April 5, 2017

Tulura ID & Packaging Design

Tulura Logotype
Tulura - Duo Packaging
Tulura - Duo Packaging
Tulura - Duo Label Design
Tulura - Duo Packaging

New work for Tulura, an organic skincare brand from New York.

Created by Eileen Feighny, a former professional model brought up in Korea, Tulura’s whole culture, formulations and positions are centered around her research, skincare education and personal belief of being kind to yourself, others and the planet.

As part of the on-going brand identity work, Build has also worked closely with Fred [Eileen’s Business Partner] on the packaging experience for Tulura’s debut Spring/Summer program, ‘The Duo’ which launches online on April 1st – initially delivering to just the US only.

The luxury two-step moisturizing program includes a powerful vitamin peptide serum as well as a seasonal blend of botanical oils using only functional ingredients – meaning no fillers, fragrances, synthetic emulsifiers and preservatives are added to the products.

See the full project on our site here.

To find out more about Tulura, please visit: www.tulura.com.

New work

April 5, 2017

New City Illustrations for Virgin America.

New Orleans Destination Illustration
Indianapolis Destination Illustration
Raleigh-Durham Destination Illustration
Philadelphia Destination Illustration
Kona Destination Illustration
Nashville Destination Illustration
Baltimore-Washington Destination Illustration

Benjamin Franklin, voodoo witchdoctors, a ukulele and a crazed dinosaur – we’ve been working with our friends at Virgin America again!

Working alongside the fantastic creative team at Virgin America, we’ve created a new set of destination illustrations and accompanying animations for the airlines recently announced new routes.

Virgin America will now be flying to Philadelphia, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, Baltimore-Washington and Kona, Hawaii!

See the full project live on our site here.

Previous projects we have completed for the airline can be found, here, here, here and here.

February 27, 2017

Tower Works, Leeds.

Tower Works, Leeds. Office desks by Plæy.
Tower Works, Leeds
Meeting desk, designed by Studio Octopi, made by AJ&B

We’ve kindly been invited by the good folks at Computer Arts to showcase our new studio in Leeds. In the soon-to-be-released article, Michael discusses with the design mag his top five things that surround him in the new studio. You’ll have to wait and see what these items are by keeping up to date with the latest editions of Computer Arts, but in the meantime, here’s a little sneak peak of our new studio space in Tower Works, Leeds, North of England.

A massive thank you to our friend Matt at Plæy for our new office desks, and to Studio Octopi and AJ&B for our ever faithful bespoke meeting desk.

February 21, 2017

Generation Press – Litho Process Tool

We’ve been working with our good friends at Generation Press over the past few months to create an innovative print publication series to celebrate its in-house processes.

We are delighted to announce that the first publication in the series, Litho has now been released! Showcasing what the fourth generation at the company has built around the foundations of a process that is still at the core of the printing industry, the Litho publication was created in the hope of inspiring and informing potential customers.

Working with us, Generation Press focused the publication on how Litho processes can work on different types of papers, colours and textures, whilst also demonstrating the printers innovative methods, on a sunny day their in-house Litho presses can solely run on solar power.

“We have been working with the printers for about 10 years and they print pretty much everything that we produce. That’s because we believe they are the best in the business, not only from a print perspective but from an environmental viewpoint too. They really take care to understand a project and more often than not find a way to make the end product better than you had dared hope for, and often for less money than you thought! They are not only our secret weapon, they are also our friends, and I have no doubt that these publications will inspire designers and print buyers alike.” – Michael C Place [Founder/Creative Director at Build]

To receive a copy of Generation Press and Build’s Litho publication, please email: info@generationpress.co.uk.

All photography in the publication is carried out by György Korössy.

View the full project on our site now.

New work

February 15, 2017

The Brand Identity – Build Interview

Nike Track + Field — ID
Plæy — ID
Timothy Saccenti — Website
Gavin Coyle — ID

Our Creative Director, Michael sat down recently to speak with the fantastic team at The Brand Identity, a graphic design blog showcasing some of the finest creative work from across the world.

Michael discussed in detail the process behind some of our most recent brand identity work for independent furniture-makers, Plæy and Gavin Coyle, as well as our design work for international clients such as sports giant, Nike and New-York photographer Timothy Saccenti.

To read the interview in full see The Brand Identity now.

Related items –

January 6, 2017

Build talk brand identity with Furniture News

Build recount brand identity projects for Gavin Coyle and Plæy
Gavin Coyle discusses working with Build
Plæy sheds light on on-going brand identity project
In Conclusion - Furniture News + Build

We believe that a strong brand identity can really benefit businesses in all industries, at every end of the spectrum. Speaking recently to one of the UK’s leading furniture and furnishing trade publications, Furniture News, Build Directors, Nicky and Michael Place recount their recent experiences working on the brand identities for Gavin Coyle and Plæy, two independent furniture makers at separate stages of their journey.

“We have worked with many fledgling businesses and we know what is needed to create a robust, flexible identity for a small business, and how to make it live in the real world. That roll out, however big or small, is when it all starts to come to life for the client – from a website, mail campaign or product catalogue to collateral for a trade show. For a retailer, it might entail shop interiors, signage, bags, packaging and so on. What is ultimately required is specific and unique to each project, but the rigorous, in-depth thinking at the beginning of the creative process will shape the identity and allow us to roll it out in a consistent, considered way.”
– Michael C Place [Founder + Creative Director]

“A real strength of ours is working with both big and small brands, bringing the same level of experience to the table for each. For a lot of smaller clients who are unlikely to have a mega-budget, hiring a studio such as Build with experience of working with big names can be reassuring – they are making an investment in their own brand identity. We are very inquisitive as a studio, and open to new ways of thinking, but always with an eye on the client. One of our big beliefs is never doing what might be expected. We will always look to answer the needs of the project uniquely, which means we don’t do things by numbers or in a way that we’ve necessary done before – but the work is very rigorous and always relevant to the project.”
– Nicky Place [Business Director]

A big thanks to Furniture News for the article, and to Gavin Coyle and Matt Kelly (Plæy) for sharing their thoughts!

Read the full article above, or have a look at the January 2017 edition of Furniture News online.

View Gavin Coyle’s brand identity project on our website here.
The full Plæy identity project will be live on our site soon!

Related projects –
(1) Made.com

December 13, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Build - Rest and be thankful

Well that’s it for another year! We would like to say a massive thank you to all of our clients (old and new) for working with us in 2016. Also a big thank you to all of the people who have helped us settle into our new office and to those who have featured our work on blogs, in magazines and in books – it is all really appreciated.

From all of the team at Build, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

Christmas closing and opening dates –

Our studio will officially close on 15th December 2016 and re-open 4th January 2017.

Our new studio address:

01/06 Tower Works
Globe Road
LS11 5QG

We look forward to seeing everyone in 2017!

December 6, 2016

British Rail Manual – Competition Winners

British Rail - Double Arrow Logo

We would like to say a big thank-you to everyone who submitted a response to our latest competition to win a copy of the new British Rail Corporate Identity Manual. Also a massive thanks to the book curator, Wallace Henning, who kindly donated three for us to giveaway!

Below are our favourite (and winning) entries. If you didn’t win this time around, you can buy the book here.

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#1 by Jon Ashby

“My favourite train journey has always been the journey between Coventry, my home town, and London Euston – and its return. It’s a journey I’ve taken countless times, and one that has become a prism via which much of my life has been defined so far.

It began with my first trip down to apply for university in London. That tingling excitement of escaping your hometown and taking that first teenage leap into the possibilities of the unknown began a heightened romanticism with which, even if in diminishing returns, I still feel to this day when making that journey. Taking me to new experiences, new adventures, a new home. I’m now 37…

Of course, the return journey holds just as much significance. It brings me ‘home home’, to family and school friends. The brutalist drabness of the station offering oxymoronic comfort and warmth, but equally tinged with the emotion of relationship break-ups, birthdays, family bereavement, job interviews, missed chances, Christmas and all the rest of it.

But in whichever direction or mood, that prism, the half-reflected train window self-portrait bleeding into the speeding landscape and sky beyond, would offer me a glimpse into a hopeful future.”

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#2 by Craig Berry

“My favourite train journey started in around 2012/13 when I first travelled to Leeds from Liverpool. It was to attend my interview at Leeds Met (now Beckett) for their Graphic Arts & Design course. At the time I was doing my foundation course at Liverpool Community College (now The City of Liverpool College) and this trip to Leeds was the first time I had gone on such a journey by my self; it was terrifying and exciting at the same time. I was so nervous at the thought of having to explain myself and my work to the tutors at the university so I can’t really remember that particular journey so well other than that I was frantically cramming notes and sentences into my head and also the hassle of lugging my A0 portfolio case through a reasonably busy train carriage.

Although this fear was superfluous, as the next day I received the news that I had been accepted provisionally and 3 years later I graduated with a 1st class degree having had an amazing time in Leeds, making new friends, learning the subject and experiencing life in general. Over those 3 years I must’ve made that same journey from Liverpool to Leeds (and vice-versa) around 50+ times as I returned home frequently (during 1st and 2nd years) to work and see family & friends.

The physical journey itself isn’t very long at around an hour and a half but it is beautiful. Leaving the city of Liverpool and quickly passing through the small industrial Northern towns of Birchwood and Warrington and then onto the City of Manchester where I always tried to sit by the window facing the Haçienda as it passed by to catch a glimpse. It then crosses the Pennines into Yorkshire and through the small villages of Stalybrige and Dewsbury but also Huddersfield where I admired the impressive Huddersfield Town football/rugby stadium before then finally arriving in the bustling city of Leeds.

The most magnificent time of year for this journey was in the late afternoons/early evenings in Winter, when the sun is setting on the natural landscape. I usually spent this time trying to either write or carry out design work but the landscape was always too distracting; usually with the soundtrack of Aphex Twin in my ears which weirdly matched perfectly (at least to me).

Doing this train journey so many times helped me become more confident as an independent young adult and since then I have become much more self-reliant and I can handle pretty much any sort of travel situation now whereas before it was a daunting idea. The latest chapter in becoming self-sufficient was getting a flight (on my own for the first time) to Amsterdam where I am currently living and interning at a branding agency. With this place I regularly get trains across the country to great European cities and at the time of writing this I am travelling to Eindhoven this evening for a light night festival. Although as good as it is here I would like to return to Leeds soon and have to make that same journey from Leeds to Liverpool.”

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#3 by Ubaldo Ortiz

“As a young man in 80s, middle class Mexico, my father mustered up a respectable wad of cash and a government scholarship that enabled his goal to study physics in Lyon, France.

On my 12th birthday in the early 2000s, I learnt that his stay there did not only serve to convert him into a devout Francophile, but also produced a second, much more tangible connection between the country and him: A daughter.

Alexandra, my half-sister, had been a secret concern for my father, unknown to my two sisters and myself up until that time. That summer, we would meet her.

As a middle-aged man in 2000s, middle-high class Mexico, my father mustered up a more proportionally respectable wad of cash for his age, and 5 plane tickets that enabled my mother, my sisters, and myself, to accompany him to Paris, France.

On this trip, my sisters and myself would leave our country for the first time, would see our half-sister for the first time, and would be in a Hollywood-acknowledged, first-world-approved city for the first time. Excited was too little a descriptor, we were absolutely flabbergasted.

We still fell asleep for most of the flight. 

But the train ride, from Charles de Gaulle Airport to our tiny hotel room.

My very first glimpse of a foreign country, with foreign trees, and foreign soil, and foreign roads.

My excitement, to see a big, city-sized, actually urban, love-capital-of-the-world, giant-looking, intimidating city for the very first time.

My first time surrounded by people speaking a completely new language, with weird hand motions, and bizarre laughs.

My fear, not sure if I’d get along with, or even understand my sister (I did).

My first time holding on to my family tightly, as they were the only part of home that had come with me.

And my first time truly excited for the unknown, and happy to be out of my comfort zone.

All that, I remember well.”



December 5, 2016


Plæy - Icon
Plæy - Wordmark & Homewares

We are very pleased to show you some new identity work for a new furniture and homewares designer/maker workshop called Plæy. We worked with Matt, the man behind the new studio on naming and all aspects of the identity which is based on Plæy’s three distinct core principles of Simplicity, Playfulness & Modularity.

Launch — Plæy workshop is an experimental showcase for a brand new collection of homewares and a testing ground for new ideas in installation, furniture and objects. You are invited to look, comment, buy or commission your own object from Plæy Workshop.

The Plæy brand (identity/concept) has been designed in collaboration with Build and will be installed at Colours May Vary from December the 9th to January 29th. Please join us for the launch party on Friday 9th December from 6-9pm for a beer and… a Plæy!

Colours May Vary
Unit 1A
Munro House
Duke Street

Beers very kindly sponsored by the brilliant Magic Rock Brewing!

New work

November 30, 2016

#AskBuild – Answers


We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who submitted a question to #AskBuild. Unfortunately, we couldn’t answer every one, but we have picked out some of our favourites and answered them below…

Answers by:

MCP – Michael C Place [Founder + Creative Director] NP – Nicky Place [Business Director]

EP – Ellie Polston [Graphic Designer]

ED – Elena Dransfield [Marketing Manager]

Q1. What steps did you take in your early careers that led to working with respected professionals in the creative industry?

Q1b. And what would you say to a young designer/student who’s looking to do the same? – Submitted by Evano Pescatore 

A1a. EP – I knew I loved graphic design and I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that it would be my career. I made sure I grabbed every single opportunity that came my way. I was lucky enough to intern at some great, but varied, creative agencies during and after my time at university. These internships not only taught me invaluable skills and knowledge but also made it clear what kind of studio I wanted to work for, which in turn, had a real positive influence to my work. I wasn’t afraid to take risks too – I took on projects solely on the basis that the project would be an asset to my portfolio, and eventually, get me to where I wanted to be!

A1a NP – I wanted to be an illustrator so I did a foundation course followed by a degree in graphics that had a specialist option in illustration (it was a mixed bag of illustrators, animators, designers, printmakers and even advertising- the industry has changed hugely and each of these are now recognised as very different disciplines). My first job was working in a small local games company (in Liverpool) as a 2D pixel artist, and that company then eventually became part of the Sony PlayStation empire. I became the lead artist on PlayStation titles Wipeout 2097 & wip3out. Eventually my role developed into more of a creative manager. I’d met Michael during this time so when I left Sony for Build I was kind of coming full circle, to be working in a graphic design studio!

A1b MCP – I would suggest getting in touch with a design studio before you graduate. Come graduation time we are inundated with requests for internships and jobs. By starting to contact people a bit earlier you stand a much better chance of not getting lost in the sea of people trying to secure that elusive placement/job. It can also show you have a real interest in the studio rather than the scatter-gun approach some people adopt in the mild panic of graduation! Do your research, send a nice email and follow up with a phone call. Take a real interest in the projects the studio is producing, it really works. Try not to get too discouraged if someone doesn’t respond straightaway, people do get busy.

A1b NP – My advice to young designers is to focus on what you want from an early age, if you can. This is a difficult one as the industry has exploded- so it’s both a benefit (huge choice of disciplines to work in) and a curse (loads more graduates coming into the industry each year). Sadly we see lots of graduates who don’t really have a fire in them, it does seem a bit design by numbers, almost like the creative industries might feel cool to work in, but of course it’s made so by the myriad of creative people in it! It’s a cliché but if you are passionate about being creative then this will shine through. Don’t falter when things get tough- we’ve heard so many stories of graduates going into any job out of necessity, and that’s it- they end up working as an admin assistant forever more! But, I didn’t think my first job was going to take me where it did, so try to stick within the creative industries even if the job isn’t ideal, as you never know how it could evolve. Having said that, we’ve had portfolios from people who haven’t worked in a creative role but after several years in an uninspiring job (usually their words!) are working hard to get one, and you have to admire their tenacity, but it’s tough. So in short- if you want to work as a creative, start that way, keep your eyes on the prize, and get placements at good studios (it goes a long, long way to getting noticed by others).

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Q2. How did you go about gaining clients when you started out on your own from working with TDR and how much time was spent marketing to potential clients? – Submitted by Peter Trigar

A2. MCP – It was a really strange period in my career, having just taken nearly a year off to travel. I won’t lie; it was pretty tough at the start. I was very lucky in that Nicky (my wife) got a very good job at Sony Playstation, which meant we were relatively financially secure. This enabled me to start talking to people, and do a few small projects. I did a project for a very well respected Japanese design publication called IDEA Magazine. This raised my profile; it was a sort of an announcement that I was back on the design scene, and working under the name of Build. I never really saw this as marketing at the time, but I guess you could call it that! I was also lucky that the previous company I worked for was very well known, so by association that really helped too. Another valuable lesson I learnt really early is that the design scene is quite small so be nice to people, you never know when you might need to some help.

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Q3. Do you mind recommending any good books about studio life, handling rejection, and/or creative processes? – Submitted by Anuja Shukla

A3. MCP – I can wholeheartedly recommend ’Studio Culture’ (Unit 01) published by Unit Editions. It’s a really good book containing interviews with 30 designers who run design studios. We are one of the studios in it; it’s an absolutely fascinating read. It pulls no punches with people giving really honest views on their experiences on a wide range of questions about the challenges of studio life. In it we talk about why we started the studio, how we get new clients (spoiler! It can be very tough), ambitions and how to get paid. Not sure about books on handling rejection, but I can say it’s still hard after having worked professionally for 26 years! But I would say it’s something one has to get used to, it goes with the territory. Not everyone is going to agree with you all the time, try not to take it personally (I know this can be hard). When we have had work rejected we always try and understand why so that you can learn from it. Most people are usually happy to give constructive feedback so don’t be afraid to ask. Regarding creative process, try Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. He also does a series of online courses; see www.edwdebono.com. A really nice quote from him is: ‘The need to be right all the time is the biggest bar to new ideas’.

A3. NP- I’ve read a lot of books over the years, especially early on, but actually nothing beats the experience of doing the work first hand (I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve started to read but then didn’t finish because I got busy doing the work!). Another book by Adrian Shaugnessy I’d recommend is ‘How To Be a Graphic Designer…’ I also came across Darius Foroux recently, he writes a blog about ‘life and business strategies. Sounds dry but it is really entertaining and so spot on! dariusforoux.com/blog

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Q4. How do you convince your clients to trust you and accept your ideas? – Submitted by Saad Khurshid

A4. MCP – To convince someone to buy an idea isn’t really what we try to do for our clients. For us there is an awful lot of work going on before we get to the point of submitting an idea. During that time we build trust with the client. This is generally done through conversation and research, really getting to understand the client’s needs. Only by talking with your client can you hope to understand what they require, often by talking in depth these needs and desires can change. It’s then our job to steer the client in a direction that completely fits their requirements. So I think the trust is something that is built up over those first few weeks/months. I also think that there generally is a respect from the client’s side in choosing you over someone else. So it’s not a process that is very cold from the start, then it is up to you as a designers to make sure the client is onboard throughout the entire process, therefore hopefully in step with the ideas you present.

A4. NP- It’s a tough one in that clients naturally have their own ideas- sometimes they see working with a studio as a way to articulate that idea into the real world, ‘I know what I want I just don’t know how to get there’ – this can be very limiting for the client as there are always factors to take into account beside how something looks at the end of the project. It’s our job to show how we can help solve problems as they arise, though good design- that’s what designers do! The end result is the visual output of that problem solving. So we won’t work with a client who wants it ‘like this’, not because of any arrogance on our part, but because you can usually tell that it’s a non-starter and will end in a lot of frustration for the client. On the flip side a client who respects us as a studio and understands that there is more to the process than simply ‘making things look nice’ will know that our aim is to problem solve first, then make it look good, otherwise it’s a waste of the clients’ time and effort- so if we can reassure the client that’s what needs doing and that the outcome is better all round, that’s when the trust arises, and we can put something to them that they might not have considered before.

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Q5. How do I impress a graphic design studio with my portfolio? – Submitted by Stephanie Linossier

A5. MCP – First of all don’t feel down about your work. I’ve had a number of students come into the studio to show their work and some have been quite down about certain pieces. This really comes across in an interview, and I always say don’t be negative about your work. For one, don’t show anything you really don’t like, or pitch it in a different way. Be positive! Try not to think about all the other people, focus on your own work. You can be sure the people you think are great are probably saying the same thing about you! Very few people come straight out of university with an amazing portfolio of incredible work. An interview is as much about the person as it is about the work, so again be positive! Everyone in the industry that you respect was in the exact same position you are in, most people remember that and will act accordingly. People generally want people to succeed, so if you do have a bad interview don’t get too down about it ask for feedback. If it means doing a bit more work on your folio then do it, and try again. Good luck!

A5. NP- If you are a graduate, show a core number of projects, say 6-7 that show depth of thinking through that project. Present the portfolio cleanly and don’t think the portfolio itself has to be a crazy piece of design- keep it simple and understated and let the work speak. If you are a designer with some experience, show the ‘real’ projects you’ve worked on, but most importantly be honest about your involvement. We’ve seen many portfolios of young designers who show pretty in-depth work and they allude to being the only designer on that project- a bit of digging might show that they have done the layout on a brochure for it- that in itself is not a bad thing, the important thing is the involvement with the team and what you learnt alongside them- but don’t pretend you did it all!

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Q6. What does success mean to you? – Submitted by Gary Hanna

A6. NP – Success means being respected as a studio or practitioner. It’s not about making loads of money, there is no doubt that we practice at the less commercial end of the spectrum, but I’m very proud of what we have achieved as a small studio, and also the respect that Michael has as a designer.

A6b. EP – For me, success is doing what I love every day as an actual career! I measure my success on how other people interact with my work – there is no better feeling than creating something a client is as proud of as I am!

A6c. ED – I think coming up with a different idea that could better yourself or the people around you and seeing it all the way through to the end is a pretty successful thing to do. I don’t think you should always measure success as having status in a profession – to me it should be personal; it’s how you go about things and how you feel about it when you have finished them.

A6d. MCP – Graphic design is a subject I am completely immersed in, not only on a professional level, but a personal one too. I really enjoy reading about the subject, so for me success is really measured when I speak to young designers (and some older ones too) who said they got into design through my own. That’s pretty amazing!


November 28, 2016

#InConversation with Mr Bingo at Today Studios by Michael C Place

Today #InConversation - MCP intro slides
Today #InConversation - MCP & Mr Bingo
Today #InConversation - MCP intro
Today #InConversation - The moment Mr Bingo became Mr Bingo
Today #InConversation - Crowd

On 9th November 2016, I sat down with drawing legend and friend, Mr Bingo in a one-off non-scripted sparring session at Today Studios – a new co-working space in Hackney, London.

The talk, which was the first of its kind under Today Studios new #InConversation event series, focused on the theme ‘How I Got Started’ and offered insight into the work and lives of both designers in a much more relaxed manner.

It was to a very tightly packed (standing room only) Today Studios that Mr Bingo & I talked about how we got started. Well that was the plan anyway; the talk was very loose in format with Bingo & I gave a short introduction to each other’s work.

We then had David from Accept & Proceed on hand to chair the talk, steering us back on course if we strayed too far from the path. The audience was also encouraged to get involved at any point in the conversation, which made for a lively discussion. The format was one of the things I particularly liked about the premise of the evening; I’ve always been interested in how people got to where they are. The back-stories, the anecdotes, the things you don’t get to see from someone’s website. I liked the fact it was completely unscripted, it makes for an interesting discussion.

The conversation covered a wide range of topics, including Bingo’s brilliant and hilarious Hate Mail project (if you haven’t seen it definitely check it out), and our (Build) move back up North and the design scene up there. We also discussed Bingo’s switch from being a commercial illustrator to an artist, and I talked about The Designers Republic and what it felt like to have inspired people to take up design.

Take a listen to the full conversation on Today’s Soundcloud page here.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the guys at Today Studios and Accept & Proceed for running such a great event. The next talk in the series is on the 6th of December with Christopher & Graeme Raeburn. If you are in London we would highly recommend you get tickets!

Today Studios is situated on 4 Andre Street in Hackney and is open to both individuals and companies looking for a creative co-working space.

November 21, 2016

YCN Membership

We are happy to announce that Build is now an agency member of the London-based creative network, YCN.

YCN help their creative roster of companies make new connections, curate events and workshops and encourage business growth through strategic planning and advice.

After joining YCN, our Creative Director, Michael C Place, sat down with the YCN editorial team to discuss the importance of quality graphic design and typography in branding.

You can read the full article here.

You can also see our company profile here.



November 14, 2016

British Rail Corporate Identity Manual

The new British Rail Corporate Identity Book
The iconic British Rail logo created by Gerry Barney
One of five pull out pages in the new British Rail Corporate Identity Manual
The new book showcases the individual sheets of the original 1965 British Rail Corporate Identity Manual


The first comprehensive book that celebrates British Rail’s brand identity in its entirety has finally been released and we are so pleased to be a part of it.

Created by graphic designer, Wallace Henning and recognised custodian of the manual, Nick Job, the duo have worked in agreement with the Department of Transport to create the new clothbound, foil-blocked hardback book.

Containing 300-pages and all four volumes of the British Rail Corporate Identity Manual, which was originally issued in 1965, the book contains all information on the core brand elements of British Rail, including the symbol, logotype, lettering and colour palette.

Our Creative Director Michael C Place, who is a big fan of the British Rail identity, was asked by Wallace Henning, (freelance designer and curator of the new book) to write the foreword:

“Michael’s comments in Spin Reading List 2 first made me aware of the British Rail Corporate Identity Manual. He sparked a real interest in the British Rail identity for me and so I started to look into the Manual. The only copy I could find at time was at the National Railway Museum in York. This made me think about how many designers may not get a chance to see and appreciate one of the most iconic graphic identities of the 20th century. The project has allowed me to work with so many different incredible people; all of their combined experience has culminated into one book. We have some really interesting people giving their opinions, including an interview with Gerry Barney, the designer of the British Rail’s double arrow symbol, and of course the foreword from Michael, which only felt right – he started this journey for me, and so I hope his foreword starts it for more readers in the future.”

Following the release we are giving three lucky people the chance to win a copy of the new book (shown above).

— To be in with a chance of winning, tell us about your favourite train journey.

— The best answer will win a copy of the British Manual book as well as a British Rail A2 poster. Two runners-up will win a copy of the book.

— All answers to be sent to: hello [at] studio [dot] build using ‘Build British Rail Manual Competition’ as your subject title.

— Send your answers to us by 5th December 2016 and we will announce the three winners on Tuesday 6th December 2016. All winning answers will be published on our website/social media feeds.

If you don’t manage to win our competition, you can also buy the book here.

About the book:
— 247x310mm clothbound, foil-blocked hardback
— 300 pages including 5 gatefold pages
— Stochastic litho print
— Foreword by Michael C Place, creative director and founder of Build
— Introduction by Tony Howard, former head of design at British Rail, now Managing Director of Transport Design Consultancy
— Essays from James Greenfield, creative director and founder of Koto, and Dr Paul Rennie, writer and context subject leader at Central Saint Martins
— An interview with Gerry Barney, designer of the British Rail double arrow symbol


October 26, 2016


We are happy to announce our very first blog series, #AskBuild.

#AskBuild is a new way to ask our studio a design-related question.

Each month, we will be inviting designers and students to ask us a question related to our work, processes and studio. At the end of each month we will answer the best questions in a blog post.

A few example questions could be –

‘How do you divide your time between design work and admin tasks as a small studio?’

‘How do I impress a graphic design studio with my portfolio?’

‘How do I land an international client?

‘What is your creative process?’

If you would like to ask us a question please email hello@studio.build with the subject ‘#AskBuild’ by 21st November 2016.

Please use #AskBuild & spread the word!


October 6, 2016

Dante’s Inferno

Build — Dante's Inferno
Build — Dante's Inferno

Every now and then we get an email from a young designer with a request, it could be for an internship, or for a bit of feedback on a project. Sometimes they ask if we would contribute to an exhibition that he/she is putting on.

This was what happened when Will Jackson a third year Graphic Design student from Manchester School of Art contacted us about an exhibition he was creating/curating. The theme of the show was ‘Inferno’.

We try and help young designers if we can, so we said yes to Will and contributed this poster for the show. It is based around Dante Alighieri’s epic 14th century poem Divine Comedy. The Inferno tells the journey by Dante through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nice circles of suffering located within the earth.

We chose Dante’s Inferno as a starting point but updated for more modern times, switching the nine circles with brands. Each brand from each circle was chosen from current news stories about that particular company that matched the circle (Lust, Greed, Wrath etc).

The breakdown:
Limbo — American Apparel prepares to file for bankruptcy.
Lust — Everyone lusts after Apple products right?
Gluttony — The truth about McDonald’s kale salad.
Greed — The Rise and Fall of RBS.
Wrath — Three more companies face shareholder wrath over executive pay.
Heresy — Starbucks ‘removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus’.
Violence — Perhaps too easy a target?
Fraud — Tesco trio to stand trial in September 2017 over fraud charges.
Treachery — Britain’s new fleet of nuclear submarines ‘betrays UK steelworkers’.

So, if you are a student, or recent graduate and you have a nice idea, or you just want a question answered or would like a bit of advice…get in touch. On that note we have just announced a new thing called AskBuild, so yeah…AskBuild :)