Tag: design with soul

13
Aug

Creating Company Culture – ‘Getting Buy-In’

We’ve been doing some work on the old folio recently – going through the back-catalogue, reminiscing about projects of yore and doing a bit of work on some of the company’s greatest hits. At the exact same time, we’ve also begun to work with a new industrial client on defining a very rich, strong and vibrant company culture for their brand.

Working on the current project and by stumbling upon past attempts has reminded me of some of the challenges involved when creating or defining a company’s culture. One of the main hurdles is ‘getting buy-in’ from everybody in the company. You see the brands with the strongest, most effective and successful cultures are the ones that have as many people bought-in as possible – this includes commercial people, technical people, financial people, other leaders, etc…

Successful and culturally strong companies will use their values, a vision or mission to inform every decision they make such as who to hire, how to manage resources or even manage crisis. So to help those who are thinking about giving this a go, we thought we’d put together a quick guide to help you get buy-in from other directors, board members, staff or stakeholders when creating that cultural framework for your brand. Enjoy!

1. Involve everybody
The most powerful cultures are created when everybody’s had a say in shaping it. So if you can… ask the team about the company vision, get everybody’s thoughts on the values and find out what makes your company special compared to all the others? There are different levels of practicalities with this and some stakeholders will be more involved than others. For example, for those owners who want to keep a tight grip on things – determine the values yourself but give everybody in the team a say in how they enact those values each day for a more effective outcome.

2. Use language that people can relate too
Vision, mission statement and values may not be words to everybody’s liking. In the past we’ve used phrases like – Who We Are, What We Do and Where We Are Going. We’ve used the word ‘Beliefs’ instead of ‘values,’ we’ve used expressions like ‘Reason to Believe,’ ‘Purpose Beyond Profit’ or even ‘Our Cause’ instead of ‘Mission Statement.’ At the end of the day, getting people to buy-in is more important than using a particular set of words, so have some fun and use whatever words you are most comfortable with.

3. Go beyond the obvious
Integrity, trust, honesty are regularly brought out as values by corporate organisations, these, alongside behaviours like ‘moulded around our customer’s needs.’ There is nothing wrong with any of them at all, however they are likely to be seen as the minimum people would expect from an organisation rather than the hallmarks of a great company.

Better to think a bit more deeply about this one – for example, go past integrity or honesty and talk about your transparency which is a bit more distinctive. However, if you must have ordinary values, then compliment them with extraordinary examples of behaviour which emphasise your commitment to that value.

For example…

Trust

‘We are the only company in the Wealth Management Sector which discloses all possible fees over a three-year period to our clients so they understand the maximum investment  – before an initial meeting.’

Or…

Integrity

‘We will always help you find the most cost-effective solution for your requirements  – even if it means suggesting products from a competitor.’

4. Use practical examples
Practical examples are absolutely brilliant at getting buy-in from potential sceptics. A few years ago, we worked with a ‘systems and software intelligence provider’ and and once we began to talk to developers about some of the more practical parts of what they do day-in, we started to get real buy-in for the values.

In this case…

‘Updates are made to our software, in advance of forthcoming legislation changes.’ helping form a company value of creating ‘Legislation Driven’ solutions.

This was something the entire team, particularly the technical people, were very proud off and a powerful customer-facing message too.

This nod to more practical concerns undoubtedly helped to get buy-in from the entire team for other values too.

5. Make something which can be customer-facing
Using the previous words as an example, it is always easier to get buy-in from the more commercial people in your company if you are able to craft something which is customer facing. Everybody who has the commercial success of their company at-heart always prefer some words that they can also present to potential customers – whether it’s on a pitch document, the website or somewhere else.

This also includes the creation of designing something presentable that can represent the values – anything from a one-page document that people can keep at their desks to something more imaginative like a cool vinyl wall-display or even a lanyard for people to wear so they can see the values they‘ve potentially helped to shape while they are working

6. Be creative
Again, in addition to the previous words, you can have sooo much fun doing creative things with your values – play with the words, combine different parts of the exercise, introduce graphics, etc…

I’ve included a few cracking examples below.

officeBranding

You can’t beat a creative wall mural which creatively shouts out what the company is about.

Team lanyards with the company values are excellent for fostering team spirit, creating a deeper understanding and are cool to wear too.

 

s3-brewdog_charter--default--600

The Brewdog Mission is unsurprisingly as compelling, authentic and uncompromising as you would expect. Genius!

That’s all for now, have fun putting those values together and don’t forget to get buy-in from as many people as you can. As always, if you need some help, give us a shout…

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is a Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to create a more exciting future for people using the power of bold and beautifully developed ideas. 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. He likes to make things happen fast and in a big way.

 

04
Aug

In Celebration of Great Mood Boards

At the loft, if there’s a part of the creative process we truly believe in, it’s the creation of mood-boards. We love mood-boards because they take us to a different place mentally, they give them an almost infinite source of creative ideas and they also help to guide in the process further down the line.

This week we were having a chat about mood-boards in the studio and stumbled across a few crackers..

Both were for car-design projects and both are absolutely brilliant.

Industrial-Mood-Board

The ‘INDUSTRIAL’ board by Kevin Roy shows old abandoned factories and warehouses as the main inspiration. What’s so brilliant about this board is the way the images aren’t just industrial but have been treated in an industrial way too. Mainly black and white with flashes of colour, some of them are horribly low-quality and the line-tracing is rough too but all that adds to the desired emotion being chased by the designer. Ken goes further by experimenting with typefaces that are similar in style too as well as inserting the bold ‘YELLOW and BLACK’ striped caution signs. Finally, the acid-feel of the album cover on the top-right of the page completes an outstanding board.

Art-Deco-Moodboard-720x405-2

The ‘ART-DECO’ board by Nick Turner (https://bit.ly/2MgJN6l) is equally as impressive. We have a beautiful exploration of shapes, patterns and rich colours which are all key to the ‘ART-DECO’ look. We have subtle nods to Futurism and Art Nouveau in there as well but what’s really lovely is the subtle vector lines over the top of the entire board.

Both are amazing mood-boards and what makes them so good is that they completely describe the themes they are covering in the purest, most expressive and honest way possible.

For us, inspiration is vital to any creative action, it’s what makes it all worthwhile. If a mood-board’s job is to inspire, then both of these would give any designer of any type the richest source of inspiration to get going.

Bravo!

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.

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.

08
Jan

Reiss McLeod | Design Highlights 2017

2017 was a big year for Reiss. After a summer internship and a year of working part-time, Reiss became a full-time member of the loft team once he finished his studies in July. Anybody that knows Reiss knows he is an incredibly talented guy with exceptional basic skills, an uncanny ability to generate ideas out of no-where and he’s a great wordsmith too. His puns are quite the thing of legend in the studio.

As expected Reiss eased into his new role and quickly became a pivotal part of the team adding the role of ‘Director of Client Happiness’ to his design responsibilities. Already an exceptional creative-thinker and problem solver, he added some real weight to his development skills throughout the year culminating in several exceptional pieces of creative work which we’d love to celebrate.

Although we always work as a team at the loft, we wanted to take a moment to value individual contributions to creative projects and Reiss really delivered tremendously in 2017, these were some of his highlights.

CashBack_HD-PNG

1. Cashback Infographic for Inspiring Scotland

Quite possibly the highlight of the year for Reiss was his interpretation of the positive information for ‘Cashback for Communities’ for Inspiring Scotland. The programme involves taking the proceeds of crime and re-investing it back into local communities for young people — £20,000,000 has been re-invested into improving life opportunities since 2014. The programme is led by the Scottish Government alongside Inspiring Scotland and Reiss took an incredibly large amount of information and alongside his cohort Laura developed a beautiful illustration-infographic hybrid depicting a wonderful tale of the programme. The interpretation of the individual mini-stories where Cashback has made a difference in the community is a real highlight. The infographic has been such a success that it adorns the walls of the offices at Inspiring Scotland as well as The Scottish Government.

SOCEX - Financial Crime Conference

2. SOCEX Financial Crime Conference Brochure

The loft has worked with the event organisers for The Serious & Organised Crime Exchange (SOCEX) since 2015 and have since created a number of set-piece conference brochures. Reiss took the lead with the latest instalment — The 2017 Financial Crime Conference in November. Reiss built on the visual frameworks of previous brochures but where his creativity really shone through is with the imaginative, purposeful and almost iconic design of the front cover which cleverly shows two people exchanging ideas – ideas that are all emblematic of themes being dealt with by the conference. A beautiful, abstract and fitting depiction for the newly formed financial conference. We can’t wait for the 2018 events…

Arcman-Making Christmas Campaign

3. Arcman Winter Campaign Image

Our Reiss is an accomplished wordsmith and real creative thinker. Never was this more beautifully brought to life than with his campaign image and advert for the winter edition of print magazine ‘Urban Realm.’  Building on the Christmas theme – Reiss cleverly realised that the ad created for Arcman was going to be seen just as much in January as December so beautifully saw past the obvious Christmas theme and instead brought the sentiment of ‘getting back to wor’k to life. A Christmas calendar with the various services of Arcman as windows remain in place but are all secondary to those strong words ‘The Holidays are over. Let’s Get To Work.”  In-keeping with the company values and a real success.

Client Top 5 FAQs

4. Introducing ‘the pigs’

Reiss has an absolutely wonderful imagination and a real ability to creatively communicate information. Part of his role as ‘Director of Client Happiness’ is to share best-practices with others in the team. His creative ability was on full-display when he introduced a series of odd-looking creatures to us as his way to demonstrate his ideas for ‘Client Happiness.’ These little creatures which we affectionately christened ‘the pigs’ have since found their way into many parts of the loft’s brand presentation in 2017.

Arcman-Making Metal Work

5. ‘MAKING METAL WORK’ for Arcman

Once again Arcman were looking for a series of print ads for the Urban Realm annual, something which would demonstrate the high-energy nature of their service, commitment to clients and desire for excellence. Reiss came up with a rather simple concept but one which really shone. He mixed the excellent photography of Malcolm Cochrane with an exceptionally well-selected typeface to bring the vibrancy of the Arcman message to life for print, digital and everything in between… The campaign advert was so widely liked by the company founder Jamie Doak that it proudly adorns his I-Phone and is mounted on the front of the Arcman workshops.

Reiss was a huge part of the loft’s success in 2017 and we can’t wait to see what ideas, graphics and even puns he has up his sleeve for 2018.

 

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.>

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

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.