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Archive for the ‘creative’ Category

The latest design project from Smart Ideas is a new advent calendar for Severn Trent Water launched today.

The calendar, aimed at Severn Trent Water users reveals a multiple choice question each day about what you should or should not put down your toilet or sink, in a fun and friendly way.

The advent calendar also has an educational message in order to reduce the number of blockages in sewers and has been produced in both HTML and Flash.

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I love this image from Business Link which illustrates the relationship between branding and design.

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We recently exhibited at the Business Growth Show in Manchester.

Of course we decided that we couldn’t just turn up with a couple of roller banners – being a creative design agency we needed a theme!

And the theme became ‘is your brand killing your business? which of course grew into a full blown crime scene with the chalked body on the floor, the policemen’s helmet with blue flashing lights, crime scene tape and even handcuffs.

Take a look and see what you think…. I think I need to take photography lessons though. 🙂

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As a member of the Design Business Association, I thought I’d take the time to put their view (and ours) forward as to why speculative pitching or free pitching is wrong, and how clients end up paying in the end anyway.

Point 6 of the DBA Code of Conduct recommends: ‘Members should not take part in pitches, which require unpaid work. The level of payment for pitches should relate to the time and effort involved.’

Professionalism
Considerable time and effort is required to prepare serious design proposals for any project. Creative proposals prepared without payment for a competitive pitch involving several other consultants can only be speedily prepared, scantily researched and superficial. They cannot be based on a genuine understanding of the client’s business and objectives. In short, the proposals will not achieve the standards of professionalism to which members of the Design Business Association are committed.

Abuse of intellectual property rights
Design businesses automatically own all the rights in the work they produce. If creative work is supplied in a free pitch, the client has no rights to use that work until a contract is agreed. Inexperienced and unprofessional clients have been known to ask to retain creative work supplied by all the consultancies involved in free pitches. The clients then make that creative work available to the successful consultancy with the suggestion that some elements of each design are included in the final work. This is highly illegal and alienates professional design businesses from that client damaging the prospects of the client acquiring truly effective design solutions.

Expertise
Design consultants are selling design talent and expertise. To give away creative work is therefore to give away all. This contrasts with other professions, such as advertising agencies, for whom the creative element of a project often accounts for only a small proportion of the total remuneration they can hope to gain by winning the pitch. They are sometimes understandably more willing to speculate with their creative work, although as we suggest above, the relevance and quality of that work might be open to question.

Clients pay in the end
Design consultancies are commercial organisations. They need to make a profit. If speculative pitching becomes widespread, clients would simply find the cost of speculative pitches being reclaimed through higher fees and charges throughout the industry. (more…)

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The picture before
Severn Trent needed to reduce expenditure on capital equipment and make existing assets and networks work much harder. One route was to establish and embed a cultural change of ‘Seeking and Sharing’ within the Severn Trent team and their One Supply Chain (OSC). The project Seek and Share was born and needed to be embedded in the organisation’s own way of working that engaged both its internal team and the OSC.

What our biggest challenges were
As always with a project of this nature and the number of different audience groups, we needed to understand:
• The way the different audiences work currently, how they engage with each other and the existing tools they use.
• What key trigger would encourage them to adopt ’Seek and Share’.
• The barriers to adopting the ‘Seek & Share’ due to the competitive element within the One Supply Chain.

What we wanted to achieve
Seek & Share was implemented in order to encourage Severn Trent and the One Supply Chain to find more innovative and cost effective ways of doing things (Seeking) and then to give that information freely to other parts of the One Supply Chain (Sharing) in order that both best practice and cost savings can be realised.

The service Smart Ideas Design provided
The brief for this project needed to be shaped and defined so we worked with Severn Trent and the One Supply Chain in a series of workshops to help them define the brief before we started any creative. We all needed to understand the nature and size of ‘the beast’ to be able to create the right look and feel for it.
Once the brief was shaped to Severn Trent’s ultimate goals, we started with the creative work. This entailed the design and development of a set of materials including the Seek and Share style, posters, literature and web portal. It took the form of a series of icons pictured here which are easy to understand, engaging and colourful. The icons were further added to with string men characters who are communicating via string and tin cans. The style is designed to be warm, colourful, friendly and engaging as well as completely different for a utility like Severn Trent Water. (more…)

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I love our clients.

As graphic designers we love being told what our clients think of us. We received this very recently from a client I have worked with for over 18 years. We’ve designed and built a number of brands for him over the years and in that time have built a good friendship through a few different businesses as he is a true entrepreneur.

“How many creative agencies have been around for nearly 18 years? How many clients have stayed with such an agency for all of those 18 years? Through a variety of businesses in a range of market places? Not many would be my guess. I have stayed with Philippa throughout because she has that rare ability to combine true creativity; commercial acumen and real world results. She is simply the best in her field.”

Mike Hurney, The Shooting Party, July 27, 2011

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Creative

It’s fair to say our working relationship has weathered very well despite the odd disagreement about the direction of a brand; that happens because we genuinely love his businesses as much as he does; we laugh about them now which just goes to show the strength of the relationship. We’ve also achieved some tremendous results for him.

This is some of the latest work we have done for him. Over the years we have designed and developed brands and then implemented them across many disciplines. Adverts, catalogues, websites and latterly social media and packaging. What a mix!

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Genius

On Bank Holiday weekend I was visiting friends in Liverpool. On Saturday we visited the big shopping centre which is called Liverpool One.

Imagine my reaction when I came across the shop Everton Two, particularly when I realised the address of this shop is Everton Two, Liverpool One!

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