This article is part of CMO.com’s October series about creativity and design-led thinking. Click here for more.
As digital technology continues its relentless advance, ad agencies are increasingly taking advantage, leveraging virtual and augmented reality and 360-degree imaging, to name a few, to produce state-of-the-art content that gives their clients a competitive edge.
Agencies that fully embrace technology and embed it into their creative processes are also gaining a big advantage over their peers.
“You need to stay at the very point of technology in our line of work to stay in the game,” said Morten Rowley, who, along with Daniel Bavell, founded Sydney-based design agency Supervixen. “What we can do now on one laptop would have required an entire building of machines to complete in the past, and that is no exaggeration.”
Venturing Into The Unknown
Indeed, digital technology has played an integral role in Supervixen’s success to date.
“We’ve completely changed our way of doing things many times. This often involves rethinking long-standing and reliable processes to venture into something unknown that ultimately makes us far more efficient and capable,” Rowley said. “This kind of on-your-toes approach keeps you thinking outside the box, which in itself is pretty creative.”
Given that so much of what Supervixen does is digitally based, incorporating technology into the creative process has not been difficult, he added.
“Even a painting will be digitised at some point,” Rowley said. “During the first few years of the company, we used drawing tables and light boxes. That has now almost fully evolved into using Cintiq [digital pen] products, and our production has exponentially sped up, but the artistic vision behind the process remains the same.”
Embracing technology may be one thing, but achieving creative success from a client’s perspective involves a collaboration where the designer and the client are on the same page. For Supervixen, those clients have included global brands Hotelscombined.com, Nike, IBM, and McDonald’s.
“When the client becomes part of the creative conversation, not just someone barking orders from a distance, the whole mutual listening thing makes all creative decisions feel like a victory,” Rowley said. “It can take time and earned trust, but when you respect each-others’ input, we consider that a success.”
That means incorporating technology into the design of the project and the effects being used, Rowley said. “Design always seems to get bundled into virtual effects [VFX] production, but it should work both ways and be incorporated into the storyline and into the VFX.”
Supervixen has built a reputation for quickly producing film sequence and VFX work for both advertising and film using Adobe Creative Cloud for Teams. Creative Cloud includes the latest versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, as well as many new apps that provide access to Adobe stock images, graphics, and videos.
The platform was put to good use when Supervixen was working on the genetic memories sequence in the movie “Underworld.” Using Adobe Premier Pro CC to edit video and Adobe After Effects CC to develop an original style, the whole team was able to develop the sequence in a relatively short time period.
Sharing ideas is vital to Supervixen’s creative process, so Rowley and Bavell have purposely kept their staff numbers small to encourage as collaborative a work environment as possible.
A large part of Supervixen’s work also involves tailoring the agency’s creativity to accommodate budget restrictions in conjunction with time constraints, Rowley added. Recently, though, advances in, for example, 3D imaging and a corresponding fall in pricing have made that sort of technology available for projects with smaller budgets.
“Using things such as GPU rendering and real-time game engines, the creative boundary has opened up greatly,” he said. “By understanding new technology and its limitations, we can create a much higher quality output for our smaller clients, such as a virtual reality project we just completed for Bankers Trust.”