Why we do it.
Unlike many agencies we are not motivated by winning design awards. Instead, we work with our clients’ interests at heart, without ego, jargon or a soy latte in sight! We get excited by the impact our work has in the world and how we make change pay for itself.
What we believe.
There are seven principles we use to guide our work.
Break some rules
When you follow a path many have taken before, you inevitably arrive at the same destination. Change is relentless and with so many industries being disrupted we believe there is nothing worse than being like everyone else. That’s why when everyone zigs we like to zag.
We challenge conventions and break a few ‘rules’ to differentiate our clients and get them noticed. It can take a little courage when venturing into the unknown, but it is exhilarating – and in our capacity as brand experts we will make you feel very comfortable outside your comfort zone.
Dig for gold
People often say to us that we wouldn’t find what they do interesting. We have always thought this a curious statement because we believe gold can be found everywhere – it’s our job as brand experts to dig deep enough to find it.
The trick is knowing where to look and by asking the right questions we reveal clues to its whereabouts. The more elusive the prospect, the more earth we move. Once we have discovered a rich seam, we extract, refine and shape it into something stunning and desirable.
We create brands with substance, meaning we create big ideas for design to make brands more memorable (and successful). Ideas are central to our work because they not only capture ones attention and make your audience linger, they prolong the encounter and make people remember you.
Once we have the idea we develop the delivery system with distinctive and beautiful styling to convey the right attitude and personality. Style is critical, but without the idea, design is decorative and subject to the whims of fashion. It is the idea which settles in the mind to become a valuable equity and the brand constant, no matter how it is restyled.
The total brand
The best brand identities are carefully woven tapestries of symbols, visuals, words and experiences which often become tribal cultures loaded with belief and emotion. We create diverse and evolving brand ecosystems which can engage with people far beyond the capabilities of a randomly applied logo (no matter how good the logo is).
Before we design, we consider the entire fabric of an organisation with a rigorous assessment and diagnosis of your challenges and objectives: What is your mission, culture and structure? Who do you compete with? Who is innovating and challenging the status quo? How is your industry changing? What is driving change? What makes you different? Why should you change and what is worth taking forward or discarding?
Thinking without limits
We never limit the range of our work to one type of design or sector, such as brand packaging or financial services because we believe ‘specialised design’ results in comfortable mediocrity, lacking vitality or competitive vigour!
Diversity of experience is essential for creating outstanding design – it encourages creativity to flourish and gives us the tools to look at the world differently and see the bigger picture. It helps us to think sideways and create unexpected ‘ahah’ moment ideas packed with competitive advantage.
Measure twice, cut once
We believe if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing properly. We work with commitment and passion to get the job done right the first time. You may be tempted to use an inexpensive quick fix, but the money you save is usually dwarfed by the cost of fixing a problem made more complicated and challenging with poorly thought out work.
Amateurish strategy and creative can cost you more than time and money. It can confuse employees, the market and customers, erodes your brand equity and competitive standing – it can ruin value and even your business.
The compelling truth
We are constantly bombarded by brands vying for our attention across all media channels. Those that succeed often do so with a clear, simple message.
To cut through the noise we throw out intellectual complexity, made-up stories and distraction. We drill deep to find your compelling truth – we look at it from every angle, pull it apart and reshape it into strategy and design made more persuasive and profound because it is simple, erudite and true. Your customers and your people will comprehend what you stand for and be able to articulate it.
Our name is an abbreviation of the word propellant, meaning “a substance which can propel something”. The substance we create is strategy, naming and design to help propel people and organisations to success.
Our goal is to create branding which can talk to as broad an audience as possible, using cross-cultural ideas which communicate their substance and sentiment in any language.
We have worked across a wide variety of projects around the world and have the experience and sensitivity required to understand the cultural and translational nuances of symbolism, colour, aesthetics, words and typography to make brand identities truly international.
In person or remote.
We have always enjoyed working with our clients in person, but it’s not always possible (especially today!). Fortunately, we have many years of experience working remotely with our client-partners (even before Zoom was a thing) and helping them solve problems, achieve objectives and exceed their expectations.
Originally from the North of England, Gary cut his creative teeth in London in the late 1980s and was fortunate enough to work alongside some of the worlds’ most influential thinkers and designers at global agencies including Michael Peters Group, Springpoint and Landor.
He is regarded as a leading strategist and designer with a reputation for creating valuable and iconic brand identity, not least of all Vodafone which is now considered to be the UK’s most valuable brand.
In 2002 Gary moved to Australia and founded Propella in 2009. He lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches where he works on branding projects for clients in Australia and around the world.