How the discovery process is key to help a brand evolve over time
Brooklyn, May 31st, 2017
Untitled Era is a Brooklyn-based boutique creative digital agency founded in 2013 on three principles: Hustle, Create and Do it better. Balance form with function the agency creates memorable design and experiences.
Lisa Champ, Co-Founder and Creative Director of United Era studied Communications Design at Pratt Institute where she received her BFA.
After graduating she was hired at a design agency in SoHo. While working at the agency she also moonlighted as a freelancer to learn more about web and digital design. A few years later she co-founded Untitled Era.
“I’ve always kept myself busy and I always want to learn more,” says Lisa and adds, “I believe that desire to learn new things and evolve helped me get over that first hurdle and into the industry.”
However, she still finds some free time to hang out with her two dogs: Chief and Dunkin. She likes video games and also has an illustration project of her own, www.champ.nyc, where visitors can create wacky ‘tattoo-like’ designs.
Lisa gets inspired by her surroundings in New York City. “Being around other talented people also inspires me,” she points out. “I find interesting things in many corners of the internet. I always find inspiration when I get out of my comfort zone.”
What’s the story behind the name of the agency: Untitled Era?
The name is based on the idea that creativity helps shape and evolve how a brand/company is perceived over time.
Untitled — Every file or document is called “Untitled” before it holds an idea or design.
Era — An Identity, a rebrand, a new website, a new campaign, etc… mark a new period for a brand/company.
Can you describe your agency in three words?
Driven. Resourceful. Offbeat.
What is your definition of creativity?
To me creativity is a meaningful exploration, visually or conceptually, that solves a problem or communicates a message in a unique way.
How do you carry out your discovery process when you get a new project?
Discovery is collaborative. We start by asking a lot of questions about the goals and requirements of the project and we listen. We strive to get a solid back story and a good understanding, then we distil that.
Aside from the creative portion, discovery also encompasses the technical end of things. We look at the pros and cons of platforms and functionalities and how we’ll be able to best meet all the requirements.
For our discovery process we use a combination of information provided by the client and market research.
What role does the project brief have with regards to the ad / project development / design / or campaign?
The brief sets the goals and expectations for everyone involved — the client and the team. It’s the blueprint of every project and ensures we’re all on the same page creatively, technically, time-wise and budget-wise.
What are the things that one should never miss when we are preparing a project brief?
• Narrowing in on what you’re trying to solve/achieve
• Expectations for everyone involved
Missing one of these has the potential to snowball into extra costs, missed deadlines, unhappy people and the quality will probably suffer.
Name a challenge your team is currently facing.
The current problem is that there is not enough time in the day. Since we can’t add a few more hours to the clock, our biggest challenge is balancing a growing team with profits. All while carrying out great work that people are excited about.
If you have to do a project in another country, how do you make sure you know enough about their culture to produce a product that resonates with the audience?
To be honest I haven’t fully run into this yet. However, I’d approach this with a combination of culture-based questions, research, and set milestones to test with people who have a better understanding of said culture.
Which qualities of creativity do you look for when recruiting new people?
At United Era we look for a person that is an empathizer. A listener. An unconventional thinker. Someone that has the ability to communicate clearly and that is attentive to detail.
Are there online publications, professionals, industry leaders you follow?
AIGA (the professional association for design). ADC. Under Consideration. Awwwards. Site Inspire. Dribbble. Debbie Millman. Stefan Sagmeister. Marian Bantjes. Ornamental Conifer. Julien Vallée. Craig & Karl. Zim & Zou. Many more.
Which cities outside where you live interest you creatively?
The West Coast, because I’m in the East Coast. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle.
Please list a few of your favourite digital brands:
Spotify. Google. Nintendo. Red Bull. Netflix.
By Geny Caloisi.