Clan Crests Released into the Wild

ARBU are releasing pdfs of clan crests which they have created via various projects over the years. At the moment only five are available, but we have another seven or eight in the depths of our archive. We love them for the animals and gaelic strangeness. No doubt when we’ve finished the established ones we’ll start making up fantasy ones just for kicks!

We’re slowly standardizing them for size and style and once they’re ready they’ll be posted here. Oh, and they’re free! And here’re two examples:


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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 Bejewelled Debut at Spirit of the West

Finally the artwork is at the printers and the design project nearing completion (I am just sending off the poster pdf): the Hidden Jewel, as designed by us, will hit the streets on Saturday, or rather, the stands. If you attend Inveraray’s Spirit of the West family weekend, you’ll find the Dunollie House team selling tickets to July’s theatrical extravaganza.

We’re particularly pleased with the work we have done on this project, not because we have found ourselves an excellent printer in the form of CypherDigital, nor because we have been working with the delightful Catherine Gillies, but because the artwork looks really great. Often design happens in an instant, and this was the case here: the central device of the Dunollie Brooch combined with the play’s title was a gift. The rest flowed.

This is the first major treatment we have done which has been developed exclusively using illustration. No photos were used at all.  This gives the whole event a timeless quality, attempting to echo the practice of illumination rather than structuring the artwork around fashionable design trophes. And indeed this is entirely applicable, when one considers that the production covers a period before the printing press, books and modern design.

Making a Roadside Impact at Dunans

We’ve just sent these out for printing with a signage firm. The brief was to create roadside impact to ensure visitors don’t miss Dunans. The red is designed to contrast with the surrounding rhododendron foliage and also ties in with the existing signage we designed over two years ago.



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ABMHF Map First Draft

This is in development, but is sufficiently advanced to show here as a piece in and of itself. We particularly like bringing the 2D cartographic environment into the 3D with our square, Frappr-like pins. Evidently the ongoing “map-everything” meme which Google began with GoogleEarth is infecting all areas of the design industry, and in this case for the better:

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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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Branding for Argyll & Bute Museums & Heritage Forum

We’re drafting up the branding for the Argyll and Bute Museums and Heritage Forum at the moment, and have created the following which, bar a few tweaks and the creation of a version for high contrast small scale applications, have been approved. We love them!

To Conquer or Die!

Such is the translation of the McDougall motto, which the new Homecoming Production, the Hidden Jewel is using as its strap-line! We have just completed phase 1 of this project (and thoroughly enjoyable it is proving to be too), and we’re now working on the reverse side of this ticket, including maps and terms and conditions, as well as an A4 poster and DL format flyers (all of which more later). In the meantime, here’s the ticket artwork — some of the text isn’t finalised, but the graphical side is ready for go.

To Conquer or Die