A day in the life of… Senior Brand Designer Zoe Scott-Smith

A day in the life of… Senior Brand Designer Zoe Scott-Smith

We caught up with Zoe Scott-Smith, Senior Brand Designer at Threerooms Branding Agency in Nottingham, to find out about the kind of work she does, their projects, the technology they use, what keeps her inspired each day, and which industry trends they’ve got their eyes on…

Tell us about the kind of work you do at Threerooms? 

Threerooms is a digital-first branding agency, so as Senior Brand Designer, I get to work on lots of varied and exciting brand projects. The great thing about branding is that each project is completely bespoke and crafted to the individual client, so even though the creative process can be similar, no project or day is the same. I work closely with clients from the get-go, too – from initial brand workshops, through to rolling out bespoke and tailored brands. Brand workshops are a great chance to truly learn about the client, and understanding how a company or business began is one of my favourite questions. You can delve deep into their personality, ethos and find out what drives them.

What are some big projects you’ve been working on recently? 

I have been working on lots of really exciting top brands, covering everything from universities, the emergency services, charities, packaging for drinks, the beauty industry, and even a brand new aquatics brand. I absolutely love getting stuck into creating a new brand. Even now, I find the creative process such a rewarding journey.

Aside from brand jobs, I have been creating a range of illustrations and wall graphics for one of our clients. It’s a lot of fun working with so many different creative mediums.

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What technology does your team rely on every day? 

There are lots of different tools that we rely on day to day. Adobe Creative Cloud (everything from InDesign and Photoshop to Illustrator and Lightroom), as well as 3D software such as Cinema 4D and web software like Sketch. Aside from design software, InVision is our go-to presentation software, as it lets us to upload and present our visuals while allowing for easy commenting and feedback.

When it comes to communication and collaboration, software such as Podio, which acts as our main central hub, is key. Other tools like Forecast help us map out different project schedules, while WorkflowMax lets us keep an eye on invoicing and time allocation management. Google for Business is especially handy for collaboration, and – of course – Spotify is my go-to for much needed tunes.

How does this compare to the technology you were using at the start of your career?

I am quite lucky – when I was starting my career, a lot of the other, lesser known design packages were being phased out and I jumped straight into Adobe CS4! Without making myself sound too old, the technology really has evolved so much. When I started in the industry ten years ago, it was a print-dominated world – web software like Sketch wasn’t around and terms like UX weren’t commonplace. The work felt more isolated, so collaborative tools have really paved the way for more unity and open-thinking between designers.

Regarding interaction with clients, back then it was a bit more of a “here’s a bit of paper with amends scribbled on it” approach. Collaboration tools are not just a way for designers to feed back, but are a huge part of client interactions, too. It is essential for this process to be as smooth as possible to avoid hiccups and allow designers more time to do what they do best. Internally, collaboration tools allow the team to quickly provide feedback from everyone’s perspective, and enable us to understand their comments more clearly. Ultimately, this makes for a better project outcome.

What technology has had the biggest impact on Threerooms? 

All the latest technology trends have had a huge impact on the studio. We pride ourselves in keeping up to date with the latest trends, advancements and tweaks as they all add up in their own way, and usually help to simplify and advance the creative process.

There are a few different things we’re excited about, the first being Dimension, the new 3D software by Adobe. We’re also looking forward to Adobe Spark and InVision Studio.

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How do your team stay productive during busy, stressful times?

We’re armed with our headphones! But in all seriousness, when it’s busy and time is of the essence, being able to pull the team together for input and feedback is ideal for discovering new creative routes and re-energising. Working in a close-knit team has some huge advantages, too. We all know what eachother are working on and can offer input, fresh ideas and collaborate between ourselves, which really helps to enhance each project.

What keeps you inspired everyday? 

The main sources of inspiration are obvious – Behance, Pinterest and Dribbble. However, when a challenge arises, team get-togethers provide the best source of inspiration. You find that with several design heads together, problems are quickly resolved.

I have to mention our beautiful surroundings! With our studio being based at Strelley Hall, it’s amazing how much of a difference having a tranquil setting can make to your creative thoughts. I once heard that the Pixar team often take a drive to ‘nowhere’, passing through serene landscapes to rattle through their creative problems – I think we could be on to something!

Of course, music is a huge source of inspiration for everyone. Nothing is better than throwing your headphones on or cranking up the studio speaker and blasting out your favourite tunes for tackling the tricky tasks at hand.

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Do you use any design tablets, and if so, how do you use them?

I used to dabble with Wacom’s a fair bit – I think they’re great to use. I guess I don’t particularly miss the interaction of holding a pen-like device though – whenever I am needed to create bespoke illustrations, I instinctively grab my brush pens and do them raw. Something about this tactile approach is rewarding and offers greater control.

I then use the Adobe Capture mobile app to snap my hand-crafted illustrations, which then sync instantly into my chosen Creative Cloud library as a vectorised illustration. I love how this app still retains even the slightest imperfections – the smallest splatters of ink or alterations in a line – which all add to the character of the overall look.

Are there any industry trends that your team are thinking about incorporating into your work in the near future?

I think it’s important to always look to the future, and to consider what we need to incorporate in order to keep Threerooms ahead. With logo animations being one of the dominant trends at the moment, we are looking to push animation in all of our work, from logos all the way through to websites. In addition, we’re looking to push modelling advances by using the latest Adobe software like Dimension, and we’re also thinking about the possibilities of VR and how we can shape new experiences in that environment.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your work and how do you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges for all designers is to ensure we are still generating creative ideas and staying ahead of the trends. I often find myself scrolling through the latest and greatest branding examples, questioning why certain things were done in certain ways, what they were looking to achieve, and most importantly, absorbing everything I see.

Outside of the creative process, the biggest challenge would have to be client deadlines, which we overcome by utilising our workflow tools to assist with timeframes. Budget constraints can also be a challenge, however we find our process of in-depth workshops helps us to achieve the end goal quicker by fully understanding the client’s needs from the outset.

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How important is collaboration for your team, and how has technology helped with this?

Collaboration is massively important, and enables us to get the best out of our projects. We never underestimate the value of getting a fresh pair of eyes on our work, and are always doing internal reviews to enhance collaboration on all of our projects. With everyone’s eyes on each project, it allows us to continually push the boundaries in what we create and feedback on each other’s work. Not only does it lead to great results for Threerooms and our team, but also for our clients.

Threerooms are a leading brand and creative agency in Nottingham. They help marketing teams and business owners add value to their brands through impeccable design and effective brand strategy.

threerooms.com

If you’d like to find out more about about any of the creative kit mentioned above, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

Top accessories to make designers’ lives easier

Top accessories to make designers’ lives easier

Chances are, you already know the basic rules of creative productivity in the workplace – keep a tidy workspace, and always have the tools you need available. But what gear should you look at to stay as productive as possible?

Designers often rely on a fair few bits of kit to make their day to day lives easier, and this is something we know all about. Having dished out great accessories from leading vendors for over 25 years now, we know exactly how to help creatives do what they do best. We try our wide range of accessories ourselves, so you can rest assured you’re picking up something that’s reliable and beneficial.

Below, we’ve put together our top five recommended accessories that we think will give your creative workflow a boost…

Satechi USB-C Thunderbolt 3 Pro 4K HDMI Hub

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As much as we love the latest MacBook Pro models (they’re great for all kinds of design work!), you might find yourself stuck for ports every now and again. That means you’ll have to root around for the right adaptor to make sure you can use all of your essential accessories at once.

Luckily, there’s a way to combine all of those adaptors into one. The Satechi USB-C Thunderbolt 3 Pro is a slimline hub that clips onto the side of your MacBook Pro, utilising its two USB-C ports. In return, it provides you with an HDMI output, two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot and a MicroSD card slot. It even has a pass-through power USB-C port, so you can still charge your device while benefiting from all the additional ports. And the hub is even colour matched to your MacBook Pro, in case you’re fussy about that sort of thing.

Our Product Manager, Taylor, says…

“The Satechi hub is a great companion for a designer’s MacBook Pro (it matches!), and ensures you’ll always have access to the ports you need. So no more picking and choosing which devices to use or charge while you’re hard at work in the studio or on the move!”

Shop now – £66.66 (£79.99 inc VAT)

STM Kings 15 inch / 22L Luxury Laptop Backpack

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Out and about and need to do some design work on the go? We reckon the STM Kings Luxury Laptop Backpack will suit you just right. Store your laptop, Wacom tablet, pens, pads, phone, chargers and documents, as well as anything else you might want or need to cart around – the STM Kings backpack can hold it all.

It also comes with a handy CableReady system, allowing you to route a charging cable through the backpack without getting knotted up – especially useful if your battery is running low and you need it fully charged for when you arrive at the studio. It even comes with ‘The Stash’, a small zippered bag that’s really useful for organising your batteries, cables, pens and other bits and bobs.

Taylor says…

“You can’t go wrong with an STM Kings laptop backpack. Not only is it easy on the eyes and comfortable to carry, it has enough space and built-in compartments to carry everything a designer could need while on the move.”

Shop now – £99.96 (£119.95 inc VAT)

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD

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Fed up of fighting through a forest of cables in order to get to your desk? Is it becoming a distraction to your creativity? The Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock is capable of running dual 4K displays, and allows you to connect up to eight (yes, eight!) different devices through a single Thunderbolt connection – perfect for all your charging and accessory needs. Tidy workspace, tidy mind!

Taylor says…

“This Belkin Thunderbolt 3 dock is perfect for making sure all your productivity needs are met, without compromising your desk space with loads of wires and cables. Designers will also find the ability to connect dual 4K displays especially useful, providing plenty of screen real estate.”

Shop now – £313.49 (£376.19 inc VAT)

Griffin Notebook Elevator Stand

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The Griffin Notebook Elevator Stand not only raises your MacBook up to a more comfortable height (important if you’re going to be staring hard at your screen all day), but it also frees up some desk space so you’ve got more room to create with your Wacom tablet and sketchpad, as well as area for your new dock, headphones and three cups of tea that have all gone cold…

Taylor says…

“We’ve got these all over our office – we couldn’t do without them! Not only do they make it easier to look at your laptop screen for long periods of time, but they give you more room to work while at your desk.”

Shop now – £29 (£34.80 inc VAT)

Logitech Slim Combo Case for iPad Pro 10.5″

logitech_slim_combo_case

If you’re using iPad Pro for design work, particularly while you’re on the move, this Slim Combo Case from Logitech is ideal. It’s versatile and multipurpose, and helps transform your iPad Pro experience into something more closely resembling a laptop, so it’s perfect for all the email sending and admin work that’s part and parcel of design workflows. The case’s Smart Connector pairs with and powers the keyboard, and provides four distinct modes: typing, viewing, FaceTime and reading. It also features full-size backlit keys and a built-in Apple Pencil holder.

Taylor says…

“iPad Pro is often the tablet of choice for designers, and this Logitech case helps add a dash of productivity to mobile creative workflows by providing a keyboard that can be used to make writing emails, briefs, feedback and more so much easier.”

Shop now – £99 (£118.80 inc VAT)

For more information, get in touch with the team by calling 03332 409 306 or emailing sales@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Survive and thrive: How to stay ahead in an evolving creative IT landscape

Survive and thrive: How to stay ahead in an evolving creative IT landscape

Your IT infrastructure may be on top form now, but you never know what’s around the corner…

We’re here to help you develop a responsive, resilient IT infrastructure that can support your business in an unpredictable IT landscape, and make sure that rather than just surviving IT setbacks, your business is thriving and moving forward, and you’re not caught out by technological change.

For more information about how our solutions and services can help you survive and thrive, get in touch with the team by calling 03332 400 888 or emailing sales@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Check out our new Creative Kit Configurator

Check out our new Creative Kit Configurator

Forking out for new kit for your creative team can often throw up a purchasing dilemma – go for the cheaper upfront costs, or plump for the very best kit that may give better value in the long run?

Using our Creative Kit Configurator, you can pick a setup that’s ideal for the needs of your end users, from powerful Mac workstations to essentials like desktop storage and Wacom graphics tablets, as well as warranties, to help you better manage your budget. Watch our video, then give it a go at the link below!

 

– Try our Creative Kit Configurator now!

Want to know more about the best solutions for design? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email designsolutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

A day in the life of the Jigsaw24 creative team

A day in the life of the Jigsaw24 creative team

The creative team is part of the marketing division at Jigsaw24, and is composed of a team of copywriters and a team of designers; these two groups combined are behind the production of all marketing materials produced by Jigsaw24. But who are they really? Here’s a little overview of the team…

How the team is structured

Responsible for the supervision of the whole team is the management team, consisting of Ade Leader (the boss man), the Head of Marketing along with Victoria Baxter and Louise Goldsworthy, both design managers. When this trio of forces combine, VAL is formed – an unstoppable managing mastermind. A main part of Ade’s job is managing the workload and communicating with other teams in the business to plan and implement marketing campaigns. Victoria plots the work of the designers and organises their days by each hour. She plans months in advance (like an organisational ninja) in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Meanwhile, Louise deals with the tech side of the designing such as the website.

The copy team consists of four copywriters; Liz Sunter, the senior copywriter, who works alongside Shariff Ibrahim, Joe Harby and Becki Crossley. Their job centres around writing copy for all marketing materials, which can be as wide-ranging as print materials like brochures and flyers, web pages, direct email marketing and more, as well as running the social media accounts. Day to day, the copywriters will focus on certain campaigns or projects, incorporating feedback from other teams both within the business and externally. Liz’s job involves communicating with the management team and making sure the work of the other copywriters meets the briefs for the campaigns.

On the design team there is Xenia Spray-Smith who is the senior designer along with graphic designers Liana Philips, Thierry Courtois, Simon Curd who balances in-house video production and animation with graphic design, and web designer Jamie Shaw. Their work is very varied, including both print and digital collateral, web design, event invites and stands, photography and in-house video. Xenia, as senior designer, is responsible for overseeing the team as a whole and will relay information to and from the management team.

What the team are currently working on

Presently, the creative team are focused on the production of the Jigsaw24 annual report, an in-depth (132 pages) overview of the business year. In addition to this, they are continually creating newsletters and brochures throughout the year along with their everyday tasks such as sending out emails and creating blog posts.

Where they live

The main office is open plan, with the directors working alongside the marketing, apps and systems development, sales, product management and project management teams,which enables better communication and encourages great socialising between all departments. Behind their roles and responsibilities, the members of the creative team are incredibly supportive of each other and are always willing to help out other colleagues. And morale is always boosted by the odd break from work to play pool, table tennis or table football (with questionable skills), not to mention the occasional office tournaments such as darts and table tennis (all while being super productive, of course…).

If you want to find out more call us on 03332 400 888 or email us at broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest updates follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 or ‘like’ us on Facebook.

What went down at our Expand Your Brand with Video event

What went down at our Expand Your Brand with Video event

If you want to engage new customers and strengthen your brand, video production is a great way to go. To that end, we held our Expand Your Brand with Video event down in Soho on 6th July to show companies how to get started and bring video in-house. Thanks to everyone who came down and enjoyed a drink or two over some video chat – for everyone else, here’s what went down…

Laurie Castelli on video

First up, we had Laurie Castelli (former Creative Producer at Facebook, acclaimed director/producer and brand communications expert) giving a great presentation on why video is so important, why you should be making it and what factors you should be thinking about before you take the plunge.

He also stressed the critical thinking behind video – why you shouldn’t just be producing it for the sake of it, but really thinking about why you’re doing it to make sure you’re constantly producing the best content with the best finish quality, and achieving your objectives.

Expand your brand 1

Lewis Brown talks video kit

We also welcomed Lewis Brown from Atomos, who presented on a more technical aspect of taking video in-house. He spoke about the basic kit you need to get started, the spectrum of kit available and other considerations, from back-end storage through to the actual production kit. He also touched upon the role of brands as the new broadcasters.

Expand your brand 2

Pizza and Euro 2016

Of course it wouldn’t be a Jigsaw24 event without a few drinks and a bite to eat while ‘networking’. We also stuck Euro 2016 on our big screen to see Wales unfortunately crash out in the semis and end their heroic run to eventual tournament winners CR7 and co. Sad times.

– If you’d like to know more about expanding your brand with in-house video, check out our Infographic: The Power of Producing Video Content here. Or if you’re ready to start creating your own content in-house, take a look at our full range of video production solutions, or speak to one of our experts on 03332 400 888 or broadcast@Jigsaw24.com

Jigsaw24 Events

Want to know more? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.