I ran a brand consultancy for well over 20 years and as a team, we created literally thousands of logos and quite a few brands that you would know. The logo is one element of the branding, but it’s one that is easy to spend a fortune on without getting something you are totally happy with.
Design is a completely subjective thing and one person’s great is another person’s awful. So, only you can decide whether you like a logo or not. The great thing about this Artificial Intelligence design tool which is called LogoJoy is that you can create as many versions of a logo as you like, without having to pay. I have given LogoJoy a full review over here complete with plenty of examples of it in action.
Here’s a film to show you how to do it for yourself. You can honestly create a great logo in under ten minutes.
So that’s it. It’s dead simple and anyone can use this to create a great logo. With the artificial intelligence behind the system, it genuinely learns what you like and the more you use it, the more close it gets to something you’ll love straight away.
One thing I do mention in the film is the difference between pop songs and album tracks. When you have created a few options I would always advise you print them out and stick them on the wall. Don’t make an immediate decision. The one to choose is the one that grows on you and that isn’t always the one you love immediately.
As I work with some great theme parks, I am a member of the Themed Entertainment Association. One of the benefits of membership is their organisation of visits to some of the best the world has to offer, to see what they do and how they do it. And I have just come back from Puy du Fou, and can safely say that it is, without doubt, the best theme park in the world.
It’s a total one of a kind and without any of the conventional rides you associate with other theme parks. It draws in the local community, trains all its own staff through its academy, creates everything internally (even the shoes and costumes) and delivers spectacular, emotive and beautiful shows that you have to see to believe.
It’s been created by Phillippe de Villiers, the father of Nicolas de Villiers who runs it today (and who showed us around). The control Nicolas still exercises is phenomenal. It’s not like any other brand. If anything it’s a little like Google in the way they controlled their growth in the early years but this has lasted for 35 years already. He even interviews the shortlisted kids for the academy and watches every Cinescenie to be able to feed back to the managers where they could do the show even better. The level of detail they manage is unbelievable and even the back stage areas are immaculate.
We had a totally jam packed 48 hours and got to see behind the scenes of nearly every show. Here’s a summary of the best of them.
The first show I saw there and an amazing introduction to life at Puy du Fou. It’s filled with eagles, horned beasts, vikings and marauders, all backed up with huge explosions, gigantic flames and boats magically appearing from stage left and under the water, with the performers disappearing with it. Animals everywhere and a large cast. It’s an amazing start and an even bigger ending.
The Knights of the Round Table
It’s a story of Excalibur with Merlin, mermaids, sword fights in the water, horses walking out of the huge hidden caverns underwater and probably the simplest of the whole lot we saw. It’s great fun, has the best safety warning I have ever seen (hilarious) and I saw it twice.
The Secret of the Lance
This is a huge show that just keeps on growing. Spectacular horse riding, massive sword fights and jousting and flames everywhere. Then a disappearing castle, another HUGE castle that moves and rotates and amazing sounds and effects everywhere. There are things going on all over the place and we were lucky enough to get to see behind the scenes here. It was sooooo good, that a few times during the show I felt myself becoming a bit emotional.
This is a huge great roman spectacular played out in a purpose built amphitheatre that seats over 7,000 people. Again, it starts off quite small and then just grows and grows. The cast is huge and varied and whilst the story is their own version of history, it’s still truly amazing. Just look at the pictures.
I saw this one twice too. It’s the only inside show and simply massive. Perhaps a little hard to follow in french, but I found it far more enjoyable to just watch the show and ignore the story. It’s breathtaking but you aren’t allowed to take photos, so this is a sneaky one of the set, just as the flamenco dancers start going crazy. It’s quite reminiscent of Riverdance with horses and water and swords and explosions and…..
The Phantom Birds’ Dance
Now this was a real highlight. Again I saw it twice from two different seating positions. The first time from down in the pit gave a great view, but the second time, right at the back at the sides gave you far closer access to the birds. The show itself is incredible with beautiful, haunting music and a cast of over 170 birds. If you are going to sit at the very back, it’s probably best to shuffle forwards just a little so you don’t get pooped on by a vulture, like I did. There is simply noting like this anywhere in the world. It is totally breathtaking.
The Organs of Fire
This was the first night show I saw and can only be described as breathtaking (I’ve used that a lot haven’t i!). It starts with a lone violinist emerging, her dress lighting up and her floating around the lake playing music until she meets the pianist, who does the same. The orchestras appear, huge fountains emerge and an even bigger organ suddenly appears to add to the music and the gigantic party. I thought it was the biggest show I’d ever seen, but I hadn’t seen Cinescenie at this point!
Now this show breaks record after record. It’s the largest permanent show in the world with a nightly cast of 1,500, all of whom are volunteers. None of them get paid. There are 3,400 of them trained to play their roles and it’s held 28 time per year in front of a crowd of 14,000. For the volunteers, it’s a huge social and cinematic event and they train all year. It’s so popular that there are over 1,000 on the waiting list to volunteer and you can’t buy tickets for the event for another year. I won’t say too much about it but it is simply massive, incredible and beautiful (and hard to photograph). I have again, never seen anything like this. It started at 10.45 pm and went on until well after 12.15, so it’s a good long show too. It’s worth it for the fireworks alone.
The TEA Team
Being with the TEA gave us an all access pass to the whole site and the team that created it. It was a huge privilege and worth the membership in its own right. For only three days away it was completely exhausting, but to be able to get to see this place was worth it and i’ll be back to do it again.
Are you watching Nottingham?
It does however make me sad when I see references to knights, castles and even Robin Hood himself that my home City of Nottingham, can’t even get an attraction out of the ground to recognise our most famous son. The French have delivered a genius show that would draw in millions of visitors if it was created here. Nottingham still hasn’t delivered a single thing. So, Nottingham, please take note. Puy du Fou turns over €74m and is very profitable, filling every hotel for miles around with it’s 1.9 million visitors per year. A little of this would go a long way.
Where we stayed
The accommodation offer is quite new, but growing fast. They may look like simple tents, but they house a fabulously well equipped four poster bedroom with wet room, two bunks for kids and even decent wifi.
If you have kids you have to come here. If you don’t come anyway. It’s amazing, awe inspiring and unique. It’s the best kept secret and the best theme park in the world. And it’s my new favourite.
I am a big fan of Apple. I have been forever and at 49 years old, one of my claims to fame is that I have never owned a PC of any description. I had a few Nokia phones in the early days but that’s about it. I have been Apple through and through since around 1989.
But I won’t be joining the masses in buying the rather overpriced Apple Watch. I simply can’t see the point. It alerts you to what your phone is doing in your pocket and you’ll look like a dick if you talk to it (who really uses Siri other than to make it tell you jokes?). You’ll very quickly give up checking all of the notifications as they are so frequent anyway with five email and even more social media accounts on my phone. What’s compounds the misery is that being on Bluetooth all day will only make the battery life even more useless again. It’s bad enough having to charge my iPhone twice a day, but my watch too?
No, sorry Apple. This is a step too far for me. It’s not making my life easier. I’ll stick with my simple mechanical watch that tells the time. It doesn’t try and multi-task or be my personal assistant and it manages to wind itself just by being on my wrist. No batteries, reliable as you like and it glows in the dark so I can read it at night.
According to Virgin media, Unlimited doesn’t actually mean unlimited. If you sign up for their Unlimited package, they charge you extra if you make long calls.
What Unlimited means according to Virgin is that you can make calls for 59 minutes and 59 seconds, or you get charged at an eye watering 9.94 pence per minute. So, if you are on a conference call, and it is likely to run over the hour, you have to hang up and then dial back in to avoid any extra naughty costs. To find this out, you have to read 637 words into their legals buried at the very bottom of the details page in six point and even then you need to download a PDF to get the actual price.
Doesn’t sound very unlimited to me. It doesn’t sound very much like the Virgin way of doing things to me either.
Sometimes I fall right out of love with Apple, mainly because it isn’t individual or special any more, but this just reaffirmed why Apple is still an astonishing brand with a stunning eye for detail.
I asked Siri a simple question “who let the dogs out?” and this is the conversation we had.
Apple as a brand has always had it’s own little quirks and one of these is Siri. Apple have pre-programmed jokes into it that we slowly uncover as we use it. One of my other favourites happens if you tell Siri you are a little drunk.
‘Neither of us is driving home then’ comes back as an answer with a button to press to call a taxi.
That could have been done in a totally boring way or ignored as a valid question/statement, but Apple, in the search for the tiny details that really make a brand special, have hidden these beautiful brand quirks all over the products and I love them for it.
I bought a new printer for home a few months ago. An HP 8600 Pro. It uses big and expensive inks, but it’s fast and prints to a lovely quality – Particularly for photos. So I needed a source for genuine HP inks that wasn’t too expensive. I tend to buy a lot online and rely heavily on reviews to see who I can trust. GlobalApe.com weren’t someone I knew, but they had great reviews from Ekomi, so I thought i’d give them a go as they were miles cheaper than anyone else.
The first order took around three weeks to arrive and coincidentally landed on the day after I prompted them as to why they hadn’t arrived. I installed the one I needed and the printer immediately said it was faulty and possibly a fake. Hmmm. It did still seem to work okay though even though the printer wasn’t happy with the ink.
A few days later I got an email from Ekomi asking me to review my purchase with GlobalApe. Naturally I was less than impressed so gave them a one star review. Now Ekomi Don’t like this as it could mess up their clients near perfect 4.8 out of five score. Bear in mind they need to average over 4 out of five to gain Google gold stars and perform far better in Adwords searches – Which is how I found them.
So the mediation begins. I didn’t want to mediate, I just wanted to write a review and carry on with my life. Annerose Kennedy from Global Ape Support has done a perfect job and stalled and stalled and stalled. We are now up to 983 words of correspondence. Annerose has provided a replacement Cyan ink (which arrived in seven days) and still my one star review hasn’t appeared.
So what was the point of the review? If I can’t warn people that in MY experience, the ink took three weeks to arrive and then failed. It calls the whole point of reviews into question and I won’t be buying from organisations that display Ekomi reviews any more as I simply can’t trust them to be truthful. At the top of their reviews page, they claim the following:
From Customers for Customers
But it’s not. It’s full of positive reviews as no-one is actually allowed to publish a negative. Sorry, but this is completely wrong – however helpful Annerose Kennedy is and however much they try and mediate me into me withdrawing my negative review.
It’s quite easy to say you like something these days. All you need to do is press ‘like’ on facebook and everyone can see you like it. But it’s quite meaningless and hollow isn’t it?
Of course I don’t like cancer, and of course i’m against racism, but clicking ‘like’ does absolutely nothing but give the person who started the chain of public pointlessness a warm glow and a stirring in their pants at their ability to move social media mountains. It doesn’t save lives and it doesn’t raise any money for the causes we are liking.
Does it mean a little more when you retweet, or favourite some else’s tweet? Probably. But not much more. Single button support is all too simple.
Next for me on the hierarchy is a text. it’s pretty easy and painless and doesn’t commit you to anything much really. It gives you a glow and them a vague feeling you’re there for them.
But if it really mattered or you wanted them to know it was important to them, you’d ring them wouldn’t you and tell them? With a mobile in every pocket, that’s ever so easy and ever so fast. It’s over and done with in a flash.
But at the top of my new social hierarchy is a letter.
If it matters, then write. By hand. The old fashioned way. Craft it a little and show people that what you think of them and that you care enough to put pen to paper.