Draw and Code: A Creative Company Creating Virtual Realities
It’s exciting to see city redevelopment and creative bright sparks really making a difference to urban Liverpool. Run down areas are becoming the places to be and entrepreneurs coming out of the cultural woodwork. It’s so exciting to see the myriad of talent rising from the phoenix-style ashes. Capital of Culture (2008) has seemingly left its legacy and having worked in Liverpool for over 12 years, I have seen the changes for the better unfold.
One of the tenacious technological newbies on Liverpool’s radar is the team behind Draw & Code. Pushing boundaries and offering innovative insights into projection, these guys specialise in wowing crowds with a portfolio pulsating projects.
From scintillating snowflakes for Liverpool’s Christmas activities in 2014, to pulling art from walls and onto people’s smart phones, a notable project of their’s was a partnership with The Critter Shed. This collaboration showcased a bespoke project, which brought images to life using specially programmed iPads and giving the viewer an enhanced interactive experience. (See video – link 2).
Phil Charncock, Marketing Manager at Draw and Code, says their “ideal project partners would be anybody who is open to anything innovative and exciting”. As a project-aholic, Phil encourages entrepreneurs and startups to have a conversation with him and the team as he says “it is likely that they’ll be able to create some sort of immersive experience” with them.
“What really fires us up is doing something new. So anything that creatively or technically takes us somewhere that we haven’t been before is welcome. We’re also trying to develop our own products in-house including AdGen digital signage software, a unique software tool for virtual reality developers called Companion, and a top secret augmented reality toy. Everybody at Draw & Code is passionate about getting our own work out there on our own terms.”
Draw & Code innovated further, surpassing expectations when they unveiled their new installation which forms part of the The Shankly Hotel’s visitor experience. This project presents a video wall displaying a timeline of Shankly’s ‘bastion’ vision and will delight any LFC fan.
“In the tech world the boundaries are always shifting. It’s important for us to keep up with the latest emerging technology, but to really make your mark you have to innovate.”
“One of our major focuses right now is to help virtual and augmented reality to hit the mainstream over the next year. To this end we have been developing software that we believe makes virtual reality more accessible by allowing anybody to join in the virtual experience no matter what kind of device you have.”
All too often the general mind set of many is that you have to set-up in London or Manchester to be considered as a competitor in your market, but nowadays you don’t. If you delve deep enough into the joinery of this city, you will see businesses blooming organically.
“Its such an exciting time to be working in the creative and tech scene in Liverpool.” He reviewed the fall-out with Sony as a positive and feels that Liverpool’s independent businesses are thriving. With initiatives like the Santander incubator and Launch22, Phil feels that these offer businesses a “recipe for success, with all the tools needed to put Liverpool on the map nationally and internationally as a hotbed of creative talent.”
“It’s great to be part of a city that is on the up. You can see it all around you. You don’t need to read reports to know what is happening. Although if you do you’ll see that we are being called ‘Startup City’ or that Liverpool boasts the second fastest growing tech sector of any city in the UK, although that may be to do with the figures being so low to start with.”
“After five years in business as Draw & Code we’ve never seen such a sense of community between companies in Liverpool. There is so little bitchiness and so much camaraderie.”
When we asked Phil about businesses being more creative in their marketing, Phil suggested that there are more ways to market what you do than there have ever been. “With virtual reality ramping up to be huge in 2015, that is yet another potential platform to reach your audience. Our advice to our clients is to use technology and creativity to either do something that’s never been done before or to use it to make something with a degree of utility. If you can tick one of those boxes then the marketing value will be higher.”
As for a business developing their offering using technology, “Draw & Code’s philosophy is that we are ready for the next step in tech right now. Look at virtual reality – all you need to enjoy it is a mobile phone and a piece of cardboard! OK, so you can get a better experience from an Oculus Rift headset, but the point is that businesses can leverage the tech that we all carry round in our pockets to do something new and exciting…..”.
Finally, we asked Draw & Code what they would say are the main ‘draws’ (excuse the pun) in terms of attracting new businesses to Liverpool…
“Relatively sane rents, plenty to see and do, a thriving creative community, top universities and colleges and importantly, it is a city with a global reputation. I always say that Liverpool is small enough to have community but large enough to have opportunity.”
Draw & Code’s Top Tips.
- You can apply for funding from Innovate UK.
- For funding in the private sector, try angel investors – these have enabled us to do the research and development that we need to move Draw & Code forward.
- Crowd-funding excites us also, it’s something that has opened up so many possibilities for the creative industries. Our first crowd-funded project is being developed as we speak with the help of alternative funding experts Juxdit.
- For goodness sake, don’t treat social media as an SEO tool! It’s your voice so make it sound like the kind of voice you would actually want to talk to.
Words: Sara Parker
Draw & Code: www.drawandcode.com