Nathan Sandhu, founder and head honcho of Jazzbones Creative Ltd, is celebrating twenty years in the design business … how time flies when you’re doing a job you love! Here Nathan reflects on what inspires him and why clients keep coming back to Jazzbones.
You’ve probably been asked this a thousand times, but why Jazzbones?
When Jazzbones started 9 years ago, I did a lot of work in the pub, club and entertainment sectors which included branding and promotions for events and DJ’s, so the name was really unique and fitted the projects and clients I was involved with at the time. As the company has grown it has helped us stand out as dynamic and forward-thinking. (It can be interesting sometimes when we say the name over the phone though lols!)
— Is there a typical Jazzbones client?
Not really. We work with big clients, small clients, clients who know exactly what they want, clients who come to us with a blank page … one common denominator is longevity … and building great partnerships that deliver results. We have found some niche sectors though like: Local Authority, Leisure and Tourism, Newspaper and Magazine, Charities and Not-for profit, Recruitment, Domestic Appliances, Property and Estate Agents, SME and Corporate. We are really proud that some of these relationships have been developed over 5+ years and we are considered fundamentally part of the clients creative team.
— How’s the technology changed?
In my very first job back in 1993 the studio was very old school. We used drawing boards, rotoring pens, spray mount and Agfa-Gevaert processing equipment to produce bromides in a dark room that were then converted to film and printing plates. The emergence of the Apple Mac as a high powered design tool meant that the studio adopted these and very early apps like Quark, Freehand, Illustrator and Photoshop to produce simple layouts which we thought were the dogs whatsits at the time.
— Are you still designing the same things?
When I first started it was all about designing physical things: brochures, flyers and posters; we still do that, but now it’s as much about fully integrated design and branding with 360 thinking: how does an brand identity translate from print to the digital world and how does a brand engage with it’s audience in these media?
— What’s not changed?
My Passion for great Design. I love the state-of-art Miele dishwasher with it’s knock to open feature, my iMac (still an Apple fan after all these years), and the Tate Modern. Simple but effective design that aims to makes life better or more rewarding. I’ve had the pleasure on working on some great client briefs including; Branding a Cruise company, Integrated marketing campaign for Domestic appliance manufacturer and online strategy for Business Investment web site but there are always the deadlines! Luckily Jazzbones are big enough to handle all kinds of jobs, but small enough to keep our eye on every ball; clients want you to deliver on time and to be flexible. The reason they keep using us is that we never let them down.
— Who inspires you?
I’ve always been inspired by the likes of Neville Brody and his typography and design style and the works produced by his Research Studio. The futuristic and eastern inspired works of The Designers Republic which were considered Maximum-minimalist back in the 1990’s influenced my early works. My family inspires me, from my twin daughters and my supportive partner and a long line of entrepreneurial uncles and aunties who have kindly mentored me along the way. The strength that my step-father (and mother) has shown to come back from a life-threatening accident and his ‘just get on with it’ approach to his disability which should be a model for us all.
— How does being in Swindon impact on your business?
Swindon born and raised, I am a strong believer that Swindon is a great place to live and do business. There are a world of opportunities here and some fantastic global and smaller businesses, schools and leisure facilities. Situated in the heart of Old Town, in Cornmarket House, the Jazzbones studio literally used to be used as a corn, manure and agricultural dealership early in the 19th century. Since converted to office space in the 1990’s and now the home of Jazzbones, where our great designs grow. One of many of Swindon’s historic listed buildings it is a great location for Jazzbones and our clients that are based not only in Swindon but along the M4 corridor and beyond.
— What’s the key to your success?
It may seem obvious but a key skill is listening – we never impose our vision, this is not a vanity project, it’s about getting to the bottom of the client’s needs; who their audience is and how best to communicate with them. I like things to look good, but at the core of every piece of our commercially focussed design is the same key question, does this work for my client and their customers.
— How important is teamwork?
20 years in the design business and working in a variety of design and branding agencies has given me a unique insight into creating a productive and creative working environment. From our core team of designers, project managers and writers to our approved specialist partners like web developers and photographers, enable us to get the best out of each project and provide the client with a truly cost-effective creative solution.
— What gives you most pleasure?
Great results = Happy clients. Happy clients and a motivated team gives me the biggest reward. It’s always great to see your work on-line or in-store or even if you pick up a newspaper and one of your ads is in it. It’s still a buzz!