Tim Brown — 6 April 2022
Six years ago or so, I was running a successful creative agency. A sometimes-misunderstood agency in the Brisbane landscape but unmistakably brilliant and unapologetic about the importance of brand and design and putting that before anything else. We also happened to be putting out beautiful effective work.
During this time, an old friend of mine from my school days in Zimbabwe sent me a beta version of a product he had been working on. The product was called Outfit; founder Bruce Stronge was the friend who sent it to me. He knew how passionate I was about brand and design and he was clearly sharing something with me that he thought would change my world.
‘It automates brand’ he said.
‘You can’t automate brand,’ I said and dismissed it off hand.
That was that, or so I thought. Skip forward six years and I am now Outfit’s Global Head of Brand and Marketing.
And it turns out, you can automate brand. To clarify, Outfit automates brand and creative production. It is a templating solution and not only can you automate creative production, if you don’t, you will be left behind.
I started focusing more on Outfit as it became more and more difficult to produce finished art cost effectively with existing agency resources. Not only was it hard to make a decent margin on production design it can be mind numbing work and quickly wears thin on graphic designers who would much rather be designing.
The work I am talking about is the repeatable collateral that needs to be rolled out once the initial brand or creative work has been completed. For example a headline or a price point or a branch address that needs to be changed on 100 + pieces of work across print, digital, or any number of media. With Outfit this can be done in minutes, by anyone in the business and Outfit’s constraint based templating means it will never be off brand.
I quickly realised that this was the future. Not just for agencies looking to claim back production design as a profitable offer but for large enterprises with internal design teams who want those expensive designers doing what they were hired for, designing, not carrying out repeatable tasks just because they know the software. I promise you those designers don’t want to be doing that repeatable work either.
Outfit allows anybody on the team to produce on brand collateral at scale, no design skills necessary. How do you do that I hear you say? We take brand assets, we HTML code them to create templates, or import native Indesign files, lock down whatever elements you want locked down, assign teams and roles and your creative production and templating machine is rolling. A number of things are achieved: speed to market is improved dramatically, scalability is achieved through automation, brand control and compliance is guaranteed, cost and time efficiency is achieved and, perhaps most importantly, the entire team is empowered to produce collateral to relieve pressure on the central team.