Creative work rarely occurs in a vacuum. Art directors, graphic artists, illustrators, and designers are constantly on the lookout for inspiration and ideas anywhere and everywhere, and often need to collaborate with team members and clients to arrive at a finished product. Today, we’re excited to share the story of Neoscape, a creative agency that’s optimizing how they collect ideas and communicate with each other—and their clients in Miro.
Neoscape is using Miro to make collaboration with clients seamless. They see the shared visual workspace platform as…
- One place to keep your ideas
“We were seeing a need for space for projects without taking up space. Miro certainly allows us to collaborate and gather ideas in one easy-to-use platform. We do much of our art reference and discovery via Miro.”
2. An effective way for stakeholders to track a project’s progress
“You could have 100 meetings on it, or you could have space where everyone can go to and see the project as a whole.”
3. A place to get feedback from clients
“We set up accounts for clients so they can go on Miro with us so they can post comments and brainstorm with us. It’s really helped—especially with projects that have a fast turnaround time.”
A creative studio behind high-end real estate development companies
Neoscape is a creative agency that specializes in strategy, branding & design, film & 3D, AR/VR/MR, interactive, digital marketing. Their clients are predominantly high-end real estate development companies based in the US, but they also work with a range of clients in other industries and locations.
The design teams at Neoscape span two studios: New York and Boston. Art directors act as project managers while designers take a more hands-on approach to executing projects. We recently caught up with Ali Lindquist, associate principal and design director, and art directors Rita Ferreira and Dave Parmenter from the Boston studio, as well as Sumayya Alsenan, art director, and Victoire, graphic designer, from the New York studio.
Neoscape is a full-service creative agency specializing in branding and visual storytelling for institutional and real-estate clients.
Number of employees: 80
Marketing & advertising
Neoscape’s tech stack
- G Suite for email, documents, and chat
- Shotgun by Autodesk for reviewing and iterating motion graphics and visual effects
- Zoom for collaborating between studios
- Miro for gathering ideas and inspiration, conducting reviews, and collaborating with clients
Creating cutting-edge design projects
Every client and project is distinct, but all client projects begin with a kick-off. This might be a half-hour phone call or a full-day visioning session. The end deliverables could be anything from a video or a print brochure to a social media campaign, but all projects have distinct phases that lead to that end product.
What are some of the common challenges when working with clients? Art Director Rita Ferreira says, “The biggest challenge is, how do we get our ideas across so that they understand it in the same terms that we do? How do we give enough background, or peek into the process? Most clients don’t want to be involved in that process. So, how do we come up with ways where we’re involving them as a creative partner without asking them to come sketch with us? It’s a balance.”
Similarly, Art Director Dave Parmenter emphasizes the importance of putting clients’ objectives first: “With the real estate clients, we always need to be mindful of their objectives. It’s not just about showing off an amazing shot that looks cool, or just because we think it’s artistically worth doing. We need to be mindful of their stories, their needs, and messages that they need to get out to the world.”
Using Miro to fuel internal and external collaboration
The design team at Neoscape adopted Miro in response to physical limitations of their work. Associate Principal and Design Director Ali Lindquist explains, “We were seeing a need for space for projects without taking up space. That’s how we started researching online whiteboards, which is where Miro came in.” Ali explains that the design team used to create a Pinterest folder to capture all their ideas. This system quickly proved to be inefficient since it relied on asking a junior designer to print out everything and put it up on a board. Ali says they were asking themselves, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this and not have to print out 100 sheets of paper and pin them up?” And now they don’t have to.
Dave Parmenter, Art Director in the Boston office found a similar use case for collecting ideas: “Miro certainly allows us to collaborate and gather ideas in one easy-to-use platform. We do much of our art reference and discovery via Miro so we’ll be going around online finding examples of videos or techniques. I put all sorts of things on there, like links to tutorials, other websites, and articles that relate to the project that we’re researching or that we’re working on. It’s just a great aggregator of all these different pieces to help us get that back to the team in an easy to navigate way.”
The Neoscape design team’s favorite Miro features
- Collaborative boards to collect ideas and inspiration
- Flowcharts to show progression of ideas
- Unsplash plugin to quickly pull images
- Comments feature to tag people in specific part of a board to solicit feedback
We became huge proponents of Miro, then it became mandatory for every design team to use the tool for every projectAli Lindquist, Associate Principal, Design Director at Neoscape
Looking for a tool to align a remote team around a shared vision? Try Miro free!
The design team quickly realized that Miro’s benefits extend beyond being a place to store ideas—it’s also an effective way for stakeholders to get up to date on a project’s progress. Ali explains, “As we started using it a lot and we became huge proponents of it, then it became mandatory for every design team to use Miro for every project. That rolled into the creative directors using it. Now, even if you don’t have time to meet, everyone can go to Miro and quickly see where we are in the process.”
Art Director Sumayya Alsenan echoes this sentiment, saying that the templated approach to managing client work in Miro makes it easy for anyone at Neoscape to look at a board and immediately understand what they’re seeing: “We established a template that fits most of our projects. It highlights spaces and has an area for: ‘Here’s all the information we got from our client, and here’s our work.’ So people can understand where to look if they’re looking at a board without knowing anything about it.”
Graphic designer Victoire appreciates the simplicity of collecting feedback on Miro: “We use it once we’ve actually designed things ourselves, to put our designs up there and get feedback from other team members. The comment function is really useful for that. It avoids having to get up and bringing your computer to show people. You can just tag them on Miro to get feedback.”
Plus, storing all the aspects of a branding campaign in one place helps ensure that a project remains cohesive. Says Ali, “You could have 100 meetings on it, or you could have space where everyone can go to and see the project as a whole.” Sumayya agrees that Miro helps a team stay on track: “As people start dropping in the design ideas that they’re coming up with, it’s really easy to look up to the board above it and say, ‘Okay, we’re going away from the mood board. Why is that?’ It just makes it easier to stay on track.”
A creative and collaborative company culture
Based on the innovative ways the Neoscape team has come up with for using Miro, it’s not surprising that creativity and collaboration are the building blocks of Neoscape’s company culture. Ali says, “Creativity, collaboration, and drive are the core values of people who are here. Especially from the founders, this is something they’ve always instilled of trying to find a way to say yes. Even if we can’t do exactly what’s being asked in the timeline that it’s being asked, then what can we do? Be solution oriented. Be proactive. Speak up.”
Being open to learning from and teaching each other is also critical. Victoire explains, “We all love to teach each other, which is great. The other day I needed help with Photoshop and I asked someone on the other team to give me a tutorial. People are just really open and friendly.” Sumayya agrees, saying that “not being shy to ask other people for help” is an important part of company culture.
And, of course, having a design-oriented company has its perks when it comes to office layout and setup. Dave says, “All of our offices are very well laid out. We have a lot of architects and designers on staff who were very particular about where we’ve dealt out our spaces so that they’re not only useful for working but just enjoying where you are. Seating, ping pong tables, cold brew on tap.”
Finally, Neoscape employees feel empowered to be truly innovative. They’re always excited about working with new technology or using existing technology in an innovative way. Victoire says, “We’re also very open to new ideas. We’re not afraid to show each other ideas that we think might push the boundaries and come up with ways to present them to the client.”
Tips on remote collaboration
Since Neoscape is spread across three studios, and works with clients based just about anywhere, remote collaboration is a necessity. Dave finds that remote collaboration works best when you strike the right balance between technology and human interaction, “Nothing beats picking up the phone and having a quick conversation about it. As long as we don’t forget that the real-time aspect of it is important, then we can make sure that we use these other tools to their best capacity.” Sumayya agrees, saying, “I find that talking on the phone, especially when something is confusing, is so much better than email or any kind of messaging. Especially when you’re talking with someone a lot.”
Besides being open to having the occasional phone call, Sumayya finds that the other key to successful remote collaboration is maintaining “a very organized, updated calendar.” She explains, “If everyone has a clear schedule then it just makes it easier to anticipate when someone is going to be free to help.”
Photos by Photographer Tony Long