When I started working at FortyFour, I was the only member of the newly established content team. But FortyFour is growing. Since the time I’ve been here, we’ve practically doubled in size and what was once a solo content venture is now a solid team of three.
As both our team and agency grow, old ways of thinking and doing must be amended with, if not outright replaced by scalable ways of ensuring our work is original and value generating for our clients. As FortyFour’s content team matures, so has the need to create frameworks that enable us to sustain the high quality of work it has become known for.
When I set out to create a broader framework for effective content creation, I started with a simple question: What is great content? When I read, watch or listen to a great piece of content, what are the attributes that actually made it good? I’ve identified four characteristics that are nearly universal in great content.
At the time of writing this, my son is less than two months old. As first time parents, my wife and I have fully embraced the ever increasing world of everything baby. Tips for first time parents from your great-great-grandma? Let’s hear them! Do you have a great first-time dad’s blog I should subscribe to? Consider it done. Did we see the 2018 Red Dot Award finalists for all things infant care related? We already bought them all!
Of course, sifting through all of that data is its own labor of love. We’re always keeping up with the world of baby science and worshipping at the altar of trendy design, but the most important opinion in the room is, in fact, the baby’s! He hates the award-winning bottles we grabbed and prefers the same classic ones I had as a kid. As far as pacifiers go, he loves these crazy modern ones that barely look like pacifiers at all. When it comes to the world of baby product design, he is our client, user group, QA team, and a rather vocal fan base all rolled into one.
So how, in my sleep-deprived brain, do I see all of this relating back in some meaningful way to what I do as a designer on a daily basis at FortyFour? Simple: be open to new ideas, new methods and the wisdom of others.
In the past twelve months, we have made a very concerted effort to embrace new layout and prototyping software in our day-to-day workflow.
Adobe and its suite of tools still have a place near and dear to my heart, so embracing this still relatively new ecosystem of apps was no small undertaking. Why use the weird, new pacifier when you know that the one everyone has used for decades works just fine?
It’s not until you get your hands dirty a couple times that the real benefits start to manifest. We went from UX files directly into designing… with the same file! We started exploring the nuances of symbols in Sketch, and how layer nomenclature had a huge impact in Principle. It quickly went from, “Okay, fine. It’s new software,” to, “Oh man, did you play with this feature yet?” Speaking about type and layout in the exact same terms of a developer was another beneficial side effect. Why hasn’t this always been the case?
In the past, I’ve learned over and over again to not trust plugins from third party companies. They either stopped working the night before that huge deadline, or the second after you finally updated the main software it was attached to. Now, seeing the almost weekly updates coming from not only the main developer but also the plugin is refreshing and reassuring! The trustworthiness of the software finally caught up with the inventiveness of plugin developers.
Experiencing the benefits of these new tools firsthand while my wife and I do our best to embrace parental wisdom of the ages, mixed with the newest techniques, has felt like a whirlwind of learning experiences. Finding that perfect combination of cutting edge technologies while still understanding the foundations of tried and true solutions is a daily challenge, both with parenting and agency life and all its intricacies.
A child is a joy to be around, but they certainly come with some very unique challenges. The diaper bag filled with the right tools can make or break an otherwise fun-filled day. A well-designed project, using the right tools that allow everyone (strategy, UX, design, and dev) to contribute and collaborate, will only benefit from new techniques and exciting tools like Sketch and Principle.
From breaking into the marketing industry to his feelings regarding pineapple on pizza, read on to find out what our senior marketing manager, T.R. Wilhoit, has to say.
What brought you to FortyFour?
I had worked at my prior agency for around 4 years, which makes me ancient in “agency years” so it was about time for a change. Coming from a more strategy and planning background, I was interested in learning E-commerce and developing new programs for clients in this industry.
What has been your favorite client project so far and why are you proud of it?
I really enjoy working on Case-Mate’s ongoing marketing. We’re able to see the results of marketing efforts quickly since we’re focused on the E-commerce site, which is rewarding. Plus the target market is something I’m not as familiar with (more fashion-focused), so I learn something new about their audience almost weekly.
Tell us one of your secret talents.
Not sure how much of a secret it is, but I have been a musician my entire life. I mostly play electric guitar but I also play bass, drums, trombone, and baritone. I’ve also put out electronic music a few times, which is featured in the background of this fun Vietnamese makeup tutorial video.
We recently sat down with the talented Taylor Daniel, senior designer here at FortyFour, to learn more about what inspires her work, what she loves about Atlanta, and what she drinks at 4:30pm on Fridays.
Where are you from?
What brought you to FortyFour, and how long have you been working here?
I heard about FortyFour when I was making a move from Birmingham, and I was wanting to grow my skill set in digital & UI. FortyFour was attractive because it’s independently owned and run–a place where you could get your hands dirty and learn faster because you could work on both large and small accounts. The creative leadership came from big agencies and companies, so I knew I could learn from those experiences on a more personal level. And 2.5 years later, here I am!
What’s been your favorite client project so far, and why are you proud of it?
I’ve learned the most and done the most with CREDO Mobile. They came to us for help with digital marketing and e-commerce, but as we’ve built a relationship with them, we’ve helped them with their whole brand. The opportunity to define a brand and create the look feel has been awesome. Then, working on the UI of the donations and e-commerce sites–it feels rewarding to be part of a project from start to end.