Creating content for an energy company
National Energy Services
Visual identity, learning & development, film & editing, motion graphics, UI design, publication
National Energy Services (NES) is the UK’s home for independent energy assessors for residential, commercial and under construction properties. They promote the highest standards of quality through training from industry experts, user-friendly software and technical support.
NES required all their content to be updated in order to remain true to their high-quality standards by giving their products a modern look. This included all their eLearning courses, sales and marketing material, technical videos and specifically the new app they were developing. They also needed to bring consistency to their brand across the organisation and streamline their processes in order to remain competitive within their market.
Users & audience
The target users for this brand were primarily energy assessors who were signed up to the NES scheme and required continuous professional development in order to retain their license to assess the energy score of properties through an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This audience group were from a mix of backgrounds from the age of 18 onwards with preferences towards technical detail. Anything that was to be designed had to be to the point and visually appealing. The secondary audience were people that were yet to join the scheme, this included users who were training to become energy assessors and those who were yet to make the career change.
I was hired as Creative Content Producer, reporting to the various heads of departments for respective content and straight to the Managing Director for the stylistic direction of the products. I was tasked with updating the company’s eLearning library and technical videos, as well as the UI design for their mobile app. I was also tasked with supporting other departments with design services that would help them market their services better. This included responsibilities such as the brand’s visual identity, UI design and learning and development.
The visual identity work for NES didn’t include creating a logo, as they already had established themselves within their market. However, they required logos for their sub brands and consistency in visual identity across their products. I first started by breaking down the company’s logo into its constituent parts including typeface, colour tone, shape and communicating idea. I then workshopped ideas with members of the various teams who worked on the sub brands to understand the functionality and values associated with them. This allowed me to create imagery that would help to communicate what each brand did without the need of the name. I then pulled a colour palette for each brand from their respective products and then set about making a suite of logos that were similar in style, but different in appearance. Next, I assigned a modernised typeface for all text, as there was not consistency across the organisation. For this I used the typeface that the developers were using with their app development as this was the only area of the business that a consistent style had been followed. Once the visual identity was signed off by the Managing Director, I proceeded to create brand guidelines and all the instances of the logos required by the business.
Learning & development
As part of this project, the company’s eLearning library required a major upgrade in order to meet modern expectations of digital learning. When I arrived, the library was made up of basic PowerPoint files put through Articulate Rise, although this was a quick way for NES to create learning content, the quality and therefore the impact the training left a lot to be desired. In order to create effective training, I began with research and took the course to become an energy assessor. This allowed me to understand the subject matter in depth, as well as the experience learners would go through, and importantly see where the gaps lay experience-wise in becoming an energy assessor. Following this I ran a workshop with a focus group of recently graduated assessors and understood the user issues and therefore what training was required. Next, I made a eLearning template in Articulate Storyline aligning with the brand’s visual identity. I then took the common content from the Articulate Rise files and pulled it into the Storyline template. Finally, I worked with the Head of Technical Training to make sure the topics covered, and the information within, was still relevant and necessary and that any gaps in knowledge, such as changes to guidelines etc. were accounted for. Once the template and the library were signed off, I replaced all the old files with new interactive, engaging and modern content.
Film & editing
As part of upgrading the company’s eLearning library I was required to create rich media content in the form of ‘how to’ videos, walkthroughs and technical explanations. I also filmed and edited videos to support their app and live presentations at their road show events. This helped to promote their products and supported the customers who used them, while the live event filming allowed the company to reach those who couldn’t get to the event. This was important because the event would count as continuous professional development hours that the assessors were required to amass every year to keep their license.
To create familiarity with NES’ visual identity, I created a consistent look to all the intros, outros and transitions for the videos. I also used motion graphics in the eLearning template and created 3D animation in Cinema 4D in order to communicate advanced construction concepts.
Working on user interface design for NES was by chance, as it wasn’t part of the original mandate of the project work. Instead, it was requested of me by the Managing Director for the NES Touch app project when the design agency they were working with failed to deliver on time. As a result, I was passed all the design work still to be completed and worked closely with the development team in doing so. To start with I provided all the immediate changes to the original draft designs requested of the design agency. I then worked on improving what they already had to make sure it aligned with the company’s wider visual identity and to bring consistency so that the product and the company aligned visually. Beyond this I created an icon set and also material to help with the app’s deployment.
The last department that I delivered design work for was the Sales and Marketing department. They required their Auto Assessor Pro marketing assets to be improved beyond a few PowerPoint pages. I first ran a workshop with one of the senior sales representatives to work out ideas of how we could better deliver the selling points of the product to the potential customers. I learnt the dynamics of how the sales usually occurred, what marketing channels worked best and what the customers preferences were. From this we arrived at the idea of creating a short brochure which would improve the quality of sales pitch and allow potential customers to take information away. I took the information from the PowerPoint and then placed it into a brochure template I created in InDesign and then sourced a printer who could deliver the quantity required at a competitive price.
My time at NES was productive for both myself and the company. Most importantly I brought brand consistency to the company, developing brand guidelines with a strong visual identity across all their products. This was important because with a stronger brand presence it improved their reach and inevitably their revenue. I revamped their entire eLearning library and helped complete their app, both these products generated profit immediately. The NES Touch app digitised the energy assessment process, removing the need for their customers to create a paper trail during their energy assessments and connecting data straight to the central database, a big step forwards in the energy industry, as they were the first out of their competitors to do so. The Managing Director was very pleased with the changes brought to the company, the improvement of processes and the brand’s quality allowed them to get out ahead of their competition and become an industry leading organisation.