Back in 2019, when we finally moved into our new design studio at the Duke of Wellington on Lincoln’s Broadgate, we had grand plans for a big party in 2020. After 25 years of trading and having considerably outgrown our old building on West Parade, we had put an enormous amount of energy into transforming and restoring an abandoned pub (which was also one of Lincoln’s foremost music venues) into a new home for Optima. The location was incredible; it was a vastly creative space for us to work our magic in and we even had a car park! We were certainly in the mood to celebrate our big move and then Covid-19 took over, and all plans screeched to a halt.
The onset of a global pandemic was a scary thing. It was a tumultuous time for all businesses, one of great uncertainty and change, and it was certainly a challenging time for Optima. We had only just properly embedded the team into our new environment with all its space and light and collaborative working areas, when suddenly the world was sent to work from home. Our building was no longer the central focus of our activities and we had to rapidly adapt. It forced us to remember that it was our people that mattered most.
Fortunately, having worked remotely with our overseas clients for a number of years, we already had the technology in place, along with the empathy and synergy, to make the transition and adapt with a dispersed team. We don’t make physical things as such; we make ideas, brands, graphics, and websites which live on computers or in the cloud. Perhaps this is why the transition to full remote working was relatively easy for us.
Thankfully, despite the virus, demand for our work increased during 2020 and 2021, largely because businesses wanted a new or upgraded website and digital marketing materials to go with them. After all, if you weren’t trading online during that time, you weren’t trading at all!
Optima has always sought to make a positive difference in what we do; design effectiveness is our watchword, and this was never truer than at the height of the pandemic. Being based in Lincolnshire we have always worked in the agri-food sector, and at that time those businesses faced very particular challenges around ensuring food security as well as recruitment and distribution issues.
Throughout, our team worked incredibly hard to help our food clients to continue to communicate effectively with their suppliers and customers, and at the same time to emphasise recruitment and make their campaigns work harder than ever.
But it wasn’t just the agri-food sector - we also work in global health, innovative engineering and education through our schools, colleges and university work, facilitating the education of the next generation. In all cases, we helped our clients to continue communicating with their audiences and to excel.
In a post-pandemic world, Optima is thriving. We’ve embraced hybrid working and The Duke of Wellington is proving to be an airy, highly flexible space which meets all of our very varied needs. The future is bright (after all, we work in a pub where Pulp, The Killers and Biffy Clyro once played), and you can often find us enjoying a drink at the bar after 5pm on a Friday.
If anyone fancies a drink, you’re very welcome to drop us a line and come and join us…