With a publishing deal under my belt and a book launched in Europe, and let’s face it the UK being the primary market, Know Your Onions: Graphic Design (as of March 2019) has been re-printed 14 times to the tune of 56,000 copies. It has been translated into Chinese, simplified Chinese for Thailand and Japanese. I am, of course, delighted by this, but find it odd that France, Germany, Italy and cultural countries that are more aligned with the UK have not been so successful.
I am very lucky to have a close relationship with my readership, through Twitter and email. This manifests itself in a number of ways. Sure I get tweets, but I also get direct questions and requests from my readership who want some specific advice. I do my best to accommodate them and help where I can. In one instance I advised a reader to sort his portfolio out. He did. Eighteen months later he arrived at my door and presented his portfolio. I gave him a job. That all worked out very well – for both of us.
18 Years Running an Graphic Design Agency in London
In August 2000 Navig8 opened it’s door in the pokiest office in Fitzrovia, London. 18 years we are still based in our beloved Fitzrovia, we’ve moved office three times and the studio is a bit less pokey.
A lot has happened, many things have moved on - then again not a lot has changed.
Our fist office was on Goodge street, with a comedy management team upstairs and a film producer next door. Without exaggerating, if you stretched out your arms your could touch both opposing walls. It was really tiny. But we didn’t care, we were in ad land, where all the big agencies were before they all moved out to Shoreditch like lemmings. We were in the Fitzrovia! Where Saatchi and Saatchi were based.
We even shared our room with a PR company. When I say company, in those days we were all one man bands.
All I needed was a Mac, a phone and my prized possession - a FAX. Yep, revision, sign off forms and orders were placed by FAX. Email was on the scene, but had not yet become ubiquitous or even trusted. Email seemed ‘temporary’ easily lost or deleted, not real.
Proofs were run and cromalins made at the local repro house on Charlotte Place by Steve the chain smoking red wine drinker. Artwork was posted to the printer on Syquest drives (44mb) or even the new cutting edge Zip drives (100mb!).
My first pay day (£75.00 cheque) was from Unison, the union. I vowed to frame it and never, every catch cash it. It lasted a week - needed the money.
The client base was limited to charities, unions and a law firm.
I employed my first design in two years and what a massive step that was. I think back then I had no idea of the responsibility an employee would bring. PAYE, NI and reviews. I was very lucky, I employed a brilliant person and with the exception of a few nightmares, my staff have all been brilliant.
Although I have had some sensational excuses for not arriving at work, my top five being (I’m not making these up):
I was trying to save a ladybirds life
My trousers are wet
I’ve locked myself in my ground floor flat
There are no flights back for a week (weather fine, in both countries)
I’ve been stabbed (Cards and concerned calls made, returning to work in two days with no wound - seriously)
We ended up renting the office adjoining (the film producer) I think we drove him out with the racket we made. I employed an office assistant. We called her the ‘Swiss Army Knife’, we still have that job title - it’s a person that does so many really useful and varied things.
So things grew, we got more clients and managed to keep our old ones, UCL has been with us for over 15 years and we needed more room. And so, the basement period began.
We moved to Charlotte Street, the basement number 36. The place was a mess, but it had potential. So me and my Dad put our overalls on and ripped the place apart, with a plan in my head, we built a glass patrician wall, laminate flooring and wait for it - gallery.
Nancy Victor gallery was born. We’d only show artists that weren’t represented by an agent or gallery and we thought the work was great. there was no fee to have the space - but - and here it comes, I got a free piece of artwork, from every show.
We had some amazing shows, my favourite being a show by an artist called John Logan, scaffolder and ex Foreign Legion
In this article i set out what a mission, vision statement does, how an organisation can use a descriptor and what a lift speech is. We help organisations establish these as the bedrock of their brand values. This article is an edited piece from my forthcoming book, know your onions: corporate identity.
I’ve employed a fair few graphic designers in my time. Most of which are straight out of uni or as a result of work experience. Setting aside the advise I give in What to Put in Your Portfolio and Get a Job: Graphic Design – these are the top ten things you need to think about, and do, when you get your first job.
This post aims to help clients get the best value, speed and accurate proofs when they commission a designer.
Following this guide will save you money and deliver your project sooner.
This then is the second and last in our series of ‘Design miscellany’ series, from M–Z. Nothing more than random comments, explanations and observations to inform and hopefully entertain.
Working with luxury brands and services requires a shift in communication mind set. You are no longer required to speak to the masses, but to the few. Often your market is more demanding and harder to impress. You must understand what is important to them and your aim is to communicate the product or services in a light that makes it a 'must have'
Annual report structures tend to be quite similar. There is probably a good reason for that, stakeholders, board members and the like, like things just so and CFOs do like their accounts to be set in a straight forward 'workman' like manner. All of that is fine. You can still mix it up a bit without upsetting the apple cart. The same suggestions apply to impact reports, strategy reports, but for now, I'll stick with a reasonably heavy weight report, the sort of thing you see in the finance industry.
This is the first of two emails in our ‘Design miscellany’ series. This is a collection of terms, comments and miscellany in alphabetical order with no other rhyme or reason other than to inform and entertain.
It applies to anything that you hope will be read and understood. Designing to ensure communications are accessible should always be on a designer's mind, not just when producing materials for an older audience or the visually-impaired.
There is often the misconception that once a piece of print work has been signed off, the final printed matter should be available in a matter of hours, let alone days. Like most things in life, there is more to print production than meets the eye. True, some modern print production techniques deliver astonishing results in a matter of hours. This article firstly talks you through the typical process of litho printing and then explains the other options, their benefits and disadvantages.
We (Navig8) are lucky enough to get a constant stream of CVs flooding into our inboxes of the finest creative talent this country (and abroad) has to offer.
The problem is that the vast majority of approaches are of a poor standard, something that could be easily fixed with a bit of effort.
This is a hit list for any would be employee. This covers the bare minimum if you hope to have any chance of getting your foot in the door. Remember, unless you are responding to an advert, the agency may not be actively looking for a new recruit. Having said that, we are always on the look out for talent.
This document is an overview that outlines the typical stages and approximate number of days for an HTML Email project. All vary of course, but this aims to set out the process and highlight where potential pitfalls and opportunities. Understanding this process helps us and our clients work together better, avoid misunderstandings and create stunning work.
We understand the challenges clients face when delivering an annual report and aim to help them deal with the shifting landscape and often challenging scenarios they face. This article focuses on the challenges a client often faces and what we can do to help them through the process.
We think a lot; we get paid to think. So it’s hard not to come up with ideas because we’re always thinking. Coming up with good ideas isn’t quite so easy. There is, unfortunately, no magic formula. But there are ways to increase the likelihood of striking that eureka moment and coming up with a great idea. This month we have a guest writer – Cris (no H) Convery, an ideas monster here at Navig8.
Designers and clients have mixed views on the benefits of having a style guide for an organisation's communications collateral. Why's that? Well exponents love 'em because they bring order out of potential chaos, helping to reign in the potential 'home-made' designers from trying to include kittens and clipart in publications. Detractors see a style guides as a restriction of creativity and a draconian, corporate bible, that does not fit their needs and hinders their expression. Thing is, a good style guide should remove all of these reservations and provide a platform for creativity and consistency – so that everybody is a happy bunny. What does a style guide do? What makes them good? What makes them bad? Read on...
British design is considered the finest in the world, from cars to Hoovers. Often nostalgic, our design icons define us. There are so many global design icons that originated in the UK. Here we focus on the motor industry.