New Severn Trent advent calendar with an educational message

The latest design project from Smart Ideas is a new advent calendar for Severn Trent Water launched today.

The calendar, aimed at Severn Trent Water users reveals a multiple choice question each day about what you should or should not put down your toilet or sink, in a fun and friendly way.

The advent calendar also has an educational message in order to reduce the number of blockages in sewers and has been produced in both HTML and Flash.

Why the DBA think speculative pitching is wrong

As a member of the Design Business Association, I thought I’d take the time to put their view (and ours) forward as to why speculative pitching or free pitching is wrong, and how clients end up paying in the end anyway.

Point 6 of the DBA Code of Conduct recommends: ‘Members should not take part in pitches, which require unpaid work. The level of payment for pitches should relate to the time and effort involved.’

Professionalism
Considerable time and effort is required to prepare serious design proposals for any project. Creative proposals prepared without payment for a competitive pitch involving several other consultants can only be speedily prepared, scantily researched and superficial. They cannot be based on a genuine understanding of the client’s business and objectives. In short, the proposals will not achieve the standards of professionalism to which members of the Design Business Association are committed.

Abuse of intellectual property rights
Design businesses automatically own all the rights in the work they produce. If creative work is supplied in a free pitch, the client has no rights to use that work until a contract is agreed. Inexperienced and unprofessional clients have been known to ask to retain creative work supplied by all the consultancies involved in free pitches. The clients then make that creative work available to the successful consultancy with the suggestion that some elements of each design are included in the final work. This is highly illegal and alienates professional design businesses from that client damaging the prospects of the client acquiring truly effective design solutions.

Expertise
Design consultants are selling design talent and expertise. To give away creative work is therefore to give away all. This contrasts with other professions, such as advertising agencies, for whom the creative element of a project often accounts for only a small proportion of the total remuneration they can hope to gain by winning the pitch. They are sometimes understandably more willing to speculate with their creative work, although as we suggest above, the relevance and quality of that work might be open to question.

Clients pay in the end
Design consultancies are commercial organisations. They need to make a profit. If speculative pitching becomes widespread, clients would simply find the cost of speculative pitches being reclaimed through higher fees and charges throughout the industry. Continue reading

Christmas snowball competition winner

Oops he slipped!

At last, we have the results from our Christmas snowball competition and the winner is David Gillette of David Gillette Hair and Beauty. So congratulations David, an iPod Shuffle is on its way to you! To recap for those of you who missed what it was all about, we despatched our Christmas card as an instruction manual with a packet of fake snow and asked clients to do something ultra creative with their fake snow. See it here http://wp.me/pITm6-2m

He blew me away!


Eek what's he going to do with those?

Our new website…. at last!

2010 was an interesting year – besides being very busy, we decided a re-invention was in order as we were at that time 17 years old.

After much deliberation, soul searching and hot air, we arrived at a new vision, strategy and goals. As a vision we wanted to produce the kind of work that would create the reaction ‘WOW!’ when people see it. The kind of reaction we have when we look at Elmwood’s work… we have aspirations to be like them. The awards would be nice too!

In the last 18 years we have created an excellent reputation for results driven, solid creative work but we wanted more than this. We wanted to push the boundaries and explore not only the ‘WOW!’ work but how sustainably we could do it. This all comes from our own passions as a team to make a difference.

Click here for our new website

So without further ado I’d like to announce the launch of our brand spanking new, wholly refreshed website. Comments are welcome from both a creative and useability point of view…. www.smartideas.co.uk