Tag: design agency

09
Jul

The Power Of ‘A Quick Sketch’

20 odd years ago, it was the romance of hearing about the then Alfa Romeo Head of Design, Walter Da Silva using his menu to sketch the design of a new car to a journalist in a Milan restaurant that sealed my love for the creative process. It made me want to become a designer and more importantly realise the power of a sketch. Something that has remained with me ever since.

Anybody that has worked with the loft in recent years will know that the one thing we do is sketch – quite a lot actually. Thumbnails of details on a post-it note, story-boarding an infographic on the back of an envelope, at times we even provide clients with hand-drawn sketch sheets to present ideas with their proposal.

Why??

Well firstly, it puts the person back in control of the process. In the days with more and more machine input – we believe in the richness, inspiration and creativity of the individual first and software tools second.

Secondly, it’s just faster. When timelines are getting squeezed – sketches allow you to explore more ideas quicker – taking a few minutes to draw something can also save hours of going down a wrong route with the computer.

Thirdly, they are usually more inspirational, more raw and crucially more open to interpretation. This is important at the early stage of the process when you’re wanting to get on the front foot with your ideas without too many restrictions that can kill creativity.

Fourth, they can give an invaluable insight to clients to help them visualise what you’ll create for well in advance.

Finally they democratise the creative process – anybody can have an idea and sketch it. Even if it is a bit rough at first. We’ve had work-experience students, clients, MD’s even accountants all make significant contributions to a creative project with some swipes of a pen on a scrap sheet of paper.

Want to accelerate, strengthen and enrich the creative process? Go back a step and go for a quick sketch.

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an ideas-driven Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to unleash the power of creativity to create a better world – for people, business and society. He is the founder of the loft, a design and branding house which operates worldwide helping companies bring their brands to life in the most imaginative and effective ways possible. A real man on a mission. Benedetto likes to make things happen fast and in a big way.

27
Oct

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 6: Building Relationships)

Clients How To Guide

We’re not just talking about secret handshakes here — having a sustainable relationship with a client solidifies the aspect of trust and results in many more seamless projects.

Here are some top tips to going the extra mile…

  • Memory Game — Note any interesting points about the client that you can bring up in conversation, i.e. they have mentioned that they are hiring within the company, ask how the hiring process is going and show that you are genuinely interested in their business. Remember names; we will be interacting with many different clients so knowing exactly who you will be speaking to may seem like common sense, but it is something that can have a big effect on client confidence in yourself and the team.
  • Make An Appearance — Jump at the chance to meet the client face to face. The difference this makes to the relationship is big, clients will feel much more comfortable talking to you in the future after your first encounter.
  • Match Their Energy — Are they excited? Copy this behaviour, and then some; if a client is excited about a project, match their excitement, plus 1. This goes for if they are quieter too; don’t bounce around the room with excitement if the client is more introverted — match their tone of voice plus 1 in order to build trust and rapport.
  • Our Business — Treat their business as your own; learn about the product/service beforehand and show a genuine interest in what they do. Not only will this bring your passion forward for the client to see, but it makes it easier to work on a project you have an interest in.

Remember that when it comes to relationships, it takes two to tango.

Now that we’re done scratching one another’s backs, we’re well on our way to working harmoniously with our clients. What a journey! Try to remember these little tips and your passion for graphic design will shine through in every project you star in.

It’s been a pleasure,

Client How To Guide

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

Reiss is a multi-purpose designer with a broad range of skill-sets.
He loves being a part of any creative activity — whether it’s mapping out a user experience, getting his hands dirty with some copy or even re-building bits of his motorbike.
A born people-person, Reiss is never happier when showcasing ideas from his vividly wild imagination and working with clients to see them through to completion. Once an architect, he has a keen eye for conceptual ideas and never tires of learning new things.
20
Oct

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 5: Going The Extra Mile)

Clients How To Guide

Doing the thinking for the client is wonderful for your relationship; additional content can really make their job easier.

Here are some top tips to going the extra mile…

  • Stop & Think — Sometimes, doing the thinking for the client can earn you a lot of brownie points. This lets your passion shine through for the project.
  • Never Over-Promise — The trust you have with your client will be hurt and they made look at you in a more negative light — understand what you can deliver and make sure it’s on time.
  • Additional Material — Supplying the client with additional material that can show them potential directions for the future and will maintain a positive relationship. If there is any area you can improve on with regards to making the process easier for the client then it should be implemented. For example, providing clients with not only the print format for some of their work but also a digital RGB version that has been cropped to social media sizes.

Take these tips into account and you will leave the competition in the dust.

Next week we will be looking at building brilliant relationships with clients.

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

Reiss is a multi-purpose designer with a broad range of skill-sets.
He loves being a part of any creative activity — whether it’s mapping out a user experience, getting his hands dirty with some copy or even re-building bits of his motorbike.
A born people-person, Reiss is never happier when showcasing ideas from his vividly wild imagination and working with clients to see them through to completion. Once an architect, he has a keen eye for conceptual ideas and never tires of learning new things.
13
Oct

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 4: Communications)

Clients How To Guide

Lack of communication is a big no-no. Having clear communication channels with your client’s ensures that both parties are heading in the right direction.

Here are some top tips to keeping in contact…

Emails

  • Make it very clear what your intentions are in the email; clarity is key to communication.
  • Always summarise and reiterate what a client is looking for.
  • Triple check spelling; especially when it comes to names/subject.
  • Communicate in a professional manner, but do not shy away from expressing your excitement on projects and work.

Phonecalls

  • A lot of clients are comfortable speaking over the phone, it adds a more human element and the clients are more likely to express their true opinions in this form of communication.
  • Phone calls are for less formal/time constrained situations — emails give you important information that is written in text that we can refer back to.
  • If the client has made a lot of points, it can be very helpful to send them a summarised email of the conversation via email after the conversation
    for clarification.

So let’s be sensible when sending emails or answering the phone; make it so that your granny could understand you. You never know, she might be your next client…

Next week we will be looking going the extra mile, adding that cherry on top design sundae.

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

Reiss is a multi-purpose designer with a broad range of skill-sets.

He loves being a part of any creative activity — whether it’s mapping out a user experience, getting his hands dirty with some copy or even re-building bits of his motorbike.

A born people-person, Reiss is never happier when showcasing ideas from his vividly wild imagination and working with clients to see them through to completion. Once an architect, he has a keen eye for conceptual ideas and never tires of learning new things.>

08
Oct

Great Brands Sell Ideas First…

Whatever line of business you’re in, people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.

I got a very useful reminder of that this week when helping some early-stage entrepreneurs. They had a great software solution and were looking for ways to generate more leads from their existing website.

Having initially bored them with some worthy but rather uninspiring solutions (contact forms with less fields,) it dawned on me that to really make a significant gain, to really make a dent with what they were doing, that the site itself had to sell the higher nature of what they were offering.

In this case – a tailored solution for a specific user-group, up-to-date programme with current legislations and exceptional value.

What a difference this simple shift in communication had. It never ceases to amaze me how effective a new home-page image, tag-line and corresponding graphics can be to a potential client.

What’s more the exercise of implementing these ideas is fun and energises everybody in the organisation itself.

In Napoleon Hill’s classic ‘Think and Grow Rich’ the author states that “All master salesmen know that ideas can be sold where merchandise cannot. Ordinary salesmen do not know this – that is why they are ordinary.”

Successful companies know this too – Coca Cola sells the hit of instant refreshment not carbonated soft-drinks, Sky TV sells the cutting-edge of in-house entertainment not just TV packages and great politicians sell the vision of a brighter tomorrow not specific plans and policies.

If you’re selling professional services – sell the friendliness of the service. Selling gym memberships – sell the intensity of the exercise. Even if you’re selling double-glazing, sell the strength and protection of the final product first not the properties of the glass.

Logical information only confirms decisions we’ve already got our hearts set on. But the heart’s got to be set on something in the first place.

If you want a brand that is going to generate a lot of new business – sell the idea first. If you want a hand then give us a shout.

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an ideas-driven Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to unleash the power of creativity to create a better world – for people, business and society. He is the founder of the loft, a design and branding house which operates worldwide helping companies bring their brands to life in the most imaginative and effective ways possible. A real man on a mission. Benedetto likes to make things happen fast and in a big way.

06
Oct

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 3: Meetings)

Clients How To Guide

What’s more important than the precious moments you get to spend with your client, one-on-one, excitedly discussing the direction of the project? You guessed it — nothing (apart from the boss’s birthday).

Fast-paced and full of ideas; your meetings should aim to clarify with clients and gather crucial information.

Here are some top tips for hosting a top meeting…

  • Timing is Key  No one likes to be late to a meeting, let alone turn up on a wrong day! Be very clear with your clients when deciding on a meeting time/place, no more awkward moments of confusion. If you can scope out what your client is looking to achieve in the meeting as well — even better!
  • Ideas, Not Problems — Extra brownie points for those who can sketch on the spot. Transferring the client’s words to paper in a visual form is a fantastic way to get the client excited about the project and gain their trust.
  • Small Ideas Sheet = Big Success — By creating a small ideas sheet and taking it to potential clients it shows that you are prepared and know what you are talking about. Having already thought out the client’s ideas and solving problems beforehand lets the client know that we’re serious about their business and are already invested in what they do. These sheets should be loose, giving the presenter a point of reference, maybe some initial sketches; essentially a conversation starter.

In conclusion; meetings should be your best friend! A brilliant time to get some juicy information from your clients, maybe even a bit of gossip if you’re lucky. Next week we’ll have a look at communications; the connection with your clients that keep you on the right path.

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

Reiss is a multi-purpose designer with a broad range of skill-sets.

He loves being a part of any creative activity — whether it’s mapping out a user experience, getting his hands dirty with some copy or even re-building bits of his motorbike.

A born people-person, Reiss is never happier when showcasing ideas from his vividly wild imagination and working with clients to see them through to completion. Once an architect, he has a keen eye for conceptual ideas and never tires of learning new things.

29
Sep

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 2: Presentations)

Clients How To Guide

 

We shall start our clients journey with presentations — something that can turn even the most confident designer into a shrivelling, sweaty mess.

But do not fret, there are ways to bypass the instinctive flight option.

Here are some top tips to holding a killer presentation…

  • Practise Consistency — No two presentations are the same, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep them consistent.
  • Preparation Is Key — We use different layouts for different stages of presentations. Winning a pitch is, of course, important to us, so being prepared is a key part of that. Concept presentations should be slightly more refined, clearly outlining our thought process behind each concept in a concise manner. If the wording is too long, the concept isn’t strong enough to be explained in a couple of sentences. These presentations include initial sketches, maybe some illustrator mock ups and strong reference material.
  • Know Your Audience — If you are designing for someone with particular taste, you should tailor the entire process to their mindset, including presentations. Some clients are decision makers and like to have the important stuff bullet pointed. Others like to get into the detail; design accordingly.
  • Final Presentations — These should be much more honed in on a specific idea, showing slight variations on the chosen concept. Again, make these changes as clear as possible so that the client’s job of choosing one is made simpler. We want the entire process to be as easy as possible for the client, in turn making it easier for the team.

Next week we will be having a look at meetings (actually talking to someone face-to-face, imagine that?!).

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

Reiss is a multi-purpose designer with a broad range of skill-sets.

He loves being a part of any creative activity — whether it’s mapping out a user experience, getting his hands dirty with some copy or even re-building bits of his motorbike.

A born people-person, Reiss is never happier when showcasing ideas from his vividly wild imagination and working with clients to see them through to completion. Once an architect, he has a keen eye for conceptual ideas and never tires of learning new things.

20
Sep

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 1: Intro)

Clients How To Guide

Clients are at the heart of every project we create — an integral slice of the delicious design pie. So understanding them is massively important, especially when it makes both parties lives a lot easier.

Throughout my time working in a design studio, I have picked up some handy tips that I feel will help designers of any level. It’s super simple stuff, but it can be easy to forget. I give you, ‘Clients: A How-To Guide’.

I will be delivering this guide each week, focusing on different topics, including:

The topics will delve deeper into some personal anecdotes and opinions I have on the matters. I look forward to seeing you next week.

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness (yes, that’s an official title).

staff_170502_0542

Reiss is a multi-purpose designer with a broad range of skill-sets.

He loves being a part of any creative activity — whether it’s mapping out a user experience, getting his hands dirty with some copy or even re-building bits of his motorbike.

A born people-person, Reiss is never happier when showcasing ideas from his vividly wild imagination and working with clients to see them through to completion. Once an architect, he has a keen eye for conceptual ideas and never tires of learning new things.

20
Sep

Top 5 Frequently Asked Client Question’s

At the loft, we love welcoming clients into our design world. With that in mind, this week I thought I’d take some time to focus on some of the most frequently asked client questions — giving you an initial insight into our world.

What is graphic design?
Technically, it’s the art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines or books. We see graphic design slightly differently. We see it as a way of effectively communicating your message to your target audience, finding the perfect balance between function and aesthetics. We see it as bringing ideas to life.

Why use a design studio in the first place?
Simply put, we make the whole process easier. From finding the most effective way to communicate your message to saving you time and money in the long run, creating finished pieces that are focused on the target audience, formatted correctly and ready to go to print or be used digitally.

How much will my design cost?
Costs can completely vary depending on the project. Unfortunately, there is no ‘one price fits all’ answer to this question. Typically, a branding project can cost anything from less than £1,000 (freelancer) to over £15,000 (large design studio) and anywhere in between. How much you spend on your project depends on a number of variables, most importantly being the longevity of the design. If you are a smaller start up company who is unsure of how your company will progress over the next year, it might be more cost effective to start with a freelancer or smaller design studio. To discuss a project and get a better idea of our costings, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How long will it take to complete my design work?
Again, this varies dependant on the project. We tackle anything from small one-day projects to bigger, year-long projects. For example, a website can take anything from a couple of weeks to a full six-month project, dependant on its variables. However, no matter the size of a project, we always complete our full design process — from gesture sketches to concept creation to development of the final outcomes and everything else in between. If you have a deadline you need to meet, we are more than happy to accommodate that.

What services do the loft offer?
We offer a range of services, each of which we love getting involved with. We offer graphic design, web design, brochure design, identity design, infographics, art direction, brand love (creating a brand that not only you love, but one that your team and customers will love too), video, packaging, complex 2 simple (creating solutions that help a company prepare their new products and services for the market) , campaigns and vision, mission and values. You can find out more about our full range of services here.

Laura, Designer & Director of Noise

Laura

 

Miss Noisy! The team’s very own socialite and one who masters every situation she finds herself. Laura is the lady for every occasion. She has a formidable array of skills as a creative, diplomat, agony aunt, blogger, Tweeter, art-director, team player and our own favourite — noisemaker. A more perfect dinner companion, you will be hard-pressed to find.

 

19
Sep

Everything You Need – for Maximising Creative Budgets

At the loft, we treat clients budgets like they were our own and look to make them stretch as far as possible. So to best help you maximise your budget for creative projects, we’ve put this handy wee guide together.

Before we get started.

Creative companies bill for time so your final quote is only ever based on two things – (the numbers of hours for a project) x (the agency rate.)

This guide helps you maximise that time to maximise the value you receive.

Accurate Briefs Remove the Guesswork
An accurate brief removes a lot of the time spent on guessing. The quicker we can hone in on the tangible items of a project (number of website pages, style of infographics, types of print techniques required, etc,) the quicker we can focus on those solutions. If you want to know what goes into preparing a good brief check out this post >>>

Leverage Content
Re-using content over different formats is an excellent way to maximise value. For example, can that infographic being used in the corporate brochure also be used on the company website? Could it also be used in the next press release? Could it be put on the factory wall? Could it be divided into different elements and shared on social media? Always look for ways to get a 2nd/3rd/4th use out of absolutely everything.

Talking of social media, team images for the website can be re-formatted for LinkedIn profiles, copy for web-projects can be re-used as mini-campaigns, etc.

Creative Flow
Creatives work best when they are in ‘the flow.’ For those that really want to maximise the value of creative work — prepare as much stuff for your creative to do at one-sitting as you can and take advantage of the creative flow. This can be having all of your people together to get all of your photographs done on-site on the same day or having all of the information ready for your case-studies when sitting down with your copywriter or making sure that the designer working on your infographics has all of the information they need to tackle developments. An un-interrupted workflow really helps the people working on creative projects

Minimise Page Styles
This is a big one. One of the most time-consuming parts of creative projects is the additional effort invested in creating multiple page styles for projects like brochures or websites. Having pages with lots of different styles does make the final solutions more interesting but the creation of new frameworks is time-consuming. What’s more – lots of different page styles can confuse a viewer – it is the reason big brands have very consistent guides for brand communications. If you want to minimise costs for larger projects? Suggest to your creative company to ‘minimise the number of pages styles.’ They’ll know what you mean, respect your pragmatism and re-double their efforts on great content.

Piggy-back Off What’s Gone Before
All creative companies, even those providing the most bespoke of bespoke services, use general templates from what they have done before for brochures, websites and other large projects. As we said above, the creation of new templates is time-consuming and energy intensive, so if you are able to use a template that has already been created, developed and tested by your agency – there are massive savings to be had with no detriment to quality. You are switching the scope of the project from creating a new template to customising a template with obvious savings. How does that work in practise? Simply look at previous examples your agency has done before and ask them for ‘something like that’ and point out what you like.

Blink First
With budgets, blink first and lets us know where  you are comfortable – we can then more quickly make a decision in how best to help. You’ll be amazed at the amount a great company can do to stretch tight budgets.

Think Long-Term
The more you can give work to one freelancer or company — the more they are likely to reward you for your loyalty. This may be a better rate or even some free extras. Always best to think long-term.

And that’s a wrap. We hope that is helpful in allowing you to maximise whatever creative budget you have, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an ideas-driven Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to unleash the power of creativity to create a better world – for people, business and society. He is the founder of the loft, a design and branding house which operates worldwide helping companies bring their brands to life in the most imaginative and effective ways possible. A real man on a mission. Benedetto likes to make things happen and happen fast and in a big way. He wants things done yesterday and is relentlessly driven in his quest to make tomorrow better than today for his company, the people he serves and the wider community.