London product design group Factory has collaborated with a number of graphics and branding design consultancies in the past, including Lippa Pearce and Ziggurat. But it has most recently worked with Williams Murray Hamm on a top secret new fmcg product which will be launched shortly.
‘The project is all at concept or prelaunch stage so we can’t talk about any details due to client confidentiality,’ says Factory director Adrian Berry.
But he goes on to explain about collaboration in general. ‘What tends to happen is that we work with people we like and in my experience it’s always a good process,’ he says.
Berry says that collaborating opens up greater possibilities for creativity. ‘It’s good for opening the mind to other things. Sometimes if a graphics person works with a 3D person it gets them to think very differently.’
On this particular project, WMH was the lead agency. As founder Richard Williams explains. ‘A client which we have worked with before now has a new role and wanted us to work on some new-product development. It is a product sector we have previously worked in and we knew that product design would be very important, so we brought Factory on board.’
However, Williams says it’s vital with collaborations like this that the client knows exactly who is responsible for what from the outset. ‘It’s a temptation for a design consultancy to say to the client “Oh yes, we can do that”, and then the consultancy subcontracts it out. It all gets very embarrassing because the client phones up the original consultant wanting to talk to the other team and, of course, they’re not there. You have to make it clear that you are collaborating.’
He adds that both parties have to have a level of maturity if a collaborative relationship is going to work well. ‘I have collaborated with Seymour Powell before and now with Factory. Both relationships worked because we respected each other’s expertise. We certainly never felt usurped and I don’t think they did either,’ he says.