Written by Kate McGuinness
The team at Wellington studio Inject Design pride themselves on producing fresh and exciting work for global brands such as Hell Pizza, Fat Freddy’s Drop and the Wellington Chocolate Factory. Kate McGuinness took the opportunity to interview founder and creative director Harry A’Court to find out what goes on inside their busy agency.
Kate McGuinness: What are some of the biggest changes that you have noticed in the design industry over the past five years and how has your studio adapted?
Harry A’Court: Across all the media available now, there are always new challenges to face with every new brief. In recent years we have had to adapt on the go to new ways of working, particularly in the digital space. We’ve been lucky to work on some next level digital projects including a couple of really fun augmented reality projects, which got us thinking laterally about our skill set as a team while also developing great relationships with like-minded businesses who can come on board to extend our offering as an agency. We work in an open plan studio with motion graphic wizards Fox & Co and strategic consultants Special Ad Service which gives us a great breadth of knowledge around the place.
KM: How would you describe your studio’s creative process? Can you let us in on some of your secrets?
HA: Once we understand our clients vision, the most crucial stage is the research phase. It’s the key ingredient; whether drawing from past experience (travel, other jobs etc), jumping online or to the bookshelf and hunting down relevant inspiration relating to the job. From there we start sketching off the computer. Once we have nailed the concept we jump on the computer and refine the sketches. As far as secrets go, the only thing we’ve got up our sleeve is to hire like-minded, talented people who share our vision.
KM: Your studio has worked with some big brands and companies. What have you learnt about the client-designer relationship? Any tips?
HA: Love your clients even if they do prove to be difficult! Establish a positive working relationship with them. Don’t be set in your ways. If you believe in their product or service then the work you produce will reflect that.
We’ve always found there is a balance you need to strike between what the client expects, and leading them in a new or interesting direction you know will work. Our clients generally come to us based on our past work, so if what we’ve created resonates with their vision, nine times out of ten it will get across the line first time.
KM: How does the studio celebrate its successes and deal with failure?
HA: We’re no stranger to the occasional studio party here and there, surf trips and team lunches are also a pretty common way to blow off some steam. It’s important to take some time for your successes as sometimes you don’t know when you’ll get another spare minute. Failure? What’s that? When things don’t go quite right, we take what we can from the situation to improve our systems and processes.
KM: Are there any recent projects that the studio is particularly proud of?
HA: There’s always something interesting going on! And right now is no exception. Sprig & Fern have just released their great new glass bottle packaging, Commonsense Organics is finishing the rollout of their fresh new look, Aluan are getting underway with their rainforest friendly virgin coconut oil, we’ve just got a new project in from Fat Freddy’s Drop and so much more on the horizon that we can’t mention.
One project that we’re particularly excited about is for filmmaker James Cameron’s wife Suzy Cameron. The Cameron Family have been long time clients of ours through their Wairarapa farming initiatives, Cameron Family Farms and Food Forest Organics. Recently we’ve been working with Suzy on her new book and meal programme One Meal A Day. One Meal a Day is all about bringing around big change by making small ones, swapping one meal a day for a plant based alternative. We’ve worked closely with Suzy and her team to create a standout brand image and packaging that ties in with the other Cameron Family brands and pops off the shelf. This has been a great one for us because we’ve been able to really get into looking at solutions for sustainable packaging, which is right up our alley!
KM: Professional development is a hot topic at the moment. How are staff within your organisation encouraged to develop new skills and grow their potential?
HA: Having a diversity of skill sets is extremely important in our team. We’re constantly reviewing our capability and actively looking for skills that we want to develop as individuals and as a studio. If one of us has a skillset we’re interesting in developing, or a client has an idea we’re not sure how to tackle, we’ll go get the required tools and knowledge and build our skills.
KM: Looking towards the near future, what does your studio hope to achieve?
HA: We are pushing hard for more environmentally aware printing, packaging and signage solutions. We are sick to death of plastic. Everything we ever own will one day end up in the rubbish dump or the ocean.
KM: And finally, what do you love about your industry?
HA: We love seeing happy clients, building lasting working relationships and watching the effect our designs have on a brands image and success. But more than anything, we love that we get to come to work every day and make cool stuff for a living.