LearnStudio Life: Part 4

Treehouse
writes on February 9, 2011

Bluegg is a creative agency and so in order to be creative we need talented and passionate team members that are full of brilliant ideas. That’s one thing that Mike and Tom have excelled at, finding the best people for the job who compliment the team and also have individual skills that allow us to offer a range of digital and print services.

The Creatives

Our design team consists of Tom (Creative Director) and Liam and Gareth, the Creatives. Between them, the guys work on branding, print and web design projects and Gareth is also a pretty great illustrator, which comes in handy!

Having this range of skills means that we can manage several projects on the go at any one time ranging in scope and priority. Whilst it’s essential to have good designers, we still need to be efficient and have processes in place to provide the best service possible.

The Ideas

Everyone at Bluegg has contact with clients and although we try to filter all work through myself there are inevitably times when someone else in the team receives a brief or request. As mentioned in last week’s article, we are able to quickly share information like this by all working in the same room, but when a new project comes in, the creative team spend time together discussing the brief, confirming the requirements and brainstorming initial ideas.

The scope of the project will dictate how long this session needs to be but as an example we recently kicked off a small branding project and so the team spent about an hour together looking at the brief, competitor websites and agreeing a way forward regarding the concepts to be designed. We also allow time for research, whether this be from books or online. Inspiration presents itself in a number of sources so we actively encourage time for the team to look at blogs and books.

Another key part of the Bluegg way when it comes to design work is time to filter out the weaker ideas. We tend to have quick fire sketching sessions when looking at a branding project. That way we can quickly get down to a few key ideas which can then be refined. As a result of this the studio is often full of sheets of paper with doodles, sketches and ideas on. To help with this the creatives head into the meeting room for some undisturbed thinking time. You just can’t underestimate the importance of having this time to fully understand the story that the brand needs to tell and finding the best way to show and tell this story.

When there aren’t strict deadlines to be met, we encourage all the team to take time out to research new ideas and techniques that can help with future projects. We’re ‘big on fun’ at Bluegg. We really believe that banter, humour and a stress free environment produces better results. Of course there are times when we’re a little stressed, as all creative agencies experience, but we always try to overcome this by having time away from our screens for a coffee or a doodle session. The Bluegg Doodles have become very popular among visitors to our site!

The Creation

It’s hard to describe a ‘typical’ project for the creatives because they can vary so much in scope, especially as we do print and web. We try to streamline as much as possible though without getting bogged down in admin. We don’t have meetings for the sake of it and the creatives don’t get involved in paperwork. Their focus is on creating beautiful work. This can consist of everything from identity design including brochures, folders, leaflets and advertising through to building and vehicle signage, website UI’s, web elements and flash animations.

This wide range of experiences is great for a creative team. It helps make sure work doesn’t become monotonous and stale. We also always try to complete projects with the minimum of delay so we stay fresh and ready for the next challenge.

From a technical point of view, whilst we encourage sketching with the good ol’ pad and pencil, all the Creatives inevitably end up on their Mac’s using Creative Suite. As we’re a mixed studio of Creatives, Developers and Managers we have a mix of Mac’s and PC’s which all link to a central exchange server.

The Chain

Before any design work is sent to clients it is approved by Tom. This doesn’t mean that Tom acts as big brother or doesn’t have faith in the designers but we have to ensure that anything that leaves the studio is as good and accurate as possible. This is especially true of our print projects and once approved by Tom I then check the artwork against any emails with amends to ensure everything has been actioned.

We don’t have a formal sign off procedure such as a physical sign-off sheet (Bluegg tries to be as paperless as possible) but we do have to be stringent. The designers will pass latest proofs to Tom, he’ll make his checks and then pass them to me to check and send to clients. By channeling everything through me (cc-ing the Mike and Tom at all times) it means that when the clients feedback they come back through to me. This allows me to be across all work coming in and out of the studio but also doesn’t interrupt the creatives when they are working on their next task.

There are exceptions to this though. We like to be as open and transparent as possible with clients so if they ever need to speak to the creative team regarding amends or queries then they can. They then update me on what the request is so I can note this and when the request has been actioned the latest proof/visuals is then passed via email down the chain to Tom and myself.

Mike, Tom and I tend to manage the start of the project and then we brief the creatives when the client has signed off the terms and conditions and project approval form. No work starts before we receive this document and have agreed the payment terms. Similarly once the project is complete the creative team move onto their next project whilst we wrap things up with the admin and project sign off sheets.

Our creative team have to work closely with the web team for our digital projects and in next week’s article, the last in the Studio Life series, we focus on the web team and where they fit into Bluegg.

3 Responses to “Studio Life: Part 4”

  1. Fantastic post, stress free enviroments are paramount to efficient working and good design. Of course we all have deadlines and that can be a good comeptitive pressue that you need to keep you on your toes and not just drift of.

  2. Fantastic post, stress free enviroments are paramount to efficient working and good design. Of course we all have deadlines and that can be a good comeptitive pressue that you need to keep you on your toes and not just drift of.

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