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Velocity with Skype

Most designers don’t like to have someone looking over their shoulder watching them work. At the beginning of a project particularly, its rather like having a back seat driver while you are working out the best route. Revealing your process to a client is rare. Designers like to get a brief and then go away and think and sketch and work it out in their own, in their own space and then come back and present. Indeed this practice is common to most consultants.

This project arrived at my door with barely 24 hours before it needed to be presented, in its entirety, to the Steering group (my client’s client). It still had sections that had to be written and further editing was needed throughout. A layout and a few pages had been attempted, but it really needed to start from scratch. In less than a day, a year’s groundwork and all the elements that constituted the Velocity Operational Plan would be transformed into a 90 page document ready for external review.

So, how was this going to be possible. There was no time for the traditional working methods of client sends designer copy – designer takes it away – works with it – sends it back – and then the process repeats and unfolds steadily over days or weeks. It was going to be a whirlwind job and I was going to a collaborative effort, and it was going to be “LIVE” via Skype so that we could maximize the speed of the process. No time would be wasted on shipping/messengers. No time lost on sleep. The client in their office with everything they needed to hand and me in mine with everything I needed. I shared my screen and they would see the book come together, instantly. I would further contribute on other aspects, including copywriting, to get the job done.

THE PROCESS WAS EXHILARATING. The fact that for the first time ever, they could see the design process evolve and change as they worked, fueled their confidence and drove them forward. Nothing was a problem, everything was handled instantly, any potential sticking point was pounced upon by whomever had the solution. The process flew.

“Visceral” was how Julie Tait described the experience. “Unbelievable” was Jackie Shearer’s word.

The Skype call lasted just over seventeen hours. The document was complete.


After the review process, the document was further added to, finishing up at 150 pages. It’s an ambitious piece that can be used as a model operational plan for other cities interested in implementing new form of public consultation combined with sensitive mapping.

Glasgow’s Operational Plan is an aspirational approach to partnership working led by Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council, Creative Scotland and Clyde Gateway. It articulates a collective and cultural response to the impact of the Commonwealth Games 2014 and sets out the potential of a strong and coherent city framework for delivering one of the most ambitious programmes of art in the public domain that Scotland has experienced.

The entire publication can be accessed and read online at, just click on the link below.

VELOCITY  Art For A Changing City

  2012  /  Conversations, Recent Work  /  Last Updated February 1, 2015 by Katja Maas  /  Tags: