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Elevate | Strategy and design

The studio in Győr was only founded a few years ago, but they already have very exciting projects, including the image of Brain Bar 2019, amongst others. While initially they worked from a shared e-mail address and many times contacted their clients personally in relation to jobs, the time of conscious expansion has now come for them.

Interview with the founders: Zoltán Horváth and Paris Noble.

Both your Instagram page and Behance profile show a beautiful and exciting portfolio. When were you established, how did the team of Elevate form?

We started working together approximately one and a half or two years ago in relation to the Dank Skates project. We came up with the concept together, in the course of which we created a Hungarian brand together with a Hungarian skateboard manufacturer practically out of nothing that breaks off with the “orthodox” skating traditions in terms of graphics and can hold its own on the international markets, too. Working together was very effective and inspiring, so we founded Elevate as a result of this.

Although we went to some exhibitions with the skates, appeared on Design Week, and some articles were published about us online, the sales figures did not reflect our expectations. However, Dank triggered many other graphic design jobs. We are the two owners in Elevate, and currently work with 4-5 freelancers, out of whom hopefully we’ll soon be able to hire someone full time.   

Your headquarters is in Győr. Are your jobs concentrated here, too? Do you plan to expand in the future, perhaps to foreign markets?

The jobs are divided between Budapest and Győr in 50-50% currently, but we absolutely plan expansion and growth, it’s needed. We primarily target the Transdanubian region currently, because we think this is a very unexploited part of the country from a market perspective, as almost every professionally renowned graphic design studio focus on the capital or its surrounding areas. Naturally we are also open to foreign markets, and on top of that now it seems that a strategic partnership could be formed with an American company on the American market.

You are an agency pursuing strategically focused branding and graphic design. Which profile is more emphatic? How does work take place at Elevate?

Strategy and design are in complete balance with each other – we always think in whole units. I (Paris) am in charge of the strategic part and Zoli is responsible for the graphic design part of the work. We are very lucky, because we complement each other’s work perfectly, and a substantive synergy was formed between us already at the very beginning.

Every job we have starts with defining the (right) problem, then we outline the services we provide that could offer a solution or create new and better opportunities on the given field. It is a very important step for us to ascertain at the very beginning whether we can help the client or not. We don’t agree with the “pushy” companies who think that severe business and brand strategy-related problems can and should be handled with a new logo. We are not those guys.

So once we could identify the problem, and we think we can help, and the client also feels that the cooperation will be valuable, then we can proceed, examine and come up with a concept that may bring a solution to the client. This attitude reflects our mission too, to “elevate” companies. We don’t work on a transaction basis: we aim to participate in projects with which we can resonate and so the cooperation is viable in close partnership in the long run, too. This what Brain Bar and its team is like to us.

All in all we try to combine the enthusiasm and exigence of a small graphic design studio with the professionalism and profit-oriented mindset of large agencies, because we think that the end result can only be functional and beautiful at the same time in this way.

We can see your works starting from the skates and the control system of parks in Budapest through Brain Bar to the Richter Room in Győr – your projects are quite diverse. How do you choose your clients and how do your clients find you?

Up until now, we were primarily advertised by word of mouth, and so our clients found mainly via recommendations. There are some projects, however, that we would love to do, and we contact the other parties or we start to work on it in full “guerilla” mode. An example of the latter was redesigning the logo of Richter room in Győr, as we thought that one of the most dominant cultural institutes of Győr deserved a good image.

This strategy worked so well until now that we only had a simple free Gmail address for one and a half years, which we used together, and we had some business cards which we gave to company directors when we could. So we did it quite lean! Now, however, we must work more consciously so that we can expand, so we started to place more emphasis on our online appearance. Although we still think that direct salesis our path, in order for it to work smoothly, a minimum yet focused digital presence is essential.

You posted a very relevant strategic post on Instagram a few days earlier responding to the coronavirus. Do you apply it, too? Have anyone applied for free online consultation in this context since? In general: how do you experience these days and weeks in the company?

Yes, we do. We started to think how we could react to this situation in line with our mission and help others with our knowledge while writing the post on coronavirus. This was when the idea of free online consultation came, and some people have already used it. On top of it all, it seems that there are some companies amongst them with whom we will be able to work in the long run, too.

In addition, in this extraordinary period, we try to get on with the internal tasks that have been hanging in the air for long, such as our digital presence, content creation, compiling our portfolio, development of workshops and testing new digital tools.

If I’m correct, your website is also under construction at the moment. What other plans do you have for the near future in terms of developments and work? 

We must figure out the path leading to our predefined goals, that is, our strategy. And as we have already mentioned, expansion is planned, we would like to track down new talents and channel them into our work processes. Furthermore, we have some exciting guerilla projects on hold that we would like to focus on soon, and it would also be useful to create a comprehensive final product encompassing the workshops. This is it, roughly!

Elevate | Instagram

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