Newcastle-based, IG Media, is the latest beneficiary of a Covid-19 recovery grant from the Open North Foundation, having been awarded £1,000.

The grant has been used towards the purchase of a state-of-the-art, bespoke computer that has helped the company significantly increase its efficiencies, with time taken to complete rendering on 3D animation projects reduced from eight hours to 90 minutes.

Since its conception in 2007 and with two-full time employees, the company has worked with a number of household names including Coca-Cola, CBBC, Halfords and Barker and Stonehouse.

The new computer will be used for a number of projects, including a recently secured contract with Channel 5, to develop the graphics for an up-coming TV series which will be made up of 30 episodes. Work will include designing the opening title, credits, name straps and a number of other graphics.

IG Media is an award-winning animation studio. It supplies animation and motion graphics to agencies, film and TV companies, broadcasters and production companies all over the UK including London, Manchester and Newcastle. It specialises in the integration of graphics and animation into TV programming, films, advertising, video, DVD, web and print. In addition, it also provides a web design, build and hosting service, IG Web Design.

Open North Foundation, which was established in July 2020, is a direct response from the business community in the North East to provide financial and in-kind support to small businesses in the region directly hit by the pandemic. It relies on the generosity of companies and organisations in the region to provide donations and has a structure of a board of directors, ambassadors and supporters, all of whom provide their services free of charge.

Darren Bykerk, managing director, IG Media, said: “As you can imagine, when it comes to animation the most important piece of equipment is a state-of the-art computer. Our old computer was slow and inefficient which led to us becoming frustrated.

“This purchase goes beyond saving us hours in the day, it has reinvigorated our creativity and made the working day a lot more pleasant and smooth. Frustration is a killer of creativity and to have it wiped away is game-changing as it has allowed us to free up both our minds and time, meaning our creative juices are in free-flow!

“The Open North Foundation has helped support a significant number of North-East businesses throughout the pandemic and we are most grateful to be on that list and in such good company.

“Our recent contract win with Channel 5 is significant and signals busy times ahead for IG Media, all the more reason why our new computer couldn’t have come at a better time!

Richard Swart, chair, Open North Foundation, said: “Every business needs to have the right tools for the job and now, with the help of Open North Foundation, IG Media has exactly that.

“As a collective, we have all witnessed the impact on businesses during Covid-19 and, even at the best of times, the business landscape is a hard one to navigate, with unexpected hurdles and events beyond our control. That is why it is of the utmost importance we are in control of the variables that are within our power to dictate. Open North Foundation was able to help IG Media do this via the purchase of technology that has eliminated a number of challenges for the business and allowed it to operate at an optimal level.

“The business world is unpredictable and we must continue to support our vital SMEs that have been affected negatively during Covid-19, as they look to the future. The success of one business is felt by many but the suffering of one is felt by more.”