Embrace the deadline


In our last blog we looked in some detail about how the world – and life here at Alchemy HQ – has started to return to normal following the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

While as a population we may still notice the legacy of Coronavirus and its fallout for decades to come, it’s fair to say a level of normalcy has edged its way back into our working lives in the last few months, and that’s only to be welcomed. 

Some things, of course, we have missed more than others. Being able to work collectively in the same space is a hit and can only aid creativity, for instance. Deadlines, though? They’re the ultimate occupational hazard… practically the trips to the dentist of the design world… entirely necessary and, really, completely unavoidable!

Of course, in many ways the design and creative industry has steamrolled its way through the Pandemic. With so many businesses still operating and thriving whilst many other parts of daily life were forced to halt for several months, their needs not only remained the same but probably increased, too. That meant that at Alchemy we had to be as ready as ever to offer support and expertise to those forced to power through. So not everything came to a screeching halt. 

One way in which we are easing ourselves back into a normal schedule is when it comes to the ever-demanding world of football. We’re fortunate to be able to count a number of professional clubs among our clientele, from the top flight, Brighton, Wolves and Watford, the EFL with Ipswich, Charlton and Oxford United, all the way to the lower levels of non-league with Enfield Town, each with their own tailored working relationships, ranging from creative partnerships, print, design and branding.  While football has mirrored a lot of elite level sport in carrying on through large parts of the pandemic in some ways, the new 2021-22 season has certainly brought ‘normal’ back with a bang. One big reason for this is of course the match day programme…

For generations, the match day programme has been a staple of the game, with collectors everywhere always keen to get the complete set for the season or the casual fan looking for a memento from an afternoon at the football. In any case, with almost all games played behind closed doors last season (and indeed for a third of the season before that, too) the need for match day programmes wasn’t entirely eradicated. We helped clubs produce smaller quantities of print issues for sale to hardened collectors who weren’t about to let a global pandemic stop them bolstering their bundles of issues, and also for sale online with the e-programme an even more valuable tool in the commercial arsenal of many clubs. 

It certainly would be safe to say that the start to this season has been a little more different. Thankfully, a great amount of football clubs have decided to stick with selling a print issue in grounds now that their fans are back in attendance and, with the Premier League, EFL and non-league seasons now very much back up and running, that age-old demand and thirst for programmes is back – which means so are the demanding deadlines that come as part of the territory.  After such a long time without the usual stresses and strains being at their fullest, this was always likely to be the busiest start to a football season we’ve had for a while. Team Alchemy and designers all over the world are renowned for getting what’s known as shaky leg whenever an impending deadline draws near – this year has by comparison probably been a month-long tremble as we get to grips to settling back into a routine!

Taking football programmes as an example, Issue 1 is of course a far greater task than any that follow it, with club involvement ranging from a variable and wild Wish List of new design quirks for a new season, or clubs with whom we’ve undertaken an extensive brand re-design to give all their assets a fresh look going into the first game. From the Premier League all the way to the Isthmian Premier League, we always work closely with our clubs to ensure that it’s a mix of their wants and wishes and our own expertise and skills that combines to create their new product. Collaboratively, the work involved in getting into a new football season is a big challenge, but one we’ve again been able to navigate successfully. Once new concepts, designs and features are off and running, there’s always a huge sigh of relief, a big sigh of relief and, maybe, a celebratory pizza. 

Time to rest? Not quite – Issue 2 is never more than a few days away!


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