Reflections on the Future….

About 17 years ago, on the evening of the opening night of the Tate Modern, I was one of the protesters standing outside. For those of you who don’t know there were many artists demonstrating about all sorts of issues, from the the dramatic change in the direction of British Art, the unwelcome influence of Saatchi, the vast expense of the project, to the poverty of many artists living and working in London.

Then one day soon after, I popped in and still found myself in there at 10pm at night, and I witnessed a long queue of visitors, in the beautiful well stocked Tate Modern bookshop, clutching armfuls of books about art.

It was a stand still moment, as I stood there, awestruck in my jumble sale clothes, and worn-out shoes. What an earth was going on? After being used to wondering around the old Charing Cross Road Foyles’ bookshop, with its dormant slient floors devoid of life and dusty chaotic negleted shelves.

As I was passing through London last month I decided to pop in to the Tate Modern bookshop once again, one of many frequent visits over the years, and I discovered a couple of copies of my latest book on the shelf. Again I had one of those moments.

Over recent weeks I’ve spotted art students with copies of my book borrowed from libraries and also received a written note from a student after a recent lecture, letting me know they had ordered the book from Amazon during the break…

So thank you, and hope you both find a bright and fantastic future…

Note from an art studentA recent snap of a copy of my book borrowed from a UCA library

Alison Branagan’s Entrepreneurship for Creatives’ Summer School is running this July, for more info and to book please touch through to Central Saint Martins


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Central Saint Martins: Routes to Succcess

If you are looking for a way to launch your art, craft practice, or design business than look no further. This summer there are a number of popular business, entrepreneurship and self-promotion Summer School courses which I run at the Central Saint Martins Kings Cross Campus in Granary Square, which are also available online.

Students who have attended these courses in the past have gone on to set up innovative, experimental and commercial companies. Each course has a number of guest speakers, including one of the team from Silverman Sherliker LLP a top London Intellectual Property firm.

To read more about the success of profiled students from all courses I run at Central Saint Martins please visit the blog.

entrepreneur class larger image


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Hey! Don’t Be Grey, Have…Impact!

Hello everyone…I just thought I would tell you what I’ve learned from teaching my Business, Entrepreneurship and Self-Promotion Courses over this summer at Central Saint Martins in London. The theme of presentation, packaging and impact reoccurred in several ways, as mentioned in talks by speakers such as Alex Brownless from Arts Thread‘don’t be grey’ he said, in the creative industries you have to stand out and have impact. Alana Pryce Tojcic, arts marketing specialist from The October Gallery, Matt Dowling founder of The Freelancer Club and Kathleen Hills, a leading ceramic and lighting designer, talked about the importance of stunning photographs, and the different types of images you need to commission to gain paid work or attract attention in the media. Interior designer Audrey Whelan showed how to communicate design ideas to clients remotely. Billy Jenks, a talented IP solicitor from Silverman Sherliker, who also sponsor the course, showed screen shots of trademarked colours and most of the students instantly knew which brands they represented.

My well thumbed copy of Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell

During the summer I was also coincidently reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink where he discusses several related stories about packaging and impact, he discusses for instance the Christian Brothers and E & J bandy story. Christian Brothers found they were losing sales to E & J and couldn’t work out why, as all their research demonstrated in taste tests that brandy drinkers prefered their beverage over E & J, yet Christian Brothers were losing market share fast. It transpired that, even when the Christian Brothers put their own brandy into E & J bottles, people still said they preferred E & J. It turned out that customers actually just liked the look of the E & J bottle more than the Christian Brothers one. Solution, new bottle design, C B regain their market share.

He also outlined the fascinating research by the highly respected psychologist Sheena Iynger, Google her ‘Jam Study’ to find out more. But in short, in a jam selling experiment, when she displayed 24 different jams, of which 3% of passersby purchased jam,  but when she displayed a selection of only six jams 30% of passersby bought jam.

This year I also had a rebrand by my designer Alana Biviano of BVN Creative, cards printed my Meltoma Designs on 600 gsm card. Some snaps below shows a comparison between the old and new cards. The new design has a more limited, though richly coloured palette, with integrated contact and social media icon design. I believe this new design with a slightly revised logo has a more memorable contemporary look and feel.

business card photo 600 gsm    business card photo

If you are looking for a live and online Business Start-up Course, (starts this month at Central Saint Martins) then please enrol on Business Start-up for Creatives. If you think you need to learn more about self-promotion or wish to revamp your current marketing strategy then there is another specialist online course running this term, Self-Promotion for Creatives (also starts this month). Equally I am available for one-to-one advice sessions in person or via Skype. You are most welcome to email me at alison@alisonbranagan.com if you wish to book a session.


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Business Start-up for Creatives Online

Ahoy there shipmates! This is my second post, please excuse the formatting, its early days in these uncharted virtual seas of the blogosphere!

So why not launch yourself and set sail with the winds of good fortune in blowing in your sails this month?

If you’ve recently graduated from a visual or applied arts degree, or perhaps you have just started your business as a freelancer, design business or arts practice and feel very confused about what is going on, then this online course will help you formulate a plan, understanding some marketing basics,  networks, business planning, money management, costing and pricing, fund raising, legal matters and tax. A very useful course for anyone based in the UK, EU or elsewhere in the world who seek to trade with or in Europe.

Its very easy to make mistakes in business, and making too many can drain you of time, funds and resources. Often its about spotting problems and putting them right that will aid  your route to success, leading to financial stability or a profitable enterprise.

This course is broadcast live, but its recorded so if you miss a class you can catch up during the week, there will also be time to discuss your plans and extensive handouts are also provided along with these exclusive course extras:

As part of the course students have a free one hour consultation with specialist design accountant Dean Shepherd of Tax By Design and a Business name and  a free UK/EU trade mark search undertaken by city the law firm Silverman Sherliker LLP.

For more information and to enrol please view the new Central Saint Martins website.


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Wild-goose Chase Anyone? Entrepreneurship for Creatives Online at Central Saint Martins

Apologies for the continual generally poor format of this blog, which I plan to sort out in the next couple of days. Contrary to public opinion Alison Branagan is not an large plush office staffed with loads of slightly plump ginger haired ladies and gentlemen continually nibbling biscuits and making cups of herbal tea for one another, though one hopes it is only a matter of time.

The trouble with wild goose chases is no one really wants to go on one, its not really top of anyone’s list of desirable activities. You don’t wake up and think hell what I really want to do today is waste a load of time, money and energy. Alas at the moment we are in difficult times and extraordinary changes are occurring daily to the way we not only run our art practices or design businesses but in our personal lives.

It’s really difficult to know if you are just starting out or have been going awhile and find a brick wall has been hit or you find you’ve been talking to one for sometime. Often its a matter of persisting with something until a break through occurs or you just have to realise…look this isn’t going anywhere any more is it? Change is never easy, but shoving yourself in another direction might prove more fruitful.

My course ‘Entrepreneurship for Creatives Online‘ hosted by Central Saint Martins, is designed to help you think differently about where you are now and what other options there might be out there for you. The course is broadcast live, but if you miss a class they are all recorded so you can catch up during the week. Handouts are provided and the course includes a special course extra in the form of a probono UK/EU business and trade mark search by city law firm Silverman & Sherliker

For more information about the course and enrolment please visit the new Central Saint Martins website.

Cheerio for now…working on a blog post for Arts Thread at the moment…so stay tuned!


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