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Design Update

May 7, 2020

The world feels pretty crazy right now and like everyone else, we’ve been hunkering down and working our way through things. As most people now know, we don’t live in Didsbury anymore – we’re in northern Istria, very close to the Italian border. This hasn’t affected in any way our day to day design work because everything is obviously done online and we keep in touch regularly with clients via emails and calls. However, as soon as the Coronavirus started to take hold, we feared like everyone else, that our business and our livelihood would be impacted. If our clients were focusing on their own businesses, then the last thing we thought anyone would want to do would be to think about websites or design work.

As soon as it became clear what the impact on businesses was going to be – especially small, independents as these are the kind we work with – we contacted all clients. Being in another country, we figured that any support/help we could offer would be fairly limited, but we offered the best that we could. Immediate help with any website updates which would inform customers/clients about our businesses’ current situation. We also advised that going forward, whilst everything was so uncertain and frightening, we would be as flexible as we possibly could be regarding charges for design work. It was a pretty horrible part of the email to write – offering support but broaching money – but, we’re also an independent business and what we earn enables us to live. If we don’t earn, we’ve very little else to fall back on. So, as much as we wished that we could do these essential updates for nothing, we couldn’t.

But, we didn’t count on the creativity and adaptability of many of our clients.

Some have decided to have a complete refocus and launch new ventures, such as Thyme Out Delicatessen. Initially they were going to operate as a takeaway only, but pretty soon, these plans were changed as governemnt guidelines made this impossible. Out of a pretty scary situation, business-wise, Prepped was launched – and working with Thyme Out, a whole new venture emerged. A logo was designed and the concept included on the website – basically each week, a new menu is devised. Dishes are prepped by the Thyme Out chefs and delivered, safely, to customers. Since Prepped was launched, Sunday Roasts have been added, as well as wine delivery after teaming up with another local West Didsbury business, Reserve Wines. This venture has grown in popularity and we provide the design side of things and assist with the marketing and promotion via social media, ensuring that new menus are uploaded at the same time each week. We’re now working with Thyme Out on another new venture – a whole new, very exciting direction, which will be revealed imminently…

Thanks Helen and Pete, you guys have been amazing and very quick at coming up with the web and design changes to help us adapt. Ben, Thyme Out Food Co


Prepped by Thyme Out Food Co, West Didsbury


Another business which has been hugely affected, is Azzurro Italian restaurant. Like many, whilst closed, the owners still have to pay rent on the property and upkeep it. They too, initially, decided to operate as a takeaway, but as with Thyme Out, these plans had to change as government guidelines were announced. Working with Azzurro, we helped them to develop the idea of a voucher scheme, so that it went beyond just a voucher for a meal at some point in the future. As well as the design of the vouchers, we created a new page on the website, which integrated a payment option, and wrote the copy. We also suggested that people who purchased vouchers, be recognised in some way – and the Azurro Wall of Fame was born! Being able to support in this way, enabled the owners of Azzurro to focus on more pressing concerns such as staffing, stock issues and forward planning.

Helen & Pete are THE best people to work with FYI. If you are an independent business, they speak your language & know your needs before you do. They’ve held us up behind the scenes over the past few weeks. We love you xx Emil & Anna, Azzurro

Other clients have requested that we update their websites with Covid-19 statements, so that their customers and clients are aware of the current situation…

A number of clients have decided that this enforced “downtime” is the perfect opportunity to update and refresh their online presence. As a result, we’re working on new designs and updates with The Flower Lounge, Serendipidity Brides and The Conker Crew. And, in an entirely unexpected turn of events, we’re actually designing brand new websites – one for our long-standing client, wedding photographer Jonny Draper, and two for completely new clients, a wellness coach based in Switzerland and family run pseasonal plants business, based in the north west. There’s one other, but on this occasion, we’ve been to sworn to secrecy until it’s launched. But it’s good. It’s very good, in fact 🙂

We’re also trying to use some of this time to sort our own websites out. I haven’t blogged on here for quite some time, because our new design website is in development, but as always happens, your own projects take a whole lot longer than you imagined. In the meantime, we have launched one of the new websites, which come under the umbrella of We Are Life Collection –

Before lockdown, we also found a new property with serious renovation potential and decided that it was too good an opportunity to miss, so we started the process of marketing our renovated house. We designed our own website, and although it’s all obviously on hold at the moment, we are starting to get the ball rolling again…

So, whilst we are still designing websites, we’re finding that we can offer a little bit more these days, in terms of business support, especially as we can offer quite a lot of flexibility to our clients. If you’d like to discuss anything with us, you can either fill out the simple design request form on our website, or pop some details in the form below. We’d love to hear from you…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2020 5:03 pm

    Nice work, glad to hear things are working out ok in these crazy times!

  2. June 11, 2020 4:31 pm

    Aw, thank you Richard. Yes, crazy times – but all OK out here. Hope things are good with you & you’re keeping safe and well.

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