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Talking pen, paper and torment with Severn Agency

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Severn describes itself as something more than a simple design consultancy, they see themselves as a “multi-disciplinary studio” that sees great design as much more than decoration. With each new job they set out to understand their client’s audience, set objectives and deliver well-crafted solutions in everything from logos and branding, print and digital, to exhibition and environmental work.

Named for the river that runs right through their Shrewsbury home, there’s is a very modern agency (quite literally), in fact, that is open to the ideas of collaboration, but retains a visceral core aesthetic - one of “thrashing things out with pen, paper and torment.”

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We caught up with agency Director Tony Clarkson to delve little deeper.

How was your company born and where are you based?

I needed to produce new work which I felt was worth more than what we were producing at my previous studio so I started out on my own in 2017 - we’re based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

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Can you explain your team’s creative process?

When we get a new project we thrash things out in the studio with pen, paper, long lists and torment. Any possible solutions are given the overnight test to see if we feel they’re still strong. This usually helps with developing them further - as well as any which maybe came up overnight. Ideas are developed into visuals, this stage helps us see if things will work as we’d imagined, we’re still allowing them to evolve and change.

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How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?

The only things I can think of is that there’s less face-to-face time with clients. It speeds things up a little sometimes, but I think you can read more into what the client is thinking if they’re there with you as you present. Obviously, COVID has had an impact but honestly, it was moving more in the video conferencing direction even before the pandemic hit.

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What’s your team’s secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Feeding our families!

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

Currently, it’s our mental health/self-help app concept which won us a Creative Conscience Award this year. Otherwise, it’s mainly the side projects we do. Hopefully, one day these will get us in front of more interested clients.

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How do you recharge away from the office?

I run a martial arts school with some friends so punching things helps a lot. I also cycle with a club, struggling up real hills beats the metaphorical ones and lets you forget them for a while.

What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?

Stay resilient and try not to sell yourself short. Believe you can do ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ might be. And talk to people about it too. That’s the bit I find the hardest, especially around here. There’s a really tight knit who’s-who which can seem impossible to break into. But if you persevere then it’s a shell that can be cracked.

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

That people outside of it realise its value. If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has proven it’s that creativity is not something  to be taken for granted. Because let’s be honest, most of us wouldn’t have made it through lockdown without it.

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