Welcome to the blog Mark…
Tell us a little more about yourself and how Whitenoise came to be…
Originally hailing from Nottingham, England, I studied Art and Design in York College of Art before launching into freelancing and agency work in the North of England – Leeds, Doncaster and Sheffield. My background is in advertising and brand development, having the pleasure of working for major UK clients including British Coal Board, B&Q, Thorntons Chocolates, Orange, Thomson Holidays and Asda during my time in the big northern agency scene in Leeds.
In 1994 I moved to Northern Ireland with my wife and two year old daughter, called to Belfast by the booming creative industry and wealth of opportunities on offer. As time went on I paid my dues in several advertising agencies before finally heading up the studio of a large Belfast PR company from 1996 to 2000, before taking the plunge and opening Whitenoise in September 2000.
Almost 20 years later my schedule is split (often unevenly) between quality time with my family, running the studio and helping out on various voluntary and arts sector activities. I’ve also enjoyed the privilege of speaking throughout Ireland, the UK and overseas on all aspects of design practice – always great fun.
Whitenoise has been fortunate to work with many of the big names in Northern Ireland and has scooped up numerous awards in the process – mainly IDIs (Institute of Designers in Ireland), but there’s a smattering of ICADs, PANIs and DANIs in there too. We offer a broad range of creative services including brand development, motion graphics, film production and sound recording for broadcast, business, events and online. We work across all traditional and digital platforms, providing our clients with a unique blend of creativity and comprehensive in-house production facilities. In August 2019 we also opened Whitenoise Sound Studios, a broadcast quality sound recording studio enabling us to offer voiceover recording, podcast production and sound mixing for our film and animation work all in-house. We have free parking on site and the coffee is always on tap for anyone visiting. We have an open door policy for clients and enquiries, offering tours of the studio and an opportunity to chat through ways we can add value to any business or organisation in their communications mix. Our work is effective and transformative, communicating in a clear and compelling manner. Pragmatic in approach, we value common sense and add value to the bottom line.
Brand design is one of your specialisms. Putting you on the spot – if you had to choose a brand identity that you admire, what would it be and why?
That is a really tough question! I would say internationally, one that stays with me is London’s V&A museum – it’s striking, elegant and timeless. Showing my age now, but I love old-school monolithic brands – examples that spring to mind include British Rail, The RAC and believe it or not, NASA!
Tell us a little about who you work with day to day at Whitenoise …
Our client mix is very wide, spanning across both public and private sector. Businesses and organisations we work with include Translink, BBC Northern Ireland (and UK on occasion!), Kainos, Danske Bank and several of the borough councils. We also work closely with several charitable organisations such as NI Chest Heart & Stroke, Disability Sport Northern Ireland and the Royal National Institute for the Blind People, and our arts clients include Craft NI, the Ulster Orchestra, Nerve Centre, Foyle Film Festival and of course Arts & Business NI.
Which project are you most proud of and why?
All of them! That sounds like a generic answer, but truthfully each of our clients come to us because they need help and we are able to offer a service that will make a huge impact in their business. We firmly believe that we are “only as good as our last project”, and as such we take great pride in the long relationships we hold with clients such as the BBC, Dankse Bank, PSNI and Translink, contracts we have held for many years. Weekly workloads can range from helping a medium sized business to rebrand, to designing city wide transport signage and wayfinding for the Translink Metro and Glider services, but each project brings it’s own unique challenges and creative opportunities that fill the studio with fresh ideas and creative solutions. It’s never a dull day and every week is different.
How is Whitenoise involved in the arts sector in Northern Ireland?
My decision to move to Northern Ireland in 1994, and consequently the birth of Whitenoise in 2000, was in part due to the rapid growth of the arts sector in Belfast. Whitenoise is thrilled to be involved with and support the arts community and network of organisations that push us forwards as a city of creativity. Our involvement with Arts and Business NI specifically has enabled us to connect with organisations we might not have encountered otherwise. We have been able to support Arts & Business NI with the design of various publications, event branding for the Arts & Business Awards and filming and photography at events – always hard work, but very rewarding!
What is your most memorable moment in supporting the arts and culture scene in Northern Ireland?
Over the years we have been lucky enough to take part in, support and host a variety of arts and culture events. Our most memorable recent moment was hosting the launch of our “Are you Adult?” book at Culture night 2018, to mark our 18th birthday as a studio, at which we took over Riddel’s Warehouse in Belfast, filling the space with an exhibition of the artwork featured in the book. The work ranged from graphic design to photography, 3D and hand-drawn illustration and the exhibition also featured a stereotypical ‘teenager’s bedroom’ installation art piece as well as interactive spaces. Our team mingled with clients, fellow artists and the public – we had over 3,000 visitors over the course of five hours. We were all buzzing the next day and have already started planning for Culture Night 2020, which will coincide with our twentieth anniversary.
Whitenoise is an Arts & Business NI business member.
See who else is a member at www.artsandbusinessni.org.uk
Enjoy a selection of Whitenoise work in the media gallery below and check out www.whitenoisestudios.com for further information. You can find Whitenoise at the following social media destinations:
Facebook page is @whitenoisestudios
Instagram is @wearewhitenoise
Arts & Business is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.