A coffee with Alan Long

Welcome back to our agency profile series. Over a fresh coffee, we’re sitting down with our best and brightest to understand more about what drives the creativity in our teams, and what their daily grind looks like.

This week we spoke to our Digital Designer, Alan Long. Alan works at the intersection of our creative and digital teams, designing custom interfaces and web-based solutions to support and drive the brand experience online. Alan shares his passion for coding, professional milestones at Cheerful Twentyfirst, and some advice for digital designers starting out.

What’s your perfect morning brew?
I tend to be a no-frills tap water kind of guy.

What is your most memorable brand experience or digital campaign?
Working with Google has been a big deal for me. They have set the bar for high-quality, user-friendly digital experiences. Taking lead as Digital Designer for their recent campaign work—including building a platform that integrates with all their existing digital products—was really exciting, as well as a professional milestone.

Combing through Google’s portfolio of products and services, understanding how they approach design, learning how they weave their brand across all online touchpoints, and then applying these learnings to custom builds and new technology integration. The whole process was really enjoyable and getting positive feedback from the client was brilliant.

Tell us more about your role
My focus is amplifying digital experiences for our agency clients. I work across platforms, interfaces, and new technologies to custom code and build custom virtual experiences for audiences around the world. A big part of that delivery is through KIT.

I have a strong understanding of the nuts and bolts of digital so am involved fairly early in the consultation phase of any integrated project. Once I understand what the event objectives are, I can advise our clients on how we can best reach those outcomes online. It’s a very collaborative process in those early phases which I really enjoy. When all parties are happy with the fundamentals of the design, I code it into existence.

I also have an eye on the future as Cheerful Twentyfirst grows its agency ambitions in digital experiences and solutions.

What are you currently working on? 
We have a host of upcoming digital projects, each very diverse in scale and creativity. I’m working with a global media brand to explore how we make tactile brand experiences—like a live consumer activation—into a compelling virtual experience. I’m not sure I can say much more than that right now.

Who would be your ideal mentor & why? 
I’ve always looked to architecture for design inspiration; Renzo Piano is a particular favorite of mine. I am amazed by his versatility and creative problem-solving. It’s easy to find yourself designing solutions to the wrong problems, but his ability to put aside previous success and approach new work with clear eyes and an open mind is impressive.

Despite that very little of Renzo’s work would directly translate to digital design, having the chance to shadow him would be brilliant. It would be fascinating to understand how he works through a complex problem and see his creative process firsthand.

Do you have a work mantra? What is it?
To someone starting out in coding, having confidence in your ideas is difficult but back them. I try to focus on progress rather than product. Whilst the early ideas aren’t perfect, they’re much better than the one you had before so who knows what you’ll come up with next!