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Hamilton, New Zealand
Blutui CEO Graeme Blake on the journey from little digital agency to unified platform built for the creative industry

We began our journey down here in New Zealand in a little digital agency some four short years ago. There was no fanfare, no ringing of the bell in celebration of impending IPO success. We are after all designers building a web design platform and consider a Converse, T-shirt & jeans approach to beat corporate culture hands down.

The platform was born out of the F word. No, the other one - Frustration at the lack of dedicated web development tools solely geared toward creative designers.

For years our digital agency built loads of sites and within a relatively short time we found ourselves nursing a growing handful of fragmented systems. Systems that boasted templates, themes, plugins and widgets as the most effective way to create sites quickly, systems our front end designers hated using. By the time we made the decision to build a commercial platform we were drowning in tech fatigue and fragmentation, the cost of which had become unbearable. It seemed it would be far less painful to build our own platform as the systems we were using were fast becoming outdated and the sheer number of them was getting out of control. The problem was that no single technology offered a universal platform to do whatever our clients needed us to do.

What is the principal reason for this virtual mess? It’s not that we made better designers than administrators and it’s not that all other softwares are horrible (though some are). It’s that the available tech is intended for a mainstream generalist market. Tight design restrictions didn’t serve what creative agency designers needed in the least. We wanted a single unified platform specifically for creatives to build whatever they needed. We wanted it badly so we set out to build it ourselves.

Fast forward to 2018. We’re in the South of France at the creative industry launch of our platform at Cannes Connect, a Creativepool event. We had made the decision to inject our tech into the heart of adland rather than at a tech industry show for two reasons. Firstly, we don’t identify as a tech start-up and secondly, the statement 'Built for creatives by creatives' makes perfect sense when you’re saying it to the creative elite at Cannes Lions. This is where Blutui really got started.

Pronounced 'blue tooey'* the platform champions design by providing a toolset and complete creative freedom for the creatives who work in it every day. The advantages are easily found in our DNA. Creatives working in a digital studio environment created it. 'So what?' I hear you say. The 'what' is the unique workflows and demands of a digital studio that have been catered for in every aspect of development. Everyone needs a mission and ours is to provide adland with a CMS and web platform that enables beautiful, functional sites to be crafted without creative limitations.

There is little doubt that building a platform for a discerning group of professional designers has been, and will continue to be, a mission of epic proportions. We know it will take some time but we are in this for the long haul, it’s been a massive effort so far and we’re only starting out with version 1.0.  As a small but dedicated team of design professionals ourselves, providing our industry with a meaningful tool that creates an advantage over mainstream tech is close to our hearts. The platform launched as a powerful content management system and will continue to grow as features evolve in line with our creative communities needs. Suffice to say we have ambitious plans.

We keep a pretty close eye on the moving and shaking of adland too and it’s an understatement to say that the traditional agency model is changing fast and with it, how and where people want to get their cool digital stuff done. 

Built for creatives by creatives. Professionals who love design, brands and great user experience. We couldn’t just sit on our hands and grumble about how painful other tech could be. We decided to do something about it, to help evolve the industry as it changes the way it does digital. Creating a product like ours doesn’t come easily, quickly or cheaply but it has rewards. When you have creativity coursing through your team and a collective passion to build a product that expresses your craft, then it feels less like business and more like a worthwhile creative community project that’s evolving into serious business.

And we are serious, we’re certainly not Apple or Adobe but we’re no less committed to a great product. We’d love for all you freelance creatives and agency owners to be part of our story as it evolves. The app and the platform get better all the time and with your help we are committed to shaping a platform to perfectly fit our industry.

Access the app at plus watch out for exclusive creative community deals during November at Creativepool’s Connect London event.

*A Tui is a bird native to New Zealand.

Graeme Blake is CEO of Blutui

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