SGE Travel Coach Tours reaches out to the Midlands from the Highlands

SGE Travel based in Dunoon has recently launched tours to the wild highlands of Scotland from the Midlands via Executive Coach Tours and offering a fantastic deal on their chain of wonderful hotels. We have developed, as part of an ongoing update for the group on their hotel websites, the new tour operator’s website. Available here, the new website also displays the new logos for SGE Hotels’ chain of hotels. Including a hefty element of picture research, illustrator and photoshop work alongside social network integration and a live help system, this site (and her soon to be launched sisters) are state-of-the-art.

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An e-commerce website for an architecturally-inspired book publisher

We have worked with Watermark Publications Ltd before, and this time we have created a site which comes closest to the publisher’s print design. Elegant, concise, visually appealing and above all readable. Using WP 3.0 we have made extensive use of a non-flash slideshow, the built-in thumbnail functionality, and a really nicely implemented e-commerce package. The latter is presently using Paypal as its merchant solution – with 220,000,000 users it has a pervasive presence in all the necessary markets.

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A Small Ad

This is another artwork developing the graphic identity of the Kames Hotel. Using typeface from the A4 wedding brochure we designed last year, we’ve created a punchy, visually appealing Ad for the Scotsman on Sunday. As ever the photography is by the ever-creative Philippa Elliott, and shows elements of what the Kames has to offer (more personality per square foot than anywhere else on the West Coast).perfectdays

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Something Lairdly this way comes …

We have just finished design and writing the copy for the new A4 Presentation Folder for the project. This is the first version of what will become a series of souvenir presentation folders which existing lairds and ladies can purchase. To market this new development we have produced a ‘3D’ artwork for the website.


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Bring Your Heritage To Life! A Gorgeous Cover for the ABMHF

…. even if we say so ourselves. This project continues to intrigue and delight us here at Arbu, not only because the visual material we have been sent is so strong, but because of the variety of historical material these Museums and Heritage sites exhibit. When we were writing the back cover copy, something which I took particular pleasure in, we could draw upon the entirety of Scottish history for inspiration. The result was some of the bast marketing copy I have written for a while:

“Viking, Celt or Pict, Sassenach, Gael or Scot, Argyll & Bute‘s museums will bring your heritage to life.

“From bronze age man to the Picts and the Gaels, from the Spanish Armade thrugh the Clearances to the rise of the Victorian Industrialists, the museums and heritage sites in this guide, together create a stunning narrative of life in the region which spans its beautiful geography as much as its complex and ancient past.

“Learn about the lives of the ordinary folk as well as the clan chiefs, of the battles fought here as well as the peace lived, of the craft and artistry of the West Coast people as well as the harshness of some of their lives.

“This guide is designed to introduce you to the full breadth of Argyll and Bute’s heritage, and perhaps connect you with yours!

Now aside from writing superlative copy, one of our underplayed strengths, the branding and visuals have provided us with some challenges we have relished. For example, the original logo, works extremely well on its own, however in this context we needed to give the visitor a guide on what the Forum actually means and how it is trying to connect with its audience, hence the tag, “Bring your heritage to life!”. We wanted to subliminally empower the visitor, ask them to see these venues as being of value because of their, the visitor’s, attention. It also brings in the idea of folk tracing their genealogy, taking a positive role in constructing an historical narrative in which their family plays a part – after all what are we most interested in? Ourselves. And then there is also the idea that these 15 Great Museums create a really fantastic themed tour around Argyll, allowing the guide’s users to bring their heritage to life in a narrative of the actual journey to each of these venues.


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A Big Signage Revision for the Dunans Charitable Trust

The Dunans Charitable Trust have commissioned ARBU to create and revise existing signage which guides walkers around the Dunans Project’s Woodland Garden in Glendaruel. We have been working on the first element of this: the revised map sign. Of course edits have to be made, but in addition the trust has extended the path network (and has plans to extend it further) and is in the process of creating a new visitor facility in the grounds. These works have been enabled both by active directors and the project which has made available several hundred man hours as well as trees for planting and material for the new path elements through the sale of laird- and ladyships. In the next week we will be producing small direction signage as well as a new panel to celebrate the tallest tree in the UK, the Stronardron Fir, of which the Dunans pathways have the best view.

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Dunollie & the Hidden Jewel

As part of Scotland’s Year of Homecoming 2009 Dunollie Castle are hosting a spectacular theatrical event, The Hidden Jewel. Arbu are branding the print material for this weeklong extravaganza and we have just had approval of the logo design. Next on the roster is the ticket for the event, and after that posters and flyers. The event which runs between the 17th -23rd July 2009 is set to tell some amazing stories about Clan McDougall and their family seat.

A theatrical spectacular at Dunollie Castle

A theatrical spectacular at Dunollie Castle

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Polphail Photos

Philippa Elliott has recently taken a series of very striking and very haunting photographs of Polphail, the modern abandoned village on the southern tip of the Cowal Peninsula. Commissioned to house workers for a new North Sea Oil Platform manufactury, the whole project was scrapped in the 70s oil crisis. Half-finished the village was left. This desolate and incomplete urban landscape sits uncomfortably in the beautiful wilds of Argyll where it creates a stark juxtaposition with all the cleared and uninhabited settlements from centuries before.

We’ve just uploaded the entire collection to and taken the opportunity to tweak the lay-out on this unusual WordPress install. Here’s our favourite from Polphail, Number 5:

Polphail 5 - the abandoned village on the Cowal Peninsula

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The Yachties Strike Back

The sequel to Making the Most of Small Spaces … This ad looks at the Kames Hotel’s traditional strength – its location. Sailing has always been a mainstay of the business and this piece will go into Welcome Anchorages, a publication funded by the Crown Estate for those sailing around the West Coast of Scotland. The glorious photo was taken by Philippa Elliott, one of the proprietors of the hotel, one sunny summer day bouncing around in a rib within sight of the hotel. As she says, they were going so fast she couldn’t take photos in raw format and had to resort to jpeg. No problems here given the 131mm x 88mm dimension.

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Making the Most of Small Spaces in Big Titles

We expect perfection of weddings and we love a venue which can offer a range of locations. The Kames Hotel which specialises in bringing the urban ‘boutique style’ to a rural location set on the shores of the Kyles of Bute is presently engaged in attracting the Wedding market to Tighnabruaich and the Cowal Peninsula and so has asked us to produce adverts for a couple of the Big Beasts of the Wedding Magazine Industry. We enjoy this sort of project, building on a style developed for the wedding brochure and using the best of Philippa Elliott‘s photography:

The idea is to develop a style which stands out from the common fare of Scottish Venues — which is generally about Castles, big houses and kilts. We think we have achieved something very different here.

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