Who has been your biggest influence?
A big influence for me early on was Apple. I remember when I was at university and the colourful iMacs came out, I’d never seen anything like it.
Seeing a company that clearly put design at the forefront of what they did had a real impact on me. Something we speak about here at DesignStudio is that just because there’s one approach most people are taking – it doesn’t mean it’s the right approach.
And you could see that same thinking with the iMacs. This was a completely different product, and they’d totally broken the established thinking of computer design.
Looking back now over the last 20 years, knowing the full story of Steve Jobs and Jony Ive’s philosophy, we can all see how integral design and craft has been to the success of their business.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Creating DesignStudio in the vision that myself and Paul (Stafford, Co-Founder) had set out. Seeing the company grow, and the beliefs that we started with still resonating with everyone who works here now.
Our belief in design, and how powerful it can be, is the very reason we started the business. From working in other agencies we had realised that design was often thought about at the end of the process. We wanted to create an agency where design-thinking was at the forefront of everything we did.
Seven years on we’re still here, with studios both in London and San Francisco, working globally with those same founding principles.
What are you passionate about? What motivates and inspires you?
Going back to my answer to the first question, it’s all about doing things differently. That’s actually something that attracted me to becoming a Designer in the first place.
All the work we do here at DesignStudio, from Airbnb to the Premier League, is an embodiment of what I believe design is about. Being passionate about big creative ideas, the craft of design, trying to be different – but not just for the sake of being different.
It inspires me seeing someone approach a problem with a brave, different approach. Just like Apple did with those first iMacs.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, and who gave it to you?
It was from my old Creative Director Warren Beeby, when I was a junior at the design agency Spin. He essentially compared the practice of design to the career of an elite footballer.
The likes of Giggs, Beckham and Scholes (even though I’m a Liverpool fan!) didn’t just turn up to their regular training sessions at Manchester United. They did their own training before training. Then they did the training they were supposed to do. And then they trained again alone afterwards.
Design’s the same. It doesn’t come easy. It needs to be a way of life, and more than just your working hours job. It’s a mentality. It’s not just flashes of genius; it’s a lot of hard work to be the best you can be.
What inspires you about the Creative Conscience Awards?
It’s really just about the power of design, making the world a better place. It’s a goal that we’re all working towards together, and something that specifically strikes a chord with the team here at DesignStudio.
And for graduates and students, it’s also really important that people entering into design feel inspired and recognised by their peers – and that their work can truly make a difference.