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Company Spotlight: Maximising Studio Output

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Ove the last 12 months, London-based design company Studio Output has shifted its focus with an increased emphasis on digital work.

“Believing that brands are defined by their digital experiences, we’ve evolved from a generalist design agency into one that brings brands to life through their digital products,” says Rob Coke, ECD at the company.

“That began with us developing a new positioning for our offer before refreshing our own identity, website and client-facing communication to reflect it.”

Clients on the company’s roster include Auto Trader, Boots, British Gas and eBay but its brand refresh for BBC Sport epitomises the transition into digital.

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Output was responsible for creating a visual language for the brand across multiple platforms a few years ago to add consistency to its unmistakable yellow theme. The old branding had originally been created for TV but as apps, online, social and marketing demands have changed, there was a need for a more fluid feel.

“Because of the nature of our work, we partner with both marketing and product teams, often acting as the glue that brings them together,” adds Coke, commenting on how Output approaches briefs. “We design in sprints, mirroring the way digital products are developed, and regularly embed members of our creative team with our clients.”

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He says that working this way means ownership of a brand is handed over gradually as ideas are developed, crafted and honed rather than just at the end of a project. The BBC Sport job saw Output work alongside BBC Creative, BBC Sport marketing, broadcast and UX&D to deliver a set of interim guidelines and consult on their implementation.

“If client teams have been involved in creating the brand, they’re more able to implement it effectively,” says Coke, elaborating on the approach. “That’s increasingly how we’ve worked with the BBC over our decade-long partnership on projects like BBC Sport and BBC Three.”

Coke reveals that the idea for Output was conceived in a jacuzzi in Nottingham more than 17 years ago and since then, it has been constantly developing, adapting and evolving. “That’s something that sets us apart,” he adds. “We continually question if what we offer is what brands really need and adapt accordingly.”

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It’s that strategy that led to the company repositioning last year. Clients were increasingly turning to Coke and his team with frustrations at the inconsistency of their brands across digital and social platforms.

“To be a successful studio, you’ve got to be open to change. And we’re lucky to have some of the industry’s brightest and best talent to challenge how we do things and help us on our way,” Coke considers.

For designers interested in working with the company, his advice is to try and stand out from the crowd: “Look at the work we do, think about what you could offer and get in touch directly. Although we receive a lot of speculative work, there’s a sea of blandness in design at the moment, so the best candidates always stand out in their introductions."

See more work and connect with Studio Output here.

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