Posts Tagged ‘design’

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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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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Ferreting in the archives the other day we came across some old promo footage for Smart Ideas from 2001, and I have to say we did smile somewhat. We didn’t even hesitate about blogging about it – we found it really quite funny. My, how things have changed!

One of our clients who was in the office at the time we unearthed the footage asked me “how do you manage to look 10 years younger now than you did 10 years ago?“. I smiled sweetly and answered “it’s the joy of working with you that does it.” I hasten to add we have worked with him as long as Smart Ideas have been in existence and he is without doubt a lifelong friend.

However, I think we definitely need to do an updated version (although we haven’t used this one in years); looking back that promo video cost us around £1000 and today, due to the changes in software and smartphones it will cost us nothing. So please watch this space for a new updated version.

Whatever we put together will really reflect the characters and culture that has prevailed at Smart Ideas Design Limited for nearly 20 years; that of really getting to know the client in order to give them something that gets results and therefore a great Return on Investment.

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by Philippa Smart

Many times over the last twenty years, I’ve been commissioned to design new brands, literature, packaging, advertising and of course web sites. The brief could at best be described as ‘brief’ and it was always my mission to question, question, question.

Without me doing this, I could never have created and achieved the results we have for clients. The quality of the brief is paramount. Without the depth and background of what the business is trying to achieve how can this design gain tangible results? The return on investment for a design alert business is £225 for every £100 spent according to research by the Design Council. Design must be aligned to the company’s strategy – makes complete sense to me.

So this list is designed to help marketeers achieve a much better result in their dealings with design agencies.

  1. Business plan including vision and strategy.
  2. Marketing plan
  3. All existing marketing collateral
  4. Brand guidelines
  5. The purchasing procedure
  6. Contacts – who does what and full contact details
  7. A full written brief not a paragraph
  8. Any research or focus group feedback
  9. Product info and the product itself
  10. Budgets
  11. Examples of brands they aspire to and why
  12. Competitor analysis
  13. Holidays booked!

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Talk to most small businesses about design and they have, at best, a crude appreciation of how it can impact on their bottom line. Only a small percentage fully understand its potential and use it to their advantage.

Yet design affects every single business in the world.

Just look around – the chairs you sit on, the phones you talk through, the signs you follow, the clothes you wear, the books you read, the cars you drive, the menus you choose from… all of these and so much more are either enhanced or undermined by the quality of their design.

Poor design is making something worthless

Good design is making something intelligible and memorable

Great design is making something memorable and meaningful

Exceptional design is making something meaningful and worthwhile

Dieter Rams

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