What I do
Think of me as the pinch hitter. You plus me: that’s a team, and our job is to jump in when the stakes are high and be sure that the ball goes over the fence. Way over.
We’re more than home-run aces, though. As part of your team, we listen, question and then get in the trenches and help implement solutions. We don’t just solve problems; we solve the right problems, the ones that move your business forward. And in doing so, we move the world forward.
That’s why we work with clients whose missions make good: good services, good products, good change.
Change is good.
WHAT I DO
First, the research. You have to know the lay of the land before you march off into the wilderness.
Next, strategy. Once we have a reliable map, we help our clients figure out the most effective route. Sometimes that’s the most route line form beginning to end. Sometimes making a few hidden – but crucial – stops along the way makes all the difference in the outcome.
Then, the plan. Once we know where your company is going and how we’re going to get there, it’s time to build the vehicle and get it on the road. What that vehicle looks like all depends on each client’s goals. We might create a brand identity that captures hearts or a product launch that stops hearts. Just like your company, each project has its own unique fingerprint.
We make a difference by doing things differently.
Luck Equals Preparation Plus Opportunity
By doing all the right prep work upfront, we make own luck. Or really, we just call it luck because that sounds cool. It’s simply success.
This is how: before anything else happens, we get on the same page. Once every one on the team is in the same raft with some exceptional equipment and our eyes locked on the same rapids before us, it’s all downriver from there.
Research is about uncovering a clear, shared understanding of the true problem before we start creating solutions. It’s about defining your goals, your audiences’ and stakeholders’ needs, challenges that lay ahead and the business landscape we’re going to need to navigate along the way.
Research is the foundation to everything else we will do. Even castles have to have a foundation. Well, especially castles.
Research comes in many different forms: interview stakeholders and current customers or clients; brand assessments; comparative analysis; content audits; media scans; and comparisons of existing research and documentation are all possible ways we can create a rich picture of your business, your goals and the challenges we’ll face.
We’re all looking the same map now, so it’s time to take stock of our resources and tools and define the best route to our goal. Strategic and creative planning will not only lead to faster results; they will deliver better ones.
Part of strategy includes creating a documentation system that works for your organization, so that we’re tracking work and results all along the way, measuring our successes and adjusting when necessary. We also build in dependable checkpoints along the way, as well as systems that encourage continual and honest critique and communication.
It’s like this: we’ve drawn a map, laid out the course, and now we’re designing the vehicle that will deliver us to our goal. It might be a sports car or a spaceship or a classic 1953 Raleigh touring bike. Well, more likely it will be a Web site, a Web app or an interactive campaign, but it might look like a sports car, a spaceship or a classic 1953 Raleigh touring bike. You get my point.
In the concepting stage, the most crucial goal is to create as many ideas as possible. Let no critical inner voices get in your way. Dream, envision and soar. And then kill every idea that isn’t exactly right.
Our goal is to find The One.
Once we have established our conceptual vehicle—the look-and-feel of our project and possibly the whole brand—it’s time to bring our creation to life. This is when the actual site or application begins to take shape, as we define things like structure and interaction as well as things like interface language and content.
Interactive design and code will all be based on the strategy (which was based on the research) that we established in the earlier phases of the project.
Documentation and Support
Even when your Web site, app or campaign is complete, the job is not yet finished. In the strategy section of our work, we will have created a checklist of goals and results that prove we’ve met those goals. When we’ve checked off that list, that’s when we know we’ve reached something we can call “success.”
Coffee By Design
Strategy, IA, Design, Project Management: Steve Darnley
Development: Kevin Brooks
Platform: WordPress, Magento
The SOAP Group
Art Direction: Danny Louten
Design, Project Management: Steve Darnley
Development: Ryan Goodwin
Project Management/Design: Steve Darnley
Development: Sean Fitzgerald
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Northeast Lumber Manufacturers Association
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