Michael Stock

Posts by Mike Stock

Brochure / Portfolio

48-Page Company Brochure for Digital and Print

I led the design and production of a 48-page sales brochure for African Adventures, a small volunteer travel organisation based in Hampshire that specialise in group trips to Ghana, Kenya and Zanzibar. The brochure needed to tell the social enterprise’s potential group leaders everything about the unique organisation, their fully-inclusive nature of their trips and the complete process of organising a volunteering trip. 

The brochure was split in logical sections and ordered in a way that answered all the questions that crop up in trips such as these. What was on offer? Where could you go? Who could travel? Why choose African Adventures? How do we afford it?

The brochures proved successful and as a result a further three iterations were produced on a yearly basis, each time with revised content and refreshed design to keep it consistent with the organisation’s collateral.

Challenges included:

Collating Content

I worked closely with the client to order the content in a logical way and effectively guide potential customers through the whole process.

Design Consistency

Adapting future iterations as a result of feedback of recruitment teams and volunteers and incorporating any changes to the organisation’s branding.

Media Management

Managing a print-quality brochure without any professional photography. All media was from a mixture of the client’s staff and volunteers.

One of the key differences from previous company brochures was the striking use of full page images which was made possible by an ever-growing catalogue of images taken by staff and volunteers. I worked closely with the Marketing Team to encourage volunteers to share their images with us, and we ran targeted campaigns to gather specific content when it was needed. I also ran workshops for travelling staff in order to get the best quality content they could when “in-country”, this included basic photography tips as well as transfer methods (this process was also used to gather video content in order to create promotional videos).

The Client: African Adventures are a small volunteer travel organisation based in Hampshire. Specialising in group trips to Ghana, Kenya and Zanzibar, the social enterprise has sent more than 6000 volunteers to assist teachers and help build schools and clinics in deprived communities across those destination countries.

Portfolio / Website

Company Website Using Responsive Child Theme

African Adventures are a volunteer travel organisation based in Hampshire. Specialising in group trips to Ghana, Kenya and Zanzibar, the social enterprise has sent more than 6000 volunteers to assist teachers and help build schools and clinics in deprived communities.

The organisation required a new website to showcase their group trip offerings, their destination countries, and their company ethos. The website developed further over several years as new functionality was required including the creation of bespoke landing pages for each group trip that was launched to enable quick, centralised sign-ups. Some of the functionality included:

Advanced Forms

Using an advanced form plugin with conditional logic, and combined with SMTP, Pop-ups, and submission database creation.

Quote Calculator

Using complex conditional logic and step by step form progression we enabled customers to get exact prices despite many variables.

Custom Menus and Footers

Creating custom responsive menus for headers and footers to allow easy contact and clear display of accreditations and policies.

Child Theme Creation

Creating a child theme to allow for significant manipulation without damaging the original theme and allowing seamless updates.

Responsive Design

Custom CSS added to make each page, and the elements within it fully responsive across all devices with particular attention paid to items above the fold.

Testing and Development

Research and implementation of a system of plugins and services for multi-level back-ups and a development area for testing updates and advancements.

Further sections were added as the company became to the United Nations’ Global Compact and aligned its own work in Africa and the UK with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Blog

Medieval Style Comic Book Caption Boxes

I had fun creating some medieval style comic book caption boxes for a story recently so I thought I would share how they are put together.

To give you some idea of what I am talking about, before I delve into the steps you take to make it, here is the finished caption box and a blown apart version to show you the elements involved.

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Comic Books / Lettering

Samurai Slasher 3

Halloween is fun for many reasons but in recent year it has come to mean another volume of the fantastic Samurai Slasher! I think Mike Garley has started structuring his entire year around this labour of love. And it is BLOODY awesome!

As always, Mike gathers a stellar cast of artists so I have an interesting task of trying to fit the lettering to the art. Where normally I might alter the lettering style to suit, this series has its own lettering style that has remained largely consistent across the previous two previous volumes.

This volume did present the challenge of lettering some more less common elements which allowed for something a bit different.

As always the entire series has a larger dollop of SFX throughout which are characteristically on point. You can pick up your copies from  Mike’s web store, or check out his list of convention appearances and then you can pick one up in person, and get it signed at the same time.

Comic Books / Design

P M Buchan’s Hangover

I had the pleasure of helping Bucky put a collection of his works together in time for last weekend’s Thoughtbubble festival/convention. I’ve worked with him on a few comics before (Life of the Dead, Doomed Romantics, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Embrace the Dark, Sleeping with the Fishes) and hopefully on a few more projects to come.

I put together the whole book but the highlight was getting to get to design the front cover. The design, based on Bucky’s usual face paint,

Lettering

Samurai Slasher Vs Santa

Had great fun working on a Christmas short story – Samurai Slasher Vs Santa – with regular collaborator, Mike Garley, and a new art team of Jim Lavery and David Cooper. It takes all the usual humour from the previous Samurai Slasher stories and adds a massive dollop of festive madness. Spoiler, shenanigans ensue.

Samurai Slasher Vs Santa is free to read on Mike Garley's website

The generous sole that Mr Garley is you can read the 3-page short on his website and you can even download a free PDF of it so you can take it with you wherever you go. Not there, though. Sicko.

Comic Books / Lettering

Bubbles O’Seven: Baboon Taker

The second instalment of the excellent Bubble O’Seven is complete!

Another successful kickstarter from Grainne and the Bounce Comics team gives a new adventure, this time featuring the art of Lee Killeen. In the words of Bubbles himself: “MI7 have been scanning the London area for the whereabouts of Mr Fluffy. One would think it would be simple enough to locate the whereabouts of a cat endowed with opposable digits. Alas, the feline fraternity is a secretive one. We can, however, rely on the street-strolling gutter hounds to roll over on their furball nemeses when a nice piece of steak is in the offing.”

This issue features an epic cover from fellow Bounce team member, Andy Clift.