Our projects usually involve questions that depend on us seeing a bigger picture than traditional design shops. Questions such as ‘How do we get the most out of our art department?’ or ‘What can we do to change the way our editors think?’ or ‘How can you leave us with a better way of using our resources?’. So we see the bigger picture of the power of design to enable change or innovation in business.
When we worked with the South China Morning Post, our brief was simply to “re-assert the authority of the newspaper”. A small, slightly vague, brief for a BIG project, it took us right back to the architecture of the newspaper. We wanted to reflect the intelligence of the newspaper by making the page designs and philosophy of layout far more organised and systematic. We worked hard to select the right family of fonts, and customise them (with the help of the font designer Christian Schwartz) to help position the newspaper in a precise, intelligent way. We worked closely with the production editors to create contemporary ways of telling stories that are easy and quick to comprehend, and produce. All of the design efforts were aimed at helping the South China Morning Post build a repeatable, sophisticated newspaper that reflected the quality of journalism it had built its reputation on. The readers and the staff appreciated their newfound respect for each other. The most common remark we heard was along the lines of “Fabulous, it was about time.”
The South China Morning Post has continued to win numerous design awards.
Lots of projects depend on defining the small details in order to think bigger, and to make bigger changes. IBIS World is an Australian organisation that specialises in serious data analysis and reporting on every industry you can think of. As these reports are their only tangible product, it was important that they communicated clearly, and had lasting impact on anyone who read them. In 2003, IBIS World made the bold move of launching their comprehensive range of reports into a worldwide marketplace, focussing on the US. They realised that in order to be successful they needed to make the reports far more accessible, broadening their appeal and growing their competitive share. We developed a winsome, intelligent and communicative approach that makes extremely complex data much easier to understand, combining our detailed infographic and typographic editorial expertise with template design, advice and continued consulting while the design was being implemented.
Four years after the international launch, and with the new reports under their belt, the US branch of the company generated approximately 40% of the group’s overall revenue.