Being based in Glasgow and Edinburgh doesn’t mean that creativity no longer exists outwith the area. Stirling is truly Central Scotland and within the city there are a number of creative agencies servicing a variety of clients, both in the immediate area and also further afield. Here, The Drum speaks to five of the agencies in the area to prove that creativity really has no boundaries.
The Write People
The Write People has been based for the past 15 years in Stirling and currently works with a variety of companies, including the Central Scotland Police Force, the Scottish Prison Services and the Stirling Council, providing a summer and Christmas listing service that is posted to over 120,000 homes in the Stirling area, promoting the city’s highlights. The company is also producing books introducing the English language to students in both Brazil and Hungary. Co-founder of the company, John Brownbill, says of the projects: “They are really interesting, and give us something slightly different to do. The project that we have been working on for the past two years with Stirling Council has also been extremely successful, as we have been able to promote what the city offers, and it offers a lot, to the local community, and it has had great feedback too.” The Write People also produce and supply brochures to the Hilton Hotel for induction training for staff. The company, for the past two years, has supplied 5000 brochures for the Hilton Group in Britain and Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the work, Brownbill said: “It really goes to show that you don’t have to be based in a city to do work for large companies. We may not be based in a city but we are still managing to do large national jobs, which goes to show the power of the company.”
Baseline Graphics, headed up by Douglas Walker and Steven Bonner, has recently celebrated its third anniversary and, says Bonner, the company has gone from strength to strength. He says: “I suppose we are in the lucky position where the clients that we have worked for have really prospered over the past twelve months and so have we. I don’t really believe in pitching so we do tend to work on the personal recommendations of our clients, which has always stood us in good stead.” Clients for the company include DF Concerts, Scottish Radio Holdings, the Scottish Youth Hostel Association and Conran Restaurants. “Ninety per cent of our clients are based in Glasgow, the other ten being in Stirling,” says Bonner. “It doesn’t really hinder us, being based here, and I think that there is enough work to really support a small industry in Stirling.” Walker adds that the company has been going from strength to strength over the past year: “We have had a twenty-five per cent increase in our turnover. We have not been chasing for business, and the jobs that we are doing are resulting in us branching off into new areas. That is the plan for the next year - build on the clients that we already have, and take the company into areas that we have covered in the past”
Bruce Design has undergone many changes over the past 12 months. Founded 10 years ago by Bill and Jacquie Bruce, the company has recently gone through some major personnel changes, with staffing reducing by half from six to three. However, Bill Bruce insists that there are changes afoot for the company, all of which are positive. “We are talking to a London agency at the moment, and by midsummer I think that we will be able to announce expansion plans. We are also working with Crucial Design in Dundee, which has led to some very interesting work.” Clients for the company include the University of Stirling, BP and Glasgow legal firm Burness. He continues: “The past year has been very eventful – we have moved premises and are making plans for the future. We are continuing to work with the clients that we have had for a few years and, at the same time, we are finding ourselves working further afield, in London. When we do join forces with the agency in London, it will mean that we can concentrate on making more inroads into that market too. It’s something that we are looking forward to.”
TBDA was founded in 1995 by managing director Tanya Hines. The company currently employs five staff, having recruited a designer earlier in the year, and clients include Volkswagen, Scope Bathrooms, specialist ale brewers McLay and Glenfishie Seafood. Hines admits that the past 12 months have not been the easiest but is adamant that the year has got off to a good start. She commented: “This year has been good, touch wood. We deal with clients from as far apart as Thurso to the Borders. We don’t tend to work with clients in Stirling – what we find with them is that the bigger companies that are based in Stirling are normally offshoots of larger companies that have bases in Glasgow, Edinburgh or London and won’t really use agencies in Stirling anyway.” Hines chose Stirling to base the company, as she wanted to be centrally located, between Edinburgh and Glasgow. She comments: “I live in Bearsden and our creative director is in Milngavie, but we enjoy being based in Stirling. It is inexpensive in terms of running a company, and it made sense to base ourselves here as we are centrally located.”
Vizibility was formed five years ago by managing director David Guthrie, together with fellow directors Scott Dickson and John Campbell. In the past year the company has seen significant growth, with staff numbers doubling from six to twelve in its Stirling office and a total of eight programmers in its office in Sofia. Clients for the company include Hempel Paints, Famous Grouse and VisitScotland. For Guthrie, the recruiting process is not difficult. "We find we can attract good people in all areas which has enabled us to build a highly creative, innovative and enthusiastic team." he comments. "We work with clients throughout the UK, from the South Coast of England to the North of Scotland. Being based in Stirling allows us easy access to our Glasgow and Edinburgh based clients whilst putting all the main commercial centres in Scotland within reach. Edinburgh airport is 30 minutes from the office and low cost air carriers get us South as simply as catching a train to Inverness. We offer an in-house, one-stop shop to our clients embracing web design, development and programming, graphic design and marketing strategy..This means we can support our clients with a fully integrated marketing service adding value to our relationship and benefit to their business. We aim to growVizibility in the forthcoming year to £1.1 million turnover with focus on cross-selling, further one-stop shop business development and the launch of our range of web enabled business software products developed through our Eastern European operation.”