Moments of Perfection at Gleneagles

This week the eyes of the world turn to Gleneagles Hotel for the Ryder Cup.

A recent TV advert promoting the event, featured deer on the course and it brought back memories.

In 1990 I art directed a photo shoot for the ‘main’ hotel brochure, the title of which was Moments of Perfection. The concept was to take each feature of the hotel and give it a slight twist, so the golf course shot was not of a golfer, but of someone on the course, very early in the morning, taking in the glory of the environment and the view – we decided that the photo needed deer in it.

As deer could not be trusted to make an appearance, and to pose for extended amounts of time, even though deer are frequent visitors to the grounds, the only solution was stuffed deer – you must bear in mind that this was pre Photoshop,

So up they came, complete with curator, from an Edinburgh museum. We started very very early. The deer were positioned around the green, with photographer, Nick Price, relaying instructions via walkie-talkie. It was a long shot, taken almost from the tee, so there was no way it could be seen that the deer were stuffed. It was drizzling on and off, so their ‘handler’ kept covering them with plastic.

Gleneagles was unable to close the course, so naturally, players started to arrive. We could hear their excitement at seeing the deer, which then turned into great amusement and fun as they had their photos taken next to them.

The final image worked incredibly well and the whole team was very proud of the final shot.

Gleneagles deer spread

What made this story even more special for me, was my discovery years later that the then MD of Gleneagles had not been told that the deer were stuffed and had proudly shown the image on promotional tours of the US, describing how fortunate we were that the deer had appeared, as if on cue.


It’s great to see deer featuring again on Gleneagles imagery….real ones this time!


Glen cover

Commonwealth Games Uniform or Textile Design Exercise?

At a time when all our eyes are focussed on Scotland, the design of the Commonwealth Games uniform has hit us right between them.

All of us who’ve had responsibility for a team of designers, no matter what the discipline, know that the design concepts submitted for the Games uniform, could not have been put through the commercial critique that the creative industry applies to any design proposal intended to have a positive impact upon the image of any business or organisation.

We must look beyond this inappropriate finished design solution and question both the brief and the criteria on which the final approval was based.

Design isn’t fine art. The visual manifestation of a completed piece of work must reflect a strategy that was developed out of a detailed brief – what was the brief and who wrote it?

Whilst I appreciate that design competitions have their place, I question the wisdom of such an important project being allowed to escape the rigorous challenges that design professionals subject their work to.

Perhaps a compromise would have been to invite the winning student to work with an experienced designer to produce an appropriate solution and in turn to learn about the realities of commercial design.

A Toast to Loyalty

We believe greatly in loyalty and have always endeavoured to build lasting relationships with our clients and suppliers. We feel that ultimately you give and get a better service when the day-to-day working environment involves relationships that are more trusting and secure.

A very long-term client, who has worked with us on and off for more than twenty years, came to us with a brief to create a brand and a website for his company’s new online whisky shop. We were used to this client having a detailed idea of his requirements and an in-depth knowledge of his target market, however the need for a very extensive and sophisticated website, led to a quite involved process that proved to be open, honest and rewarding due largely to the understanding and trust that has developed over time. From our point of view, it was a great two-way example of the rewards of client/supplier loyalty.

The website went live last week in good time to select one or two of the fabulous and unusual whiskies available, either as Christmas presents, as a special treat, or to simply explore new tastes.

Good relationships, we’ll drink to that!

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