Dundee family business expands international reach working with leading private equity firm

18th October 2022

A Dundee design studio has built a global portfolio after developing its relationship with a leading London private equity firm.

Creative Graffix, based beside Dundee Airport, is working with a host of international clients across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America through its relationship with the PE fund Bluewater.

Richard Smyth, Director of Creative Graffix said: “We are very proud that our team in Dundee can serve so many brands across the world. It shows the power of good work can match – and even outperform – bigger agencies down south.

“It’s great to work with a company like Bluewater whose standards on design and presentation are so high.”

The Bluewater relationship was developed by Richard with Frazer Blyth, Director of Investor Relations and Marketing, who commutes to London from Broughty Ferry. Originally Creative Graffix worked directly on the Bluewater brand, but their client base has spread across many of the 20 or so companies in Bluewater’s portfolio.

The latest work saw projects completed this summer for ValvTechnologies in the US and MCE Group in the UK. They have also done work for Unique Group, Severn and EXLOG, all in the energy sector.

One of their other recent projects was producing Bluewater’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report. This details how Bluewater’s companies are impacting society, the environment and how they assess their accountability. All portfolio companies are measured against key performance indicators aligned to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment which Bluewater signed and adopted in 2020.

Creative Graffix produced high quality print and digital versions of the report which was used by Bluewater across the world.

Lucinda Delaney, Marketing and Comms Coordinator for Bluewater, said: “Our ESG activity is central to Bluewater’s philosophy, and we wanted this report to reflect all the hard work we have done in this area. We were delighted with the result.”

Richard said: “This was an incredibly important piece of work for Bluewater, and we put in many dozens of hours into making sure it reflected the aims and achievements of their companies.”

The output for Bluewater helped Creative Graffix secure other brand work from leading companies closer to home in Dundee including Henderson Loggie, Walker Dunnett and Thorntons Wealth.

Serving companies all over the world from Dundee has presented few issues for Creative Graffix. Even before Covid forced many companies to adapt to working online, Creative Graffix was already conducting global business through screens.

Dealing with companies around the world sometimes means taking cultural considerations into account. The Creative Graffix team have seen some countries value new cutting-edge design and others favour more traditional approaches to visual representation of their brand and their work.

Lead Graphic Designer Russell Milne said: “We are often asked how a design company from Dundee is involved with a global company like Bluewater. I can understand why people ask that, but we are a small, focused studio and that can suit bigger portfolio businesses who like to deal directly with the design team. We’re able to do everything from Dundee – so we’ve missed out on any far-flung work trips!

“With us, you are not dealing with an account manager, brand manager, or any of the other fluff and sales speak that comes from engaging with a big design studio. We just get the job done.”

Russell leads the team looking at Bluewater’s portfolio. Often, they spend time upgrading and developing existing brand design rather than starting from scratch.

He said: “Logo design and brand identity can often be one of the first things a business sets up but, ten years down the line, the inconsistencies become clear, and the work needs to be revisited. Working with Bluewater is often as much about reflecting and
reinforcing the change in ownership to portfolio companies as it is about enhancing visual communications.”

“Brand development does not have to be all about starting from scratch again and I think that common misconception can put people off addressing it. It can be about working with existing assets and improving and adapting them to create a modern story for the business.”

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