Ed Khristus: 'We want to bring aesthetics in every client-business interaction.'
The design has ascended from mere decoration to a crucial tool for compelling storytelling and meaningful business strategies in our digitally-connected age. Amidst this paradigm shift, our agency, ettyq, distinctly merges ethics and aesthetics, allowing brands to resonate more deeply with consumers. At the heart of this innovation is ettyq’s method.
"In every great design, there lies an unspoken story," Ed asserts, giving insight into the profound philosophy of ettyq. Design isn't a superficial play of colours and shapes for them. It's about channelling a brand's ethical stance through visual narratives, ensuring that each representation embodies core values and communicates them effectively to the target audience.
The age of passive consumerism is over. Brands can no longer expect loyalty without authenticity. The CEO elaborates, "Our audience today isn’t seeking mere products. They're searching for alignment, a brand that echoes their beliefs and values. Our role is to bridge that connection." This is where the seamless fusion of ethics and aesthetics plays an instrumental role.
With the global market teeming with brands, how does one establish a unique voice? Ed details ettyq’s approach: "Our initial phase involves extensive conversations with the brand. We delve deep, uncovering their ethos, aspirations, and unique selling propositions. This sets the stage for a design strategy unique to the brand’s fingerprint."
Surviving and Thriving in Saturated Markets:
Q: The challenge of differentiating a brand in today's saturated market is significant. What nuanced approach does ettyq adopt to ensure a brand doesn't just 'fit in' but truly 'stands out'?
This is the essence of what we grapple with daily. In modern markets, merely being seen is no longer enough. The goal is to be understood and remembered and foster a deep connection with the consumer. At ettyq, our approach is rooted in deep introspection and outward observation. We start by immersing ourselves in the brand's world, understanding its history, values, dreams, and fears. We seek to comprehend the brand as if it were a living entity with its personality and aspirations.
Then, we juxtapose this deep brand understanding against the backdrop of the broader market and societal contexts. What are the prevailing conversations? What are the unspoken desires of the consumers? Where do they intersect with our brand's identity? By finding this intersection, we can carve a niche space for the brand, ensuring that it not only stands out but does so in a genuine and resonant manner.
Q: With the rapid shifts in trends, how does ettyq anchor its designs to ensure longevity for the brands you work with, even in the face of fleeting market whims?
Ah, the age-old challenge of timelessness versus trendiness. The design world is like a river, constantly flowing and changing. However, while the river's path might change, its essence remains consistent. That's how we view branding and design at ettyq. Trends, by their nature, are transient. They come and go, offering temporary bursts of relevance. While it's tempting to ride the wave of every trend, it's crucial to discern which trends align with the brand's inherent nature and which don't.
Our designs aim to capture the brand's immutable essence. We seek those core truths, values, or stories that remain unchanged despite external shifts. By anchoring our designs around these truths and subtly weaving in contemporary elements, we strike a balance, creating fresh and timeless designs. This dual focus ensures our brands remain relevant and resonant, irrespective of the changing tides of market trends.
Q: Drawing from your experience, could you share a particularly challenging project where ettyq had to navigate a brand through the intricate maze of a crowded market?
One project that immediately comes to mind is our work with Gphers. We took a holistic approach, incorporating design thinking and a product-driven strategy. Navigating a dense market is always challenging, especially for rising stars like Gphers in the alternative energy sector. When they approached ettyq, they aimed to stand out and articulate a future where alternative energy takes the lead. Through immersive workshops, we refined Gphers' vision and adopted a unique Method, collaborating as an in-house team, resulting in a design strategy that promised phased implementation. The crux was establishing a cohesive visual language; hence, a dynamic colour palette ranging from soft neutrals to striking blues became emblematic of their mission. The radar metaphor in the logo and pristine nature imagery conveyed clear insights and sustainable investment ethos in alternative energy.
Recognising the limitations of the existing digital interfaces in the energy domain, we championed Gphers' digital transformation. With a primary focus on energy investors and analysts, we crafted a stellar UX/UI that married modern aesthetics and functionality. Curated icons, Helvetica Neue typography for its clarity, and unique brand elements tailored for social media ensured Gphers' robust presence across platforms. The B2B essence got a contemporary touch, adapting effectively to traditional and new media, ensuring they resonated with their core audience while keeping pace with evolving industry standards.
The culmination of our strategic overhaul led to a vivid brand differentiation for Gphers. Their new identity shone brightly in a saturated market, marking a significant uptick in user engagement. The redefined brand voice and design earned them accolades from industry leaders, cementing their position as innovators in the alternative energy sphere. The journey with Gphers exemplifies how design, strategy, and a profound understanding of client aspirations can craft a distinct pathway even in the most competitive landscapes.
The Value of Specialisation
While many agencies diversify, ettyq takes pride in its concentrated focus. "By immersing ourselves exclusively in design-driven growth, we offer brands a depth of expertise that is hard to find elsewhere," the CEO shares. The agency's portfolio, dotted with success stories, is a testament to this approach's efficacy.
Q: With numerous design agencies offering a broad spectrum of services, ettyq has chosen the path of specialisation, focusing solely on design-related services. How does this specialisation impact the quality and depth of your work?
At ettyq, we firmly believe that mastery in a particular domain cannot be achieved by spreading oneself too thinly across many services. Our decision to specialise solely in design-related services stems from this philosophy. This singular focus allows us to channel all our energy, resources, and expertise into one field, ensuring unparalleled quality and depth.
Let me elaborate. When an agency's attention is scattered across diverse fields, the depth of immersion in any one domain becomes limited. For us, design isn't just about the final output; it's about understanding the subtle nuances, the latest trends, the evolving technologies, and the changing consumer behaviours associated with design. By focusing exclusively on design, our team is constantly immersed in this realm, enabling us to produce work that is not only of top-notch quality but also avant-garde in its approach. We're happy to be among the best Branding Agencies in London: explore ettyq on DesignRush.
Q: There's a unique approach at ettyq where the same people sell and execute projects. How does this ensure consistency in the entire process?
We’re incredibly proud of this practice, rooted in our dedication to transparency and consistency. When the same set of people are involved in both selling a project and its execution, it creates a seamless flow of understanding and communication. From the initial pitch to the final delivery, the vision remains consistent.
Think of it this way: When you relay a message through multiple channels, there's always a risk of the essence getting diluted or altered. But when the person who understood the client's needs, set the expectations and made agreements is the same overseeing the project's execution, it ensures no loss of clarity. Every commitment made during the selling process is respected and implemented, leading to a harmonious, trust-filled relationship with our clients.
Q: Stability is a keyword at ettyq, especially with your approach to retaining team members on projects for the long term. What benefits does this offer to clients?
In our eyes, stability translates to expertise retention and relationship continuity. Two significant things happen when we have a stable team working on projects over the long term.
Firstly, expertise is retained. As our team delves deeper into a project, they accumulate a wealth of knowledge specific to that brand, its challenges, its target audience, and its market positioning. When this team remains consistent, there's no need to repeatedly 'onboard' new members, ensuring the project benefits from accumulated insights and lessons from past phases.
Secondly, relationships are fortified. Trust, understanding, and efficient communication are pillars of any successful project. With a stable team, our clients find comfort in familiar faces, established communication rhythms, and the assurance that the team deeply understands their brand and its unique needs.
Q: Your approach to exclusive immersion, with the team working on only one project at a time, is unconventional. How does this intensify the outcomes?
Exclusive immersion is, in many ways, the heart of our specialised approach. By dedicating our team to one project at a time, we're committing to giving our undivided attention, resources, and creativity to that singular task. This means the project isn’t just one of many on our table; it's THE project we're living and breathing at that moment.
Such a focused approach has multifaceted benefits. Our team becomes an extension of our client's internal team, understanding every intricacy and nuance of the brand. This deep dive ensures that our design solutions are tailored, strategic, and aligned with the brand's objectives. Moreover, it fosters intensive collaboration, rapid feedback, and agile decision-making.
An Inside Look into ettyq's Client-Centric Approach
In a world where design agencies are aplenty, the real differentiator lies in the unwavering commitment to client success. As we pull back the curtain on ettyq's ethos, the term "client-centric" takes on a deeper, more profound meaning. Embarking on a conversation with Ed, we dive deep into the strategies and philosophies that make their approach stand out. From embracing abstract concepts to leveraging the powerful alliance with DataArt, this discussion promises a rare insight into the heart of ettyq's operational excellence.
Q: The ethos of ettyq revolves around making the client's life and work more straightforward. Can you elaborate on how the agency accomplishes this, especially when a client approaches with abstract or vague ideas?
At the heart of ettyq's approach lies an understanding that not all clients come to us with a fully fleshed-out idea. Some have sparks, clues, or broad strokes of what they envision. We embrace this ambiguity with open arms. Our team thrives on the challenge of taking even the most abstract of tasks and moulding them into tangible, actionable projects. This process often involves facilitating internal discussions, helping our clients articulate their mission, and collaboratively devising a roadmap to achieve the desired outcome. The beauty lies in the journey from the nebulous to the clear-cut, and we pride ourselves on guiding our clients through this transformation.
Q: The briefing process can often be a long-winded affair. How does ettyq's iterative and visual approach streamline this crucial step?
Traditional briefings can be cumbersome, often leading to prolonged discussions and sometimes even confusion. We recognised this early on and decided to reimagine the process. At ettyq, we've pivoted to an iterative, visual-centric method. Rather than inundate our clients with endless questions—like the often-cited "What car do you associate yourself with?"—we delve straight into sketches and mockups. This visual dialogue lets us quickly narrow our field of inquiry, fine-tuning the project's direction in real time. It's a dynamic, engaging, and, most importantly, effective method that aligns all stakeholders without the usual nonsense.
Q: Being a part of DataArt, a seasoned player with 25 years in the industry, undoubtedly offers advantages. Can you touch upon how this association amplifies ettyq's capabilities, especially on the technological front?
Absolutely. Our association with DataArt isn't just a footnote; it's a significant part of our identity. Being nested within a company with 25 years of multi-industry experience gives us unparalleled access to a treasure trove of knowledge and expertise. This means that we don't just respond to client needs; we anticipate them, offering solutions meticulously tailored to their unique requirements.
A client once remarked, "It's a fantastic feeling when your contractor knows the answers to all the questions you can ask and shares valuable industry insights." This sentiment beautifully encapsulates our advantage. Beyond design, our technological capabilities are supercharged by DataArt's legacy. We can offer exceptional design and unmatched prowess in developing large, intricate products. This holistic offering, combining the finesse of design with the robustness of the technology, sets ettyq apart.
Wrapping Up: ettyq's Lasting Impressions
Q: As we draw our discussion close, what would you say is the essence of ettyq's approach to design and strategy in the digital realm?
It's a profound question that resonates deeply with how we see ourselves in the vast digital landscape. Many agencies tout transformation, but at ettyq, we're not here for short-term wins or cosmetic facelifts. Our reputation stands on pioneering fundamental digital changes. This means delving deep beneath the surface to reengineer processes, experiences, and identities. We're not chasing ephemeral conversion spikes; our vision is rooted in lasting change and sustainable growth.
Q: Design thinking is a term often thrown around in the industry. How does it drive the work at ettyq?
Design thinking is not just a buzzword for us; it's our guiding light. Design thinking is about empathy, innovation, and a relentless focus on the end user. It pushes us to question conventions, reimagine experiences, and constantly iterate to achieve optimal solutions. For ettyq, every project begins with this mindset. Whether crafting a brand's identity or developing a digital strategy, design thinking enables us to visualise challenges from multiple perspectives, ensuring we arrive at solutions that resonate deeply with our clients and their audiences.
Q: The emphasis on being a product-led agency seems crucial to ettyq's identity. Could you elaborate on its significance?
Absolutely. Being product-led is a conscious decision, one that underscores our belief in the transformative power of well-designed products. Products, in our view, aren't mere commodities. They embody a brand's promise, the tangible touchpoints that users interact with. Our product-centric approach ensures that we're not just creating visually appealing assets but ones that deliver exceptional user experiences, drive engagement and foster brand loyalty.
Q: Lastly, how does ettyq balance creativity, technical prowess, and business outcomes?
This triad — creativity, technical expertise, and a focus on business outcomes — forms the cornerstone of our operations. While we are passionate creators at heart, our designs are always rooted in practicality. We believe that creativity loses its lustre if not complemented by technical precision. No matter how innovative, every innovation must be executable and aligned with the client's business objectives. This synergy enables us to craft solutions that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also drive tangible results for our clients.
In essence, ettyq's journey constantly evolves into a relentless pursuit of excellence underpinned by design thinking and a deep-rooted commitment to client success. Our philosophy is a testament to the transformative power of design when coupled with vision, strategy, and expertise.