A celebration of creative thinking - week 7
Like it or not emotions will drive many of the decisions we make. Even the most analytical of us will respond emotionally to stimulus. This week, the creative team chooses their favourite recent examples of ideas...
like it or not emotions will drive many of the decisions we make. even the most analytical of us will respond emotionally to stimulus. this week, the creative team chooses their favourite recent examples of ideas driven by emotional connection.
this is us – symbol
insight created this symbol in the wake of the christchurch terror attack and was supercharged with emotion. what i liked about this is that it embodied positive emotions of love, support and empathy to showcase strong values held by new zealand as a nation.
— alice mckeown
vector 2018 annual report
working to the theme of empowerment, we developed our creative thinking around the emotion and joy individuals are likely to feel when ‘empowered’ within an environment of the ‘new energy future’. vectors vision for its customers.
— brian slade
insight creative auckland fit-out.
the clever placement of simple vinyl graphics turn everyday elements within the auckland office into detailed and surprising interactions of joy and delight, over and above their obvious application to enhance and liven-up the office environment as part of the bigger insight office fit-out. my favourite, and perfect example, is also the smallest artwork; the wee hamster running on its wheel just above the light switch – positioned for those who get to work first, or last to leave – a smile-in-the mind and emotional connection for when it’s needed most.
— chris gough palmer
st john retail network – identity
from the position ‘all good in the community’ to the lively execution, this project brings a positive, optimistic, feel-good feeling to the ‘recycled goods shop’ experience. repurposing things to help the planet, helping those in need and the wider community that st john supports and helps. all good, all round.
— edwin hooper
nz drug foundation catalyst room illustration
the illustration for the nz drug foundation catalyst room tells an emotional story of how drugs can effect people’s lives and loved ones. the illustration allows the story to interweave many different people, roles and outcomes combining both positive, triumphant messages and sad stories of struggle and despair.
— jo rossdesign, creative celebration, insight creative, emotional connection
A celebration of creative thinking - week 6
This week, from the macro to the micro, the team looked at design detail, detail, detail and how it enhanced the idea and experience for users. Fisher & Paykel AR – 2019 Fisher and Paykel...
this week, from the macro to the micro, the team looked at design detail, detail, detail and how it enhanced the idea and experience for users.
fisher & paykel ar – 2019
fisher and paykel are renowned for their innovative products. this dosen’t just happen by chance and this year we were able to successfully communicated their core idea of ; culture of innovation that drives the business. through simplified thoughtful design layout we tell a big idea story that links thoughts and narrative. from idea, sketch to patient.
— brian slade
sanford ar – 2018
a report with significant data and reporting, its effectiveness seeing it as a recent award winner at the ara awards. the design idea, ‘the elements’, related to their relationship with weather, embracing the wild seas as they catch, and changing farming methods with effects of climate change. subtle isobar elements are used selectively through the report, linking messages on opening pages, to background use on key sections. like good design detail, should it provides an ‘element’ that can be used in different ways to thread the thinking throughout, to an enhanced result.
— edwin hooper
information is in the detail.
the kea learning centre wordmark is a great example of design detail supporting and uplifting an overall idea. the clean wordmark features a beautifully integrated ‘i’ – and weather you’re aware of the ‘i’ standing for ‘information’ or not, it demands a sense of curiosity from the viewer, creating that enquiry, that overt need for information. the wordmark is therefore a perfect representation of the very essence of the product – the learning management system.
— chris gough palmer
heartland bank symbols - internal brand
detailed graphic elements are taken from whare tukutuku panels to represent heartland's values in a very intimate and engaging way. using these graphic components to support other text and imagery they drive home heartland's positive brand messaging to strong effect.
— alice mckeown
nz post icon suite
we’ve been developing an icon library for new zealand post over the last few months (just a snapshot seen here) to support the e-commerce report. a visual tool to communicate some of the more technical areas of their business. exercising an exacting eye to ensure consistency across hundreds of line weights and adding unique details to make them ‘ownable’ and recognisable for the business.
— jo rossdesign, creative celebration, insight creative, design detailing
A celebration of creative thinking - week 5
At the heart of our strategic creative thinking are single minded ideas. This week the team explores a few examples of design execution that enhances the idea and brings it to life: Auckland Airport...
at the heart of our strategic creative thinking are single minded ideas. this week the team explores a few examples of design execution that enhances the idea and brings it to life:
auckland airport website
love the simple parallax movement in this site. the message is clearly embedded in the medium. a well-considered shift from previous years that utilises subtle movement to really good effect. the effective use of the diagonal appropriately enhances the brand ownership wherever you are on the site.
— brian slade
nz post ecommerce
using the landscape format and with selective use of larger, full page imagery this report presents a lot of information with clarity. with the wider strategic-creative thinking informing this, the online report and the flow through to the sales team, the report presents ‘the full download’ feeling very much like a product of the digital environment it’s reporting on.
— edwin hooper
the main idea behind our end of year gift last year, mashmaster, played a huge part in informing the layout design. the concept of ‘combinations’ was strongly executed through a half/half layout arrangement across the whole project – from the playing cards, logo marque, brochure insert and packaging, to the mallington itself, a bespoke cake combination of two coming together as one! without reading the rules you can get a pretty good idea of what the game is about from the design – a great example of design communicating a message.
— jo ross
ravensdown ar 2018
data-rich content is presented with an ambitious and positive tone on and offline, with clear and straight up comparisons. the theme ‘expect more’ is expressed thoroughly with the continuous use of the plus symbol as an intimate detail – that detail is then echoed on a larger scale becoming the document’s flexible grid presenting the content through the contrasting panelling of messaging, colour and imagery.
— chris gough palmer
strategic notebook 2019
strategy and creative are the words we live by at insight. this notebook combines great, thought-provoking imagery, bold colour and clever printing techniques, augmented reality experiences and practical user experiences to create a strong layout design that reinforces these key ideas at every touchpoint.
— alice mckeowndesign, creative celebration, insight creative, single-minded idea
A celebration of creative thinking - week 4
This week our creative celebration focused on Digital Solutions. Augmented Reality experiences, responsive websites, intranets and tactile hands on digital playtime in a sandpit. A variety of creative solutions...
this week our creative celebration focused on digital solutions. augmented reality experiences, responsive websites, intranets and tactile hands on digital playtime in a sandpit. a variety of creative solutions for diverse user experiences.
here’s what the team put forward…
mercury build your own hydro network
love how digital came to life in a very tactile way. i’d never seen technology work like this before so for me this project was a very exciting, delightful experience. great opportunity to release the inner child and learn by doing.
— jo ross
mercury showcase – ar waikato river
it was wonderful seeing this at our insight strategy day. from redrawing the river and contours, to the assorted animated / video / interactive and final ar elements, it brings together our wider skill sets and expertise across the team (and some outside help). a great creative, practical application of ar that will inform anyone from school age to old age about how power is generated and delivered to us all.
— edwin hooper
insight’s ar wall
what better way to celebrate digital than one of the newer mediums within that world – augmented reality. it’s great to work at an agency that prioritises new tech, and learning about it. spearheading the design aspect of our spacewoman wall was a lot of fun for me. and at the end of all the thinking and doing from so many people here at insight, we have two gorgeous static artworks in our offices, which we can play and engage with over the coming months.
— sarah turner
the mc intranet demonstrates a really strong design solution showing growth and visual identity evolution. a highly technical and challenging project for the build and a hugely improved user experience. great solution within tight boundaries.
— brian slade
watercare annual report – online
a great example of how to successfully take a strong print design and apply this to a digital setting. engaging animated interactions help bring the content to life while warm, people-focused images continue to tell the brand story.
— alice mckeown
snickel lane website
the snickel lane website strikes the perfect balance between functionality of a responsive website and an interesting design idea that stands out. the site loads quickly on multiple devices, and draws you in, with highlighted headlines and creative imagery of street food markets.
— anna charlettdesign, creative celebration, insight creative, digital, augmented reality, ar, websites
A celebration of creative thinking - week 3
This week our team focused on examples of Illustration , and its effective use to communicate a creative idea. Helping the viewer navigate content with often abstract themes, challenging content or sensitive...
this week our team focused on examples of illustration, and its effective use to communicate a creative idea. helping the viewer navigate content with often abstract themes, challenging content or sensitive topics. here’s what the team had to say…
heartland good motoring programme
as part of the visual identity for the good motoring loyalty programme, insight created a simple and friendly illustration that speaks of a positive driving experience. it successfully communicates the idea that driving is a feel-good experience, that gets even better with driving tips, motoring discounts, and rewards offered to heartland customers as part of the loyalty program. simple, fresh and energetic illustration of a happy driver zooming in their new car is a successfully executed single minded idea – thumbs up from me!
— anna charlett
te ture, the law
this beautiful pattern was created for meredith connell offices. insight worked with the artist arekatera maihi to create this taniko design. the forms have a strong reference to protection, connectivity, genealogy, strength, structure and foundations. the artist described the meaning behind the work as follows: “the black outer diagonal bar forms the roof a whare or house – the sheltered safe zone to work in, as well as the law which employees work with and strive to uphold. the internal black bar looks at the connections, the foundations and core of the business. this all sits safely under the roof of the whare. inside of those areas is the most sacred part of the whare – that is the people, the communities, the families and the workers. this talks about the responsibilities of the company for its clients' whanau and staff. the black niho all face up so as not to be seen to be biting down on the people.”
— jo ross
intelligent and considered use of an illustrative element for our rebrand of the sir peter blake trust. a distinctive and unique marque.
— brian slade
financial markets authority
this social media campaign worked so well because most content we see about boring things like investments can be a bit dry. cue the cute illustrated animation about learning to swim! the style is contemporary and clean, with a distinct kiwi feel – no wonder it was a big hit!
— sarah turner
auckland council – parks, sport and recreation
i like that the illustration and illustrated-style text helps to make the information easily digestible and unites three diverse departments together with ease. the illustration style successfully allows the information to be split into three, or broken down further to be used across a range of platforms at a variety of scales.
— alice mckeown
nz drug foundation
an exciting illustration for a space which is aptly named the catalyst room. here the illustration is a hardworking communication tool – delivering a wide scope of thoughts, initiatives, events and stories for the nz drug foundation. this is all achieved in a friendly and open style, creating sparks of interest through use of brand colour and additional ‘added-value’ quirk that only experienced illustrators can offer to an already content rich brand communication piece such as this.
— chris gough palmer
matters of substance – cover
we’ve used a number of illustrative elements across work for the nz drug foundation. one primary reason is its flexibility to use a metaphoric or symbolic approach to develop imagery that communicates the story, or some context to the story – without showing drug use directly. we’ve developed a series of illustrations showing the history of drugs in nz, and typographic-led illustrations with information about individual drugs. this recent cover uses a stock image base, supported by typographic elements to create a generic ‘protest’ movement of people campaigning against the ‘war on drugs’. the ‘war on us’ term refers to the failings of the war on drugs and treating drug use as a criminal issue over a health one.
— edwin hooperdesign, creative celebration, insight creative, illustration
A celebration of creative thinking - week 2
Continuing this new series, where we stop occasionally and take some time to celebrate our creative achievements. This week, I've focused around the theme ‘ great ideas ’. It was great to see a wide variety of work...
continuing this new series, where we stop occasionally and take some time to celebrate our creative achievements. this week, i've focused around the theme ‘great ideas’. it was great to see a wide variety of work coming through from the past 12 months. clear, strategic thinking helped to solve and navigate complex briefs. all projects chosen were excellent examples of how balancing strategy and design is essential to communicate a ‘great idea’.
breadcraft – cottage lane
simplicity is a great idea.
as designers we can quite often get carried away with details and seduced by the unnecessary – confusing what is trying to be communicated. the cottage lane logo is a good example of a good idea simplified. with the name at the core of the idea, it is presented as an elementary laneway sign, using classic street-sign typography and a recognisable street-sign shape. you get it, a nod to classic european street experience, the cafés, the food, all echoed too in the packaging through the traditional ‘naked’ presentation of the fresh product.
— chris gough palmer
the big idea behind airways branding is a “going beyond” story to define the essence of the brand. it expresses the role of airways in the modern era, doing more than just guiding planes to land safely. with a customer first ethos, and using cutting edge technology to deliver beneficial outcomes. i love this idea because it’s dynamic and exciting; there is always more to be discovered, implemented, and delivered to their customers. the visual identity that followed expressed that story. triangles facing forward and up express the forward motion and innovation, generous tracking in heading type treatment creates a sense of space and energy, combined with a bright and bold colour palette and future focused, fresh imagery, creates a compelling and forward thinking identity.
— anna charlett
insight’s new website
i think it was a great idea to put energy into refreshing and updating the insight website. as a design agency i think it is really important for anything created that represents ‘us’ to be at the same level as something we would create for our clients. after all, it’s generally the first piece of work clients will see.
— alice mckeown
insight’s ar wall (featured in insight’s offices)
there are so many exciting layers of thinking within this project. i think it’s a really smart idea to capture our vast range of capabilities in a piece of technology that we can show to clients and help them understand and buy into ar. it successfully represents what insight stands for as a business. a true result of learning, pushing the boundaries and collaborating as a team.
— jo ross
mashmaster’s mallington - insight's end of year christmas gift
the mallington. this baked goodie not only supported the ‘big idea’ behind the gift it was a part of (two complementary forces coming together to create a better end result), but was delicious enough for both eyes and tongue that one of our clients is getting it re-made for her wedding! it shows that not all ‘design’ ends up printed on a piece of paper, or formed in pixels on a website.
— sarah turner
this project was so deserving in recognition across the whole of company. from the initiative to invest in the project, used as a testing ground and the ongoing development of strategic creative idea generation. i think it’s lifted us all to another level of expectation.
— brian slade
design, creative celebration, insight creative, big idea, single organising thought
A creative celebration - week 1
Since I started at Insight Creative, there has been much talk about how we need to stop occasionally and take the time to celebrate our creative achievements. So with that in mind, let me introduce examples of great...
since i started at insight creative, there has been much talk about how we need to stop occasionally and take the time to celebrate our creative achievements. so with that in mind, let me introduce examples of great typography created within the walls of insight within the last 12 months, as seen through the eyes of our design team:
custom typography / nz super
i just think it’s great that we took the time to create something bespoke for a client that many people might consider ‘a bit dry’. it’s going the extra mile for them, but also gives us something to feel chuffed about. the theme of the report was constant change, so the fact that the typogrpahy character changes and evolves throughout the document is really fascinating.
— sarah turner
handwritten type / victoria university
the typography used for victoria university's 2019 recruitment campaign successfully delivers the concept of thoughts swirling around a young person’s mind. the hand-written form, using various sizes, cases, and styles, conveys the different options/thoughts when considering their future career, while also subtly promoting wellington. this all reinforces the strategic idea that you know your mind and that vic will teach you how to think, not what to think. composing those different type treatments together, evokes a compelling visual that connects with potential students making those big choices; it cleverly delivers the message that victoria university is the place where you can decide the route to fulfil your potential.
— anna charlett
creating a 'black' font / breadcraft
when do you get a chance to use a ‘black’ font? in my experience not that often. with this new range of wraps, we were aiming to express the ‘rebel’ at every touchpoint, and so we combined a slightly redrawn version of black future, redrawn copperplate gothic 33bc, aardvark and trade gothic.
— brian slade
typography as a graphic device / nzso
i really like the way the typography is the central graphical device in bringing the idea to life: “so… let’s begin. so… on with the show” is a really clever idea. bold and simple, with good use of colour and scale.
— jo ross
architecturally inspired typography / 7 waterloo quay
we are working with argosy on some signage elements for 7 waterloo quay (formerly known as nz post house). we’ve developed a typographic approach informed by the brutalist architecture of the building. the feature 7 graphic made up of elements echoing ‘7’ and of similar proportion to concrete elements used in the building.
— edwin hooper
good ol' helvetica neue / auckland airport annual report
here it is presented boldly in the airport's report. amongst the billion dollar busyness and ongoing construction at auckland airport, the typography adds a sense of confidence, clarity and calm; expressing the ongoing growth of the airport’s infrastructure through the repeated titles – underpinning the theme of the report ‘delivering, planning, building’. and of course the way it translates online is also great (as it should).
— chris gough palmer
wordmark / mashmaster
the typography created/used for mashmaster word-based card game instantly reinforces the concept or ‘big idea’. by combining the ‘h’ and ‘m’ the concept of two elements combining to create a unique hybrid is visually represented. it shows the amalgamation of two elements becoming a quirky, and creative final product.
— alice mckeown
design, creative celebration, insight creative, crafted typography, typography
All fonts look the same
All fonts look the same is an Exhibition of 260 fonts, celebrating uniquely restricted shapes with an almost endless amount of variation. On October 12th 2018, my group exhibition had its opening night at 45...
all fonts look the same is an exhibition of 260 fonts, celebrating uniquely restricted shapes with an almost endless amount of variation.
on october 12th 2018, my group exhibition had its opening night at 45 courtenay place. it was the output of an exhibition paper that i took during my 4th and final year of study at massey university. myself and four others worked for a full semester, conceptualising, developing and curating this unique exhibition experience.
our aim for this exhibition was to give typography a voice within gallery contexts, as it is an often overlooked art form. we wanted to show appreciation towards the designers who crafted each typeface as well as inform the general public of various typography terminology.
a big part of the exhibition process was contacting every type foundry whose typefaces we chose to exhibit. this proved to be an enormous amount of admin work with 100s of emails sent back and forth between us and foundries all over the world. thankfully almost every foundry we contacted were really excited to have their work on display, and even allowed us to use their typefaces at no cost. because we reached out to so many international foundries, our exhibition gained a lot of overseas recognition, with the website being shared across multiple graphic design blogs. it also meant our facebook event gathered a following of 700 or so people. this made us anxious going into the opening night as we had no idea what sort of numbers to expect.
leading up to our exhibition opening, we were worried that people would see our exhibition at a surface level. what we were met with on opening night was quite the opposite and really surprised us. the level of engagement with the typefaces was amazing and more than we could have hoped for. throughout the night people were photographing letters, noting down typefaces and engaging in deep discussions on their new appreciation of the letter z and why they will never look at it the same way again.
overall it was an awesome experience and a great end to my uni career.
check out the exhibition website here:
Taking a deep dive into understanding our client’s businesses is always one of the most fascinating part of our jobs. Last Thursday Gabe and Holly were lucky enough to spend the morning with our lovely clients at...
taking a deep dive into understanding our client’s businesses is always one of the most fascinating part of our jobs.
last thursday gabe and holly were lucky enough to spend the morning with our lovely clients at airways. for those of you who don’t know a lot about airways, they provide our air navigation service and are responsible for monitoring and controlling the air traffic to ensure all aircrafts are travelling safely between airports in new zealand domestic and oceanic regions. their air traffic controllers are constantly in contact with the pilots arriving and departing new zealand.
after a work in progress meeting they headed over to the operations centre where their enculturation started.
as holly tells it, they were given a comprehensive overview: “did you know the airspace they control covers 26 million square kilometres including the pacific and tasman oceans which extends from the south pole to 5 degrees south of the equator?!“
they learnt about the ins and outs of air traffic control, flight path management, the different stages of flight and procedures that follow each. they were tutored in the different flight maps and charts and got a solid understanding of what’s involved in air traffic control training.
“these were all demonstrated to us when we visited the operations centre. no work station can be left unattended and a full handover must be given before a team member can be dismissed.”
here’s one person from the team monitoring the aircrafts flying into auckland.
holly continues: “from there we ventured up into the control tower where we had a full view of the runway and where three air traffic controllers were stationed. each controller was managing a different stage of flight and were busy chatting with the pilots. typically the training to be an air traffic controller takes 12 months, but with my 2 hours of training, the team felt i was qualified to at least put on the headphones and listen to the conversations!"
airways, client enculturation, insight creative
A new design face at Insight, here's a sneak peek into Sarah Turner's creativity and innovation. Sarah has only been with Insight for a short time but has made an immediate impact. All very positive too: she's a...
a new design face at insight, here's a sneak peek into sarah turner's creativity and innovation.
sarah has only been with insight for a short time but has made an immediate impact. all very positive too: she's a strong inquisitive creative thinker and creator. she is also a prolific note taker and great communicator. all the way from palmerston north via taupo, i was keen to share a bit more about this creative talent but forgot to ask about her cat echo!
who has been the biggest creative influence in your career?
i’d have to say my biggest creative influence was very much pre-career! ms wolfsbauer was my high school art teacher and i’m sure it was her forward-thinking and support that lead me towards the design career i have today. every spare period and most lunchtimes we were in the art room with liz, talking design and creativity, as well as discussing the big issues in life. she taught me that art isn’t about being rigid and perfect, just like life isn’t about being rigid and perfect either. she helped me to look at things differently and to always strive to be the best you can be. sure, she hasn’t beaten all the perfectionism out of me (i am a virgo after all), but she was the one who watered the seedling that i call my designer instinct.
"lady gaga. auckland. 2010. where do i even begin?"
most powerful ‘creative’ experience you’ve had?
lady gaga. auckland. 2010. where do i even begin? a glowing deep sea angler the size of a truck. a fibre optic dress. a fountain of blood. the piano slowly catching fire as she sings acoustic. a black and white art film played on a giant led cylinder screen in between songs (which also doubled as a changing room for the lady herself!). leather-clad dancers, so many lights, a pumping bass, and the all-time classic – a metallic sparkler bra. for me the most powerful creative experiences are totally immersive, and this show really saturated all the senses. forever remembered as the best performance i’ve ever seen, i have always admired the way lady gaga mixes art and conceptualism while still reaching the epitome of ‘popular’.
if you could make one creative or innovative change to a thing what would it be and why?
bloody receipts. with all this talk of reducing plastic waste by turning down a straw or using a fabric tote, surely there is also something that can be done with these little (or sometimes not so little) bits of plasticy paper we get handed every time we purchase something. i get annoyed with them floating around in my bag when i do take one, but also annoyed when i tell the cashier to keep it. either way they all end up in the same place! won’t someone please think of the children…?
A day in the life of your truly amazing Account Director
I want to share my thoughts about the wonderful world of Account Management. I will admit it has taken me some time to work out what to write, mainly because there are so many parts to our roles in the Account/Project...
i want to share my thoughts about the wonderful world of account management. i will admit it has taken me some time to work out what to write, mainly because there are so many parts to our roles in the account/project management team. where to start?
i decided to simply relate what a typical day is like for us. our role varies so much depending on the day.
there are days when we have our heads in figures – be it creating estimates, planning projects in detail, tracking project budgets or invoicing. working out how we can deliver the project within the set budget and ensuring the client is getting the best value. we work with the strategy, design, digital and studio teams to ensure the approach is correct and they have enough time to complete the job. we work with suppliers – printers, photographers, production houses etc., negotiating where needed. these days a good calculator is required!
there are days when we are fully in client-focus mode – ensuring they are getting everything they need, multiple phone calls and meetings covering off different elements of the project, talking through the approach, the strategy, why a particular direction has been chosen, talking through any concerns. working out how we can fit in 3 extra pages of copy or how some new imagery can work. we ensure that they are happy and comfortable every step of the way.
"we are the voice of our client in the studio and the face of the agency with the client."
timelines. enough said – these are normally done, redone and then changed at least 3-4 times through a big project. and that's a time-consuming job requiring a lot of juggling to make sure the final deadline can still be met.
there are days when we are trying to solve the weirdest requests – cubes, oar shaped trophies, a sudden request for 200 t-shirts by the following monday. or we are out and about at shoots – watching weeks of planning come to fruition in a studio or office.
most days we are actually doing all of the above. we do a lot of juggling and balancing in our roles – working to ensure people are happy both internally and externally. we are the voice of our client in the studio and the face of the agency with the client. the variety of projects we are exposed to makes it exciting and keeps it interesting with no two days being the same - and often not panning out the way envisaged at the beginning of the day!
The Masters of success
I’ve been CEO of Insight Creative for nearly three years now. It’s more than a job I love. It’s an all-consuming passion that drives me to want to do more and to do it better. I give it everything and it gives...
i’ve been ceo of insight creative for nearly three years now. it’s more than a job i love. it’s an all-consuming passion that drives me to want to do more and to do it better. i give it everything and it gives me a whole lot back. there’s nothing i’d change about it. well almost nothing. i’d really like to redefine success so that i don’t always feel like i’m failing.
running a creative agency is an interesting business challenge. if we were a corporate then life might be easier when it comes to expected outcomes. i’ve been there and i know how it works. the shareholders (often the parent company) have an expected return number in mind. decision-making then becomes very single-minded, focused on delivering that number each year. you do and there are rewards. you don’t and there are consequences. if roi was the only outcome i needed to achieve with insight then i know exactly how i’d go about it. but this is just one expected outcome. and anyway, i don’t want to work for a company focused only on money – been there, done that, not again.
what really drives people to own and work in a design agency is creativity. we want to deliver clever ideas and creative concepts flawlessly executed. stuff that makes us proud and makes people notice and admire us. project plans, timesheets and processes, all aimed at managing the dollars, don’t exactly endear themselves to creative outcomes. so immediately you’ve got the challenge of balancing the needs of two masters.
at our place, we’ve got a third master. the fulfillment of our people. insight is a family business, owned by the people who work here. we’re not workers, resources, human capital or any other such crude term, designed to remind us that we can easily be swapped out for another fte. we are individuals, all with our own strengths, challenges and aspirations. we see work as an outlet for expression, growth and belonging. our staff engagement score, of close to 90%, says we are doing this well but this comes at the cost of other outcomes.
he with many masters serves none at all. it’s either a chinese proverb or some shit, disguised as wisdom, i just made up. regardless, it’s exactly how i feel. constantly trying to deliver the money, the creativity and the people outcomes seems to be an exercise in endless compromise. at best, we make a couple of masters happy. at worst, we disappoint all three. i’m quickly learning that the trick is to lower everyone’s expectations (including my own) but that’s not how i’m naturally wired. i prefer big challenges, delivering great results even when you fall short of the stated goal.
absurdly, i cope with the schizophrenia of three masters by focusing on a fourth, our clients. my thinking is that if we do what’s right by the client then everything else will look after itself. happy clients will give us more and better work and that will take care of the money, creativity and the opportunities to grow as individuals.business goals, business plan
Airways appoints Insight Creative as their design agency
We're excited to have been appointed as Airways Corporation's design & digital agency after a rigorous competitive pitch. Airways controls all domestic and international air traffic across 30 million square...
we're excited to have been appointed as airways corporation's design & digital agency after a rigorous competitive pitch.
airways controls all domestic and international air traffic across 30 million square kilometres of airspace in new zealand and over the pacific, handling over 1 million air traffic movements a year.
but what's a little less known in nz is that they are renowned globally for leading innovation and development in the aviation sector, with 780 staff delivering air navigation and air traffic management consultancy and training services in over 65 countries!
it's going to be a fascinating and fun journey . . .airways, insight creative
Designing client agencies
As a senior corporate marketer I worked with numerous design and advertising agencies before moving to the agency dark-side. I remember sitting through a number of creative pitches wondering “how will this...
as a senior corporate marketer i worked with numerous design and advertising agencies before moving to the agency dark-side. i remember sitting through a number of creative pitches wondering “how will this actually drive the sales i need?” often it was a case that it would, but the agency just needed to get better at presenting it to me in terms that met our business objectives. the sooner agencies learn to speak the language of business, the sooner they’ll be seen as professional partners and not just suppliers.
in many cases, the agency hadn’t thought beyond the self-perceived brilliance of their big creative idea to what me, or my audiences, actually needed. when i took on the ceo role at insight, i was keen to use this experience to make us a client-led, rather than design-led, agency.
at first it seems a radical step for a design agency to not drive the business from their core expertise. reality is that most big industries have already moved from production-led to customer-led. changing customer expectations and technology have necessitated this. the design industry, as a professional services provider, has been slow to realise the need to change.
we are into the third year of our client-first programme and while we have come a long way we still have further to go to be fully transformed. a philosophical shake-up of this proportion takes time.
the first year was about the basics. for example, making sure we’re asking the right questions at the briefing stage and really hearing, and understanding, what clients want and why. we redesigned our processes to drive our design thinking from tangible audience insights and to put steps in place to check the effectiveness of the work along the way.
we also gave all our client facing teams training on how to listen and read clients, how to get answers to the key questions and also how to sell in ideas (and not just designs) in ways that engage the client need.
in year two we ran ‘what clients want’ sessions where we invited clients to talk to our teams directly about the expectations and frustrations they have with agencies, how they measure value and the challenges they face getting things accomplished within their business. staff really engaged with this and enjoyed hearing it first-hand.
we also ran basic marketing strategy sessions for staff explaining the business drivers behind client briefs - such as growth, efficiency and risk management – and how each of these influence the channels, messages and design approaches we select.
you can’t be client focused if you don’t know what clients need, want or think. over the last two years we’ve run an annual client satisfaction monitor to track how well we are meeting client needs but also how the initiatives we are implementing are changing their perceptions. we supplement this with in-depth qualitative interviews to understand the why behind the monitor results and to get ourselves across the business challenges our clients face.
the year ahead has a strong client intimacy theme to it, designed to build a deep understanding of each client and the ways we can better deliver value to them. we’ll use this understanding to proactively address the problems and opportunities they face with tailored thinking and solutions.
we’ve started and, not surprisingly, we’re finding clients are very receptive to their agency proactively designing solutions that help them achieve their goals.design agency, client-led
The engagement game
We regularly work with clients on internal communications projects, helping them engage their staff, drive behaviour and performance, embed change and continuous improvement programmes and align their internal...
we regularly work with clients on internal communications projects, helping them engage their staff, drive behaviour and performance, embed change and continuous improvement programmes and align their internal and external brands. as a business, we face the same challenges our clients ask for our help with. we too work hard to engage a diverse group of talented individuals to create an aligned team approach that spans multiple locations and disciplines.
i was delighted to see the results of our latest annual staff perception survey. it was the first project i instigated as ceo in order to identify the key issues staff perceive and to track our progress in addressing them. each year we’ve moved forward in leaps and bounds and this year we achieved a staff engagement score of 88.8%. there’s no doubt our team is now (mostly) happy and this comes through clearly in the many positive and constructive comments made.
so how did we do it? many clients tell us they need a campaign to drive culture change, embed value and to improve performance. my answer is always the same. staff engagement isn’t a campaign but an on-going embedding process achieved over time across multiple channels and touchpoints. it requires consistent messages and actions that move the team seamlessly through awareness, understanding, acceptance and adoption. and that’s simply what we did. here are some of the key initiatives from our own staff engagement programme:
- improved regular communications including a monthly staff newsletter (now a video blog) covering results, work-in-progress updates, people and client stories and fun competitions. this is supported by a blog-based intranet for regular cross-office discussion and managers running regular team meetings. communication, transparency and trust were areas we scored particularly well in the survey.
- line of sight – our annual strategy day allows us to walk the entire team through our vision, purpose, strategy and key plans for the year ahead. this enables them to make a direct connection between what they do and the results we need to achieve. we also use this session to review the year just passed, directly linking our performance against goals with any staff profit share.
- last year we established an internal team to develop our values from the ground up. this ensured that the values reflected what is important to both staff and the business. we made a big deal around the launch, facilitating better recall and understanding. and now we are working on embedding them further into our every day vernacular and actions. see our values launch case study.
- our staff benefits/wellbeing programme is an on-going labour of love. we regularly add new benefits such as medical check-ups, access to financial advisers, flexible working arrangements, community days and healthy living advice.
- establishing a structured performance and development framework has meant all staff are clear on what they need to do and how their performance is measured. everyone has a development plan which is executed through regular individual and group development activities.
- our new recruitment framework ensures that that we hire people that are aligned with, and add to, the culture we have created.
- the physical environment also plays a role in culture and engagement. we moved offices in auckland, creating an environment more conducive to collaboration, creativity and good communication. we’ve made progress with the wellington office too and will go further with a new fit-out.
- we do lots of fun activities together as a team (but we still need to do more). some are little things like shared lunches or morning teas to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, project success and individual ‘gold star’ performance. others are much bigger, like getting the whole team together for a day of eating, drinking and fun at my place or our masterchef-styled christmas function. getting together regularly in a relaxed, non-work environment helps with unity and creating a sense of belonging.
for me the key to achieving our outcomes is embedding our goals, values and culture into our everyday actions. the leadership team have led this charge, modelling the sort of culture we want as well as reinforcing it with their teams. and if you’ve been in a meeting with any of us, you’ll see we all carry our designer notebooks. these house our vision, one purpose, our brand story, our strategy and business plans, values and kpis. effectively, the team engages with them every time they take notes at meetings (which for most, is every day). see our strategy book case study.
yes, but has it worked? being personally fulfilled at work is one of our goals. but our engagement programme isn’t only about soft benefits. it’s also helping us deliver the hard results shareholders need. in the last three years, our revenue has remained relatively consistent but our bottom line has moved steadily upwards. a more engaged team manifests itself in greater productivity and a willingness to find and adopt new and better ways to do what we do. what do they say? “happy staff equals happy clients and happy clients means a happy bank manager.”
could we do more? without a doubt. we’ll take a few moments to reflect on how far we’ve come and then get back to going further. we’ve got some exciting plans for the year ahead. suddenly 90% engagement doesn’t seem that impossible.internal engagement, internal communication, staff engagement
Thank you for being late (Thomas L. Friedman)
I don’t like arriving late but what if, as Mr Friedman suggests in his book, it can create value. Being late, early in the process, can create time to reflect and, above all, clarity. Clarity we so often...
i don’t like arriving late but what if, as mr friedman suggests in his book, it can create value.
being late, early in the process, can create time to reflect and, above all, clarity. clarity we so often lack. clarity we don’t seek because there’s no time. clarity.
like you, i acutely feel this pressure to meet deadlines. and often the pressure to meet these deadlines has a canny way of overshadowing the opportunity.
there’ve been too many days when anxiety kicked in, when i just wanted to get things underway as soon as humanly possible, so not to lose any precious time. dragging those around me into the doing, somehow trying to get on with the job.
until i noticed someone much wiser than me ask a client a few well-chosen questions. at face value, asking these questions seemed to challenge the deadline (we were supposed to be all go, right!), but instead it helped to achieve three things:
1/ brought more clarity around what’s required and why
2/ made everyone feel more confident doing their task, and
3/ culminated in better results, delivered on time
on reflection, my best work comes from having sound client insights. a few good questions, suitably put, go a long way.
btw, friedman’s book is a good read if you'd like to find out more about how we must learn to be fast (innovative and quick to adapt), fair (prepared to help the casualties of change), and slow (adept at shutting out the noise and accessing their (our clients) deepest values) – all in the age of acceleration.meeting deadlines, slow down, clarity
When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails (H Jackson Brown Jr)
A little over 20 years ago I became a father of two pretty fabulous daughters. Every year, most days I got to figure out how to be a father. Books don’t tell you everything there is to know. My own parents...
a little over 20 years ago i became a father of two pretty fabulous daughters. every year, most days i got to figure out how to be a father. books don’t tell you everything there is to know. my own parents turned out to be right more often than i’ve given them credit for (something i figured out much later in life).
kids are kids are kids are kids. they learn to crawl just when you get used to them sitting up (all precious things soon move 6 feet off the floor). they learn to talk and before you know they talk back. let them play dress-ups in the garden and hey presto they’re dressed up and off to the ball. it seems one direction only for my daughters, called independence - all the way. i (alongside my amazing wife) figured the best i can do is to give them some good values, something to fall back on when i’m not around.
as the girls grew up and years flew passed i learned to adjust my sails, whilst staying on course, doing my best to instill these values. i think i did pretty ok, but let my girls be the better judge of that.
likewise, most days our clients look to resolve a challenge they have. i give them process, feed them information, let them run with an idea. but adjusting my sails again, i figured i could do better, to modify how i interact with them whenever necessary, to make the overall experience worth their while. we can’t presume that they will do as we would like them to do with their brand & comms once they’re out of sight, but sure hope that through their experience working with us they truly value what we’ve taught them.client guidance. instilling values
Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems. (Sun Tzu)
Some years ago, as I gradually moved into a client service role, my biggest anxiety became the fear of failing our clients and letting down the people I represent. Worried to be found out, to be not quite good...
some years ago, as i gradually moved into a client service role, my biggest anxiety became the fear of failing our clients and letting down the people i represent. worried to be found out, to be not quite good enough for the job.
i was working at another design agency at that time, where people talked about opportunities and were actively discouraged from seeing things as problems. it all just sounded like hollow words, until it became clear to me it was ‘attitude’ they were talking about.
dealing with clients became less tricky when i started to look at them as people just like me. using my insecurity helped me level with clients. turns out some of them were also a bit worried about being found out. others were smart and in areas very different from me. some were actually quite funny but not everyone around me thought they were funny (i get that all the time). best of all, opportunities to relate proved omnipresent. changing discussions to conversations, shifting business topics to personal. making these connections created stronger relationships where all of us became more open, until there was nothing left to be ‘found out’.opportunities
Giving a little back
Time’s precious right? So getting the ‘opportunity’ to be part of Massey’s CoCA (College of Creative Arts) image and identity class yesterday was both a thrill and a challenge, in amongst meetings,...
That Like feeling
Lately I’ve been recruiting for a New Business person and I had an experience with one candidate that made me think about the importance of brand feelings. Yes, feelings. Brace yourself, I am going to talk...
lately i’ve been recruiting for a new business person and i had an experience with one candidate that made me think about the importance of brand feelings. yes, feelings. brace yourself, i am going to talk about them.
for the first time i didn’t use a recruiting agency but posted my role on social media. i had 33 applicants, and once i got through the obligatory bunch of those kidding themselves about their suitability, i had a dozen or so really good applicants.
one particular applicant had a strong cv and i checked him out on linkedin, found he had some good endorsements and a number of connections i knew. all looked promising so i arranged an initial chat to get a feel for him and whether he’d be good for the role and our company.
after 20 minutes or so we hung up and i reflected on the discussion. he gave the absolute perfect textbook answers to every question – i couldn’t have scripted them better myself. but i walked away feeling something was off about this guy. he shared nothing personal, no stories, experiences or views that would have allowed me to like him. he was siri responding to my questions with programmatic accuracy and robotic warmth.
as you do in this ‘everything’s public’ age, i looked him up on facebook and instagram. he was into sports, did lots of community stuff, looked like a great dad and had a wide circle of friends. and we appeared to share some common musical interests. was i wrong about him? i invited him to meet to find out.
within 10 minutes of more of the same, i stopped listening. i have no doubt his remaining answers were great but i just didn’t care. he may have promised to do the job 24/7 and for free but i still wouldn’t hire him. i ended the meeting and promised to let him know as soon as i’d made up my mind. i lied, i had already made up my mind.
like people, brands have to appeal at an emotive level as well as a logical one. we have to trust a brand, and like (or at least not hugely dislike) it, before we’ll even consider getting into bed with it. this liking-heuristic is well proven in brand psychology. connect emotionally and it’s glass half full. don’t and it can never be anything more than near empty.
the guy i hired maybe on paper wasn’t the natural choice, but within 10 minutes we were talking like old-mates. within 30, i felt i knew him and within an hour i was ready to pick him. and that’s exactly what i think potential clients will feel when he’s talking to them.feelings, brand, likeability
You have to think anyway, so why not think big? (Trump)
When I was a kid my dad told me that I don’t think. It made me very sad that he thought of me that way. Only much later in life did I work out that we were simply seeing and processing things differently and not...
when i was a kid my dad told me that i don’t think. it made me very sad that he thought of me that way. only much later in life did i work out that we were simply seeing and processing things differently and not very good at communicating to each other how we see things.
my dad was very analytical, good with numbers, magical with things that follow a logical process. he was a big thinker of many small things. you could see a big picture emerge once you’d added up all the little things he had in his mind. problem was extracting the little things. i seem to have flipped the other way. full of big ideas that often appear random and scattered, missing the detail. dad and i got there in the end though. standing on my own two feet in a foreign country did somehow bring our minds closer together.
most of our clients come for one of two things. they’re either looking for big ideas or need help delivering big ideas. i have come to appreciate that things go a lot smoother once i understand what people are looking for. if i always did what trump suggested i’d be in trouble.
thanks dad.think big, understanding
It's international women's day . . .
. . . and we enjoy the talent of a wonderfully diverse - and international - group of women. ...
. . . and we enjoy the talent of a wonderfully diverse - and international - group of women.
insight, diversity, international, women
I want to understand you, I study your obscure language (Alexander Pushkin)
I think it’s about time that I say thanks to all of you who patiently endure my use of the English language. Using good English but not quite right has had some entertaining effects on people. ‘How goes...
i think it’s about time that i say thanks to all of you who patiently endure my use of the english language.
using good english but not quite right has had some entertaining effects on people. ‘how goes it now?’ ‘well pretty good’ was the reply, with a little smile in the corner of his eye. things were a bit more painful after i worked out that ‘let me take him apart when the time is right’ means something completely different from ‘take him aside’.
in the 25 years i’ve been in new zealand, i’ve met many guests like myself who’ve come from another place. the french and german variants, south african, ethiopian, canadian, belgium, italian, russian, a few from back home, and some whose lingo totally confuses me (is manchester classified as a country?).
what we all have in common, most of the time anyway, is that we want to be understood. the same goes for our clients. they also, sometimes, speak in what seems like a foreign tongue when meaning inadvertently takes on a different guise.
on behalf of these clients, i thank you for your patience and understanding (please keep it up).language, understanding
Pause all of life's chaos
It’s the end of a very full on year for us and our clients, so we wanted to create something which championed the idea of temporarily pausing our hectic lives in order to truly appreciate life’s beauty. We...
it’s the end of a very full on year for us and our clients, so we wanted to create something which championed the idea of temporarily pausing our hectic lives in order to truly appreciate life’s beauty. we started working with the nz symphony orchestra for the first time this year and were thrilled that they were open to incorporating the wonderful music they make into our video. the result is a solution that moves from chaotic to a delightful piece of story-telling. a reminder to take a break, re-energise and re-connect with the people and things that are important to all of us. that means you too. have a great xmas and summer break. see you when you are ready to press play again in the new year.
Insight announces new CEO
Steven Giannoulis has been appointed CEO of Insight from 1 December 2014. Steven is currently Strategic Development Director. Steven has been with Insight since 2011 but his association with the company, as a...
steven giannoulis has been appointed ceo of insight from 1 december 2014. steven is currently strategic development director.
steven has been with insight since 2011 but his association with the company, as a client, goes back over 12 years. this background has been invaluable in attracting new business, delivering top class business-focused communications strategy and in understanding clients’ expectations from a design agency. steven has over 25 years’ experience leading numerous brand, marketing, product, communications and client service teams for organisations such as tower, nz lotteries, and ing. he has an mba as well as a business degree majoring in both marketing and management. since arriving at insight, steven has constantly displayed his leadership qualities, gaining the trust and respect of his peers, the board and clients.
after 38 years of establishing and leading the business, mike tisdall has decided to step down as insight’s managing director. he will continue to champion the growth of insight as both a member of the board and also as part of steven’s senior leadership team.
mike tisdall founded insight in 1976 and has led its growth to one of new zealand’s leading design agencies. today insight is a multi-national, award-winning design communications agency that works with many of australasia’s largest corporates, government departments, smes and charitable trusts.
with a strong leadership team in place, good governance through the board and a clear vision and strategy to move the business forward he feels now is the right time to introduce new leadership.
mike will remain in the business, managing the company’s financial, reporting and operational functions while also working across a number of key new business, marketing and client strategy initiatives. he also maintains his majority ownership of insight.
Insight maintains its carbon neutrality
We have just received our annual Greenhouse Gas Assessment for the financial year ended 31 March 2014 from our auditors, Pangolin & Associates, and have purchased the carbon credits required to ensure we remain a...
we have just received our annual greenhouse gas assessment for the financial year ended 31 march 2014 from our auditors, pangolin & associates, and have purchased the carbon credits required to ensure we remain a carbon neutral member of our clients' supply chains.
our total emissions were up 10% on the previous financial year, with the greatest increases coming from our growth-driven additional computer workstations and flights, but we used a little less power, fewer hotel rooms and taxis and less waste was sent to landfill.
a better indication of how far we’ve actually come is to compare this result from the 2013/14 year to the year when we started this assessment process: 2007/8: our emissions have dropped 12.6% over that period despite adding the wellington office to our physical footprint:
we continue to actively strive to minimise our footprint, particularly relating to the largest contributor: air travel. where possible, we continue to utilise our video conferencing facilities while always considering the best option for our clients and their projects.
sustainable, carbon neutral
In the same way that you can never have too many bicycles, you can never have too many typefaces. So I made another one. currently available here and on myfonts in coming weeks. ...
in the same way that you can never have too many bicycles, you can never have too many typefaces. so i made another one. currently available here and on myfonts in coming weeks.
What is the egg all about?
OK so the giant box marked “Fragile Egg” that was sitting at reception was raising lots of questions in the Welly office so here is the broadcast explanation: I was approached (along with a bunch of other artists)...
ok so the giant box marked “fragile egg” that was sitting at reception was raising lots of questions in the welly office so here is the broadcast explanation:
i was approached (along with a bunch of other artists) late last year by starship hospital and asked if i would decorate a giant fibreglass egg which would be auctioned off to raise money for the hospital. at easter they are going to be put on public display up and down the country to drum up some media hype.
i agreed and just after christmas my egg was delivered to insight where the boys and i immediately started playing dress-ups
then i took it home and of course being me, i just had to photograph it…
before i started to paint it…
and so here is a sneak peek at the finished thing
if you want the full rational (they asked us to supply one) here it is:
stranded in paradise
i interpreted the egg as a symbol of the start of a life – full of promise. taking that as a start point, i turned my thoughts to my own birth and childhood growing up in palmerston north – a small town in a small and isolated country during the 70s. during my teenage years i felt our isolation as a double edged sword – feeling the urge to travel and experience the world but trapped in the relative paradise of nz.
in the design i am represented by a fantail (common in palmerston north) yearning to take flight and explore the world (represented by the compass rose) but being held back by the isolation and conservatism of 70s life in nz (the tendrils of paisley wrapping themselves around the bird). the title is a reference to the book of the same name released in 1988, the title of which struck a chord with me as a youth.