It’s been a fair wee while since I posted up for my Design & The Marketplace module, which is a darn shame, considering how the presentation went. It covered the superb Edinburgh-based agency Elastic Creative and even gained us a shiny A2 for our efforts. We’re gonna give them a good thank you by sending along the presentation if we can too, for being so great with a bunch of probably overly eager design students!
But the module itself now has moved on, it’s returned, and this time it’s personal. We’re looking towards our own business ideas and seeing if we can realise them more fully. I started out panicking, unsure where I had any ideas in my head for businesses at all. It seems the one assumed part of art school – everybody has some s0rt of creative plan or ambition for the next few years. Not this guy. But thankfully that’s what the Nesta Toolkit is made for.
Basically this is a series of worksheets and documents that help you define yourself as a creative and hopefully help pluck out potential enterprising ideas from this. A business, on the whole, should be a balancing act of talents, passion and commercial viability. I looked at my main talents, though I’m not sure how much I should list here for fear of you thinking my ego is gigantic. But overall I realised I’m particularly comfortable with motion graphics, branding, even illustration and on a more general theme, presenting and blogging (as I am now, rather clumsily). Obviously I’m not going to be able to combine all of those talents into one job though. Don’t worry though blog, I won’t give up on you.
Additionally I looked at my passions. I effectively saw these as what values my company would have, if I even had one. It’d come back to that Simon Sinek talk on the essential question of why a business exists, and that people are more likely to follow you, believe in your product and naturally be drawn to your business if they believe in why you do something.
So what did I hightlight? Well, for one I wanted individuality. I want somebody to look at my work and realise it’s mine in seconds. Basically a determination to stand out from the crowd, and ambition to be weird. Lord knows I achieve that in real life at least. Additionally I want a good relationship with clients. This felt all the more resonant after visiting Elastic. Their focus on client interaction really felt like not only an effective way of working but a more satisfying one too. Everyone ends up happy when you’re working with nice folk. If they’re really nice it might not feel like work at all! And finally my other primary value would be inspiration. To be able to teach others, or encourage others to do creative things, would be incredibly satisfying at the end of the day. I think that’s probably the main drive for most good university lecturers. And a few of the bad ones. But it’s that giving back through communicating to the rest of the design industry, that dialogue which drives me to do things like this blog, and to keep active on social media as much as I do… or try to.
Slightly less important values would be creative control (still damned important), variety of work (because of my baby housefly-like attention span) and teamwork. Cus I like mooching of other people’s work. And I just like people. Mostly the latter.
But with all of these defined we were then encouraged to try and scribble down a mission statement. This is something far more specific altogether. I now had a few solid ideas floating around in my head which I had no idea what to do with, which to pick, how to describe – the mission statement felt like an order taller than a giraffe. But nevertheless I just went for it – I focused on a motion graphics studio, and tried to define some important factors. Ultimately I’d love this as my primary job. I like the thought of client work and there’d hopefully be a wealth of variety, another idea confirmed by our visit to Elastic. Yet a motion design studio isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, only really adding spinning golden rims to them. Motion agencies have been around for god knows how long, and I even know a fair few. So how do they do business?
Next week I intend to find out. I’m going to meet up with one of my former lecturers, Jonny Harris, also the founder of Glasgow-based motion agency Playdead. After leaving Abertay I kept in touch with Jonny, as he’d really encouraged my motion work and they way I approach a motion project, and it’s an approach which really colours their portfolio and makes it endlessly varied. I’ll have to assemble a few questions for heading through and talking to him and his business partner though, best to be prepared! Might be my job over the weekend, amongst other things!
Additionally my big brother also runs a motion studio, Touzie Tyke, so a wee chat with him would be pretty darn easy! And finally the last design company I could approach would be some of his friends from Australia who run the motion agency Monkey’s Cobbler. Hopefully this isn’t me entering a vastly overpopulated field, but we’ll see how it goes.
Oh, and as for my other business ideas? I’ll let you know about them soon enough…