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.
The slideshow on the home page is as far as Iâ€™ve got so far in terms of â€˜getting something on paperâ€™. 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 Iâ€™d create some discussion points that Iâ€™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 â€˜local brandâ€™ 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, youâ€™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 itâ€™s vital smallFISH stays as transparent as possible and only offers advice for each party, not enforce a â€™set-priceâ€™. Standards of student designers vary, and this is a vital part of business important for a designers development, something rarely mentioned in university.
Iâ€™ve had this conversation with a number of people, whether smallFISH devalues design. The way I see it, the type of companyâ€™s smallBUSINESSes are are the kind that wouldnâ€™t even dream of approaching a consultancy/designer. Iâ€™m talking about your local greengrocers, market stalls, butchers, community groups. If the sort of companies using smallFISH though are those that youâ€™d expect to pay for a consultancy/freelancer then thatâ€™s another story, but, it is up to the designer, after all business is business. But I feel itâ€™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 Iâ€™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 NDAâ€™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 â€™sales pitchâ€™ 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 canâ€™t sell, then they do the work, present it to the smallBUSINESS and amaze them with beautiful design, well thought-out ideas and initiative.