It's been a crazy and busy year - one we will never forget for a number of reasons! We are so proud of what we have achieved, bringing our creativity to branding, design and website projects.
We have grown from a team of two, to a core team of five. Freya, Jon and Grace have all been a huge part of what we have achieved, and together we all look forward to the next chapter in our Formulate story.
To mark this accomplishment, and to remind ourselves of how far we have come, we have created a showreel of a selection of our key projects from our first year!
After a successful end to 2020 and a great start to 2021, we decided the time was right to grow our creative team.
We are delighted to welcome graphic designer Freya Stirland on board!
Freya recently relocated to Dubai, all the way from sunny Doncaster in the United Kingdom, and has already been getting stuck into all aspects of design and the creative process here in the Formulate studio. Our mantra has always been that people don't work for us, they work with us and Freya will be no exception. We are really excited to have Freya on board, and we look forward to seeing her grow alongside the agency.
Tell us about yourself.
I'm an illustrator and designer who is obsessed with making things, I love to get stuck in and be hands-on when it comes to creative projects.
I graduated from the University of Hull, where I studied Graphic Design, I worked as a Designer at a full-service marketing agency in my hometown for two years. In November 2020 I decided to move to Dubai, as I wanted a new challenge and to experience living and working in a new country. I also have family here which is a bonus!
When I'm not working, you’ll find me in the gym doing a Les Mills class, or at home in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes or reading a good book on the beach. I love being active and outdoors, and I'm excited to explore new parts of the UAE.
I’m really excited to be part of the Formulate creative team, and it's great to already be involved on a number of projects, designing and developed brands, websites, and marketing materials for a broad range of clients. I look forward to broadening my skill base and continuing my creative development within an exciting creative environment.
2020 saw many changes due to the pandemic that swept over the world, including postponing and canceling events. With the roll-out of the vaccine and the Dubai Government issuing new guidelines as part of plans to resume activities such as live events, exhibitions, 2021 is looking like we will see a return of a number of Design events. With this in mind, we have put together a list of Dubai Design Events for your diary in 2021.
Art Dubai - March
Art Dubai has confirmed its fourteenth edition will return to the Madinat Jumeriah in March 2021. It will be the first major international art fair planned for an in-person edition of the year.
This year’s event will stage 85 galleries from 36 countries and will feature three gallery sections (Contemporary, Modern, and Bawwaba). The fair drives meaningful engagement with the rich cultural heritage and contemporary art practices of the UAE and extending across neighbouring regions such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Art Dubai is part of a vibrant and dynamic local art ecology and operates in close collaboration with institutions that make up the foundations of the artistic fabrication in the UAE, such as the Jameel Arts Centre, Ishara Art Foundation, Sharjah Art Foundation, Maraya Art Centre, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, Tashkeel, NYUAD Art Gallery among many others. For more details of the upcoming leading international art fair, visit their website.
The Dubai Lynx awards sets the benchmark for creative excellence by celebrating the best work in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). New for 2021 are three new exciting categories in which your work can now compete – these include: Creative Strategy Lynx, Industry Craft Lynx and Culture and Context. This brings the total amount of categories to over 22, which also include PR, Design, Film Craft, Radio and Audio, and Digital.
The awards are still open for entries, with the final deadline to submit work being the 3rd February 2021.
Lynx awards are hoping to gather the industry together to celebrate the winning work in their customary annual Dubai Lynx Awards Show in 2021 but, of course, this is still uncertain due to coronavirus restrictions. More details coming soon!
INDEX is a world-renowned, large-scale trade exhibition that has involved interior designers, buyers, retailers, distributors and contractors to interiors brands, products and services from across the globe for over 30 years. From 31st May until 2nd June 2021 at Dubai World Trade Centre, INDEX will welcome 30,000+ visitors from across the Middle East and beyond.
Besides the trade fair, Index Dubai features a number of highlights including the contemporary Majlis, Artist Avenue, the Trend Tour, Design Talks, The Interior Design Competition and the Product Design Awards.
Year-after-year INDEX successfully connects people, creates new business and encourages new opportunities. INDEX 2021 will hope to re-diversify supply chains after the 2020 pandemic and generate many leads for buyers and designers.
Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first World Expo ever hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Set to open on 1st October 2021 and run for six months, the Dubai Expo2020 will exhibit a vast and vibrant Art and Culture scene which will include Al Wasl Opera, a diverse range of installations, workshops, performances and artistic creations produced by emerging designers from the UAE and across the globe.
The Design and Crafts Programme will be the main attraction for creative minds and hands from all over the world through collaborations that merge materials and processes with design and innovation, bringing you exclusive design collections that are a unique reflection of the UAE crafts stories.
The Dubai Design Week 2020 programme was the first event to be held since COVID-19 hit Dubai. Over 650 designers and creatives took part in the festival, situated in Dubai Design District (d3), curating a mixture of installations, exhibitions, pop-ups, talks and workshops. The programme showcased the region's creative talent and also highlighted the ways in which the creative community has had to think outside the box in terms of the way we have had to readjust our way of living.
Dubai Design Week has been set to make a return on the 8th November 2021 and will run for five consecutive days, coming to a close on 13th November 2021. Take a look at the 2020 overview at via their website.
As the key commercial event of Dubai Design Week, each November Downtown Design brings B2B and B2C visitors from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia together to discover, source, commission and buy the latest in contemporary arts from around the world. This year, Downtown Design returns with a physical showcase taking place 8-12th November 2021, within weeks of the opening of the Expo 2020 Dubai.
Sikka Art Fair is an annual event that takes place to appreciate the creative talents in Dubai. It has now been running for decade, and hosts an array of exhibitions, workshops and storytelling sessions, along with live music, performances and attractions for all the family.
Originally postponed from its initial date to coincide with Dubai Expo 2020, there are no signs of it returning just yet. We’ll be keeping an eye out for any further updates, but in the meantime you can follow Sikka Art Festival on social media for all things arty.
Established in 2010, Sole DXB has been the front runner of cultural festivals in Dubai, celebrating all things art, film, fashion, music, sport, street style and pop culture. The eighth edition was held in d3, with over 36,000 people from more than 60 countries attending the annual festival in 2019 – the biggest numbers so far for this festival!
With Sole DXB priding themselves on delivering a truly unforgettable experience, featuring artists and collaborators from all around the globe, the festival will be sure to make a killer comeback with more platforms to inspire at the latter end of 2021. You can follow their updates on their instagram profile.
The Transform Awards MEA is the one and only awards programme that focuses on awarding the best branding work in the MEA region and provides an important platform to benchmark and showcase fantastic artwork. From big global branding and creative agencies to small local work, the awards recognise the creativity and strategic thought exercised and reward outstanding projects. The awards, which have now been running for a decade, recognise best practices in corporate, product and global brand development work, with categories that focus on strategy, execution, content and evaluation.
Entries for these awards are open up until 11th March 2021, with the awards ceremony and gala dinner being held later towards the middle of the year.
World Art Dubai will return in April for its seventh edition, bringing contemporary and affordable art from countries all over the world. World Art Dubai celebrates art in all forms and believes in making art accessible for collectors and enthusiasts.
More than 3,000 pieces of eclectic work will feature in the World Art Dubai galleries, with artwork prices beginning at an affordable US$100.
It's been a busy first week in January for the Formulate team. On top of working on a number of creative projects, we followed up our article in Gulf news with an appearance on Dubai Eye 103.8.
Formulate creative partner Theo Adamson made an appearance on The Etisalat Business Show. He joined presenter Georgia Tolley and fellow guest Sergio Lopez, owner of the Pangolin Restaurant. The group discussed the challenges and opportunities of opening a business during 2020 in the mists of a global pandemic. They also looked to the future and how they hope to grow their respective Dubai-based businesses over the coming years.
"It was a great experience to discuss the challenges and the experience of launching a business here in Dubai in what was a very challenging year. We are really excited to build on a great start in January and look forward to getting stuck into delivering some really exciting creative projects in 2021." said Theo.
Key talking points
Listen to some of the key talking points from the conversation here...
The first day of January 2021 and the Formulate Creative team are looking forward to getting stuck into the year ahead. We are excited to deliver a range of; branding, graphic design and website projects for clients here in the UAE and beyond.
As we looked to start the year on a positive note, our founding partner Theo Adamson looks forward to the year ahead, in an interview with Gulf News...
For Theo Adamson, a British expat in Dubai, 2021 is about being “cautiously optimistic”. The 38-year-old former freelancer said the pandemic gave him “time to reflect”, leading to his decision to start a business, called Formulate Creative, together with another partner, Dan Brown. “As a freelancer, I was working long hours and all the pressure was on myself to deliver. It’s always been an ambition of mine to start my own business. So it was sort of a natural transition from a freelancer to a small branding and design agency ... It might be the worst time to do it, or it might be the best time to do it. But if I never do it, I’ll never know,” added Adamson.
“Everyone’s talking about being freelancers nowadays, but there’s another side to it, where you start as a freelancer and hopefully you develop and grow into a company and as this happens, you can obviously support the bounce-back of the economy.”