Not possible is not impossible

‘Not possible’ can feel like it means exactly the same thing as ‘impossible’. However, there’s often a big difference. And I’ve recently encountered businesses using ‘not possible’ to suggest ‘impossible’ and avoid the truth which is simply ‘We don’t want to’.

27 March 2023|

Stop buzzing in!

Buzz in if you know the answer... or you think you know the answer... or you have the answer to a question you think I should have asked. ‘Buzzing in’ has become an increasingly annoying phenomenon we are all having to suffer and navigate around.

28 September 2022|

Anyone for talk tennis?

Have you noticed how more and more of the audible communication that vies for our attention is taking place in a tennis-like fashion? Rather than the full message or story being delivered by one person, two take it in turn to serve us sentences.

30 June 2022|

Don’t let data lead you astray

A decision this week by Parkrun, the folk behind the free 5km runs that take place up and down the UK each Saturday, reminded me of Donald Rumsfeld’s famous 2002 statement about “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.” Having clarity about what you do and don’t know is a priceless thing when it comes to assessing data and making decisions based upon it.

2 March 2022|

Trick or tree?

It’s said that the Inuit people have 50 different words for snow, and the Sami have 1,000 words for reindeer. This abundance allows subtlety and precision – something lacking in our culture where trees are concerned…

21 January 2022|

RIP Bob Gill

Legendary designer, illustrator, writer, teacher – and one of my heroes – Bob Gill passed away on 9 November, aged 90. Bob co-founded Fletcher Forbes Gill back in the ’60s, which went on to become the internationally respected agency Pentagram. 

30 November 2021|

Fireworks vs bonfires

As anyone who celebrates 5 November knows, fireworks can be an impressive and varied (but often brief) spectacle, while bonfires provide a longer-lasting (but less dramatic) attraction. Brands can be very similar.

29 October 2021|

How to win a war of words

A war of words has been taking place on the sides of a bridge over the A46 near Bath. The white team and the grey team have been slugging it out for months. So far, the white team are way ahead. If the grey team want to strike a winning blow, they need to change tack... and colour.

20 September 2021|

Numbers count

We rely on and trust calculations done by computers, such as adding up the cost of the items in an online shopping cart. But it's important to know when the numbers in front of us don't feel right, figure out why they might be wrong, and what the brand in question is trying to do (or get away with).

16 August 2021|

Confounded and cursed!

5km into a 15km bike ride in an unfamiliar forest in the North Pennines, the waymarkers that had been regular and reliable suddenly deserted me. The outcome was two important factors to consider when planning communication.

13 July 2021|

Sherlock Homes

We invited some local estate agents around to value our house. Contrary to the popular stereotype, all were nice folk. The extremes of their approaches highlighted the some of the elementary traps many businesses fall into.

17 May 2021|

Please drive carefully

When entering villages, housing estates and other areas where people live, you are often greeted by a request to ‘Please drive carefully’. But with accidents, injuries and deaths on such roads rising, is this what we should be asking people to do?

26 April 2021|

Don’t butter me up!

I was 18 and studying for my A-levels. One Saturday, I turned up for my part-time job at the local superstore and got called into my boss’s office. I came close to being fired as the previous week I’d made a mistake. A very, very big butter-based mistake...

11 March 2021|
Go to Top