Studio Vertigo are this week’s Vegan Business of the Week. Based in Melbourne they specialise in branding and help sustainable companies ‘build better brands for people and the planet’. These guys are great for developing the brand of any vegan company.
Find out more about Vertigo here.
Who is in the Vertigo team, are they all vegan and how long have you been vegan?
Vertigo is myself (Mirella, owner and creative director), Nicolas (art director), and Nora (studio manager). Nicolas and Nora aren’t vegan (Nora is pescetarian), but everyone’s on their own journey, and that’s okay. I’ve been vegan for five years and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
When did you guys get started?
October 29, 2013.
‘We’re not perfect, but we’re doing our best. We want to work with people who are too.’ I love this and that you have a strong declaration of your ethical standpoint on your website. Do you feel this brings you more of the type of clients you are looking for? Do you ever get any resistance and; are there many potential clients that you have turned down because they are not in alignment with your ethos?
Thank you. In the past we turned down many clients and many lucrative projects because we didn’t agree with their (lack of) ethics or their products and services were harmful, exploitative or wasteful. Unfortunately this meant our business growth was slower and therefore unsustainable in the long term, so we recently conducted our own brand audit which lead to the creation of our ethos and the decision to niche Vertigo to attract a specific type of client. To be honest we were quite apprehensive in doing this because we knew we’d be alienating such a huge percentage of the market, but being true to our values and working towards a bigger purpose is what matters to us the most, and that’s what will attract the right people and businesses to work with us to create change.
Without asking you to divulge confidentiality on who your clients are, have you had some exciting clients that fit that ethos?
Yes, we’ve been very fortunate to work with some fantastic clients who fit our ethos. We’ve worked with local companies such as Edgar’s Mission and Bite Society, on a global scale we’ve worked with Sea Shepherd to design a corporate sponsorship campaign that directly resulted in an 18% increase in annual sponsorship. We also designed a campaign for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which raised over $2000 as well as national awareness for critically endangered species. These projects were incredibly rewarding because we were able to create work for causes we’re passionate about and know that we’re making a difference.
What would say makes Vertigo so special?
I wouldn’t say Vertigo is special but it’s definitely unique. Our combination of world class design, branding expertise, and strong values pertaining to people, animals, and the environment is what sets us apart. We have a deep understanding of veganism as well as the environmental and sustainability issues our clients are working towards solving through their products and services. We don’t just design for beauty and functionality like other design companies—we also design for longevity and sustainability. We believe in leaving the planet better than we found it.
Looking forward what does the future hold for Vertigo?
We want to be the go-to design company for visionary clients that are making a difference and who share our vision for change; create large scale projects and brands that help transform people’s perceptions, behaviours, and consumption; and work with more vegan/vegan friendly businesses to create and build brands that help normalise veganism and attract non-vegans. We want to do good work for good people who are doing good things.
Anything else you would like to add?
Branding is one of the most important aspects of business and investing in a quality brand identity and brand strategy is a roadmap to success. Because the advancement of the vegan movement is driven by messaging, businesses need to ensure their message is communicated clearly, simply, and consistently through strong branding (a logo is not a brand), as well as avoiding cliché design elements such as green fonts, the letter ‘V’, and the green vegan leaf, in order to differentiate from other businesses.
We’re super excited about the growth of veganism and how lucky we are to have so many options (in contrast to tofu, soy cheese, and lentil burgers when I first became vegan!), however we don’t live in a vegan world and the percentage of vegans in Australia relative to population is still quite low, so vegan businesses need to ensure they’re also marketing to non-vegans, because that’s what will help sustain their business in the long term.