Clients often tell us that our approach to work is unique and sets us apart from others but to us it is second nature. Being naturally inquisitive means that we like to learn as much as possible before putting pen to paper and we have found that strategy helps to add structure to our creative thinking.
Our approach to work utilises research and strategy as the foundation to all design ideas and rationale. We believe that we add the most value when involved on a project from the word go through to launch.
We certainly didn’t invent the term ‘evidential design’ but it captures the fundamentals of how we have always worked. Today, we offer a full research service that allows our clients to gain insight into their customers, their marketplace and the changing world around them.
Every project starts with a research stage whereby the team gets to know a client in every sense. In fact, no one is allowed to put pen to paper to design in this stage of the project.
We don’t have a dedicated research team. “Is that risky?” we get asked. We think so and that’s why we do it. The designers have first hand experience and empathy for the challenge in hand. Knowledge is power, right? So we empower our designers to become problem solvers with knowledge and understanding.
We will go to any and all lengths to learn and explore during a research phase. We formulate a client specific research plan and will undertake any tasks that we feel will help to educate us; these include but are not limited to:
By using ethnographic studies and observing customers in their natural environment we can build a picture of their lifestyle, interests, habits and behaviors. In some instances we have even put on uniforms and operated on the shop floor in order to gain first hand experience of customers from a staff perspective.
We can also use our digital platform to curate any type of questionnaire to canvas customer opinion. We analyse the results and provide an easily digestible report of key learnings.
Face to face research sessions (whether on the street, in our studio or on location) allow us to ask open questions to really get under the skin and dig that little bit deeper.
Identifying the competition and investigating what they are doing, not only in your sector or locality but across sectors and around the globe.
What does best in class look like? Through our extensive network, we'll paint the picture and help set a benchmark.
We surround ourselves with trend experts such as Trendwatching, GDR and YCN who help us build a picture of the future to allow us to not only generate, but future proof ideas and innovations.
In order to understand current financials and forecast forward we will meet with the clients finance team to crunch the numbers and understand how customers currently spend their hard earned cash.
We can then propose ways to increase sales backed with the evidence of spend patterns.
Getting the right people onboard at the right time is essential to the success of any project. We will get them involved at an early stage so their ideas are on the table and they become an integral part of the project from the beginning.
We engage stakeholders through a Creative Day and a What’s New Tour. This gets people thinking as a team, challenges their perceptions and opens their minds to new possibilities.
In order to keep our creative minds whirling with original inventiveness we make it a thing to regularly attend innovation events, futurologist talks and trend seminars.
Innovation events, like Most Contagious, allow us to learn from outside our sector and be inspired by the boundaries being pushed and broken in different industries around the globe. Our brains often implode with craziness when postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures at futurology talks. It’s incredibly exciting to consider the influencing factors that will shape our future.
Delving into worldwide consumer trends and related business opportunities at trend seminars such as Trend Watching are a firm favorite in our calendar. The annual Trend Report and regular quarterly updates are tucked under our pillows for bedtime reading!
We also offer Tea & Cake INNOVATION Sessions for our clients that are focused sessions to share our knowledge about the latest emerging innovations, technology and trends.
THE BIG IDEA
Determining a clear sense of direction and purpose for each project is key to ensure projects achieve their goals, such as raising sales or increasing brand awareness.
Our ability to build on the research insights and identify a big idea is how we help clients change sectors and create something remarkable.
An experience map efficiently pulls together all the learnings and forms the basis of the design that allows stakeholders to get on board before subjectivity gets in the way.
We find that a robust strategy helps add structure to our creative thinking and paves the way forward for the design.
This is where the magic happens; using knowledge from the research phase and direction from the strategy phase our multidisciplinary team and expert partners put their heads together to dream big and create the unexpected.
Time to roll those sleeves up and get dirty. This stage is about embracing all ideas and exploring a wide range of possibilities. Using the team’s wide mix of skills all aspects of the concept from brand and graphic communication to interior design and customer experience are designed in tandem.
Outputs from this stage include mood boards, material boards, sketch book of concept design options for both the brand and physical space.
We endorse a very close a collaborative working relationship with our clients and look for client input at every stage of the design process. The design development stage takes on board both client and end user feedback in order to improve and polish the design to perfection.
Outputs from this stage include final brand identity, communications and interior spaces well as high quality 3D renders, fly throughs and prototypes.
The focus during this stage is detailing and refining all elements for the design from interiors to graphics to ensure the concept is suitable for manufacture.
Outputs from this stage include design intent technical drawing packs (suitable for landlord approval and shop fitter tender), artwork packs and communication packs to ensure consistent branding across all mediums.
Although we don’t project manage, we stay involved as much as needed but principally we ensure the design is delivered as promised. This can include reviewing prototypes, snagging the build, support with visual merchandising and even organising launch events.
It doesn’t have to stop there; post launch we get involved in ROI reviews, design developments, acting as brand guardians, roll-outs, design guidelines and managing social media. We’re here for the journey.