We believe great design and creativity will always emerge from a professional partnership based on trust, candor, and respect. In order to facilitate this, we have compiled a list of thoughts on topics important to the approach we take to our work, our clients, and our collaborators.
On the Impact of Design
Good design is just good business. Companies that invest in design outperform those that don’t by 3 to 1*. By restructuring their organizations to be design-centric, market leading brands have brought the power of good design to public attention through their products, services, technologies, communications, and interactions. Design has become so successful that consumers have come to expect a high quality of aesthetic from any brand worth paying attention to, meaning companies that don’t take design seriously run the risk of people not taking them seriously.
Design at its core is human-centric. We learn and communicate through design. We express ourselves, our identity, and our culture through design. Design has the power to connect with people emotionally; stimulating desire, curiosity, and motivating us to action. Commercially, design shapes the way people experience companies and the products and services they offer. It is design that establishes the initial relationship between brand and consumer by making the introduction on behalf of the company and ensuring messaging and values are understood. Design is the driving force behind high brand value and goodwill by making products more desirable and functional; packaging more practical and attractive; content more interesting, clear and relatable; information and wayfinding systems more sensible, and digital interactions more engaging and intuitive. Everything is designed. Successful things are designed better than others.
On the Design Process
Design is the end result of a process. We cannot provide purposeful or effective work without an extensive amount of thought and research behind it. Human creativity thrives when faced with challenges. Without first accurately defining what these challenges are, design cannot do its job. Extensive research into competitors, target audiences and content provides the framework in which to strategize with clients and define objectives in which to design for. We then explore many directions in order to arrive at the best possible solution that makes the most sense. We do not present clients with 100 different concepts and task them with the design decisions. This approach shows a lack of research and understanding, uncertainty, and an attempt to reduce accountability by making the client responsible for failure. Clients hire us for our expertise—their success requires we use it.
We take on clients who have an interest in the impact design can have on their businesses and an enthusiasm to create something great. Clients should understand that in addition to our responsibilities to them, we are also responsible to the audiences who will use and view the work. Experience has proven that clients who put the interests of their customers ahead of their own see the most project success. This is why it is important that our clients are sincere in their approach and that the projects commissioned have a clear purpose as to why they exist. Clarity of intent translates into clarity of result.
Designers make aesthetic decisions to accomplish client objectives. Concepts presented are based on an enormous amount of study and research into how colour, form, imagery, typography, layout, and language creates attention, attraction, desire, interaction and engagement in audiences. Clients who understand the value of design also understand that the success of the project is more important than personal tastes, and that subjectivity not grounded in strategy or reason will only result in less effective outcomes.
People have an incredible amount of choice available to them, and when choice is abundant attention is scarce. Companies who understand this end up spending a lot less time and money on marketing if what they are promoting is designed and communicated in an original and distinctive way. It is always better to be courageous than careful, better to be bold than bland, better to be seen and remembered than not even noticed at all. Success is reliant upon standing out—not fitting in.
On Aesthetic Quality
Great ideas and products need to be delivered by great design in order to reach their full potential. People are naturally repelled by things that are careless, ugly, and thoughtless. In this sense, design must always strive to a higher level than functionality. Design is how customers identify, interact with, and remember brands and institutions. Taking the aesthetic quality of design seriously is important to anybody who takes their business seriously.
Branding is not just a logo or a visual identity. It is the relationship companies have with people. The logo is the face of this relationship. All good logos are designed to reinforce the company name, its products or services, personality, culture, beliefs and values in a fresh and unfamiliar way that is both memorable to the audience and distinguishes itself from competitors. Logos and visual identity systems should be designed with flexibility in mind to work across a multitude of applications such as print, animation, three-dimensional, social media, apps, and websites. A logo can become the most powerful and valuable asset a company can own, therefore its design should always be crafted with care. However, it is important to recognize that a logo is only as good as the company it serves. A truly strong brand is built over time by consistently delivering on customer promises, satisfying expectations, and connecting with people in authentic and meaningful ways.
On Advertising & Communications
Effective advertising is an appetizer—not a buffet. It should always treat the audience with intelligence and make use of one or more of the following principles: Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting. Make it focused. Make it interesting. Make it beautiful. Make it humorous. Make it bold. Make it emotional. Make it unexpected. Make it captivating. Make it fun. Make it relatable. Above all else, make it work.
On Small vs Big Agencies
Smaller design firms are better able to give project needs a lot more thought, attention, and focus. Clients get to enjoy a more collaborative experience working directly with the creative team, resulting in better communication, closer working relationships, a higher standard of work, and the creation of something truly unique.