Why ‘designed slide decks’ are the new corporate brochure

A few of my least favourite words these days: ‘let me just share my screen…’, whereupon a set of friendly (albeit virtual) faces disappear, only to be replaced with a green spreadsheet, set of moribund bullet-points or series of pictures of a city skyline somewhere I can’t visit. Usually the low point is the appearance of a dreaded set of Powerpoint slides. These are essentially brochures these days – albeit with the physical object sadly lost. As it happens I am a huge fan of the printed word, a medium dear to my heart, and I’ll come back to that particular topic another day.

But when it comes to these sad old slides, I come bearing happy news. Over the past year, I’ve worked with a few visionary clients who have agreed with me that there’s a lot further that the otherwise predictable Powerpoint can go. I speak of something beyond the standard corporate presentation.

Let me introduce the designed slide deck.

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Fresh branding for Belgian energy investment private family office AtlasInvest

energy investment branding

One of the most significant changes in our branding work in recent years has been the abandonment of what I call the ‘rabbit out of the hat’ approach. In the early days of my career, with a major project complete, the client would gather in a panelled boardroom. We would deliver a grand, momentous presentation, the entirety of which would be a huge and dramatic surprise. What then followed was almost a moot point because the board had got the grand moment they had got psyched up for. It was left to the designers and an often head-spun marketing team to figure out what to do with the feedback.

Suffice to say, it’s not how we work today – and here’s a fantastic example. During lockdown and thereafter, we’ve been working with Belgian private family office AtlasInvest on a ground-up identity review.

I’m really proud of the end result, a great example of an energy investment branding project.

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Bringing classical music history to life with a unique charitable foundation web design project

charitable foundation web design

To set the mood of an evening, you need the right music. I’ve a friend who enjoys playing Noel Coward on a Saturday night as he mixes cocktails. When he puts that tinkly piano accompanied by snappy wit on, everything just feels buzzy, chic – as though Princess Margaret is about to arrive amid a summer dusk.

The choice for some is jazz – others opera, I always admire a quirky choice I’m unfamiliar with. It’s intriguing how we discover particular music that’s from a bygone era, from amazing singers, long passed away. ‘Music never dies’ – these extraordinary voices, once recorded, are never lost.

We’ve just completed a piece of work which I like to think contributes to the recognition of just such an artist – a charitable foundation web design project for classic English opera singer Jennifer Vyvyan.

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Ensure the the maximum impact of post-merger rebranding

post-merger rebranding

As businesses evaluate the future, every company is assessing the landscape and making tough choices. For some, this will mean a fundamental re-think, often involving a merger or buy-out with former competitors. Restructuring is disorienting but requires fresh thinking, to really get creative – on every front.

With a blending of assets, perhaps following a capital raise and a reboot of how a company works, we’ve often helped with parallel visual changes in terms of how it looks, too. When two companies merge, the new blend of personalities means considering if that requires new branding. Often at speed.

So, now’s the time to start planning. Post-merger rebranding requires ingenuity, using budget carefully to ensure maximum impact.

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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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