We’ve been beavering away again – writing articles that we think will be of interest or use to you! Please do feel free to tell us if it isn’t
Issue 3 is the latest Smart Talk this year and has articles on SEO as well as the top 5 mistakes made in marketing … we’ve even given you a little giggle with the latest adventures of Dixie and Charlie, our resident doggie characters.
Hi there, I’m Dixie Dawg, the black Labrador and I work here at Smart Ideas Design; well I don’t work really, I lie there snoozing all day having had my morning walk only getting off my bed for the occasional apple core that is offered – any food is good food as far as I’m concerned – I am a Labrador after all! Oh I also get off my bed for a wee wee but as you can see below… I don’t always make it but that’s not my fault….
So getting back to the point in question, has anyone seen Charlie? He’s such a cheeky young snapper, he’s only 4 and he’s so naughty sometimes with lots of cheek. I have to keep him in order I can tell you! Here he is here on the right sharing my bed!!! I’m not happy I can tell you!
The peeps here at Smart Ideas thought it would be a really good idea to talk about mine and Charlies adventures, so they decided to capture it in a comic strip which has been launched in the February issue of Smart Talk.
New for 2012 is ‘Smart Talk’, our newsletter which first hit the desks of our unsuspecting clients and clients-to-be in Valentine’s week! Not only did we feature a coupe of latest projects but some tips on how to make your design agency love you and some hot design facts.
Imagine our surprise when clients and prospective clients emailed us some lovely comments – it seems they all thought they were receiving a mystery Valentine’s card as it arrived in a large red A4 envelope.
Grab your copy here and tell us what you think – you may even want to have a go at the caption competition….
At last, we have revamped our website and by revamp we mean revamp and not a revolution – hey, we’re designers! And we like to shout that we are designers… so we’re constantly updating, revamping, adding new case studies on.
Tell us what you think? You can see the new site here.
The picture before
Severn Trent needed to reduce expenditure on capital equipment and make existing assets and networks work much harder. One route was to establish and embed a cultural change of ‘Seeking and Sharing’ within the Severn Trent team and their One Supply Chain (OSC). The project Seek and Share was born and needed to be embedded in the organisation’s own way of working that engaged both its internal team and the OSC.
What our biggest challenges were
As always with a project of this nature and the number of different audience groups, we needed to understand:
• The way the different audiences work currently, how they engage with each other and the existing tools they use.
• What key trigger would encourage them to adopt ’Seek and Share’.
• The barriers to adopting the ‘Seek & Share’ due to the competitive element within the One Supply Chain.
What we wanted to achieve
Seek & Share was implemented in order to encourage Severn Trent and the One Supply Chain to find more innovative and cost effective ways of doing things (Seeking) and then to give that information freely to other parts of the One Supply Chain (Sharing) in order that both best practice and cost savings can be realised.
The service Smart Ideas Design provided
The brief for this project needed to be shaped and defined so we worked with Severn Trent and the One Supply Chain in a series of workshops to help them define the brief before we started any creative. We all needed to understand the nature and size of ‘the beast’ to be able to create the right look and feel for it.
Once the brief was shaped to Severn Trent’s ultimate goals, we started with the creative work. This entailed the design and development of a set of materials including the Seek and Share style, posters, literature and web portal. It took the form of a series of icons pictured here which are easy to understand, engaging and colourful. The icons were further added to with string men characters who are communicating via string and tin cans. The style is designed to be warm, colourful, friendly and engaging as well as completely different for a utility like Severn Trent Water. Continue reading →
As graphic designers we love being told what our clients think of us. We received this very recently from a client I have worked with for over 18 years. We’ve designed and built a number of brands for him over the years and in that time have built a good friendship through a few different businesses as he is a true entrepreneur.
“How many creative agencies have been around for nearly 18 years? How many clients have stayed with such an agency for all of those 18 years? Through a variety of businesses in a range of market places? Not many would be my guess. I have stayed with Philippa throughout because she has that rare ability to combine true creativity; commercial acumen and real world results. She is simply the best in her field.”
Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Creative
It’s fair to say our working relationship has weathered very well despite the odd disagreement about the direction of a brand; that happens because we genuinely love his businesses as much as he does; we laugh about them now which just goes to show the strength of the relationship. We’ve also achieved some tremendous results for him.
This is some of the latest work we have done for him. Over the years we have designed and developed brands and then implemented them across many disciplines. Adverts, catalogues, websites and latterly social media and packaging. What a mix!
Ferreting in the archives the other day we came across some old promo footage for Smart Ideas from 2001, and I have to say we did smile somewhat. We didn’t even hesitate about blogging about it – we found it really quite funny. My, how things have changed!
One of our clients who was in the office at the time we unearthed the footage asked me “how do you manage to look 10 years younger now than you did 10 years ago?“. I smiled sweetly and answered “it’s the joy of working with you that does it.” I hasten to add we have worked with him as long as Smart Ideas have been in existence and he is without doubt a lifelong friend.
However, I think we definitely need to do an updated version (although we haven’t used this one in years); looking back that promo video cost us around £1000 and today, due to the changes in software and smartphones it will cost us nothing. So please watch this space for a new updated version.
Whatever we put together will really reflect the characters and culture that has prevailed at Smart Ideas Design Limited for nearly 20 years; that of really getting to know the client in order to give them something that gets results and therefore a great Return on Investment.
Many times over the last twenty years, we’ve been commissioned to design new brands, literature, packaging, advertising and of course web sites. The brief could at best be described as ‘brief’ and it was always my mission to question, question, question.
Without me doing this, I could never have created and achieved the results we have for clients. The quality of the brief is paramount. Without the depth and background of what the business is trying to achieve how can this design gain tangible results? The return on investment for a design alert business is £225 for every £100 spent according to research by the Design Council. Design must be aligned to the company’s strategy – makes complete sense to me.
So this list is designed to help marketeers achieve a much better result in their dealings with design agencies.