Author: orwellcontent

Brexit means… goodness only knows

There was no greater enemy of jargon than George Orwell. Were he alive today I have no idea whether he would be a ‘Leaver’ or a ‘Remainer’ – but I do know he would write something about how the debate has become incomprehensible because it is cluttered with jargon. A few months ago the big argument was whether we should have a “hard” or a “soft” Brexit, but did anyone really understand the difference? Now we have the “implementation period” – is it better that this might be “prolonged”, or not? Is it the same as a “transition period”? The EU occasionally has “tunnel negotiations” over the UK, whatever that means. What is the “backstop position”? How does that differ from a “sub optimal functional border”? What would a “Canada plus” deal mean? Is a “facilitated customs arrangement” a disease, a kind of transport, or an imported sausage? With the language that surrounds the European Union such a feast of the highly jargonised and the clotted cliché, can any normal human being make a balanced decision? …

An iPad user looks at the new 3SC website

Orwell creates new website and branding for social enterprise company 3SC

Orwell Content has just completed work on an entirely new corporate identity and website for 3SC, the London-based social enterprise firm. In addition Orwell will be launching a new monthly e-publication, 3SC Impact, which addresses some of the major issues in 3SC’s sector. All content and design has been created by us. You can see the new website and publication here and here. 3SC has existed since 2009. Its main business is the aggregation of small-to-medium sized third sector enterprises, putting them together to have a stronger clout when it comes to bidding for public sector contracts. 3SC was and is self-evidently an intelligent organisation – but it lacked sufficiently influential content and a contemporary brand identity and website to enable it to keep up with a rapidly changing world. We held many meetings with 3SC’s executive over the months, identifying the needs of the revamped organisation, and proposed a new brand identity together with new straplines that better reflected what they do. 3SC eventually settled the line Partnerships with Purpose. The new strapline signifies …

Ballsspeak

Ballsspeak Gary Mead on why we should avoid the linguistic inauthenticity of cliché and jargon One of the most memorable creations of George Orwell was Newspeak, the language of Oceania, one of the fictional states in his novel 1984. It always astonishes me how prescient Orwell was. If Newspeak remains a dystopian fantasy, Ballsspeak is to be encountered on a daily basis. One of the finest examples of Ballsspeak can be heard after every tragedy, whether it’s Grenfell Tower or the latest instance of abuse in a care home: “lessons have been learned”, will be intoned by some bureaucrat who cannot imagine life without a cliché. You just know that no lessons have really been learned; the phrase reeks of insincerity, even if it’s meant sincerely. What can be done about linguistic inauthenticity, better described as Ballsspeak? If there is a USP to Orwell Content it’s a continual effort to discourage our clients from lapsing into the clichés that disguise clarity of thinking, lucidity of expression. Among the piles of Christmas reading this year, I …

Are you content with your content?

Are you content with your content? Jonathan Arnold on why well crafted, long form content can make all the difference for businesses looking to influence key audiences Excuse the laboured pun. But the question remains: is the content you are creating doing the job it is designed to do? That is, does it create engaging relationships with readers/customers/staff/suppliers – you name it – in order to further the cause of a brand, organisation or product? Is it intelligent? Is it influential? Much so-called ‘content’ – and it’s a term used with abandon these days, often without proper explanation, by people who have never ‘written’ professionally in their lives – is piffle: Poorly written, badly edited (if at all), often cursory and under-researched. Some might argue that it doesn’t matter. That short form content – aka tweets or other ‘here today, gone later today’ content – is all about the instant. Get something out there and some of it might stick. And with the move to what might be termed ‘visual’ content – video, images, infographics …

‘The Visual History of Type’ reviewed

Orwell partner and designer, Nick Paul, reviews a fabulous new book that charts the history of type The Visual History of Type by Paul McNeil. Published by Laurence King 2017 At Orwell we invest time in crafting content that is well written and well designed – we care about the words that we write and we want those words to look good on the page. Words are set in type – think of typefaces as the clothes that the words are dressed in. Through careful selection, different typefaces can help express a particular message – in just the same way that a set of clothes create an impression. As a designer I am fascinated by typefaces and earlier this autumn I was blown away by the publication of a new book, The Visual History of Type which is is an essential record of every major typeface created since the development of printing with moveable type in the 1450s. The legendary Dutch designer and typographer Wim Crouwel has described it as, ‘amazing, overwhelming, stunning’ and ‘wonderful’ and he’s …

Profile: ProCredit Bank

Social Stock Exchange profile: ProCredit Bank Orwell partner Gary Mead likes what he discovers about the ProCredit Bank Can you think of a bank that offers a course on ‘The Rise and Decline of the Roman Republic’? Can you nominate a bank that might even think that offering such a course to its management trainees might make good sense for its business? Neither could I, until I encountered ProCredit Holding and its group of banks, one of the more recent recruits to the Social Stock Exchange. I don’t have a lot of time for banks: their behaviour leaves almost everything to be desired, almost as if they see no responsibility for the systemic half-witted mayhem they helped create in 2008. In fact, the only bank I’ve had any respect for is the scrupulously squeaky-clean Handelsbanken of Sweden. Until now, that is. The ProCredit group – an assortment of development-oriented commercial banks working in Southeastern and Eastern Europe as well as in South America, and which includes a German bank – is based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Many …

I Love Lucy

No, this isn’t some throwback to the 1950s US TV show. It’s a homage to Lucy Kellaway, who for almost 25 years has been stripping away the bullshit from the English language as it is mangled, abused, and left for dead by the business world. She’s soon giving up her weekly column in the Financial Times, to take up teaching maths in a school. The newspaper will be a much diminished read without her. In her latest column Lucy tackles the very things that make us despair here at Orwell. She is relentless in spotting the bullshit from big executives and attacking it. Nonsensical stuff such as ‘110% committed’ or, in her column today, Howard Schultz of Starbucks saying the new roasters of the company are delivering a “coffee-forward experience.” That’s almost hilariously meaningless. But what Lucy doesn’t point out is that many of the top bosses who spout such ludicrousness no doubt have acres of communications and media advisers, some of whom no doubt scrutinise the language used by them. How does it get …

Thought leadership from Odgers Berndtson

Odgers Berndtson is one of the world’s leading executive search firms with 27 offices in more than 50 countries. It finds and places some of the most senior C-suite executives across all business, industry and non-profit areas. In 2014 Jonathan Arnold, now a Partner at Orwell and then Editorial Director of content agency Archant Dialogue, proposed that Odgers would greatly benefit from a global, thought leadership print and digital publication that focused predominantly on boardroom issues. Although reticent at first, Odgers Berndtson recognised that this was a tool that could be multi-functional and assist greatly in demonstrating that the company has its finger on the pulse of the key issues that affect boardrooms – and people – around the world. Now in its third year, Observe has become a major part of Odgers’ marketing armoury. Issue number 11 shown here focused on the crucial subject of work: where it’s going, what are the significant issues that affect it and how can business and boardrooms prepare for a new age of automation.     Jonathan Arnold …

Profile: Impact Investment Trust

Profile: Impact Investment Trust Gary Mead, SSX editor and Orwell partner, talks to Eighteen East’s Thomas Venon, co-founder of the Impact Investment Trust One of the frequently repeated gripes about the impact investment world is that it’s effectively closed-off to the ordinary retail investor, those with a few hundred or thousand available to invest. It’s a strange irony that only the rich, it seems, can put their money into investments that might make a difference to the sum total of human happiness. Of course there are places where people who aren’t high net worth individuals can stash their savings and still feel they are making a positive impact – but you have to search for them quite diligently. But from 10 July this all changes – the minimum you’ll need is $1,000 to take a stake in the Impact Investment Trust PLC, a new trust that as of that date will be trading on the London Stock Exchange, while simultaneously becoming a member of the Social Stock Exchange. The dollar-denomination is because all the underlying …