Disciplined Dreamers at Fluid
Fluid Advertising got their start around 1997 as a creative boutique focusing on a range of package designs and more traditional marketing strategies. As society has changed, so has the way we consume media, buy products and become exposed to an onslaught of marketing everywhere we look. Fluid has had to live up to their name and continually shift and evolve their strategies and philosophical outlook on how to produce high-quality work that is creative, appealing and stands out from everything else we see every day.
Partner/Executive Creative Director Ryan Anderson and Partner/President Kyle Curtis have a vision of how their creative and disciplined team can positively impact the marketing and advertising world while bringing consumers and clients products that are effective and appealing. Perusing their website, I saw custom woodcut tool cases, a plethora of brand logos and a number of photographs. While Anderson emphasizes the fact that they don’t imprint their own branding into products they put together for clients, all of the work is warm, engaging and fun. Fluid has an expansive list of services they offer in advertising, graphic design and marketing and strategy development, with the additional services of search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, website design and digital marketing in 2012.
“A lot of design firms will do the same thing we do, so it really comes down to who is doing it better,” Anderson says of their overall strategy. “We foster a culture of doing great and unexpected things for clients.”
“Different clients will have different brands, and we have to be nimble and versatile enough to create what they want.”
Fluid has what Curtis calls “award-winning creativity,” evidenced by the wall of awards in their lobby, some stacked four-to-five deep. “The two things you need are someone who can recognize a good idea, and then you need the discipline to refine an idea until it is great,” Curtis says. “I think that’s where a lot of people fall short, is that they can’t recognize good work or they don’t have the work ethic to just stick at it and say they’re not going to stop until they get something great.”
The firm’s reputation attracts creative talent from around the nation to collaborate on projects. I see this firsthand as Anderson points out three posters they created for the American Advertising Awards. The posters feature dogs in the style of old circus fliers. One of the more striking posters depicts a serpent-like dachshund. The dog is elongated and intertangled in itself, taking bites out of its own torso, with the phrase “It’s going to be a dog-eat-dog competition” adorning the top of the page. The illustrators worked on this project pro-bono—Anderson says, “Three different illustrators worked on a concept they liked because they were excited about the opportunity.”
Anderson describes Fluid as not having a unique or distinct style because what they ultimately want to portray is the uniqueness of each client. “Different clients will have different brands, and we have to be nimble and versatile enough to create what they want,” Anderson says. “The first thing we have to do is dive in and understand them by asking them a lot of questions about what they do. We also do a lot of research to know who they are; what they think about sites they visit, products they buy; and who they are at a core level.”
“You take the best-of-class creative and couple it with experimentation, and you can really deliver something our clients can’t get elsewhere.”
Discipline and creativity are core principles at Fluid and come up frequently as Anderson and Curtis talk about how they meet the demands of clients. While it would be easy to assume that these are common principals at every design firm, the tenacity of other firms may vary. Curtis recently joined Fluid after working on high-profile advertising campaigns in Las Vegas and surrounding areas because he believes that Fluid has the atmosphere and drive to harness that creative discipline and move the advertising needle. “We can offer things to clients that they haven’t gotten anywhere else,” he says. “You take the best-of-class creative and couple it with experimentation, and you can really deliver something our clients can’t get elsewhere.”
This discipline takes great effort, and intentionality is needed to cultivate a team of creatives who are empowered to produce good work. Anderson says, “Every single person you bring in affects the culture of an agency. We want to make sure that they are going to produce and have a passion for design and advertising.”
Moreover, “Every project is challenging because, ultimately, you’re trying to come up with great ideas,” Anderson says. “You have to work pretty hard and dig pretty deep to get a good idea. Once that idea presents itself, you have to execute it in a way that is either beautiful or right on target. It takes a lot of work.”
“We foster a culture of doing great and unexpected things for clients.”
For example, the firm was surprised when a bank, an institution typically perceived to be more conservative, jumped on the idea of a six-part promotional comic-book featuring superhero bankers which were given out to customers. Anderson says, “You would think the client would say this was a little too risky for us, but they loved it and have told others how much they loved it through referrals.”
Anderson and Curtis know that the creative team behind Fluid is creating the branding personality and atmosphere clients want. “Having a team here that instinctively pushes that creativity that you can’t ignore is really exciting,” Curtis says. “Where we are now isn’t where we’re going to be. We’re going to build something different here. There is a willingness to invest in something different here.”
You can find more information about Fluid on their website, getfluid.com.