HMGOV - UK Transition/Brexit

Social and Digital Campaign - 2020/21

Digital and Motion Design of Social, TV, DOOH and Online Display Banners for the HM & UK Government’s Transition period, also known as Brexit. Setting up workflows and design rules, in Adobe XD to run the various aspects of this incredibly fast-moving and changing campaign. Helping streamline a small but agile team to deliver signed off artwork and builds, before they are sent to a production agency to roll out.
 

This was a mammoth campaign, with multiple sources of information, often changing daily with new government messaging from within their many departments. We had to design a robust style that could evolve with the messaging throughout the campaign’s phases, as well as quickly signing off internally, multiple versions before they were sent on to the government departments for final sign-offs. There were lots of sensitive issues and wordings, not too mention the use of imagery, which further complicated the project, but it was down to us to quickly implement these changes each time, so everyone on the team had full transparency of where we were.

There were 5 separate phases across the whole campaign to reflect the timing of the transition period and the actions that the campaign needed to highlight and draw the viewer to the relevant information. There was a gentle rollout late summer using targeted advertising, that progressed with more urgency as the deadline for Brexit was due. Probably the most difficult aspect of the production and account side of this was the uncertainty of any deal and the ever-changing rules and advice that was being presented. This carried over post-Brexit as the new rules for various targeted groups were teased, particularly amongst Hauliers, Importers and Exporters who had new guidelines and documentation to complete. 

Whether this was multiple XD boards, brought into presentation decks, or animated examples for the various sizes needed for online video, to static responsive website skins and Google Web Developer banner builds. Time was always running out on this campaign, but the team at Mullen Lowe Profero was more than up to the challenge.

The bulk of the work was based around Adobe XD and then packaged up for digital coding by an external production agency. While it has many benefits over the traditional way of building the frames out in photoshop layers, there were still plenty of problems we encountered with the software. Obviously having a large canvas space to layout multiple frames and the way XD handles this is great, and our team relied on the co-editing space to collaboratively work on the files across numerous documents. Photoshop is just so clunky and time-consuming in these respects for digital assets and the handover leaves a lot to be desired. Newer digital design tools like XD, Sketch and Figma are much more suited to these campaigns. We were able to quickly iterate routes and provide alternative versions at a very fast pace, to keep up with the ever-pressing deadlines.

Although there were still problems within the workflow, inherent across all these new digital software apps. Notably with pixel precision and how it handles and displays text, XD still has a long way to go and we found as it was continuously updated, new bugs and stability issues crept in and changes to co-editing features and the way it handles certain components proved to be painful and time consuming for the team. Although give me XD all day long over photoshop. The real benefit with XD over Sketch or Figma, is it’s one-click integration into After Effects and export out to GWD, enabling rapid testing and proofs for signing off internally and with the various GOV departments requesting these builds.

There was also multiple TV and DOOH requests, especially around the Time Is Running Out phase which was the run-up to the Brexit deadline. With no agreement made this was particularly challenging for the team, as the messaging would constantly evolve and the targeted priorities would change in importance too. Also to factor in was Covid measurements and rules, particularly around Hauliers and trading.

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