Sarah Conway Writer - Brand Designer - Creative Director | The Dots
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Sarah Conway

Writer - Brand Designer - Creative DirectorUnited Kingdom
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Sarah Conway

Writer - Brand Designer - Creative DirectorUnited Kingdom
About me
I founded Stories of Design to help designers to recognise, celebrate and shine a light on the stories that make their products unique. Over time I realised that most, if not all of our decisions, are predicated on stories and that storytelling is a powerful weapon in the armoury of any business. I now have two roles at Stories of Design. The first will always be Writer. I come up with names, taglines and lexicons; tone of voice guidelines, copy and keywords; and I craft features articles and news pieces. My second role is Project Manager or Brand Consultant. Here I lead branding and rebranding projects for a variety of businesses. Together with my friends and colleagues in illustration, graphic design, photography and web design, I create story-led identities and experiences that engage and inspire audiences, and incidentally, increase conversions and sales.
Projects
  • black+blumblack+blum are a multi-award winning design studio based in the creative hub of London’s Southbank. Passionate about creating beautiful and functional designs, Dan Black and Martin Blum have an eclectic taste, which is evident in the varying aesthetics of their work. Having recently taken the company reins, Dan was keen to develop each collection whilst preserving the identity of the black+blum brand, and challenged me to come up with a story driven solution. Care was taken to get to the heart of each collection and to develop a discrete visual and verbal identity for each. By reimagining the three core black+blum collections as stories, I was able to define the distinct characteristics both of the product range and its target audience. black+blum ‘Originals‘ are characterised by colour and fun whilst the classical burnished curves of ‘Loop Maison‘ ooze timeless sophistication. ‘Box Appetit‘ meanwhile, the latest addition to the black+blum family, represents a third exciting creative direction, marrying elegance and sustainability. Each collection was effectively an autonomous brand, and each had its own personality, tone and voice. My priority was to ensure that each of those voices was authentic, evocative and clear. The creation of Brand Manuals and Style Guides ensures that teams can communicate on behalf of their company in a consistent voice. The Brand Manual includes a technical section on writing style, definition of brand voice (who is speaking), key messaging (what is being said), and any tone variations. It also matches the message to the target audience via demographic profiling. Style Guides, prepared content for different uses and channels, are a resource for anyone creating copy or communicating verbally on behalf of the company “Working with Sarah helped us better understand and connect our physical designs with the words we used to describe them. Although we continually challenge our brand aesthetic, we didn’t have the skills to define what they were in a written context. It was a hugely useful exercise that will help all aspects of our communication going forward.” (Dan Black, black+blum Director and Lead Designer)
  • Colour Via: An Exhibition of Disruptive Material Colouring Processes
  • rCUP by ashortwalk | brand storytelling and copywritingOUR CLIENT ashortwalk are an award-winning design company on the north coast of Cornwall, led by former Dyson designer and inventor Dan Dicker. Innovators in circular design processes and materials, ashortwalk see waste as a challenge, and an opportunity to participate in the creation of a more sustainable future.  In late 2016 ashortwalk were asked to develop ideas to turn used paper coffee cups into new products.  At the time, a BBC campaign led by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall revealed the dirty secret of cafe culture: the plastic lining of "paper" cups made them all but impossible to recycle. A reassuring "recyclable" logo didn't mean a thing when just 0.4% of single-use cups of the type used by Costa, Starbucks et al were actually recycled. The tide was turning on our throwaway culture and people were beginning to demand a more sustainable way to enjoy their coffee. rCUP is a thoughtfully designed solution to decades of carelessness. Rather than try to separate the paper from the lining of each cup, ashortwalk's partners at Nextek developed a way to use the whole cup, blending its fibres to create a useful polymer. Using this polymer, rCUP became the world's first cup to be recycled, reusable and 100% recyclable. This USP sets rCUP apart in a crowded marketplace of non-recyclable reusable cups made from virgin plastics. More importantly, rCUP offers an opportunity to share the story of circular design with a wider audience.
  • Juliet Bailey PilatesI have practised Pilates for the last twenty years, so when the incredibly strong, serene and stylish Juliet established her own Pilates practice I was thrilled to be invited to write a biography for her about page. We began with a special class, just Juliet, me and my mum, in my parents' newly carpeted living room in Haye, the sleepy town close to St Ives in West Cornwall where Juliet teaches. As Juliet stretched our minds and bodies I paid attention to the language she used and noticed her use of metaphor, continuous tenses and sensory adjectives. After the class I worked with Julia Denni and Becca Allen, the talented team behind Many Mavens, and the wonderful photographer Lizzie Churchill to align Juliet's verbal identity with her visual style. Hey presto, a beautiful site that tells the story of Juliet's passion and skill for Pilates. https://www.julietbaileypilates.com/about/
  • ashortwalkBased close to Stories of Design in Cornwall in the UK, ashortwalk design and produce innovative products from recycled materials. Founder and Lead Designer, Dan Dicker is a busy man. We caught up to talk about designing more sustainable futures and the role storytelling has to play. One result of out discussion was a feature in Cornwall Today, a piece of writing Dan now uses as his 'About' page. https://www.ashortwalk.com/about-ashortwalk
  • Block DesignBlock Design Bringing together robust engineering and trend-driven colour, Block offers customers a range of desirable home and deskware products that are intelligent, brave and non-gender specific. Formed in 2000 by Tara Ashe, Block are now internationally represented in stores varying from high street chains Paperchase and Urban Outfitters to prestigious museum stores MoMA and the Royal Academy. With products characterised by an unflinching use of colour and line, Block are serious about their motto: ‘life in colour’. In 2015 Block decided to take a new approach to brand activation. Having created a strong visual language, Block wanted to develop a tone of voice that would communicate their brand precisely. Strategic Discovery My first job was to listen to Tara and her team and to unearth pre-existing design stories. From early sketches and research trips to colour trends and typeface preferences, together we teased out the elements that were most compelling. We decided that we wanted to shine a light on the unique fusion of colour and engineering that was integral to Block’s identity. This meant developing a set of content guidelines that would eradicate confusing messages and keep the brand focused and consistent. Brand Identity The next step was to develop a bespoke vocabulary, creating templates and guidelines that everyone who would be writing about Block and its products could follow. These included everything from press releases and product descriptions to marketing campaigns and blogs. Communications and Production Finally, we worked together to review the content in the brochure and press releases, on the website and on social media, to make sure that every word felt precisely Block. Block’s new website is as precise and beautiful as their product design. You can find it here:  http://www.blockdesign.co.uk/ “Sarah was instrumental in forming a template for how we build our copy. She took our ideas from initial concepts and brainstorming sessions and realised them into stories. This process proved an important part of the design process which then led into captivating copy. She told the story of the design from conception to realisation. We thoroughly enjoyed working with her, it was an incredibly creative experience.” Tara Ashe, Lead Designer
Work history
    Founder / ExecutiveStories of Design
    United KingdomFull Time
    I founded Stories of Design to help designers to recognise, celebrate and shine a light on the stories that make their products unique. Over time I realised that most, if not all of our decisions, are predicated on stories and that storytelling is a powerful weapon in the armoury of any business. I now have two roles at Stories of Design. The first will always be Writer. I come up with names, taglines and lexicons; tone of voice guidelines, copy and keywords; and I craft features articles and news pieces. My second role is Project Manager or Brand Consultant. Here I lead branding and rebranding projects for a variety of businesses. Together with my friends and colleagues in illustration, graphic design, photography and web design, I create story-led identities and experiences that engage and inspire audiences, and incidentally, increase conversions and sales.
    T
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    Literacy CoordinatorThomas Keble School
    Stroud, United KingdomFull Time
    Full-time English Teacher and school Literacy Coordinator (ages 11-16)
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Skills
  • Brand Writing
  • Copywriting
  • Content Consultant
  • Brand Identiry
  • Brand Storytelling
  • Content Audit
  • Teaching
  • Brand Analysis
  • Editing Proofreading
  • Brand Stories
Education
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    U
    PGCE English and Media StudiesUniversity of Brighton
     - United Kingdom
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    MA Early Modern Literary Theory and Culture (distinction)University of Brighton
     - United Kingdom
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