Learning from each other to produce work we're all proud of.
In 2006, APN put the redesign of the existing nzherald.co.nz up for competitive pitch. They asked agencies to bring designs to the table, to present each agency’s vision for the site.
We surprised them by walking into the room empty handed and saying, "We can’t design this site without knowing your business, and we’re not going to pretend to know your business better than you do. You are the experts and we’re here to learn from you.”
What we proposed was a way of working together that was deeply collaborative and would go on to form the basis for a long term partnership.
Our work with APN has been intensely collaborative. When developing the new NZ Herald site, we brought together teams of NZ Herald and Digital Arts Network staff in workshops to generate ideas and solutions. The relationship and collaboration has continued to grow over the last five years, to the point where we feel like one single team, rather than a client and a supplier.
As we’ve worked with the NZ Herald team, we’ve come to feel a real sense of ownership of the NZ Herald website, rather than having simply handed it over to the client. At the same time, Herald editors and journalists have grown to feel a sense of pride and ownership in the design – taking an interest in typography and how the content they produce fits most aesthetically into the templates of our design.
The teams have been so intertwined that editors and journalists have even found themselves using terms we invented for design elements of the site. Long before it was needed, we had created a front-page design for massive show-stopping news events: “The Buster”. After it was first used (for Sir Edmund Hillary’s death), editorial teams have begun referring to the Buster design by name.
Like many of our clients, APN have their own internal insights, design and development teams and over the years we've moved into more of a consultancy role. Our team is pulled into a product's life cycle at various points from strategy and product development right through to design and development. We pride ourselves on being flexible and happily integrate into any part of the project ensuring there's robust thinking and processes around each project.
There has never been an end to our consulting and project work with APN on the Herald – it’s a living work, always being iterated, measured and improved. When we developed the iPad and iPhone app versions of the site in 2010, it didn’t feel like a new project so much as the continuation of that ongoing work.
Over the years we’ve constantly evolved different elements of the product range. And we enjoy continuing to do so, in partnership with NZ Herald, developing an online and mobile presence of which we’re both immensely proud.