me. me, me
I think in pictures, and aim to talk in plain English. I help figure out how design can inform and build the big idea, and vice versa. I can sharpen and unpack the questions and the answers. I have lots of ideas, and some of them get out there into the world. Sometimes I work solo, more often I am directing dozens of other talents to turn concepts into a good-looking reality.
I commissioned the tiny vases above as Christmas gifts for clients back in 2016. They are made by artist Yuta Segawa, and each one is subtly different from the others.
I believe that like people all brands have an ‘inner life’ – it can be made up of their history, ethos, product truths – whatever. I see this as the inside of a vase. Design is the exterior tangible shape of that vessel. My job is to figure out the shape and properties of what’s inside the vase and translate this to the vase we can all see and touch. One vase might be simple and elegant, another robust and utilitarian, a third detailed and richly patterned. You get the picture…
This book for a mouses’ coffee table was this year’s client gift. It contains all the work I am proudest of. In part it was an exercise in reductive thinking – I think if an idea is strong enough it can work as a scribble, and it should be able to stand on its own two feet without too much hot air to inflate it.
Above is ‘the curates egg’ illustrated by David Shillinglaw. Its the identity for a blog I co-produce with Katie Ewer where we ask smart creatives stupid questions. The theory is there’s too much pseudo-intellectual nonsense written about creativity and branding online these days. We just wanted to glean some wit and wisdom from others to hopefully inspire and inform our peers. Read it here.
Before setting up on my own I was a founder employee of global design agency jkr. They gave me some twenty-five years of grounding in how to make effective use of design. Above is part of Budweiser’s global redesign for which we earned a gold Cleo (in my case as the projects strategy director). It’s the only work on this site not from my own practice. But I am proud of my time with jkr.
Above is a spread from ‘The Blue Ladies New Look’. I’ve written a couple of books on design, as well as pieces for Creative Review, It’s Nice That, The Drum, Design Week and so forth. I’m a dyslexic who only ever wanted to draw. But I can string words together, and putting enough of them on a page has eventually built up into some joined up opinions I can put at clients disposal.