50 Most Admired Companies of the Year 2021
The Silicon Review
The design world is today rife with gimmicks and a lot of miscommunication. Often, businesses miss out on what the traditional design ethics brought to the table – CREDIBLE VALUE. And this is what Stocks Taylor Benson (STB) bases its design philosophy on. “No BS or gimmicks. Just great graphic design.” This philosophy has served it well for over 30 years now.
STB was one person’s vision: its founder, Glenn W Taylor. In the eighties, Glenn was working for a design agency that was swallowed up as an early acquisition of WPP. At that time, the design space was packed with pompous gimmicks as a justification to rip clients off. Glenn decided this wasn’t for him. His vision was for a highly creative graphic design agency (‘graphic design’ was still held in high regard back then) that justified its existence by delivering commercial results for its clients. Thirty-three years on, that still remains STB’s vision and mantra.
We recently got in touch with Glenn to know more about how STB distinguishes itself in the design industry, which is heavily stocked with talent. In the interview with us, he also talked about how the company sources its talent on the STB team. Read on for the excerpts from the interview.
Q. Could you tell us what your services offer with distinction?
We are graphic designers, pure and simple. Our job is to help our clients communicate effectively through graphic design. We hate waffle and jargon of all kinds, and our no-BS approach to graphic design has served us well for over 33 years. No pseudo-science or nonsense words, just brilliant, commercial graphic design.
We work with numerous national and international clients across all graphic design-related disciplines, including Canon, Baker Hughes, GE, BA, and Avon to name just a few.
Q. As time goes on designers not only deal with changing technology, but with changing preferences. How do you stay updated with new things in the design space?
Graphic designers are information junkies and problem solvers. We answer a client’s brief: it’s a science, not an art, and that aspect of the role never changes. We use traditional design methods; working closely with our clients, we put pen to paper to visualize creative ideas that answers the problem in front of us. We then use our tech skills to develop those ideas, keeping it as simple as possible along the way.
As graphic designers, ideas are our currency. We could talk about our outputs – anything from branding and packaging to animation and photography – but that’s just the manifestation of our problem solving. We use the most appropriate technology or materials to craft designs that put our ideas into practice. New technology and techniques give us even more tools and skills to create the work, but our process never changes.
Q. How do you source quality individuals to maintain the quality of your services?
We build strong links with universities. That includes setting live briefs, lecturing, and giving portfolio reviews so we can cherry-pick the finest graduates each year to come and work at STB. We can then train them in our design process, ensuring we’ve got the very best talent to maintain our exceptionally high standards.
We love our work, and that passion shines through when we are recruiting. We take design very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously – it’s important to have some fun along the way. Our annual team trip abroad is a great chance to wind down and bond, but it also provides a boost of inspiration and insight for our design team – it really is win-win.
Q. Specialized services come with an expensive price tag. How do you maintain your affordability and profitability?
The proof is in the pudding, and our commercial results speak for themselves. We quote every project on its own merit, and don’t have a complicated rate card with overinflated titles that mean very little. Our simple, transparent method of costing ensures that everyone knows where they stand from the outset. We all want the same thing, after all: brilliant graphic design that does the job.
Our account teams are all trained designers too, which means our clients speak directly to design experts at every stage. Because things aren’t lost in translation, communication is smoother across the whole studio – meaning projects run more efficiently.
Q. There are other major players in this segment. How do distinguish your services/ standout from the rest?
We provide a commercial service, focusing on originality and innovation. We might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s alright. Design is our passion. At times like these, can you really afford to spend time poring through confusing rate cards to try and understand who and what your overinflated fees are paying for?
We don’t waste everyone’s time on extra processes and made-up methodologies with fancy names. Our clients are the experts at what they do. We are the experts at what we do. Together, we build a fruitful collaboration based on our relative areas of expertise.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
Every project is different. Our industry is developing at a never-seen-before pace, and we need to keep up – and sometimes lead too. We launch new things on a regular basis: whatever we learn from one project, we transfer to the next one.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
2021 is a big year for us, with some exciting projects launching soon. That includes a rebrand for a new client in California that really challenges the homeware category. It will make a real impact when it hits the shelves, hopefully this Autumn.
Also, launching later this year is a brand that reimagines the health food aisle and broadens the appeal of new vegetarian and vegan products. Exciting stuff.
The Visionary Founder
Glenn W. Taylor
Glenn is the CEO, Graphic Designer, Founder and Owner of Stocks Taylor Benson Limited. He has 38 years’ of experience as a leading Graphic Designer and Creative Director, and an industry-wide reputation for speaking his mind. At 25 years old, on the brink of becoming a Creative Director at one of WPP’s then-fledgling agencies in London, he decided the time was right to set up his own independent graphic design agency: “No corporate, conglomerate agencies for me thanks, just my own ideas-led studio.” Joining forces with two colleagues at the time, Dean Stocks and John Benson, he launched Stocks Taylor Benson in October 1988.
Now as the sole owner of STB, Glenn works with numerous national and international clients across all graphic design-related disciplines, as well as mentoring the team at STB. He’s also a design lecturer, a judge for student and professional design awards, and an advisor for other professional bodies on best practice in design.