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Notepad Studio

Together we created: Sometime – a creative call to arms

Sometime is a non-profit and good cause brand, built in a week by a small group of ‘do-gooders’ with some spare time on their hands. In this brief blog post we meet the team involved making the Sometime platform – a Notepad idea, possible. 

This is the team involved in making Sometime happen. From left to right, Ian, our lead strategist, Dom, our strategist, Naeem, our founder & MD, Will, our lead strategist, Krishna, our client lead, and Josh, our designer. The photo was taken back in early 2020, before social distancing measures were in place.

Notepad Studio
Notepad Studio – team photo

We asked the Notepad team responsible for founding the Sometime brand a couple of questions about the process and their personal experiences.

 

Overall, what has the experience of building a brand in just one week been like to you?

 

Ian: “We are brand building specialists, and in a sense we needed to prove to ourselves that we would rise up to this challenge, I think we have done that and we can all be very proud about that. From what was a number of small ideas on a Google doc, we have built a non-profit and global ‘doing good’ platform. We have created a young brand with grit and guts. We have created a way of helping creatives with time on their hands to find work and help key service organisations solve a number of problems.”

Dom: “I wasn’t massively involved in the creative process, but it is still amazing to witness how quickly the Notepad team moved from identifying an opportunity to make a positive difference, to rolling out the finished product. It has been extremely fast moving, and the end result is something which we can be truly proud of, both from a purpose-led and creativity standpoint. The collaboration has also been of a high order.”

Naeem: “The approach has been amazing. It’s the fastest we’ve ever created and launched a new brand. I was blown away by our ability as a team to create something of such high quality.”

Will: “While it was very obvious that the nation was suffering, some of our immediate thoughts were of our design friends who, as freelancers, saw their work fall away from them. Remote working is the norm at Notepad, so we felt confident in taking on something like this and allowing the creativity to flow. The core idea of helping creatives and organisations in need, kept us aligned as a team and pushed us to work creatively at speed.”

Krishna: “Given the increasing times of uncertainty that we all felt it was refreshing to be surrounded by such a positive group of people in thinking of ways in which we could help the Coronavirus crisis creatively. Sometime came about as we all came to realise how many talented people within the industry were sitting idle with the desire to want to help in some way.”

Josh: “Building Sometime was a strong example of how well we work together as a team. I remember at the start, when Ian and Naeem were still finishing the name and strategy, I was working on mood boards, visual concepts and consulting Will. The biggest highlight for me was taking a risk with the collage aesthetic, it’s something I love personally and thought would be perfect for Sometime, and it was the part everyone loved the most, and it looks fantastic and distinct.”

 

 

Which aspects of this brand build did you find the most challenging?

 

Ian: “I couldn’t help but feeling like certain aspects of the building brand process could have been done better. For a start research/ validation, strategy and design normally takes quite a while longer to complete and so to me it felt like we were cutting some significant corners. I frequently questioned why we had only one week to do this in, and not two or rather three? The best answer I gave my doubting self was that – “Time is of the essence and by creating this platform sooner rather than later, a creative person’s time could indirectly help to save lives.”

Dom: “Probably the remote aspect, not being in the office meant I wasn’t really aware of progress outside of our frequent video calls. But it goes to show how well we can work remotely, and in this current climate, I believe we are now a fully fledged remote agency.”

Naeem: “My biggest challenge was probably my impatience. It was difficult to make decisions on something that we would normally spend so much more time on. But by adopting a startup mentality of continual iteration we created something incredible.”

Will: “It can be quite challenging giving good, concise, creative feedback via a digital medium. A lot of issues a design team face can be resolved with a good chat about the problem. The act of ‘talking it through’ with someone goes a long way to making things clearer in your own mind, something which is hard to do with as much impact if you are not in the same room.”

Krishna: “Normally Notepad’s full brand build process takes between 6-12 weeks, so building a brand to help combat a worldwide pandemic within a week was slightly nerve racking. Setting tasks using Trello together with regular Google hangouts and Slack discussions ensured we were all clear on what we were focussing on.”

Josh: “The constraint of time was the most obvious struggle. At first I was really concerned with making a whole branding system in a very short amount of time, but soon realised that what we were doing was completely ours, so the best way to make it was to start simple, set on place concepts/ideas and elaborate as time went on. Since the brand went live, we’ve already tweaked the logo and found a much better way to create collage collateral, so everything at the start was more about setting a president that we could carry on as we make more and more stuff.”

 

 

What are the things you learned as a result of the challenges you experienced during this build?

 

Ian: “I happened upon this saying; “Time is what we want most, but we use worst.” And this made me think – “I have never had more time on my hands than I do now. Now would be a silly time to waste it all.” Whilst helping to build Sometime, I really learned this to be true. Spare time has a new kind of meaning and importance to me. Since the pandemic started, apart from a few personal creative endeavours, with my (hand on my heart) I don’t think I’ve spent my time any better than by helping to build the Sometime brand.”

Dom: “It’s not breaking news for me but process has definitely reinforced how adaptable we are as an agency and the amazing talent we have in the team. It’s also highlighted the importance of rapid decision-making, we really didn’t have time to dwell on issues.”

Naeem: “I learned that as a team we really do share the same values. The excitement from everyone working on the project was palpable and it’s because we knew we could make a meaningful impact. Further to this, I learned that when we focus we can launch a new initiative in under a week. An incredible skill for us to have and I’m already thinking about future opportunities.”

Will: “When time is of the essence the smaller details don’t matter as much as making sure the bigger picture is captured. Since we only had a week to design this, time truly was of the essence and so certain details had to be overlooked for the time being. That is not to say that small details don’t matter at all. And they will be addressed in time for sure. The sooner we can all get involved and help, the sooner this could all come to an end. Compromising on these smaller design points is always difficult to do, but a good lesson to learn. It will only make our process at Notepad better.”

Krishna: “Don’t overcomplicate things. There was no room to overthink this brand with contingency plans or a plan B, we needed to be confident with what we wanted and create an online presence that was simple to understand. Often I find myself playing devil’s advocate and question things time and time again to ensure the solution is foolproof.”

Josh: “I learnt that there is a balance between getting everyone’s approval and showing something I really believe in. My best choices and decisions were ones that were free from worrying too much about what everyone would think, and simply focused on what I was trying to say with the design work. I think that we give feedback so well to each other, that it is much easier as a designer to take justified risks and see what everyone thinks, because those ideas and concepts will always be interesting and different.”

 

What are you most excited or looking forward to as the Sometime brand grows?

 

Ian: “As Sometime grows it’s exciting to think that we will be building a strong and talented community of creatives each actively solving the problems arising from this pandemic. We will be bringing everyone in isolation, closer together and hopefully out of this situation sooner, and we’ll be stronger as a society because of it. In the long term though we will be helping create good in the world and in endless ways. And we will be helping to create good in the world in endless ways. On a personal level, it’s also exciting to think that if Sometime kicks off in a big way (which I have a very good feeling it will), my time could be split over two very different business challenges, which would make my weeks very rewarding indeed.”

Dom: “I’m looking forward to see it take-off. I believe this something that could make a real positive difference in our community, during the ongoing crisis and beyond. I have no idea how big this could get and that is truly exciting for me.”

Naeem: “For me, Sometime it is about solving 2 problems. Firstly, finding meaningful work for time-rich creatives. And secondly, solving real-world problems that have arisen from the pandemic. In the short-term I’m excited to see how many of these problems we can solve, in the long-term I see this living way beyond the pandemic as a platform that continues to help solve the world’s problems with creativity. The long-term potential is huge.”

Will: “I am excited to see some relief for organisations that are struggling. It’s been an intense month for us all and I’d love to see an ease of pressure for the community, even if it is a small one. I am also excited to see creative talent across the region, even countries, stand up and do what they can to help.”

Krishna: “I am excited to see how Sometime can make a positive difference in people’s lives, to hear that it made their life on the front line easier or that it helped them communicate something faster would be amazing. I am also excited to see how the brand develops over time and the network of creatives that come on board both regionally and nationally. In a world of self- isolation and social distancing it’s powerful that we can come together without ever meeting through technology to solve something affecting all of us in the world right now.”

Josh: “I’m so excited to see how it grows!!! Sometime combines my wish to help make the world a better place and my absolute love of building a community around creativity and solving world problems. I really hope this brand blossoms and we can tackle other big world problems. I also totally want a ‘Sometime community’ meet and greet at some point.”

 

About Sometime. A creative call to arms.

 

At a time when the world needs creativity more than ever before, freelancers and creative professionals are being put on hold. We’re here to help creatives use their spare time to solve the biggest problems that have emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is not a time to stand alone, but a time to come together and utilise time, creativity and expertise to solve problems. Our mission is to create a platform for creatives, freelancers or businesses with time to spare to help solve a 1000 problems emerging from the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. Don’t let time pass you by, be a force for good.

Use your time wisely, and help bring the world out of isolation. Join 100s of creatives helping to solve problems related to COVID-19 for those most in need.

Visit: www.wearesometime.org

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