Altrincham Design Studio believe Design has never been more important than it has been today. In the ever connected world, design for businesses is not only seem daily via Traditional Advertising such as posters, flyers and newspaper adverts, but also on our screens phones and tablets via Social Media and apps
We caught with their founder Mark Winstanley to chat about how they got started, why design is important, how print still matters and small business marketing
1. We’ve known each other for a few years before Altrincham Design Studio started. Tell us a little about your history in Design over the past 12+ years?
Well it all started after leaving University with a Graphic Design degree, I wanted to put it to good use. I started with a design company in Sale which lead to me getting involved in all aspects of media (web/logo/brochure/product design). Altrincham Design Studio ended up starting, which was particular pleasing as well as work it is also my passion.
2. How important is design for small business?
Very important for a small business to get noticed, a business needs to show the customer that this is the right company for them to use. You can stand out from the crowd with a logo, but it has to show what area of business you’re in straight away.
3. What’s the biggest mistake you see small businesses make with their design work and branding?
Keeping with a design that doesn’t go with that particular business field, you want to see branding which echoes that companies business, not confuse potential customers.
4. Talk us through the stages from when a small business has that initial chat to the final design. We know there’s a lot involved but spell out for those businesses thinking of using a professional designer?
After initial contact through email or even a quick phone call, we then arrange a meeting, although for businesses further afield we have dealt over the email.
After the meeting I take the notes and go back to the office to start some initial designs, if for instance a logo, I send at least 4 or 5 designs to the client which they then critique and choose the final one.
5. How important is the brief from the client – do you like them to have a clear idea of what they want or do you like a blank canvas?
Yes, always important for a client to have a clear outline of what they want, else it could lead to confusion and different designs.
If someone is indecisive with what they want, we then show them some tips and some direction with the design. This usually is the springboard for the client coming up with more ideas which always helps.
6. How has the design work changed with Social Media? Is print still important for your clients?
Print is still very important in this social media day and age, people always want to pick a brochure or a leaflet up and take a look at what’s happening. Something tangible that people feel is longer lasting.
I think as well social media has helped in spreading the word out about your designs and work. We’re able to support and talk local businesses to an audience of thousands
7. So once design is done you can arrange print and flyer delivery. You only deliver Solus – tell us why that’s so important?
We’ve all seen our hallway mat with at least a branch full of leaflets, and what do people do, they either pick them up and bin them. Or and I mean a small portion of people, will flick through them.
With solus delivery, your business and your business alone drop on the mat, so a prospected customer would usually read 1 leaflet as opposed to 6. When there is just 1 leaflet there they tend to look at it and that’s it success – if they’re aware they can buy from you!
8. Being involved in the whole process of design, print and delivery – what are the essentials of a good leaflet?
A couple of things – Design is very important, as something eye catching people will make people do a double take
But don’t clog up the leaflet with too much information, I’ve seen leaflets come through the door with way too much info, just keep it brief but get to the point of what you want to sell.
9. What we’ve talked about so far has basically been marketing for businesses. Do new businesses do enough to market themselves?
Being truthful I’d say no. Which I think could depend upon budget or maybe not wanting to take a risk. The amount of new businesses that have opened up in Altrincham and then closed are due to not using certain marketing services. If you’re not sure about leafleting go with a small amount to start with and see if it works for you. If you have a mass market product or service you’d be foolish not to let people know you exist.
10. Tell us some success stories you’ve had with clients where your design work and delivery has helped?
Particular ones I’ve been happy with was a Christmas card design for Home Estate Agents, I felt it fitted in perfectly with their branding.
A Tapas menu for a restaurant in Chorlton was another favourite, as the manager was extremely pleased with the final design. Again it’s something that is used on the website for people to download and also for printed menus so it’s Multi-purpose
For leafleting I say my first one led to a number of customers for a Personal Trainer I was leafleting for. They’re happy with the results they used us several times since.
And another was the Spooky Woo event for Halloween in Altrincham which reached out to people outside of the town centre.