Why would California College of the Arts want to work with a UK Agency?

You might think there's no shortage of brilliant digital agencies in the US to design and build a new website. And yet, California College of the Arts (CCA) chose us, a UK agency based eight time zones away. With 5,000 miles between us, it might seem like an odd decision. Here's five ways we make sure it works.

San Fran

"I'm sure I can see England from Here"

1. Does Remote Work, Work?

It's not rocket science: the trick (as ever) is good communication.  That said, we'll admit to using a bunch of clever tools such as Slack, Codebase, and InVision to help us get things done.

Torchbox also has years of experience working remotely, with two UK offices and other team members working abroad. Our project teams are the right people for the job, rather than just the people that happen to be available in one place. We value skill rather than location, and have developed good habits with talented people. We think remote work, works.

2. I just want to see your face.

We still love a bit of face to face. As a top design school, CCA's teaching staff includes leaders in fields like graphic design, interaction design and design strategy.  To produce a new website that is up to scratch, we've made two trips to visit CCA, the first for on-the-ground user research and the second to run collaborative design workshops.

CCA workshop

Face to Face at CCA

3. Flexibility, willing and getting more from 24hrs.

There’s an 8 hour time difference between our UK offices and CCA. It's true, the available window for scheduling meetings is limited. But, the flipside is that the combined CCA/Torchbox project team benefits from an extended working day. This helps us all to get the most out of every day.

4. Share common interests.

We both love Wagtail! A few years ago, Torchbox built the Wagtail Content Management System (CMS) in a project for the Royal College of Art (when we realised that no other CMS was up to the job). Not only has CCA chosen Wagtail for its new public website, it's also using Wagtail for its new student portal. This opens the door for some clever digital experiences across the two sites, and we're excited to develop Wagtail in the process.

5. Be Open.

The spirit of openness and innovation underpins open-source Wagtail. It also fits with CCA's cultural identity and is at the core of CCA's mission. CCA developers have participated in Wagtail sprints, and they're part of the team for Wagtail Sprint Bristol later this month. Collaboration is by its nature a two-way street, enabled by the spirit of openness.

And finally, keep developing the good stuff.

As we move into the build phase we’re excited to start realising some of our ambitious ideas, and to continue developing this exciting partnership. With shared values, a love of great tech, and the vision to build something really special, what've 5,000 miles and 8 hours got to do with it?

Tom Williams

Tom WilliamsAccount Director