DIGITAL ENTHUSIAST

27
Oct

‘Soaring Spirits’

Spirit’s an interesting concept – intangible, unquantifiable, easier to feel than properly articulate. Every now and then you can experience it at its strongest – a football match where your team score at the last minute, a gig where your favourite band just kill it on stage and tonight at the Kelvingrove where the kids from MCR Pathways have just wowed us with an amazing music and drama performance.

For those that aren’t in the know, ‘Young Glasgow Talent by MCR Pathways’ is an organisation that helps young people unlock their talent. The organisation teams up with schools and provides mentors to students, some of whom, have had the most ridiculously difficult starts to life. The organisation has an exceptional record (over 700 young people supported, 15 schools participating, 800 plus mentors and 1321 volunteers registered – and all in a very short space of time.)

Tonight was the Creative Showcase, we had the great and good of Glasgow out in their many, we had the launch of a painting by the world class Gerard M Burns and it was all hosted in the most magnificent of settings – The Glasgow Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

However, all of that pales into insignificance when compared to the soaring spirits of the young people who thrilled, entertained and moved us from the stage tonight.

Where do you start?

The evening was kicked off with an incredibly moving drama performance of the students just oh-so gently reminding us a little of what they had been through before kicking into a wonderfully moving cover of Bruno Mars’ ‘Just The Way You Are.’

We were treated to the story of Gerard Burn’s painting and how some of the students had contributed to its creation – the painting itself really is something.

And the evening was concluded by the incredible Mya, a 14 years-old singer-songwriter who confessed on stage that she suffers from autism and anxiety, but whose renditions of ‘Firefly’ and ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ left the audience absolutely stunned of the sheer potency of a 14-year old voice.

What amazing things can happen when talent is unlocked!

She mentioned she was looking to get her Facebook fanbase over 1000 and if you happen to be reading – check out https://www.facebook.com/MBmusicProductions/.

It’s definitely worth a like.

Individual talent aside, what is even more impressive is the spirit and togetherness of the young people – there was an incredibly moving moment at the end of Mya’s performance when her friends from the organisation just gate-crashed the stage, clapping, singing and all wildly encouraging us to share in the most joyous of moments.

We all did.

What’s more, the spirit of the young people is matched by each and every person in the MCR Pathways team. Whether it’s Claire O’Hara urging the audience to leave the safety of their seats to embrace the magic of the young people by standing closer to the stage. Iain MacRitchie, the founder absolutely making sure the Gerard M Burns Painting could be photographed and sent to the Herald before 730PM to make the deadline for Page-3 tomorrow. Or Robin Dewar, the IT manager who just went out in the cold Glasgow rain to get me a laptop to write this with my phone out of juice.

To a person, each and every-one of them care so much, give it everything they’ve got and exemplify this ‘soaring spirit’ themselves.

Whether you are a person interested in mentoring, an employer who wants to provide a talent taster work-experience or just somebody looking to get a little more involved – this is an organisation that’s worth knowing and supporting.

‘Soaring Spirits’ each and every one of them.

Check out http://www.youngglasgowtalent.org for more info…

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.
26
Oct

the loft’s Design Process

We strive to create beautiful bespoke pieces of work that help bring your brands to life — this is something that takes time, energy, and structure. The design process varies for a lot of agencies; some have very strict rules which must be followed, whereas others have no structure whatsoever. At the loft, we’re probably somewhere in between.

Your own personal design process will be as distinct as the end result, so we have engineered a loose framework that resembles a simple project. Not only is the design process effective and efficient, it’s something that should be a lot of fun.

1. Meetings

1. Initial Meeting

If you have that initial spark of an idea, we would love to hear it. It’s all about taking time to work out exactly what you would like to achieve. The best way to get the ball rolling is by setting up that first meeting to discuss all of the potential directions we can take the project. We will discuss the main aims, intended outcomes, and pinpoint exactly what it is that gives your idea energy.  Whether that’s a visit to our studio or over a cup of coffee at the local cafe, all projects begin with a simple, friendly chat.

2. Core

2. Getting to the core

Now it’s time for the design team to sit down and really their heads together. Finding out and conquering a challenge, understanding an incredibly complex system, bringing out the best in something or someone… every single client we have worked with has had their own unique problem to solve. By summarising the brief we can boil down the project to its core and figure out what the true object is we are to overcome.

3. Concept

3. Concept Presentation

Now it’s time to have some fun! We love to generate tonnes of great ideas, ranging from things that tick all of the briefs boxes to more, let’s say, abstract thoughts. Working with yourself, we can capture some real jewels of creativity in these sessions. Concepts let us summarise our thoughts and highlight the potential directions that the project can take. It’s important to show where ideas come from so displaying them in a presentation makes the process a lot more exciting and visually digestible. Initial sketches is an integral part of the loft’s design process as we can work hard and fast without wasting time on ideas that have no traction. This will be supported by research visuals possibly some basic computer mockups. During these meetings, we like to hone in on a select few ideas so that we can put a lot of energy into. Whether it is home or away, they are great fun to take a step into the future and see what is possible.

5. Development

4. Development Stage

The idea is starting to take shape, building more and more momentum. During this stage we hone in on selected concepts, tearing them apart, playing with various sizes, colours, and compositions. This is where controlled chaos lies and the visuals begin to appear. We will usually require some content from yourself (be that body copy, logos, or images).

4. Dev Presentation

5. Development Presentation

We welcome you back to our studio to exhibit the latest developments in the project. Now is time to be harsh and focus on the finer details — an exciting time for both parties as that initial spark of an idea starts to really come to life.

6. Further Dev copy

6. Further Development

It’s time to finalise the design and lock in the core message. Taking on board all feedback and using it to bring the designs from good to great. This stage requires a very delicate touch — jewellers would be jealous.

7. Design Presentation

7. Final Design Presentation

This is the design as we envision it, all details taken into consideration and work that we are very proud of. An ideal time to thoroughly analyse the design and flag up any final amends before the files are prepared in post-production.

8. File Prep

8. Amendments & File Prep

Any final tweaks that were flagged up in the previous presentation are to be carried out, signing off the overall design. We then move onto prepping the files for their specific format, whether that be print, digital, or other.

9. SignOff

9. Final Sign Off

And alas we reach the bittersweet end of our design adventure. This is concluded by the hand over of all deliverables and additional material that has been created. This project may have come to a close, but our door is always open — we love sitting down for that next coffee.

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.
16
Oct

the loft’s Design Glossary: Binding

Baffled by design terms? Pulling your hair out trying to decipher this secret language your designer is using? Not to worry, help is here. Every week, we will be compiling some of our most frequently used design terms and putting them into more digestible terms. Starting off with the thing that holds it all together — Binding:

Binding refers to the process of combining all the printed, individual sheets together to form a finished book/brochure. Depending on the type of document you are making, the number of pages the document and/or the finish you are looking to achieve all will help to determine the type of binding you will need to use.

 Saddle-stitched binding

Saddle-stitched
Fast, inexpensive and widely available, saddle stitching is one of the most commonly used types of binding. Printed, folded spreads are bound together by stapling them down the fold. This binding is perfect for magazines, reports, brochures and catalogues. However, it can only be used in documents with a low page count in order to maintain the bindings longevity. Here are some examples of saddle-stitched binding in action:

Saddlestitched

 

Perfect bound binding

Perfect Bound
The perfect finish for your document. Perfect bound, while more expensive, offers a high-quality finish to any document. Creating a spine that can be printed, this form of binding binds the cover to the inside pages using a strong yet flexible thermal glue. Best for reports, brochures, magazines, paperback books and catalogues that have a high page count. However, if perfect bound is the finish you are looking for, make sure to leave an extra day or two for binding. Here are some examples of perfect bound binding:

PerfectBound

 

Spiral Bound Binding

Spiral Bound
Need your document to lie flat? Then this is the binding for you. Spiral bound is the most adaptive of bindings, it can be used for low or high page counts and is readily available. Printed pages are bound together using a spiral-shaped piece of metal or plastic which allows the pages to open freely and allows for the document to remain open with ease. Best for binding reports, sales presentations, proposals, directories, cookbooks, instructional books and maintenance manuals. Here are some examples of spiral bound binding in action:

SpiralBound

 

Case bound binding

Case Bound
Case bound, also known as hard back,  is a form of binding that most people will be familiar with. Case bound books are built to last which makes them the ideal candidate for commemorative books, fiction/non-fiction books. This is the most expensive and timely option but if you are looking for strength and longevity, then this is the perfect binding solution. Here are some examples of case binding:

Casebound

Of course, there are other, more bespoke, types of binding which can help to add a little bit of extra personality to your document. From stab stitching which can add a decorative, handcrafted feel to screw post binding and loop stitched binding which are great alternatives to standard binding techniques.

Binding_Other

Next week, we will be deciphering the wonderful world of type.

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.

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.