IT’S out with the old and in with the new at a North East digital firm, celebrating rapid business growth with a fresh new look.

New contracts, new recruits and a sharp new brand are helping cement Sunderland-based Consult and Design’s reputation as one of the region’s best website developers, as the firm marks its rapid growth from a two-man tech team to a squad of nine super-skilled specialists.

The web developers have enjoyed growth of 400% over the last four years, counting the likes of Nissan, Sunderland City Council and Northern Education among its many clients. 

It is also launching a recruitment drive for a new project manager, as demand for the firm’s services continues to grow. 

The company is one of the region’s foremost website and web application developer using the Drupal platform – an open-source content management framework that is based around collaboration and the sharing of ideas, development and innovation.

However, it’s not so much the technology that keeps directors Adam Hill and David Van der Velde at the cutting edge, rather the way it improves the lives of the people who use it. 

“Consult and Design has changed completely since we started in the early 2000s,” said operations director, Adam. “We were a small operation with a handful of clients operating mainly in the voluntary and charity sector, which was fantastic as we have always had a very strong social conscience.

“Our brand reflected our work at the time, but we now have so much young blood and talent in our office, we decided it was time to change our brand to reflect that.”

In the last four years, Consult and Design has recruited a designer, four developers, office manager and project manager as its reputation has grown and business developed.

Managing director, David, said: “We’re proud of the fact that all-bar two of our recruits have been fresh out of education and they have all blossomed into extremely talented, motivated members of a vibrant young team.

“Adam and I bring experience, but we have empowered the team to bring their ideas and keep challenging the norms. Our focus has never been the technology, but always about how connecting people with technology can change the way we live and work.”

This ethos has served the company well, especially on some of the more complex “builds” Consult and Design has developed. 

“We approach everything thinking about the user or the client,” said Adam. “Of course we are interested in the tech, but if it doesn’t make things better in some way, it’s pointless. 

“So, when we built multi-tiered applications for organisations like the Anna Lindh Foundation, our starting point is always to make it as simple as possible for the user, no matter how technical it gets at our end.” 

The new brand better represents the nature of Consult and Design’s recent work. David added: “Our old brand worked, but it was a little corporate and maybe better reflected the areas we worked in five years ago. 

“The work we have been doing for the Tall Ships Races 2018, the Nutrition Society and Living North is cutting edge and modern and we felt it was time our brand reflected our vision.” 

Developed in-house by lead designer, Kevin Gibson, and with the involvement of the whole team, the new branding and logo also gives a nod to Consult and Design’s evolving personality.

“Consult and Design is not just David and me anymore,” added Adam. “It’s the team which have added so much to our offer and hopefully our new look is a better example of not only the areas we work, but the people who are driving forward the company.” 

Jim Mawdsley, of Digital Union, said: “We have been very proud to see Consult and Design develop into one of the leading web development businesses in the region and in particular the way they have embraced our ethos of collaboration.” 

“They have been actively engaged in our support programmes and Adam was central to the development of the Digital Union Manifesto. I know the rebrand alongside the passion and commitment to their clients and the wider sector will ensure their continued success”.