Our business ethos
Call us what you want but labels are for canned peaches, not creatives.
Innovate at all costs.
We do work that is, first and foremost, intrinsically rewarding. In order to do this, we have to be innovative. What does it mean to be innovative? More importantly, what does it take? Innovation demands the freedom to run experiments alongside risk, courage and the willingness to fail. People don’t remember or become inspired by brands that simply “fit in”.
When you’re starting a new business, it’s tempting to copy an existing business model or branding approach because it feels all too familiar. But what you gain in relatability, you lose in innovation. Through careful strategy and positioning of your brand we target the small audience that love your product, rather than aim to please the masses that probably aren’t listening. Being remarkable means something worth making a remark about. When you’re delivering value to your niche audience, the ones that are listening intently, you become… remarkable.
Common sense would tell you that an innovative business is probably a scalable one. Well we’re in the business of art, and art is very special because it doesn’t scale. Good design inspires us because it’s uniquely personal, emotional and increasingly scarce. True innovators value design up front by utilising non-scalable artistic elements of design to differentiate their brand in order to avoid becoming another generic commodity. In the early days of brand building this process is messy, sometimes painful and rarely economical. Do what your competitors aren’t doing for lack of immediate financial reward. The key differentiator in your business will be good design, the kind that surprises people and gives it a soul to connect with.
A word about time. Timesheets are the crux of innovation and it’s the reason they don’t exist when we’re in problem solving mode. Ditching the clock has made us much better designers, developers and innovators. Trust in this process and you’ll understand why.
Be a leader.
We say it like it is and our clients love us for our transparency. Nothing beats explicitness. Sound strategy achieved through aggressive truth-seeking is our most differentiating and deterministic trait. You may hear “no” more than you hear “yes” from us, but we believe in a culture that values alternative viewpoints rather than seeking input that supports only one’s own ideas.
“Strong opinions, loosely held” is one of our favourite quotes because being a leader in any industry requires a strong voice alongside the willingness to be impacted. Good leaders are also great listeners, the kind that are willing to be changed by others.
The reason we love working with founder-led businesses is because we share a common passion and perseverance. The desire to be an industry leader is what might have led you to be reading this right now. You want to be the best. We totally get it. Whilst we are forever learning, we’re proud to say our experience has helped shape some really meaningful brands and we wouldn’t be here now without our clients shared desire to be remarkable.
The difference between design and design thinking is empathy. It requires a very strong sense of imagination to be able to see something through the perspective of another person. It’s also an incredibly important part of the strategic process of creating a brand that inspires your audience. The willingness to challenge ideas, even ones at the core of your business model, is where real problem solving comes into play.
There is no room for egos in the space of empathy. The key to connection lies in abandoning your own thoughts and feelings about a certain subject or idea in exchange for truly listening to what people want.
How do we do this? We care more. A lot more. No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. When we’re diving into user personas and we ask you what John Doe’s wife does for a living and what her home life is like, at a glance these details may seem unimportant, but they expose valuable insights we need for problem solving. We live in a very connected world and good design affects our lives in tangible and intangible ways. Uncovering the emotional reasons why people consume things is just as important as the tangible impact it delivers.
Being genuinely curious, we’re naturally inclined to dig into these untapped areas, question motives and gather insights. People will always need things, products and services, but we want to get to the bottom of their wants as well, the deeper desire for their ‘why’. Caring more takes a lot of work, but how can you walk in someone else’s shoes if you never leave your desk?
Out to make a quick buck? We’re probably not for you then. Our genuine, long-term interest in solving problems supersede the influence of venture capital. Great design won’t mask a dubious business model or toxic product. That’s what we call “decoration’’. Great design thinking delivers a beautiful and useful ecosystem of empowering tools that improve lives.
We’re hyper aware that in today’s world of technology, everything is connected. So what you may see as a standalone commodity has potential unintended consequences. This is precisely why you’ll hear us say “all design matters”. As designers we have the responsibility to provide something valuable and deliver the promise of a brighter future for your business and the world. That’s a very powerful and ethical position to be in, and we don’t take it lightly.
The only sustainable competitive advantage in business is self-awareness. We’re hired to create more value for your business. It’s also our job to analyse the value you bring to your customers, and we won’t be shy about asking critical and objective questions in order to uncover the positive value your business or product brings to your audience, and hopefully… the world. It’s also important to remember that not all things worth doing are about financial gain. Honouring all the different reasons why people start a business is a valuable perspective. Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity. It’s a beautiful and redemptive journey. We know, because we’re still on that journey.