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This week in the world of Woodblock some of us are a little weary.  We have spent the last five days trawling (sorry, I mean skipping) through Disneyland Paris!  Don’t get me wrong we all had a great time, but we are not theme park naturals/veterans and the all consuming world of Disney can be a little overwhelming.

In between the rides shows, shops and princesses we were allowed to pop in to the History of Animation display.  Did you know that it was the Disney Corporation who created the concept of Storyboards?  No, nor did we.  Animator Webb Smith is credited with the idea of drawing scenes on separate sheets of paper and pinning them on a bulletin board in sequence to tell a story. This was first used when making a film of The Three Little Pigs.   Storyboards are now so widely used across so many industries, from the arts to accounting and software to science.   Whether using the simple ‘post it note’ or elaborate flowcharts, their use can generate more ideas and greater consensus within groups.  Thank you, Disney!  The incredible amount of time they spent creating these cartoons by hand is inspiring, they truly were pioneers of a new art.  I know a huge amount of work still goes into making our favourite films but there’s something about simple, traditional techniques and skills that is very appealing.  Mass production clearly has its place but it’s also so encouraging that there are people who still want and value the hand made and bespoke products that make life different and interesting.

Another little find was Walt Disney’s original business card (shown).  Shockingly there’s no mouse, (this was pre-Mickey and pre Disney Studios) but was from his days working as in an art studio designing adverts for newspapers and movie theatres. I think the chaos of it is endearing but I wonder how it was received at the time?

Once inside those sparkly walls, it’s impossible to escape visions of Mickey.  Where there might ordinarily be a blank space, there will be ears on it.!   If there’s a gap, it will have ears on it!  I have never seen branding like it, even down to the shower gel in the hotel and the buoys in the lake.  And of course, you can purchase a dizzying array of branded promotional products; absolutely anything you can think of is available with those infamous ears stamped, sewn, embossed, foiled, printed or etched on.  I think the only thing they haven’t got is a Disney land tattoo studio, so you can have Mickey literally branded to you.  Whether you’re a Disney fan or not, one cannot help but be in awe of the sheer scale and spectacle that they manage to create every single day, whilst maintaining that Disney smile!  Also, the incredible attention to detail when it comes to branding.  A true giant of mass marketing.  However, for bespoke and tailored branding solutions, come to Woodblock; serious attention to detail and skills, fewer mouse ears and sparkly dresses (at least on work days!)

That’s all Folks!