Poached Creative pilot hits halfway point

I thought I'd better put up the results of the first half of this pilot project.

Just to make it clear, I had four trainees but one dropped out mid-way through his training because his partner had a baby. These results are based on the three trainees who completed their programmes a couple of weeks ago.

Early evaluation from the first half of the pilot shows that trainees improved in their own assessment of their skills and experience in:
  • interpersonal communication
  • written communication
  • writing for the web
  • web technologies.
The experience also improved their overall confidence and sense of direction and will give them all at least one published piece of writing to use in their portfolios.

Comments from trainees include:

"My existing skills in things like teamwork, verbal comms, and patience have improved. My writing style has changed totally (for the better!) and I now know how to structure a piece of writing. Also my level of confidence has gone up because I feel I have accomplished something."

"I've gained a lot more confidence in my writing since I started with Poached...I've also been very grateful for Jess's support, especially in terms of my depression."

"I feel more equipped, more confident, more motivated...kind of, more alive as well as more happy."

"I think it's a really good programme as it gives access to this field to people who may not ordinarily get the chance."

Read the blogs of the trainees using the links to your right.

We start a new programme in design next week for two more trainees. Keep an eye on this blog for updates.

Logo and identity

I've been thinking a lot about logos lately - not least because we're trying to develop one of our own.

Now, I'm conceptual and linguistic but not particularly visual so I know that this is one of those cases where I need to trust Chris, our designer, to come up with something excellent.

But I surprised myself with how difficult that was. Logos are something that everyone has an opinion about.

So I started thinking about what makes a good logo and looking, closely, at other people's logos.

One of the best logos I think I've seen recently is for Creative Protege. Apart from the fact that I love what these guys are doing to get fresh new design talent exposed, I think the CP logo is strong, distinctive and makes excellent graphic use of type. I can't help it - even when it comes to graphics I lean towards punctuation, typography, letters and words.

Of course, looking at some of the biggest and best is also useful for understanding what works and Logo Design Love's wonderfully simple logo designs page is a pretty good place to start. And if you're thinking about a logo refresh you can learn a lot from their 10 successful logo redesigns page too. In fact, just look at their whole website.

So what have I learnt?
  • it has to be simple
  • it has to be recognisable
  • it can't possibly reflect everything you are or do
  • it should be clever, but not too clever
  • it has to say something - one thing - about you
  • it has to do it in a way that will reproduce well online, in print, large, small, colour, black and white, and no matter what the quality of the print or materials
  • it has to be bold, beautiful, and practical.
Stay tuned for the unveiling of the new (and very first) Poached Creative logo and identity in the coming month.

Concentrate on where you want to go...or you might hit a rock

Continuing with the mountain sports analogy from last week, one of the most valuable lessons I think I ever learnt about life in general was the advice a young extreme sports maniac gave me when I first tried downhill mountain biking.

For the uninitiated, downhill is about as dangerous and you can get on two wheels. Mountains are great for skiing down in winter and walking up in summer - well that's how I see it. But downhill mountain biking involves riding a chairlift up the same mountain you'd ski down in winter, except now you're clad in body armour, clutching a two-wheeled hyper-suspended contraption and the rolling white soft stuff has melted to reveal hard dirt, gullies and rocks.

This guy had one of those ear piercings that are about as big as a 5p piece and go right through your ear, so I knew he was hardcore, and I hung on every word he said, sure that my life depended on it. His advice was this: "look where you want the bike to go. Choose your path and take it with your eyes - you'll find the bike and your body will naturally follow. If you spend your time looking at that rock over there thinking, 'I'm going to hit it', chances are you'll hit it."

I survived my downhill experience, half riding, half stumbling all the way and the advice has stuck with me ever since. Whether it's running a business, trying to start a career, moving house or some other kind of mad sporting pursuit, focusing on where you want to be and not getting too caught up in what might go wrong is an invaluable tactic.

That's not to say that you're shouldn't be aware of the rocks - you need to choose your path - but don't let them lure you into a fall.