Sparkstone -Multichannel retail software

EPoS, E-commerce, Mobile, Websites, Graphic Design

Discover your brand narrative for better engagement



Sparkstone talks to Kurt Buckley, a portrait artist from Southampton, about what influences him and the story he tells with his images.

If I were to describe the style of my work, I would call it ‘Emotional Realism’; where the image tells the story of a sitter’s life through a narrative that is often not visible on their face…

I also like to connect my audience to the sitter by using titles which give hints of their hidden story. Before I even pick up a pencil, I usually spend time with the subject in general conversation and then move on to more specific questions about their life, their passions, their achievements, their challenges and their fears. From there I can delve deeper to find the title of the picture and this often changes several times as the image evolves.

‘Find comfort in pain’, depicts a homeless man in a bad situation and reflects his words to me as he talked about finding any sort of comfort in the pain he is experiencing – both physical and emotional.

My favourite people to draw are those with a narrative that really has the potential to resonate with others as something similar to their own or as a life story they could see themselves living.

I decided to enter the BBC’s ‘One Show Summer art competition’ purely because it was on TV in the background as I created this image. But I was delighted to get through to the live show and have my work displayed on national television.”

1422626_10151989300222161_4697046343851091732_nNarrative is one of the most important tools we as designers and marketers have at our disposal. Making people believe they have a connection to a product, service or brand is key to triggering the emotional decision to purchase or get in touch.

Hardware giants Apple, are masters of this type of advertising and instead of touting the technical specifications of their iPhones, iPads and Macbooks, their adverts show how end users utilise third-party apps to enhance their life and solve their problems. The narrative of Apple’s world is a more productive, stress free lifestyle, where everyone is beautiful and happy; and consumers are convinced that it’s Apple hardware, which makes this possible.

It’s an advertising concept that’s certainly not new or unique. In the the 1950’s post-war years, most people wanted an escape from the previous decade so products and businesses that looked to the future boomed, whilst companies that traded on nostalgia suffered. And we often see similar trends in post-recession years as consumers opt for brighter colours or even plain white as they mentally try to ‘wipe the slate clean’ and start afresh. (in 2013/214 White was the most popular colour for new cars –

So the next time you launch a new product, service or brand, think about the narrative you want to tell. Whether you’re developing a whole multi-channel advertising campaign or just a single website landing page, you can use an underlying narrative to tell the story of your product and let people know how it will fit in with their lives or make it better.


Kurt Buckley is a talented 20 year old portrait artist living and working in Southampton and we think he has enormous potential to do great things. You can see his incredible artwork via his Instagram and twitter accounts below:

Instagram @kurtbuckley ,      Twitter: @kurtbuckleyy 


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This entry was posted on December 3, 2014 by in Uncategorized.

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