Duration: Fluoro was founded four years ago. I have been working in the industry for sixteen years.
Location: Shoreditch, London, United Kingdom.
Key creatives: Tim Smith, founder and creative director, BA with honors in design and communication, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.
Career path: As a kid, I wanted to be a part of many different groups, styles and attitudes—anything that was unique and unconventional that I found exciting and intriguing. I saw art and design as an opportunity to explore movements, fads and fashions.
My art and design path led me from school to college to university. Branding was the best way to apply my passion. Driven by genuine passion and commitment, brands can become flags for communities to rally around and, in turn, create a subgenre.
Cultural influences: I’m personally most influenced by the ’90s rave and indie scenes of north England, from cladding our walls at Fluoro with lo-fi, futuristic rave graphics to dressing, walking and talking in that way. Seeing these subcultures ravish our schools and explode across mainstream genres around the world has shown me that being true and honest about what you are—and never trying to impress or become “commercial”—is the only way you can build anything.
Favorite projects: Our project with functional fitness company WIT. When we first started working with WIT, it was just the two founders selling clothes out of their basement shop. In a few years, WIT has become one of the biggest brands in the international world of CrossFit. It is also linked with the sport’s most elite athletes. WIT was a genuine challenger brand, and it being different was what made it interesting.
Work environment: We have a small studio on Brick Lane in London, where we are surrounded by many different cultures. We’re right in the guts of London’s music, fashion and design scenes. Since we’re a team of only five people, we are all very close and have a genuine appreciation for what each of us has. We are relaxed, and I’d like to think everyone feels comfortable to be open and honest at all times. As people, we are all intrigued by others; we talk a lot about culture and society.
Approach: We do everything we can to make everyone feel comfortable and on a level playing field. The best projects always come about when the relationship is relaxed. We try to make it so that both client and team feel comfortable in picking up the phone and asking any question—no matter how small.
There is no room for “business bullshit!” Corporate buzzwords, posh lunch spreads, power plays, ties, suits and anything else create a barrier between feeling relaxed and being open.
Aspirations: We would like to land a full-brand project with a cultural icon. We know we have the drive and ability to deliver something special, but more often than not, this type of work will go straight to a big name company. Other than that, we would love to keep growing our current client base across sports, music, fashion, art and culture.
Philosophy: Keep your eyes open to everything and recognize how much of your own experiences are key to understanding what makes other people tick. People love what other people are passionate about!
Anything else? Don’t let agencies or individuals question your views. Absorb all the advice, experience and direction, and learn everything you can from them—but never lose sight of what you believe.