(guest post by Victor Platon, DD34)

The final Industry IQ studio visit for Digital Design class 34 arrived on a rainy afternoon in February. With umbrellas in hand, we headed south towards Yaletown and over to Noise Digital marketing agency. Once we arrived, we made our way upstairs where we were greeted by Creative Director Brian Krenzer. He quickly showed us their spacious office area, and brought us to the very back where the designers, writers and producers work in an open concept work space. Brian tells us that this format allows everyone to collaborate and work together more effectively. We saw many interesting paintings hung up along with an eclectic mix of design-inspired decorations. They also have a mini photo studio that allows them to do in-house photo sessions for smaller scale projects (complete with green screen). We were then escorted to their boardroom where we sat facing a very large flat panel display. Here Brian introduced us to Jessica Liew (Copywriter) and Clayton Whelan (Visual Designer).

The three of them proceeded to show us samples of Noise’s previous work portfolio, an impressive list of clients ranging from Sony Playstation, BCLC, Sugar Crisp cereal to Sapporo beer. Throughout the presentation the trio would explain the process and design decisions that occurred behind the scenes. They encouraged us to ask questions about their techniques, and were very generous with sharing the ups and downs they faced with every project. It was encouraging to realize that a large and established design agency like Noise faced some of the very same challenges we experience as design students. They highly suggested that we pay close attention to who our target audience is and to ensure that we speak to them in ways that are clear and concise. They also showed us their love for using data as a driving force for their design decisions. They look to data to provide insight, and to measure success. They believe that without the ability to objectively measure your project for results, you cannot gauge how well you solved the initial design solution.

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Hot Tomali is a Hot Agency

The entrance to this unpretentious agency is painted a hot, fiery red that definitely makes one do a double take and think “Hot Tomali!!” — exclamation marks and all. The red door blends in so seamlessly with the red walls that, for a few disoriented moments of seeing so much red, one almost expects to be beamed into the offices via a Star Trek transporter.

Inside, however, it’s all cool white walls and work spaces up and down and all around. The founder, Thomas Stringham, looks too young to be President and Creative Director of his own agency but speaks with the experience of one who is and has been for a while. After a quick introduction, he engages our group in a Q&A and highlights the company’s practices and philosophies regarding accounts, client relations, hiring, mentorship, skills, techniques, etc. Having exhausted our supply of questions, he begins the tour of the facilities and, like a true marketer, he begins by showing the perks — a rooftop patio done in hardwood, complete with comfortable outdoor furniture, a barbeque and a stunning view of distant Cypress Mountain. There is an immediate outbreak of oohs and aahs. Much pumped by the emphasis on “outdoor barbeques”, “launch parties”, and “dance floors”, we troop downstairs to trundle through the offices. On the main floor, below the long queue of awards and plaques, on a shelf in the very middle of the room next to the work desks, is a row of chilli pepper powders and sauces. Clearly, there is a love of everything Mexican in this agency. Read More