September 23, 2021

The Formulate partners on setting up a branding agency in Dubai

After a successful first year for Formulate, the partners Dan and Theo took some time out, to reflect and look back over the last year, and the trials and tribulations of starting a branding agency in Dubai.  

1. What was the motivation behind starting Formulate? And since a year ago, has the company culture or mission changed at all?

Dan:

After a few years of freelancing, it felt like the next progressive step to take. Both myself and Theo have built a reputation whilst we’ve been in Dubai, and we wanted Formulate to continue to expand on that.

Theo:

We’ve both worked within agencies in the UK and the UAE, and the experience we’ve gathered over the years (both good and bad) has definitely motivated us to create an agency that delivers the highest quality work on a consistent basis.

Alongside this, it’s been important to both of us that we built a strong team of creatives and collaborators that are passionate about what they do.

Creating an environment where our team can learn and grow within the agency and be rewarded for their time and effort is incredibly important to the both of us.

When the agency does well, everyone should win.

2. What's been the most challenging aspect of running an agency and how have you overcome or learnt from it?

Theo:

The switch from thinking like a freelancer to an agency owner. That was challenging at first. Because it’s not just the work that needs to be taken into consideration. There’s running a team, handling the overheads and dealing with a lot more on the admin side of things. At the beginning, it felt like a real rollercoaster.

Dan:

Building an agency through a pandemic came with its challenges. Some days were definitely better than others... But we’ve been fortunate in that we’ve managed to keep busy with clients, and continue to grow as a team.

One thing which we wanted to make sure from the start, is that anyone we employ gets looked after. They’ll always get paid on time, and always be respected and they can have the creative freedom to really make and impact and be innovative, on the work delivered by the studio.  

Theo:

Right now, it’s important we’re balancing the pipeline of work and managing the workload properly. Otherwise this could become a real challenge in future. Fortunately, Dan and I both hold this in high regard.  We don’t want to take on too much on and have the quality of our work slip. That’s now what we’re about. And we definitely don’t want to be spreading the team too thin, either.

3. What's been the most rewarding aspect of running an agency? Can you pinpoint any proud moments?

Theo:

Winning our first creative pitch against a number of larger or more established agencies was a real high point, and so soon into our story. We worked really hard to deliver and ended up winning the project for a very high profile hospitality brand here in the UAE.

Dan:

It’s always great when you win a competitive pitch, especially when you’re up against the established, international agencies. We were an underdog from the start. That was a proud moment for us. And it goes back to us wanting to produce consistently excellent work.

Theo: 

We have since gone on to build our relationship with the client and deliver further high profile projects for them.  Key project wins have included government entities, large regional and international clients as well as a number of ongoing retainers.

Dan:

When we started the business we also had ambitions of maybe being 3 people by the end of our first year. But  we now have five and we are looking to build on that, which is way beyond our initial expectations..  But we’re incredibly happy with the organic growth of Formulate thus far. Our team is our biggest asset and we never want to be in a position that may have an adverse effect on them.

4. What is the one misconception about running an agency? And what advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own agency?

Dan:

It’s going to be stressful at times. There will be times when you’re worried about the next big job coming in.

If you’re good at what you do, the work will come. We’re lucky in that a lot of our work comes from recommendations.

Formulate partners, Theo Adamson (left) and Dan Brown (right) have enjoyed a successful first year.

5. What does the future hold for Formulate? And what are you most excited for in the upcoming year?

Dan:

We want to continue to grow, we have exciting projects in the pipeline, and our aim in the next 12 months is to get some awards under our belt.

Theo:

Our aim is to continue to concentrate on what we do best to a very high standard, with creativity at its core: We want to continue to grow but without losing that personal, friendly hands on approach.  We never want to be an agency with a layer upon layer of admin and management that are out of touch with our client base. 

Dan and I are creatives at heart and that is what we want to keep on doing, we are passionate about design and that's where our real skills lie.

And finally, two truths and a lie…

Dan:

  1. My biggest fear in life is jellyfish
  2. I was once mistaken for professional footballer Fernando Torres, and had drinks bought for me the entire evening
  3. I’ve landed a plane with my eyes closed

Theo:

  1. I once played cricket in Richard Branson’s Garden
  2. I have six siblings
  3. I performed at Glastonbury

September 15, 2021

Formulate is One!

The 7th of September marked our 1st birthday.

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!

June 22, 2021

Creative Graphic Designer Required

Things aren’t just hotting up Dubai, our studio is on fire right now, and we’re looking to bring in some additional graphic design support on some exciting new branding and design projects we have coming up over the coming months. The ideal candidate will have strong creative skills and a portfolio of work which demonstrates their passion for Graphic and Digital Design.

Read more

May 9, 2021

Formulate welcomes Grace Emmerton to the account management team

As Dubai (and the world) slowly starts to head back toward some form of normality, Formulate has continued to flourish, with new clients both in the UAE and internationally.

We are delighted to welcome our new Account Manager, Grace Emmerton to the team!

Grace is no stranger to Dubai, after studying at Jumeirah College and living here for 3 years, Grace then travelled around the world, living in Spain, Norway, Qatar, Holland, Italy, UK, Cyprus and Australia, before Dubai drew her back. She brings a wealth of project management, client servicing and events experience, having worked for some of the region's biggest names in hospitality.

From the day that Formulate was born, we made a promise that our clients would always be working closely with the creative team, to get the best outcomes while never facing roadblocks or bottle necks in the project process. This certainly isn’t going to be changing! Grace will be ensuring projects run smoothly and efficiently, while quality is maintained at all times.

We are really excited to have Grace on board, and we look forward to seeing her grow alongside the agency.

Tell us about yourself.

I'm a marketing professional who is obsessed with bringing brands to life in creative and unique concepts. I have developed a reputation for my friendly professionalism, creativity and building client relationships.  

I graduated from Leeds Beckett University, where I studied Business and Marketing. I worked as a Merchandise Coordinator for the UK’s leading festival promoter before joining an Experiential Marketing Agency in London. My career has enabled me to work on exciting international projects from the London Olympics, Abu Dhabi Formula 1 and the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

In 2014, I decided to move back to Dubai as I wanted to enhance my skills and broaden my experience in a diverse and entrepreneurial market. Having worked in Dubai for several years, I am excited to introduce new clients to the Formulate Team and have a positive contribution in helping the agency grow.

When I'm not working, you’ll find me scuba diving in Fujairah, camping in Al Qudra or losing golf balls around Emirates Golf Course. I love music and being creative, whether that’s in the kitchen or up-cycling DIY interior design ideas in my apartment. Having called Dubai my home for over 10 years, it is also important for me to contribute to the community, and I am very passionate about volunteering for animal shelters and local causes.

April 4, 2021

We’re recruiting: Account Manager

Formulate is Dubai’s up and coming creative agency. We're passionate about design and delivering quality, creative projects.

Thanks to recent project wins we are growing and looking for the next member of the team to join our journey. 

We require somebody who is passionate, willing to learn and is happy to be hands on. As a small agency we need a person who is prepared to get stuck in, turn their hand to whatever is required and who wants to be part of building and growing a successful business.

We are looking for an Account Manager, ideally with a design and marketing background, who can bring value to our clients by representing the agency both passionately and professionally on a day-to-day basis. We’re looking for a natural problem solver, analytically minded and proficient communicator with a great eye for detail. You will be the link between our creative team and our clients, managing the workload and expectations, while striving for quality and excellence in everything we deliver.

It may be a full or part-time role, but working on a daily basis, we are flexible for the right person and open to ideas.

As an agency we pride ourselves in looking after and developing our team. We offer a competitive salary, health insurance, flight allowance, a target based annual bonus, as well as flexibility in the way we work. 

If you think you're the perfect candidate for this role then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you. 

How to apply

To apply for this position, please send your CV along with a covering email to team@formulatecreative.com telling us why you would be a great addition to the Formulate team.

Please be aware due to the high number of applicants only successful candidates will be contacted for interview.

Good luck!

Team Formulate

Note to recruiters: Unfortunately we will not be using any recruitment agencies for this roll.

February 22, 2021

The Formulate creative team continues to grow!

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.

January 11, 2021

Branding people’s dreams in 2020

Was 2020 the perfect year to follow your dreams? We take a look back at three branding projects that we have worked on in 2020, supporting our clients in their quest to make their business dreams a reality.

2020 may have been a year to forget for many but for others, it was the perfect opportunity to reassess their own situations. Dan and I, the partners behind Formulate, are a perfect example of this. We saw 2020 as the perfect opportunity to finally bite the bullet and start the creative agency we had spent years talking about.

This was also the case for a number of our clients who decided the time was right to pursue their dreams and ambitions. We were very fortunate to be involved in their journey and support them with their branding and marketing requirements throughout 2020.

Below are three examples of clients, based here in Dubai, who saw 2020 as the perfect opportunity to start their business, in the eye of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fold - Hair Salon, Dubai

Emily Griffiths is an Australian stylist/hairdresser, who has been working in salons across Dubai for the last six years. She had always wanted to go it alone and in April 2020 she approached Formulate to design and develop the branding for her new salon concept, The Fold.

Emily Griffiths worked through a number of challenges to realise her ambition.

Emily explained...

"The concept of The Fold has been a passion project spanning over the past 12 month, evolving and growing throughout 2020. After facing many roadblocks including a salon redesign, the delivery of an early baby and a global pandemic."

A space for your hair and soul

The Fold set out to be a space designed for Emily's client's hair and their soul, with a mindful, holistic approach to hairdressing.

She wanted her clients to leave her salon feeling empowered, confident and beautiful, from the inside out. The salon required a brand that conveyed a sense of confidence and trust, which is required when choosing your hairdresser.

The Fold branding plays to the name and the Salon's organic, tonal interiors.

We worked closely with Emily throughout the lockdown period, to develop a logo and a brand that played to the name of the salon. It also represented the connection between the client and the stylist, which often goes way beyond just a haircut, especially at The Fold.

The Fold branding and stationery design.

The brand was also designed to have a seamless cohesion with the Salon's interiors which have an organic, tonal and textured feel, and the warmth and movement of natural materials. 

"Formulate were there for us every step of the way and fully supporting our authentic ethos, helping us develop the brand we wanted.

Whilst we were in fact blessed with a baby in 2020 we also gained our Fold family, for which we will be forever grateful. Working with a team as flexible and easy going as Formulate, when there were so many changes and challenges, took so much stress out of the branding process."

The Fold is now open in Motor City and is a must-try for any ladies based here in Dubai.

Instagram: thefolddxb
Website: Coming Soon
Formulate's Role: Branding & Website Design
See More: Full case study coming soon

Energie Entertainment, Dubai

As we all know, the world took a dramatic turn in February 2020 and many, if not all industries we hugely affect in one way or another, meaning people's careers were greatly affected too. 

This was certainly the case for Tyler Davis-Smith, who had been working in events in Dubai for the last six years. Being an industry that was essentially closed down overnight, Tyler was left with plenty of time to look at his life and his options moving forward. 

Tyler Davis-Smith on site with his Energie Entertainment Brand.

Back to business

After initially diversifying and turning his event management skills, Tyler helped to deliver the Covid-19 field hospitals here in Dubai. He then used the time to reflect and think about his future. He had always held an ambition to do something more within entertainment. Ever optimistic that once we were through the worst of the pandemic, the events industry would bounce back. He wanted to be at the forefront of this turnaround.

As well as the branding we delivered a range of marketing collateral for Energie.

As Tyler explained...

"I had lots of events cancelled and have felt the financial and emotional burden of this. My diary was fully booked with events then it all came to a grinding halt. However, it gave me a chance to reassess, look at what I had been doing and look at where I wanted to go."

In August 2020, Tyler approached us to start work on the branding, marketing materials for his new company Energie Entertainment. He had decided to launch an entertainment management company that delivers the whole package for events.

The brief was to develop a brand, website and marketing materials that would reflect the dynamism, energy and excitement of their entertainers.

The Energie Entertainment website design www.energieentertainment.com.

The brand needed to be transferable between online and printed marketing collateral, this resulted in a fluid, eye-catching design. It was supported by a vivid colour palette, inspired by stage and show lighting.

As the events industry slowly started to come back to life in the third quarter of 2020, Energie Entertainment started to flourish. Tyler has delivered a number of high profile events here in Dubai, leading up to and over the festive period. He hopes to build on the initial success in 2021. Delivering entertainment to events across the GCC region, as the events industry looks to get back to what it does best, entertaining people!

Instagram: weareenergie
Website: www.weareenergie.com
Formulate's Role: Logo design, branding & website design, company profile, social media and apparel.
See More: Full case study here

Barre Effect, Dubai

From a young age Nora Hameidani has had a passion for dance, starting out at a ballet and contemporary academy in her hometown. She then went on to train and perform with several contemporary dance companies in New York. During this time she also fell in love with the boutique fitness scene, through Spin, Yoga, and Barre classes.

Nora moved to Dubai in the summer of 2013, to be the master trainer and assistant director for Physique 57's Middle East's franchise. Nora then went on to teach Barre, Spin and Megaformer classes at various boutique studios around the City.

Nora Hameidani, founder of Barre Effect, Dubai.

2020 gave Nora the perfect opportunity to finally go it alone and bring to life the ladies only Barre Studio she had always dreamed of as she explains....

"In the summer of 2020 I decided it was time to make my dream of creating my own fitness brand a reality.  I saw a gap in the market for a strong barre studio, and saw the opportunity to create something great."

A branding that works in harmony with the interior

In August 2020, she got in touch with us here at Formulate to discuss branding for her passion project, Barre Effect. The brief was to create a strong, edgy and urban brand but with a feminine and approachable aesthetic, that would play to and compliment the studio's contemporary and industrial interior.

The Barre Effect logo plays to the name of the studio.

The branding, website and marketing collateral needed to resonate with the studio's target audience of women aged 25-60. It also need to stand out within the women's fitness and dance studio market.

The brand is supported by a colour palette that brings a feel of tranquility, confidence and elegance that also continues into the studio space itself.

The logo is a strong, elegant wordmark that plays to the word 'BARRE' with the horizontal bar running through it. Nora was delighted with the results...

"I had a lot of experience in the industry, but did not know the first thing about branding or creating a website.  Formulate helped us to create a beautifully strong brand image, that I am constantly receiving compliments on. From the icon/logo, to the colors and typography, everything came together seamlessly. We are very pleased with the end results."

The branding works cohesively with the Barre Effect studio interiors.

Barre Effect is due to open in late January 2021 on Al Wasl Rd. It will be a go-to destination for ladies looking for a contemporary Barre Studio.

Instagram: barreeffectdxb
Website: https://www.barreeffectdxb.com
Formulate's Role: Logo design, branding, website design, signage and apparel
See More: Full case study coming soon

Let us brand your dream

Formulate works with businesses of all sizes to offer branding, rebranding, graphic design, website design and digital services.

Talk to us today about branding journey to build and brand your dream business.

January 7, 2021

Formulate appear on Dubai Eye’s business show

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 talks about evolving during the pandemic.
The talks about the future and how he hopes to see Formulate grow in the next year.

December 13, 2020

We are Formulate

Formulate, a new innovative creative agency based in Dubai, brought to life by experienced designers Theo Adamson & Dan Brown.

Read more