Adam Colp and James Oddy from Vize Creative discuss their fan-first approach to I.P.

Vize Creative’s founders James Oddy and Adam Colp on why their elevator pitch is their work

Adam and James, you guys are the co-founders at Vize Creative. How did it come about?
James: We founded Vize in 2016. We met as colleagues and friends while working for a large, in-house creative team at Disney. Adam worked on product; I worked on packaging. Working directly with the buying team, we were responsible for creating product from concept to final production. As with all large organisations, we fell victim to a huge restructure which saw all creative moved to the U.S. So we both went freelance…

Oh? You didn’t set up Vize right away?
Adam: No. For a short while, we just seemed to be working at the same places. Setting up Vize happened organically – starting with a chat in a Soho pub. It was a huge learning curve to start off, but now we’re seven years down the line with year-on-year organic growth.

And what’s your elevator pitch?
Adam: Our elevator pitch is our work – it really does speak for itself.

Very good! Let’s talk about the work, then. For context, whom do you count among your clients?
Adam: We’ve worked with many of the big character I.P. owners in the licensing industry: Pokémon, Universal, Warner Brothers, MGM… And last year we were named one of Hasbro’s top-five agencies to work with. Also, I believe we’re the only agency outside the US that Sega works with.

Adam Colp, James Oddy, Vize Creative

James: We’re also privileged to work with some very sophisticated I.P. – like Frida Kahlo, for example. We’re always adding new clients to our retained client base. We’ve been working directly with Marvel creative team in the US; we’ve really enjoyed working with Netflix – and we’re now working on some pre-school brands for Moonbug.

It’s quite the logo wall! When a brand, company or property comes your way, what’s the most important thing for you to know about it?
James: In my opinion, the most important part of an existing I.P. is: who are its fans and users? And what’s aspirational to those engaging with the brand? It’s so important because – when we’re working on a property that’s close to people’s hearts – we need to make sure we keep the identity and DNA of what fans love, while creating newness at the same time.

Because of this, we need to know what kind of lifestyle the fans have and what else they love. We can then lead their favourite I.P. towards those things. Collaboration culture has been integral in getting this right. You’ll often see brands struggle to stay relevant when a creative team fails to ‘get’ the brand DNA. It’s because the design is too generic; it doesn’t really have a meaning to back it up.

Vize has a reputation for producing fantastic style guides. Aren’t they all more or less the same, though?! Copy, paste… Done!
Adam: No, every single style guide is 100% bespoke! Style guides are the same in the respect that they all contain assets to be used on product and merchandise, placements, badges, patterns and so on. However, each guide we work on takes form after finding a trend, or graphic and illustrative direction…

Like all agencies, we use the usual trend forecasting sites to find a hook that will work with a brand for an upcoming quarter – but this doesn’t always translate well. We always prioritise the brand over the trend. So if, for instance, Aztec patterns are the biggest upcoming trend, it doesn’t mean it’ll work incorporating it into the I.P.

Adam Colp, James Oddy, Vize Creative

No; I can see that. Good answer. So tell me… Of your recent projects, which one – that you can talk about, obviously – represents the best of Vize Creative?
James: One that we can discuss was for Miramax via Evolution Licensing. We were briefed to create the American Psycho anniversary style guide…

Oh, wow!
Adam: Right? We couldn’t believe our luck – James and I are massive fans of the film, so we were buzzing. We obviously had to watch the film again and channel our inner ‘Patrick Bateman’. Ha! But maybe not too much! We went down a punky direction, with lots of iconic storytelling from the film. The guide has gone down really well – the product looks fantastic and we even had some of our artwork made into NFTs – one sold for $200k!

Brilliant. Let me ask you this… If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
Adam: I would have to be doing something creative, whether it’s designing, illustrating… Maybe creating NFTs, or something basketball related. I’m a massive lover of the sport, the culture and – of course – the sneakers.

James: As a creative mind, I have a million ideas and projects I’d love to get off the ground… Maybe when I retire. Other than that, I’d probably be a Naval Aviator.

All very achievable! Good answers. We need to wrap this up soon, chaps, but what’s the one question I should have asked you but didn’t?
James: There’s two… First, “How many steps do you have in your nighttime facial regime? You guys look great!”

Yeah. I might ask that… Just out of interest, what’s the other one?!
James: What do you do outside of work? We’re both keen sportsmen – Adam plays a lot of basketball; I enjoy cycling.

Adam Colp, James Oddy, Vize Creative

Perfect. Let’s finish with one last question: what’s next for you? What’s the future of Vize?
Adam: We’re doing well. We’ve been approached by investors with their own growth strategies and – while we considered this approach – the decision was to continue our organic approach.

James: We’ve really enjoyed exploring the Web3 space, working on V Friends NFTs. We’re also very excited about our collaboration with Russell Singler and Natasha Dyson on Advisory Bored – which is a licensed collaboration of BAYC holders. The style guide is really fun and flexible – we think it’s going to be a fantastic I.P.

Adam: In short, we love what we do and being our own boss! We’re really proud of Vize as it competes against much bigger agencies, and punches well above its weight… So we’ll be bringing on more clients, changing up I.P. and rising to new creative challenges. That’s what we love!

Fantastic stuff. Thanks James; thanks Adam.

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