Friday, 20 December 2013

Season's Greetings from the Assembly Studios Team

Wintry wishes from all at Assembly Studios! One of the best things about the holiday season is the opportunity to say THANK YOU to all of our clients and partners - it's because of you that we have had the chance to keep pushing boundaries whilst working with inspiring people!

May the wonder of the holiday season stay with you throughout the coming year!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Dodgeball and Christmas

"If you're going to become true dodgeballers, then you've got to learn the five d's of dodgeball: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!"

Well, we learned this before our game - what we hadn't been prepared for was the pain that comes after dodgeball! 4 days after our match, the lift in our building is finally less frequented again, as the pain slowly gets better. The aching legs gave painful Christmas shopping a whole new meaning on the weekend for some of us! 

But enough of the apocalyptic scenario - we did actually have great fun playing Cobras versus Average Joe's! Here are our teams:


Average Joe's
Here you can see us in action, so that you know that the pain didn't come from nothing, but from full use of physical strength:

Calvin going for it

Fighting for balls

Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!

Good shall triumph - so the Average Joe's beat the Cobras 8 games to 10. We all ended the day together in a Shoreditch bar. It didn't get much less competitive, but in the end, we're all friends :)

Calvin and Pawel in their next competition

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

When Photographers Get High!

Shooting Aerial photography at this time of year is quite a challenge. Luckily for our Photographer, David Connolly, the clouds parted long enough to get the following shots. David was up high to direct the filming of a high profile animation and stills project we're currently working on in Central London. Watch this space for some more photos...

Why Low Cost CGI Could Prove More Costly In The Long Run

The CGI market is a busy one these days. Improvements in technology and communication mean that you are no longer restricted to local companies: it’s a truly global market and with that comes unprecedented choice. So, how do you select a company to work with? Skill levels? Reputation? Turnaround times? Or budget? For many, budget is the obvious choice and this is understandable in a financial climate where project budgets are squeezed and everyone is demanding more for less (your clients included). But is low-cost CGI always what it seems? We think not, and here are some of our reasons why…

The most important distinction between suppliers is CGI production vs 3D artistry. A production house is very much a technical facility, great at following instructions, but you will need to do the bulk of the background work. The onus is on you, the commissioner, to make sure that the information you provide leads to the result that you want. If there is a gap or a contradiction in your assets, then you could run into problems. 3D Artists, on the other hand, can work as consultants alongside you. They can take on as much of the process as you need: from advising on the best compositions, to commissioning the best photography, through to feeding back on what’s working, what’s not working and why. They are more than just your suppliers: they are your collaborators. I probably don’t need to spell out why this can save you money: we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. Perhaps it’s the cheap electrician that had to come back three times to get the job right, and then you had to get the work re-done six-months later anyway…

So, a CGI consultancy will often save you time in the long run. The 3D Artists are talented at spotting any pitfalls early in the process and advising on the best ways around them. This is critical when you’re working under pressure to a tight deadline. You may find that you do not have the time to micro-manage the process. The time that you spend project managing has a cost (albeit hidden) that needs to be factored into the end budget because that’s time that you can’t spend working on your other projects.

Then let’s not forget quality. Input throughout the process from talented artists who treat the CGI process as a service, rather than simple product delivery, can mean that you get a finished image that is better than you ever imagined. If imagery is a critical part of the decision-making process on your competition or scheme, then getting the best images you possibly can becomes the most economical decision you can take.

There is definitely a place for both types of CGI and you may find that certain projects actually warrant the low-cost approach. Just be aware of the potential pitfalls and ensure that it doesn’t end up costing you more in the long run.

If you would like to speak to us about CGI then please contact Charlotte on 020 7426 2080 or

Monday, 2 December 2013

Sculpture in the City

If you are in the mood for a stroll on one of these crisp winter mornings, we can highly recommend checking out Sculpture in the City, a free outdoor sculpture exhibition in the City of London curated by Arts Consultant and Cultural Producer, Stella Ioannou. It features site-specific installations from nine artists, including The Chapman Brothers, Anthony Gormley and Richard Wentworth. Artists’ work has been produced ‘in response to the surrounding architecture and built environment’ which made us smile when we saw Jake and Dinos Chapman’s fairytale dinosaurs titled ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’. We won’t speculate as to what they may have been referring! Sculptures range from the humorous (as already mentioned) to the poignant: Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture, which sits on the site of an IRA bomb 20 years ago in Bishopsgate.

Our Managing Director, Richard attended one of the Sculpture in the City debates, and these are his gorgeous pictures of the London skyline. There was some interesting discussion around the place for public art, something that Ryan Gander tackled head-on in his installation ‘More Shiny Things That Don’t Really Mean Anything’. Public sculpture through history has so often been about asserting the importance of an individual, or institution, that perhaps it hasn’t really meant anything to the public that it is apparently for. Keith Coventry's pieces ‘Bench’ and ‘Mare Street’ could be said to represent the urban environment as the majority of city dwellers more commonly experience it.

Public sculpture will always be a contentious issue, as is any intervention that changes the space around us. There will always be arguments, debate and the accusation of wasted money but that means that people are looking and thinking about the city they occupy and that has to be a good thing.

Sculpture in the City runs until May 2014 in various locations around the Square Mile.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Things we like - PART #02

This hilariously weird image is the result of a collaboration between Mica Angela Hendricks and her four year old daughter – Hendricks draws the heads, then her daughter draws the rest of the picture. See more here.

(Selected by Rosi Digne-Malcolm, Junior Designer)

Monday, 30 September 2013

Things we like... PART #01

Not for the needle-phobes – innovative lettering from Barcelona-based Lo Siento uses food-dye-filled bubble wrap to create this super-tactile piece for Wired Magazine. 

(Selected by Rosi Digne-Malcolm, Junior Designer)

Thursday, 19 September 2013

London Design Festival 2013

The London Design Festival is held each year to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world, and as the gateway to the international creative community. It is in full swing right now and here at Assembly we've been busy picking the best bits - one of the events was the launch party for a Feix&Merlin pop-up shop in Seven Dials, Covent Garden.

Feix&Merlin Architects and artist Nathaniel Rackowe collaborated on an experimental temporary installation on the ground floor of the shop. It bears the mystic name eLP44 and not only does it disconcert by its name, but also when you see your reflection in it!

As a viewer you move through the mirrored film installation and see the environment changing constantly - asking you to reassess the your relationship with the surrounding architecture. 

Check out some more images below, which show the collection of product and lighting designs launched yesterday.


 London Design Festival is still running until 22 September 2013, so do check it out if you get a chance!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Future's Bright: A New Way To Paint With Light

While exploring 3D light projections for a recent research & development 
project, I came across a fascinating concept
 that uses light to bring seemingly banal spaces to life. As I have a
 background in photography, I was intrigued by the way this installation demonstrated the way
 you can literally paint a scene with light to reveal aspects of your 
choosing. This gives you control over how a viewer interprets the
 space and, in a sense, you become the director of your own creation.

I have seen a number of similar light projection projects using buildings
 as a canvas, but this is more unusual, more abstract and at a different
 scale; in a way you could say it is more liberated than its predecessors. The input and control from widely available kinetic devices makes me wonder whether such projections will
 become more widespread in the future, grasping public attention and imagination in much the same way as 3D printing, bringing this dynamic 
and exciting art form to the masses. I for one hope so.

Patterns Emerge, by Nature Graphique can be seen online here.

(Written by David Connolly, Assembly Studios' Head of CGI)


Download our Guide "Zero Risk Approach to CGI " 

Designing the Unimaginable

What if architects were liberated from the constraints of their imagination? What would the world be like then? This is the central idea in architect Michael Hansmeyer’s inspiring TED talk, Building Unimaginable Shapes.
Hansmeyer has taken inspiration from nature, specifically the division of cells, to design a process that can then be used to create new and ‘unimaginable’ shapes and structures. The idea is simple: take a cube, and fold it, and fold it, and fold it, sometimes hundreds and thousands of times. The creation of a computer algorithm makes this process, that is both simple, yet impossible for humans to carry out, feasible. The outcome is anything but simple: resulting shapes are so deeply complex that they push the limits of what the human eye can see. Millions of surfaces weave and intersect in organic flourishes, reminiscent of microscopic details of crystalline structures.
An interesting exploration perhaps, but is it anything more than this? Does the natural environment serve humans well? Or is architecture used as a way to control the environment in which we live: a way of making inhospitable natural environments habitable? Perhaps we should be asking ourselves: why is this process useful? What is the benefit in building these deeply complex hitherto unimaginable shapes? As art? As decoration? Simply because we can? Or is it an important stepping-stone to a more autonomous design-process that could eventually be affected by contextual considerations, like an organism that grows and changes in response to its surroundings? Or does the introduction of contextual adaptations just make it another tool in a designer’s toolbox?
The talk certainly raises interesting questions about the limits and applications of the human imagination, but more than this, it showcases some genuinely awe-inspiring architectural forms. The resulting structures are reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic landscape that wouldn’t look out of place in films like Alien or Oblivion.
Could these forms be scaled up into human colonies to meet the needs of overpopulated cities? I’m not sure, but I’m certainly enjoying imagining it!
Building Unimaginable Shapes can be viewed here.

(Written by Richard Conner, Assembly Studios' Managing Director).
What do you think? Share your thoughts below.


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Eid Mubarak to the Middle East!

Also called the Feast of Breaking the Fast, Eid is celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of Ramadan. Our UAE based designer Dina has blessed us with this e-card - So Happy Eid from all at Assembly!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Apple's new interface – who needs green felt anyway?

Unless you've been living in a cave for the last month or so, you will know that Apple has unveiled it's new mobile operating system, iOS7, complete with shiny new interface, which seeks to keep the iPhone abreast of its main competitors in the market, Microsoft's Windows Phone and Google's Android platform. At first glance iOS7 looks to do away with those old-timey real world imitation design elements of its previous iOS6 interface, such as the faux-wood bookshelves of the Newsstand application and the green felt casino table from Gamecenter. Both these examples are skeuomorphs, objects or features that are 'copying the design of a similar artefact in another material'. In the world of interface design, skeuomorphs can also relate to behaviour and physicality (think of 'turning' the pages of a document in iBooks or the 3D button-like appearance of icons on the homescreen).

Old and new – iOS 6 on the left and iOS 7 on the right

Apple has been widely criticised over its use of skeuomorphism for well over a year, the bombardment gathering momentum and support across the Internet, from techblogs to the graphic design community. So it seems that with this latest announcement Apple have finally given in to the mob, and on the face of it, it seems they may have a point; who needs green felt when all you want to do is beat your highscore on Angry Birds whilst waiting for the train? Nevertheless, there are a few pertinent issues to consider before firmly stomping all over skeuomorphism – and Apple's seemingly firm departure from it.

One way skeuomorphs can be useful in interfaces is that they assist users in working out the function of a particular feature: 'this looks like a button, so I assume that when I press it a feature or function will be activated'; 'this looks like a notepad, so I assume I can use it to write notes'. The importance of this particular aspect of skeuomorphism, especially when relating to interfaces for touchscreens, is that they can assist greatly in introducing inexperienced users to new concepts, ideas and functions. For example, touchscreens. More specifically, the multi-touch type of touchscreens first made widely available in mobile devices by Apple back in 2007, with the launch of the original iPhone. Until then, our experience of mobile phones was characterised by screens that were screens and buttons that were buttons. Suddenly, there's just one button and the screen is now the whole phone; pretty radical to say the least. Within a few years though, almost every phone on the market has this kind of technology and everyone and their mums can use a touchscreen without freaking out and reaching for a 3310. Why? Because, among other reasons, the interface was intuitive enough to allow them to get to grips with this new way of interacting with stuff.

The good old Nokia 3310
Of course today the touchscreen is everywhere, not just in the mobile phone market but in tablets and now laptops too. We don't need to be taught how to use these devices any more, they are part of our everyday lives. They feel familiar, we know where the buttons are. Which is why the Windows 7 interface, launched in late 2010 with the Windows Phone 7, was such a success and single-handedly defined the 'anti-skeuomorph' model that designers and developers have praised and emulated left right and centre. With the Windows Phone Microsoft recognised the familiarity of the touchscreen interface and also realised we wouldn't get confused if all the buttons didn't look quite so button-like, thereby liberating mobile technology from heavy reliance on obviously skeuomorphic design. In the blink of an eye, Apple's on the back foot, Microsoft are on a charge and the world is predicting the iPhone's downfall. Green felt is out, flat colour is in. We have seen the future, and it is paved with flat coloured squares. Now, three years later (perhaps a little tardier than most would've liked), iOS7 is being touted as a Windows imitation, scrapping skeuomorphism altogether in favour of solid colour, gradients and Helvetica Neue.

But not all is as it seems. Skeuomorphism is still very much a part of the interface, in the behaviour of the features as well as what they look like, only this time around it's just that bit more subtle. The translucent, 'frosted glass' effect on the Control Center, for example, creates a sense of dimension and space, and the mysterious parallax effect on the homescreen seeks to give that space a physicality, a natural behaviour. And let's not forget, icons can be skeuomorphs too, from volume control to mailbox to calendar to compass to making a phonecall (crucially, Windows uses many of these skeuomorphs in its icon designs too). It seems with iOS7 Apple hasn't scrapped skeuomorphism at all, only used it more intelligently and in a less invasive manner, in a way that enhances the experience of using an iPhone and (finally) takes iOS to a new level. With a launch this autumn, the sense of anticipation is palpable, but one thing's for certain: although it might not feature a single thread of leather stitching, skeuomorphism is going to be all over it.

(written by Rosi Digne-Malcolm, Junior Designer at Assembly Studios)

Friday, 12 July 2013

Skate King's Cross

Skate King’s Cross, a pop up roller skate rink next to the stunning Granary building that hosts Central Saint Martins School of Arts and Design, was launched yesterday – and the Assembly folks were in the thick of the action again!

The roller disco is located in a former goods shed which was used in the Victorian era to store potatoes, fish and other perishable goods that were brought in by train before distribution across London. 

Up and coming architects Feix & Merlin have set out to resurrect the area’s former legendary roller disco status (Canvas nightclub hosted events there in the past) by designing a rink surrounded by metal trusses with golden chains, re-kindling the old magic of the venue.

 In an interview, David Partridge, director of Argent, mentioned that the rewarding thing about the transformation of King’s Cross was “seeing other people discover the area” – and the audience was indeed a mixed cool crowd!

If you fancy whizzing around on wheels like we did (watch Richard’s elegant moves!), the skate rink will be in place for eight weeks from today on.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Ramadan Kareem!

Wishing you and your loved ones an abundance of blessings, happiness and prosperity.

Ramadan Kareem, from all at Assembly.

مبارك عليكم شهر الصيام والمحبة والعطاء
رمضان كريم من الجميع في أسمبلي

To get in touch with our UAE studio, email

Monday, 15 April 2013

Team Sport

Brave volunteers of the Assembly team ventured out this Thursday to take a team challenge and go Karting in the middle of nowhere.

After 1.5 hours of wild racing, the Assembly Racers (Ross, Richard and Luke) made it to to fifth place, while the legendary Slambesy team (pictured below: Charlotte, Calvin and Rosi) missed bronze by a whisker. Rosi was our fastest racer (Chapeau!) and rumor has it that it is almost impossible to overtake her...

Anyway, it's the taking part that counts right? And we had great fun!
If you want to dare the Assembly team with whatever formidable challenge, we would love to hear from you!

Monday, 8 April 2013

How the donkey came about...

Did you see the identity material for Maltby & Greek  we have recently published on our website?

Then you might have asked yourself: Why this donkey, and what does it have to do with Greek food? Read our feature about the identity work we did for Maltby & Greek and you will know more…

Our Head of Design and General Manager of the UAE studio, Jon Digby, was overseeing this project – in a conversation with Yannos Hadjiioannou, founder of Maltby&Greek, he lets us into some secrets…

(Interview conducted by Charlotte Kuechler)

CK: Let’s keep this simple Jon – what is a brand, and what makes it successful?

JD: A brand works by connecting with its audience on an emotional level. A number of factors help make a successful brand - having a good product or proposition; being able to guide its growth from inception; and being honest to its inherent values.

CK: Right, and how do you and your team find out about these values?

JD: Taking the time to listen to the client about what their business is about, having that information helps inform the creative process.

CK: So it all started with a chat, right Yannos?

YH: Indeed – more to the point it was a departure from talking purely about the name and concentrating on the business and the way we envisage building it up.

CK: How did the idea with the donkey originate, was that something Assembly came up with or did you have the idea beforehand Yannos?

YH: It all started as a joke – we talked about few ideas and then we discussed this approximation of the carrot and the stick – don’t ask the context, you have to trust me on this – then the idea of the donkey came up with someone riding and holding a carrot and a stick – we dropped the rider but loved the donkey!

JD: Design shouldn’t be complicated. Maltby & Greek is Greek food with an English twist; the donkey is our ambassador for Greece, but he certainly had to wear an English top hat!

CK: What is the secret message behind the top hat, or, is a rabbit hidden in it?

JD: No secret, it’s just how a gentrified Greek donkey would look.

CK: Did the name Maltby & Greek already exist before you started your journey with Assembly Yannos? If so, is there a story behind it?

YH: Maltby Street is where we started selling our products – we thought long and hard about giving the business a Greek based name but thought that we wanted a name linking our hearts and minds which are all about Greek food and wine and our humble origin from Maltby Street Market – hence we ended up with Maltby & Greek.

JD: We went through the naming process with Yannos - it’s usually the most challenging part of an identity program but can be invaluable to help define the visual concept of a brand and create something unique.

CK: That’s original indeed and it’s lovely that the name conveys your history! So Maltby & Greek is a premium purveyor for food and wine. Yannos, can you tell us a bit more about your products, who are your suppliers?

YH: We work exclusively with small producers of premium food and wine from around Greece. The idea is to bring the very best of Greek products to an international audience – not only the usual olive oil and olives but products such as Avgotaraho (bottarga – grey mullet fish roe), traditionally smoked eel, wild boar sausages, unusual honeys, sweet spoons (!) and many more. On the wines we have concentrated in working with producers who cultivate indigenous Greek grape varieties such as the white Assyrtiko, Malagouzia and Moschofilero grapes and red varieties such as Agiorgitiko, Mavrotragano, Mandilaria and Xinomavro.

CK: That sounds delicious! I’d imagine for such a wide variety of products you needed a lot of distinct material then? What did Assembly create?

YH: Assembly took a pragmatic view of our needs – rather than working out of a script of marketing collateral – kind of “one size fits all” – they visited the market, researched the industry and came up with the type of collateral needed for the purposes of our business. As the donkey furthers his reach, Assembly is working on items such as packaging.

CK: Alright, so we can look forward to seeing more and more exciting material for Maltby & Greek! Well, thank you both very much for your time! And where can we taste some Greek delicacies after this mouth-watering interview?

YH: At the moment you can visit us at Maltby Street every Saturday and find some of our products in places such as the Fat Duck restaurant and Fortnum & Mason. Get in touch with us on Twitter (@MaltbyGreek) and Facebook ( for seasonal delicacies and tastings or drop us an email – we would love to hear from you!

CK: We’ll see you there! Thank you!

If you have just started your business or have been around for a while – we can help you just like Yannos and his team to find your unique voice.

Assembly Studios create all things identity related – from branding and visual language to logos – and much more than that. We are striving for innovative, clever solutions and tools that make your brand stand out from the rest.

Get in touch with and let our multi-disciplinary team do the rest!


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Press coverage for our Karaoke Event

Have a read of what The Architects' Journal wrote in their March issue about our MIPIM Karaoke event:

Friday, 15 March 2013

Goodbye UAE, Hello UK

Meet our Creative Director Jon Wells, who is now working from our London studio

We’re very pleased to announce that Jon Wells, the former General Manager of our UAE studio, has now returned to the London team as Creative Director following a successful 4 years building our reputation for creative work in the Middle East.

Jon Wells
Under Jon’s guidance over the last few years, we have been collaborating with clients such as, Image Nation (a leading film production company in Abu Dhabi), ATIC (government backed technology investment sector), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mubadala Petroleum (an oil and gas production company).

From counter terrorism websites, through to short film launch events and corporate communications, the progress Jon has catalysed has seen us grow both geographically and diversified the sectors we are now active within.

Back in London Jon will be using this valuable experience to help broaden our services and client base along with creatively leading projects and building further partnerships with like-minded teams and companies.

We are looking forward to exciting projects with all of you!

Sign up to get in touch with Jon

Thursday, 7 March 2013

MIPIM Karaoke Event


Cannes you Kick it? You most certainly Cannes…

“Remember folks, none of this is available in the shops, online or in fact ANYWHERE other than at LeCosMo on Thursday 14th Mar 2013 @MIPIM – this is a one night chance of a lifetime, never to be repeated, photographed or recorded event (well we hope so anyway).”

“Rock the Cash Bar” has been brought to you by Assembly Studios & Chart Lane – please RSVP to Charlotte to get you name on the guest list with your song requests and we’ll do our best to give you “your chance to shine”. If not, or crooning aint your thing - pop by for a beer to support the daft ones that think it is…

The management would also like to point out, “Karaoke is nit funay after about 1am so zee dejay will take over at zis point wiz some great tunes for zee disco, no?…”

We reserve the right to absolve ourselves from all responsibilities if this night does not turn out to be a rip roaring success but obviously also reserve the right to reinstate ourselves again if indeed it attracts a load of people and we have a lot of fun, which we think will be the case…

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Find directions here:

Friday, 22 February 2013

Assembly's latest adventures

Hello folks!

A while ago, we have started using to share cool stuff we discover on the web with you. This little widget shows you some of the stories from our latest edition. Curious to read more? A click on it takes you to the full version.

If you want to contribute, just get in touch!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Jon Wells is now Jon Digby... What?

Goodbye UK, Hello UAE 

We’re delighted to announce that Jon Digby, our head of design from our London studio has been appointed as creative director and general manager for the UAE and will lead the studio from February 1st 2013. He will be replacing Jon Wells, who will continue to support the UAE studio, splitting his time between the UAE and UK as we look to build upon the strong international accounts and clients we have been fortunate enough to work with across 2012.

Jon Digby

Jon Digby is a talented and highly experienced brand, graphic and digital designer responsible for many award winning international projects in the UK and we look forward to him bringing these skills to bear in the UAE and wider regions.

As a team, we look forward to continue working with you all and hope that 2013 will bring prosperity and interesting new projects to all!

If you would like to get in touch with Jon Digby, just email or give us a bell at +971 (0)50 2488732.