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.

zoe_sketch

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.

zoe_work2

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.

strelley_hall

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.

zoe_work1

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. 

We pit our senior designer against herself in a series of productivity challenges

We pit our senior designer against herself in a series of productivity challenges

Across a series of productivity challenges featuring Apple, Wacom and Adobe, it’s Xenia versus Xenia in an intergalactic battle to find out which tools make our senior designer more efficient in a creative environment. They may not be quite as scientific as a benchmark test, but they’re marginally better soundtracked.

Round one: Wacom Intuos Pro v keyboard and mouse

Can a Wacom tablet help you stay more productive? Find out whether an Intuos Pro or a keyboard and mouse can make you 150% more productive (and a lot less stressed).

 

Shop now.


Round two: Apple MacBook Pro with TouchBar v regular MacBook Pro

Could the addition of the TouchBar really save you 94 hours in a year? Xenia blasts off in this challenge to see just how much of a boon for productivity the TouchBar on the Apple MacBook Pro is…

 

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Round three: Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries v Finder

Xenia faces off against herself for a final time to see just how productive Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries can make you – spoiler alert, it works out as saving you 1/5 of your design time!

 

Shop now. 

For more information on the best design technology to help you stay creative, get in touch with the sales team on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or visit Jigsaw24.com/design.

 

Bottlenecks, bandwidth and the importance of building an up to date network

Bottlenecks, bandwidth and the importance of building an up to date network

If your company’s network is running on the back of out dated technology, there’s a good chance it’s struggling to meet the demands of your day to day data flow, and you’ve probably started to notice a dip in productivity and performance as a result.  

In 2017, networks are tasked with handling multiple devices, applications and workflows. And while you may be fully equipped to handle emails, web surfing and the transfer of documents and other small files, you’re going to need more bandwidth to be able to cope with the demands of the modern networking world.

We’ve listed a few FAQs below that should help you decide whether you need a network upgrade to better support the requirements of your organisation’s IT infrastructure…

So, what’s a bottleneck? 

No, we’re not talking about those things you slurp lager out of – we’re talking about high network usage slowing or altering the speed of a network. Speed is reduced when the network lacks the resources and bandwidth to cope with the demands of its users – networks will naturally slow down in an attempt to handle the additional traffic.

How do bottlenecks impact productivity? 

If your network is clogged with users attempting to access the same resources and lacks the infrastructure to support this kind of activity, it’ll create a bottleneck that’ll grind your network speeds to a halt. This isn’t exactly ideal if you’ve got staff using essential network-based applications, working on mission-critical files on the server or distributing large amounts of data across your organisation. Without sufficient bandwidth, your network will continually experience such slowdowns, so it’s best to start thinking about modernising your network infrastructure to better support your company’s data flow and the needs of your end users.

What are the benefits of updating my network?

If your networking infrastructure is lagging way behind the times, it’ll really show and your end users will have some serious difficulties working on the network. Complete with noticeable performance deficits, you’ll likely experience total network outages where nothing works until traffic is reduced – this is something you want to avoid, as an outage could cause you to lose data and possibly days of work.

To put it simply, by not upgrading you’re missing out on a load of substantial speed and performance benefits, and risking precious data. Bandwidth abound, you can rest easy that your network will be able to cope with previously crippling amounts of data usage, and can handle even the most demanding multimedia workflows.

Getting your network updated also means you won’t have to waste excessive amounts of time and resources trying to rectify problems created by slow speeds and poor performance – instead, your IT support team can focus on helping end users without having to fret over never-ending network bottlenecks. And don’t forget that you’ll likely see an uptick in productivity now that your employees can access everything they need and can use the network at full capacity.

Of course, it’s always important to implement best practice whether your network is up to date or not, especially when it applies to organisational growth and the IT infrastructure associated with it. Always remember that for every additional employee or device, it’ll have a knock on effect on bandwidth, storage and more, so your infrastructure will need to expand in conjunction with the business.

Try and implement monitoring systems that help you keep track of the resources in your network, how much data is being transmitted across your company, and potential shortfalls in bandwidth capacity and networking speeds. It’s also worth double checking that your network is configured correctly, so that fresh installations or new services aren’t blocking existing business-critical applications and causing unnecessary downtime.

How can we help?

We offer the full range of networking solutions, from the design and installation of complex multisite networks to tailor-made WiFi setups for business. In short, our engineers will make sure your network is fast, continuous and secure. Whether you’re looking for someone to help you with system design, structured cabling, active network hardware, wireless LANs, network security, or maintenance and support, we’re your guys.

Want to know more about networking? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Do Creative Cloud Libraries make you work faster?

Do Creative Cloud Libraries make you work faster?

Pfeiffer research has recently shown that using Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries can lead to a tenfold increase in productivity when it comes to performing key tasks. 

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, so rather than take these (admittedly thorough) benchmarking tests at face value, we thought we’d get our Senior Designer to face off against herself in an arcade-style design-off. It may not be as scientific as a benchmark test, but it is marginally better soundtracked.

If you want to know more, 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.

Win a Wacom Intuos Pro by sharing productivity tips and pics

Win a Wacom Intuos Pro by sharing productivity tips and pics

Calling all design teams and creative studios! Would you like to win a Wacom Intuos Pro? Just share your best creativity or productivity tip with us by emailing comment@Jigsaw24.com or getting in touch on social media to be in with a chance of winning our design team’s graphics tablet of choice. 

To celebrate our 25th birthday this year, we’re looking back at the last quarter century of creative work, and where it’s heading. We want to hear from you guys about your own creative workflow and how you stay as productive as possible.

How to enter

For your chance to get your hands on a free Wacom Intuos Pro, let us know your top creativity and productivity tips with us on Twitter and Facebook with hashtag #Y25Wacom, or email comment@Jigsaw24.com, or send a picture of the creative team working away that captures what a day in the life of your studio looks like. Your tips could include anything from advice on the tech you use to stay productive (your most used Wacom, Adobe or Apple shortcuts, for example), to an insight into how your team stays creative – we want to see how your team work, and the more interesting the better, so feel free to get creative!

The competition ends on Friday 30th June, so get thinking and snapping, and get your entries in sharpish if you want to be in with a chance of winning!

Terms and conditions

– The prize is 1x Wacom Intuos Pro Creative Pen Tablet Medium (2017). There is one tablet available to be won.

– The competition closes at 11.59pm on Friday 30th June 2017. Any entries received after the closing date will unfortunately not be considered.

– The competition winner will be chosen by our judging panel on Monday 3rd July 2017.

– The winner will be informed via the platform through which they entered (Twitter or Facebook) on that day, and delivery of prize will be arranged.

– By submitting your tip and photo, you agree to Jigsaw24 possibly using your entry (including text, photo, entrant name and company name) in future marketing, including online, print, email and social media collateral.

– Entrants must be based in the United Kingdom.

– The competition is not open to any employee of Jigsaw24 (nice try though, guys…).

So best of luck, everyone, we’re looking forward to seeing your best tips and pics!

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Why iPhone is an essential business tool

Why iPhone is an essential business tool

iPhone makes a great business companion. It’s an all-in-one device that’s packed with a whole range of key features that boost productivity, improve communication and increase security.

If you’re after the best handset for business use, you don’t have to look any further than iPhone. And because we’re helpful, we’ve put together this rundown of everything awesome about Apple’s signature handset.

Faster technology

iPhone keeps you on your toes, thanks to some of the fastest mobile tech around. The latest iPhone models (6S, 6S Plus, SE) pack the speedy dual-core Apple A9 processor, and boast greater LTE 4G coverage, fast WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. This is ideal when you’re connecting to the internet, file sharing via AirDrop, streaming content to Apple TV, video conferencing over FaceTime, or running a personal 4G hotspot for WiFi on the go. iPhone fits right into any business workflow, whether you’re in the office or out in the field.

Larger screens

Starting with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, iPhone have packed bigger screens than ever, with iPhone 6S measuring in at 4.7” and 6S Plus boasting a larger 5.5” display. Bigger is always better when it comes to multi-tasking, allowing you to navigate between apps with ease, organise emails, messages and pictures, and browse the web with minimal clutter and maximum clarity.

Work smarter 

iPhone comes preloaded with 40 Apple apps designed to boost your productivity, over 1.5 million apps on the App Store, and support for specialist apps that link to the back office and fit right into your day-to-day workflow, whether it’s a stock check app for retail or a company-based social networking app.

Continuity

It’s now easier than ever to seamlessly transition between iPhone, iPad and Mac. If you’re on the move, you can start work on iPhone or iPad before moving over to your Mac back in the office. The Apple trio are perfect for a continuous workflow no matter where you are.

Work longer

Over the years, smartphones have gained a bit of a bad rep for battery life. iPhone 6S and 6S Plus have this sorted, boasting impressive battery life and a low power mode that keeps your handset going for up to three hours longer.

Excellent support

iPhone receives unparalleled support from Apple, with regular software updates that provide new features, functionality and security enhancements. You won’t need to worry about upgrading your iPhone each and every year either –continuous iOS updates pretty much guarantee your handset will stay up-to-date. iOS 10 is up next and promises another round of features and innovation.

Hi-res camera

The latest iPhone models feature a 12-megapixel camera, complete with 4K video. With the 12MP camera, you can take high-quality shots of important presentations, as well as brainstorming and idea sessions, ideal if you’ve covered a whiteboard and don’t have time to jot it all down. 4K video is a handy, cost-effective tool for internal communication and production – perfect if you want to create case study videos quickly, for example.

Touch ID

Starting with iPhone 5S, Apple added a neat fingerprint scanner to the home button named ‘Touch ID’. Once you’ve registered your print, only that print (or others you’ve saved) can be used to access the device. It provides faster, more comprehensive security for all your data, including important documents and emails, so even if you lose the handset, all your stuff is secure.

Siri

Siri was first introduced in 2011 and has received a whole range of updates and features since then. Siri is now your best friend when it comes to dictation, hands-free calls, web searches, maps and much more.

Enterprise support

iPhone is perfectly suited for business and offers complete enterprise support. Whether it’s Exchange and VPN integration, app purchasing, distribution, deployment or ongoing management, iPhone makes things nice and easy so you can get on with the job.

For more information about iPhone in business, give us a call on 03332 409 308 or drop us an email at sales@Jigsaw24.com. Alternatively, ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24.

Infographic: Go portable and get productive

Infographic: Go portable and get productive

Seven crucial areas that will help define how you can use mobility to increase employee flexibility and business competitiveness

Many employees now own personal portable devices that are more powerful than the desktop technology that reside on their office desks. Drawing on independent market research from Jigsaw24, and other industry sources, we consider the seven core issues that are crucial when creating a modern mobile strategy.

Infographic: Seven crucial areas that will help define how you can use mobility to increase employee flexibility and business competitiveness

Infographic: Go portable and get productive

 

To find out more about going mobile in business, get in touch with us on 03332 409 219 or email business@Jigsaw24.com.