Have you got designs on breakfast?

In the background at Bubblegum, I’ve been setting up an exciting new event for Exeter – The Big Creative Breakfast! I’ve always prided myself on bringing the right talent to the table for our clients, but sometimes finding that right talent and a person I can trust to help achieve projects for our clients isn’t easy.

I also LOVE meeting new creative types, to broaden horizons, and just because, I actually quite like fellow creative types! After looking around to see if there was an event that brought these people together and finding nothing, I decided there was only one option – SET IT UP!

We had our first event this morning – designers, photographers, copywriters and more, all sat around sharing insight into what it means to run a successful creative business. I’m hoping to share some of these nuggets of wisdom over the coming months, so watch this space, and if you want to be a part of The Big Creative Breakfast, or follow what we get up to, pop along over to Facebook and give our page a like! You might even join us for coffee one day…


Money saving tips for you

We hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year. All of us here at Team Bubblegum have young families, as do many of our beloved clients, so we thought we’d help you all little for next year.

We’ve seen people referring to the savings challenge to save 1p per day of the year (1p on day 1, 2p on day 2, 10p on day 10 etc). Daily seems a bit too much of chore for us creative types, so we’ve complied this little poster to help you save once per week.

Find a jar or money box, stick this poster nearby and tick off each week as you save – if you stick to it you’ll have a whopping £667.95 by next Christmas you’ll have barely noticed it.

Download your PDF version here

Please help us help others by sharing among your friends and clients. They will thank you for it!

Catch ya later!

What’s in a name?

I often get asked about the name Bubblegum. “What’s the story?”, “How did you come up with it?”. The short answer is that I can’t entirely remember. Let me take you back a few years…

It was February 2005 and I was coming to the end of my employment as lead designer at a marketing agency in South Devon. An opportunity had presented itself which meant I had decided to go freelance, but these plans were in the early stages and still a bit of a pipe dream. However, I didn’t bank on my plans being thrust into action by said agency, who informed me they were closing the business unexpectedly, with immediate effect and I was being issued my four weeks’ notice, but that there was no further project work to complete. This was a Thursday afternoon.

Without hesitation, I calmly replied that if there was nothing for me to do, then why not just stop now and tomorrow will be my last day (you can tell this was before I had children!). They said yes. Wow. I was going out on my own the following week. Scary, exciting, and still no idea ‘who’ I would be.

The following day I was just finalising some print preparation for the large project we had been working on – a local business directory – when I got a call from the publisher. An advertiser had pulled out. There was a half page gap, did I want it?

Did I?!?!

If I did, I had to act quickly. I can’t quite remember how long I had… about two hours I think, to come up with a name, a logo, an advert and write 250 words about my business. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so fast.

Bubblegum was plucked out of the ether and approaching 12 years later, it kinda stuck. There’s been a few updates and incarnations over the years as you might expect, but deep down we still hold the same values I did when I started out. To provide a graphic design and brand development service to our clients that adds value, to continue to understand our clients’ needs and stay with them as they grow – but to do so having fun, building strong relationships with our clients and really getting to know them.

Now, I’m not advocating that anyone starting a business uses the name-out-of-a-hat method of branding their baby, but sometimes, deep down, you just know. If you want to talk to us about how we can help you discover what’s really at the core of your business and how best to transform that into your branding and design – give us a call on 01392 581 501 for your free design consultation.

Thanks for reading!


Another one bites the dust

In case you’re not aware, one of our biggest clients is Country Gardener Magazines. We design and manage the production of all of their publications – which is currently six magazines, ten times per year.

It’s mammoth.

We generally run on a three week turnaround with this publication, with either one or two weeks’ gap in between. If you’ve ever asked us a question during print week and heard the words “we’re really up against it with another project at the moment and will get back to you as soon as we can”, then you now know why. Getting six magazines to press before the deadline, with all adverts and editorial content designed, proofed and corrected is something Bubblegum specialise in.

We have been working with Country Gardener since 2009 (when it was only four magazines, eight times a year – and Bubblegum was just little old me) so we have watched it grow and grown alongside it.

Every issue presents a new set of challenges and every issue we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. If you fancy a read, or a little more insight into what we get up to, take a peek at the most recent Devon issue here.


Time to acknowledge those hard-working mummies!

You may or may not know, that the whole team at Bubblegum have young children, and we are constantly juggling the demands of a small business with that of the needs of little people. I truly believe that it is possible to be successful in your business, meet and exceed the needs of your clients and still manage to pick the kids up from school each day. Sometimes it’s a struggle, I’ll admit. But the reward makes it worth it.

With this in mind, when I heard about the Mumazing Awards launching in Devon, I just knew I had to get involved. I was offered the chance to sponsor the Overcoming Adversity category, and I couldn’t be prouder. I’m sure every single one of the nominees in this category is deserving of an award, after all being a parent can be tough at the best of times, but I am really looking forward to meeting the finalists in this category and presenting the winner with their award.

I’ll feedback on the event at Woodbury Park Hotel on Thursday 21st July, later in the month.



Well that was a busy week!

We’ve just got back into the office after a lovely bank holiday weekend, and much needed rest after all the preparations for at Powderham Castle. The event was a resounding success and has improved on last year.

We are very much involved in getting this event to the table (or is that field?!). We started last autumn on updates to the website, creating the initial marketing literature and promoting ticket sales. Over the past few months our workload has gradually increased as we work on more adverts, continue developing the website and start preparing for the event itself.

The run up to an event like this is crucial – we have to manage an intense workload from one client – creating maps, programmes and signage for the festival – whilst still maintaining our usual service to all of our other clients. It’s a credit to the whole team at Bubblegum that we keep everything moving, keep everyone happy and produce design work that we are proud of!

We might take it easy for a day or two…if they let us!

Arrangement of three ripe fresh onions isolated on white background

Know your onions – jargon busting in the GD world

Think of this as a graphic design glossary…but we’ll try not to make you glaze over! Here’s some of the terms you might hear us talk about and what they mean:

GD: Graphic design or graphic designer

Fonts: The design or style of the text/characters we use. Bold, italic etc are additional styles, not different fonts.

Leading: You might know this as line height; it’s simply the space between the lines. We love leading because it makes large blocks of text easier to read

Typography: This is how we use text alone to create a statement in terms of how we position it, using different sizes, styles etc – all for creative effect!

Bleed: Nope, we don’t have a paper cut. This is the area outside your design that the printer needs to make sure you don’t get nasty white edges. You see, as great as printers are, they need a bit of leeway with their cutting. We don’t put any important info in here, just the edge of any images or background colours.

Trim: This is the final size of the document. In advertising terms, this is the boundary of your advert – we don’t put important info right up to the trim line (see Safe Zone).

Safe Zone: This is an area several millimetres away from the trim or edge of your artwork. This ensures that any shoddy cutting won’t get rid of your important information. It also looks FAR better if you keep your text etc away from the edges. So forgive us if we don’t seem to be using every square inch of the page!

White Space: No, this isn’t wasted money. And it doesn’t have to be white. It’s simply the art of leaving space around an object you really want to draw the eye towards.

CMYK vs RGB: No, we haven’t turned into a computer spouting some crazy language. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black) and these are the colours that we use to make up all the pretty colours you see in printed work. Think of it simply as mixing paint. RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue. This colour system is used for digital and web-based artwork. This is the same as you might remember seeing up close on an old telly (I’m sure I’m not the only one). When you have full light, lots of every colour you get white, when you have no light, that’s none of any colour you have black. And all the permutations in between make for a colourful display on your screens. If we want something for print we need CMYK – for online RGB is fine – but don’t worry we can convert between the two, no need for you to stress.

Resolution and DPI: When you take a photo it has a certain number of dots per inch (dpi) and a finite number of dots of width and height. With that in mind if you continue to increase the size of the photo the number of dots doesn’t increase. It stays the same, but the dots themselves get bigger. That means there are fewer dots per inch and therefore the resolution is lower. You don’t need to worry too much about getting around this, but when you send in a tiny, weeny photo and ask us to put it on a billboard – this is the reason we can. There simply aren’t enough dots.

Vectors: This is a completely different type of artwork. Vector graphics are essentially made from a series of mathematical curves. Unlike your photos as we mentioned above there are no dots. It’s science. That’s why vectors are scalable, up to the size of a house and far beyond. When we want copies of your logo for use on your marketing literature we really, really, really want a vector. Sometimes it’s hard to find them, like paperwork and Madonna CDs. If you can’t, we can create them for you and it’s often pretty simple. Just ask for our logo redraw service.

There’s loads more we could talk to you about, but we don’t want you to switch off, do we? But we do want you to know that we are here to explain all this and more whenever you need us to. So please just give us a call.

We don’t bite!

Party Candles on a Slice of Birthday Cake

Happy 11th birthday to us!

Eleven years. I might just pause for a second there.

We are so very proud to be able to sing ourselves a big happy birthday today. As with most businesses it’s been a sometimes bumpy road, but the support we get from our clients and associated businesses has always been fantastic! So today we celebrate, but we also say a big THANK YOU to everyone who’s helped get us here.

Now I’m going to enjoy the cake! I might even share with the team.


… Getting to know all about you

Are you picturing Julie Andrews right now, humming that tune in your head? Or are you thinking I’ve gone slightly mad? If the latter, look it up. The fact is we are a little bit quirky.

Unlike your typical design agency, we REALLY get to know our clients. It’s absolutely crucial to us that we get your business, understand you and how you think, what you want, who your clients are. I’ve had clients laugh at me during their consultations because I ask questions like ‘what’s your favourite colour?’, ‘what do you like to do for fun?’, I comment on bags and shoes (generally women only, but not always), we talk about holidays, families, shopping, politics…you name it. I want to know all about you.

Knowing what makes our clients tick is one of the things that makes us….us. We develop a friendship with our clients, and an instant trust; we will create designs for you that truly represent your business. This is especially key for small business owners – there’s less chance of us getting it wrong.

And we enjoy it too. We love talking to people. We love giving our clients exactly what they want. Happiness and great results all round.

If you think your business needs a friend like us – give us a shout. We’d love a chat.