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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.’

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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Oops he slipped!

At last, we have the results from our Christmas snowball competition and the winner is David Gillette of David Gillette Hair and Beauty. So congratulations David, an iPod Shuffle is on its way to you! To recap for those of you who missed what it was all about, we despatched our Christmas card as an instruction manual with a packet of fake snow and asked clients to do something ultra creative with their fake snow. See it here http://wp.me/pITm6-2m

He blew me away!


Eek what's he going to do with those?

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2010 was an interesting year – besides being very busy, we decided a re-invention was in order as we were at that time 17 years old.

After much deliberation, soul searching and hot air, we arrived at a new vision, strategy and goals. As a vision we wanted to produce the kind of work that would create the reaction ‘WOW!’ when people see it. The kind of reaction we have when we look at Elmwood’s work… we have aspirations to be like them. The awards would be nice too!

In the last 18 years we have created an excellent reputation for results driven, solid creative work but we wanted more than this. We wanted to push the boundaries and explore not only the ‘WOW!’ work but how sustainably we could do it. This all comes from our own passions as a team to make a difference.

Click here for our new website

So without further ado I’d like to announce the launch of our brand spanking new, wholly refreshed website. Comments are welcome from both a creative and useability point of view…. www.smartideas.co.uk

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In March, we will be celebrating our 18th birthday – thoughts have been flying around the studio as to how we could most creatively celebrate our existence after so long a time….

It was 1993 when we started in the front bedroom of Philippa Smart’s home. What have we seen change in that time ? Well one thing’s for sure Apple Macs have! They were in existence when we started and we still even have our treasured Apple Macintosh Colour Classic, the uber cute fore runner to the coloured IMACs… worth around £1000 now – it takes pride of place on in our ‘WOW’ cabinet and is still in mint condition.

Thoughts are still forming on how we can celebrate this year – although we think we’ll reserve the huge party until 2013 when we will be 20 years old.

So we’ll keep you posted on our ideas – I’m sure there will be some mad ones in there!

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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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