Creating content for a surveying school
Visual identity, UI design, film & editing, motion graphics, publication, marketing & advertisement
SAVA stands for Surveyors and Valuers Accreditation, a residential surveying firm. They offer the Home Condition Survey to homeowners and industry recognised qualifications for people wishing to venture into the world of residential surveying.
SAVA required their face-to-face residential surveying course to be digitised in order to drive up the course success rate and increase the general interest in the course. Through working with the official residential surveying body RICS, the course needed a certain pass rate in order to be officially recognised and therefore better advertised through official channels. As well as digitising the course, SAVA also required design services in their Technical Learning and Marketing departments. The Technical Learning department would help to support the course, while the Marketing department would help to sell it.
Users & audience
The target users for this brand were primarily the learners who had already bought the course and were looking to pass and become Residential Surveyors. This audience group were from a mix of backgrounds between the ages of 18 – 55 and was broad and nonspecific. Anything that was to be designed had to be relatable, to the point and visually appealing. The secondary audience were people that were yet to buy into the course. SAVA targeted certain industries which were relatable to surveying but again the audience were broad and nonspecific.
I was hired as Creative Content Producer, reporting to the Head of Surveying and the Head of Marketing. I was tasked with digitising the entire surveying course, as well as creating any supporting materials and digital assets that would help the learners pass the course. I was also tasked with supporting the Marketing department with design services that would help them market the course better. This included responsibilities such as the brand’s visual identity, film and editing and marketing and advertisement.
When I arrived on this project, SAVA already had a logo that they had been using since their conception and because of this, the visual identity work didn’t include creating a logo. However, what they didn’t have was consistency across the organisation in terms of colour palette and typeface. I first started working on the typography, colour palette and general brand guidelines. I pulled the colour palette from the logo itself with the dominant colour being teal and secondary being blue. I next assigned a modernised typeface for all text, as there was not consistency across the brand. For this I used Proxima Nova as it is versatile, modern and impactful. In order for the logo to become more rectangular, and to give the school exposure, I added the strap line ‘School of Surveying’ underneath the SAVA brand. This was well received as before then all SAVA was asked was “what does SAVA stand for?”. Once this was signed off by the Head of Surveying, I proceeded to create brand guidelines and all the instances of the logo required by the business and I also created an icon set.
Film & editing
For the challenge of digitising the classroom course, I began by attending and filming the entire course. This was over 200 hours’ worth of footage that once edited became 48 videos split into 12 sections with 4 parts. The videos were uploaded to the company’s Vimeo account and deployed to the learners through OneFile. This not only helped the learners to revise and view the day if they missed it, but also allow the company to sell a digital version to customers who were not on the mainland. Once the entire course was available, I worked with one of the lecturers to create supplementary videos, helping to communicate the more difficult concepts. This included subjects such as flat roof construction and drainage systems, both of which would always remain hidden for a surveyor as Residential Surveying is non-invasive. To help with this I used After Effects to create motion graphics to sit on top of footage and explain concepts.
Along with the motion graphics to help explain complex concepts, I created all the intros, outros and transitions for the videos in order to create familiarity with SAVA’s visual identity.
Another supplementation to the SAVA course is a quarterly magazine called the Technical Bulletin designed to aid surveyors using the Home Condition Survey. When I arrived, this was made in Microsoft Word with little design style and I was asked if I could improve it. I started by running competitor analysis on magazines from within the industry and current magazine trends from the publishing industry. I then created a template in InDesign from a mood board created from the results of the analysis and added SAVA’s visual identity. Once this template was signed off it made it easy moving forward for SAVA to produce a consistently professional looking magazine. As well as the Technical Bulletin I created the SAVA Prospectus for the course using the same techniques and program.
Marketing & advertisement
After completing the digitisation of the surveying course, I was redeployed into the Sales and Marketing department in order to support their efforts in driving sales of the course to new learners. I created all their marketing designs in line with the visual identity, including advertising in various publications, infographics for their marketing packs and event peripherals such as banners, flyers and office merchandise that were used in their open days. I was also asked to design multiple social media posts in line with their social media strategy.
The final department I ended up designing for was Software Development. In being deployed here, the company saved time and money from having to go external for design services, as I was asked to work on the UI design for their surveyor software, the Home Condition Survey. The program was quite far along when I was asked to contribute, this meant that time for research and analysis was limited and I had to do my best to bring UX thinking to something that was practically developed. Although I couldn’t influence the function, I had complete influence over the layout. I employed Gestalt and design theory to make sure the elements involved in the program aided the user experience. This was placed in a prototype within InVision so that the developers could see the design in action. With a few tweaks to the stylisation the developers were happy, and I supplied them with the graphics required.
There were many outcomes from this project as I worked on it for quite a while. Firstly, to date the course has had a 100% success rate, which the Head of Surveying has attributed to the digitisation of the course. In using my services to do so the company saved over £80k, which was the lowest offer from the external agencies they had approached prior to my arrival. With the consistent visual identity used across all channels the brand has grown in recognition and has been accepted by RICS as an official course. SAVA was given access to many more marketing channels and remains today as the only route to becoming a Residential Surveyor other than spending time and money through a university course.