Thought I’d post this up here to get a response from designers.

I’m currently working on a project called smallFISH. I’m busy at the moment so things are moving slowly, but slowly non the least.

To sum it all up, smallFISH is about bringing design students and small local business together, resulting in affordable design and real world experience for students. The slide on the home page should give you a better idea.


It’d be great to get a response from you guys. And even better if you could also comment on blog and help drive the conversation. Whether positive or negative, I want to hear it.

p.s. The slide at times might get lost in translation if you’re from across the pond, those logos (tesco, asda, sainburys etc.) are WalMart equivalent (and yes, for a small country, we have a hell of a lot of supermarkets!)

Love the idea of getting students / recent grads together with small companies to create a beneficial relationship for each party.

However, is it grocery store specific? It looks this way.

If so, why?

Why not open it up to any and all small businesses?

I’m sure they would all be interested in cheap/free design work.

Great work so far.

Yeah you’re right, the slides/banner do comes across like it’s grocery specific.

But it’s not, your right, it can be applied to anything really, markets/market stalls, community groups, church’s etc etc.

I think I should add a slide or two just to clear this up…

I love this idea.

Thanks Yo, I’m interested in hearing any ideas anyone has that will get this going. Right now I’m looking for a developer that can help me put this together, though first I need to think through this idea a bit more and how it’ll actually work.

Thought I’d post the latest blog post from smallFISH. Find the blog here

The slideshow on the home page is as far as I’ve got so far in terms of ‘getting something on paper’. I realise this leaves a very loose concept, though in my head (and notebook), the project is a lot more thought out. So I though I’d create some discussion points that I’ve spent the last week or two thinking about.


One of the first things I want to communicate with smallFISH is that design for smallBUSINESS owners is not just a pretty sign and business card. It is, in a nutshell, about creating a customer experience, a ‘local brand’ that people can connect to. I feel that the smallDESIGNERS true value will lie in playing a hand in the business side of things. This is opens smallFISH up to product, interior, interaction designers etc, not just graphics.


I have decided to not attempt to make any monetary gain from this project, you’ll either see that as a good or bad move, depending on your generation. In terms of money involving smallDESIGNERS and smallBUSINESS, I feel that it’s vital smallFISH stays as transparent as possible and only offers advice for each party, not enforce a ’set-price’. Standards of student designers vary, and this is a vital part of business important for a designers development, something rarely mentioned in university.

Devalueing design

I’ve had this conversation with a number of people, whether smallFISH devalues design. The way I see it, the type of company’s smallBUSINESSes are are the kind that wouldn’t even dream of approaching a consultancy/designer. I’m talking about your local greengrocers, market stalls, butchers, community groups. If the sort of companies using smallFISH though are those that you’d expect to pay for a consultancy/freelancer then that’s another story, but, it is up to the designer, after all business is business. But I feel it’s important smallFISH communicates that students are just designers in training. smallFish gives local business an insight into design, and student designers an insight into business.

Running of the site

The way I’m picturing things right now is that there are two sides of the website. One for smallDESIGNERS and one for smallBUSINESS, both relevant to the specific user. Each website section will offer information and advice in the form of blog posts that a number of people can contribute to. e.g. Designers on NDA’s, business professionalism etc. and Business on design, how/why/where to use it. smallFISH and smallBUSINESS are linked by postcode with the use of a search feature allowing users to browse profiles (portfolio/business info).

A big part of the site will also be the case studies, similar to the portfolios of the likes of IDEO, Frog etc. This will provide a ’sales pitch’ for designers and also a great way for designers to get recognition and publicity for their work.


I think the real driving force for this project will come from the students. It takes a certain kind of student to march along their high street and sell a service to a shop owner, though I believe these passionate, hard working students will be the core foundations for a successful project. It will be up to them to direct business to smallFISH, so smallFISH has to be able to offer something that has value to it.

Thinking about this it got me thinking about university collaborations. If universities got behind the project and introduced a smallFISH brief into their module it would do a lot of good for the designers, the local community and smallFISH. Designers get to deal with clients, face to face, deal with money, real business, an experience that even internships lack. And hey, if they can’t sell, then they do the work, present it to the smallBUSINESS and amaze them with beautiful design, well thought-out ideas and initiative.