It's all about people
It can take a while to really realise where you should be, what you should be doing and why in your career. For me, I definitely remember when a golden opportunity became clear and Spoken was born.
I get asked a lot about why I started Spoken and how I started my career. I love hearing other people’s stories and experiences and what makes them tick and for me, it’s always been design.
Before starting Spoken, I worked in print for 12 years. This was a great industry to be in as it was growing continuously and there was always something new to learn and issues and needs to react to in the marketplace.
I enjoyed my job and the team, and I was good at my role, but it didn’t light my fire. I was restricted (quite rightly) by processes and structure which taught me some valuable lessons about being organised and planning, but what I learnt and saw first-hand during those 12 years is that implementing such tight structures was often at the detriment of the end design and finished product.
There was a feeling of us and them. We had those infamous words from the client so many times: ‘you’re the designer,’ and vice versa we reciprocated with interpreting the clients’ brief rather than following it and challenging it when needed in order to get the best results.
Collaboration wasn’t really a thing and the separate way of working confused me which is when my lightbulb moment happened. I knew that if we broke down those barriers between designer and client and worked as a team with openness, transparency and communication, there could be some magical design created. I wanted to challenge the preconceptions surrounding how things were done; just because they were always done this way, doesn’t mean that was the correct way of doing things.
I left the print industry and started Spoken with my core ethos being collaboration and relationships and I’m very pleased to say that this has been the key to our ongoing success. We never ask our clients for a brief, instead, we meet with the client and hold a session together to collectively put together the brief as one. I see continuously how this involvement from both sides produces some fantastic work as from minute one, everyone is as one in terms of vision and desired outcome.
In business, relationships are everything and forging a relationship in the best way from the very beginning is hugely important to me. My passions are design, people and learning and I never fail to be astounded at the amazing ideas our clients bring to the table as they know their brand and business better than anyone. It puzzles me so much how somebody’s life work and passion can just be handed over to a designer who has known their company for five minutes – how are they meant to truly appreciate and understand the essence of it? The fact is, they don’t. We take the time to immerse ourselves in a brand to really work with the client to tell us about it, why it works, what journey they’ve had getting there and what their aspirations for the future are. I utterly love the first kick off session as I always learn something new about the client and it’s often a throwaway nugget of information that we grab, ask them to elaborate on and use in our work.
How people work is fascinating. I’m constantly looking at why people behave the way they do: what makes them buy one thing over another? Why do some brands and product just not fly? I am genuinely inspired by people’s businesses and industries and lifting the bonnet on what really makes them work and why. Sometimes it’s not obvious and it’s a combination of things with a bit of magic thrown in and we strive to provide that added layer of inspiration and thinking.