Blast created the D&AD award-winning identity and literature for leading media recruitment specialists Harrison Pursey back in 2004, and this year were charged with creating a suitably spectacular corporate brochure to follow-up. They didn’t disappoint. Their ‘search and seek’ doggie theme was taken to the max, with a plump orange rosette on the front and a binding based on a studded dog collar – plus plenty of canine capers inside. With the design so ‘out there’, totalcontent’s role was to keep the writing light and elegant, and to go easy on the dog puns. The balance works well – an easy-flowing read with plenty of compelling visual gags.

The 2008 Thomas Pink ‘look book’ takes the brand back to its roots, focusing firmly on the retailer’s expertise in shirts. The new approach and introduction of the discerning ‘Mr Thomas Pink’ character was the brainchild ofYellowdoor, Mary Portas’ fashion/retail agency. totalcontent developed a tone of voice to complement the new direction, supplying descriptions of Pink’s different styles and cuts of shirt, and highlighting the fine details that set them apart. Our words sat alongside a lyrical passage on the delights of Jermyn Street by author and screenwriter William Boyd.

When IT companies Open Business Systems and Psychosis merged recently, they became Fabric. Which required a clean sweep – new identity, new tone of voice, a suite of corporate literature and a web site. While AIG provided the new look and feel, totalcontent took care of all the necessary words. 

Jim enjoyed working alongside long-time friends and collaborators Kasper de Graaf and Malcolm Garrett – he’d previously hung out with them at Assorted Images, the iconic 1980s design company. Together we found a way in that was distinctly human and non-techie, just the kind of bright, approachable and reassuring outlook that Fabric was after.

totalcontent has spruced up the pack copy for Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Christmas gift sets. Each of the dozen packs was given an appropriate title based on the benefits of the goodies inside, along with a more expansive description of the ingredients and general efficacy on the back.

Designed and art directed by Aboud Creative, the range features striking ‘photogram’ pictures of live plants by Richard Green. Plants and herbs, sourced from all over the UK, were painstakingly laid on to photographic paper, and then exposed to light. Now almost a fine art process, this harks back to the earliest days of photography, which literally means ‘painting with light’. Shimmering out of a deep blue background, the photograms perfectly reflect the brand’s heritage, natural qualities and iconic blue bottles.

Furniture consultant David Brook works directly with architects and their clients to make sure the seating lives up to the setting. To launch his new venture, totalcontent was asked to provide the words for an understated business-luring mailer. This was a real copy-led project, with the words feeding the eventual design concept. NB:Studio as usual took things to a different level, with a set of four immaculately die-cut cards of iconic chairs emphasizing Brook’s knowledge and leanings.

Another intriguing brief, this time courtesy of our friends at The Partners

To give the public a taster of what’s inside the National Gallery, The Grand Tour™ turned the West End of London into a giant gallery by lining the streets of Soho, Piccadilly, and Covent Garden with framed, life-size reproductions of some of the world’s most famous paintings.  

totalcontent was asked to supply all plaque copy for the project, which involved researching 45 iconic works of art and explaining each of them in 100 accessible, compelling words. The Guardian described the resulting copy as “witty... sharp, informative and unpatronising”. Deadlines were ferocious, but it’s not often you get to sell Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Caravaggio and their brothers in oils to the man on the street. 

Visit to see old masters in some unlikely settings.

Yes, it’s absolutely true. Jim’s first two initials are JK. And he went to the same university as JK Rowling. So it seemed somehow appropriate when Royal Mail asked him to write the stamp pack copy for the much-anticipated Harry Potter postage stamps. 

Celebrating the release of the final book in the saga, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, these stamps feature illustrated front covers of the seven novels that have made themselves a fixture in popular culture. 

Jim’s brief was to bring the story of the world’s greatest publishing phenomenon to life, from the early struggles to the later record-busting success. And to look back at how the bespectacled boy wizard became the best-loved character in modern fiction. His efforts were approved by JK herself – strange to think of her reading our words. You can order a Harry Potter stamp pack here.

We imagine it’s a bit like speed dating. But certainly, this was one of the most curious - and fascinating - jobs we’ve ever done. Over the course of four days, Jim interviewed the entire staff at Exposure Communications. All 120 of them. The idea was to extract a personal ‘nugget’ of information that would appear on the back of their business cards, to give them a little twist. Some subjects were more forthcoming than others, but everyone had at least one quirky thing to say. Conversational letterheads and comp slips completed the stationery revamp. Here are a couple of our favourites:

‘I can’t stand people who don’t walk in straight lines’
‘Do I look like anyone else? Yes, my twin sister’
‘I chopped off the top of my finger and put it in a matchbox’
‘When I’m old, I’d like to be Miss Marple, solving the odd murder’

Throughout December, shoppers in the West End of London are being guided along their way by a new and innovative pedestrian wayfinding system created by those clever chaps at AIG. Called ‘Legible London’, it’s a prototype for a scheme that could be rolled out across the capital over the next few years. Aimed at increasing the number of journeys made on foot, and transforming London into one of the world’s most walking-friendly cities by 2015, the system uses interlinking signage, printed and digital maps, and online guides, to help pedestrians understand the complex maze that makes up the city.

To explain the thinking behind ‘Legible London’, a document called the‘Yellow Book’ was published. I wrote a 6,000-word essay outlining the aims, theories and stories that resulted in the prototype, and spent several days at AIG helping Tim Fendley and the rest of the team produce the ‘Yellow Book’ and an accompanying web site.

We all got there in the end...

After what seems like months (it was, actually) Bedell Group’s 2006 annual review has finally arrived hot off the presses. Designed by HGV, it features beautiful blind embossing on the front cover, and a single line which runs all the way through the book, making relevant points on relevant pages, and ending with the words ‘to be continued...’ on the back cover. 

Bedell’s brief was to keep the tone approachable yet restrained and professional, which is successfully reflected in the copy as well as the design. As is the way with annual reports, the interviewing and writing process was a tough undertaking, but it turned out rather wonderfully in the end.

totalcontent has been asked to develop a full tone-of-voice programme for live events and exhibitions specialists Shelton Fleming. SF are a wonderfully creative independent company, who conceive spectacular live ‘experiences’ for the BBC, the Guardian, BMW and the DTI, among others. We won a two-way competitive pitch to get our mits on the business, and are currently working on the first stage brand articulations.

Our first task was to come up with a new strapline – that’s it up there.

By pure coincidence, Deborah had worked with Shelton Fleming many moons ago when she worked in PR – they used to orchestrate Christmas press shows for one of her clients, Woolworths. Good things come around.

Last year, totalcontent collaborated with Blast Design on the launch campaign for Arjo Wiggin's Inuit paper, which won its category in the Benchmark Awards. The Design Week-organised scheme rewards design effectiveness, so it was a real privilege to contribute to a project that not only looked the business, but really did the business. The judges said: “It’s the attention to detail that sets this apart. A lovely story has been created around the brand”.