Time Flies When You’re Creating Fun

02/09/2017|PLAY Culture|

They grow up so fast. And by “they” we mean our business. Ten years ago we launched PLAY into the world with our minds set on creating an organization built on FUN. A place where each team member truly enjoys coming to work each day. Where the act of creating the work included fun and creativity. And where our clients would feel welcomed at all times. Our vision was, and still is, to make marketing fun. And so far, we’re doing a pretty good job at it. Our journey has been a fun and challenging ride, and we’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on how it all came to fruition:

Our name is our mission.

Choosing a name for your business is not an easy feat. However, we focused on keeping it simple and to the point. Our main goal was to make marketing fun, bringing a sense of “play” into everything we do. Our founders, Aaron and Adam, are both artists and were driven to combine their passion for illustration and design with marketing. PLAY was our opportunity to create interactive print pieces that our clients’ audiences could enjoy.

A location to reflect our vision.

From the beginning we wanted to create an environment that elevated our ability to create fun projects in a fun atmosphere. The first PLAY office was a 400 square foot space built within Turbine Flats. We worked with Clinton Collins, now the owner of Home & Closet of Lincoln, to build a jungle gym equipped with two monkey bars, a swinging rope and a sand box within the space. Our five workstations sat on top of a raised deck, with two of the stations connected by a small bridge with railings made of rope.

With growth came the need to expand our office space. In 2010 we stayed in Turbine Flats but moved to a larger space on the opposite side of the building. This gave us the opportunity to purchase a pool table, build a collaborative meeting room, set up a gaming area, and showcase our work on several walls.

Here we are years later, and again in need of more space. Early spring, this year we will move to a larger space in the Highlands area of Lincoln. Once again this space will be custom designed for our team and will include additional “think tank” spaces to brainstorm.

The birth of a logo.

Who knew that sitting down for coffee and a bagel one morning would lead to a business name and the start of its brand identity. Yet it happened, and we’ve never looked back. The “play” symbol of our logo represents forward motion, which represents the evolution of our business and our commitment to lifelong learning. Each member of our team continually pushes themselves to improve our craft and learn new skills. This symbol also represents the ever-changing business landscape of our clients, their industries, and the people we work with. The colors of our brand identity stemmed from a side project Aaron and Adam worked on. Wanting to host a toy drive over a holiday season, they developed a plan, name and graphics, however the project did not come to fruition… luckily the color palette stuck in the form of the PLAY logo.

Our tagline has evolved over time. Today our brand promise is: Building Handcrafted Print Campaigns. Here’s a brief summary of how it’s evolved since our inception:

  • 2007 – “Does your marketing feel like all work? Know PLAY.”
  • 2008 – 2012 – “Let’s make marketing fun.”
  • 2013 – 2014 – “Where ideas take flight.”
  • 2015 – Present – “Building handcrafted print campaigns.”

The current slogan means the following:

  • Building – Everything we do, we do as a team and create, evolve and morph into the final product.
  • Handcrafted – We sketch and generate all ideas by hand in a rough sketch first until we are ready to use our tools to further render. (Tools could include: Computer, software, die cuts, ink, etc)
  • Print – This is our main source of media. We create for various medias of which include digital ads, email, etc. But most ideas we develop will go out to our audiences in the form of print and tangible pieces.
  • Campaigns – Every project we tackle or idea we launch usually is wrapped around 1 theme or campaign. We value consistency in branding promotions.

Why we get to do what we love for 10 years running.

As we prepare to celebrate our first 10 years as PLAY Creative, we’re reminded of all of the people who have empowered our success. This includes the incredible community of Lincoln, the talent that has walked through our doors, and the clients who have put their trust into our expertise. We don’t take any of it for granted and look forward to delivering quality, strategic work for many years to come.

As we reflect on the history of our business, a few fun facts come to mind:

Aaron’s Background: With a desire to start a new journey and start developing PLAY, he moved from Iowa, and quit his job with the talented and successful design firm, Sayles Graphic Design.

Adam’s Background: With a full-time job at A to Z Printing, Adam was also freelancing for two clients and creating t-shirt designs, which became PLAY’s first recurring income. Within six months, Adam left A to Z printing to join PLAY full time.

Launching PLAY: We began participating in Chamber of Commerce, Young Professionals Group, and other networking events to raise awareness for our new business. This greatly helped us launch PLAY to the Lincoln community and surrounding areas.

Turbine Flats: This building holds a special place in PLAY Creative’s history. We are forever grateful for the freedom to design our office to reflect our mission.

We’re incredibly proud and grateful for the experiences of our first 10 years and look forward to pushing the limits of communications and design for the next decade and beyond. This includes adding talented professionals who embrace our mission, working with clients to help them succeed, and supporting the community we call home. Cheers to you.