Tag: Design Agency Glasgow

15
Sep

From Brand Communication to Brand Experience, A Subtle Shift…

We’ve been having a good look at ourselves at the loft recently – thinking about our values, our culture and where we want to be in the next 18 months or so, a great exercise..

One of the things we’re most excited about is the subtle shift of what our company does from Brand Communication to Creating Brand Experiences For People.

What’s the Difference?

Well communication means engaging people on one level whereas producing an experience is much more profound, encouraging of creativity and most importantly – is effective for the client.

In practice, the services remain the same, and the way we do them to a certain extent too. But we now build on those details which make a difference. The magic touches that create an experience – more creative print techniques, better paper-sourcing for brochures, websites with buttons that people want to press, campaigns that are more dialogue and less broadcast, brand marks which truly capture the imagination, etc.

As stated, all things we’re already doing but with a greater emphasis on surprise, delight and a proper commitment to the end-user experience.

Benedetto

29
Aug

Dr Iain MacRitchie, MCR Pathways and loftcast

Some of you may or may not know but the loft released its first ever video podcast last month called loftcast, yes we like that title too. The loftcast is a brand new series designed to help individuals with big goals, ambitions and aspirations fulfil them by sharing the experiences of other high-impact people. Those who have seen it, done it and are now ready to talk about it. The first in our series seen us interview Dr Iain MacRitchie, a hugely successful commercial entrepreneur who is helping disadvantaged young people through his charity MCR Pathways. They really don’t come much more high-impact!

You can see the full interview on YouTube at http://theloft.video/loftcast

However, for those of you that are a little in a hurry check out these smaller clips of the interview.

Enjoy!

Benedetto


1. Introduction
Introducing a leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Iain has delivered over £500 Million in shareholder value, overseen a 6-fold increase in company profits and received international acclaim for the 18+ organisations he’s worked with. All of which, he states, pales into insignificance compared to the ‘challenge of a lifetime’ in supporting disadvantaged young people to realise their potential despite circumstances. 2000 young people supported so far with a plan to reach 5000.

 


2. MCR Pathways
Introducing MCR Pathways, a transformational programme supporting young people through the education system to make sure their talent defines them and not their circumstances.
 


3. A Journey From Commercial To Social Entrepreneur
From making money to making a difference, how a restless journey of goal-setting, being on the edge of the comfort zone and an ultimate search for satisfaction has led Iain to doing what he does today.
 


4. Creating Positive Change
How success is down to persuasion – persuading others that a change is the right thing to do and coming out your own head to understand, help and eventually lead others to success.
 


5. Being Comfortable With Failure
How thinking, dwelling and eventually boxing-off failure, or the fear of the unknown, in your mind can lead to freedom.
 


6. From A Mindset Of Failure To Success
From defining the best version of something to understanding where you are now and creating the steps in-between can lead to real transformations.
 


7. Removing Uncertainty
How uncertainty takes the wind out of everything and the importance of understanding – then removing it – for the success of your venture. All starting with a thought-process
 


8. Creating The Best Version of Something
How there are sparks in everybody and the right combination of Motivation, Commitment and Resilience – can lead a person to become the best version of themselves.
 


9. Turnaround Professional Of The Year to Bust! (ALMOST)
How an unforgettable evening for Iain at the Savoy London, with 2 major award wins, almost went sour.
 


10. MCR – Motivation, Commitment and Resilience
How connecting Motivation, Commitment and Resilience can become the chemistry of change and propel individuals, teams and organisations to real and lasting change.
 


11. Bridging Vision With Reality
What do we want it to be? What is it right now? And what do we do in between?
 


12. Transformational Impact of MCR Pathways Mentoring
From 48.8% of young people progressing to University, College or University over a three-year period to 83%. Ridiculously effective but with simplicity at its heart.
 


13. Creating Sustainable Change
How spending time with those that need it and applying MCR principles has led to a more sustainable form of change – both in organisations and with young people.
 


14. Liam’s Story
From 4 years behind at school to a degree, job, home ownership and now mentoring others alongside his new wife – The Ripple Effect.
 


15. Realising Potential Despite Circumstances
How giving individuals the way, the choice and support can lead to freedom.
 


16. Testing Yourself & Challenging Habits
You don’t know what you’re capable off until you’re on the edges of your comfort zone.
 


17. The Future Of MCR Pathways
How Iain wants every single young person, close to the care-system or with social work involvement, to have MCR Mentoring as a right. And for the model to be introduced in every Western economy too. Dead Easy!
 


18. The Future For Iain
How sharing MCR’s techniques wherever they can be applied – institutions, organisations and even countries – gives us a glimpse into Iain’s future.
 

13
May

A shout-out to the successful ones…

It’s been sooo gratifying to hear about some of our clients successes recently. I ended the week last Friday on the train looking at LinkedIn on my phone and seen that one of our customer-experience clients had just won a competitive pitch to represent a global brand – nationally.

Another pitch win for a company that is doing remarkably well. We helped with the opening stages of the design of that pitch which included some pretty late-nights, 11th hour changes and one or two deck overhauls to get it into shape. To see that they had finally got it over the line a few months later was truly wonderful.

This comes at a time when many of our clients are expanding internationally, recruiting new people, opening offices, winning awards and experiencing phenomenal growth.

‘Partnership’ is something we take seriously at the loft – taking responsibility for the success of projects whether a task falls within our remit or not. It can be harder, at times, much harder. But in the end, it is also so much more rewarding and mutually beneficial.

So a quick shout-out to those who are knocking it out the park and for those that aren’t YET. We promise to do more!

Benedetto

BB

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

 

27
Apr

7 Years, happy birthday the loft…

It’s kind of unbelievable to think, but on the 27th of April 2012, I got the Companies House certificates e-mailed from our accountant and the loft was officially born.

7 years ago today.

It’s been an incredible journey and if somebody had told me what the future would hold, I would have thought they were absolutely mad! So I wanted to take a moment and celebrate the 7 best things about the journey so far. Here they are, in no particular order..

1. Friendships

Some say you shouldn’t mix business with friendship. I honestly don’t think you can have a business which doesn’t have true friendship at the heart of it – particularly in the services sector. I’m truly humbled and honoured with the friendships we have made in the last seven years – clients, partners, suppliers, some of our old staff and even people we’ve just happened to meet along the way. We’ve had friends lend us office space when we didn’t have a home, we’ve been paid early at times by people who wanted to help and we’ve been the beneficiaries of some great advice too.

To give an example of just how amazing our friends are… A few weeks ago, I was discussing a challenge we were having with a lawyer friend and old client. In addition to some good advice, he ended our coffee meeting by asking ‘what’s your mailing address?’ and one day later I received the absolutely amazing ‘Shoe Dog,’ the biography of Phil Knight, the founder of Nike in the post – an Amazon Prime gift. The most incredible gesture from a wonderful person and we’ve been blessed to have experienced so many of these in the last 7 years. People really are good, full stop.

2. Mentors

Mentors are great, they provide inspiration and a pathway to a better tomorrow and I’ve been so lucky over the years with the ones I’ve had. Lots of people have mentored me in some small way but I’ve also been fortunate to have three ‘kind of’ official mentors too. All three are business owners, all are incredibly successful and titans in their own ways. I can’t tell you how much wisdom, support and great ideas I’ve had from all three of them.

3. Values

There is nothing better than making a living from just being yourself and I’m so proud that the loft has an abundance of great values and lived them to the max too. Everything from pushing the limits of what is possible, to giving great ideas energy to grow, to doing more than you’re paid for, to treating clients like partners not customers, giving something back, finding the beautiful in the seemingly mundane and taking ‘Action’ at every opportunity. There are just so many and we’re at our very best when we live them in the truest way possible.

4. Great Work

We have done some staggeringly good work over the years, and again it goes way beyond what I’m personally capable off, something thats been truly satisfying. Branding projects packed with meaning to infographics that are almost works of art to brochures that are so inviting that you have to read what’s inside. Soooo many great projects and we invest so much time, effort and energy to painstakingly get it right time and time again and without this it just wouldn’t be worth doing. ‘Design With Soul’ IS more than a tag-line, IT IS a way of life.

5. Learning & Limits

You don’t really learn anything until you jump in and test your limits and boy have we jumped in at times. Some times we’ve got hurt, some times it’s been sore but each time we’ve gained something of incredible value. The kind of experience school can’t teach and money can’t buy.

6. Teamwork

We’ve been fortunate to work with some outstanding creatives – both in the team and also contractors and it is their contribution which really should be celebrated. Each of them have given and developed thousands of ideas, some of them absolutely mind-blowing and it is their energy that has helped our hundreds of clients over the past 7 years to achieve their outcomes using design and branding. They are the giants whose shoulders we stand on to make us taller as a company, a creative provider and as a brand.

7. Gratitude

This whole post is a little bit of an acceptance speech but it is worth mentioning again. I am just so grateful to the people that have helped, and you know who you are. But I am even more grateful to have had this experience, it has truly been a blessing. Every day I wake up – sometimes insanely early, sometimes with virtually no sleep, sometimes running on empty – but I just absolutely love what I do. I really love it in a way that words can’t describe. Helping people bring brilliant ideas to life is the most rewarding profession in the world and I’ll happily do it until the day I die.

Or at least for another 7 years.

Happy birthday the loft…

Benedetto

BB

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

 

13
Mar

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.

 

09
Mar

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.

04
Mar

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.

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.
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.