From Worcestershire to the global stage: How Tristan Palmer grew his business with CC

Tristan Palmer is the director of Worcestershire-based Tristan Palmer Studio, and a Creative Commission devotee. He uses CC to forge new client relationships, enabling his business to ‘step up a weight division’ and work with bigger clients on sexier, more lucrative projects.

He’s been with us for two years, had a few big wins and estimates his overall Creative Commission ROI at over 3000%. Yes, three thousand per cent. Or as Christian Bale might say in The Big Short: ‘3000 bucks on the dollar.’ Not bad, eh? I’ll take a piece of that action.

CC: Tell us a bit about your business, Tristan

TP: “We specialise in branding, web design and development. Inevitably though, our work spans design for print, digital, exhibitions, animation and some video too. We work with clients in various sectors, not just music. About 35% of our clients are local, the rest are further afield.
“In the local vicinity, there’s not a lot of appreciation for design. At times it can be an uphill battle to get people to understand the difference between bad and good design, and the value it can add to their businesses. The people you connect with on Creative Commission, they already have a burning need for great design, so it’s a completely different atmosphere.
“We’re primarily about working with typography, art direction, imagery and colours to give a band or label their own distinct visual personality. Essentially, we’re bringing the same level of creative concepts and ideas as more fine-art orientated one-man bands, but with a solid commercial grounding, and an understanding of why our work needs to be effective on a business level. I think this approach really separates us from other studios and individuals who specialise in purely music.”

Did you always want to work in the music industry?

“Yeah. Growing up, I tried my hand at every instrument going — and failed miserably. Some of my friends are in rock bands locally, and it sprung from there really — a few logos, helping out with a bit of merchandise. In the early days our portfolio was more corporate-focussed, and it was always in my mind to try and tackle more creatively-driven work and land some music clients. When I came across Creative Commission on Twitter, I thought it would be worth a go.”

What your first CC gig?

“Knife Party. Have you seen the glitchy, fidgety visuals on their Youtube video? That initial concept was created by us. It was all done at very short notice, and it wasn’t a huge gig, but it set a precedent, and we haven’t looked back.”
Tell us about your work with Sony Music.

“Well I’m honour-bound not say too much, but there was a branding brief on CC that really caught my eye. We pitched and won, and the end results received a lot of global attention. From my experience, I’d say the jobs that go on Creative Commission are the tip of the iceberg — once you’ve established relationships, you can find yourself getting the call for other things. As long as you impress, of course!”

That’s why Creative Commission is such a great platform — it’s your chance to get in front of everybody

And it’s led to more work, right?

“Loads more. We more recently applied for a brief on CC from an American company based in Illinois, and won that, it’s fair to say a large part of that was down to the success of our Sony work; that project has since lead to another digital project we’re currently working on for them. We’ve also been invited to pitch for other stuff of the back of it, for a broad range of clients. We’re currently waiting on the results for another massive web project we’ve pitched for and crossing our fingers that it will actually happen, working with a huge American artist and producer, who I’ve been a massive fan of for years.

“The thing about working on projects with big companies is that, however many people are involved, you’re only going to have a working relationship with a couple of them. You might get recommended and work with new people, but you’re never going to meet the whole marketing department. That’s why Creative Commission is such a great platform — it’s your chance to get in front of everybody within that company, outside of the teams you have existing relationships with.”


Our ROI has been over 3000% with CC

How would you describe the effort-to-conversion ratio of Creative Commission?

“You have to put your best shot into winning the briefs, sure. But compared to the other way, ringing round and emailing, your chances of success are substantially increased. You know you’re connecting with people that have a legitimate, and often ongoing, need for great design. Which means they have an automatic appreciation for what we do — you generally don’t get that with the usual prospecting methods.

“I think it’s unrealistic to think a small company like us could be winning briefs from major labels in any other way, at this still relatively early stage in our business’ life. In terms of return on investment, CC has been huge for us [he does some quick sums in his head], without disclosing too much, I’d say, roughly, over the two years I’ve been involved, our ROI has been over 3000%.”

Who would you like to work with in the future?

“I’ve always got a wish-list as long as my arm (I’m 6’7, so that’s fairly long!). But currently dream gigs would be to work with Warp Records, Benji B or Ministry of Sound. Oh, and of course the American artist I’m not allowed to mention… but that one might actually happen! So many really, I’ve got really eclectic tastes — you should hear our Spotify playlists day-to-day in the studio, it’s all over the place; everything from Shigeto and Four Tet to MF Doom, Skepta, and JME — they would most definitely be dream gigs too, I’ve got so much respect for the way they’re creating their own path through the industry, whilst maintaining their artistic integrity.”

Find out more about Tristan Palmer Studio