LazenbyBrown in Lockdown

Headshot of Mat
Posted by Mat
on 06 May 2020

7 weeks into lockdown seems a good point to stop and reflect on the (insert better word than unprecedented here) events that have circled the globe and affected every walk of life and business you care to mention.

As a design agency we are a team of 6 spanning creative and digital, and the UK lockdown has forced us all to carve out space at home in which to work effectively – desks were hurriedly erected, odd dining chairs employed, spare rooms repurposed. We made it work. Despite no longer being together in our beloved studio on the Shambles in York, we’re connected in new and unexpected ways; ZOOM and Slack have replaced chats face to face and Spotify has replaced the studio turntable for the time being.

Work has slowed a little, but not as much as we might have feared, we hear bad news regularly from friends in agencies up and down the UK who have seen their workload fall off a cliff, we feel hugely grateful to have long-standing clients working across diverse sectors despite each of them being challenged by this ‘new normal’.

We have seen so many inspiring examples of the creative sector pulling together and we continue to do all we can to support other local creative businesses and the sector as a whole in York. We have doubled our efforts through The Guild of Media Arts and York Creatives, as well as keeping in touch with our York St John University design interns, helping them use this time as productively as possible.

It’s been great to see how we’ve adapted as a studio to working at distance and if anything, we’re sharing more work than ever, collaborating and gaining feedback. This added dimension has led to better work and the 8 weeks of ‘isolation’ has seen some really exciting new work come in: a new brand for a National museum, fund-raising initiatives for a stately home, digital brand work for the healthcare sector, packaging design for a brand new Yorkshire brewery, brand design and websites for one of Yorkshire’s oldest estate agents, new naming strategy and packaging design for an international luxury CBD brand, developing the employer brand for a national retailer, a new website for a leading Cancer charity and some highly secretive work for a certain Shambles ghost merchant.

So what have we learnt by going through this pandemic together?

  1. Adopting new working hours and settings can make work more relaxed, spontaneous and fun.
  2. Adopting new working hours and settings can also make work stressful, odd and isolating.
  3. The British weather is amazing during Government lockdowns.
  4. Our company banter on Slack is absolutely top-notch.
  5. Seeing clients conduct their Zoom calls from kitchen tables and spare rooms around active pets and kids is a wonderful human leveller.
  6. The nation’s ‘key workers’, who for years have seen their status eroded and devalued have finally received the recognition they deserve.
  7. We’re saving a small fortune on buying lunch and coffee out in York but we miss Shambles Kitchen, Spark, Los Moros, Bluebird Bakery, Krep and Spring Espresso so much. We promise to buy double when this is all over!