All posts in Ideas

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Infestation in collaboration with Tsai Design Studio have been selected as a top sixteen finalist for the Public Art Competition launched by the Western Cape Government. The artwork will be installed on the newly established plaza, corner of Dorp and Long streets, within the WCG precinct.

To mark the 20 year anniversary of living in democratic South Africa, the Western Cape Government (WCG) launched this competition for an exceptional, permanent artwork that embodies, celebrates and reminds us of the 20 years of Freedom in our City and in our Country.

The concept of our work is rooted in the memory of the first democratic elections and the journey of casting our vote. Visuals of long winding queues and the symbolism of broken shackles is combined in a seemingly weightless column with a curved bench that offer seating on the plaza.

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Visitors are welcomed into the space to reflect on their own journey and experience since 1994.

If you would like to see our work on permanent display e-mail the Western Cape Government at  westerncape.events@westerncape.gov.za and let them know your thoughts!

 

Skeuomorphism and the online user experience

The question “Are you for – or against – flipbook magazines and why?” appeared in a publishing forum recently, prompting the desire to shed some light on how we at Infestation view publishing for, and in, the digital stratosphere.

There were well over 160 responses to the question, each person passionately adding their opinions to the ongoing debate – with many in support of the technology. In their favour, flipbooks were at one time the only easily-accessible technology for someone wanting to publish online. To date, many still believe this technology to be a viable option, since the possibilities that rich media adds to enhance the reading experience, is a definite plus.

The other reason for the fierce debate though, is that skeuomorphism is one of the last old -school vestiges lurking in the online wings.

The desire to emulate what we can touch, hold and smell in real life, still seems to exist in online publications, even though we’ve left it behind on most other platforms. This can possibly be put down to the fact that the reading needs of Boomers and Millenials have somehow smashed together to form an uneasy alliance, and while the Millenial still can’t figure out the fuss about print being redundant, the Boomers can’t envisage a world without it. So we hang onto ornamental design cues that were necessary in the original, but refuse to acknowledge that these structures are no longer needed. The cheesy sound of the page turning as we click to ‘flip’ the online page is a classic example of this redundancy.

People want flipbooks because it resembles the familiar. The fact that the mechanism doesn’t work that well on all mobile devices and browsers, gets overlooked. Ever tried reading a flipbook on your phone? After 30 seconds you will tire of waiting for content to load. You will also get horribly lost on the page while you frantically scroll around looking for where you left off at the bottom of the last column. And yes, for a user’s online experience, columns fall under the category heading  ‘relic’ – useful in print, but not great on a mobile phone.

Not only is the user experience generally quite poor in Flipbooks, but search engine optimization is also difficult because most are still Flash or image-based at the core. Long-tail search results are harder to attain because, in most cases, not all text is available to search engines.

So where should digital publishing be focusing its efforts?

In truth, we need to first be asking WHAT needs to be communicated to WHOM, and only then figuring out the best mechanism or platform to do so. In other words, the medium is only a means to an end – whether this be a custom-designed white label app for enticing a tourist to engage with your business, a content-managed WordPress newsletter to keep your staff informed of the company’s activities, or an EPub aimed at selling a recipe book on Amazon. Each case warrants a tailored approach when publishing for an online environment, to ensure a greater user experience.

What’s all the fuss about producing publications that are optimised for mobile devices?

There are now three times as many mobile phones in the world as there are computers, and 66% of people get their news on mobile devices. Readz notes that 112.5 million adults in the US are expected to own a tablet in the year 2016. The tablet is a lean-back device: something you use when you have spare time and are relaxed, and is best for longer-form journalism. A recent Pew study showed that 73% of tablet owners read in-depth articles at least sometimes, including 19% who do so daily. The Association of Magazine Media also found that users with both mobile and tablet access, spend 23% of their time reading magazines on their phones. With tablets, that number is more than three times this, at 75%!

While mobile phones are for snack reading of brief articles in short sessions (like when you’re on the bus), mobile phones are increasingly a gateway to long-form articles. It is ironic then that in a recent survey in the US and UK, 60% of respondents felt that nothing could be done to make them read more often on their phones, with many saying a poor user experience as the reason.

So while rich media and cross-platform accessibility are two very important factors in the future of publishing, user experience should be the number one priority with those wishing to get content to market, and in turn, getting the market to engage and respond to it.

No wonder then that Flipbooks lost the original market share they gained – they simply stopped innovating the user experience.

Looking ahead

Subscription-based digital magazines that are truly successful, are those getting the balance right not only in terms of publishing best-practice (content marketing, discoverability, successful advertising sales and hard-working subscriptions bases) but also focusing strategically on what is experienced by the user when they are reading, and how they absorb content in real time.

What we really should be doing, is taking a long hard look at the specific mix needed for each individual publication in order for it to successfully serve its niche in the market, and then figure out the technology needed to create it.

 

By Sam Bainbridge

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So your’re starting a new venture and it’s in need of a mark to express itself to the market, or your current logo is in need of some revitalisation. Then you’ve come to the right place. Here we’re going to show you a combination of the trends that we have seen in the past year (2014) as well as some we believe are going to make an appearance in 2015.

Type based simplicity

type based simplicity logos

 

Letter stacking

letter stacking logos

 

Crest

crest logos

 

Transparent overlay

transparent logos

 

Geometric shapes

geometric shapes logos

 

Hidden concept

hidden concept logos

 

Hand drawn

hand drawn logos

There are so many choices. Make sure not to underestimate the importance of selecting the right logo style from the above for your business, as every logo style creates a different mood and tells a different story. So before rushing into designing your new logo it’s best to first workshop your brand to determine what it is that you want it to communicate to the market.

 

by Anton Pople

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We often have clients who come to us, asking for a quick social media strategy to reach their audience and get them thousands of fans, followers, likes and retweets. The perception is that, because social media platforms are so dynamic and hold so much attention, that getting attention is easy. In reality, it’s the opposite. The dynamism and constant engagement are what make getting the attention you want difficult.

We’d love to say that there is a one-size-fits-all strategy for reaching your audience on social media, but the truth is, there are only guidelines. The rest is about knowing and understanding your social media platforms and audience.

Before you think it’s all free – we’re sorry to say it’s not always. Facebook and Twitter have cottoned on to the fact that they can make money off your need to reach an audience. However, there are ways that you can ensure successful social media usage without breaking the bank, provided you tick the boxes below:


#1 Pick your Platforms

There’s a notion out there that your business needs to be on every platform, even obscure ones. In reality, not all platforms work for all businesses. To be consistent across a multitude of platforms requires time and dedication, and no one wants to see your brand on a platform where there has been no activity.

Our Advice: Have a strategy in mind as to what you want to communicate and choose the platform that best fits that strategy. Rather be great on two platforms than average on four. And always consider capacity.


#2 Know your Audience

When it comes to social media, understanding who your audience is and how your audience consumes content is key to growing your community. This could be anywhere from whether your audience wants to read articles, whether they want advice or whether they want to be entertained. This will determine what kinds of posts you put out and who your target is per post.

Our Advice: Look at your Insights, get to grips with what it’s telling you and begin to use it as a way of knowing when your audience is online and what posts they really enjoy.


#3 Have a Plan

In PR we call it the “spray and pray” when you send out a press release to every media regardless of whether it will interest them or is relevant to the publication. This doesn’t work well in PR and it won’t work for social media either. You don’t grow or reach an audience by posting irrelevant and therefore, seemingly uninteresting content. Those people posting pictures of cats? They have a plan. Those random lists of celebrities? That’s also a plan. There should always be a plan and strategy behind the kind of content you post and when you post it.

Our Advice: Involve your team in building a social media strategy that speaks to the various aspects of your business. Plan a content calendar a month in advance that will give structure, and don’t be afraid to dedicate certain days to certain topics – this will give people a reason to keep coming back.


#4 Generate Original Content 

Original content is key to capturing an audience. The better the original content, the more engagement it’s likely to get and the further it will go. Consider someone like TravelStart, who invests in building great content for consumption.

Our Advice: Think about what you as a brand can offer an audience that no one else is. This may be tough, but once you figure out how to deliver content that stands out above the rest, you will see that audience grow. Bear in mind, you don’t have to empty your pockets for great content, you just have to be strategic.


#5 Create a Community

The power of social media network lies in the communities you create because if done right, a community will stand behind you, will vouch for you, will promote you without you ever needing to make a big effort. Work at creating this community by giving them things to talk about, that they can engage in and can even tangibly walk away with.

Our Advice: Make sure that your social networks come across as authentic and personable, and not corporate robots. People want to be part of a community where they feel like they’re interacting with people, that they’re being heard and considered in what you post.


#6 Be Responsive

Speaking of being heard, social media platforms are great places for people to ask questions, give compliments, voice concerns and, sometimes, complain. If someone says something nice, say thank you, if they complain, hear them out and find a resolution and if they ask a question, make sure you answer. Building your audience means showing them that you care enough to pay attention to them.

Our Advice: Always pay attention to your networks. Make sure to respond to your community. It doesn’t have to be immediate, but within at least 24 hours. A community taken care of is a happy community.


#7 Invest in Social Media

You knew this one was coming. As with anything these days, placing an investment in something means greater returns, so by investing a budget in your social media, you are guaranteed a wider reach and increase in audience, but with better targeting. Don’t be scared off by the word “invest”, what you put in is what you get out, you don’t have to have deep pockets to make your investment work for you – this isn’t the stock market after all.

OUR ADVICE: Start small and hone your targeting. Put in R150 to start and see the results, measuring your return on investment. Once you get steps 1-6 down, you will be able to invest wisely and get worthy results.

 

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Right now, as you are reading this, someone is taking a selfie. Over one million selfies are taken per day around the world. The word itself has become so engrained in our society so quickly that not only has it been added to our dictionaries, but it has been named the word of the year for 2013.

51% of us have taken a selfie. If you somehow fall outside of that percentage, you have most likely at least participated in the world of the selfie in some way. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all entertained by the selfie. From celebrity selfies to selfie fails to animal selfies, we can’t help but look. Selfies on social media are 38% more likely to be liked or commented on than pictures not featuring a person’s face. The most retweeted message to date is (surprise!) a selfie.

ellen selfie  cat selfie

camel selfie  cape-times-selfie

It’s clear that the selfie epidemic is here to stay. The question is, what do selfies say about us?

Some credit the selfie with being the beginning of the end of the world. Narcissism is taking over and we’re all going to spend the rest of our lives staring into the front facing camera on our iphones. While I’m sure some selfies are only taken out of a desire to validate how good looking we are based on how many “likes” we get, isn’t it possible that there is more to the selfie craze than simply vanity? Are all selfies really all bad?

Selfies are about identity, too. In the digital and very visual world that we all live in, selfies are sometimes the best way to show who we are, what we’re doing and how we’re feelings. We often use selfies as a way to communicate, to connect across all platforms with our friends and family and even strangers. We use selfies to capture moments in our lives. Graduates take celebratory selfies with their cap and gowns. We use selfies to locate ourselves. Would you rather send out a picture of some famous scene that has been taken millions of times or make it your own by turning that picture into a selfie?

Some have gone as far as to proclaim selfies as a genre of art. Selfies have changed and evolved like any other art form. Their roots can be traced back to the self-portraits that Rembrant obsessively painted in the early 1600’s. The first ever photographic portrait was taken in 1839 and it was, in fact, a selfie. If that is art, who’s to say our modern selfie isn’t? And if the selfie is art, it could be the most prevalent popular genre EVER.

rembrant meme selfies mr bean

Today we have limitless possibilities to make selfies creative and innovative. We can edit our selfies in any way we can imagine- airbrush, filters, faceswap, and on and on. It’s not an abnormal sight to see someone holding a camera on a stick. Go Pro cameras allow us more flexibility to stretch the traditional frame of the selfie. Time lapse apps allow us to combine daily selfies to show how we change and evolve as people from day to day. And if you haven’t seen the epic around the world selfie, you’re missing out.

wave selfie 033 epic selfie

Selfies capture our daily lives, they record our moments of happiness, they serve as evidence of our adventures, but most importantly they provide a medium for us to share who we are with the rest of the world. And isn’t that what art is all about?

If you’re not entirely convinced that selfies will one day be celebrated as art worldwide, then you can at least admit they can be a lot of fun. At infestation we figure, if you can’t beat them, join them, right?

At the London Design festival this past weekend, the team at Infestation had some of their own fun creating art out of selfies. Christo and Nix experimented with panoramic selfies, 360 degree selfies and more. Check out some of our favorite pictures below.

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Click on the classic selfie image of Christo and Nix to see the cool 360 effect!

You can see here how easily selfies can be turned into a creative medium. Nix and Christo used selfies to show how they were experiencing the world around them at the London Design Festival. Think about it- what do you use selfies for?

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By Nix Harwood and Shelby Szuba

V&A[2]

Over 350,000 people representing 60 different cultures attended the London Design festival, and everyone who visited experienced it differently. With over 300 events throughout the festival, all exhibiting design that is an assault on the senses, there are limitless opportunities to experience design.

Being a South African, and seeing the creativity through the cultural lens of someone accustomed to different styles, budgets, timeframes and context, provides an entirely unique perspective on the festival.

Juxtaposition of Traditional vs. Modern

London design is all about marrying old with new. London is a city with a huge amount of history, you can see this in its century old buildings and art works. Old brick structures next to new glass buildings. Traditional art next to experimental design. The Victoria & Albert museum, which served as the hub of the festival (pictured above), provided an excellent platform to showcase the English style of contrasting old with new.

IMG_3019 IMG_3143 BMW mirror

Culture vs. Culture

South African design uses juxtaposition as well, and in an entirely different way. Popular South African design celebrates our different cultures that live and breathe within the nation; Xhosa and Zulu and Afrikaans are put next to each other to create eclectic, colorful design.

SA style combined 6a013483832c3b970c017eea46a521970d-800wi 3917605708_7c26091fef_o

Pure Design vs. Contextual Design

South African and London design differ in fundamental ways as well as in the aesthetic.

English graphic designers are primarily male, while South African’s are mostly women. In London, design is viewed as academic as much as it is creative, where as in South Africa, the theory behind the design is not as valued as such. London design is incredibly considered and planned out whereas in South Africa style is eclectic and diverse and messy in a good way.

The largest fundamental differences between the two lie in the resources available to each country. This is the most shocking difference that a South African will notice at the London Design festival. Everything is done on a blue sky scale. Designers have huge budgets and long stretches of time to explore and experiment. It’s not unusual for a designer to get funded for a year at a time to explore a design concept. The Candela pictured below was a huge exhibit, using traditional and cutting edge materials to show the standard unit of luminous intensity on a large scale.

IMG_3012 chair

 

In South Africa the luxury of time and budget to create massive projects like this do not exist, designers must often work out of very small budgets with little time. This results in the use of resources in an out-of-the-box creative and innovative way. The majority of South African design focuses on using materials and budgets towards solving societal problems. In a country with a developing economy it is important to use limited resources to advance economically, socially or politically.

In London design exists for designs sake; in South Africa most design cannot exist without a purpose. South African design is always full of meaning and context.

All of these fundamental differences can easily be seen when looking at how the different styles each manifest themselves. England with pure, clean minimal design aesthetic and South Africa with contextual, raw design.

 

Circular Influence of Design

London design may be very different from South African design but it’s inspiring to see how we can influence each other despite the differences. For years South Africa has looked to the rest of the world as leaders in design. The large-scale, innovative designs in London have and will continue to inspire us. But now it’s time for London and the rest of the world to turn to South Africa for something they may be missing – meaning and context behind every design. We have seen this borrowed by the maker’s movement and in the changing goals of the D&AD to focus on sustainability through design (The white pencil award). We hope to see it throughout many new design projects across the world. Design inspiration has come full circle. South Africa is being looked at as the next, fresh, inspiring design capital. The London design festival showcases striking design but it also shows us that we can all influence and inspire each other.

 

By Nix Harwood and Shelby Szuba

AS Blog (Large)

Write a blog about your first month in Cape Town? It may sound simple, but trust me, it’s easier said than done. Where do I start? What do I talk about? How can I fit this into a few hundred words. Well I thought I’d give it a try.

Twentieth of February saw me leaving my comfortable home in Rotterdam, taking two planes, and 20 hours later I arrived in Cape Town. Here I was, on a continent, in a country and having touched down in a a city I had never been to. Daunted? Not really. I was ready for this adventure and to explore a different part of the world, and anyway, it’s not like I hadn’t done something like this before.

To be frank, the city is still growing on me. There is a lot I have to get used to and working full-time didn’t make that easier on me. But that said, I have had a chance to experience some pretty great events so far like the Love and Light party at Nelsons Creek and the Holi One at the Grand Parade. Great music, great people and compared to back home, cheap beer, what more could I ask for?

Back home, everything moves fast; you have to walk fast, bike fast and if a train or bus is even a minute late, people are already getting upset. But what I’ve noticed in Cape Town is that everything is easy going, particularly when I’ve been to places like the Waterfront, Old Biscuit Mill and walking around Green Point. They’re all relaxing, there’s good food and a great vibe that tells you to slow down and enjoy the here and now. It feels like no one is in a rush here, which makes it is way more inviting and gives you a sense of calm.


The Infestation Internship Experience

But let’s get to why I’m here: my Infestation internship. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked in on my first day, but it’s all been very exciting. Being around a great bunch of people who are open and willing to teach me anything is a great feeling. The work is varied, and Infestation jobs do not go on for too long, which keeps it fresh and challenging. I have enjoyed every minute of my time at the agency so far, and am looking forward to the next four months of learning, laughing and making!

If anyone has any tips for things I should do in Cape Town, they are always welcome!

Written by Anna Sinnige
FOR BLOG

There’s nothing like starting off a morning by being taken completely out of your comfort zone…

And by a clown nonetheless. But we have come to expect the unexpected of Creative Mornings Cape Town, and with the first session of the year taking place Thursday, 30 January 2014 under the theme of CHILDHOOD, we were charged with embracing our inner child.

Professional clown and founder of non-profit Clowns without Borders, Jamie McLaren took the stage with a banjo and led the crowd through a series of songs, dances and interactions that quickly found everyone out of breath, laughing and silently cringing at the crazy antics going on.

It’s not easy singing “A ram sam sam, A ram sam sam, Guli guli guli ram sam sam” while jigging to the sides without feeling a little self-conscious. It’s a popular children’s song and game originating in Morocco, by the way.

 

Who Are Clowns Without Borders?

Clowns without Borders are a non-profit organisation with the very simple mission: help children be children again. The team, which consists of clowns, actors, jugglers and anyone willing to give of their time, go into communities affected by crisis, and through arts-based interventions enable children and families to play, laugh, and create, providing psychosocial support and well being.

McLaren’s performance touched on the ideas that by embracing a sense of play, providing love, and giving structure, you are tapping into the potential of a child’s imagination and giving them permission to embrace the spirit of childhood, to dream and to help them get through their current situation.

So next time things are getting tough, stress levels are high or you simply feel like you need to decompress, get up, take a deep breath and start singing this popular Clowns Without Borders ditty:

A ram sam sam, a ram sam sam
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam
A ram sam sam, a ram sam sam
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam

A rafiq, a rafiq
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam
A rafiq, a rafiq
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam

You may get stares, but only before everyone joins you, embracing their inner child with a good laugh and some silly actions.

If you want to donate your time or money to Clowns without Borders, you can visit www.cwbsa.org where you can find out more about the organisation and find out how to get involved.

Be part of Creative Mornings Cape Town by joining their newsletter, liking them on Facebook (Creative Morning Cape Town) and following them on Twitter (@CapeTown_CM). The theme for their February session is REBEL.

 

Christo-HiRes

“What are you doing for 2014?”

It’s the question everyone is asking, particularly with the spotlight on Cape Town as World Design Capital. This year is brewing and bubbling with anticipation and expectation. With everyone either waiting for things to happen or scrambling to make things happen, we believe there is only one way to see the change you want; lead the way.

So with the Happy New Year wishes fading fast, let me tell you what Infestation will be doing in 2014…

We plan on turning all those exciting new projects into visual reality. Many of the jobs we started last year are beginning to see the light. They excite us because they have challenged us. Keep an eye out for them as they emerge. Some – like the new website for CapeNature and Skybound rebrand – are visible already. Others like the “Better Living Challenge”  from the Cape Craft and Design Institute and the Greater Tygerberg Partnership rebrand are still taking shape. Whatever the project, we are looking forward to sharing our ideas with you.

Internally, it’s very much in with the new, and chances are you’ll be meeting and working with many new names and faces. What that means is some new exotic spices being added to the mix. And who doesn’t like an added kick of flavour? For our clients, it means we can now offer more services in-house, like PR and direct-mail strategy.

Since 2001, infestation has hosted many interns and this year will be no exception. The only difference is, with the focus of WDC2014, we are getting a lot of enquiries from abroad. In early February we are welcoming an international intern from Holland and graduate from the highly acclaimed design school Willem de Koning Academie in Rotterdam. If you know of anyone wanting to intern or take up residency, let us know – this is THE year!

Thanks to our collaborative and creative space, our hot-desks have also taken off. This is the second year we are sharing our studio with like minded entrepeneurs and industry experts. So if you or anyone you know wants one of the hottest desks in Cape Town, let us know and we’ll be in touch.

 

Infestation’s Official Cape Town Design Guide

Now, we can’t talk WDC2014 without mentioning our yellow plans for the year. We have been privileged to be part of this incredible journey since bidding in 2010, and we continue to stay involved whether it’s through the Creative Sessions or Cape Town Design Network. We even have our very own officially approved WDC project, the Official Cape Town Design Guide. Sign up to get news the minute we go live!

If you want a flavour of what the different projects are all about, I can recommend attending one of the eight pitching sessions: 30 short entertaining inspiring pitches per night.

Please stay connected, either through Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter and take look at what we’re doing – our website has it all. We’re really happy to say our experience in digital has given us a competitive edge, but we’ll let our work speak for itself.

Wishing everyone one hell of a yellow year!

Christo

P.S: Take a moment to read this article by Business Day on the rise in tourism Cape Town is experiencing. We’re hoping to give those visiting our shores an insight into Cape Town design with our Official Cape Town Design Guide.

 

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Any design or advertising agency will tell you that pitching for a job is a lengthy and risk-filled process. Lengthy because preparing for a pitch often involves hours of research followed by more endless hours of designing creative, and risk-filled because all the hours spent on the pitch may prove fruitless if the potential client rejects the pitch, which means lost time that could have been spent on billable clients.

If you consider that creative for pitches is crafted off pitch documents that tend to be left to an individual studio’s interpretation as they are not able to discuss the brief in depth with the client, the client being pitched to won’t always get the strategic/creative solution that they were seeking. So what you’re left with is a “no win” situation.

“Preparing creative might seem easy, but it is only effective if it is based on a sound strategy, well discussed briefs and confirmed outcomes,” explains Infestation’s MD, Christo Maritz.

But what if there was a solution to this dilemma that allowed for an agency to pitch for work without losing that valuable incoming-earning time as well as possible IP, while still showcasing their ability to execute their work? Recently, Infestation pitched in such a way and won the job without showing any creative directly concerning the job itself.


Ethical Pitching: How did we do it?

It’s no different to interviewing for a job opening at a company – candidates are judged on past experiences, the way they approach situations and the way the follow processes to ensure they achieve satisfactory outcomes – the only difference is that in this case – it’s an agency and not just an individual.

“By focusing on what we call ‘Ethical Pitching’, Infestation was able to steer away from pitching creative and strategy around the pitch brief, and rather pitch our credentials, experience and past projects that speak directly to the client’s brief,” says one of Infestation’s brand designers, Nix Harwood.

Through demonstrating a detailed approach, both creatively and strategically, to the client’s specific project and highlighting the easy-to-do’s and the challenges of the work, Infestation was able to show the client that they could capability manage and execute the project based solely on work done previously.

“Any agency worth their salt should be able to confidently explain their process and their approach to a brief and pair this with past examples, providing enough context for a client to make a decision,” says Christo.

*A challenge to agencies and clients – be open to ethical pitching that focuses on the road to the final product and how you, as the agency will get there. Not only will this save time and money – but also ensure a more in-depth and strategically focused end product that benefits both client and agency.