Ro & Co. Inside The Studio

I always find looking at 'inside the studio' articles really helpful, and Ro & Co. are an agency that have always intrigued me, where they approach their work in unusual and innovative ways, and they are for me the most innovative studio out there at the moment in my opinion. The Dieline interviewed them and I have chosen to display some of the useful parts of the interview where their answers are influential. I originally wanted to only post parts of the article that were helpful for me to read, however lots of the article was helpful, so it is now a long post.

The Dieline article.

'Diane: Speaking about employees, how do you keep your employees and designers inspired? Tell me about your creative process.

Roanne: We work as a very collaborative studio and I truly believe that my designers are inspired by what we've all created together. I hire self-motivated individuals who constantly push themselves and each other to create high quality work that exceeds clients’ expectations. They are motivated by challenging projects and inspired through finding solutions, rather than being discouraged. 

Diane: Speaking about hiring, can you share with our readers what do you look for when you are hiring designers? 

Roanne: Talent, great style and passion are, of course, a given. But I also look for enthusiasm and good “people skills”— the questions I ask myself are, how will they work with the rest of the team and our clients? Will they be a team player? Our team is small, we're like a family, and we want to surround ourselves with people who want to be apart of the family and grow with us.

Diane: What is the RoAndCo design philosophy?

Roanne: Clients are involved, clients are listened to, clients are inspiration.
Challenging and moving beyond what’s already been done is just the beginning.
Different for different’s sake: Wrong. Uncommon ideas that are intuitive and exciting: Right.
Old meets new. Masculine meets feminine. Capturing the balance is what brings out branding to life.

The consumer is as important as the client. We consider how the message is delivered on paper, over the web, and into your smartphone from here to Tanzania.

Diane: What are your favorite kinds of projects to work on? If you have a dream project, what would it be?

Roanne: The most exciting projects involve working with clients whom we are truly inspired by and who trust us with their brand while still pushing us creatively. I love working with clients who see us as their creative partner and value our involvement in all aspects of their growth, from strategy to content creation. These collaborations tend to be the most successful and inspiring, and often result in our strongest portfolio pieces.

A dream project, for me, would be to art direct a campaign for a client like Céline, Chloé, or Balenciaga—a brand at the top of the fashion game—that is already artful, highly curated, and aspirational. Alternatively, I’d also love to guest art direct a fashion magazine that draws the most talented writers, photographers and the like. To work with the best of the best in the fashion industry has always been my dream.

Diane: Tell me about RoAndCo's package design projects. What makes you different?

Roanne: We approach packaging projects the same way we do with branding. Our goal is to tailor a full experience for our client's, with no detail left unconsidered. When designing packaging, be it a single item or an entire packaging system, we take a comprehensive look at the brand’s core values to determine how to best translate their standards into a visual and sensory experience. We also love to incorporate surprise elements into designs, be it a color, material or even smell that creates a deeper and more meaningful connection.'

Freytag Anderson

Freytag Anderson.


Lo Siento

Lo Siento Studio.

Lo Siento studio have really caught my eye these past few months, by the way that they're really not afraid to experiment, and get psychically involved with their work. The work feels quite unique in some respects, and they have used an array of processes to create type in inventive ways.


DR ME Studio Visit

Manchester based DR ME came to visit and talk to us about their studio practice, methods, inspiration. They began talking about how they became to be a collaboration of two, and how they were simply next to each other on the register at uni in Manchester. They found a mutual love of hand crafting projects, and making thing with their hands before any digital manipulation.

They talked to us about their website, and how they are not particularly web savvy, and so went for a simple cargo theme. Their chosen aesthetic is very low fi, and feels playful and experimental. They emphasised that they make things by hand because it is a labour of love, and that the desired visual is almost always cut and paste. They talked about their studio space, and that they simple DIY it when it comes to making their work, for example, they designed and made the video for the band Dutch Uncles, and this was a very labour intensive process whereby cut out visuals were gradually made up to form a stop motion video, made up of 1800 frames.

Ultimately, they explained that first and foremost they are driven by art, rather than design, and design seems to be the bi product of projects that use conceptual, and abstract media rather then the more methodical restraints of design in the formal sense. Their work overall feels like it has been made with love, and I personally think that it is well suited towards the music industry, prints and self initiated projects that have a sense of fun.


Ditto Press Studio Visit

Ditto Press came to talk to us about publishing on a small scale and editorial design. He began by talking about his early life, where he lived a fast lifestyle, going to raves, taking drugs and generally being reckless. This mixed with his love for horror movie posters, and other morbid things made him go take a course in design in London. he experimented with his creativity capabilities, and enjoyed collaborating, and this sparked a love for research projects, and for collaboration.

He went on to tell us about his endeavours in self publishing, and printing with a risograph printer. A free magazine he designed and produced called FUN, was a labour of love, and he printed a magazine that culminates all of his favourite aesthetics, and this magazine was given away for free similar to Vice magazine, and made available in shops. He explained that it was hard work, and that although it was really FUN, to make... there wasn't actually any financial reason to do it, but it gave Ditto Press media attention, and advertised them.

He started to talk about the process of researching and building content for publishing design, and he went onto explain that he enjoyed the process of going to talk to people, and interacting with them in order to build a story, and making books surrounding subject matter/or a number of various subjects.

Overall, the aesthetic that he likes obviously drives his work, as his desire to create is fuelled by a love of a certain style. His work is very masculine, and 'low fi', and so it doesn't appeal to me particularly in terms of subject matter, and the way it looks, but I admire his tenacity to go and talk to people, interacting with them and gaining content for his work. The layout and editorial design is something I also think makes Ditto important to take notice of.


Design Studios: Sheffield

I am aiming to work in Sheffield for a graphic design agency, and also aim to visit some studios and gain placement work and experience in this area, so heres my evaluation of some of the ones I have found that I feel have potential for me.

Some of the studios I have been looking at are:


Attract seem to be the kind of agency I aspire to work for. The work isn't too commercial, and feels design led. They work with small businesses and work on an array of branding projects, including film. I would like to gain some experience with art direction and so this would be a good placement or job opportunity.

Foster & Scott.

This agency work in a very commercial way, and have a large portfolio of small briefs. If I worked for them in either a placement or a job, I would probably work to quick deadlines, and the smaller size of the briefs would be great practice. This type of agency wouldn't challenge me creatively and so I wouldn't aim to work for this company ultimately. If it was a first job, I would be grateful however to get my foot in the door.


I really like Tonik and will contact them when I feel my portfolio site is good enough to show people. Although they are hiring at the moment, I don't think I would be taken on, as I would need experience. Obviously I would like to gain placement work from these guys. They work on branding projects that would appeal to me, and they also have a long philosophy for prospective clients to read, and so this is nice to see. I dislike studios that hesitate to have an online perspective or story.


Vivid also work in a commercial way, for medium and large businesses. I really wouldn't mind working like this, however it wouldn't be an aim to work for this type of company. I would like to gain experience in this area though.

Brochure Design.

I think Brochure Design advertise themselves as an 'idea' agency. I don't know quite what this means without seeing the type of work they have produced really, and they don't have any links to their work so it's makes it impossible to know much about them without contacting them, of which I will do.


Dust is the one. I have to gain some placement work with these guys because they do a lot of layout and editorial work, along with branding. This is the type of work I have increasingly realised I enjoy doing, and have skills in. Getting a job here would be the ultimate aim, but I need some experience first.


Hate the name of this agency, however their work is the aesthetic I could definitely work with. They do a lot of image based design of which I have skills in. I might be creatively challenged working here, or working on a placement, although Im not totally sure that I love their work. The work feels quite immature sometimes, but then I really like their editorial work. I would obviously love to visit them or get some work experience.

Ink & Water.

I really like Ink & Water's work, and they seem to be working on a new website too, which shows that they like to evolve, which is important to me, as it shows that they obviously care about how they convey themselves, and how they grow creatively. Also it suggests that they enjoy their job. They create a lot of films, and this is one of their services, of which I have no experience in but like the idea of doing some art direction. I would love a job or a placement from these guys.

Moors Creative.

Moors Creative leave me feeling uninspired, but I want to contact them anyway. It might be totally different if I visited them at least, or just had a week or two placement experience. Often a website doesn't always convey the overall feel to the agency, or show off the quality of the work.


Marc Gobé on Emotional Branding

Marc Gobé on Emotional Branding.

'Can you briefly explain what emotional branding is and why it is so important.

Emotional Branding is about this amazing relationship and connection people have with some brands. But I wrote my book Emotional Branding because I could see that people loved brands but unfortunately brands did not love people back. I thought it was critical to mend that relationship. I could observe that the trusted relationship that people had with brands was eroding and that brands did not see their res- ponsibility towards society as an important element of their vision.

This is what emotional branding is all about, a unique oppor- tunity to act, talk and deliver your products or ideas with the same integrity and responsibility as you would to friends or even, as Stew Leonard, a famous grocer in Connecticut would say, “as you would to your mother.”

Do you think environmental awareness and caring for the planet is something we do for rational reasons, or is it starting to touch us on an emotional level?

It is totally emotional. We know and younger generations know even better that they will inherit a world that has been totally trashed. If you have seen the movie Wall- E you get a sense of where consumerism can lead to and how bad the impact of too much irresponsible consumption has on our world.

I believe that people still want to buy brands and find in brands a way to dream, express themselves or connect with others but what has changed is that people want to know now where all those products they buy are going to end up. There is a heightened sensitivity to be responsible with the energy we use and the sustainable nature of products. Brands that will be able to address those issues will have an advantage.

It is interesting to see now that in most universities I visit in the US, students do not carry plastic bottles as they used to but containers that are refillable. This new ecological consciousness is one of the most emotional issues right now with most people around the world and is here to stay.'

Atelier Dyakova

Atelier Dyakova.

Here Design

Here Design.

Moodley Brand Identity

Moodley Brand Identity.