8th May 2014
My day begins the same way it has every day since my son was born, being woken at 5am as my wife feeds him a bottle, failing to snatch an extra few minutes of sleep as my other three-year-old son comes through at 6am to announce that he’s awake and hungry. It’s downstairs for us to have breakfast and to catch up on our daily fix of CBeebies.
I’d like to say that this is when I start my working day by getting a head start on replying to emails, setting a to-do list and an agenda for the day. The truth is I’m not a morning person and I need a good strong cup of coffee and a shower to kick-start me into action. However, whilst Max is ensconced in Postman Pat I get a chance to get the iPad out to check the diary and catch up on a bit of reading I’d saved to the Pocket app.
The Forth Bridge
I stay in South Queensferry on the outskirts of Edinburgh, which is a 12 mile commute to the office. I travel under the Forth Bridge – an awesome and inspiring structure to see up close, and one I still always marvel at on my way past. Leaving the house at 8am gives me plenty of time to get into the office for before 9.
I arrive at our office in Leith and bid a cheery ‘good morning’ to those already in, praying that one of them has put the kettle on.
We have a very close team of editors and designers that work across our clients’ projects. Our core work is print and digital magazines and our clients value the close relationships that we forge with them in order to create a solid content strategy, delivered using the most effective channels.
My role has recently changed at White Light and I’ve passed almost all of the design decisions on to our talented team. I’ll be heavily involved in the early stages of the projects have a say before sign off, but everything in between is handled by the designers and the editors. I now find most of my time is spent meeting with clients, working on new business and preparing proposals for new projects, whilst also supporting the team. My time on the mac using Adobe’s Creative Suite is far less than it used to be. Today I have to head over to Glasgow, so I catch up on some emails and check that the team are all okay before leaving at 10.
11.30am Magfest meeting in Glasgow
I’m on the organising committee for Magfest, which is an annual event celebrating the publishing industry. It’s run by PPA Scotland and is in its third year. After an hour discussing speakers, tickets and marketing at the offices of The Drum, I’m on the road back to Edinburgh.
Fraser '3 boxes' Allen
While I’ve been away, the latest issue of our magazine Hot Rum Cow has been delivered to the office and I’ve managed to duck out of lugging countless boxes upstairs. Result! We launched Hot Rum Cow two years ago and we’ve just completed issue five. This is our first foray into news-stand publishing and the magazine is a homage to all things booze, which is a great showcase for our creativity in writing and design. The mag has gone from strength to strength and has been a useful tool in generating business for the company. We’re currently midway through the re-brand of the London Wine Fair and are working on a couple of design projects for Primark which both came to us after the clients had seen and loved what we’d done in Hot Rum Cow.
Islay flicks through Hot Rum Cow
The office is buzzing as everyone flicks through the magazine, although Simon the Editor looks nervous and refuses to open his in case he spots any glaring errors – a common trait amongst editors. The chat also turns to the launch party that we’re having tonight to unveil our very own beer that we’ve created with Stewart brewing. The 6.7% Rye IPA will be sure to get the guests into the party atmosphere and we’re hoping that this product launch will drive demand for the beer to be sold on a long-term basis.
I get back to the office at lunchtime and nip out to my favourite deli – Fazelli’s, to grab one of their monster, toasted wraps. I devour it at my desk while I catch up on emails before the boss calls me over for a game of table football. Fraser and I have had some epic battles on our table and last year’s fixtures ended up with a 53-49 matches victory for me. My winning streak continues as I thrash the ‘Essex Eagle’ 10-7.
2.30pm Team catch up
We have a team catch up at 2.30pm. These weekly meetings are vital so the team knows what projects everyone is working on, what stage they are at, and what will be done this week. These can have a tendency to drag on as people go off on tangents, so we’ve started doing them as a ‘huddle’ instead of a sit-down meeting. When people are standing up they tend to get to the point quicker.
Time to catch up on some reading. I skim the newest mags that we have bought – Protein, Fast Company and the Creative Review yearbook and bookmark some of the features I might get time to read later at home.
I’ve got my Creative Director hat back on as I review some updated visuals with Lauren for the internal comms project were doing for Asda.
Hovering Art Director
From there I have a look over some new cover options for one of our oldest clients, Equinti. Senior Designer Matt is our newest team member and has brought fresh enthusiasm and gusto to the project. We debate the merits of using a slab serif masthead against a condensed sans, like the type geeks that we are.
The slab wins.
We had the Equiniti comms team up for two days last month where we reviewed their entire comms strategy and came up with a fresh plan of attack. This magazine is the first piece of content that we are producing and the rest of the campaign will slot in around it over the course of this year.
Summit meeting catch up. White Light is hosting its first client summit later this month and we have a meeting with the key people that will be involved in speaking at it. The plan for this is to have an afternoon where our clients can come to a hotel in central Edinburgh and listen to a series of talks by our team and some external speakers on subjects that are useful to them. It’s shaping up nicely but there are a few nerves as the guys hone their lines. It’ll be alright on the night.
Islay and Chiara head up to Jeremiah’s Tap which is the venue for the launch tonight. They’re going to meet Emily from Stewart Brewing and get the bar ready for the thirsty guests arriving at 7.30. The rest of us head to Los Cardos to grab some quick Mexican grub to line the stomach.
An already busy bar is made even busier by the influx of guests at 7.30.
Christina a welcome sight at the door
Chiara is guarding the bottle caps that are acting as beer tokens as if they were nuggets of gold. She deals them out like a casino croupier and they are exchanged at the bar for bottles of the amber nectar.
Laurie not impressed with my joke
Islay, Lauren and Chiara
The general opinion is that it’s a very tasty beer and the 6.7% strength doesn’t deter people for going up for a second helping. Bruce (the brewer) and Steve (the owner of Stewart Brewing) are delighted with the way it has turned out and the turnout at the event.
Brewmaster Bruce Smith
Sampling the beer
Could there be a regular Hot Rum Cow/Stewarts Brewing collaboration? Well stay tuned to find out!
After a few too many it’s time to head up to the station to grab a bus home. Inevitably I fall asleep on the 40 minute ride home and wake up in perfect timing just as my stop comes into view. I get back to a dark house, sneak into bed and shut my eyes. It’s the end to a busy but productive day and I’m glad to be back home before midnight. Then a piercing cry from Ollie signals its time for his bottle.