Half mechanic. Half editor. Half designer.
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The essence of a graphic design agency?
We call ourselves a graphic design company often but at our heart Sable and Hawkes are a design communication agency. Graphic design is one of the tools we use and design is at the heart of what we do; but much of our work is technical – getting the upfront thinking in place, plan, structure and strategy. And once we know what we want to say and why, adjusting, testing, tuning – getting the back-end right so the graphic bit, the visual design can work that bit better.
I suppose it comes down in the end to approach, which as always is driven by belief and purpose. We believe that good design is something that is relevant and practical. Ideally it stands out, is eye-catching, startling even, but ultimately a good design solution is something that can be boiled down to a single, simple, strong idea, executed accurately and intelligently, and where possible, stylishly.
Bad design is generally working to its own agenda and invariably isn’t lead by the problem its trying to solve. Which means it usually bolts straight to the visual and hopes that will be enough to carry the project through. But for us, Designing without an idea is like advertising without a message. The experience can become hollow as quickly as the solution becomes tired.
The other reason we work in this way is that this approach, message first, structure then visual, is that it enables us to deliver solutions that work on a number of levels. There’s the nuts and bolts practical level, conveying the facts and information and then there are the broader themes or ideas that communicate with people on an emotive level. We always try to get a balance between the two – never doing anything solely for the sake of style.
And we should point out, never pre-ordaining what style we ultimately use. Style can be pre-ordained, it can be ‘house’ in origin and dictated in practice. Ultimately, to work what it needs to be is appropriate, for the client and to the message. the right style is the one that is relevant to our client and to their audience and not one pre-ordained by the inclination of a creative director.
Sable&Hawkes are a design communication company.