Why Method was founded and our working ethos
When l was at university, l loved the brand name ‘Method’, and l wanted to use it for the company I aimed to develop, though, at that stage, l wasn't quite sure what kind of business that was going to be. I knew that the business would be related to graphic design, as that was the degree I was pursuing at the time.
From that embryonic idea of a graphic design startup, the business has evolved into a uniquely creative entity. We started out at Method focusing exclusively on graphic design, producing brochures, logos, leaflets, print material and brand identity assets. We moved beyond that initial conception quite quickly to begin offering our clients more comprehensive solutions to broader design issues that go beyond those of graphic design. Initially, clients would often come to us with a general question such as ‘how should we launch and run the brand we have recently conceived.’ We then quickly move on to the heart of what their brand was essentially aiming to achieve. We would ask fundamental questions such as ‘ What objective is your brand seeking to achieve and why, what are your end goals and who is setting these goals?’ The answers to these questions allowed us to fully appreciate how Method could provide the best possible fit for each individual client.
Initially, the primary task a client might present with could be to help them to conceive an information leaflet for their product or service, but this might move on beyond the initial request to become more expansive and we might move on to help conceptualise a website, landing page or a blog. This spawned an evolution in our thinking and we found ourselves developing into a consultancy agency, capable of providing a broader range of services beyond those of simply graphic design. It took about ten years to fully appreciate what we had become. We now go far beyond graphic design to provide marketing, brand awareness, logo design, brand identity and other consultancy services. We have a considerable range of tools at our disposal, but for us, it nearly always comes back to that fundamental question of finding the best solution to a clients presenting problem. At heart, we remain a traditional design agency.
Each member of the Method team has their own individual speciality and that's how we’ve evolved as a team. I employ people who are experts at their core function and perform it better than I ever could. This frees me up to focus on the initial conception and the end vision, with me acting as the primary interface with the client. At Method, our team is always trying to push the boundaries and figure out what the best processes are to achieve an end goal. We experiment with a range of media and gauge our clients' response to how we are seeking to respond to their needs and whether our conception of this is consistent with their requirements.
Method is a small and but agile company and that allows us to be more responsive than some bigger companies, the size of which can hamper agility. We have found that by approaching our tasks somewhat informally initially, our team can in the very early stages of a project experiment with several different approaches to arrive at the best fit for a particular client and they take much more confidence from flexibly trialled models than formulaic pitches. Our experimentation can be quite broad, sometimes incorporating podcasts and blogs. Creating and running a podcast or blog is hard work, much harder than l anticipated before l started the in house podcast ‘Behind The Madness'. We produce consistently good ideas, and then it's all about working out how to implement them.
We hold the firm belief that people don't work to their best when they’re chained to their desks. We recruit the right people with the skills required to do the job and do it well. But l also want members of the team to be enthused by their work and to feel like Method is an amazing place to work and to achieve this we encourage them to take personal pride in the responsibilities associated with their work. We know that we will never be a company like Google, but we also really don’t want to be a Google, where size compromises individualism. I do believe, however, that how we structure our company can also bring a similar dynamism to our work. We have a discipline of always timetabling our work and set deadlines according to this timetable. As a boss l don't mind whether work is done at 10 am or 2 am, within a reasonable work/life balance, as long as deadlines are being met. This philosophy results in a pleasantly relaxed relationship within the team and members of the team can accommodate a balance between their family life and their working life. That flexibility enhances the teams potential and that is where we win.
l treat everyone who works for me as a friend, one employee is my wife, one was the best man at my wedding. We grow our company ethos through this friendship. We are a tight-knit bunch, HR would have a field day with us because most of us are very relaxed during the course of our work compared to other companies, but this atmosphere allows us to be more creative and have fun with our ideas. On the other hand, we are super busy, and we can get super stressed. Unfortunately, the team don't always find time to take a ten-minute break despite knowing the advantages of taking time out to refocus, but we still try to allow that freedom for people to prioritise a bit of me-time. We are always super honest with the client if deadlines look as if they are going to be compromised in any way by unforeseen events. We try not to let creative processes be restrained by deadlines in the first place, although we do make sure we do our best to achieve them once they are set. Because we are such a close-knit team, we all pull together as one if someone if a member of the team is ever struggling to achieve what's been commissioned.
I believe that I enjoy all aspects of Method because there is so much diversity in what we do. I'm probably the most stressed, l don't take a lot of time off, l constantly bounce from one thing to the next, and that takes its toll, but l still enjoy it. I believe that if work doesn't enhance your life day to day, then you don't do it. We only get one shot at life, so if you aren't enjoying your job there is always an opportunity to change something about your life to help you enjoy it as best you can. I love talking to people, l like understanding people's needs and l enjoy it when l have the time to focus on something when l have an afternoon booked out. l can brainstorm and smash out an idea or project for a client or just for Method, which l enjoy because it's a way l can get under the skin of a problem.
I think the way we are growing is steady and positive. Every year we seem to be growing in either the skills and numbers of team members or the new services we are adding. One of our clients recently stated they were worried we were getting too big, and l said we are getting big but not too big. We don't want to be this big agency that has to charge the megabucks. We want to grow steadily, to be at a size that is maintainable to our ethos, to allow employees to relax and enjoy their work. Method is an organisation l want people to feel proud to work for, and l hope that it is and it seems that members of the team are proud to belong to the company. I want members of the team to love what they do because they have a home/work-life balance. COVID-19 hit, and home working became a necessity. Off the back of that some people have missed the office and others have preferred to be at home. We worked this out ten years ago when we first formed, l started Method from my bedroom, and we grew organically, l wanted to keep how we operate intimate, and a relaxed sense of working life has always been important to me.
We have the pick of the bunch, my team is based across the UK from Manchester to Birmingham and internationally as far as Lithuania. The common denominator in the team is that we don't need to worry about commuting to the office. l can be selective about who we employ. We want to keep growing and l want to always be immediately available for conversations.
I love talking to people and learning about their projects and helping them to achieve their dreams for their businesses.