Inspiration

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Teamwork, ambition and beauty of craft in the story of We Launch - #CompanySpotlight

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A synaesthesia of colours, emotions and creativity, the work of We Launch below is clearly something worth of praise and admiration today.

Born in 2010 from the caring hands of Founder & Creative Director Stuart Lang, We Launch has rapidly grown to welcome an impressive portfolio of work across a broad range of sectors in the industry. It takes a moment to get lost in the incredible amount of different styles below, all so incredibly well crafted, all so beautifully polished.

For this Company Spotlight, we are learning more about the story of We Launch from a chat with the man himself, Stuart, whose story is just as inspiring as the one of his beloved company.

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How was your company born and where are you based?

We Launch was born in 2010. I was working as a Senior Designer at a large independent branding agency in London – but I felt that a lot of really interesting projects were passing us by because they didn’t fit their strengths or focus. So I set my own website up, registered the company name, told a few friends and began working on my own projects. From my lounge table in 2010, we’re now based just by Oxford Circus in central London. 

What was the biggest challenge to the growth of your company?

I had no business partners – so every decision I made was done on my own. In one way this was great, because we could act quickly and change things if they weren’t right. But in other ways, it would’ve been great to have had someone else to have done some of the heavy lifting with the bits I wasn’t as experienced in (like anything non-creative basically!). And as the team has grown, I have less time to focus on getting down and dirty with design work – because there’s so many other things that need my attention.

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Which was the first huge success that you can remember?

When I first sent an email round to all my friends telling them about the birth of We Launch, an old mate of mine in Australia saw it. He put us forward for the rebrand of an airline. We put a proposal together – and it was accepted. Before I knew it, we were designing international aircraft livery, airport signage, advertising templates, multi-lingual brand guidelines, and we even created a bespoke headline typeface that could be used across the whole of Australasia – with Vietnamese characters too. It was a huge amount of work looking back on it.

What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your company in the next year?

I don’t think there is another agency of our size in London that has the experience across quite so many industry sectors as we do. It’s what has allowed us to continue as a business throughout lockdown. We’re working on challenger food & beverage brands, charities in the US, international life science and pharmaceutical companies, property companies, sports brands, but also healthcare, fintech and financial services businesses – both in the UK, the US and Australasia. Our flexibility and our track record is our biggest opportunity – because we can help and advise all manner of brands at such a critical time.

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Can you explain your team’s creative process?

Lots of research. Lot’s of sharing and bouncing of ideas around. Lot’s of writing and planning. Lot’s of scribbling, sketching and doodling. And lot’s and lot’s of conversations and workshops with clients to really get under the skin of all aspects of their business, customers and market.

How does your team remain inspired and motivated?

There’s no denying it’s not easy during lockdown. But we try to initiate different things to keep things fun and fresh. Keeping in regular contact with everyone is vital – but also trying to give the team the flexibility to work in more agile ways that suit their lifestyles. I try, where I can, to lead by example, and share as many of the things that are inspiring me – because there really are some incredible brands and founders stepping up to the plate right now. 

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How has COVID-19 affected your company?

At first, a lot of clients cut retainers and paused projects. Those first few weeks of lockdown in March 2020 were a scary time. We all had to quickly adjust to working remotely. So where we used to always pin all of our exploratory work up on the walls to discuss – we had to find different ways to keep our working processes stimulating. I will always believe that creatives work better together – and when they’re in the same space it absolutely helps to share work and ask for other people’s opinions. So as much as the future will be about agile working, we also need to find time in projects to bounce ideas around.

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Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

The first agency I worked at was Identica – working under the legend Michael Peters. I learned so much from those first few years. But, from a creative perspective, the person I admired the most during that time was Geoff Halpin. As a junior designer, working alongside a craftsman of his calibre was invaluable. Watching how he created logos and shaped brands was so inspiring. But more than that – he wasn’t precious. He actively encouraged the juniors and made us feel that our ideas were just as valued as the senior designers. That quality can never be underestimated.

What is one tip that you would give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?

If you’re able to, don’t jump into the first job that is offered to you. Take time going on work placements – learning from a mix of different people, agencies, clients and styles. That’s what I did, and I never ever regretted it. Some of my friends that graduated at the same time as me took the first thing that came along – and it led to them being pigeon holed. If you start off at a small agency, it’s hard to break into the bigger ones. But if you start off at a larger agency, then it’s much easier to pick and choose where you go next.

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What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?

That, post-COVID, more and more businesses see the value in having a strong brand to reach their respective potentials. And that and increasing number know that it pays to create all aspects of their brand properly. If they do, then the creative industries should be well placed to help all industries get back to where they deserve to be – for the long-term. This will enable the next generation of creatives to cut through, which is vital for everyone.

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Do you have any websites, books or resources that you would recommend?

I’ve been reading a lot of Medium articles this past year. And Clubhouse is a great app to listen to industry leaders talking about all aspects of their experience. But the one thing that has kept me constantly inspired in recent times is the How I Built This podcast with Guy Raz. His interviews with the founders of some of the most recognised brands in the world are fascinating – listening to how they all overcame obstacles to make successes of their businesses never fails to make me feel positive and empowered.

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