Creative agency Whitespace draws up record figures

Independent creative agency Whitespace has celebrated its 20th anniversary by posting record figures for 2016.

Whitespace managing partner Iain Valentine, front right, with the agency's senior team. Picture: Adam Wilson
Whitespace managing partner Iain Valentine, front right, with the agency's senior team. Picture: Adam Wilson

The business, headquartered in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle with 70 staff, serving clients across sectors including tourism, the arts and financial services, said fee income was up to £4.5 million while turnover increased to £5.6m.

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It also said that amid its ambitions for further growth both in the UK and overseas, it has launched a senior management team.

Iain Valentine said the firm was 'building partnerships that are helping the whole creative industry in Scotland'. Picture: Jakub Iwanicki

Frances Pratt, Alex Turnbull, Olly Jackson and Chris Davey are being promoted to associate director with equity holdings, and joining managing partners Iain Valentine, Emma Jardine and Phillip Lockwood-Holmes on the board.

Valentine said the business is “excited about the energy and potential” of the new top-level team.

He added: “While it’s great to post record numbers, it’s equally important that we have an environment that attracts the best people, allows them to flourish and we continue to focus on our culture and our clients because that underpins everything we do.”

Iain Valentine said the firm was 'building partnerships that are helping the whole creative industry in Scotland'. Picture: Jakub Iwanicki

The agency said the promotions come after a 12-month period during which it picked up new accounts including Highland Spring, Whyte & Mackay, and Green Investment Bank, and won Agency of the Year 2016 at the Scottish Design Awards.

Its client roster also includes the Scottish Government, financial services names Sainsbury’s Bank, Kames Capital, Aegon and accountancy body ACCA, as well as VisitScotland, charity Mary’s Meals and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Whitespace was founded in 1997, with Valentine joining as creative director in 2004, and he and fellow managing partners Jardine and Lockwood-Holmes carried out a management buyout in 2010.

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It said it remains self-funded and has grown organically since its inception, with a growing client base in Scotland, the rest of the UK and overseas.

Headline projects in 2016 included building the Scotland VR app for VisitScotland, which was crowned best app at the Scottish Design Awards last week.

The Whitespace team has also opened the doors to its 12,500-square-foot space at Norloch House on King’s Stables Road to the wider creative industry in Scotland.

Valentine said: “By engaging with the rest of the creative community, we are building partnerships that are helping to move the whole industry forward in Scotland.”

It says it works across brand, digital and content, creating bespoke client teams in the agency to provide the right skills required.

“The teams combine insight planning and strategy, creative, user experience, digital marketing and technology experts,” the company added.

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Valentine told The Scotsman last year that the firm was planning to open an office in London and flagged China as an area of interest.

“Our next phase of growth will be marked by more international work and the expansion of the team both in terms of our skills, services and geography,” he said at the time.

“Our ambition is to be a leading international creative agency with its main base in Scotland.”