Seeds is where design agency Sennep experiments with digital materials, from animated typography to playful exercises in motion graphics. They’re beautiful and engaging, as well as providing insight into the creative team’s thinking.
Each Seed is available for publication exploration. In some, there is a direct and obvious link with subsequent client work, showcased in a separate section of the Sennep web-site; with others, the Seed has remained experimental, waiting for a future purpose.
I’ve chosen it as the MEX case study of the week for several reasons:
- Creating meaningful channels where designers can explore freely is vital to the long-term health of a creative team. The existence of such channels validates experimentation as an important part of an agency’s work and serves as a valuable connection into a larger public conversation. Without a real channel, time for experimentation will remain a low priority. I advocate this approach when advising on agency strategy and summarised long-held views in my July 2014 essay, ‘A model for nurturing ideas as the lifeblood of agencies‘.
- Each Seed is intriguing in its own right and presented in a variety of forms, showing the creators’ own varying interpretations of their work.
- Several of the Seeds have gone on to inform client work and Sennep documents these connections, allowing viewers to understand the results of the experimentation. For instance, the ‘Curious creatures‘ Seed went on to become a masthead for design blog FormFiftyFive.
- I’ve admired the agency’s work since its OLO game was featured as an example in our MEX Pathway #3, ‘Concurrency‘, and this essay on simultaneous multi-person user interfaces (SMUIs).
It is a hallmark of quality when an agency commits to an experimental platform like Seeds. As Sennep explains in its own words, there’s good reason for it:
We believe play and discovery is a crucial part of the design process. Being able to grow ideas that stem from creative-coding or pure aesthetics helps us explore concepts from a different starting point than a typical design brief.
Individual Seeds can exist as playful curiosities in their own right but also have the potential to evolve into more developed projects and ultimately feed into client work.
The freedom to experiment without a pre-determined goal beyond simply ‘playing and learning’ has proven to be an extremely valuable part of our process and culture and helps our work stay fresh and our skills sharp.
For further exploration
- Seeds by Sennep
- MEX Pathway #3, Concurrency, exploring simultaneous multi-person user interfaces
- A model for nurturing ideas as the lifeblood of agencies