Disruption graphics and tension! Sounds painful
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Disruption graphics and tension! Sounds painful

02 February, 2021

About 15 years ago while working for BT, we were invited to HQ at Holborn for a design briefing. 

We’d won the BT account after pitching for an online game, that was a bit ‘dungeons and dragons’, called Shades! Nothing like the video games of today and from memory sat next to a product called Telecom Gold, which always surprised me. (Think Teletext and you’d be about in the right place).  

I believe we won the pitch on merit but there was talk after the event, of one agency blowing it by creating an advert that threatened ‘We’ll drown the kitten in the toilet! (It was precariously held over the pan), if you don’t subscribe’!  

The other agency dressed a plate of food at the ‘gala pitch presentation’ with Ivy, (way before anti-bribery and not being able to entertain clients), and got no further as the boss thought she was being poisoned! Happy days for rtfacts as BT would play a major part in our future and shape our company over the next 12 years. 

Back to the design briefing – We’d been to a few and there were always interesting people presenting, today was no exception. 

A particularly stunning young lady exec from Interbrand New York explained the latest brand refresh to the agencies gathered in the auditorium. She strutted up and down in a very distracting manor (for all the men), (and ladies of that persuasion I guess), which was quite alarming to be honest. Notably for myself as I was unable to concentrate and remembered very little of what the aforementioned stunning young lady had said! 

She did say one thing that really stuck with me and there is a new version of the same thing I’m hearing again today, so someone somewhere has yet again recycled this great old idea. 

The new BT imagery was designed to ‘create tension’ with the reader!  

Whaaat? Why do we want to make them tense? 

I didn’t get it at the time and my simple boy brain wanted to re-imagine the whole idea as a perfectly simple visual metaphor, but that wasn’t what Interbrand meant at all. 

Their notion was that the image needed to be quirky and not make total sense and not always sit comfortably within the layout. The supporting text needed to challenge and question and make people think about what they were looking at. 


The new version of the ‘Creating Tension’ is ‘disruption’.

We’ve seen it referenced recently with graphics, attitudes and culture!  

We’re in! So, if anyone wants to create some ‘disruption’ in the market-place give us a shout.  

We love a challenge and there is nothing and spark of creativity and a bit of disruption can’t achieve I’d imagine!

Roger Payton
Head Honcho, Messiah, Guru, One of the team.
Worn out the T shirt sums up Mr P. We have never presented a problem or opportunity to his team that they haven’t fixed or remedied to our absolute satisfaction. No job too big or small and always with a great big smile. Highly recommended. TV. Head of Marketing
109 High Street, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP1 3AH

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