Most days he would bring his Dalmatian, Poppy, into the studio and she would potter about the place endearingly, occasionally letting out a huge sigh before curling up to sleep under Dave’s desk. Dave has since moved on from Digital Face and is now the owner of Black Arts, a specialist digital design and production studio.
He has very kindly agreed to write articles for StartupCafe on design, branding and social media so I thought it quite right and proper to give him a 60 second grilling! Previous appearances on StartupCafe include: Should your brand be talking through social media? Which one? and Three common mistakes in self-description.
So, let’s find out a wee bit more about him…
What does Black Arts Studio do? We’re a creative agency who build web sites, branding, design and video at our offices in Edinburgh for clients all over the world
Your company culture in 3 words? Original, intelligent design.
How long have you been around? 2 years.
What is your target sector/industry? We look for organisations who want more than generic business buzzwords, who want to stand up and be heard and to contribute instead of just going along.
What are the current trends in your target sector/industry and how are these driving decision making in your company? For a lot of smart brands, this be the year of less. Hurricanes, tsunamis, oil well disasters, cuts, cuts cuts – brands need to prove to their customers that safety, stability and trust are something they actively take responsibility for.
Instead of spreading ourselves thinly across too many sectors and networks, the clever brands will focus the resources they have on things that work and partners who are looking to create depth and quality in their relationships. That’ll provide a foundation for more blue-sky stuff when things improve – and they will.
How does the company generate revenue? Our design and strategy makes smiles and money and wins awards - for our clients. When they’re successful and profitable, we are too.
How do you keep yourself from demotivating your staff? Deliver what you say you will, when you say you will. Remember that it’s not always fun. And it’s better to be tolerant and nice now than to have to try and make up for being a b*stard at the end of the week.
Can you name any government initiatives that support startups? Have any been helpful to you? None really. The government makes starting your own business very very hard and a lot more frightening than it needs to be.
What 3 important lessons would you like to share with other startups?
1. Not all work is good work. There are lunatics out there and it’s better to work for free for a good client than to lose money to a maniac.
2. Be inspiring. Real confidence and common sense are incredibly inspiring because they’re so rare. You can’t get them out of a book.
3. Your idea doesn’t have to be really big or really clever, but it does have to be yours.
What’s the dream professionally OR personally? Just one more great client. Just one more. Then I’ll be completely happy, I promise.
What’s your next big milestone? When the next client reports record income and a big award. That makes it worthwhile.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Not working. I love my job more than anyone has any right to, but nothing beats a sneaky day off to just not work once in a while.
Name a quirky fact about yourself. I have almost no feeling in one of my thumbs because I once got frostbite while climbing.
Given the choice would you prefer:
Truth or dare? Give me the truth every time. I might cry and sulk, but I promise I’ll get over it and come back better.
Carrot or stick? Carrot. There’s nothing you can do with the biggest wage packet in the world which can make up for being miserable while you earn it.
Tea or coffee? Coffee. Lots of coffee!