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2018 in review. Looking back over our 28th year.

Think Like A Designer

December 17, 2018

2018 in review. Looking back over our 28th year.

In this our last working week of 2018 and the tail end of our 28th year in business, I look back on our year and share with you the changes that have or haven’t taken place.

Some things don’t change much and the types of industries we work in is one of those things. This year we again worked with public transport companies, engineering and infrastructure companies, authority bodies in transport, privacy, automotive and law. We worked with universities and researchers, local councils and government departments across the country. We continued to work with wholesalers and a buying group.

The areas of speciality that were valued most highly in 2018 have been in the quality of thinking and industry knowledge. This is a significant change from the era of outcome specialty where a company was expert in making apps or building websites. Technology improvements have reduced the need for technical specialities which has paved the way for a return to quality thinking.

We produced work across a variety of media but all in the arena of 'explaining stuff', including train timetables, training manuals, reports, diagrams and flowcharts, apps and websites. We have designed annual reports, strategic plans, reporting dashboards, training calendars. We’ve updated road schematics to encompass extensions to roads. We have created email marketing campaigns, powerpoint templates, countless maps and notifications, and maintained a bunch of website.

Comings and goings – we saw a couple of clients close up shop after many years which is always sad. Past clients have popped up in new jobs looking for the same types of collaboration and help that we gave them in their previous jobs which is always a buzz. Most of our new clients this year are either old clients back again in a new role or someone who knows someone who knows us. Melbourne is a very small town! Australia is not much bigger.

We have seen babies born and old friends get sick – and recover. We feel very lucky to been witness to both types of events.

Looking back over this year to find the secret sauce that was most appealing to our customers and a couple of things stand out:

  • fast turnaround – understanding the client’s deadline and working with them to meet it. Tight deadlines have to be a collaboration between us, our clients and our suppliers who are worth their weight in gold for helping us with the crazier of those deadlines this year.
  • industry knowledge – we spend most of our time in public transport, infrastructure, road transport, roads and wholesaling. The result is that we get it, and we get it quickly. Which saves us all time and fosters deeper understanding. And having a deep understanding of our client’s need and their industry issues leads to faster turnaround times.
  • helping communicate complexity – many projects this year have been about helping an expert tell something to somebody with either different expertise or no expertise.

New collaborators – we are looking forward to working with some new friends in 2019. It is exciting to find like minded people who deliver services that complement ours so that we can be more of a tiny powerhouse of help.

We have become leaner and more efficient thanks to technology and our ongoing drive for leaner production methods. Our current job management system is in the process of getting the heave-ho as we move on to something that is evolving faster and is more responsive to feedback.

Our efforts to move to the elusive paperless office are paying off and our shredder has been working overtime clearing out old paper files. The silverfish will soon be streaming out the front door looking for food elsewhere once the shredding backlog is reduced.

We have begun describing ourselves differently, starting with becoming certified as a B-Corp early in the year and arriving at a new positioning statement for our company later in the year. We finally know how to describe what we do after how many years – we help experts communicate complexity. Developed by a good friend of our company, this embodies the quality of the people we work with, the type of problems we help them with and the outcome we help them achieve.

At the end of 2018 we acknowledge all the of the experts we have worked with and hope our simple thanks to them, to you, communicates the complexity of the pleasure we derive in working with you!