First things first. We don’t see design as adding a splash of colour to a document, or choosing a font. These are things we do, absolutely but they’re part of a much wider process. Our process in its simplest form is – understand / plan / invent / make. This can be scaled from the smallest project to the largest, over a couple of days or several months.
We actively work with clients of different size and from different sectors because we learn more this way and carry less preconceived ideas into projects. Just because two organisations are the same size and work in the same area, this doesn’t mean they are the same in any way. This stops us making assumptions or bringing pre-conceived ideas to a project. It makes us listen better.
We start all projects by getting to know the people and organisation we’re working with. Good design solutions are built on strong understanding. Preconceptions and assumptions weaken the project and move you towards superficial or obvious solutions neither of which we’re interested in. Even if we’re given a written brief for a project we rewrite it into a project outline as invariably this throws up questions that would otherwise go unasked. We try to get as good an understanding of the unique attributes and problems of a project as well as its audience and their needs.
Once we have a strong understanding of a projects’ place in the world it provides a solid platform on which to build. The brief that we write is followed by a proposed plan that gives a bare outline of how we plan to approach the project. Once the project outline and plan have been agreed we start to explore how we might bring it to life. We look at various appropriate directions and in most cases propose the one that we feel works best and has the most potential.
When our overall proposal has been agreed we can concentrate on the making of the finalised items (from logos and illustrations to books, websites and environments) – the tools that help explain, engage and communicate. The way something is made says a lot about you to your audience, so care is taken in making items that convey the right values and communicates the right messages.
Each part of this process creates value – Better understanding for all involved of how you’re organisation works and it’s unique place in the world. A strategy to help make sense of it, to your audience, to your team. Ideas that bridge gaps, create opportunities and capture imaginations. And of course, the final part, the finished object with all this important perspective and intent perfectly packaged to tell your story and communicate your values. So much more than a random selection of colours and fonts.