Christopher Murphy takes us on a tour of Little Thunder’s Belfast studio, nestled in the city’s creative quarter
Christopher Murphy takes us on a tour of Little Thunder’s Belfast studio, nestled in the city’s Cathedral Quarter creative district
A boutique experience-design business based in Belfast, Little Thunder ( littlethunder.co) was founded in 2013 by designers Gaby Muldoon and Tim Potter.
Over its half a decade history, the company has grown from a two-person team to a rapidly expanding digital agency that includes designers, developers and animators. With a focus on the design of digital products, the studio counts Electronic Arts (EA), Visa and PwC as clients.
Nestled in the heart of Belfast’s burgeoning ‘Cathedral Quarter’ creative district, Little Thunder’s studio is a hotbed of activity with a steady stream of visitors. Just five minutes from Belfast School of Art – where many members of the team give their time as guest lecturers – the studio is often a de facto tutorial space.
A large LCD screen  occupies pride of place in the centre of the studio. In addition to acting as a focal point for client presentations the screen is also useful for getting a feel for games, helping to inform the studio’s work for Electronic Arts (EA), one of its central clients.
The team are firm believers in mapping everything out before moving onto screens. A portable whiteboard  is where new products are imagined and brought to life. Post-it Notes aplenty help to map out information architecture and customer journeys, reflecting the business’s ‘plan first, design later’ approach.
 Chalky the Cat – the star of a successful ~£15K Kickstarter campaign ( j.mp/chalkythecat) to illustrate, design and create a children’s picturebook – is never far away. The book, and its associated rewards, inform the studio’s side-project work, focused around designing digital products for children.
The studio’s boardroom table  doubles as a table tennis table and it’s a measure of the relaxed studio culture that table-tennis tournaments are a regular – and noisy – occurrence! Some of the team’s best creative discussions occur over hard-fought games.
With studio members including a former Kerrang! competition finalist and a former record label owner, it’s no surprise to discover that sound is a big part of the studio’s offering.  A guitar, a keyboard and a suite of audio production software are always on hand should a soundtrack ever be needed.
A digital strategist, Christopher Murphy (@fehler) works closely with Little Thunder, helping to champion a human-centred design approach.
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