Should schools encourage daydreaming?


The Scottish Government has recently set out plans to expand mental health services and with a primary focus on young people – adding funding of up to £60m for schools to support 350 extra counsellors and the provision of 250 school nurses. Since hearing this proposal I have been thinking about mental health and education and what could change.

I have been reflecting on my own experience as young person going through standard Scottish secondary education (as long ago as that was) and wondering if there is anything I would have changed and if those changes could in anyway better my mental health for the future. I don’t think more support staff would be the answer. In fact, if I knew anything about younger Kyle, I know I would have been oblivious or refusing to admit I had a problem with anxiety.

Yes, extra funding for young people is always good and having more counsellors and nurses available to pupils will always be beneficial. But in my opinion, this is not tackling the root of the problem – why are such a high number of young people suffering from depression, anxiety or other mental health issues? And is there a way to reduce this?

My attitude changed when I went into college for an Introduction to Graphic Design NQ. I discovered my education experience was missing true creativity and self-expression, which would in time better my mental health and improve my confidence. What started as a way to get me out the house and have a little bit of independence with student loans (thanks Scottish Government!) turned into a gateway to self-expression and belief. This course encouraged creative thinking, daydreaming and exploring solutions in your own way. The programme was structured and managed with short projects but how you came to the solution would be a journey for yourself.

Is it possible to have this same approach in schools across Scotland so can we encourage more self- expression and creativity, improving the mental wellbeing of children?

There are already passionate individuals working towards a more creative education system. Orbit employees have recently chatted with Helena Good, a design tutor at Edinburgh College, who also founded the Daydream Believers program, which was setup to promote creative thinking, creative problem solving and ‘daydreaming’ in the high school curriculum. This programme has been made possible by the collaboration of different creative agencies around Edinburgh, all of which come into the classroom or welcome students and teachers into their studios.

As well as chatting, we have recently taken on Love Learning Scotland as a client. Love Learning work very closely with education systems and organisation and uses innovative ways to engage people in learning. Working from the ground level to improve the school system for all. Here is what Lynn Bell from Love Learning had to say about the topic:

“When I was young my report cards always said “Lynn is a daydreamer or could do better” … Now that daydreaming creates a 1000 solutions within my career and businesses and I realise it’s my greatest talent. It helped me create LLS where we believe that children should have access to ‘strength based learning’ regardless of their circumstances. We help children to manage their minds, create strategies for learning and how to be happy in an environment that works for them.”

My memory of high school was that of a very formulaic system which you either thrived or failed and were left behind with the non-achievers. Even the more ‘creative’ subjects like art, music and drama were focused on routine and structure and if you strayed too far away from the norm it would be not be deemed as ‘passable’. I found this pass/fail way of learning incredibly de-motivating and on reflection it would only help to create a low self-esteem and ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude I adopted in high school.

Breaking up this structure in some way to allow self-expression and creative thinking could play an important part in improving the mental health, wellbeing and motivation of young people, not only good for them, but for society as a whole.

Kyle McPartlin, Designer
Kyle McPartlin, Designer

Back to School


The Scottish Parliament will come back from its summer recess next week for a short 5-week session taking it up to half-term and the Party Conference season but what issues will we see dominate the political discourse after a typically frenetic summer.

Graeme headshot
Graeme Downie, Director.

Although looming over everything in the UK at the moment, the issue of Brexit is unlikely to be at the forefront of a lot of MSPs mind when they come back to work.  Instead a few issues already widely trailed are likely to dominate and all of them in the policy areas of most concern to the public.

Prime amongst those will be transport with a battle for the political narrative already under way.  On railways, the Scottish Government is attempting to keep the focus on the future of the railways, with the announcement that public sector companies will be able to bid for the ScotRail franchise in 2025.  At the same time September is likely to see the role out of refurbished High Speed Trains (HSTs) on key city routes across the country.  Although not delivered by the Scottish Government expect Transport Minister, Michael Matheson to be prominent in the pictures and interviews.  One topic Mr. Matheson and his colleagues will not wish to discuss in those interviews will be the seeming U-turn regarding the merger of British Transport Police (BTP) with Police Scotland.  These proposals has been controversial in the past couple of years and opponents will point to the policy change as evidence of government more concerned with centralisation and symbolism that delivery meaningful change.

Second, education reforms are likely to rear their head with the parents of children just beginning their school lives realising that Primary 1 children will face tests (sorry “assessments” as the Scottish Government prefer) during their first year.  Education Minister, John Swinney, has already been taking to the airwaves, press and social media to emphasise the informal nature of the exercise.  But teachers representatives have expressed their concerns concerning the effective of these measures and there appears to be confusion amongst parents as to their rights, or not, to remove their children.

With other policy issues such as business rate reform, consumer protection, NHS waiting times, future supply of energy, health & social care financing likely to have their place in the sun, albeit for less time, it is hard to imagine a more challenging set of policy debates, particularly for the Scottish Government, in the run-up to the conference season.

For the SNP, the only party in Scotland to hold its main conference in the autumn, there will be other more deeply political issues to content with.  For the First Minister, this will primarily be focussed around the vexed issue of a second independence referendum.  Noises are growing within the rank and file for Nicola Sturgeon to at least develop a timetable or possible scenarios for a second vote, particularly as the uncertainty and potential risks of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit are being spelled out by the UK Government.  In addition, she must face the deeply personal issue of allegations of sexual abuse against her friend and mentor, former First Minister Alex Salmond.  Thus far, the First Minister has navigated both issues with her usual skill but, on the referendum in particular, it feels as though some more definitive path or direction may have to be set over the autumn.

Top five reasons to rebrand your business

heather 1

Today’s brand is a complex thing. Decades ago it was defined as a name, slogan, sign or symbol, or a combination of these elements used to distinguish one product or service from another.

In today’s market, a brand can often get confused with a logo, but this is only part of a brand.

When you think about your brand, you really want to think about your entire customer experience… everything from your logo, your website, your social media experiences, the way you answer the phone, to the way your customers experience your staff. It is the sum of all touch points that come into contact with current or potential customers.

In short, your brand is the way your customer perceives you.

It is therefore really important to make sure that your brand is relevant. With trends constantly evolving, it’s important that your brand stands out in your competitive marketplace and communicates who you are as a business.

Sooner or later there will come a time when you’re brand needs a bit of attention. This can seem a daunting task but it can be a rewarding process that delivers significant commercial benefits.

Recognising when the time is right to rebrand your business or product may seem difficult, but in the life of a business various moments arise that lend themselves very well to a change, or even necessitate one.

Here are five reasons why now would be a good time to look at your brand.

1. To reinvigorate your image

Rebranding is a conscious decision to improve your reputation and image. Dated branding does nothing to instil confidence in your business and it is widely recognisable that a well branded product adds value. Apple is a prime example of this, where people buy into the brand.

heather 2

2. A merger or take-over of a company or organisation

This could mean a new name, a new logo, and a re-evaluation of all brand materials. This is where the benefits of using a full-service design agency are important – they can help you manage the whole project.

3. Change in Leadership

A new CEO will often want to breathe new life into an organisation. Successful leaders will have a clear direction in which they wish to take the company and will want to reflect this in its branding.

4. Repositioning

Rebranding can attract new audiences or become more appealing to their target market. Re-positioning a brand can help it differentiate and stand out in the market place and reflect your business as it changes. British Steel is a good example of re-positioning an iconic brand.

heather 4

5. Lack of Brand Clarity

A brand that has grown quickly or organically may not have taken the time to stop and consider its branding. Messaging can be inconsistent, messy and confusing to the consumer so visiting the brand and getting a strategy in place is essential

Heather Cumming, Senior Designer


FLIM FLAM 2 – Thank you from Orbit

Orbit would like to say a massive thanks to everyone that contributed to and attended out FLIM FLAM 2 exhibition on Friday.

As one of Scotland’s leading creative PR, public affairs and design agencies, we have a genuine passion for excellent art and design. At Orbit, we firmly believe in fostering creative talent, whatever that may be. Whether it is undertaking media relations or delivering a new brand or website, we bring this same creativity to everything we do. By hosting the work of our team and a range of leading artists and designers, we hope Gallery Flim Flam will stimulate and inspire that same drive for creativity and excellence in it’s attendees.

We are excited to announce that FLIM FLAM 3 will be curated by Orbit designers, Kiera Winfield and Kyle McPartlin.

Shout out to Orbit designer Kyle McPartlin, who not only created the FLIM FLAM 2 promo material but featured some of his own design work in the exhibition. Congratulations to our creative director John Ayscough and senior designer Heather Cumming who also featured art work in the exhibition.


CIPR Pride Awards agency nomination for Orbit

CIPR pride awards

The shortlist for the CIPR Pride awards – the leading regional PR awards – have been revealed for 2018 via twitter @CIPR_awards.

We are thrilled to be shortlisted in 5 categories: Outstanding PR Consultancy, Arts, Culture or Sport Campaign, Not-for-Profit Campaign, Public Affairs Campaign and Corporate and Business Communications Campaign.

A big congratulations to our extremely hard working team and to all of the nominees! A special thanks to our brilliant clients. We are proud to have made the cut and look forward to finding out the results at The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa on Thursday 4th November.



Flim Flam 2: Another Fine Mess

Orbit is pleased to announce the launch of FLIM FLAM 2. Another Fine Mess, the second in our regular series of art and design exhibitions. Artist and Orbit creative director, John Ayscough, and illustrator, Marco Bevilacqua of Want Some Studio and organiser of Pissed Modernism, have assembled the work of 20 artists from across the UK and further afield, all motivated and inspired by political themes and contemporary campaigns for equality and social justice.

Sloganistic, poetic, funny or simply direct, the contribution of each artist, be they mid career or just starting out, offers a considered impression of contemporary British society. Featuring a multitude of mediums encompassing painting, sculpture, photography, graphic art, film, installation, performance and public art, this exhibition will focus our attention on the concerns and preoccupations of today’s Britain, set against the backdrop of political division, social inequality and Brexit.

Join us for a glass of wine at Orbit’s offices at 4 Queen Street as we launch our second exhibition Another Fine Mess from 6pm on Friday 3rd August. As on of Scotland’s leading creative PR, public affairs and design agencies, we have a genuine passion for excellent art and design. Whether it is undertaking media relations or delivering a new brand, we bring the same creativity to everything we do.

Scotland on the move: Harnessing policy and economic opportunities

FINAL promo london

Join leading Scottish integrated public affairs, PR and design agency, Orbit, in partnership with the Scottish Council for Development & Industry (SCDI) and PubAffairs, at a breakfast seminar in London on Monday 9th July.

The session will address questions such as:

• What is the current climate for investment in Scotland?
• What impact will policy divergence between Scotland and the rest of the UK have on Scotland’s economic performance now and in the future?
• What role will the Scottish Government have in post-Brexit UK trade policy, and what are the implications for export-dependent industries such as food & drink, manufacturing, and financial services?
• What needs to be done to improve prospects for economic growth in Scotland?
• What impact will the recently-published Growth Commission report have on the Scottish economy, the wider Scottish policy debate, and businesses operating in Scotland?


  • Graeme Downie (Director, Orbit) has 15 years of public affairs experience, primarily in Scotland, but also with clients operating in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Brussels. Graeme has experience advising clients in sectors such as food & drink, culture, housing and higher and further education.
  • Lord Andrew Dunlop (Board Member, SCDI) is a former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at both the Scotland office and Northern Ireland Office.
  • Sally Trethewie (Account Director, Orbit) is a strategic communications specialist with private sector, government, academic, and non-government organisation (NGO) experience. She relocated to Edinburgh last year after nearly 10 years in Singapore, where she worked in public affairs an international communications agency and for the Australian government.

Event details:
Date: Monday 9 July 2018
Time: 8am (7.30am for breakfast rolls, coffee and networking) and finishing no later than 9.30am
Venue: Ellwood & Attfield (34 Smith Square, SW1P 3HL)

For more information and to RSVP visit:
Continue reading “Scotland on the move: Harnessing policy and economic opportunities”