By his own admission, Richard Silvester has had a colourful past. Birmingham-born, he started out as “a bit of a digital nomad, living and working abroad before settling in London”.
In 2005, inspired by David Beckham’s purchase of a black standard-size Hummer H2, the entrepreneur launched HummerHummer, an agency that hired out a fleet of pimped-up pickup trucks with interactive screens to celebrities, brands and production companies. The highlights? “Having the Apprentice girls in for the day washing the Hummers, and touring with JLS for The X Factor final tour.”
Discovering new ways of keeping audiences informed
After a stint managing digital presence for a roster of global acts at Sony Music, Richard had witnessed his fair share of meetings, presentations and reports. “The record industry was a training ground to see how departments and people connect in a rapid environment – time was precious. I started distilling processes, presenting infographics and connecting content to insights to help get to what really matters. This made me curious – surely there’s an easier, more compelling way for large organisations to keep audiences informed?”
This led Richard to start an agency devoted to visualised data. Illustrious pioneers of the infographic include Florence Nightingale, who represented the number and causes of deaths during each month of the Crimean War in a coxcomb chart (a combination of a bar chart and a pie chart), as part of an attempt to persuade Queen Victoria to improve conditions in military hospitals.
We’re a data-led content strategy agency that explains, entertains and inspires audiences through the use of succinct visuals.
Richard Silvester, Infogr8
Richard is doing much the same thing as Florence with Infogr8. “We’re a data-led content strategy agency that explains, entertains and inspires audiences through the use of succinct visuals,” he explains.
From Club Workspace to Clerkenwell Workshops
The agency was launched in Club Workspace in the summer of 2012. The team was small, composed of Richard, plus a journalism graduate and an ex-Telegraph information designer. But business soon took off and now they are developing fast towards becoming a mid-sized agency. “Useful, informed content is booming, as brands are waking up to our content offering,” says Richard. “We’ve gone from strength to strength.”
In search of more room, and a dedicated office space, the team moved into Clerkenwell Workshops two years ago. “We liked the flexibility Workspace gave us,” Richard explains, adding, “We love the fact we’re a one-minute walk from a melting pot of interesting architectural developments, and just around the corner from a slightly wilder Shoreditch scene.”
It’s likely that Infogr8 will be taking advantage of Workspace’s commitment to offer a variety of spaces to growing companies. Richard has plans to double the size of the team and “bolster the talent across data, creative and distribution” within the next year. In three years he expects to be running a large agency at the forefront of trends in the data industry.
Connected content is a big area of focus right now and key to being able to stand out.
Richard Silvester, Infogr8
And what are those trends? “Brands are shifting towards fast-moving, immersive formats. Connected content is a big area of focus right now and key to being able to stand out.” He also stresses the importance of understanding the data and how people are interacting with it. “Data journalism is going mainstream, proprietary content tools are growing but brands still can’t get to grips with how their content is actually performing on a more granular [detailed] level. It’s a transforming market and we’re keen to push at the forefront of it.”
The variety of businesses that have called on Infogr8 for help with displaying their data in the most accessible and attractive way possible is quite amazing. As well as producing graphics for the Greater London Authority and London City Airport, Infogr8 recently helped produce a report for Sainsbury’s on the outlook for rosé; apparently it’s rosy, accounting for 10 per cent of all still wines sold at the supermarket, with a 12.4 per cent increase in sales in July. And while the West Midlands is one of the areas in the UK where rosé is most popular, Londoners, relatively, aren’t too keen on the tipple.
But there’s one Workspace-based business in particular that Infogr8 would love to work with, Richard confesses: Citymapper, based at Cargo Works, “or any organisation for that matter who lead with data and are disruptive in the space.” Given Infogr8 have just been nominated twice in the Content Marketing Awards, it seems that description holds quite well for them too.
Clerkenwell Workshops is nestled in the heart of Farringdon, just five minutes’ walk from the tube and train station. Each stripped-back studio features wooden floorboards, exposed industrial details and large windows, making it particularly popular with the traditional craft and design businesses – as well as new media, design and architectural firms – that give the area its eclectic flavour. If you’d like to arrange a viewing our available units, click here.