Under the Hood with Laura Cibilich

6 months ago by

Our next Under the Hood is tomorrow! You are invited to join us online as two designers walk us through how a design project worked. At the upcoming event, Laura Cibilich (DD at RUN) is going to walk us through a recent project; in the lead up we get insight to what she will be presenting, how Run has adapted to the challenges the past year presented, and the areas Laura is looking to advance moving forward.

Can you tell us a little bit about RUN, your team and studio environment?
RUN is a design and advertising agency I founded in 2008 (originally called Designstein). We work on a range of projects from branding through  to ad campaigns, and primarily in the cultural space which is mostly Māori and Pacific kaupapa. My husband and business partner is one of the few Māori Creative Directors and agency owners in the world, so it’s a space we feel comfortable in.

What project will you be presenting in Under the Hood? 
I’ll be talking through the Amotai brand identity we recently worked on. They were previously called He Waka Eke Noa and work on supplier diversity throughout Aotearoa.

What was the most challenging part of the project and what lessons did you draw from it? 

Amotai members are Māori and Pacific business owners, but their buyers are generally not, and are large corporates. Therefore the brand identity needed to work for all audiences, meaning this was a unique brief, creating a nice challenge for us. With the unique audience make-up, we found that rather than presenting the purakau (story) we imbued into the identity, sometimes we needed to leave that to the end and let people see what they want to see. Then when we do tell them the story it all makes sense, leading them down the path visually.

Was there an ‘Aha!’ moment in the project when things clicked and fell into place?
Once we did the above and stopped explaining the design, this is where our cultural lens came into place. We let it sit with them for a while, and things started falling into place.

How has RUN adapted to the challenges of the past year? 
Pre Covid our largest client for the previous 6 years was Niue Tourism. As soon as the first lockdown hit, despite having put in place a recovery marketing plan with them, everything went on hold overnight, which hit hard. Lockdown was hard but as a small whānau friendly agency we’re used to juggling life and tamariki, so we managed through it, hustled lots and put ourselves out there.

While the beginning of 2020 was a shock, we knuckled down and realised we needed to take control a little more. We were lucky enough to have still created some great work for clients and consequently were lucky enough to win a few awards – including a Fast Company 2020 Innovation by Design Award, two Gold Best Awards, Communication Arts Award, Indigo Design Award, as well as finalists at Ad Stars.

We marketed ourselves more, had lots of Zoom meetings and thankfully it all paid off. We’re now working with lots of amazing new clients, as well as some we’d already been working with for years too.

What have you been working on recently? 
After successfully launching the Amotai visual identity, we’re now working on a marketing campaign for them, particularly to increase their membership across Aotearoa. We’re also working on the national influenza immunisation campaign, due to be launched next month, which is super exciting. Plus a few other branding projects for various organisations.

And finally, what areas of your professional or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
As an agency owner I get caught in the day to day running and a lot of meetings, but my roots are as a graphic designer and creative. This year I’m really hoping to get back on the tools a bit more and upskilll on the software, which I’m lagging behind a bit on as we’ve grown. I’m constantly working on my leadership skills over time too.


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