The Maltings Heritage Interpretation – Mike Foster and Steve Capsey – two award winning designers / illustrators with a national reputation for innovation, quality and reliability built over nearly 20 years combined experience in the heritage interpretation sector. Please take a few moments to view Case Studies of six of our recent projects, or discover more about us, how we work, and what we believe makes our studio unique using the menu tab above.
The Maltings Heritage Interpretation grew out of our core, long-established business as an illustration studio. Interpretation actually ‘found us’ some ten years ago, largely because we had already developed many of the skills this very particular sector demands. Today, design and illustration for heritage interpretation accounts for around 70% of our studio output, and we have developed an approach to each scope of work which we believe is unique in the field. For interpretive design we concentrate on smaller projects – usually those with development and implementation budgets between £10,000 and £150,000 – because these allow us complete, in-house control of the entire design process. The high overheads of the larger interpretation providers tend to compromise the viability of smaller budgets, and we discovered that many such clients looked to commission more general graphic design studios in order to meet their requirements. As heritage interpretation is a very specialised sector we sought to bring a level of quality and expertise to smaller projects which had hitherto proved difficult to access. Further, we wanted to ensure that illustration – where required – sat at the heart the wider design process, so that imagery and typography worked together to create the overall visual language for a site. Our work ethic, craftsmanship, creativity, and our determination to deliver beautiful, high quality solutions on time and on budget – these were traits we carried over from our established illustration studio. Demand has been high and we can honestly say that all our commissions, whatever the size, have been a success by any measure.
For projects that are at an early HLF bid stage, or require extensive content development rather than being design led, we work very closely with the Heritage Now team. Find out more about them here.
Please visit our sister website maltingspartnership.com for details and examples of our illustration work, created for interpretation, publishing, advertising and industry.
HOW WE WORK
Our approach starts from a very simple understanding – that every project is unique and that the site must be at the centre of everything we do.
‘Spirit of Place’ – a simple term to describe everything that defines a site – must be clearly understood and inform all design development. Site visits are essential if we are to develop the appropriate ‘Visual Language’ – meaning how brand, typography, images, materials and palette sit within, recognise and reflect that Spirit of Place. The client team typically understand their site better than anyone, so meaningful dialogue from the outset is also essential to the process. But when we do properly understand that ‘Spirit of Place’ we can then set about defining the Visual Language, confident that what we create will have the absolute essence of the site at it’s core. In our experience, getting it right for the site means getting it right for the client team. Ultimately, of course, we are working for an on behalf of that client team, so satisfying their requirements is key to a successful outcome. Listening on both sides, honest communication, mutual respect for the expertise all parties bring to a project, and trust in our capability to deliver, together help to forge a robust working relationship that will yield truly wonderful results. This is what we strive to develop and maintain, from the very first point of contact to the day we sign off a scope as complete.
Please do not hesitate to call us if you have a project you would like to discuss, or if there is anything more you want to know about The Maltings Heritage Interpretation. You will find our contact details here.
The Multi-disciplinary Team:
As designers/illustrators our role is all things visual – creating the overall design of a scope, engaging visitors and encouraging them to learn about a site, it’s heritage and it’s stories. Over the years we have developed fruitful, ongoing relationships with a number of associate professionals who offer such skills as research, interpretive and activity planning, content development, scriptwriting and project management. Although all sole traders, latterly they have come together under the ‘umbrella’ of ‘Heritage Now’ and details about them and the services they offer can be found on their website. In addition, we have a growing network of useful contacts offering complementary skills, including sculpture, joinery, woodcarving and woodworking, mural art, animation, film-making, voiceovers, poetry, calligraphy, website development and multimedia installation.
The Team approach affords many advantages to the client which are worthy of consideration. A team is assembled according to the requirements of each project, meaning a budget is spent only on the skills a particular scope demands. The members of a team work together because they choose to do so out of mutual respect for the creativity, professionalism and particular expertise they each bring to a project. Clients are made aware of individual roles and responsibilities within the team from the outset as this transparency facilitates direct liaison and clear lines of communication. Further, there is the reassurance of knowing tasks are not delegated via managers or salespeople, ensuring instructions are not lost in translation. Finally, all members of the team know that maintaining their individual reputations means delivering work of an exceptional standard across the entirety of the scope – which can only benefit every project they are involved with.
Working with Us:
We believe that all our clients should have certain expectations from working with The Maltings Heritage Interpretation.
First and foremost, we recognise that the journey to the point where interpretation is commissioned is often long and arduous. Preparing and submitting the HLF Round 1 and 2 bids, securing funding from other sources, organising the build and restoration work that usually accompanies such projects, liaising with stakeholders, architects and other professionals… all these things take many hundreds of man hours and progress can be slow and stressful. Developing interpretation is the ‘home stretch’ – the winning line is in sight. As two creative professionals sharing a studio we are the very definition of the artisan approach, and our expertise is always included in the price. We are on hand to offer guidance, information and advice as required, to provide structure and clarity to the design process, and to delight the client team at every stage as the project progresses. We ensure costs are clearly itemised and typically only invoice for work as it is completed, providing regular cost updates as we go. We understand that interpretive budgets and schedules are fixed at the outset and so work hard to adhere to both our quoted costs and the timeframe to implementation. You will find us friendly and approachable, honest and reliable, and we genuinely love what we do. Trusting us to do the job and believing in our capability to deliver should always be the expectation. Our ultimate aim is always the same: When a project is complete and implemented, the client team’s expectations will not just have been met . . . they will have been surpassed.
If you require further information about us, how we work, or the commissioning and design development process please contact us here.