MCR Pathways – Changing Perspectives

Right, this is my first blog post so go easy. I talk about the most inspiring three hours of my short design career so far – so here goes..

I arrived at work last Friday feeling rather different. The last time I walked into our studio feeling this nervous I was clutching onto my portfolio and CV, prepared to beg Benedetto for a job.

But why was I so nervous? Was there a 9am meeting I wasn’t prepared for? An impending deadline at my desk? Had trainer Jamie from Puregym made me want to vomit before work? No, not this time. In fact, today we’re ignoring our deadlines, meetings as well as Jamie and opening our door to four young students into our office for a ‘Talent Taster’.

This ‘Talent Taster’ was organised by MCR Pathways, a Glasgow based organisation that ensures young kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, remain inspired and confident about their future. These talent tasters are organised for secondary school students to learn more about the jobs they think they might want when they’re older. Which means a big part of what they do is help young people discover what skills and capabilities they have up their sleeves.

So back to that cold morning..

After a quick breakfast with the guys (becoming a Loft tradition), we had a team talk on how the morning would pan-out. I was still apprehensive about the idea, but I guess what excited me most about this opportunity, was the prospect of a young person leaving our little studio in Merchant City, on the right path, ready to take on the big design world.

Before I knew it, the team talk was over and the kids were arriving. One by one they hesitantly walked through the studio door. What I was looking at was four future Creative Directors, all be it slightly shorter than Benedetto (Only slightly), clutching onto their bags, lunch boxes and jackets.

After a brief introduction we dived from the highest springboard into the deep-end, head first. Each member of the team was paired with a student. I was picked last, something I remember all to well from the gym hall at high school.

My partner in crime’s name was Callum, a curious chap. Before I could show him some of my work for the loft he asks for a business card, obviously after some credentials – this young man means business.

Callum instantly comes out of his shell as soon as we start chatting and interacting. I guess this is what MCR Pathways is all about: Giving young people that confidence, especially when they get one to one attention from someone who cares.

We slowly make our way around the room as I show him some of our most recent projects. Callum seems not only enthralled but inquisitive. He kept me on my toes by asking loads of questions on concepts and design choices, which to be honest, I wasn’t expecting. This no longer seems like a Talent Taster experience but more like a discussion from designer to designer. It was lovely to have someone who not only wanted to hear what I do day-to-day, but to actually question it and offer opinions and ideas.

I turn to Callum and question his age, my jaw almost hits the floor when he replies with: ‘Fourteen’.

We grab a chair (I definitely needed one) and start the exercise I prepared on the bus into work. Our idea was to replicate the creative process, with one of the hardest briefs a designer ever has to face: Personal Branding.
It starts with a mind map where the creatives had to fill in the blanks. What’s your name? Hobbies? Your favourite colour? What’s special about you? What memorable logos can you think of?

Immediately after filling in the gaps Callum lifts his pencil case out and begins to sketch ideas, explaining his ideas as he does so. It feels like he understands the creative process back to front. I try to fuel his mind with some ideas to build on, but I see he’s in his own world so I let him be and grab a pen and paper myself. I glance over every so often, and see an intense look of concentration, matched with a smile.

What I remember most about this experience is being astounded by Callum’s sketching abilities, and how fast he was bringing his ideas to life.

With a dozen possible routes we head over to my Mac – we fire up Illustrator and after a very brief demonstration, get to work. This part of the process is where I’m needed most. Callum explains to me that his school doesn’t have a Adobe software such as Illustrator or Photoshop and he doesn’t have access to a computer at home.

My heart sinks a little.

With such a creative mind and with so much potential, I offer some advice on where he may be able to match his creativity with useful skills that could develop his ideas and take them to the next level.

You can see a light in his eyes as he watches me closely whip up some of his designs. There was an air of excitement in the room. Callum commented on how he loved how his design was coming to life and I explained to him that’s what I loved most about this job: that ‘buzz’. How our ideas start from a quick sketch and develop into finished brands, campaigns etc.

Before we know it, the experience is over and we’re saying our goodbyes. Callum and the other young creatives have something valuable to take back with them – a brand – but more importantly, a realistic view of what it really means to be a designer.

Reflecting back, I really got the feeling that some perspectives on life may have changed for the better that morning. Not just for the young creatives, but for ourselves as designers. It certainly made me stop and think. Think about the opportunities I’ve been given over the years, but think more about how incredibly lucky I am to be doing something I love each day – and earning a living from it.

I would urge any professional to get involved in MCR Pathways. I challenge you to find any other experience so moving and uplifting that will make you or your team feel this inspired. Good luck, you’ll need it.



Charlie is one of the new-generation of designers – equally at home online/offline. He has a wonderful imagination and is at his best when dreaming up brave, bright and beautiful ideas in the many sketch-books that he keeps.

A great conceptual thinker, with a special ability to solve challenging problems. Charlie is a real team-player too and most recently the brains behind ‘The Loft-Social.’


Bridge to The Future – ‘A Magical Evening at The Kelvingrove’


I arrived at Kelvingrove Museum representing our team for the MCR Pathways event ‘Bridge to the Future’. Once registered, I made my way up the marble staircase to the museums main hall. The building was immense, but it had nothing on the positive atmosphere created by the hundreds of attendees raring to listen to the events talks.

MCR Pathways is an organisation designed to give a helping hand to disadvantaged young people starting out in life. They believe that having a role-model is incredibly important, and the mentors within the organisation fill this position perfectly, taking time out of their busy lives to help the young people fulfil their potential. I feel that it is the connection to a mature adult that the young people really appreciate the most.

It is a belief that all of us at the loft share, and we were delighted to strengthen our bond with the charity by joining other businesses who have supported the ‘Talent-Taster’ sessions which give young people an insight into the world of work.

As the event began; the crowd was quick to hush as the night was going to be predominantly hosted by the young people themselves. I would say that I am a confident person for the most part, but seeing the young people up on stage with hundreds of eyes watching them, I felt I had a lot to learn. Being that age talking in front of 10 people would be intimidating, so I was very impressed with the calmness, maturity and professional approach that the young people took whilst standing on the stage.

Multiple mentors were invited up for an interview, being questioned on how they have found the process, their best moments and why they decided to mentor in the first place. It was easy to see how much they have enjoyed the programs, with their passion shinning through genuine smiles that was spread across their faces.

Performances by the young people then took place, every piece symbolising different aspects of the organisation that had made a positive impact on their lives. Once again, I was thoroughly impressed by the confidence up on stage. It was clear that the MCR Pathways experience has had a massive impact on the young people and I could see that first hand.

Artist Gerard M. Burns gave a small talk on his piece titled ‘Bridge to the Future’ (of which the events name spawned from). The painting involved two young adults linked arm in arm, both reaching out in opposite directions, almost beckoning on the outside world, stronger united. I felt that it really summarised what MCR Pathways is trying to do for the young people of Scotland; build meaningful relationships to better themselves and their confidence in preparation for life after high-school.

As the talks came to an end, an opera singer and pianist took to the stage with beautiful performance. It was very fitting within the grandeur of the museum. An exhibition opened, showcasing featured work from our very own talent taster sessions that the young people had been a part of. We are extremely happy to have our work placed up on the wall, highlighting the excitement of the young people working in the studio. I felt a sense of pride for everyone attending the event, the energy in the room was profound.

We look forward to continue building a strong relationship with MCR Pathways and are delighted that we could be a part of the experience. It’s eye opening to see the difference that the charity has had on these young persons lives – one which was strengthened by the performance they gave at the Kelvingrove event.

I’m sure it won’t be the last.



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.

Looking for Design Staff, Interns and Hot-Deskers


The loft is one of Scotland’s most high-energy, ideas-led and creatively ambitious design and branding houses. A place where beautiful ideas are brought to life in the most imaginative way possible. Our large South Block Studio is a little quiet at the moment so we’re hoping you can help us fill it out a bit. We are looking for a whole range of people – creative staff, interns and hot-deskers to come help us build the most incredible of incredible creative environments.

Looking for Design Staff

We are looking for a creative designer who can help us bring beautiful ideas to life. We work predominantly in graphic design but don’t be surprised if you find yourself being stretched creatively in other ways. You will have exceptional basic skills (sketching and ideation,) have an open mind, enjoy working with others and have a real desire to learn and improve.

You will have the opportunity to work with great people who really love what they do, be part of a wonderful creative environment, work directly with clients, take part in our many extra-curricular activities and be competitively paid.

This position is ideal for a graduate or inexperienced designer. We have lots of different ways of doing things that we use to achieve spectacular outcomes – we want to share these with you and then work with you to create new ways to re-write the rule book.

Please send your folio and CV to

Looking for Design Interns

To help us breathe life into even more beautiful ideas – we are also looking for College and University interns that can join our studio over the coming months. We have a lot that we want to do for our clients and also for ourselves and are therefore excited to offer this opportunity to a young creative who wants to gain a truly professional experience in a wonderfully creative environment. You will have exceptional basic skills (sketching and ideation,) have a very open mind and enjoy working with others.

You will receive the most professional of professional experiences – working directly with our team and also our clients, taking part in all of the ‘other’ activities that we do as a studio and squeeze as rich an adventure as possible into a few short months.

Unfortunately this is an unpaid position – we completely understand if that makes it a no-go – but if you’re interested in building your experience, coming on a thrilling ride and helping us out in the process – please send your folio, CV and availability to

Looking for Hot-Deskers

We have a big, beautiful, open space with ample room for individual creatives, freelancers or start-up entrepreneurs to come and use.

We can offer….

– A wonderful creative environment with other freelancers and our own team.

– All of the wonderful, communal facilities of South Block – breakaway spaces, Ping Pong Table, Coffee Shop, Reception Service

– Wi-Fi

– The opportunity to take part in different activities with our own team (who are a social bunch) and other people sharing the space

– For creative freelancers – the opportunity to collaborate on projects.

– Oh and a table and desk too (almost forgot.)

The price is £120(+20%VAT,) we require a minimum 3-Month commitment and a reference too.

Please contact or  phone 0141 354 1595 for more information.

We can’t wait to hear from all of you…


The loft Team


Charlie Law – Awards, Ideas and Pushing The Fine Line

Over the years we’ve found that the projects with the strongest ideas pretty much design themselves.

The more inspired the idea – the greater the momentum behind a project.

And those projects tends to be quicker to develop too – great lesson for both commercial and creative enterprises.

Last year – one of our team –  Charlie Law  won the prestigious ‘Marketing Society’s Star Creative Student Award 2016’ for a brilliant campaign to tackle gender equality with a brief set by The Scottish Government.

The students were asked to develop campaign materials to raise awareness of the 50/50 pledge laid out by the First Minister – Nicola Sturgeon. The pledge challenges all public, private and third-sector bodies in Scotland to commit to take action on gender equality, promising to get a 50/50 gender split on their boards of management by 2020.

Charlie’s imaginative response to the creative challenge was the provocative ‘Put Her In Her Place’ campaign.

The campaign is broken down in two parts – the first part shows a series of shocking statements being displayed both online and offline.




Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 22.46.19The sinister use of text neatly accompanying the messages on display.

However these ideas are flipped well and truly on their head when you see Part-2.

‘Put Her in Her Place – Rightfully The Boardroom.’

‘Go On She Deserves It – Having more diversity of thinking in the workplace leads to better performance and a stronger economy.’

‘She’s Had It Coming – Women have never been in a stronger position to lead and shape the economic landscape.’

Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 22.46.51

If a campaign is designed to raise awareness of an issue – then this campaign goes above and beyond and then some. A rightful award winner.

However, more than the quality of the idea, it is the boldness of the thinking behind it. We talk regularly in the studio about ‘pushing the limits,’ this concept really does dance on that fine line of greatness.

We are so proud of Charlie, for what he has achieved with this project before he joined us and for the brilliant ideas he shares with us each and every day.

Ideas, so strong – that they by and large – develop themselves…

Well done Charlie…


This post was written by Benedetto but the star of the piece is Charlie Law.

Charlie is one of the new-generation of designers – equally at home online/offline. He has a wonderful imagination and is at his best when dreaming up brave, bright and beautiful ideas in the many sketch-books that he keeps.

A great conceptual thinker, with a special ability to solve challenging problems. Charlie is a real team-player too and most recently the brains behind ‘The Loft-Social.’




The Journey of Discovery

Design is never a fixed path. It twists and bends, branching off into different areas and adapting to its surroundings. In this sense, there is no ‘right or wrong’ within design, but a gut feeling that tells you that you’re heading in the right direction.

We met Stan, the founder of a company called Disruptancy. It was a very successful business; expanding it’s client base, continually working on new ideas. But something struck me as peculiar; it had lasted 10 years without any form of branding.

As we live in the information age, branding plays a crucial part to any successful business, yet Stan’s seemed to defy logic on this part. How could a company hold up against it’s competition for 10 years without any recognisable marks that are tied to the title?

Disruptancy works business to business. Organisations come to Disruptancy for a number of reasons — but usually to employ disruptive practises and methodologies to scale or turnaround.

We felt it was important to get to know Stan as a person for this exercise, because you could almost say that he was the current branding of Disruptancy. A lot of his clients came directly to his company not because of advertising, but through word of mouth and a trustworthy founder. The branding would be very personal to Stan and represent his idea of what the company stands for.

We began mind-mapping from a select list of words Stan had used to summarise the business. The mind mapping lead us to some interesting themes:

Integration / The journey / Creative pathways / Fluid movement / Turnaround / Expansion /  Adaptation / Evolution / Growth of a business / Personalised service / Company code

This section of the design process is always energetic; a lot of very initial thoughts with accompanying pathways. No idea has been anchored down to the ground so there’s always a feeling of continual momentum and fluidity.

These words lead us onto research, pulling inspiration from numerous sources; sculpture, architecture, art, print design.


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To convey to companies ideas and legacy, this key was crucial to the success of the branding. As long as the idea had potential, it was pinned up on the wall. As the wall began to fill, it was becoming more and more apparent that the team was all on the same track.

Themes began to naturally emerge, so it was time to categorise them. We collected the initial research in to piles based on their similarities. These similarities weren’t necessarily simply aesthetic, it was more conceptual ideas that tied them together.

After collecting and arranging, we discussed again in detail what the company stood for, what message they wanted to show the world. A good technique for this is summarising the companies themes in as few a words as possible. This then led us on to creating specific names for each concept our research had brought to us.

Conceptualisation was made a lot easier due to our initial research and theme building stages. Any form of sketch that was created was then pinned up (as rough as it may be). In many cases, if I drew a sketch that I wasn’t happy with, another team member may find some inspiration in it, leading us onto greater ideas. We’ve found that it’s always a good idea to put up every idea you have, as small as it may seem.


The presentation is dependant on the brief; with this brief, we wanted to present our concepts in a way that highlighted particular traits of our clients company. We chose to recreate the ‘journey’ aspect, and pinned up our concept on the wall, linking them together with red string.

Now that the initial concepts had been created, we felt it was time to bring our client back in to the studio to show the journey so far. After a brief explanation of each concept, we asked and answered questions regarding the ideas. Keeping an open communication is key to a successful project, especially in the early stages.

There were a couple of concepts that really stood out to Stan, one of them being ‘The Möbius Strip’ concept. I explained to Stan that a Möbius Strip is a mathematical object that has one side and one edge, known as being non-orientable. It can be recreated by taking a thin piece of paper, writing it once in the middle, then gluing the ends together. If you take a pen and draw a line down the path, it will cover all faces of the strip, meaning it has one side.


But how does this relate to Disruptancy? Well, there were multiple connections that I found between Stan’s company and the mathematical shape:

A strip winds and bends, yet only has one side and one edge
— Disruptancy adapts based on it’s clients, yet only has one objective

A literal 180 degree flip
— The company is flipped on it’s head, with a new outcome

Any object that travels down the strip will arrive at the starting point inverted
— Endless possibilities at the end of the process

Cutting the strip down the central axis results in a larger strip; the strip expands outward and has obtained extra twists
— By disrupting clients’ companies, a dramatic change has been made, only to result in the growth of the business

Stan could see potential in this concept, so we took it forward and began developing this idea. A very important part of this stage is not losing the core meaning of the concept by covering it in an aesthetic facade. Always ensure that the developed idea fits within the mould created by that spark that started the journey.

The comparison of these connections to the initial themes we had thought of was interesting. As the concept begins to take shape, each point that it expresses is refined and sharpened. There were no longer any unanswered questions about the brand, myself and the team could confidently answer any questions regarding the meaning of the logo, ensuring a very clear message is sent across.

The team were very happy with the final design, as we could all agree that it summarised what Disruptancy was all about in a simple mark.


I feel that myself and The Loft have learned from the entire process of creating Disruptancy’s branding. I know now not to through away any ideas, because even the most ridiculous will have depth to them. To be honest, it’s usually the most ridiculous that are the most successful. Always stay true to that concept as it is so easy to take it on another path. Working close with the client and building a trusted relationship is key too, is it gives you as a designer freedom to make decisions based on your training and knowledge. Always be abstract and creative, never stop pushing to create something you and the client are proud of.


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.

Great brand?? It’s already there…

Unsurprisingly for a branding and design house, we are often asked about the best ways to build a great a great brand?

And we always do our best to keep it relevant to the people we are talking too – ‘your brand should be shaped by your commercial objectives,’ ‘every brand is different,’ ‘branding is an extension of values’ etc, etc…

But more often than not and with the sincere desire to be helpful – we’ll say to people that they probably already have a great brand story and it’s just a case of bringing some more of it to life.

Yes, campaigns can help.
Yes, logos are important.
And yes, tag lines do make a difference.

But it’s the small intangible things that really make a difference and most of the time they’re already there.

Its the stories of great customer experiences, examples where staff went above and beyond, particular achievements, values that you live up to every day, ways that you do things that are unique to you, products that make a difference.

Everybody has these and they are the building blocks to that great brand that you want to build.

Creating great brands is less about set-piece activities and more about capturing the spirit of the organisation.

While compiling The Sustainability Report for Scottish Leather Group in 2016. (An easy task because Scottish Leather Group have outstanding sustainability achievements.) We completed a special feature on the sustainability of the workforce of Scottish Leather Group companies.

John from Scottish Leather Group was celebrating more than 41 years of Service and Social Media definitely appreciated it.

John from Scottish Leather Group was celebrating more than 41 years of Service and Social Media definitely appreciated it.

As we found – at the heart of Scottish Leather Group’s sustainability achievements was the retention of their staff where they have a tremendous record. One page of the report featured John – one of their operators, who began working with the company in 1975, we recorded a timeline of his service showing how he started as an apprentice and is now helping other apprentices.

What was incredible was that we shared this image as a piece to show what the loft could do on LinkedIn and we were inundated with comments and likes each celebrating and congratulating the well-deserved success of a Scottish Leather Group employee. It shows how the small things can truly make a difference.

A wonderful piece of brand storytelling for Scottish Leather Group and something we still get asked about today.

It is the small things that bring a tender to life, makes a presentation memorable and helps a company to build a reputation.

Bring your culture to life and you’ll bring your brand to life and the best bit is that for most of you – it’s already there.


Benedetto is an enthusiastic Creative and Business person.

‘Design with soul’ may be the company tag-line, but to Benedetto, it is also a way of life. He believes that creative and commercial enterprise is about purity of thought, honesty of construction and boldness of execution.

He believes in bringing out the true essence of human endeavour and considers his job of articulating the great work of people and companies an absolute privilege.

His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role as the Founder and Creative Director of the loft, a branding consultancy in Glasgow.

He is honoured to manage a great team, work with great clients and have a lot of fun mixing with so many great people in business.