Soft Octopus Design Studio is the private design practice of me, Andrew Dineley. I set it up half a decade ago because after many years working as part of a massive organisation I got fed up with the bureaucracy and management bullish*t my creative team increasingly had to endure.
The profit before people thing never sat well with this old(ish) socialist, if people are nice enough and have a good enough case I occasionally even do design work for free. I work with lots of small, local businesses as well as non-profits in the health, charity and social care sectors.
Working with small businesses is almost always a pleasant experience; they know I need to make a living and value the fact that talent doesn’t have to come from a big organisation or agency. Small businesses understandably have limited funds for specific marketing initiatives and I know I can do an admirable job with design but it is often a struggle competing with the bigger, global names at a local level.
It was therefore a delight to discover the new Independent Liverpool initiative. The website, Facebook Group and loyalty card are all great ways of helping smaller businesses in Liverpool. This simple concept provides local independent businesses with some of the tools that the global brands successfully employ like a loyalty card incentive and decent discounts. What’s even better is that it doesn’t just cover Liverpool City centre, a lot of my local haunts are on the list. These are places where I regularly meet up with creative colleagues and clients for coffee and cakery.
I really hope this initiative takes off, it’s hard enough competing with the big names and even more so during a recession. I’ve paid my money by buying a discount card (£10) and I’m looking forward to using it and supporting local businesses. If you’re reading this, you probably should too.