Hello, pro topic peeps, this week’s blog is of Brent Porter from Form & Affect. A growing agency in beautiful St. Catherines.
Brent’s contact information
First, Brent asked each of use tells me about ourselves?
This was my response “My name is James Baker, I am from Mississauga, Web Designer, with several years of print experience.”
Bit about Brent Porter
25 years what I have learned
Work – meet the client to complete brand programs.
20 years of print design.
Taught himself about the rules of design when he would design handbills for raves, orchestrate Hamilton’s first rave on Halloween. Later worked for Mohawk Design and later learned about the developing for the internet.
Also… for a time owner of 2-nightclubs. Cool
From Hamilton made the move to St. Catherines; it was art atmosphere that attracted him to his present home and design agency. Located in a trendy area on St Paul street the storefront is reminiscent of an early time, giving the feeling of being welcomed.
Brent shares Form & Affect with his friend and business partner Paul Vance a graduate of the Sheridan – Journalism program and had worked for CBC, where he created CBC news online.
As a team, they created their first website C-Niagara a destination for people who want to know more cultural events around Niagara.
With this success of this project, Brent and Paul used the proceeds to incorporate Form & Affect. They were one their way to success or so it seemed.
For a time, the work was not coming in quickly enough until Kristina made a visit and explained to Brent that she knew exactly what an agency needs to grow.
Here suggestions worked and Kristina was first of many additions to Form & Affect.
From that point on the business was booming; much of the work came from local wineries with the design of labels. This and word of mouth led to other work and opportunities.
“What works is getting the right fit”
What Brent and Form & Affect are looking for in new hire is someone who shares, helps and adds to the table. Want to know everyone train of thought.
Brent values the team very much, on occasion the studio brings in a special treat from Beechwood Doughnuts. Lucky.
Form & Affect also values his clients as part of the team also including CBC, Windsor, Bell, Samsung, Holiday Inn, Karry’s, Royal Lepage, Visa and many others. Being a competitive business it was a lot of work to get those clients. Emailing information about the agency and sent out developed portfolios – a lot of emails.
Brent explained that Form & Affect clients are friends and partners. He looks to see how boss treats the subordinates, it is an indication of how a relationship will progress.
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”
Brent is an inquiring person; he explained that he sought to understand behaviour, a desire to know how the brain works.
“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better”
Client and agency relationship is more like a marriage.
The client knows everything about their product. Designers need to get the passion for the info, for the product. It can be tough to get the client to release more details. That is why trust in each other is crucial.
Designer imparts to understand the client relationship – spend an hour with clients – have empathy for clients- patience, clients have bad days too.
Client Case studies
Confection distribution – candy, pop… ship to Walmart, Canadian Tire
Asked question about the process of how they make orders.
With that information, they re-envisioned how they make orders –
Search element was key for the process to work, companies ordering were happy if completing an order was easy. But for some, it became an issue since they continue to use out-dated browser software.
Another interesting tool introduced to gas bars was an app that takes pictures of what needs to be re-ordered, great idea, however, issues with how the camera operated made it difficult to get accurate data. This is where a laser scanning system was implemented and has been in use to this day. For Form & Affect, this client project was technically specific, a great challenge and something to learn from.
A friend of Brent opened a sports bar and asked if he could come up with branding.
Brent was shown a not so appealing log that the owner wanted Brent to mimic. Instead, Brent came up with a better proposal. Since St. Catherines was in the process of redeveloping the city, giving it new life and the city coming together why not make a connection with sports and art.
Move away from the idea of neon and peanuts on the floor to clean, dark, shiny and invite the local artist of the area to produce work of famous sports heroes.
His friend was in agreement as long as the budget was low and not 6 figures
A lot of logos were developed as it needed to motivate the average “Joe” into the bar,
help generate talk – to establish a following – tell people that this place is accessible to all. Everything was cohesive in color and environment, even the bathroom logos fit within the Kully’s brand.
Other clients include
The is 9-5 seldom do you work late.
Monday morning meeting- sets what needs to be done.
Like to see resumes from Sheridan
Look for creativity, independent and proactive – be up to date with what is happening.
Like to see stuff that looks cool.
Oh yes, Brent is a member of the board of director for Pearl Gloves Community Promotion Inc.
Thank Brent for taking the time to visit the Pro Topics class and discussing your journey to success with us. It was interesting to learn that you share many of the hurdles that most of us will face or have faced… it happens to everyone especially in creatives business. You lived a remarkable life, provide Hamilton with its first rave and on Halloween “wicked”, owner of 2 nightclubs that must have been fun and finally starting Form & Affect agency from the ground up and growing. It was good of you to share your philosophy and how you were able to help you friends and partners – your clients.
Again, thank you, Brent.