Our clients, colleagues and community

Back in early March, a friend posted an article on LinkedIn that profoundly resonated with me. With just a few words, the piece from ICF Next captured in a nutshell everything I had been feeling but hadn’t quite managed to enunciate.

Simply put, that as our lives abruptly changed, for businesses who were able to operate, the three key responsibilities we have are to our clients, colleagues and the wider community.

In the spirit of the ICF Next article, I’d like to talk about what we’ve been working on in the last three months and, with great care, what we’re planning next.

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New branding and website for a Chelsea style guru

chelsea style branding website

The nature of our work – designing, being creative, looking after our clients, completing the projects commissioned – hasn’t changed in the past three months, but the delivery and communications of the work? That’s another story. We now have a set of new clients for whom we’ve written proposals, started projects, designed an identity and gone live with websites – who we’ve never met in person.

Meeting via Zoom has become not just acceptable but the standard, saving everyone involved hours of travel and waiting around without negatively affecting the work. Meeting in person does have it’s benefits though. Designing an identity means understanding personalities – and that’s particularly true of what I call ‘signature businesses’ (like mine!) with the name of the owner at the top of the page. A case in point of such a recent ‘lockdown client’ project is this new branding and website for Chelsea style guru Alessia Nicolini.

Here’s the remarkable thing: I’ve still not met Alessia in person – despite it turning out that she’s a neighbour, running her office from the same building as us. But we’ve made it work – very well – and I am incredibly pleased with the outcome.

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Fully charged: a new wave of tech startup logo and web design

tech startup logo web design

Everything has a battery in it. Things that we could never have imagined needing one, now require a power source. Thermostats. Doorbells. Picture frames. All need charging – and crucially, all contain the same sort of lithium battery we’ve been using for decades. The devices they reside within may be cutting edge, but the source of their power is another matter.

That’s not true progress and certainly isn’t sustainable.

There are teams all over the world working on this problem, but one of them, LiNa Energy, a startup at Lancaster University, is working on a new type of battery platform using sodium. Our role has been to work on a rebrand project – which has turned out to be a superb case study of tech startup logo and web design.

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Building reputation: web design for the real estate business

web design for real estate

People often talk about owners resembling their pets. In the TikTok era, this usually arrives with a readymade set of outlandish video proof, usually involving an upside down cat or extremely disgruntled bulldog.

While I’m not one for crazy pet memes, I do think there’s an (admittedly tangential) metaphor to draw between the pets/owners trope and something that occurred to me at the weekend: namely websites being a stylistic reflection of the businesses they belong to.

This thought was inspired by a project we’ve just completed, a web design for real estate business London & Oriental. As a company they are particularly proud of their attention to detail, so we felt the need to rise to that challenge ourselves.

The end result is that every aspect of the site’s layout has been considered and then re-thought, the end result being the most perfect, almost architecturally structured layout.

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Defining a visual language for MovePlan

Defining a visual language

When I describe the creative design work we’ve done, I’m usually discussing the culmination of a project during which many of the elements that make up a rebrand have dovetailed. These usually start with a logo design project, considering colour, type, then how the brand appears in print and online.

It’s often months of work and reaching the ‘finish line’ is always a very satisfying moment. We’ve recently completed one such project, for global business change consultancy MovePlan. I found one aspect of the project particularly satisfying – defining a visual language for the business, in this case by building them a library of brand imagery. Over a period of three months, all the photographs in this project were shot by renowned architectural photographer Alistair Nicholls – with my art direction.

Since it will be a while before we’re out doing photo shoots again, I thought it might be interesting to reflect on that project and the creative process behind the work.

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Inspiring creativity, encouraging tomorrow’s talent

Inspiring creativity

One of my earliest memories is taking the cover off my grandmother’s old manual typewriter, complete with ribbon and rollers, and typing out (on sheets of reused letterhead from a long-defunct amateur dramatic society) official notices which I would post on my bedroom door.

Later on, this interest in type and signage found a further outlet in an after-school printing club which used two ancient, single-colour hand-cranked litho presses. I remember preparing customised luggage tags, elaborate letterheads and neat labels for drawers and storage racks. In my teenage years I got involved in a scrappy, irreverent school magazine which was produced by taping together cartoons, print-outs and rushed to a photocopier to a meet a deadline.

I am reminded of these projects when we work on our long-time charitable outlet, the Shine School Media Awards, and then more recently on a new endeavour to raise money for the Cavell Nurses’ Trust, the Bourlet Young Masters  Art Prize competition. Their common thread: inspiring creativity in young people.

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