Justice4Grenfell ‘Three billboards’ protest

Premonition is proud to work as the web designers for the Justice4Grenfell campaign. Recently, in collaboration with some very smart folks, we helped them achieve a lot of renewed publicity.
Since the group was formed, just after the shocking fire that claimed so many lives, Premonition has looked after the Justice4Grenfell campaign website. We’ve helped the group to build their online presence from a standing start. Recently J4G were approached by a major London advertising agency (BBH) with an idea to use the protest technique from the multi-Oscar nominated film “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”. With help from this agency, the group hired three billboards on vans and drove them around London. They were parked in front of parliament, major London landmarks and in front of the tower itself. Working with the PR firm MC&T, photographs and video from this were pushed to media outlets worldwide.

Press response

The stunt was featured in most TV, press and online UK media and in many US media outlets. Online news networks covering this include:
LBC, CNN, BBC, Independent, Guardian, Standard, Mashable, NME, Metro, Daily Mail, GetWestLondon, Sputnik, Mirror, Huff Post, Business Insider, Washington Post, LadBible, Vice, ABC (australia), CBS, ibTimes, Timeout, Telegraph, and many more

Getting the website ready for the off

We were expecting a big rush of traffic, and so the infrastructure around the website needed to be beefed up. Serious peak traffic protection was put in place and the site in fact got hundreds of thousands of visits over a 2 day period without any problems of downtime. We used Cloudflare for the load balancing, and made sure that all images were served from a CDN. As a result, the website actually ran faster than it had before, even during the times of heaviest traffic.

How can I increase emailing list sign-ups on my charity website?

Although this is written for charity websites, most of the points apply to ANY site which is looking to grow its mailing list.

Many of our clients run emailing lists for their customers or supporters. Usually, they use the website to help grow the list. If growing the list isn’t a top priority, often just a single sign-up form is put in the sidebar, or on the ‘contact us’ page. Although this does give people an opportunity to sign up to your mailing list, if that’s all that you are doing you are not making the most of your traffic for sign-ups. But before we start – is it really worth the effort?

Email marketing really works

Getting you message to a growing list of people who are interested in your cause is a great way to increase donations, loyalty and engagement. It’s a helps you stay in friendly, easy contact with potential supporters who will think of you when they are ready to start supporting you, and gives you a resource to draw on when fundraising or finding volunteers.

Make content your audience want to read

You need to create regular, interesting and useful content and keep on plugging away at it. If you’re a charity, great content could include success stories (don’t forget a bit of ‘happy’, from time to time!), crisis updates and campaigns. When emailing charity supporters, pat them on the back sometimes, as well as telling them about the suffering you still need to tackle – and the money you need to do it! If you’re a business you can showcase new product lines, individual product features, or new services.

Think about your audience – not just your charity’s goals

You don’t have to confine yourself to your charity’s immediate concerns. Think about content that could be useful or interesting to your target audience, and see if you can supply it. Even if it is not directly related to making sales, if it is useful to your users then it will add value to being on your email list. 

Some email content can be recycled

Email list services like MailChimp allow you to schedule emails to send to new sign-ups, so that you can, for example, send a weekly series of introductory emails to new sign-ups without any further effort. In this way timeless content you create can be reused for new subscribers.

So how do I increase the number of sign-ups?

Now you’ve thought about your content strategy, you need to grow your audience for it. So here’s a run-down of techniques you can use to increase the number of people signing up to your list from your website.

Make it easy!

Users aren’t often going to hunt around for the email sign-up form. And if they only see it once, this might not be enough either. The key is to give them plenty of opportunities to sign up, whenever they think the site has delivered and are ready for your call to action. Giving them lots of opportunities means having multiple sign-up forms and strategies. We’ll show you some examples (coming soon).

Effective calls to action

Depending on the context and space available, you will want a short snappy one-liner, or a statement plus a few bullet points. What can your readers expect to learn? How will it benefit them? What will it help them to achieve? Use a different call to action in different spaces, because you are going to have several places where people can sign up. You should design your signup forms carefully to make sure they are on-brand but present themselves strongly to your audience. You’ll see some examples (coming soon).

Where can you put sign-up forms?

There are quite a few places you can put sign-up forms. If the emailing list is a seriously important part of your marketing strategy, you should probably use quite a few of these at once.

  • Sign-up form in a sidebar 

    The classic location, but many times users can be inclined to ignore sidebar content so for maximum conversions this isn’t enough.

  • Bar above the header

    A prominent placement, you can put a signup form right at the top of the page above the entire site.

  • Feature box on home page

    Your home page is probably one of the most busy pages on your site, so to use a part of this page to get a decent call to action in front of your visitors is often a great idea.

  • Footer or PS

    Adding a PS to a blog post makes it one of the most-read parts of an article. You can use the ‘PS effect’ to get a signup opportunity front of your visitors. Or, more conventionally, you can simply add the signup form to the footer of every page.

  • Slide-up/javascript lightbox alerts

    These techniques use scripting to make a signup form appear in the foreground of the site once the visitor has scrolled a certain distance down the page. The idea is that at this point they have found value in the site and so may be responsive to the call. They can be easily dismissed and a cookie set so that they will not appear again for 30 days (or whatever you choose). These are more ‘in your face’ than the standard sidebar box, but they are so very effective that if building your emailing list is important to you then you should consider this OR…

  • Exit-intent pop-up alerts

    Special javascript can detect when your visitor is thinking o leaving the site, and display a ‘last chance’ opportunity to sign up before they go. The advantage of this is that you do not disturb your visitor while they are reading the content, but as they leave, you display a box to try to capture their details before they leave. One disadvantage is that these systems track mouse movements to work out that the visitor is going for the exit, so they don’t work on mobile. For mobile use, the slide-ups (above) will be a better bet. You can combine the two, as long as you only have slide-ups for mobile and exit-intent for desktop users.

You can double the number of people subscribing per month

In this useful experiment, Buffer Social added multiple ways to sign up, and some more, to see what effect it would have. They doubled the rate at which people were subscribing. The top sources for them were:

  • 37% Slideup panel (But note that they did not try any other pop-up or exit intent alerts, which are also said to be extremely effective)
  • 34% Signup bar at the top of each page (they used a ‘smart’ bar which tailors its offer to the user, and allows testing of straplines)
  • 15% Feature box on the home page

Try it out yourself, or get us to help!

If you have the skills to implement this on your site, get out there and make it happen. If you need some help then give us a call. We should be able to help you double the rate at which you get visitors to subscribe to your charity website emailing list.

Website maintenance service

Premonition have just launched a maintenance service for WordPress websites.

Why you need to maintain your site

We’ve noticed that our clients tend to find it quite easy to update content on their sites, but much more daunting to keep the site core software updated.

The trouble is, if the sites are not kept up-to-date, they can be left vulnerable to hacking when security flaws are found in old software. And although updating the software is usually trouble free, there is a justified concern that it can occasionally break things. This happened recently to a client and it spurred us to create this service to protect our other clients from experiencing this in future.

In another incident, one of our clients was hit by this hacking attack, which also affected’ tens of thousands’ of other sites and was reported by the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-38930428 Fortunately Premonition were able to repair the damage, secure the site and have them back up and running within a few hours. But this could certainly happen to you if you’re not on top of updates and security.

Here’s a rundown on other reasons to keep your site up to date. It also includes a guide to updating the software yourself if you’d prefer to do it that way.

The new service

  • Core software Update wordpress core software within a few days of any release – immediately for security-only updates
  • Plug-ins Update all plug-ins (third party software that helps run your site) monthly as new versions become available. This is done by manually logging in.
  • Back-ups Perform regular site back-ups to roll back to in the event of any adverse event
  • Virus scan We will perform a weekly scan for malware to check if your site has been invisibly hacked.
  • Hacked sites fixed We will fix the site at no extra charge if the site is hacked.
  • Update problems fixed We will fix the site at no extra charge if there is any problem during an update, whether from a failed update attempt or a software incompatibility.

Get in touch to sign up or find out more.

My CSS discovery

While designing a website a few years ago, I discovered a way to serve CSS differentially to certain browsers. This was big news at the time to web designers who were struggling to work around certain bad behaviours from those browsers. The browser in question was Internet Explorer for Mac, and here is the page detailing the discovery. It has been dubbed ‘The Premonition Hack’

Lyrics: Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts For Soldiers

Note: This song has verses, which are not very funny and I have not included them below (you can find them here). Instead there are 2 new versions of the chorus to cover the Navy and Airforce. The new verses are much more difficult than the original, you might need to slow it down! If you sing it in public and video it I would love to see the results.

Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts for Soldiers

Original Chorus, R. P. Weston
Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers
Such skill at sewing shirts
Our shy young sister Susie shows!
Some soldiers send epistles,
Say they’d sooner sleep in thistles
Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.

Additional Choruses, G. Sheridan
Cecily sits shelling shrimps for sailors
At sedentary shrimp-shelling sweet Cecily excels
Some sailors send dispatches citing shoddy shrimp she catches
For the salty, sour, shrivelled shrimp sweet Cecily unshells

Pippa puts pink piping on for pilots
Pip pins pink piping parts on purple Polish pilot’s pants
But prissy Polish pilots hide the pretty pink in public
And prefer pale purple pantaloons to Pippa’s pink-piped pants

Steady on, Chaps! Sunday Afternoon, March 2nd 2014

Swing music and social dance opportunity.

Luna Lounge, Leytonstone, (map)
Sunday March 2nd 2014, 4pm-6pm



Steady on, Chaps!” play live swing music on Sunday 2nd March from 4-6 at the Luna Lounge (next to Leytonstone tube). Hot-Club style rhythm section with trumpet and vocals. It isn’t an organised social dance but there is a wooden floor and some space to dance. Free entry.

Expect classics like: Ain’t Misbehavin’, Hello Dolly, Sunny Side of the Street, All of Me, I can’t give you anything but love, and other dixie and standard jazz tunes. We will do our best to play any requests for swing/dixie/jazz material.

Responsive web design and all that jazz

You might have heard of ‘responsive web design’, one of the biggest changes to happen in web design since the demise of Flash. It’s all about getting your content to appear appropriately regardless of the device it is being looked at with. On a phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, portrait or landscape – it should adapt to all these possible viewing devices.
We’ve been building all our recent sites with this new technology and cemented our skills in this new paradigm. The exciting thing about web design is that it never stands still! One of our latest successes is the new responsive web site for alternative jazz chantress Irene Serra.

Irene Serra is a singer with roots in jazz and projects embracing cross-over pop and electronica.
We’ve given the site a dark and sultry look and spiced it up with the very latest web technology.
We’ve implemented a jquery animation, which will work on all modern devices, leaving behind the flash plug-in content of old.
A showcase responsive site, this site combines content from twitter, soundcloud and youtube, and presents it so it is viewable on all devices. The site adapts depending on the device viewing it, so it should look as good on a Tesco’s tablet (the beautifully named ‘hudl’), or last year’s Samsung, as it will on whatever Apple release next year.

Developing a new identity and responsive website


Identity and Responsive Web Design for Storey Communications

Storey Communications is a new communications training organisation launched by the veteran ‘comms’ expert, Campbell Storey. We developed a new identity for the brand, and designed a responsive website which adapts itself to work across desktop, tablet and mobile spaces.

The identity process

We conducted a thorough briefing with Storey’s, helping us to gain an understanding of the direction of the company and helping them clarify how they wanted it to be represented. We discussed:

  • Products and services
  • Historical background and state of the market
  • Strengths and achievements
  • Competitive positioning
  • Goals for the campaign
  • Target audiences and their demographics
  • Clarifying the message
  • …and more.

After this thoroughgoing analysis, we researched graphic design ideas to get an idea of how Storey’s felt their organisation should be represented visually. We created bespoke mood boards like the one below as a springboard to discuss our various design ideas and, through these discussions, get a real handle on the sort of things that would work for Storey Communications.
Then we came up with some logo design concepts:
The logo on the right was the chosen and after some very minor tweaks, we had the new logo for Storey’s:

Lambeth Palace Guidebook

Premonition have recently finished the Guidebook for Lambeth Palace. The design of the brochure is understated but classic with a hint of age in the dark sepia text and cream paper. Premonition took a lot of the photos as well and it was a real joy to be let loose in such a historic and beautiful building with my DSLR. We also worked (co-)art directing the shoot with Prudence Cuming Associates who brought in the big guns with their Phase One large format camera and took pictures with astonishing detail. All the pages here feature pictures by Geoff from Premonition Design. Because we were working closely with the Archbishop’s office, we were invited to his Christmas reception, and we met the man himself. He does seem extraordinarily nice for someone in high office and Geoff’s opinion of him was further bolstered when he read in the Big Issue that, before he was a Bishop, Rowan Williams was arrested for singing Psalms at a CND demo outside RAF Lakenheath. Respect.

Any Old Iron, Harry Champion Complete Lyrics

Note: I am obsessed with old songs from the 40s and earlier, and when lyrics for some of the more obscure songs are not available anywhere else I will be providing them on my blog here. Geoff

This song is widely available but not with the verses I’ve included here, as sung by Harry Champion on record.


Just a couple of weeks ago my poor old Uncle Bill,
Went and kicked the bucket and he left me in his will.
The other night I toddled round to see me Auntie Jane,
She said to me “Your Uncle’s left to you his watch and chain.”
I put it on right across my vest,
Thought I looked a dandy as it dangled on my chest.
Just to flash it off I started walking ’round about,
The kids they all run after me and all began to shout:


Any old iron, any old iron, any, any, any, old iron?
You look neat – talk about a treat,
You look a dapper from your knapper to your feet.
Dressed in style, with a brand new tile,
And your father’s old green tie on,
Oh I wouldn’t give you tuppence for your old watch chain,
Old iron, old iron?


I went up the City just to have a little spree.
The Mayor of London, he was there, that’s who I went to see.
He dashed up in a canter with a carriage and a pair,
I shouted “Holler boys” and threw my hat up in the air.
Just then the Mayor he began to smile,
Saw my face and then he shouted “Lumme what a dial!”
Started a-Lord Mayoring and I though that I should die
When he pointed to my watch and chain he hollered to me “Hi!”
(Harry sings ‘told me, Hi’, but it sounds like a mistake to me)



I shan’t forget when I got married to Selina Brown.
The way the people laughed at me, it made me feel a clown.
I began to wonder, when their dials began to crack,
If by mistake I’d got my Sunday trousers front to back.
I put my chain on my darby kell,
The sun was shining on it , well it made me look a swell.
The organ started playing and the bells began to ring,
My chain began to rattle and the choir began to sing.


Extra verse, which Harry does not sing:
Just to have a little bit of fun the other day,
Made up in my watch and chain I went and drew my pay.
Then got out with a lot of other Colonels on the loose,
I got full right up to here in fourp’ny stagger juice.
One of them said “We want a pot of ale
Run him to the rag shop and bung him on the scale.”
I heard the fellow say “What’s in this bundle that you’ve got”
Then whisper to me kindly “Do you want to lose your lot?”