Designival 2014

Positioning Liverpool at the heart of the creative world.

11.07.14 | Culture

By Nick Howe

Designival Logo Blog

It was June 1998 when Uniform opened its doors. Three of us, two macs and a hair salon as a client. No money, lots of ambition, and a commitment to making it work in Liverpool. 

Sixteen years on we remain as committed to Liverpool. Over that time we’ve been strong advocates that you can build an international business from the city.

It was important that this year’s Designival, as part of the International Festival for Business, had a strong sense of this ambition, the desire to succeed, to grow, while firmly grounded in creative brilliance. 

Company culture is at the heart of this success. Something Jonathan Sands knows alot about. Elmwood has a strong culture, a culture they’ve developed as they’ve grown, but one that’s never swayed too far from its Yorkshire roots. “The Leeds studio is what makes Elmwood, Elmwood.” It says it all. Perhaps more telling, despite having offices in Melbourne, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as London, Leeds will always be ‘the home office’ as he calls it.  Jonathan will tell us how he has developed that ‘global culture’ and some of the tough lessons learned along the way.

But growth on this scale can’t rely solely on culture. A clear and compelling story is essential. Agencies in foreign markets are not going to roll over. So how do you plan? What precautions should you take? How do you create a business with revenues of £13 million over four continents, still going strong after 25 years? I'm looking forward to finding out...

Morag Myerscough adds some sparkle to the event. She creates big, bright, bold installations that bring a sense of place and ‘belonging’. That ethos has never been more relevant than today, it’s an ethos that we firmly believe in at Uniform and one we’ve looked to instill through our own placemaking work.

It’s an incredible line up, with some impressive speakers of whivh Morag and Jonathan are just two, so keep following @designival, and don’t forget to book your tickets. See you there!


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