Posts Tagged ‘graphic 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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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.’

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.

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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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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I’m maroooned – there is snow falling everywhere again and so idle hands and all that! How much do I love broadband at times like this?

So with idle hands, I put them to good use and entered Tom Foulke’s (Buro Happold) Christmas card competition ‘Tom’s Christmas Card Bonanza’.

Tom said  ‘Design agency’s send (and receive) some of the most extraordinary Xmas cards and I want to celebrate the art form! After all with today’s economic climate it’s not often that creative teams get to really stretch their legs and simply indulge themselves.’

If you’re feeling so inclined and generous after seeing our competition entry you could nominate us via Twitter @TomFoulkes using #bestxmascard -closing date is 24th December .

smid_xmas_card_2010 smid_xmas_card_2010_insert

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