Meet our colourful neighbours – Rock House second birthday


Rock House Tenants Cooperative Lettings go 'Into the Black' – speakers announce goals for the next phase.


The team from design cooperative Wave had a great mingle at the ‘Into the Black’ birthday bash with other businesses and tenants at Rock House in Hastings.

It wasn’t just another office party! The Rock House Tenants Cooperative is an emerging community benefit society and hopes to take over the Power to Change shares in White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures and become one-third owners of the building.

Jess Steele, David Chater and Adam Clements gave short speeches to summarise all of the progress while guests enjoyed bubbly indoors and rummy hot chocs outside. To date, all eight floors have been refurbished and are fully let.

Fire-eater in front of wall graffiti
Fire eating performers at the Rock House 2nd birthday party

“A great party”

Blues singer Ella Clarke was supported by Marie White performing short sets in the reception area. Ben White was on the decks, and Sam Brown played violin. KiKi LaHula performed fire hoop dancing on rollerskates downstairs. Lily Fortune gave a sparky angle grinding show in the basement, followed by fire-eating by UK Africa Acrobats.

BBE records opened their space for chilling out, and David Hinton of Hastings Works generously opened his flat for a packed house party with delicious cocktails.

Later, Jess Steele tweeted “It was a great party @Rock_Hse (or at least I enjoyed it a lot!). Celebrating a really strong self-managed community business that proves you can do good and make a *decent* profit.”


Looking fabulous

No one owns the alley, so the Alley Association is run by a steering group of freeholders, tenants and other interested parties. Despite the cold snap, it was a dry night, and it looked fabulous!

Longer-term use of the basement event space will include a bakery, kitchen and food shop. White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures was awarded a significant grant from Coastal Communities Fund including £75k toward improvement works to the Alley.


We’re 30 – celebrate with us!


There’s no beating around the bush with this. We are 30 years old and proud. Woohoo! We know this is all thanks to you, our clients, and to the past and present crew of wavers.


In our 30 years we have:

  • created posters for saving the whale
  • inflated co-operative bananas
  • marched for refugees
  • come this close to winning a BAFTA
  • felt utter sadness when working on campaigns that cut through the heart
  • felt the glow of happiness knowing that our client’s projects really do change lives.

And that is just a wincey splattering of events. One thing that hasn’t changed in our 30 years is that we have remained as passionate as we were 30 years ago in wanting to only work with people that make the world a better place. And this is something we have been fortunate enough to be able to do.


wave in Paris
Is it wave on an outing, or an upcoming episode of Twin Peaks?

So, we want to thank you from the bottom of our co-operative hearts.

Any project you ask wave to quote on from now until the end of the year will show a 30% reduction in our studio fees.

This applies to any of your lovely jobs from any of our lovely clients, old, new or current. You can also refer a friend even if we haven’t worked with them before. Any friend of yours is a friend of ours. Here’s the one piece of small print: it only applies to studio costs and not print or digital production.

So thank you again from the wave team. We look forward to hearing from you.


Ethical design – what makes us tick


We aim to be an ethical, affordable, creative extra pair of hands, freeing you to get on with the small job of saving the world.


Do you sometimes wish for a reliable extra pair of hands?

So, you’ve spent weeks (maybe including some nights) perfecting your message. You’ve sweated over it, maybe even missed other deadlines because of it. Finally, it is ready to take flight and head off to its intended audience.

The design and production budget for your project is a little on the lean side, but perhaps that won’t matter. After all, there are umpteen designers out there who can get it produced for you – some even say they can turn it around in a couple of days.

But then the doubts set in – what if the designers don’t ‘get’ your ethical message? What if there need to be lots of last minute amends once the design is underway – will they be ok with that? When you look down their list of credentials, some of the designers’ clients are far from ethical, but at least they can work within your budget, so that’s a plus… isn’t it?

How we can help with your ethical design project

This kind of situation is where Wave can help you, and where we have been helping our not for profit and ethical design clients for the last 30 years.

From our inception, it was our passion to work with game changers, people who genuinely care. Three decades later we still have that desire to work on projects that make a difference, but now we are experts in our field – in creating effective ethical design communications for the charity, co-operative, education and health sectors. Our specialist subject is affordable, successful third sector design and production in all media.

Recent projects we have worked on include third sector annual reports, charity websites, fundraising campaigns, multimedia resources for education, online healthcare toolkits and campaign identities.

We know that our clients have budgets they are accountable for, that deadlines can be tight, that goalposts can move and that this may not be the only project in your life. Our design co-operative aims to be as flexible as we know you need us to be. We can’t offer our work for free, but we are super skilled in working with restricted budgets, and we love it when our client’s projects exceed their expectations.

But that is all pretty standard right? Creative work by friendly people who know what they are talking about and have some great samples of work on their site. We do all of that, but what is also important to us is being a workers’ co-operative with ethical values. Being an ethical business ourselves means we truly practice what we preach.

Why we can be trusted

We have chosen to specialise in ethical design, working with socially responsible organisations like yours for the last 30 years, giving us the edge in the ‘ethical design for good suppliers’ category. We understand the sector, not just the good that you do but also the issues and challenges that can make your days less than rosy. We don’t want to work on projects that pay well but make the planet a less happy place.

With us, you can be sure that you are not just another job or just another client. We know your work is vital and we use our sector knowledge and expert design team to make sure your messages have the wings they deserve. We aim to be your ethical, affordable, creative extra hands, leaving you to get on with the small job of saving the world.


The first project we worked on with Wave was building a new website on a very tight budget with a challenging brief. I was a new client, and they were a new co-operative agency for us. I was so pleased and relieved when we delivered the new website on time and on budget. Everyone I worked with made the whole process seamless, jargon-free and very enjoyable.

I have not looked back since – Wave not only maintain the fab website but also produce all our print marketing materials too. I can always rely on them for fresh ideas!

Daisy Ilchovska, Marketing and Communications Manager ,  Dorset Community Foundation


Our new website is live


Just a quick post to note that we have finally managed to get our new website live, after many years of getting sidetracked by other priorities.

At last, we have a responsive, mobile-friendly website with a content management system, SEO optimisation, lazy loading, search and all the other basic features a website must have in 2017. Video coming soon!

We’ve had to squeeze it in among other projects, so there is still plenty of honing and bug fixing to do, but the old one just had to go – it was ancient! It’s sad to see the old work disappear, but we are aiming to have an archive on our new site as soon as possible, especially as we will be 30 later in the year.

We hope to be adding more work examples and informative posts to the site over the next few weeks, so please come back sometime soon and take another look.

Find out more:

If you want to know more about how we approach web projects, please read our Web design and build process post.


The Cooperative Technologists have landed


Last week was an exciting and unusual week as I was out of the office for the inaugural Cooperative Technologists annual retreat. Coop-Tech, as it’s known for short, is a collaborative network of tech co-ops in the UK.


Ellie Harries from Outlandish wrote this excellent blog post about the retreat and has kindly given permission for us to re-post it here. Coop-Tech, as it’s known for short, is a collaborative network of tech co-ops in the UK. It is also the new name for the brainchild/beast formally known as the Megazord (more info on the inception of the tech Megazord here).


‘Now take it from me, I’ve been to a conference or two in my time, and this event really was up there. Perhaps it was because we were all co-ops? Perhaps it was because it was the first time we’d done it? Perhaps it was because everyone there was super lovely and committed? (This was definitely the case). Whatever it was, it worked.

As co-ops, we abide by the 7 Cooperative Principles. I won’t go into all of them here, but the two that we lived out at the retreat were:

5. Education, Training and Information

6. Co-operation among Co-operatives

There were long discussions deep into the night about soul-searching topics like pay, fairness, and how to deal with conflict at work. All things that matter enormously to co-ops who are socially orientated both in terms of clients and workers.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed was the open and practical skill sharing that went on among co-ops, masterfully facilitated by Seeds for Change. All of the co-ops at the retreat were viable businesses, and many of us face similar challenges. Some of these challenges are particular to us as co-ops, while others are challenges faced by all organisations, whatever their constitution.

diagram on a white board

We had sessions on:

  • Pitching
  • Remote and flexible working
  • Tech for good
  • Operational management, structures and processes
  • Useful tech tools for invoicing, scheduling and task management
  • The nature and mode of production of free software

And these are just some of the skill sharing sessions! We did a whole heap more on what the name of our network should be, planning the next retreat, how we can work together, what skills there are within the network, and how to understand power and privilege at work (salient for a group of mostly white, middle class men!)

A week on from the retreat, Cooperative Technologists is a live-and-kicking network with over 30 tech co-ops in the UK. We have our own wiki, our own (interim) logo, and a load of new opportunities to work together and be better companies.

From all of Outlandish, thank you to everyone who came and made it such a special week – we look forward to seeing you again soon. And for everyone else – watch this space. Tech co-ops are where its at!’

wortley hall, retreat, coop tech