Get them while they're hot


We’ve put four new Pentone mugs in the shop today.

Pentone is our not-entirely-serious system for dividing written language into different ‘tones of voice’ in the same way that Pantone does for colour.

The new mugs include:


Pentone Yorkshire
A rewritten version of our previous Pentone Yorkshire mug. Perfect with Yorkshire Tea. Or just a good way to patronise a northern friend.


Pentone Scouse
One half of Asbury & Asbury is from Liverpool, so we are allowed to do this.


Pentone Dad
Don’t look at me in that tone of voice


Pentone Mum
You’ll buy it and you’ll like it.

All mugs are English fine bone china, hand-decorated in the UK, dishwasher and microwave proof, white on the inside (important for making tea) and a good, satisfying size.

There aren’t that many of them, so please factor rarity into your purchasing state of mind.


Pentone Boxset
There is also this bumper boxset of 30 tones. But don’t pour tea into it.

Dear World... Yours, Cambridge


It was a great pleasure to be involved in this University of Cambridge campaign with johnson banks.

The campaign celebrates and amplifies the two-way relationship between Cambridge and the world, using a letter-writing framing device to host all manner of visual and verbal content.

The sheer richness of material inside an institution like Cambridge makes it an especially interesting one to write.     

You can read the full background in three parts on the johnson banks blog.

The campaign

The launch and film

The posters (a few examples below)









British public faces branding company backlash


Branding companies across the UK reacted with a mixture of scorn and disbelief to the recent launch of ‘British storm names’ by the British public, a project undertaken in association with the Met Office.

After a months-long project awarded exclusively to the British public, the names chosen to brand future British storms and hurricanes were: Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake, Katie, Lawrence, Mary, Nigel, Orla, Phil, Rhonda, Steve, Tegan, Vernon and Wendy.

What an amazing waste of time” commented one branding insider.

“Unbelievable – my kid could have thought of these” said another.

More branding experts took to Twitter to slam the campaign. Atticus from Shoreditch tweeted: “Whoever thought of Jake needs to take a look at themselves. These people call themselves the ‘Great’ British Public?”

Leonora, an ideation consultant from Clerkenwell, posted: “This campaign blows harder than Hurricane Tegan.”

Branding experts were quick to point out similarities to a previous names-based campaign for US storms. “The US smashed it out of the park with Katrina – and now suddenly we’re going with Katie. Coincidence?” said one.

The British public has thus far refused to comment. It is believed they won the project in an unpaid pitch and took on the work pro bono.

One insider told us off the record: “In the grand scheme of things, this reaction doesn’t really bother us. If it’s getting a reaction from branding experts, that can only be a good thing.”

Rocked by the backlash, the Met Office is rumoured to be considering dropping the new names and appointing an entirely different public – possibly the French.

NB: This is my audition for The Onion, and is therapeutic to write given the public backlash that comes with any branding launch these days.