Propeller celebrates 25 years
1995. John Major was Prime Minister. Manchester United signed Andy Cole for a record £7 million and a new online bookshop called Amazon lifted off. Meanwhile, ad agency creatives Simon Milldown and Stephen Stebbings were launching their own design business. Building on relationships formed in their agency roles, an exciting client list was soon established including Gressingham Foods, New Scientist magazine, Dragoman Travel, Ipswich Town Football Club, The Lancet magazine and Eastern Electricity. And 25 years on, they’re still going strong.
Design that works
So, how come Propeller’s not only survived but thrived over the last 25 years? “It’s about creativity and a commercial approach, but always with a personal service,” says Simon. “Both Steve and I are totally ‘hands-on’ and our experienced multi-skilled team share our commitment to creating amazing work that delivers. There are no ‘suits’ here. Clients deal directly with their designer, so nothing is diluted and strong relationships are built. With these close working relationships comes a true understanding of our clients’ business and the best approach to suit them. With many companies, you could say that we’re an extension of their marketing arm.”
It’s this close-knit approach, great insight and creating work that captures people’s imagination that have attracted some of the country’s leading brands to Propeller, including UK Power Networks, GLH Hotels, Pfizer, ICL Professional Horticulture, ForFarmers and the industrial property developer, Chancerygate.
Few other commercial sectors have seen as much change in 25 years as the creative industries. The digital revolution has totally transformed design and production processes, while the fast development of the online environment has radically changed the marketing mix. Propeller has embraced this change and its opportunities. As a result, they can handle anything from branding and print projects to fully-responsive websites, online advertising, e-mail campaigns, animation and video.
The events of 2020 have been unexpected, says Stephen: “Being in business for 25 years means that we’ve experienced challenging times in the economy before and there’s no doubt there are more to come. But it’s at times such as these that our clients see the value of excellent design and service, and right now it’s more important than ever for them to promote their businesses effectively.”
Watch the video here
Bags of appeal
ICL Professional Horticulture is relaunching its popular Humax range of compost as a 100% peat-free product range. The move is in response to government sustainability targets and issues with the supply of peat from Ireland because of planning and licensing restrictions.
In preparation for the relaunch in January 2021, ICL asked us to design six new bags for the products in the Humax range. The brief was to come up with a coherent, eye-catching design for the family of products which would achieve standout on the shelves in retail outlets. As an important selling feature, the words ‘peat free’ needed to be prominent, yet without overshadowing the Humax branding, which is well respected in the marketplace.
To bring the packaging to life, we used a suite of colourful plant and flower imagery to create a striking border design for each bag. Bold, white-out typography is combined with gold highlighting to emphasise key messages and differentiate the various products, while maintaining brand continuity throughout the range.
Hort Science Live goes virtual
We’ve helped one of UK’s major horticultural events switch to an online format in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Launched three years ago, Hort Science Live has quickly become a popular annual event, giving professional growers, advisors and horticultural students the opportunity to hear from industry influencers about new high-tech product innovations and practices.
For 2020, Hort Science Live becomes Hort Science Online. We’ve helped organiser ICL Professional Horticulture make the move from one event to three informative and progressive digital showcases over the autumn. This has involved a major rethink and redesign of the show website and marketing assets, including print ads, web banners, email headers, social media assets and postcard mailers.
Each Hort Science Online event features up to six interactive workstations focused on the latest product breakthroughs and horticultural practices, delivered by commercial industry experts and government agencies. Access to the first event was made available on 21 September.
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New look for prestigious charitable trust
Our latest web design project has been for the Charles S French Charitable Trust, which has been providing vital grant funding for charitable activities for over 60 years. We also took the opportunity to refresh the Trust’s corporate ID by designing a new logo.
In creating the new logo design, our creative team’s aim was to acknowledge the Trust’s illustrious heritage, but also to convey a dynamic, forward-looking feel for the 21st century. These two ideas are brought together in a mix of modern sans-serif and traditional serif fonts, with the Trust founder’s name highlighted to promote recognition.
Inspired by the Trust’s home in the Epping Forest District of Essex, the tree motif in the logo symbolizes money and growth, with the ‘trunk’ and ‘leaves’ graphically representing Charles S French distributing funds to a range of worthy causes.
Fully responsive across all devices, the new website combines a clean, clear layout with easy navigation to deliver an engaging, informative user experience. The site has been built on the WordPress platform, so that the client can easily manage existing content or add updates.
View the new website here csfct.org.uk
Promoting a rock icon
A campaign of digital advertising banners is Propeller’s most recent gig for the Hard Rock Hotel London.
Designed to be totally in tune with the iconic Hard Rock style, the series of online ads focuses on boosting room bookings and bigging up promotions in the café for seasonal events, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day.
This is just one of many projects we’ve worked on for the Hard Rock Hotel London since we joined their band of preferred suppliers in 2017. Items we’ve conceived and created include mirror charts with the heights of stars such as Lady Gaga, Prince, Buddy Holly and Jay-Z, not to mention all the essential stuff that goes with running a hotel, such as menus, stationery, do-not-disturb cards, compendiums and tray removal cards.
With the hospitality industry being incredibly fast-paced and highly reactive to changing market conditions, the main challenge for us is to deliver responsive service and super-fast turnaround times, while still injecting plenty of creativity and maintaining brand integrity in everything we produce. We’re delighted that our performance has gone down well and that we’ve developed such a successful and enduring creative partnership with one of London’s top hospitality brands.