get free professional advice from us whether they use our services or not.
Ultimately the client comes away from the initial meeting with us, equipped to make an informed decision over which company they should work with.
The documents are currently being drafted, but will cover the following website production related topics:
These document will not be DIY guides, they will just give the client the information that they need to make informed decisions.
We want our clients to have a smooth experience with us. We want our clients to chose us because they know 'without a shadow of a doubt', that we are the perfect company for them to partner with. We know this wont always be the case...
Baseline will be 8 years old next month. I can easily pinpoint things during that period that I would have done differently if I went through it again. But when I am planning the next 8 years, I will keep one thing in mind:
"There is no such thing as a failure, if you learn something from it."
By Craig Barker
Towards the end of 2010, Baseline was presented with an amazing chance to move to one of the front offices at Friar Gate Studios. Studio 26 is a bigger office with windows looking out into Derby, creating a perfect opportunity to raise the profile of our business.
After rearranging the furniture a few times, we have finally settled in! We have included pictures with this blog, so check them out!
By Sonal Odedra
It comes to 11am on a Wednesday and the alarm in my iCal buzzes, telling me that 'it's time for me to write my blog' and I think great, what do I write about today?!
In recent weeks, I have been able to sit there, think of a topic instantly and blog about it; as many of my readers who care to follow me will recognise.
But today, I got that feeling of writers block, so I decided to turn it into a positive and blog about it, happy days!
Writers block is defined as: 'The inability to start writing for some period of time. It can take many forms: an inability to come up with any good ideas to start a story, an inability to start writing a new work, or extreme dissatisfaction with all efforts to write.'
Now I know I'm not the only one out there who has this problem from time to time, many of you out there will come across a time when you want to write about something but have no idea what! It happens to even the most successful of writers (well, after time though, they may turn their stories into a multimillion pound series - J K Rowling to mention one).
Even now, sat here writing a blog about writers block is a tough ask, when struggling with writers block, believe me!
The aim of this blog is to give all of you out there tips that I use to help overcome writers block. (These are not guaranteed to help!)
Obviously the hardest part of writers block is actually getting around to writing. I usually make myself a cup of tea, sit down whilst the kettle boils and have a little ponder on what I can write about. Just so you know, procrastination isn't the answer here. You'll only ever end up doing things to delay your actions but you'll never actually never get on with it! Set aside time, ten to fifteen minutes, sit down and relax. Let your mind run free.
Another thing I do is doodle. Doodling can be linked to many things but it is not often clear why we doodle things and what they actually mean. Use them as a positive, you could maybe even write about why we doodle! (giving you ideas now eh!)
Try to move away from other people if you can. It is so much harder to concentrate in a room full of people talking than it is in a room of silence where it is just you and your thoughts.
Overall, the best thing for you to do is to sit down for a few minutes and try to relax. Think about things that you enjoy and make some notes and drawings from those thoughts and then develop them into words on a page.
Having come from a university background where I had to write a dissertation (15,000 words, that kinda thing!), I know how hard this can be. You have to keep yourself focussed, relaxed and above all, never give up. Set yourself a deadline and you are more likely to stick at it.
'Knowledge is power"
By Justin O'Connell
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/justin_oconnell
We have a fantastic opportunity available for manufacturing companies, but first a little background.
We feel that if the government is going to help the country to recover from the global downturn as quickly as possible, it needs to invest in business. Luckily there are still some support opportunities for some sectors.
Germany has recovered far better from the recession than the UK because they have a strong manufacturing sector.
One of the great things that the government is doing, is helping to strengthen and increase the UK manufacturing industry via the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS).
MAS have match funding available to help any company that can be classed as 'a manufacturing company'. This funding is to be used for various business improvement tasks including:
…but overall increasing the success and profits of manufacturing companies.
If the government are investing in business in general, then the country will prosper as there will be less unemployment and more disposable income.
It is very difficult to become an approved MAS supplier, in fact we have been informed that they are not currently accepting new suppliers.
We have formed a strong business alliance with a business consultancy; ResQ Management Resources.
ResQ are already an authorised MAS supplier and have 'made' and 'saved' millions of pounds for their clients. Our business alliance with ResQ means that some of our services are able to fall under the criteria for MAS funding, meaning that we can provide some of our consultancy and web design services match funded.
For example, we are currently finalising the details with a manufacturer of granite worktops to produce an e-commerce website with a value of £5400 (plus VAT). This project will be 'match funded' saving the client 50% of this cost.
As a result of working with us, this client will be able to increase sales into their business. Then by working with ResQ, they will be able to increase productivity and reduce waste from the business, this complete process will make and save them a significant amount of money.
This kind of improvement will enable our client to grow their business, this type of growth is exactly what the UK needs.
If you are reading this article and you know a manufacturing organisation that would like to take advantage of this type of opportunity, please pass on our details.
We are uniquely placed to supply these organisations and have a proven track record with other manufacturing based clients.
We will be adding case studies to our website as we complete work for these types of clients, so watch this space. :O)
By Craig Barker
What smartphone should I get? Which is the best value for money? Do I actually need one? Questions often racing through the mind when purchasing a mobile phone - hard to believe people used to get around without one eh!
Let's put it out there straight away; when you think smartphone (actually, if you just think smart and technology you usually think Apple!), you think Apple iPhone. Don't read this and even try to suggest you don't think that. Even if you don't like the iPhone, you think that way!
And who could blame you! The iPhone is a remarkable piece of technology and completely set the tone for smartphones of the future. The latest model has it all; FaceTime, a state of the art retina display screen, HD video recording and editing, the ability to multitask, 5 megapixel camera with an LED flash, internet, music, email, wireless printing, voice control, maps and millions of apps (some really good and equally some extremely poor ones) - an astonishing amount of technology that fits in the palm of your hand!
If you'd have told Alexander Graham Bell that phones would have even been wireless in the future, he would've gladly slapped you around the face and called you insane.
Now before you think this is a huge iPhone love-in, think again! Although I am an iPhone user, I am only too aware that there are other smartphones out there that are slowly (but surely) catching up with the capabilities of the iPhone.
According to Stuff Magazine, the top ten smartphones are as follows:
As you can see from that list, HTC has four phones within the list, Nokia two and Google, LG and Blackberry one. I could really go overboard with comparisons between each of these phones but time simply does not allow for this! Instead, I have summarised the smartphones from each brand below:
Apple - Stylish, Impressive, Huge applications market, Expensive.
Blackberry - Blackberry messenger, Great for business users, Good value for money.
Google - Fast, Big screen, Speedy updates, Expensive.
HTC - Suave, Social media driven, good android market, Expensive.
LG - Up and coming, Innovative, Cheap.
Nokia - Durable, Great for media, Good value for money.
I am not a tech expert and I doubt I ever will be, as always with my blogs, they are based on opinions. I will leave it up to the users to decide which smartphone they feel is best.
For now, Apple is king, but for how long? You decide.
By Justin O'Connell
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @justin_oconnell
As returning readers may well know, I have changed my diet quite drastically due to training for the London Marathon in April and along with other things in my diet, I always try to include my '5 a day'.
Most of us are told by health experts that we should try and eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables daily as part of a healthy lifestyle. They also say that it should be varied, as different products provide different nutritional values.
This got me thinking. 'Yes, we all know that fruit and vegetables are good for us, but how many of us actually know the benefits to our bodies?'
And as my wonderful mind yet again leads me down a different path, I visited my friend Google (Come on, Google's everybody's friend!) for some answers.
I firstly came across the NHS website and they've a full section dedicated to healthy eating and your '5 a day'. They start of with a list of five different reasons why your '5 a day' is so important, these are:
Clearly very good reasons there then! But what actually counts towards your '5 a day'?
Well, the World Health Organisation suggest:
Also, potatoes are vegetables but they don't count towards your 5 a day because they are very starchy foods. They do however, play an important role in your diet. They are a good source of energy, fibre, vitamin B and potassium.
All of these can easily be incorporated into your diet very easily and they're all very tasty! Since eating more fruit and vegetables daily, I have felt a lot better. I am sleeping better, feeling more alert and definitely feeling the benefits after exercising.
Go ahead, start your health kick today, you won't regret it!
The NHS have a full list detailing how much of each fruit/veg you should eat, to be able to count as one portion of your five a day here.
By Justin O'Connell
Follow me on Twitter: @justin_oconnell
Touted as the 'SMS for the Internet', Twitter was created in 2006 and in the last five years it has seen a huge increase in the amount of people using it. This got me curious; what is it about Twitter that makes people want to use it?
At a first glance, It is a different set up and layout to your 'beloved' Facebook page, restricting posts or 'tweets' to 140 characters, which is a short message to let the world of Twitter know what you are up to. You can tag fellow Twitter users in your posts by using the '@' symbol followed by the username (which Facebook decided to steal, sorry, 'incorporate' into their design) and it appears in their Twitter feed.
All well and good, but why would this make someone want to use it more than Facebook or as well as Facebook; we all know that Facebook has been 'the king of social media' for a few years! So how has another social media platform managed to grow just as popular?
Colette Martin said in her Forbes blog that the reason that Twitter has become so popular is because 'Twitter is all about messaging. Messages go to your followers, but are easily accessible by everyone. Twitter is a goldmine of information and there is no need to ever send a tweet to leverage the data in Twitter.'
'Small and large businesses alike can benefit from “listening” to what their customers are saying about them on twitter.'
A perfectly good reason to join from a business point of view; your customer base are within touching distance and you can keep up to date with the goings on of their day-to-day activities.
So there are good business reasons to join, why would a person join Twitter?
Personally, I believe that people join Twitter because of the 'celebrity factor' it has about it. There is an overwhelming amount of celebrities who use Twitter and the majority of them are very active with lots of regular tweets. It allows the user to feel properly engaged with the celebrity as they know it is them replying or 'retweeting' their tweets.
According to a recent Nielsen study; 'people in the USA spend 906 million hours a month on social networks' - a phenomenal number, I can only imagine the numbers are around the same in the UK!
And I am not surprised, listening to Radio1 this morning, I think I have heard the words: 'Twitter', 'Tweet' and 'Retweeting' about 20-30 times in nearly two hours!
In conclusion, my personal opinion on the 'deal with Twitter' is that it acts as a knowledge base of information allowing people and businesses to share short messages with one-another and it gives us that social interaction with celebrities which, who wouldn't enjoy! Yes, It's a place where people are less likely to 'follow' their friends and more likely to 'follow' celebrities but hey, isn't that what Facebook is for?
By Justin O'Connell
Monday morning arrives, we get to the office, everyone is still groggy from the weekend (and still unhappy at the fact that we've had to go back to work) and the first thing we all go and do before anything else is to stick that kettle on!
Needless to say, the person making the brew will go around the office (if there's not too many employees there of course!) and ask that all important question; tea or coffee?
Now, as I have recently changed my diet due to my marathon training commitments (had to sneak that in there, you know you want to sponsor me ;o) : http://www.justgiving.com/Justin-O-Connell-11) I was interested in how my morning brew affects my diet and productivity whilst at work.
Before the morning is out, I would've already had four cups of tea, with 1 big heap of sugar (I have cut down from two but I still can't seem to ween myself off it!) and a dash of semi-skimmed milk, bare in mind that this is between the hours of 8.30am and around 11.30am! So in the space of three hours, I've had around 16.8 grams of sugar (there are approximately 2.4 grams of sugar per teaspoon) less than 4 calories (PG Tips contain less than 1 calorie per tea bag) and around 25ml of milk; a good source of calcium.
So it seems I'm not really doing much to my body apart from rotting my teeth because of my love for sugar! So I decided to research this further.
According to the 'Tea Association of the United States of America'; 'Tea contains flavonoids, naturally occurring compounds that are believed to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work to neutralise free radicals, which scientists believe, over time, damage elements in the body, such as genetic material and lipids, and contribute to chronic disease.'
They also suggest that: 'The antioxidant properties of tea flavonoids may play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing lipid oxidation, reducing the instances of heart attacks and stroke and may beneficially impact blood vessel function, an important indicator of cardiovascular health.'
And finally: 'Lower the risk of certain cancers and support the human immune system.'
Healthiest types of tea: Green, White and Herbal.
Coffee on the other hand, according to 'The articlesbase.com': 'Stimulates bowel production and has an unknown chemical agent that can stimulate adrenaline and cortisone for an added effect.'
Coffee is full of many different benefits, including 'the potential to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. When you drink coffee in moderation at around 2 cups per day, you are less likely to develop the onset of Alzheimer's later in life.'
Coffee also 'lowers the risk for gallstones and gallbladder disease in both women and men. Coffee also does have the potential to reduce the risk for Parkinson's disease.'
Healthiest types of coffee: Filtered coffee, Medium roast and Decaffeinated.
So, thats the health covered, how does it affect how we perform at work?
Well, both of the two contain caffeine which is a stimulant. However, studies have shown that regular coffee consumption will work to increase focus and energy, making it perfect for the work environment. Tea and coffee are also seen as 'social drinks' and can help bring us together. They are also seen as a type of 'peace offering' and people usually reach for the tea after resolving an argument.
Naturally, as with anything, too much caffeine can be bad for the body and likewise with too much sugar. The message here is to drink them both in moderation and let your body do the rest.
By Justin O'Connell
So after the celebrations of another year, many 'new year resolutions' would have been made, some of the most popular being; "I will join the gym", "I will quit smoking". "I will give up drinking" etc.
For others, more sensible (and lets face it, realistic!) resolutions would of been suggested; "I will work harder at university", "I will get to work on time" etc.
I suppose my new years resolution comes under the category of one of the most popular; "I will go jogging more". Now, I am not simply following suit, I actually need to get myself fitter as I have the small matter of conquering 26.2 miles on the 17th of April 2011. Yep, that's right, the Virgin London Marathon 2011.
I applied for a place for the 2010 London Marathon but due to unforeseen circumstances, I couldn't compete last year and my place rolled over to this year.
Training for the marathon this year has been a challenge for me. After long days of work during the week, it has become commonplace for me to just get home and relax. I need to snap out of this and concentrate on getting fit for what is an immense opportunity to raise money for charity.
However, I have not completely abandoned my training. I train once a week for football and play a league or cup game, every Sunday morning. I did do a fair bit of training last year but this year I really need to kick on with my new years resolution and work harder on my jogging.
I am running in memory of a close friends' sister, if you're feeling generous please, sponsor me at my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Justin-O-Connell-11
By Justin O'Connell
Mac/Windows - which do you prefer?
Now, before you read on, I must state that I am not an expert on either operating system and nor do I pretend to be! This blog is just a personal reflection of my thoughts of the two systems.
On my first day at Baseline, I was shown to my new computer which was, a Mac. Now, from being a user of Windows for many years, the first thing I thought was, 'Oh no, I'm not gonna like this' and I'll be honest, my main problem with Mac's basically stemmed through perception, as I was always told they were 'crap' (obviously until I met Craig. THE biggest Apple fan on the planet!).
So it wasn't as if I'd already gave Mac's a try and thought, 'Well this isn't for me'. I basically took peoples' word for it that Mac's were rubbish (I think that mainly had something to do with the fact that the majority of people I had previously worked with were very anti-Mac and very, very pro Windows) and never bothered to try it myself, stubborn eh?
The first few days were a bit of challenge, getting used to the whole functionality of the Mac OS as it is quite different from Windows. Everything is 'not where it should be' as such, or so my Windows ignorance tells me that 'this isn't set out how it should be'.
Two months on, I have grown to like the usability and feel of the system and I really enjoy using it. They're very modern, clean, stylish and are well suited for the design industry. They are however, only exclusive to Apple and with it being their operating system, it is hardly surprising. The Windows system is available on nearly every manufacturer of a laptop in the market and they are relatively cheap, compared to a Mac anyway.
To summarise, I was sceptical about using a Mac but have since grown to really enjoy using it. I have got that used to it, I'm trying the command shortcuts on my Windows laptop (which obviously don't work, however much Microsoft try and replicate what Apple create in their OS). Also, I am considering buying one! (oh Craig will be pleased!)
I think it is safe to say that I have been converted! Time to start saving!
By Justin O'Connell
Baseline discovered a fantastic opportunity on Wednesday, we found that one of the glass fronted offices at Friargate Studios had become vacant.
When we moved into FGS on the 1st October we always had aspirations of eventually taking one of these offices as they are in a prime location with great visible frontage for advertising space.
Over the last 8 years Baseline has always flown quietly under the radar, letting our work speak for itself. If there is one thing that the recession has taught us, it is that when times are more difficult, you need to make sure that you maximise your business promotion activities. A time to invest and shout from the rooftops, not pull back and hide…
We really have been practicing what we preach for a change over the last few months and consequently, we have gone from strength to strength.
Yesterday we signed the lease for Studio 26, and will be moving in January. This marks an end to a fantastic year for us!
Once we have moved in we will be branding up the glass in order to make the most of the potential exposure. We welcome suggestions on this as we want to make sure we get it right, any feedback will be gratefully received.
We want to land with a big splash!
Get in touch if you have any ideas that you would like to share.
Next year is going to be a fantastic year! Watch this space!
By Craig Barker
We all know how much I love angry birds, so imagine how happy I was when I found this video!! It made me cry with laughter!
If you don't know anything about angry birds, please read my previous blog about them here!
Hope you enjoy this as much as I have!
By Sonal Odedra
Its approaching that time of year where the tinsel and lights are being taken out of their boxes and being scattered around the office! Christmas is on its way! THE EXCITEMENT!
So for this blog entry, I have provided instructions for you to have a go and make your very own Origami Christmas Tree!
See attached images for the step by step guide.
By Sonal Odedra
I am not the most positive person in the world, I have the occasional rant here and there, but I think it is always important to look on the brighter side of life by being positive and optimistic. The power of positive thinking refers to the power of creating thoughts, which create and focus energy into reality.
The ability to remain positive will increase your motivation and will help you achieve your goals faster, as it is a more productive state of mind and your mind is more acceptable to learning. An optimistic belief in yourself and your capabilities will fuel your success.
Negative energy and talk can often increase your stress levels and limit your success at home or at work. It is also important to understand that being negative may irritate others around you, but the main victim of this depressing energy is YOU. For example, being annoyed at your workload isn't going to affect your workload, but it is affecting your mood and your productivity.
Here are some good tips that will help you lift the negativity from your life.
I hope this blog will help you keep the smile on your face for longer! Don't forget to keep looking up even when everyone else is looking down.
By Sonal Odedra
This November brings about an annual event that goes by the name of Movember; A play on words combining the month November with the slang word 'Mo' derived from the word Moustache.
Now I know there will be a few of you sat there scratching your head and wondering what Movember is all about. Well don't you worry, I am on hand to explain it to you!
Taken from the Movember website:
'Movember started in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, with a few guys talking about the idea of bringing back the moustache as a bit of a joke and to do something for men's health. They never generated any money in 2003 but the guys behind the campaign realised the potential in the idea and were inspired by women all around the world and all they had done for breast cancer.
In 2004 the campaign evolved and focused on raising awareness and funds for the number one cancer affecting men – prostate cancer. 432 people joined the movement that year, raising $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia – representing the single largest donation they had ever received.
It has since grown year on year, expanding to the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, The Netherlands and Finland.
In 2009, global participation climbed to 255,755, with over one million donors raising £26 Million (GBP equivalent) for Movember’s global beneficiary partners.
The funds raised through Movember’s UK campaign benefit the The Prostate Cancer Charity (TPCC), the UK’s leading prostate cancer charity.'
The reason for this blog is to get the word out there about Movember and also to let you know that I am going ahead with it and will be raising money for The Prostate Cancer Charity. If you would like to sponsor me, please Click Here to donate.
By Justin O'Connell
With the end of October approaching this weekend, it's the time to carve out your pumpkins, buy your sweets and dig out your old costumes - you guessed it, its Halloween!
Halloween or Hallowe'en, was traditionally celebrated as the 'summer's end' and certain festivals celebrated it as the transition from the 'lighter half' of the year entering the 'darker half'.
In more modern times however, Halloween is used by people to dress up in costumes, trick-or-treat and some even choose to play pranks! With this in mind, there have been plenty of horror movies throughout the years that have spawned characters which are used as inspiration for costumes.
One of my favourite modern horror movies has to be Saw, the first film was a treat however the sequels have failed to impress. The Saw series of films have been historically geared around a Halloween release and this year is no different, bringing about, what producers say, is the 'final chapter' in the Saw franchise with a 3D film. The films are based around a 'killer' by the name of Jigsaw, who puts his would-be victims in traps, giving them the chance to escape and a second chance on life. Not many escape and there are often huge twists in the film plot, along with a whole lot of gasps, screams and gore!
It created a different twist to horror movies and this is why it is in my list.
Below is a list of my top ten favourite horror movies in reverse order:
7. Night of the Living Dead
6. Dawn of the Dead
5. The Thing
3. The Shining
1. The Exorcist
If you have not seen any of the films on this list, you're missing out!
By Justin O'Connell
Hey guys! I am Justin O'Connell, the newest member since Sonal at Baseline Creative! I haven't wrote a blog since university so here goes!
I'm 22 years old and I am from Loughborough, not far from Derby. I went to Sheffield Hallam University and recently graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Business Information Systems. I have a passion for football and have played since I was 8 years old.
I have always wanted to travel the world and some day I may be able to!
Other things about me:
By Justin O'Connell
A really busy few weeks with yet more improvements for Baseline. We have settled in nicely to Friar Gate Studios now, it really feels like the right place for us to be.
I have definitely been neglecting my blog entries of late, so have been nagged by staff to make sure I do this today. Isn't it great when staff feel passionately about the business and help to keep the business owners on the straight and narrow?
The main feature of this article is Business on Toast...
We were one of the founder members of Business on Toast back in August 2009, we were fighting off the recession and this was one of the additional networking activities that we took on to push the business forward.
Shortly after joining, Business on Toast became one of our loyal clients and we helped to 'put them on the map', getting them the 'number 1' spot on google for the search phrases that they wanted to be found for (in a very short period of time).
Just over a year later Business on Toast have celebrated phenomenal success with their 'one year' birthday bash. The event was a black tie affair at Derby's Mickleover Court Hotel. I just loved dressing up like James Bond!
The event was very well organised and really felt like a celebration of businesses coming together to help each other succeed. We had great drink, great food and great conversation. The evening was topped of by an awards ceremony.
Baseline were given 2 awards one for being a 'founder member' and one for 'outstanding contribution'. We were very proud!
We have worked with Business on Toast since 'day one' and see networking as an integral part of Baseline's business strategy. We have gone from strength to strength, thanks to being a member of Business on Toast.
If you fancy coming along to a networking meeting, get in touch and I will take you along as my guest.
By Craig Barker
Photography courtesy of Cactus Images
As some of you may know, I recently posted a really cool video about procrastination onto our Facebook and Twitter page. If you haven't already seen it, please see the video below this article.
Many people I have spoken to can relate to this video and have confessed that they often procrastinate. This has inspired me to write this blog to help resolve or understand more about this unproductive state of mind!
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is when we put off doing important tasks by completing less crucial jobs. It stops you from using your time efficiently and can prevent you from reaching important deadlines.
Why do we procrastinate?
Our bodies react emotionally when we are faced with a task that we do not want to do, don't enjoy doing or are convinced we cannot do. We often resent the task without fully understanding what is actually needed from us, to complete the job. But, procrastination is like a habit, and like any other habit it can be broken. First you need to become conscious of the fact that you're procrastinating and by doing so, you will find it easier to discover a way to prevent it.
Here's a few other reasons why we may start to procrastinate:
1. Feeling overwhelmed with a situation
2. Afraid of failure
3. Too busy with other tasks
4. Inability to make decisions
5. Overworked, tired and sleep deprived
The effects of procrastination on your life…
As you already may know, the more you procrastinate, the more you become disorganised as the distinction between urgency and priority is lost. You can become forgetful and easily distracted. But even worse, you could be branded "lazy" which can be difficult to shake off. This may develop into a fear of failure which is not a good working mind set to have. This viscous cycle goes on and on…
Resolving the problem…
So to address the problem, you need to start realising when your focus drifts from task to task. Then you need to ask yourself:
- What are you afraid of?
Write a list of your fears and see if there is any help available to manage the task better.
- What do you want from life?
Write down all of your goals (career, finance, relationship, physical, travel etc) and label your top 3. Try to focus all your energy and thoughts on these 3, and in a few months you can come back to re-evaluate your list.
- Link tasks that you don't like to your goals.
i.e. if your house is a mess, and one of your goals is to have a clear mind, you may find it helps to mentally tie the two together. This should create more self-motivation.
- Get a diary!
Put in all your appointments and learn to use it everyday.
- Learn how to plan ahead realistically.
- Provide yourself with a daily to-do list.
- Break down your large tasks into smaller chunks.
Schedule it into your diary in pieces so that you don't feel overwhelmed.
I hope this overview has helped you, I have certainly learnt loads doing this research!
Right, time to put these theories to practise and start getting productive!
By Sonal Odedra
Baseline are moving, we need more space to accommodate our growing team!
Although we have thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Banks' Mill, the time has come for Baseline to move to Friar Gate Studios!
Our first official working day at FGS is Monday 4th October 2010, we will be moving into studio 7 on the ground floor so if your around, please stop by to say hello!
It is an extremely exciting time for us, every week brings something new!
Baseline is constantly evolving into a more efficient, well oiled machine, consistently producing high level creative work and meeting customer needs.
Loads more changes to come so watch this space!
By Craig Barker
Baseline work with a variety of charities both on a professional and a fundraising level. One of our clients, The Nottinghamshire Royal Society for the Blind (NRSB), recently held their annual Dragon Boat Race.
Baseline took part in the challenge as part of a team with other business colleagues, to raise money for the charity.
Races were held throughout the day, plus there were refreshments and various attractions. A great day for the whole family!
Our team came 4th overall. We were very pleased with the result, this was our first attempt at Dragon Boat Racing. We were told that some of the teams were having professional coaching several weeks before the event. Not a bad first attempt!
We are well on track for surpassing our £1000 target for fundraising and will keep you posted on this.
You can be sure that we will be entering next September with a view to improving our result!
If you have not yet sponsored us for taking part in this event, then it is not too late, all donations are gratefully received and will go to the NRSB.
Thanks to everyone who has already pledged money and to those who supported us on the day.
By Craig Barker
Shillington College is like an intense graphic design boot camp. With over 40 briefs to complete within the space of 3 months, its easy to see how Shillington College graduates get jobs.
Everything taught at Shillington College relates to handling a brief and being able to produce a quality piece of design that fully meets the clients specification.
My experience at Shillington College was amazing. Not only have they trained me to use the relevant software to a high standard (i.e. Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop), I have also learnt about the design principles, colour, typography, lateral thinking, photo retouching, marketing and advertising, print processes and much more.
Being from an IT background, I knew that going through a career change was going to be extremely risky so I did an incredible amount of research on graphic design courses beforehand and found that Shillington College seemed to be the best out there. The reviews were all really reassuring and the fact that it is advertised in the Computer Arts magazine each month, sealed the deal for me.
I worried whether this 3 month course would be able to get my creative juices flowing, and whether I would be able to secure a design job after. However, 3 months after graduating (during the recession), I had already secured freelance work from 6 different design agencies. Then in July 2010 I was employed by Craig on a full time basis working here at Baseline Creative. I felt prepared going into each job, and confident in my own work.
Even though the price of the course is steep, it is definitely worth doing as it helped me reach my dream job. You leave the course with great confidence in approaching jobs, as well as a beautifully polished portfolio. To see my portfolio go to www.sonalodedra.com
"To create a positive and inspirational learning environment in which students are taught relevant industry skills, ensuring they have the best possible chance of employment as a Graphic Designer" - Shillington College's Objective / www.shillingtoncollege.co.uk
By Sonal Odedra
A few months ago I was advised by several of my clients and associates that I should read The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, I was told that it would change my outlook on business and probably my life.
I was sceptical, I had heard that it was about applying franchise model principals to a business. I didn't want to franchise Baseline so I thought that it would probably not be right for me.
Having read the book a few months ago, I can honestly say that with every new chapter it was like a thunderbolt moment where I learnt something new about myself or my business. I found that the book was more about understanding human behaviour and why we do certain things, It really helped me to understand more about the type of person I am, why I went into business, my weaknesses and what I can do to improve them.
The core principles of the book are about having a clear goal and function for the business, then standardising and streamlining processes. By documenting the processes you can in theory hand the task over to someone else have them do it as well as you.
Before reading the book I thought that the quality of design would depend solely on talent. I still believe that.
I don't believe that you can completely document the creative process and hand it over to someone unskilled to produce a design of the same quality as the experienced designer.
However there are many tasks within the business that you can document and hand over.
So what did I get from the book?
The E-Myth prompted me to look at my business from the outside, at each individual task and process, then I stripped the task apart and streamlined it to make sure that it was as efficient as possible. Whilst I could not hand a skilled creative task to a an unskilled person and have them perform it as well as the experienced person, by documenting the stages and activities involved in the creative process for each task, it enabled us to provide a consistent well considered service.
This streamlining also makes the business very lean, profitable and cost effective for our client.
We have cut out all of the waste from our business using principles that we learned from the E-Myth. We are still as creative as ever, but the business works better over all.
Every time we have a new member of staff, it is very easy for us to teach them 'The Baseline Way' of doing things.
Are we finished? No.
Now that I have started working 'on the business' more rather than 'in the business' all of the time, I am working to constantly improve our processes and the services we offer to our clients.
This constant improvement process will ensure that our clients get a consistently high service.
I strongly recommend this book as a good starting point for the business improvement process. Any book can only ever take you so far, you have to have the will power and the motivation to make serious change and admit that just because you have been doing something for a long time, that you may not be doing it the best way.
This book did not give me all of the answers but it did prompt me to ask some very important questions of myself and my business.
I can honestly say that I have a new passion for my business, I feel like I am tinkering with a great machine that works well, looking for ways to make it work better.
The E-Myth did not restrict the creativity within the business, it just enabled me to put that creativity into framework that would make it easier to communicate to others.
I think that with any book, you have to read it objectively not as though it were a user manual.
I hope that my experience with this book helps.
By Craig Barker
Just like our website, the new business cards are simple yet striking. We decided to go for the "less is more" approach by using bright and bold elements with subtle attention to detail to give a squeaky clean polished finish.
The paper stock supplied by GF Smiths was duplexed with White Frost and Turquoise to give an overall weight of 540gsm. The company details are black foil on the white side and the Baseline logo is clear foil on the turquoise side.
Definitely practising what we preach…
By Sonal Odedra
So Angry Birds are the new phenomenon in the App Store, but what is all the hype about?
Angry Birds is about a bunch of extremely protective birds who have had their eggs stolen by a nasty bunch of green pigs (who are really cute in an ugly kind of way), and so we must retrieve our eggs back by throwing the angry birds via sling shot at the enemy in attempt to destroy the castles and kill all the pigs.
I personally get bored very easily and didn't think this app would be able to engage my attention for more than 5 minutes but shockingly I have been addicted from the get-go. I am completely hooked. "Just one more go" can easily lead into 2 hours of solid gaming where nothing else in the world matters or exists! With over 100 levels, it is easy to see how you could be accused of having anti-social behaviour, but the game is just far too engrossing to put down after one game. I know all you other Angry Birds players out there understand!
This simple game is the number one selling app in 60 Countries including the UK and USA for one reason, it is first class entertainment.
By Sonal Odedra
Baseline were asked to create the following work for a charity 'Snow Ball' in aid of St Luke's Hospice:
The brief was to create a sophisticated identify for the 'black tie' event with an 'Art Deco' style. This was an unusual project because it was quite simple in it's purpose and it was heavily style led.
The process for this project was as follows:
The client was very happy with the results and the event was a complete success!
Click on the image above to see larger versions of the images.
Hello everyone! I'm Sonal Odedra, the newest member of Baseline Creative and this is my first blog entry, so I thought I'd tell you all a little about me!
I'm 25 years old and I come from a beautiful town called Loughborough. Since graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with a BSc (hons) in Computing Visualisation, I have travelled all corners of the Earth and settled back home to peruse my true passion; which is design! ...and here I am!
Other random facts:
Speak to you soon!
We have decided that it is about time we started to 'practice what we preach'. We have been working very hard to create a new bold brand for baseline. For once, we will be showing the world how good we are by show-casing our work. Our new website has gone live today, we will be doing rigorous testing over the next week and frantically adding new content to it.
We will also be creating the rest of our branded promotional material so watch this space.
We welcome any feedback, we are always looking to continuously improve our business, we promise we will not bite (too hard).
By Craig Barker
A lot is happening at Baseline at the moment, we are working on some very exciting projects, we are having a 'brand re-think', taking on valuable new members to the team, doing daring and stupid things for charity and the community… the list goes on…
Over the last two weeks we have been searching furiously for the best young talent, to help us grow our company and add to our growing skill set.
We have settled on a fabulous, talented young lady named Sonal.
Sonal has settled in straight away, is like minded and in her words, "is going to shake things up".
We are all going to 'shake things up' and have started already…
Over the last 2 weeks we have been having various strategy meetings and have decided that now is the right time to 'tweak' our brand so that it is a true reflection of our company, the quality work we produce and the fabulous results we get for our clients.
In recent times a couple of our new clients have said that they did not realise how good we are and that we should showcase our work more. They were right…
I think it is time we started to practice what we preach.
Watch this space…
This weekend I am going to be doing a 'tug of war' which should be fun, never done that before.
In September we are going to be doing a charity Dragon Boat race for The Nottinghamshire Royal Society for the Blind (NRSB).
We do lot of work with and for Charities, we want to do more of that! It's fun!
The NRSB are also abseiling down a building which I quite fancy, then I fancy climbing a few mountains…
By Craig Barker
PLS Re-Tweet/Like/Share/Comment. We don't think that there is an absolute right or wrong way to use Twitter, but below you will find some tips which may improve your experience. You may agree with some of these, some you may not... Use as many or as few as you wish...
We hope that you found some use in this article, if you need any further advice, get in touch.
This article was originally posted by Chris Brogan, many thanks to the author for allowing re-posting. :O)
By James Caves
Junior Graphic Designer / Web Designer
We are looking for a fresh graduate for a junior graphic/web designer position.
Baseline is a small but successful graphic design company, based in the creative heart of Derby. Our clients range from start up businesses to larger organisations including The National Autistic Society, British Bankers’ Association and Building Society Association.
We are looking for a highly creative, motivated individual with excellent communication skills.
The applicant must be enthusiastic and easy going, eager to learn, full of fresh creative ideas and can work to tight deadlines.
The successful candidate would carry out a variety of work from logos and stationery right through to brochures and websites.
We will be expect the individual to land and hit the ground running to help with ever increasing workload.
These additional skills would be an advantage:
If you feel that you are up to the job, please send your CV (designed) along with some examples of your recent work to Craig Barker, email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Craig Barker
I have been putting up with a poorly Macbook Pro (MBP) for the last few months.
The Macbook was still usable (the sound wasn't working), the the experts at Square Group said that the logic board had gone and would be costly to replace.
I figured I would just put up with it and then get a new one this summer.
I was having a conversation with a fellow designer yesterday (Chris Redshaw) as to whether you could use an iPad for client meetings to demonstrate work etc, (I was looking for an excuse to buy one). The conclusion was yes I can.
I think that my MBP must have some how sensed that I was considering replacing it with a 'young upstart'.
I woke up this morning and everything was working perfectly! Currently listening to Spotify, which I would not normally do on this machine.
Maybe a stay of execution is in order, life in the old dog yet!
In this office, it is no secret that I am not a big fan of Microsoft and only use Microsoft products when absolutely necessary.
In recent times there have been security issues related to Internet Explorer A few of our clients were effected so we advised them to switch to Firefox until the problem was resolved. See the following article for details:
It seems now, whole nations are boycotting Internet Explorer, which can't be good for Microsoft. This is due to apparent security issues. Microsoft have said that you should be fine if you upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer, but now might be a good time to have a look at either Firefox or Google Chrome.
Please see the following news story for more details on China, Germany and France and their comments regarding Microsoft Internet Explorer:
Here is another article regarding France and Germany and their war on Internet Explorer:
Our tip is, do your own research and then make sure your software is up to date.
Apologies for not updating this blog for a while, it is not always easy to practice what you preach. With the launch of 'baseline essentials', it has left us concentrating on client work rather than working on 'in house' projects. This has to be a good thing and I have great feeling for 2010, but ultimately to neglect business promotion will lead to no good.
We have had a quite few new clients on board over the last few months, so as part of this blog, we will be making time to showcase the work that we have done for them. Some of the projects will be 'baseline essentials' projects and others will be more substantial very bespoke work. We might even dig out some past projects that we are particularly proud of to show off a little.... :O)
branding and design for print
In recent times we have been getting in mainly web work, which is great because we enjoy it and are excellent at it. However, when we original started Baseline back in 2003, we mainly concentrated on branding and design for print. We still get some of this type of work in, but one of my goals for the coming year is to increase this side of the business a great deal. We love branding and design for print and are a creative company after all.
new year new start
With the 'new year new start' mentality I have decided to concentrate on making sure that we are running a tight ship 'in house' and that everything is as efficient as it can be.
At baseline, we constantly strive to improve our service. This endless mission 'to be better' has left us with a business that can provide a consistently good service time and time again.
Keep a eye on this website as we will shortly be adding some new products and services, we will also be tweaking some of our existing offerings based on feedback and working practice.
Perhaps it's time for you to improve your business to make it more successful?
New year new start...
By Craig Barker
David has been badgering me for a blog entry...
We are not just a faceless organisation, Baseline is made up real people, with real lives. Plus real personality quirks...
I am a family man, with a wonderful wife (Caroline) and two children (Olivia 4 and Lily 19 months). For people without a kids, I am sure when I talk about my family, I bore them to tears. My family is the reason I work so hard and make sure that I do the best I can at everything I do. What more motivation do I need?
Any way, on to our latest recruit.
When asked what does she want to be when she is older? My eldest daughter (Olivia) says one of the following things: a princess, a ballerina, a fairy, or work with daddy...
She recently completed a creative project, which led us (at Baseline) to see real potential in her creative ability. There is nothing like taking an apple from the tree if you want the best/freshest. Obviously we recruited her immediately.
So welcome to Olivia Barker, the newest member of our team. :O)
By Craig Barker