A quick word about last week’s wonderful Vintage at Goodwood, before it becomes a passing footnote. Set in spectacular grounds on the South Downs, Wayne Hemingway’s first stab at curating a multi-dimensional summer festival (incorporating music, fashion, film, design and art) was hugely ambitious, but all-in-all, it really worked. For me, the only problem was there was just too much going on… I wanted to be several places at once and occasionally rued my choices.

My musical highlights were: Noisettes (who really know how to put on a show); I’ve never been convinced about The Feeling, but they managed to win me over (their four Squeeze songs with Glen Tilbrook were note perfect); Craig Charles spinning tunes and Noel McKoy singing his heart out on the Soul Stage; and it was great to catch Heaven 17 doing a special remix of Temptation. Shame to have missed the Damned and the Pole Cats, but you can’t have everything.

Deborah insists on putting a word in for the Puppini Sisters – her pick of the festival.

But it was all the other stuff that really made the difference.

Like the choice of food and drink from the organic farmer’s market, to the 50s style American diner, to the Routemaster bus dispensing Pimms. There aren’t many festivals where you can get a cup of Earl Grey from a Fortnum & Mason pop-up shop.

Wayne promised that even the toilets would be an experience, but I wouldn’t go quite that far. They were certainly a step up from the usual stinky hellholes, but there was no uniformed lackey to pass you a towel or Molton Brown hand cream.

You could have just spent the day people watching… there were Hippies, Mods, Skins and plenty of Rockabilly types. But also folk dressed as Rear Admirals, tweedy country gents, Land Girls, usherettes – all eras and styles got a look in. And if you didn’t have the gear, you could always visit one of the 60-odd vintage stalls for inspiration.

Everyone made Vintage something special. There was a real sense of camaraderie and being part of something. You ended up chatting to to all sorts of people from different walks of life – the vibe was incredibly welcoming and friendly.

Thanks in particular to Paul the affable barber from Brighton who gave me the best haircut I’ve had in years, and my youngest his first quiff and DA. And to the very thin American man in the cowboy hat who showed us round Mick Jones’ curious collection of ephemera on a Peter Blake-decorated double-decker bus.

Can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year...

totalcontent thoroughly enjoyed its first experience working with London design agency Felt. The task was to launch Bee Me, a new frozen yogurt/smoothie franchise, which opened it’s first outlet in Portobello Road a couple of weeks ago. 

Creating the tone of voice for a start-up, particularly one that treads ever-so-slightly on the toes of one of the most celebrated brands of recent years was demanding, but we hope that our efforts measured up. It also quickly transpired that every name you could possibly think of for a berry or mango drink was already taken, so we had to rustle up fresh ways of approaching the menu naming. We were quite chuffed with ‘Bumble Berry’ and ‘Get Up and Glow’, as well as the overall strapline we came up with, ‘an appetite for living’.

Apart from that, we worked on a series of articulations, which put across the brand’s healthy credentials and the idea that it’s important to find a bit of time for yourself. The work was picked up by Design Week and featured alongside a piece on Design Studio, who we’re also currently collaborating with.

Picked up this CD by the Black Keys the other week, and the rather self-conscious cover art seemed curiously familiar. That’s probably because the much fêted record sleeve design company Hipgnosis had come up with the idea some 30 years earlier. It was said to have been rejected by regular clients Pink Floyd, but XTC (remember them?) were more than happy with the crumbs from the table for their second album ‘Go’ (released October 1978).

While the Black Keys’ effort has a certain laconic charm – I particularly like the deadpan line on the back cover “These are the names of the songs on this album/These are the guys in the band” – XTC’s takes the idea much further in the copy, the voice becoming increasingly involved, and almost getting into an argument with itself.

“This writing is trying to pull you in, much like an eye-catching picture. It is designed to get you to READ IT. This is called luring the VICTIM, and you are the VICTIM. But if you had a free mind you should STOP READING NOW! Because all we are attempting to do is trying to get you to read on. Yet this is a DOUBLE BIND because if you indeed stop you’ll be doing what we tell you, and if you read on you’ll be doing what we wanted all along.”

Anticipating post-modernism, it debunks the whole notion of the record sleeve as a sales tool, the music industry, and capitalism in a deliciously tongue-in-cheek way. When you consider that the Bee Gees’ ‘Saturday Night Fever’, Springsteen’s ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ and the eponymous ‘Dire Straits’ were the big sellers back then, you realise quite how far ahead of its time Hipgnosis’ design idea was. And actually, it happens to fit perfectly with XTC’s witty, English, self-deprecating style. They were a super-talented band who never quite fulfilled their potential, mainly because of front man Andy Partridge’s paralysing stage fright.

Which brings me neatly on to Hard Fi’s ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’, designed by London graphics house Intro, whose output is generally far more original. Another self-referential piece, once again this pokes fun at the consumerist machine, though this time in a more brutally Modernist typographic style. Actually, it bears a striking resemblance to Intro’s own monograph ‘Display Copy Only’, with its pared-down, black on yellow colour scheme.

What does all this tell us? That there’s nothing new under the sun. That plagiarism abounds. That some ideas are worth revisiting (with a twist). That talent borrows, genius steals. Perhaps a bit of each. Certainly appropriation is routine in the design industry, as the amusing Dopplegänger Design blog so eloquently proves. Click through for several revealing hours of spot the difference.