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.”
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