Not Nice.

That’s the title of the new house magazine from A LARGE EVIL CORPORATION.

As you might already know their collective day jobs are knocking out award-winning animated commercials but ever since we’ve been working together they haven’t been adverse to sticking their noses into lots of other creative pies too.

Short films, digital illustrations, posters, t-shirts, vinyl toys and even tea towels are just a few of the things that have received the ‘Evil’ treatment.

And now a magazine.

It was originally intended to be a promotional piece but it’s grown into a bit of a monster and as a result It’s due to hit the shops later this year.

We’ve had a right laugh putting it all together for them with Evil Corp supplying the character design, CG illustrations and matte paintings and us keeping busy with the concept, art direction and photography.

As usual I’ve been working with Andy Dymock and Kate Henderson on the design and artwork front and the photography is courtesy of Fern Berresford and our very own Oliver Carver.

The theme for issue No 1 centres around ‘Evil Farms’ an imaginary subsidiary of A Large Evil Corporation.

Like the rest of their collateral, the magazine portrays a dark but humorous (some might say puerile) vision of their fictional ‘Evil’ empire.


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Anyone who’s ever worked with them will know that in reality, as well as being hugely talented, they are actually quite nice.

That ‘niceness’ didn’t get in the way of them digging deep and creating some truly disturbing imagery.

The whole process started off in time-honoured tradition with me drawing some schoolboy pictures (BTW: that’s NOT pictures of schoolboys FYI) and then enrolling the right talent to realise them.

Like all of COY’s projects no expense has been spared in putting this magazine together.

There’s a lot of love and sweat that’s gone into it, so you will appreciate the high shine, easy wipe cover.

It’s not all gloss though. There are five different paper stocks that have been used throughout and three different print processes.

Wherever possible I’ve tried to combine A Large Evil’s skills with the photography and graphics.

This has been achieved by using their artists to create either CG backgrounds to the photos or by creating CG characters and props that play in the main image.

As I said earlier it was originally conceived as a promotional piece to show A Large Evil Corporation’s versatility and how their stuff works just as well in print as it does on the telly.

Now that it will be available to a wider audience, we’re hoping that future issues will be great vehicles to show off their blossoming foray into the toy market and other forthcoming Large Evil branded products.

It’s been a long hard slog getting here but for me the magazine has been a joy to work on.

I’m going to have a little lie down now with a fresh Farmhouse Bastard and a portion of Shaved Gooseberries.

M Denton Esq.

Concept: M Denton Esq.
Editor/Art Director: M Denton Esq.
Design: M Denton Esq., Andy Dymock & Kate Henderson.
Typography: Andy Dymock.
Photography: Fern Berresford / Oliver Carver.
Artwork: Kate Henderson.
Hair / Makeup: Anna Denton / Saskia Laroque Rothstein Longaretti
Production Assistants: Juan Coello Hollebecq / Georgina O’Neill.
Art Department: Julia Jomaa / Olayinka Goldfeather.
Image Manipulation: Oliver Craver / Fern Berresford.
Wardrobe: Spencer Horne / Handsome Folk.
Shot at Motel Studios.

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Winner of enormous amount of advertising awards…………………TICK

Director of over 500 commercials…………………………………………………………TICK

Former partner/ECD of world famous ad agency…………………………TICK

Supplier of sell-out inspirational talks……………………………………TICK

Owner of much awarded Design company………………………………………………TICK

Former NW Kent Hurdles champion……………………………………………………………TICK

Ex-President of The Advertising Creative Circle…………………TICK

Theatrical producer……………………………………………………………………………………………TICK

Book/Magazine publisher…………………………………………………………………………………TICK

47th most influential person in advertising……………………………TICK

Own teeth/hair………………………………………………………………………………………………………CROSS

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A little bird has just reminded me that it’s getting on for 15 years since I created the BLINK Productions identity.

After all this time it’s still one of my personal favourite design jobs and one that not only opened up a lot of doors but it’s also the project that arguably turned me into a ‘proper’ Graphic Designer.

Despite the fact that I’m the proud possessor of a Graphic Design certificate (with merit) from Ravensbourne School of Vocational Studies, I wound up in advertising.

This was back in the mid 70s and there was a definite divide between advertising and design. (I can even remember one year when D&AD had separate awards nights for each of the different disciplines).

Anyway, after a spell as a paste-up artist and assistant to Leo Burnett’s Head of Type, I became an advertising Art Director.

And that’s the job I stuck at for 15 years right up until I got fired from my own agency (Simons Palmer DENTON Clemmow and Johnson).

So not knowing what else to do I started directing commercials, but I couldn’t help myself, I still kept having a dabble with print on the side.

After a few years directing I found myself at BLINK which was fast becoming one of the sexiest production companies around town.

They were knocking out a lot of great commercials but their elevated status was also due to their hard pedalling/charismatic boss, James Studholme.

One day James said to me “You like doing a bit of design, how about having a go at our stationery?” (Imagine that sentence said a bit more eloquently and with a posh accent).

I’d previously been asked to come up with logos for a few other production companies but I hadn’t particularly enjoyed the process.

A lot of producers and directors moan about client’s ‘input’ but when it came to me presenting ideas to them they turned into the worst creative committee you could imagine.

So I had nothing to lose (especially as there wasn’t a lot of money on offer). I told James that I’d have a go at it if he let me have a completely free hand.

A couple of days later I gave him two ideas. One based on the commercials I used to see as a kid for soap powder, chocky bars and the like and a second one which featured an owl undergoing many different forms of torture but still refusing to BLINK!

Very wisely he went with the FMCG themed idea and true to his word he just left me to get on with it.

What I was proposing was a bit different at the time – the idea of not just having a standard ‘BLINK’ logo. It would change every time you saw it depending on the spoof product it was attached to.

As well as various products, I wanted to create images that looked like they’d been lifted from old commercials to give it all a whiff of authenticity.

Not to mention a custom made envelope inspired by a TV set, copious amounts of stickers, t-shirts,  and other creative litter.

Of course there was bugger all budget considering how much I wanted to achieve so I had to be a bit resourceful.

I cast a slightly reluctant Blink staffer, Elizabeth Trustrum (Truzz) as an iconic 1950s style housewife and on the back of a commercial pre-light I got a small set built in the corner of the studio. I then blagged some favours on the wardrobe and hair & make-up front and shot all of the required bits and pieces.

Everyone seemed to be happy with the result.

…And then I got a phone call out of the blue (another long story) and within weeks I was part owner of a rival production company, Therapy Films.

Over  the following months, The BLINK identity started picking up a stack of awards, being recognised at Design Week, D&AD, The Type Directors Club and even winning the Grand Award for Design at NY Festivals.

About a year or so into my new partnership James gives me a bell…

He needed a DVD cover for his Director’s showreels and a separate collective house DVD too.

It didn’t seem to concern him that I now owned 50% of Therapy Films and in theory we were direct competitors.

Well, if it didn’t worry him then it didn’t worry me, so I rolled my sleeves up and got on with it.

As usual I got carried away and before I knew it I’d designed the DVDs, three more letterheads, a set of eight postcards and three live action/animated idents (I loved the idea that my work would be on the front of every one of his showreels).

James continued to be the best client I’ve ever worked for by buying the lot, even a custom made box of chocolates doubling up as his house reel and a design that had BLINK written in Budgie shit.

He even asked me to throw in a set of coasters and fridge magnets too.

The budget once again was a bit modest compared to my ambitions but I enrolled a lot of talent to help me including my lovely stepdaughter Saskia who ended up as the star of the spoof commercials and the face of the carrier bags.

I still see loads of the Blink collateral in agencies, stuck up on the walls of creatives who are lucky enough to have walls nowadays.

I know that no one sends letters anymore or needs to put a showreel on a DVD.

Given that, the average creative is probably more likely to save an entertaining/beautiful bit of print than a boring email. (That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it).

… I’m between shoots right now, anyone need a new identity?

M.Denton Esq.

Concept/Design/Art Direction/Director – M.Denton Esq.
Writers – M.Denton Esq., Keith Bickel & Andy Dymock
Typographer – Andy Dymock
Photography – Charlie Crane
Animation – A Large Evil Corporation
Ident DOP – Mark Emberton
Ident Sound Design – Andy Mac
Hair & Make-up – Anna Longaretti
Illustration – Graham Storey
Retouching – Oliver Carver

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by MD Esq.

I’ve known Oli for many years now. He wasn’t always a photographer.

When I first made his aquaintance, he was a runner/office junior at Andy Dymock’s old company, Typeworks, but even then I picked up that he was a bit special.

He might have been a little on the quiet side and he made a diabolical cup of tea but what struck me was how he would obsessively consume three and a half inch thick technical manuals just for the pleasure of it.

He’d even take them away on holiday with him as his poolside read.

Before long he was retouching, trying his hand at computer animation and still making the worst tea in London.

When Typeworks closed about 10 years ago and Oli needed a new job I knew I had to take him on at COY even though I didn’t have an obvious role for him (after all my day job was shooting TV commercials).

I thought as a starter he could retouch my wedding photos while I worked out what else he could do for me.

It just so happened that suddenly with the success of our Blink and Therapy identities and the relaunch of the Advertising Creative Circle, we found ourselves in the middle of an avalanche of print work.

Oli began not only photographing and retouching images but also I’d send him along to the printers to oversee the print-runs.

I’d get phone calls where he’d explain that he was getting the printers to re-calibrate their press (because yes, Oli had read the manual).

I asked Oli to retouch our COY mascot which was the image of a cute little girl holding a chainsaw. But of course he didn’t just retouch her, he completely transformed her into a stunning digital illustration.

When the opportunity came along to direct a live action/animation film for fashion label Sibling and Art Director Paul Belford, Oli jumped at the chance, even though he’d never done anything like that before.

Like most things he turns his hand to he is predominantly self-taught.

You’d never guess it though, because the level of craft Oli applies to any creative task he tackles makes him look like he’s done several serious apprenticeships.

Right now Oli is in big demand, retouching for some of the most high end photographers in town. But fortunately for us he’s still passionate about all aspects of the creative process including taking his own beautifully crafted photographs.

Hopefully one day he might get around to retouching my wedding photos.

Oli’s Portfolio

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We can’t believe we haven’t posted this yet.

It’s probably our favourite job of last year.

You’re looking at a direct mail poster campaign promoting a series of animated sketches – ‘Biscuits Wars’ by our talented friends at A Large Evil Corporation.

The short films are the brainchild of ace animator Seth Watkins and they feature everyone’s favourite tea-time biccies locked in mortal combat.

Let’s get ready to crumble!

Concept / Illustration –  Seth Watkins
Poster Design – M Denton Esq
Typography – Andy Dymock



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So Shots magazine contacted us and asked if I was interested in being interviewed for an article in their Cannes 150th Special Edition magazine.

Never being one for turning down the opportunity for a bit of PR I said I’d do it, but also being a bit cheeky I got my lovely assistant Catriona to enquire about the possibility of being on the front cover.

Shots very politely explained that the decision for the cover was made once they had their hands on all of the supplied images for the various articles.

Obviously I thought it would be nice to be in with a chance so I started to scribble out a few ideas that would be relatively quick and simple to shoot for next to no money.

It’s the way I tackle any creative problem insofar as I can’t seem to get my brain engaged without a black Pentel sign pen and an A4 Goldline layout pad in my mitts.

I churned out about a dozen scamps but one in particular made me chuckle. It was an idea to illustrate my thoughts on the changing role of creatives, and how they used to be seen as the geese that laid the golden eggs. But I thought they’d never go with that so I made sure there were a few ‘safe’ options in reserve.

Then I phoned my old mate the very talented photographer Sean de Sparengo and asked him if he was up for it… Thankfully he laughed even more than I did and there followed a fun day piss-ballin’ about in front of the camera at Pear Tree studios.

The only slightly uncomfortable moment came when Sean informed me that he’d have to put a reflector under my bare arse, which effectively was the same as squatting over a mirror.

…It certainly took a few man-hours of skilful manipulation by Oli Carver to retouch the ‘clench’ out of my buttocks.

Delighted with the end result I showed my Missus Anna… ‘You can’t give them that’ she said when she saw the bare arse shot.

I felt the same but I did what I normally do in those situations when I’m a bit nervous about a piece of creative work: I absolutely ignored myself and sent it to Shots anyway.

Apparently it split the vote a bit and they needed some time to think about it.

It’s funny how a few weeks later when I told Anna the news that Shots probably wouldn’t be running the photo on the cover she changed her tune and said ‘No! They’ve got to run it’.

It’s probably how clients feel when they’re shown a new piece of work. They really do need a bit of time to get comfortable with it.

It all seemed to work out OK in the end because my smiling face and rosy cheeks made the cover.

All in all one of the proudest moments of my career.


This one seemed to stand out a bit…

The Real Deal.

Photographer – Sean de Sparengo at MADAM and F62.
Retoucher – Oli Carver.

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Mark’s sell-out D&AD talk is now online HERE.

At nearly 80 minutes it’s about 5 times the length of the average TED talk SO IT MUST BE GOOD.

But don’t take our word for it, here’s what some of the biggest names in the business have said:

‘My daughter’s right, she said his talks are better than mine’ – Dave Trott, ECD at The Gate.

‘For me, the most inspirational person working in the business today.’ – Mark Fairbanks, ECD Havas Worldwide.

‘Amazing’ – Tony Kaye, (yes, The Tony Kaye).

‘From growing up in a two telly household to never giving up on something you believe in. Mark is open, honest, idiosyncratic and utterly compelling. Pure, wonderful Denton.’ – Justin Tindall, ECD at Leo Burnett London.

‘Life-affirming’ – Damon Collins, ECD at Joint.

‘Mark gave me £50 to say how brilliant his D&AD talk was, but honestly I’d have said it for free.’ – Paul Silburn, ECD Saatchi & Saatchi London.

‘The finest moustache outside of Mexico.’ – Sean Doyle, CD at TBWA London.

On top of all that D&AD have told us that it was not only one of their most over-subscribed lectures ever it was also their most popular live event on twitter: #publicityshy tweets were still coming into the feed 5 days after the event.

D&AD also said that the ‘Q&A was an extraordinary success. People generally don’t like Q&As and usually leave before it starts. Well, not this time’.

We could go on and tell you about all of the retweeted quotes like ‘90%of insects are shit’ and ‘I said it but not in a Hitler sort of way’ but we don’t want to spoil the plot for you.

Have a watch. We’d love to know what you think.


B&W photograph: Julian Hanford.

Publicity Shy: Oliver Carver.

STOP PRESS! Here’s the Q&A that was too long for D&AD to fit on the end of ‘Publicity Shy‘ online.

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We’ve been so busy that we forgot to mention our recent silver award at Creative Circle.

It was in the highly prized image manipulation category. The image in question being a picture of Mark’s potato-like bonce, enhanced with the all-important CG features by A Large Evil Corporation.

The judges obviously found it very ‘apeeling’.

Concept: M Denton Esq / Amber Osborne
Design / art direction: M Denton Esq
Photography: Miss Fern Berresford
Potato peelings: Saskia Laroque Rothstein-Longaretti / Catriona Wright
CG Manipulation: A Large Evil Corporation

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Following Mark’s success as the executive producer of the hit play ‘Sex Cells’ he’s now turned his attention to Hollywood and the silver screen.

The fruits of his labours can be seen on ITV Movies in the form of the new Toyota idents.

The brief was to emulate the classic movie logos that you see at the start of films.

The hard bit was that from a legal point of view they couldn’t actually copy anything from the proper ones that we all know and love.

They seem to have worked out all right, we’re actually very pleased with them.

Mark’s having a lie down in his trailer now.

Director: Mark Denton Esq. Creative team – Gemma Phillips & Mark Slack. Post Production – MPC. Producer – Miss Sara Cummins. Design / Typography – Mark Denton Esq & Andy Dymock.

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Yes, you read it right.

We’re now up to our eyelashes in show business (there’s no business like it apparently.)

To be precise, we’re putting on a play.

It’s called “SEX CELLS” and it’s on at the Riverside Studios between the 1st – 27th October.

It was written by my missus under her nom de plume ‘Anna Longaretti’.

It’s her first ever play, but I always knew she was an imaginative writer (you should see some of her shopping lists.)

Now, outside of a good farce or stonking musical, I’m not a big fan of the theatre. So when Anna asked me to read “SEX CELLS” I might have groaned a bit.

I read it, and it was good. Really good. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion.

I said, you’ve got to get it made, but not in the local church hall or over a pub. It has to go on at a proper theatre.

Aim for the top.

And she did. She approached most of the top theatres around town and got turned down by them.

There was a lot of positive feedback, but no one seemed to want to take a risk on a brand new writer.

So, never being one for taking no for an answer, I very wisely suggested that we produce it despite having no previous theatrical experience.

And what an education it’s been.

Anna has ended up being a first time theatre producer as well as a first time writer.

I’m doing my bit by sorting out the poster, programme, trailer and general flag-waving.

And, following my long-term policy of getting more talented people than myself to help, I’ve enrolled my mate Dave Dye to do the advertising.

So here we are, with three weeks to go, and almost five thousand tickets to sell.

I’m so nervous/excited, I want to puke.

So, if you fancy an entertaining evening in October please buy a ticket. In fact, why not rent a minibus and bring all of your friends and family.

Let me know which night you’re coming and you’ll find that I won’t be mean with the maltesers.

Stay tuned for more exciting news and theatrical updates as they happen.

Yours feverishly,

M Denton Esq


“Sex Cells” Trailer from Coy Communications on Vimeo.

Trailer Credits: Director – Miss Fern Berresford, Director of Photography – Miguel Ragageles, Music – Simon Bass, Sound – Pure Soho, Post-Production – MPC, Editor – Sacha Szwarc at Speade, Typographer – Kate Henderson, Make-Up – Angela Amelia Sellar

Poster Credits: Photographer – Miss Fern Berresford, Designer/Art Director – Mark Denton, Typographer – Kate Henderson, Retouching – Oliver Carver

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