Design Uncovered

By The Drum | Administrator

July 1, 2004 | 12 min read

Baseline Graphics' work for Zinc

Nation 1

Glasgow-based design agency Nation 1 was founded by managing director Andrew Grant in 1999. The company currently employs eight members of staff and has witnessed a turnover increase of 740 per cent from last year, coinciding with the appointment of Tom McRorie as head of design. Their ambitions for the year ahead are equally positive, aiming to retain their position as Scotland’s fastest growing agency and also aiming to increase their turnover by another £1 million, says managing director Grant. Current clients on the books at Nation 1 include Royal Scottish National Opera, Lloyds TSB, Glasgow City Council, Glaxo Smithkline, Sara Lee, Britvic and Warner Music. Key projects that were completed last year included completing an RSNO viral and musical billboard, rebranding the Gorbals Initiative, including a new corporate ID, website and shop design, and designing a website, logo and a direct marketing campaign for Glasgow City Council’s Fuel Zone initiative.


Dynam, the Inverness-based design agency has been in business since 1979 working with a number of clients across Scotland. Karen Green, senior partner at the firm, oversees a team of nine working on a list of clients that include Tulloch plc, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Crofters Commission, Moray Badenoch and Strathspey Enterprise, The Northern Constabulary and Aberdeen-based law firm Wright, Johnston & MacKenzie. Despite approaching its 25 years anniversary the agency, this year, has perhaps seen its best ever year, according to Green. And, (in a recurring trend across the agencies polled) apart from “taking lots of holidays” Green hopes that the coming months will see a continuation in the growth of the business. Recent projects have seen a campaign for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, called First Stop, and the Northern Constabulary Annual Report and drugs awareness campaign.

Voltage Design Consultants

In its first year of trading, Voltage has managed to post profits, an impressive start for managing director Scott Simpson. The company currently employs seven members of staff and has managed to capitalise on its first year in winning a re-brand for the Glasgow Buttery restaurant, designing the Scottish Wedding Directory Magazine, and working with a variety of other clients, including Jurys Hotels and Inns, Loch Lomond-based Cameron House and Harper Macleod Solicitors. Simpson’s ambitions for the year ahead are simple: “To hold on to our existing values, which will continue to fuel our growth and success. The essence of the agency’s success is down to the subtle combination of real creative spirit and true commercial understanding. Clients regard the agency as an outsourced marketing team, delivering strategic marketing advice and handling everything from brand development to direct sales, new media and sales promotion campaigns.”

McKinstrie Wilde

Founded in 1998 by partners Aird McKinstrie and Monica Wilde, this Edinburgh-based design consultancy has gone from strength to strength. The company, which merged with design firm Millhouse in 2000, capitalised on this and currently employs eighteen people. Last year was a success, said operations director Graham Macready, with their ambition for the next year “to surpass last year’s profitability and build our client list.” Notable projects that that the agency has worked on over the past 12 months include building a brand and website for the newly launched Megabus for Stagecoach, creating an identity, website, corporate brochure and annual report for Inveresk Research Group and completing annual reports for both Stagecoach and Westbury. Other clients for the agency include Dundas and Wilson, Velux, Eglinton and Collins Stewart Fund Managers.

Front Page

While Glasgow-based Front Page Design readily admit that the past twelve months have not been the easiest (something that most within the industry would agree with), the agency is beginning to get back on its feet in 2004, with three significant account wins occurring over the past six months. Headed up by Ian McMillan, the agency currently employs 11 members of staff, and key projects of the past year have included Silverstone Motorsport corporate brochure, Foster’s F1 British Grand Prix ad campaign, the Simply Travel Group website, the Dialog Group Corporate ID and website, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts “Stars” Training Programme. Ambitions for the year ahead include generating more business from existing clients, while adding to its already extensive client list and perhaps adding to its creative awards.

Hyphen Design

Founded in 1194 by managing director David Russell, Hyphen Design currently employs five members of staff. Following a successful relcoation last year, the company started the year off with a new business push that paid off with a total of 4 new account wins already this year. Clients that the company are currently working with include South Lanarkshire Council, the development and launch of the consumer campaign to promote Scottish Eggs, John Dickie Homes, Learndirect Scotalnd and The Magic Bru Company. Ambitions for the year ahead are to continue to grow the business and according to adopt a more aggressive approach to marketing the business to potential new clients.

Lewis Design

Established in 1974, this agency could not be accused of being part of an emerging category. The agency, which is headed up by joint managing directors Craig and David Lewis, is now working to align its creative side with Lewis Multimedia, which was established in 1999 in order to maximise the experience and expertise offered by an integrated creative consultancy. Recent key projects that have been completed over the past year include web sites and online marketing support for Abbey’s new wrap product, Interactive Multimedia Quiz software for Sportsman’s Charity, the desgin and production of a Swatch Book to promote “Gemini” board for Inveresk Graphic Products, a complete range of marketing material for Borders Rugby and a “Director of Public Health Annual Report” for Fife NHS. Their ambitions for the year ahead include expanding the profile of the agency throughout both Scotland and the UK, along with working in new client sectors and providing the same level of creativity and service to its already existing clients.

Baseline Graphics

Being too busy is normally something that most agencies would be delighted by but for managing director Douglas Walker of Stirling-based Baseline Graphics too much work, and not enough staff hindered the year. The company currently employs four members of staff, employing an additional member of staff earlier this year. Clients and key projects for the firm over the past year have included work for the Scottish Youth Hostels Association, DF Concerts, SRH Events and T in the Park. For MD Walker, the plans for the future are: “Along with continuing to offer our existing clients the high levels of service they enjoy, our long-term aim must be to get bigger and better one-off work – hopefully with budgets that meet with clients’ full requirements.”


Redpath was founded in 1995 by managing director Richard Irvine and currently employs sixteen people. Previously part of the Faulds Group, the design agency decided to go it alone following the four breakaway management buyouts at the end of 2001. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength and now clients include Ben Dawson Furniture Group, the British Council, Edinburgh International Festival, Edrington Group, Somerfield and SportScotland. Key projects in the last year have included packaging ranges for Somerfield, producing a name and identity for Source – part of Water UK, and identity and collateral for Ben Dawson Furniture and a campaign identity for St Martin in the Fields. Irvine’s assessment of the past year’s performance – “Grace under pressure.” And for the next twelve months? “More grace, less pressure.”

Marque Design

Marque Design experienced an impressive 2003 – most notably with the appointment of lawyer Dr Andrew Cubie as a non-executive chairman. The company, which was established in 1997, currently has five staff. And while managing director Frances Brown admits that times were tough last year, their pitch conversion rate was also high, with a number of projects being won on a speculative basis, including Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Life, Scottish Road Safety campaign, Scottish Water and Cameron Toll Shopping Centre. Key projects over the past twelve months have included designing and producing an educational tool for the launch of Road Safety Education into all primary schools in Scotland and creating a set of templates for marketing and sales support literature for Scottish Widows. Plans for the next twelve months will see the agency consolidating on the clients that it already has, while also looking for further opportunities at a new business level.

Arc Visual

Dundee-based Jackie Malcolm set her company, Arc Visual, up in 1999 and operates as a sole trader. However, plans for the future will be to look at the staffing requirements as she expands and grows the business over the forthcoming year. Clients are primarily within the tourism industry and include the Angus and Dundee Tourist Board, Perthshire Tourist Board, East of Scotland Golf Alliance and the University of Abertay. While Malcolm admits that her core client base is at the moment rooted in the tourism industry, she aims over the next twelve months to shift that focus as she focuses on expansion. Key projects completed in the last year include creating literature, advertising and an exhibition for Dundee and Angus Tourist Board, producing leaflets, website and branding for Eastern Cairngorm Access Partnership and creating consumer literature, autumn and spring campaigns for Angus and Dundee Tourist Board.


Founded in 2002 by managing director Colin Doherty, Glasgow-based design agency Reflexblue currently employs eight people. Following a strong trading year, the ambitions for the next twelve months are to expand the company and move to larger premises. Design projects from the past year have included producing and implementing a new corporate training initiative, entitled Growing Wiser, for George Wimpey plc. The company was also responsible for the rebranding of Mexican restaurant chain Pancho Villa, implementing the new style throughout all signage and print material, along with designing a bar area for all new restaurants. Other clients that the company works with include Laing Homes, Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland and the International Foundation Programme Scotland.

The Puffin Room

Founded in 1999 by managing director Evelyn Hardie, The Puffin Room currently has a wide range of clients, including Bentleys Shopfitting, Drumoig Hotel Golf Resort, Dundee Chamber of Commerce, Kite Sports Scotland and Legal Services Scotland. Over the past year the business has grown, with the company gaining a variety of new clients along with working for existing clients. Work that has been completed over the past twelve months has included producing a corporate ID, website and newsletter for Scott’s Wine World, rebranding the entire product range for the Scottish Liqueur Centre and producing St Andrews Bay Hotel Golf Brochure. Ambitions for the year ahead are to develop the marketing side of the business, while continuing to grow the business.

Wright Design

This year Wright Design celebrates its twentieth year in business and, with a brand new corporate identity for the company, the next twelve months look promising. The 10-strong staff, headed up by managing director Alan Wright, have worked on a variety of projects over the past year, ranging from major client campaigns involving advertising, brand development, brochures, packaging, direct marketing, exhibitions and web work across its core key sectors of tourism, construction, financial and professional services, FMCG, retail, publishing, drink and electronics, to name but a few. Ambitions for the year ahead will see the agency build on the new corporate identity and deliver an effective and innovative marketing service both for its existing and for new clients.


Following a breakaway from Tayburn in 2001, founding directors Jason Dobson and Bryan Hook have put themselves on the map with Hookson. The company currently employs eight members of staff and in the past year has seen the turnover reaching £750,000. The company was also a success at The Drum’s Robert Horne Design Consultancy of the Year, picking up the Client Satisfaction top prize. Recent key projects that the company have completed include producing a full brand strategy and reposition for the Quality Healthcare Group, developing promotional material and product guides for Wedgwood’s trade exhibitions, implementing a full brand communications programme for Lauder College and completing the design for Hotel Connexions website. In the year ahead, the agency is to focus its efforts in growing its Dublin-based office which deals with all clients on the other side of the Irish sea.


Founded in 2002, the past year has been an eventful one for Traffic. Following a partnership buy out last yearthe Glasgow based compnay, which currently employs five members of staff, has recently seen the addition of two new members of staff, along with winning new clients and retaining all existing ones. The company was appointed by Rockport Publishers USA to write and design a 200 page graphic design reference book for global release. Other pieces of work included Scottish Executives Environmental Toolkit booklet. The agency work with other clients including Careers Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Greater Glasgow NHS trust, Renfrewshire Council and Careers Scotland. Managing director Scott Witham’s ambitions for the next year are simple; “Continuing to grow and develop our client base. Take a holiday.”


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +