James Marshall Head of Product The Big Chip On The Block Anyone involved in the North West digital sector will know of the Big Chip awards. Since 1997 the Big Chip awards have been dedicated to rewarding the development of the Manchester Digital sector, more recently spreading out into the whole of the North West. Being the longest running Digital Award in the country it is also the most established, with the annual bash each summer a must attend event for the entire digital community and more than part of the reason why despite being rivals on paper, the Manchester digital community gets on so well with each other; something we should all be very proud of. Back in 2013 we were first introduced to Manchester Digital and the Big Chip awards when we offered to convert their old flat HTML website into something they could edit, in exchange for a couple of tickets to the 2014 awards dinner. If you remember this version you’ve earned yourself a long service medal In 2013 we had a team of three people and I cannot stress enough how important that night was to the future of Indiespring. As a fledgling company we were only 24 months old at the time, having then only recently made the jump from freelance and taking our first steps into the wider digital world. Surrounded by and mingling with a room full of successful, and let’s face it, pretty cool agencies helped us realise our own aspirations, we wanted to be the next Big Chip on the block (apologies for the pun but I refuse to remove it). It’s now 2017 and the Indiespring team is 14 strong with an office in the centre of Manchester. Without bigging ourselves up too much we’re well on the way to realising our goal, having grown from a small group of friends trying to make a living to, well, a larger group of friends trying to do much the same; in no small part because of that night in 2014 where we were exposed to the wider digital community. Since then we have helped develop a new back-end system for The Big Chip awards, allowing the judges to coordinate and judge entries via a purpose built database. Unfortunately because it contains all of the past and present entries I can’t put a screenshot here but trust me, it’s pretty swanky. I can show you what it looked like front-end last year. Being able to upload entries onto the site was a new feature. However, I can highlight our work on the new designs of the Big Chip website. Built around the existing framework and functionality, we developed a brand new look and feel for the site, especially the rather tired homepage, in order to coincide with the 2017 re-brand and the introduction of the new Big Chip logo. See, much nicer isn’t it? One thing that we haven’t done though is win or even be shortlisted for a Big Chip award. We would like to think that we are more than capable of holding our own these days but we chose a different path, deciding to become more involved with the Big Chip awards instead, with 2017 being our third year sponsoring the awards. This is once again in honour of the roots of our relationship with Manchester Digital, who took a chance on a small agency to deliver an important piece of work for them. If we can therefore help them spread the Big Chip message further across the North and help inspire some more dreamers like ourselves, then it’s time well spent! On that note… remember that the Big Chip awards close for entries on the extended date of the 20th of March so be sure to set some time aside and make sure you sort your own entry out. This year sees the addition of the new Leadership award so it’s a perfect chance to acknowledge all of the hard work put in by the boss… or a chance for the boss to stroke their own ego and enter themselves. Either way, be sure to check it out as this is the first award of its kind at Big Chip making it a very special prize indeed. Indiespring will be at the awards dinner in summer so please feel free to pop over and say hello and we look forward to seeing you all there.