We’re a digital agency. We plan, design and build websites and apps.

It starts with a detailed understanding of your objectives, and ends with something beautiful, compelling and measurable.

But what goes on in between? That’s what we’re talking about this month. And we thought we’d try to do the whole thing in four hours. Why not? You never know what you might learn.


Every project is different. Different client, different goals. Different budget, different team. But there are a few fundamental ingredients that go in every time. (Even when you’re doing it in four hours flat.)

Summer Eights
  • 1. The brief

    When we talk about ‘the brief’, we don’t just mean getting you to write down what what you want. It’s about gaining a clear understanding of your business, its context, and what you want to achieve.

    That’s about dialogue. It’s about us asking smart questions, and looking carefully at everything that will feed into the project. The brief is as much our responsibility as it is yours. (We’ve set our own brief for this site, of course. With a rather eccentric objective.)

  • 2. Goals & Measurement

    Pretty is nice. We all like pretty. But if it’s only skin-deep, what’s the point? You’ll have come to us with a goal, or set of goals, you need to achieve. That’s our priority.

    So while we never forget the aesthetics, we also make sure everything we create is clearly measurable. That means, once it’s up and running, you’ll be able to tell whether it’s working. Which is kind of the point, after all.

  • 3. Ideas

    From people come ideas. There’s no way to quantify this process — how it happens, where things come from.

    But as long as you have a clear brief, and the right combination of experience and talent in the room, something magical happens. All that detail in the brief crystallises into a single, clear, persuasive concept. At least, we always hope so. It’s gone well so far.

  • 4. Relationships

    Like, duh, right? Won’t get far without these. But it’s more than just hands to the pump. It’s about years of experience coming together, focused on a single aim. Yes, we’re doing this site fast. (Really fast.) But if the result is any good, it’ll be down to the years we all spent doing similar things (and completely different things) beforehand.

A Website In Four Hours

First: don’t do this. Seriously, don’t try to build a website from scratch in four hours. It’s a terrible idea.

But it does make for an interesting experiment, and it certainly focused us on the ingredients required. Of course, we had ideal conditions. As our own client, we didn’t have to get into presentations, amends, sign-off, all that. And the site is a fairly simple one, obviously.

Even so, plenty of hard work went into those four hours, as this section documents. The hard work was done by Brendan Gatens, Erin Staniland, Jamie White, Jenifer Dunn, Lawrence Brown, Mathew Wilson and Mike Reed.

That’s 7 people, with a total of 68 years’ industry experience. Each working from 9am to 1pm on Tuesday, 1 November 2011. So 28 hours’ work in total. With stakeholders signing off on-site.

9 coffees. 9 teas. 8 pastries. 4 apples. 2 bananas. 5 colours of chalk. 1 Cannon G9. 1 Nikon D90. 1 iMac. 7 MacBooks