Tall guys are providing a real creative spark at Leeds agency

Guy Utley with Tall's technical director Behrooz Saeed.
Guy Utley with Tall's technical director Behrooz Saeed.

Guy Utley, founder and creative director of Leeds-based digital creative agency Tall, writes for Digital City.

It’s just over five years since the idea of relocating my office to Leeds entered my head, along with the hundreds of other ideas I had back then.

This was a big commitment for me, not only did it mean a much longer commute and higher office costs, but also the investment to grow.

However, my motivations were clear, I wanted my business to be in Leeds, a thriving digitally-focused place with a strong digital talent pool to tap into.

A few weeks back I had to question whether Leeds was still right for Tall as a business.

I was renewing our lease for a further three years which would mean investing in our office at Marshall Court in Leeds’s South Bank.

It only took a matter of seconds to make the decision – Leeds is the perfect place for a growing digital agency like ours.

We count on like-minded businesses trusting in us, they work with us because of our drive, optimism and forward-thinking attitude and we focus all this into creating great digital campaigns, content and experiences for them.

We know that businesses in and around Leeds have that same energy, they are always ready to push forward.

The biggest trend I’m seeing right now is the desire for digital agencies like ours to help prepare brands for the digital world, help them expand and refine to gain consistency across the entire digital landscape.

A lot of traditional brands have not properly considered in detail how their brand is being used in a digital landscape.

If they have, they’ve only touched on the very basics such as web-safe fonts or colour palettes.

Their brand guidelines do not take into consideration the possible platforms, technologies and digital touch points that the brand will be exposed to.

The rate at which the digital industry is growing means that getting your branding right, from social media ads to interactive banners to Snapchat filters, is vital in creating a recognisable brand and staying ahead of competitors.

Although we don’t think of ourselves as a brand agency, we work with large brands day in and out and regularly struggle because they’re missing this fundamental design thinking.

We’re not suggesting we replace the traditional branding agencies or expect to do a better job when it comes to creating an iconic logo, strapline or identifying the audience and communicating with a correct tone and message.

But, we do believe that a digital agency like ours would be best placed to continue brand thinking into their digital eco-system in order to fill the gap.

We are excited to be supporting a number of businesses with this type of brand digitisation, including the 2019 Leeds Digital Festival for which we are designing and developing a new online presence to support more than 170 events over a two-week period.

We will also build on its brand principles to support the digital landscape it will be presented on in early 2019.

The digital brand will be available to all agencies that require the assets via an online brand portal.

I believe there has to be a true willingness for the agency of the future to be more adaptive and reflective of clients’ needs. Only the ones who can adapt will survive.