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Creative Spark: The work hard, play hard ethic
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Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
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Creative Spark is a digital and branding agency based in Manchester, with what the company believes is an unique way of working and attracting new business. Strong work/play ethos, built up over ten years, ensures ideas are inventive and innovative, with time for experimentation, including self-initiated creative projects. A open, honest dialogue – directly between designers and clients – also means briefs are fully explored to produce the best results for all.


FACTORY311 spoke to Creative Spark Director Neil Marra to discover a little more about Creative Spark.


Q. Are they any pros or cons being based in Manchester?

The creative talent pool available in the Northwest is an obvious pro – thanks to the first class universities up here – and feedback from clients is they like the personable northern touch we offer and that, dare I say it, we’re more approachable than some London agencies.


The 7pm ‘Virgin train of hell’ from Euston has been a negative. However, we are opening a London office in Covent Garden in spring so no more of those horrible journeys, thank goodness.


Q. From the outside Manchester appears to be creatively buzzing?

Yes, 100 per cent true. Manchester is producing some amazing creative campaigns right now, from Universal to Umbro. Manchester has always been buzzing in some form or another and I doubt that will ever change, especially now with the creative kudos MediaCity will continue to bring.


Q. How difficult is it to combine both work and play within one agency?

Not difficult at all, as from day one new recruits are encouraged to make play part of their everyday life in the agency. Our ‘play’ ethos, which distinguishes us from all other agencies in the region, keeps ideas fresh and generates more ways to create innovative sparks. Andy Mallalieu, our head designer, runs the ‘Like Club’ where the team can share inspirational things and initiate additional projects.


Q. How do self-initiated projects help your team of designers?

Play projects are self-initiated to allow the team to work freely and explore new possibilities. It gives the team room to be creative outside of client briefs, going back to Creative Spark’s core values.


Q. And do you think this work also helps attracts clients?

Existing clients are given the chance to buy into Creative Spark on a personal level and we become a client ourselves, for example by setting ourselves sales targets through initiatives such as raising money for our charity of choice via an online shop.


As a result, we feel all the pressures our clients feel on a day-to-day basis. Managing e-commerce activity like this also reassures clients they are working with a team with a similar skill-set to them.


Q. Can you tell us about the ‘All You Need Is Love’ project?

The project involved all members of staff, including admin and new business mangers, so we could all celebrate the time of year lovers and wannabe lovers send words straight from the heart, Valentines Day. Most of our self-initiated projects include everyone, as we are all designers at heart!


The team created a collection of original, innovative love song-inspired cards, and all money raised will be donated to The British Heart Foundation. The innovative cards available here – take classic lyrics such as “How sweet it is to be loved by you”; “They call it puppy love”; “This is a song for lovers running away, just for today” and illustrate these with quirky illustrations.


However you want to say it, make sure “It’s signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours”, by Creative Spark. The cards cost £3 each, including postage and to avoid disappointment, final orders for delivery before Valentines Day must be made by 11am on Thursday 9th February 2012.


See more from Creative Spark here.

Follow Creative Spark on Twitter here.

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