NB Studio; a branding and communication studio based in Central London. You may recognise some of their campaigns, or even all of them… Time we took to the people who offer this branding service for your very needs. Make sure you connect with this lot via their Website, Twitter, Facebook, Online Shop and Instagram.
So, Alan Dye and Nick Finney, please introduce your roles at NB; including a crazy fact about you…
Alan: Creative director and owner of NB. I love Nick
Nick: Joint founder and Creative Director. I once killed a man.*
*I’m afraid this part is a lie.
NB in five words: Kick-ass branding and design consultancy.
What are your three long term goals for NB, brand and communication studio?
Alan: Over the next 5 years Nick and I would like NB to grow in reputation through our client partnerships across international markets. We already work and are always hungry to work with the most inspiring design associates to become a highly profitable business. And to have fun along the way and never to loose the joy in what we do.
From Aspall Cyder in Suffolk to The Tate in London, you’ve certainly worked on a variety of projects. How do you go about sourcing these clients, or do they approach you with a pitch concept?
Nick: We rarely chase after totally new clients as we’re busy with the current workload and the requests we get in. At NB we get approached with new business requests every week so we tend to be choosy about the ones we go for. If the project or challenge is exciting, fits with our busy schedule and has the hallmarks of a good design challenge then it gets our attention. Often the dance begins with a request for information by email but we prefer to arrange a face to face meeting at that point to kick-start the working relationship as swiftly as we can. We’ll effectively start the project at that point, demonstrating creative thinking and enthusiasm in the way we respond. After all we’re in a competitive environment and we want to win the clients heart. Each client is different, every project a distinct challenge and that’s the way we like it.
Alan and Nick explain to us your most passionate project and for what reasons was this…
Alan: I find that every new project we work on becomes the next most passionate project.
If you believe in what you do you can not help becoming emotionally attached to the latest brief, whether its for the arts, education, retail, banking or property sectors.
The project that jumps to mind is the work we did for Mothercare. We had never worked in the retail sector before and so came to the problem with a complete open mind. Our client recognised this as she was bored with the of-the-peg solutions from specific retail design companies.
We gained our clients trust and ended up designing everything for Mothercare from the till receipt to the signage and everything in between. We also commissioned Ivan Chermayeff, one of our heroes to create all our illustrations for campaigns and Stefano Azario the best kids photographer in the world plus many fantastic copywriters and get to work with Michael Wolff the brandfather of English design. What could be better than that!
Nick: ‘Why Us’ is a great animation on your website about connecting with your clients and asking them what they’d like from you – can you explain a little more about the creation towards this animation and the reasons behind its creation?
We wanted to tell people who we are, what we do and why we do it. We spent some time noodling with words and adding them to an ‘About Us’ section on our website. We called it ‘Why us?’ and it was an attempt to come at things from the clients point of view. We soon realised that we could make things much more engaging if we turned it into a script and made a little film. We asked our friend award-winning Director and animator Johnny Kelly. After some meandering we arrived at what you see. Johnny worked with illustrator James Graham from sketchbooks and storyboards to create a beautiful animated sequence which supported the script. The voice was provided by our good friend Michael Wolff.
Alan: It’s difficult to develop new ideas/concepts every day, so it’s important to combine existing ideas creatively to seize a new opportunity. Explain a time when you both did this with success?
It’s not difficult to develop ideas every day – It’s what we do and absolutely love. All the designers at NB thrive creating new thoughts. They’ll be sacked if they didn’t. Saying that Nick and I have been around the block a few times and have a few bottom draws ideas that were never bought stashed away ready to see the daylight.
Nick: You have a link for ‘Creative Courage’ from the main NB site, can you tell us a little about what this is and how you deal with running it alongside NB?
Creative Courage is a phrase we adopted after rejecting it as the title of a play we were toying with. The play was eventually called ‘Turn-Table – the Anatomy of a Pitch’ and debuted at Design Indaba in Cape Town in February 2016. ‘Creative Courage’ on the other hand has become our mantra, the driving idea behind the way we work and think. It stands for bravery, intelligence, ideas and teamwork. We put together small and inspiring events at NBHQ for friends and family. Creative Courage is our platform for those events and the website is starting to share the results. Ultimately we want to better integrate things and use the content we create to help tell our story.
Finally, talk us through your ‘Museum of London’ project and how that came about…
Alan: Nick and I are both from London – We couldn’t refuse this brief when it came through the door. London has some of the world’s most famous cultural institutions. In a crowded marketplace of over 300 museums, the challenge was to create a campaign that stands out.
An investment of £20 million to create spectacular new interactive galleries was the driving force for a major relaunch campaign for The Museum of London. The Campaign had to connect with as many people as possible in a period of only a few weeks and with a modest media budget, which was a real challenge.
Few cities can match London’s amazing history and people. Our campaign set out to bring stories from the past instantly into the present.
At the heart of our idea was the thrill of standing in the same spot where a historical event took place. Working closely with experts at the museum we trawled the archive looking for memorable images from London’s past which would resonate with modern Londoners.
The campaign appeared across Greater London for one month and included; London Underground 48 and 12 sheet posters, ads in London papers and plethora of print and site specific installation.
The results beat all expectations The opening week saw an all-time record amount of visitors, over twice the Museum’s target and went on to win many awards including Gold in both DBA Effectiveness awards and The New York Art Directors club and also won the Visit London Best Campaign award for the launch of the Galleries, to name a few…
Quick fire round questions:
Beer or Cider?
London or Brighton?
N: London, but I do like to be by the seaside.
Photography or Illustration?
Reading or Listening?
All we can say is grab a beer in London and join the guys for a pint and talk of all things to do with branding and communication!