There are few things more useful, or more powerful for creative projects than a process. And, a process that starts with a conversation is at the heart of my approach to projects.

Here at Mike Garlick Design, we regularly join forces with our friends at technology marketing consultants Content Coms on projects where a combination of awesome creative and powerful content is required. No matter how complex, or how simple the brief there's one thing we never compromise on: and that's our commitment to challenging and exploring the brief.

It always starts with a conversation.

Right from day one, we stick to an approach that works. (And, we've proven time and time again that it does).

The first stage of any creative is always a sit down with Content Coms to flesh out the client's brief. Our objective is to nail it right from the outset. This means we explore every inch of the client's aspirations and commercial objectives.

We look at the core messages. We decide what's important. We explore and organise the things the client wants to say. We think about structure. We think about visual and messaging hierarchies.

And we think: audience, too. In fact, that's the really important part.

It's not enough to think design

Interestingly, it's this 'conversation' stage that creative agencies often fail to do. They simply think 'design'. They think 'aesthetics'. It simply isn't enough.

As a creative director, it's my job to think about the project from a usability perspective, the customer journey and routes to market. It's also up to me to 'translate' the way the content needs to work, and the hierarchy of the messaging. I have to make a creative project work at every level. And, there's no excuse or room for failure.

Which is why I return to the phrase: 'it starts with a conversation'.

It's this kind of user-driven, content led approach which gets our projects over finish line sooner (and with minimum requirement for client involvement, amends or iterations). So, we're keeping time and costs under control, too.

So, the big question is: does this approach really work? Well, yes, actually. If you're looking for a perfect example then look no further than our recent jointly-delivered project for the National Centre for Environmental Toxicology (NCET).

To quote our friends at Content Coms, this project has seen us deliver a 'truly awesome brand identity, a beautifully designed website and powerful, audience-focused content that's befitting of a world-class scientific organisation.' I couldn't say it better myself.

If you want to know what the client's perspective is, then have a little read of what Dr Joanna Rowland ERT who is Head of NCET/Principal Toxicology Consultant had to say about the project:

Hi Mike & Jo

Thanks to the both of you for your excellent work with this website. I really like the branding and look and feel of the site - it's easy to navigate and while there is a surprising amount of information on there, it doesn't feel too content heavy. It will hopefully provide a clear snapshot to our clients on what the NCET team can offer and has digitally brought the team into 2018. Similarly as we intend to use the same messaging in our flyers/email communications to our clients it provides a great platform to build on.

Thanks again for all your hard work, we needed support to make this happen and the output is very impressive. I am very happy with the outcome.

Dr Joanna Rowland ERT - Head of NCET/Principal Toxicology Consultant, WRc plc

Want to have a conversation about your brand identity? Want to explore our creative approach to web design and development?
Get in touch. I'm based in the Cotswolds, but, I'm happy to travel anywhere where the conversation and coffee flows.

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