Koodoz Design

a blog about all things goudagood! Koodoz Design is a creative design studio based in Richmond, Melbourne. We help businesses unleash their full potential through visual communication and clever design.

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2011 in Summary

written by Marc Katsambis

23 Jan 2012

What a year!

It was, without doubt, the biggest year Koodoz had experienced to date and it came with a lot of ups and the obligatory sprinkling of downs.

All in all though, it was a fantastic year for the business, which saw a lot of growth through new project opportunities (with a workload to match). Subsequently this equalled an injected boost to our client base, which therefore required the need for new staff to join our team – welcome Rhett Luciani, our new Digital Designer. We also increased our presence at the attendance of several industry related conferences and meetings, which lead to the introduction of a bunch of local and international industry peers – all of which culminated into a very positive outcome for all of us at Koodoz Design.

In summary, here are some of our notable achievements for 2011:

Entering the Smartphone Development Market

In April, we launched (on behalf of our client) our very first iPhone app, called ‘Buy Aus Made’ (available via iTunes).

Although it required a steep learning curve for all of us, it was a really fun project to work on and ultimately gave us a good indication of what’s involved in offering this type of service for future clients. We’re currently in the process of developing a couple of other smartphone applications for ourselves, for public release, and we’re keeping an eye out for other potential ideas to work on.

Rubbing Shoulders

One of the many goals we set ourselves for the year (and for the foreseeable future), was to take a more active role in attending and participating in industry related events.

In June, we attended Future of Web Apps in Las Vegas. At this leading web-based conference, we got the chance to witness some fantastic speakers and meet with some of the web industry’s biggest Entrepreneurs, Angel Investors and Start-ups including Kevin Rose (Founder of Digg), Gary Vaynerchuck (of Jason Calacanis (Malhalo CEO, Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media), the super inspiring Tony Hsieh (Zappos CEO) and Werner Vogels (Amazon CTO).

We also got the opportunity to meet with some other really great web designers, developers and start-up guys including Garrett Gee from Scan and the chaps from Cheeky Monkey Media in Canada – a quick shout out to Rick and Gene!!

Back at home in September, we also had the opportunity of attending Semi-Permanent Melbourne. One of Australia’s most prominent conferences for all kinds of creatives, we got to see some really inspiring talks from Ken Taylor (Illustrator), Patrick Clair (Motion Graphics), Benja Harney (Paper Engineer), Platon (Photographer) and Scott Dadich (Condé Nast).

We also had the opportunity to catch up with a few friends from the industry and hang out over dinner with some of the guys from August Creative – a great bunch of peeps!

Some of our other gatherings throughout the year included meet-ups with a select few of Melbourne’s talented design folk from Dribbble, plus some other dev get-togethers at Jelly, which was a great way to see how a lot of Melbourne’s web creatives work on a day to day basis. Some of the great spaces we got to check out included Native Digital’s and Carter Digital’s offices in Fitzroy, the recently opened York Butter Factory in the CBD and Inspire 9′s co-working space in Richmond. If all goes to plan, we should be up for hosting another one of the next meet-ups at our new Abbotsford office.

Permanent Residency for Daniel

Another exciting tidbit of news we received mid-way through the year, was the official granting of Daniel’s permanent residency application. By directly sponsoring Daniel, we were all given the fantastic news that he was able to carry on living and working in Australia on a permanent basis.

Looks like the Colombian is here to stay for a little while longer – which we’re all really stoked about!

AWIA Finalists

Possibly one of the most exciting bits of news for the year, was discovering that we had been shortlisted as Finalists for the AWIA Eastern Region of Australia eCommerce Website of the year for our work on Camp Luxe.

Super chuffed by the nomination, we took a short trip up to Sydney to partake in the awards ceremony and got to mingle with some of Australia’s best in the web design industry.

Sadly, we didn’t come away with the grand prize, however, we were acknowledged for our hard work and were more than happy with the result of being shortlisted as one of the three best Australian websites in our field and will definitely be having another crack next year!

Holy Side Projects, Batman!

Over the years we’ve brainstormed and gathered a lot of great ideas for online products and services. We’ve also managed to apply a lot of these (read: all of these) to a ‘To Do List’, where they have sat festering and collecting dust, never to see the light of the day.

In 2011, we decided to change this and make a conscious effort to take action. Utilising the talented skillsets that we have, it would be a great shame not to develop some of these ideas, for fun and potentially, for profit.

To get the ball rolling (no pun intended) we started our first project off by developing a fun homage to our favourite film and lorem ipsum, with the creation of LebowskiIpsum. We’ve also commenced the development of a Table Tennis Scoring App, which we hope to launch in early 2012. Visit playwiffwaff.com for more info.

From One Corner of Richmond to Another

Well, it came sooner than we expected, but we managed to outgrow the office in Cremorne. Which meant, we needed to find somewhere that could house our growth, plus the guys from Bugherd and suggestions, for the next few years. Taking the plunge, we found and leased a fantastic old red brick warehouse in the gentrifying suburb of Abbotsford (in between North Richmond and Collingwood).

At first glance, the building was literally a shell. A barebones, rundown old building. For us, it was like striking gold. The potential it presented to occupy and renovate was exactly what we were looking for. Since the beginning of December, we’ve been madly renovating the space to turn it into a beautiful, open plan office that can house up to 18 people or more.

Here’s a list of the hard work we’ve put in to improve the office space:

  • re-painting all the doors and trimmings
  • painting 2 walls white and distressing walls (this was a tricky method to master – I may even write a blog post about this)
  • creating a 5m W x 1.5m H meeting room chalkboard wall
  • building a 7m long bench as a standing work station area for up to 4 people
  • hand sanding, staining and lacquering 14 desks
  • bond-creting every inch of red brick wall to harden the brick and mortar and reduce dust
  • grinding a bucket load of dyna-bolts off of the concrete floor
  • diamond-grinding 140m sq of concrete (3 passes) and preparing (vacuuming, sweeping, washing, scrubbing, mopping & cleaning) the concrete floor for sealing (this was back breaking work!)
  • applying 2 coats of polyurethane enamel floor sealer for an amazing polished concrete finish – and managing to get extremely high during the process
  • rewiring the entire factory to accommodate 18 work stations (sitting and standing), a new kitchen area, meeting room with TV and server area
  • a new security system installed
  • new door locks and a new back door
  • re-paint the bathroom, utility room and existing kitchen area – plus some bond-creting and plastering of holes and cracks – plus we hand-made some pine framed, opaque perspex window covers
  • new hot water system installed
  • installed new ceiling and insulation…

There’s still a few things we need to do, but this should allow us to work comfortably in the new space for the short-term and allow us t finesse the aesthetic details over time…

Some of the additional task we need to complete, include:

  • expanding the kitchen area with a Kitchen bench for food preparation
  • building a wall to separate the kitchen area from working area
  • build another wall to enclose the server and printer area
  • purchase a lounge suite for the meeting and TV area
  • buy an assortment of indoor plants…

Far out! Frisbee

As it has now become a tradition, the challenge for Koodoz Design to create a unique Christmas gift for our clients had crept up on us again, and as usual, it has become and increasingly hard task – but we love it!

Over the last few years, we’ve put together some really fun and useful pressies for our clients, and this year was no exception.

With the intention of topping [last year's crowd favourite], we racked our noggins until we came up with an idea that was not only Koodoz ‘brandable’, but was also a great way to celebrate summer and the holiday season outdoors with friends and family. Based on this criteria, we chose the timeless and alway-fun, Frisbee. But not just any Frisbee… oh no, no, no! We went and sourced only the finest Frisbee that money could buy – the pro-grade 175g Ultimate Frisbee – direct from the USA. We then, naturally, made sure it was a red frisbee and designed a faux-brand called the ‘Koodoz Kollider’ – another tradition we’ve happily adopted – which was applied to all 100 discs.

To package the disc and ship them out, we sourced some 11″ white Pizza Boxes and bradded those too (screen-printed). Then bow-tied each box with red Koodoz ribbon and a personalised Marty McFly themed Christmas card to each of our clients, suppliers and supporters.

Based not he wonderful feedback we’ve received from our clients, this year’s gift has already proved to be a soaring success and we can personally vouch that the Kollider has been a blast to play with over the summer!!

As usual, the challenge now is to see what crazy idea we can come up with for next years gift. Stay tuned.

All in All

To conclude, 2011 was a fantastic year and 2012 is already setting up to deliver some amazing results. We’re already looking at an action-packed return to work in mid January and we’re all super excited about working from the new space. Overall, I’m very optimistic about what the rest of 2012 will bring us and I’m positive we’ll be able to take it all in our stride.

Let the fun begin!

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