What gets our juices flowing?

Staying up to date with developments in design and digital endeavours requires above all a genuine curiosity, and a practiced discernment.

The rapid rate of change provides huge motivation and inspiration whilst demanding dedication and perseverance, it is this quality that keeps our team active in research and engaged in contemporary trends. The nature of design and the rate the industry evolves is especially compelling, tomorrows rules are today's ‘hacks’, and have been re-written a few days later. Often developments are spawned from necessity, and as demands arise, developers and designers stretch boundaries and contort them in ever more imaginative ways to meet our client’s requirements and visions.

In order to stay up to date we employ a multitude of strategies, covering all areas across complimentary disclipines. As a collective, we constantly view, read, discuss and evaluate not only our own methods, but other high level industry work. As access to these environments is rich in the digital age, a plethora of information; techniques, methodology, strategy and completed work is constantly shared between us as a company as we disseminate this information internally via several Slack channels, so that all staff can benefit from interesting tips, articles and trends. We also use a monthly meeting as a platform to allow staff to showcase a new technique or provide short introductory lessons into their specialisms, to provoke further research and input within the team. As well as this exposure to a daily stream of new practices we are lucky to be based in a creative-hub, working alongside digital marketing agency Media Beard, and an up and coming game design and development company Slingshot Cartel, which sees us constantly enriching our knowledge across an even broader spectrum within the creative industry.

Personal interests of each member of the team predictably informs the direction of a lot of our exploration in other creative fields. Contemporary/Conceptual/Fine/Street/Live Art, to name a few, are some of the areas of interest that sees our creatives engaging with whenever they’re not working on projects. Art scenes always provide a great influence on design trends and can provide a huge amount of inspiration that undoubtedly informs our work in the studio. With our positioning in Warwickshire, with London, Birmingham, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwick Arts Centre, just on the doorstep, there is an abundance of activities to get involved with and immerse our imaginations regularly. As part of our ongoing individual development program at Imaginate, every employee is granted an ‘Imagiday’ once a month to advance/learn new skills, create, and develop; findings from these days and advancements in our own personal development as a result of such is then presented annually to the studio to further everyone’s understanding.

However, travelling afar (whether that be online or in person) to each corner of the world provides a great reference for design and culture which we also include and contemplate in much of our work, which is especially important given our client basis around the world, bringing an increasingly international audience; it is essential to understand what speaks to a variety of different people. Speaking to others through our work and for our work is something we pride ourselves on, we are a very social group and coupled with our desire to learn and develop constantly, networking physically and online is something we just can’t get enough of.

From favourite handles to go to #’s, we like to keep up to date with the real-time record of trends and work from competing agencies, people and other disciplines from architects to illustrators across many social networks; Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook and many more, alongside websites and portfolios to ensure we stay in the loop. Networking physically is something we all partake in, especially when coupled with a learning environment at events such as Glug, Ted X Birmingham, Leamington BID networking, along with workshops further afield and even visiting our trusted local printers to learn about their new abilities and processes.

The account and project management development program is also constantly evolving with the industry seeing us utilising new software and processes, adapting our methodologies to create a fail proof and appropriate relationship with each individual client, tailoring our offering to their individual needs. Networking and industry workshop events along with new programmes are creating many bespoke approaches suitable for the technical and design developments within the industry. The DBA is the trade association for design in the UK; building the bridge between designers and businesses, and championing effective design. At Imaginate, we have used the DBA not only for training and workshops, but also as a go to on industry knowledge. It provides a great base for contacts, financial and business information, and also updated ws and insight all year round. It is good knowing we are part of an association that cares about our industry and really supports not only large agencies, but small to whilst complementing this offering with a wide wealth of resources available online and in our local community.

Daily, weekly, and monthly subscriptions to various trusted publications and blogs such as; Alistapart, DesignWeek, Creativebloq, .Net Magazine, Creative Review, Dexigner, Campaign, Coding Academy provide a great grounding in high quality groundbreaking work, not only is it great to be able to recognise our own achievements within these publications, but to also see what our competitors are up to and revel in the multiple tutorials that can be provided. Suggestions to award winning work is also a great source of inspiration along with quality assurance when benchmarking our own work.

However that is only half the story, knowing what is possible is one thing, deciding if it is appropriate for your client is another. Tempering a desire to use the latest and greatest methods, with a grounded context, based on clients needs is crucial.

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JESS HAIN
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, IMAGINATE

 
wordsJess Hain