Saturday, 30 April 2011

Enterprise group meeting 4

We have each been getting on ok but today was our last chance to make sure everyone was ok with what was left to find out and what we get put on each slide of the presentation. We looked through all the previous lecture notes and saw if we were missing anything. Individually we will carry on collecting the final pieces of information over the weekend and meet up on Monday at Jo's flat and create our presentation.

I still need to do some more PEST and SWOT analysis of other Manchester (and UK) design companies who could be our competitors. Also I am going to look further into our own identity and possible presentation designs.

Friday, 29 April 2011

SWOT and PEST for us

Jonny has evaluted our SWOT and PEST for our own business. Really detailed! This is going to be brilliant in helping us progress.

He also found this model to use as a basis which will be really helpful for me to look into our competitors SWOT and PEST analysis. 

Political Factors

Ecological/Environmental:- It can be a big selling point for the business to hold ethical and environmental values and it's very important that the company is seen to act responsibly.
- FSC certified paper is almost standard now and recycled stocks and vegetable inks are extras which could help a design studio to take this issue further.
- Recycling paper, card and ink cartridges and responsibly disposing of old equipment are examples of where we can act considerately within the studio environment itself.

Copyright Matters:- Copyright legislation is in place which protects the work that you create and prevents you from using other people's work without their authorisation.
- In many cases you may be prepared to assign your rights in your original work to your client, or licence them to use it while retaining ownership. This is something to be agreed between you and your client and should be clearly set out in any contract between you.
- If you have employees you should make clear in their contract of employment that the copyright of any work they produce belongs to you, their employer.
- The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is responsible for intellectual property matters in the UK. The IPO website contains comprehensive information on copyright issues.

Funding/Grants/Initiatives:- There are places that do offer non-repayable grants should you present a sound business plan to show how you would use the capital. Such places include; The Arts Council, The Princes Trust, National Enterprise Scheme.
- Networking can present opportunities that could lead to you obtaining investment. Perhaps from venture capitalists for example.

Business Stationary:- When you design a letterhead and other business stationery for a company, remember that certain company details must by law be included on things like letterheads, order forms and other formal documents. You can find out more on the Companies House website.

Health & Safety:- You must also make sure that you comply with health and safety legislation which covers all aspects of work place health and safety.
- Employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety at work of all their employees and those with more than five employees must prepare a written health and safety policy statement - this wouldn't affect us yet as we only have four but it's something we would need to bear in mind if we expanded.

Fire Safety:- All employers must comply with fire safety regulations - this means carrying out a fire risk assessment at your premises and putting in place fire precaution measures. These could include fire alarm systems and extinguishers as well as clearly signed escape routes.
- We are responsible not only for the safety of your staff but also of anyone who might be on your premises, like clients or suppliers.

Employment Legislation:- Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. The major pieces of legislation that we must be aware of include; The National Minimum Wage Act, The Working Time Regulation, The Employment Rights Act.

Disability Legislation:- You must make sure that you do not treat a disabled employee or job applicant less favourably than someone else accessing goods and services.
- You must make sure that disabled people are not treated less favourably and that they can access any services you provide. You may need to make physical changes to your premises to ensure this is the case.

Economic Factors:
Home Economy:- Current economic climate means it is a challenging environment that faces any kind of new business opening in the UK today.
- Fragile financial system means banks are unwilling to lend as freely as they used to which places massive dependancy upon the viability of the business plan which is key to securing a start up loan.
- Government cutbacks in spending have hit the arts and creative industries heavily with 30% reductions in spending for the Art council.
- On a more positive note, the creative industries was in fact one of the strongest performing sectors throughout the recent recession.
- Some have claimed graphic design to be 'recession-proof' in the past since more emphasis is placed on a businesses' promotion and so design agencies will be in demand.
- We have decided to locate our studio in Manchester which appears to have a strong creative community and many graphic design studios - particularly in suburbs such as Salford and Stockport.
- Investigation into the specific Manchester region's economic status would be required for more in depth knowledge of the climate.

Overseas Economy:- Many other economies around the world have suffered similarly to the UK over the past few years and have recovered at widely varying rates.
- Graphic designers often work on projects that involve overseas clients and if we were to be targeting certain clientele in other countries, then their economic climate may well affect their spending upon promotional services such as graphic design.

Interest/Exchange Rates:- Both interest and exchange rates have fluctuated vastly as a result of the recent economic downturn which will have impacted heavily upon all business types.

Seasonality Issues:- Graphic design is in demand all year round but certain holiday periods for example are likely to increase demand further within particular areas of the industry.
- Many businesses also see the start of a new year as the opportunity to undertake a re-brand or to step up their promotion.

Monetary Issues:- Due to student debts and difficulty in accessing extra finance to use for start up capital, it will be essential to keep initials costs as low as possible without impacting upon the capabilities of the studio.
- A sound business plan will be vital in order to obtaining large some of capital such as bank loans which are crucial for funding the high set up costs.

Product/Services:- In many current graphic design studios, they seem to try and offer potential clients the 'whole package' of a range of different services so covering as many areas of design as possible would be beneficial.
- However, it is also highly likely that certain clients will be searching for highly specialised design services and so how we pitch ourselves in the market will be key to attracting the desired customer base. Being a studio with a specialised skills set could prove to be a great selling point for our company.

Sociological Factors:
Lifestyle Trends:- Graphic design is impacted upon heavily by emerging lifestyle trends but graphic design itself can be responsible for setting lifestyle trends. Keeping up to date with trends within the industry will be important in maintaining a confident and contemporary edge to the business.
- Trends and buzzwords come and go very quickly regardless of which sector of design you work in and you can't really fail to notice them once they are around. Playing on these things are risky as the company could quickly become outdated when trends move on to other things.
- It's also very important to retain a distinctive style that is unique to our business so that customers can recognise us for being a quality firm in the areas that we are specialists in.

Demographics:- The demographics that designers can produce work for ranges across the ages but, for our business, we were looking to gain clients that are small to medium size businesses and from the not-for-profit sector.
- This may involve a younger clientele with small start up businesses which are looking to grow and are perhaps more likely to allow a little more creative freedom for whoever produces the identity and promotional material.

Brand/Company:- The way in which a graphic design company brands and promotes itself is one of the most important aspects of the business as we are essentially showing other people what we are capable of doing for them.
- Building a professional body of work and promoting ourselves are also key steps to establishing our own brand. If a good reputation is built within the industry then recommendations and past work should draw in a large volume of work.

Consumer Buying Patterns/Fashion:- Buying patterns will be affected by ongoing trends at the time and will alter the type of work demanded by customers.
- It is up to us as designers to be on top of what's in fashion at the time in order to be able to direct our clients as to what is appropriate for them at that point.

Advertising/Publicity:- The work that graphic designers produce is often meant to be out there in the public domain and to attract attention or promote something for example.
- Therefore it is of high importance that anything produced does not offend ethnic or religious groups or certain demographics of the general public. This is avoided by being informed about what we are doing through conducting thorough research on the background of each project.
- Graphic design is also something that has power to persuade public opinion and so with that must come a responsibility to fully consider what we produce and the effects it may have, although of course some work is intended to shock etc.

Technological Factors:
Competing Technology:- As a small design studio that is just starting up we may find ourselves facing competition from more established businesses that have greater resources and better equipment.
- We will also be reliant on the technology that we decide to use keeping itself at the head of the market, however since the Adobe package is industry standard then this shouldn't become an issue.

Research Funding:- For every project we undertake research will make up a fundamental part of it as graphic design must be informed. As a result, funding for research visits to cities, galleries, museums or the purchase of books, magazines or journals should be considered.
- Resulting from research visits are wider factors to think about such as travel costs, eating out with clients and purchasing samples for example.

Associated/Dependant technologies:- Apple computers and software is practically standard throughout the design industry and comes with high price tag. Every member of the business will need to have their own computer to work on in the studio whilst a company laptop or i-pad may be needed for meeting clients or giving pitches and presentations.
- Keeping up to date with new developments in software or brand new products is important to maintain the current and contemporary feel of the business whilst it presents a professional image to clients.

Replacement:- Software packages or developments may be important to keep up with but are also expensive issues to resolve. On a technical level, it is also important to enable us to develop our own skills and perhaps increase the skills and services we can offer to clients.

Maturity of technology:- Most technology is expected to last between 3 and 5 years so it will be beneficial to buy brand new equipment from the start so that we wont have to think about replacing it for the short term future.

Information and Communication:- With everybody having computers it will mean we can correspond by email with each other when we aren't in the studio as well as with clients.
- Social networking will also allow us to utilise modern communication to keep in touch with contacts, businesses and clients.

Licensing/Patents:- The company brand/logo can be trademarked so it is then investigated to check it has not been plagiarised in any form before it then becomes registered.
- Things that can be trademarked include; Custom typeface, arrangement or layout, colour and shape (packaging etc.)
- Registered designs can include; Decorative details, add ons, covers and cases.
- Every drawing you create is copyrighted. You must sign and date it. For an official date you can ask a bank to stamp your work or you could post it to yourself.
- Patents last for a maximum of 20 years.
- Trademarks and logos last forever but must be renewed every 10 years.
- Design rights last for up to 25 years but must be renewed every 5 years.
- Copyright lasts up until 70 years after death.

Intellectual Property Issues:- Intellectual property rights can cover ideas and inventions which can the be patented. There is an intellectual property office which deals with matters surrounding this.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


After a very long time in the Library flicking through the design magazines and shouting random words at each other we came up with Sauce for our business name. We wanted something that sounded right (obviously) and it didn't need to have Design or Creative in the name.

I have quickly looked into a possible typeface to be used in our logo. Something bold but with rounded edges and that is a sans serif...

Logo ideas have been quickly developed as this is not a primary concern for submission and the presentation, however we do need an identity. I altered the kerning and added colour and shine details to enhance the effect of sauce. A great idea would be to actually write this in sauce, however a logo should be a vector and suitable for use on stationary etc. I don't think an image would be suitable. 


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Collective

We wanted to use The collective as our name but it is taken mainly by creative companies!

I like what it stands for and so Theasaurus was pretty good to give alternatives... ones which I like are assembly, gathered, grouping, add.

Our competitors

As there are so many design businesses in Manchester I wondered what our position looked like. Everywhere is largely populated by design companies and due to this I think it would be a great resource and there should always be something new to look at and be inspired by, also there should be quite a few exhibitions in the city which would be brilliant for meeting competitors and keeping up to date.

Closer to our studio, there are 2 design companies in the same building, however these are different types of design, so hopefully wont impact upon our business. 

Flint Works

Jo has found us somewhere we could use as a studio! Pretty happy with this choice!

Friday, 22 April 2011


This is brilliant! A great way to get yourself noticed and actively complete briefs set by studios. As they are limited to 140 characters it wont take long for the studios to set and it would show them alot about how he interprets the brief.

"From the 14th March to the 12th May I will complete any short brief (small) set by people working within the creative industry. The only constraint to these briefs is that they are small, no longer than 140 characters in length and define a time frame to be completed in, either 1, 6 or 24 hours. Once receiving the brief, it will be entered into the calendar so you know when I will begin working on it. Updates on the various briefs can also be followed on the blog.

As a way of thank you for setting me a brief, my response will be posted to you within 48 hours from starting the brief.

At the end of the seven weeks my responses will be collated in the form of a magazine, Smalls (Issue 1). The second part of this project is to get a number of people from the creative industry to set a small, and pair these with young creatives willing to tackle them. These responses will form Smalls (Issue 2) and will form a collective of young creatives wanting to create an impression."

This is his calendar for April, really impressive!

Make Comic Sans cool

The letterhead is no longer a viable or relevant graphic design format. Announce its death to design students. It’s banned.

Using whatever media you feel appropriate tell us all the story from your birth to this brief, it can be as detailed as you wish.

The perfect breakfast.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

50 things to know

Great little post from Jamie Wieck...

The 50
From speaking to friends, colleagues and recalling my own experiences I’ve complied The 50, a list of 50 things I believe every graphic design student should know on leaving college. Some of these points are obvious, others less so – but all are brief, digestible nuggets of wisdom that will hopefully go some way to making the transition from graduate to designer a little bit smoother.
Share the 50
The 50 has been crafted to be shared, spread and debated. Each point has been synthesised intojust 140 characters (complete with a #the50 hash-tag) making them memorable and Twitter friendly. Tweet your favourites, share them on Facebook, and send this URL to your friends –The 50 needs to be seen by as many students as possible – because feedback is crucial for the next step…
The 100
Ultimately I want to have 100 points in total. This list will no doubt throw up debate and I’m sure many will have questions and queries that have yet to be answered. So please email me, tweet me or leave comments and have your say on what the next 50 points should be, and together we’ll write The 100 – a condensed primer for students and graduates-to-be.
Thank you, I look forward to working with you.

1. You are not the first.
There are very few ‘firsts’ these days. Countless others have started studios, freelanced and requested internships. It can be done. #the50

2. There is always someone better.
Regardless of how good you are, there will always be someone better. It’s surprisingly easy to waste time worrying about this. #the50

3. Success is not a finite resource.
College fosters a zero-sum mentality: that someone has to fail for you to succeed. In truth, another’s success doesn’t limit yours. #the50

4. You cannot score without a goal.
If you don’t know what you want, then how can you pursue it? Having a goal defines an end point, and subsequently, a place to start. #the50

5. Starting anything requires energy.
It takes more energy to start than it does to stop. This is true for physics, your career, and that idea you need to work on. #the50

6. The path to work is easier than you think.
To get into the industry you need just three things: great work, energy and a nice personality. Many forget the last attribute. #the50

7. Have a positive self-image.
Your self-perception is your most important asset. See yourself as the person you want to be and others will see this too. #the50

8. Get a clean, simple website up.
An online portfolio is the alpha and omega of your career. With a wealth of web services, there’s no excuse for not having a website. #the50

9. Curate your work.
Never stop editing your portfolio. Three strong pieces are better than ten weak ones – nobody looks for quantity, just quality. #the50

10. Listen to your instincts.
If your work doesn’t excite you, then it won’t excite anyone else. It’s hard to fake passion for mediocre work – scrap it. #the50

11. Make your work easy to see.
People are lazy. If you want them to look at your work, make it easy. Most of the time employers simply want to see a JPG or PDF. #the50

12. Hand-write addresses.
Clients, prospective employers and potential clients gravitate to letters with handwritten addresses. The personal touch goes far. #the50

13. Time is precious – get to the point.
Avoid profuse humour or gimmicks when contacting studios for work, they’ve seen it all before. Get to the point, they’ll be thankful. #the50

14. Never take an unpaid internship.
This is not necessary evil – a studio that doesn’t pay their interns (at least the minimum wage) is studio not worth working for. #the50

15. Do as many internships as you can stand.
Internships are a financial burden, but they are vital. They let you scope out the industry and find the roles that suit you best. #the50

16. Don’t waste your internship.
A studio’s work can dip, as can its energy. Ignore this and be indispensable, the onus is on you to find something that needs doing. #the50

17. Make friends with a printer.
A good relationship with a printer is invaluable – they will help you save money and the environment. #the50

18. Find your local D.I.Y. store and pound shop.
These places are invaluable resources of cheap and ready-made artifacts ripe for tinkering, re-decoration and re-contextualisation. #the50

19. Be patient.
It’s not unusual to complete several internships and not find ‘a good fit’. Try applying to a studio you hadn’t considered. #the50

20. Ask questions.
Assume nothing. Ask questions, even if you think you know the answers. You’ll be surprised at how little you know. #the50

21. Ask for opportunities.
It will feel cheeky, but ask for things. Ask to be included in exhibitions, magazines, pitches – if you don’t ask, you can’t get. #the50

22. Seek criticism, not praise.
You learn nothing by being told how great you are. Even if you think your work’s perfect – seek criticism, you can always ignore it. #the50

23. Make friends, not enemies.
The creative industry is a small world: it’s a network where everyone knows everyone else. Remember this before pissing someone off. #the50

24. News travels fast.
A good intern will find their reputation precede them. Jobs are nearly always offered on this word-of-mouth evidence. #the50

25. Don’t get drunk at professional events.
There’s a difference between being ‘merry’ and ‘paralytic’. The latter costs you your dignity, your reputation and possibly your job. #the50

26. Network.
There’s some truth in ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Talk to people, send emails; at the very least sign up to Twitter. #the50

27. Dress smart – look business like.
Take your work seriously? Then take your appearance seriously. Clients are more likely to deal with people who look like they care. #the50

28. Never work for free.
Not only does this devalue the profession, but it makes you look weak. Even a ‘nice’ client will take advantage of this. #the50

29. Negotiate.
If you really have to work for nothing, negotiate. Clients and studios have access many resources that can be viewed as ‘payment’. #the50

30. Read contracts.
Never sign a contract before reading it. Subsequently, don’t begin any job without a contact – you may have to write one yourself. #the50

31. Make your invoice stand out.
Businesses are deluged in invoices. Make yours stand out with colour or shape and it’s likely to rise to the top of the ‘pay’ pile. #the50

32. There’s no such thing as a bad job.
Always push yourself to do your best. Logically, there’s no way you can be dissatisfied with ‘having done your best’. #the50

33. There’s no such thing as a bad client.
The onus is on you to make the client relationship work, not the other way around. If it’s not working out, ‘fire’ them as a favour. #the50

34. Embrace limitations.
Limitations are invaluable for creating successful work: they give you something to push against. From this tension comes brilliance. #the50

35. The environment is not a limitation.
The environmental impact of your work isn’t a fashionable consideration – as a creative, it’s your most important consideration. #the50

36. Boring problems lead to boring solutions.
Always interrogate your brief – re-define the question. No two briefs should be the same; a unique problem leads to a unique solution. #the50

37. New ideas are always ‘stupid’.
New ideas are conceived with no context and no measures of success – this falsely makes them feel silly, awkward or even impossible. #the50

38. Do not underestimate self-initiated work.
Clients get in touch because of self-initiated work. Ironically, business is excited by ideas untouched by the concerns of business. #the50

39. Justify your decisions.
Clients fear arbitrary decisions – they want problem solving. Have a reason for everything, even if this is ‘post-rationalised’. #the50

40. Show sketches, not polished ideas.
Clients often mistake ‘rough’ digital work for the final design. Show sketches for as long as you can, it makes them feel involved. #the50

41. Work with the client, not against them.
You may think you’re right, but look at the client’s solution along with yours. Occasionally you’ll be surprised. #the50

42. Don’t always take no for an answer.
Fight for superior solutions. Demonstrate your thinking to your client, take them through it – it’s hard to argue with logic. #the50

43. Pick your battles.
The creative industry is often infuriating, but not every argument is an argument that needs to be had. This takes time to learn. #the50

44. If you’re going to fail, fail well.
Being ambitious means you have to take on things you think you can’t do. Failures are unfortunate, but they are sometimes necessary. #the50

45. Be an auteur.
Regardless of who you’re working with, speak up if something’s not right. Take it upon yourself to be the barometer of quality. #the50

46. Take responsibility for failure.
If a job’s going wrong take responsibility. It feels counter-intuitive, but responsibility means you can do something about it. #the50

47. Share your ideas.
You’ve nothing to gain from holding on to your ideas; they may feel precious, but the more you share, the more new ideas you’ll have. #the50

48. Get out of the studio.
Good design is crafted from understanding the relationships between things. These connections can’t be found when locked in a studio. #the50

49. Awards are nice, but not vital.
Awards look good on the shelf, but clients seldom pick up the phone because of them. Solid work encourages that. #the50

50. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Take your work seriously, take the business of your craft seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously. People who do are laughed at. #the50

Oh bugger...

I am a bloody idiot. For some stupid reason I thought that Eight:48 was made by Form Fifty Five, which also ran Counter-Print. I have no idea how I made this connection, the only thing I can think of is the numbers in each of the companies.

Email from Counter-Print clearing up my mis-guided and somehow confused mind!

Basically it goes like this… we run a design company called Leterme Dowling, that's the day job and pays the bills, we also set up Counter-Print to sell vintage books and Counter-Objects to sell prints, posters and stuff.
Eight:48 was set up as a sister magazine to Counter-Print and Counter-Objects, in which we would promote the work of people we admire and people we've met along the way. It's a bit confusing I know. Next year we want to streamline the whole thing.
Feel free to send your work to us at this address, and we'll let you know what we think!

Hope this clears it up,

Oh yeah... and it turns out Celine is Celine Leterme, Founding Partner. 
I really haven't presented myself in the way I wanted when getting in touch with Professionals in this instance, but I have been myself and not false, she has seen the ditsy side of me and hopefully she isn't offended!

This is how we get in touch. I bought issies 1-4 of Eight:48 from Counter-Print and recieved this email and subsequent emails back...

Hi Hazel,
Thank you for your order.
Your 4 newspapers will be posted out to you today.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.
Kind regards,
PS. May I ask where you heard about us? I look forward to hearing from you.

Hi Celine,
I think I found alike on the Form Fifty FIve website... however I cannot find it now!
Just had another peek at your site and I love it! I will definately be ordering many more things from you in the future! I can't seem to find Elephant or Futu which are 2 magazine I am trying to get my hands on currently. Do you think in the future you would stock these?

Hi Hazel,
Thank you for getting back to me. Sorry for me oh so late reply! We have been very busy over here!
If we come across the requested magazines I will get in contact with you.
Have a lovely weekend.
Kind Regards,

Thanks Celine, that would be great!
Is counter-print in conjunction with Form Fifty Five? I am interested about learning more about them and possibly getting some feedback on my work, as I am a Graphic Design student, anything like this would be amazing and so helpful to my future development.
Thanks for all your help, brilliant!

Hi Hazel,
No we aren't anything to do with FormFiftyFive I'm afraid, what made you think that out of interest?

Oh sorry for the miss-interpretation!
Simply because you both have quite prominent links to one another on your sites, and on yours, not directly to others apart from blogs, apart from the link to Leterme Dowling on the left. Also that Eight:48 has a prominent positioning on the page and seems to be the only regular magazine that you stock.
I miss-understood, oops!

Celine: Hi Hazel,
In your original email you said 'FormFiftyFive', not 'Eight:48'.
I think this is where the confusion lies, as FormFiftyFive is another blog which we don't have anything to do with.
Yes, we are affiliated with Eight:48. It is our sister magazine.
Basically it goes like this… we run a design company called Leterme Dowling, that's the day job and pays the bills, we also set up Counter-Print to sell vintage books and Counter-Objects to sell prints, posters and stuff.
Eight:48 was set up as a sister magazine to Counter-Print and Counter-Objects, in which we would promote the work of people we admire and people we've met along the way. It's a bit confusing I know. Next year we want to streamline the whole thing.
Feel free to send your work to us at this address, and we'll let you know what we think!
Hope this clears it up,

Oh dear I am so sorry!
This is classic example of me miss-understanding things! I completely get it now, a huge thank you!
For some reason I thought Form Fifty Five made Eight:48. My brain probably made a strange connection because of the numbers... thats the only way I can explain it!
Ever so sorry but yes of course I would love your feedback! I am following Leterme Dowling on Titter and I was intending on emailing them soon with a sampler of my work.
Thank you once again for explaining everything, and again I am sorry for my stupidity!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Working format

Brillaint use of typography throughout their work... shame they are based in Canada!

"Working Format is a Vancouver-based design studio founded by Abi Huynh, Grace Partridge & Ross Milne specializing in graphic design, art direction and type design for print and screen. Working Format collaborates with creative agencies and clients throughout North America and Europe, producing a diverse body of work across cultural and commercial fields."

Fuck you. Pay me.

Brillaint video I found through FormFiftyFive on Twitter. This realtes well to the Enterprise lecture stash your cash.

"Our speaker at the March 2011 San Francisco, CreativeMornings ( was Mike Monteiro, Design Director, and co-founder of Mule Design Studio ( This event took place on March 25, 2011 and was sponsored by Happy Cog and Typekit (who also hosted the event at their office in the Mission)."

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Studio sweet studio

Someone posted this on Facebook, great little resources for seeing how other designers work, however most of them do appear to be freelancers, it is good to see how other work in an environment.