20th November 2019

The evolution of our agency

Lauren Swarbrick Thumb


Lauren Swarbrick

Abstrakt Agency Evolution 1

Rewind the clock 13 years…

2006... the year Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion, everyone had a LoveFilm subscription, it was the iPod, not the iPhone, and jeans didn’t have back pockets(!). It was the year before the global financial crisis, and in personal terms the year before I became a mum. It was also the year Marc and I started Abstrakt.

Started literally in a back bedroom, we launched Abstrakt with a big vision, a lot of ambition, a whole lot of heart… and bucket fulls of naivety! Which in hindsight is probably a good thing, as starting an agency from nothing, and building it from the ground up, is one of the hardest things we have ever done. It’s also been one of the most rewarding, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

MVI 2016

At that time, old school, multi-channel agencies dominated. But smaller, niche agencies were starting to shake things up in Nottingham, as they were across the country. It was clear that attitudes towards agencies were changing as clients were looking for a fresh approach, a new type of client / agency relationship and agencies with specialisms, as opposed to one-stop-shops.

We were quickly able to build relationships with local businesses who wanted an agency partner who cared about their business as much as they did, who was open, honest and transparent with them and who always went the extra mile. The values that we started with way back then still hold true for us today, and we are just as passionate about living up to them now as we were back then.

In 2007 the recession hit and we saw lots of the agencies we looked up to, downsize or fold. It was a different world ahead and a new agency model was emerging. A model based on solving client challenges, working as partners, not suppliers, building on our strengths, rather than offering everything, and above all, being responsive, agile and adaptive. One thing that I am really proud of is that Marc and I have always welcomed change and have rolled with the constant evolution, that’s so common in our industry. Over the years we have seen many agencies, who have been resistant to change fall by the wayside, and we can still see this happening around us today.

Back then we made use of partners (other small niche agencies) and freelancers to support us. Given the nature, variety and the fluidity of the work coming in, this enabled us to dial-up and dial-down our team as demand fluctuated, allowing us to punch above our weight in terms of project wins, whilst always delivering on our promises. As successful as this model was for us, in our heart of hearts we wanted more - we wanted a permanent team around us, people who shared our vision, and to build something more than we could ever be on our own.

Team Pic

In 2015, nearly a decade into our agency journey, we took a leap of faith. We already had an established base of loyal clients and had cemented a reputation of delivering quality work; it was now or never. We relocated the business to NG1 and took on a team. At the same time we made the decision to reposition Abstrakt as a brand and digital agency, rather than focusing purely on the brand and print that was our roots. This was not only a reflection of market demand, but of our team’s skill sets, expertise, experience and interests. Marc and I have always firmly believed that it is the people who make the business, and we are lucky enough to have a team of individuals who are not only incredibly talented and who genuinely want to do the best work of their career, but who are as committed and passionate about Abstrakt and our clients, as we are.

Abstrakt Team

As a team we have built the agency into what it is today together, and together we are redefining what it is that you should expect from your agency. The result is not only evident to see in our client relationships, our project feedback, and in every single piece of work that leaves our studio, but also in our own new brand which we are more than delighted to reveal today. The Abstrakt brand IS the individuals that make up our team.

Be one of the first to check out the evolution of our visual identity and digital presence. Enjoy!

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