24/01| Open Sketchbooks
Going back through my sketchbooks has been a pretty cathartic – and time consuming – exercise. I guess it’s not until I collate concept ideas like this that I realise just how much of a project is made up of these little doodles and notes – scamps buried away in closed sketchbooks and redundant ideas archived. All the time doing their job as scrappy and quiet little pillars for each project.
Each honed and toned digital design starts like this. It’s the only way I know how to work; by delivering a kind of visual ‘mind dump’ on paper to ensure I’ve covered all bases and possible routes.
Sometime I prefer the work before I let a computer batter the freedom and fluidity out of the ideas. Equally there is something really exciting about seeing a scrappy sketch come to life onscreen. There’s ‘that’ moment where your idea goes digital, a make or break moment. You’ll end up either ecstatic and quietly surprised it works so well or crippled with creative self-doubt as it doesn’t look quite right or you’ve missed the concept and you know you have to go back to the drawing board and try harder. Oh, I’m familiar with that one!
These snippets into the guts of my projects are are crude and certainly not incredible as far as sketches go, but to me and my work they are important nonetheless and I’m more than happy to share some of them with you.
23/03| Doing What Makes You Happy
I wanted to write a quick post about being happy in your work. It’s a place I’ve been aiming for.
I found that place at the start of this year. It took a while to get here but the journey itself has taught me some great lessons.
I spent the first few years of my creative career taking on absolutely any job in order to put food on my plate. Looking back, I realised just how stressful this can be. As a creative startup, you get stretched in lots of different directions. You (or I certainly did) want to please the client, naturally. But this can mean unpaid hours, under quoting and often working in a niche you’re not totally familiar with – ie winging it. Whilst excellent for overall experience and variety – I found I ended up getting ‘ok’ or ‘quite good’ at a lot of things. You lose the focus. You become a jack of all trades.
That wasn’t good enough for me. It’s tiring, soul-less. I don’t want to be ‘ok’ at what I do, I want to be ‘amazing-with-bells-and-whistles-on’ at what I do. I want to know that the service I provide is fantastic, not substandard or run-of-the-mill.
We had our daughter 10 months ago. She’s been the catalyst in sorting my work-happiness balance. With dramatically reduced work hours and ridiculous work windows, I have learned to pack maximum enjoyment into what I do. I’ve narrowed the focus. I’m making more logos, diving right into branding, designing cleaner websites, making simpler designs, illustrating more. I’m leaving to techy stuff to my colleagues who really know what they’re doing. I don’t need to get involved. And it feels great!
And I really think it’s showing. My work has more life, more vibrancy, I feel more intuitive when creating new ideas, I’m much faster the the quality is consistently high. (I’m not blowing my trumpet – I just want to highlight what I’ve found since I narrowed the focus).
So in a nutshell – I’m getting more creative, back to my roots as it were. Doing the things I have the most experience in and sticking to it. And it just feel so much better. It’s incredible what work I can fit into a 3hr window these days. When you have a noisy alarm in the shape of a small person, you are forced to get smart with your time pretty darn fast.
I’ve still got a way to go to get to the top of my game – it may take years or it may never even happen. That doesn’t matter so much to me. I still want to be very, very, very good at what I do.
I think work happiness can be achieved in most circumstances. I doesn’t happen immediately – it took a while for me – but once achieved you’re flying! I am really very grateful for working in a profession that delivers such consistent happiness to me.
23/01| We can’t stand bad design
As you can hopefully tell, we care an awful lot about our profession and pride ourselves on producing nothing less than very high quality design. Less is more. We don’t bang out heaps of it as it just dilutes the individuality. Perhaps we’ve just seen a lot of bad design lately that looks pretty unskilled and generic.
If we may offer a few words of advice; “Don’t succumb to bad design”.
It’s a mirror – reflecting your attitude towards your business. It essentially says “We like to cut corners” or “We don’t really care” or “It’s not the best but it will do”. Not a good message to the prospective customer.
We’re not trying to scare people into thinking they should spend silly dollar on design – you don’t; you just have to choose the designer wisely. We’re just as passionate about our work as we bet your are about yours. And why shouldn’t you be? It’s your livelihood and it’s our job at Lead Creative to make sure you stand against your competitors and reach your target audience with credibility and style.
We produced loyalty cards for our Hotel client recently. They needed to be hard-wearing, durable and waterproof. The obvious material for this kind of card is plastic. That horrible P word.
Choosing this material is a little hard for us to swallow and we avoid it at all costs. However, sometimes there is no other material that will fit the spec required. So we bargain and explore the best possible way to execute a project like this – with minimal environmental impact.
EcoCard was our answer here – a great product using 100% recycled plastic. You wouldn’t know it – it looks as good as the virgin stuff (hang on, does that stuff even look good at all?). And, dare we say it, it’s a little sweeter knowing that we’re not adding to the demand for more of the fresh stuff.
If our plastic projects keep the material within a closed production loop, we can sleep at night. If not, we’ll need to chat.
20/10| International WOLDA Award
This news should have appeared here by now, but in all honesty, things have been a wee too busy to steal the time!
We were SO happy to learn that we’d been recognised by WOLDA (Worldwide Logo Design Annual) for the second year running. One award was a true honour, but TWO! Well we must be doing something right…
This design was created for The Big Giraffe Studio, a professional photography studio promoting its African-inspired work online. The challenge was to design the studio mascot, the giraffe, with quirk and spark; to capture the scale, height and awkward grace of a giraffe but remain linked to photography. The end result combines the naturally leggy animal with a tripod for an unusual and playful logo.
The outcome couldn’t have been more perfect for the client.
We love our job and hope it shows. See you soon.
19/09| Join our little fanbase
Well we made it to our first 50 likes in the Lead Creative Facebook lounge – thank you friends – and have since picked a lucky winner to receive a bespoke and beautiful logo designed by us.
There’ll be new offers published on the page in the coming months so best keep your eye on it.
If you’re new here, welcome! Please browse the site at your leisure and get in touch should you be in need of design help. And don’t forget to like our Facebook lounge to keep up to date with the latest. See y’all there.
We’re inviting you to join our new Facebook lounge for the news and artistic musings of Lead Creative. Our first 50 ‘likes’ will be put into a hat and the lucky winner will receive a fresh new logo, created lovingly by an award-winning designer. Have you got a brand/company/product or service identity that could do with some TLC? Well, now’s your chance to get some logo love for free.
Terms and info
• Once the winner has been drawn, we’ll get in touch to formulate a brief for your design.
• The chosen design will be refined to perfection under your watchful eye.
• You’ll then receive digital versions of the logo for you to show off and promote your company.
• Any printed material required following receipt of the new logo is not part of the prize and will be charged.
• This prize draw does not include any subsequent design work following receipt of the new logo.
What else is on at our Facebook lounge?
Well, we’ve called it a lounge for a reason. It’s a place for us to brain-dump the creative overspill and get involved with you and the design community. We’ll have;
• Work in progress
• Opportunity for feedback and thoughts
• Offers on design and print
• New from the design world
• Design advice & tips
Interested? Then ‘like’ away! We look forward to seeing you there.
24/06| Christmas… in June?
We’re delighted to have been working with ethical media and events company, Hand Up Media, since 2007. During that time we’ve successfully branded and produced the artwork for several of their high profile ethical shopping events; The Edinburgh Ethical Christmas Fair, The Real Scottish Christmas, The Fair Trade Experience (winning an international award for that logo) and Fair Trade on the Fringe. These events are a massive, growing success story with 1,000’s of visitors each year and we’re very proud to be able to support them.
We’ve just been refreshing the artwork for this year’s Christmas events in Edinburgh. If you happen to be up in bonny Scotland for the festive period, these are two highly recommended shopping trips. For more info, see www.handupmedia.co.uk