Duration: Sixteen years; four years with Supple Studio.
Location: Bath, United Kingdom.
Education: I studied graphic design at Somerset College of Arts and Technology in Taunton, United Kingdom, but I still don’t have a degree yet.
Career path: After studying at Somerset College of Arts and Technology under Malcolm Swatridge, one of the founders of design consultancy The Partners, I landed my first job in 2001 at the studio hat-trick design, where I strengthened my craft for the next five years. Then I worked as a senior designer at design consultancy Blast for a couple years of before going freelance. My freelance stint led me to cofound my first agency, Magpie Studio, with two good friends. After five glorious years, we were the sixth most awarded design agency in the country, but the pressures of family life—I had become a father of two—forced us to move from London to a smaller city to give our kids a better life. So in 2013, I moved to Bath and founded Supple Studio, which is now a small yet perfectly formed team of four.
Artistic influences: I avoid prowling through design blogs and books too much. I look outside of the design world for a lot of my inspiration: science podcasts, history books, museums and flea markets. I just love great ideas. My design heroes are people like Alan Fletcher and Bob Gill, and I like to attempt to morph that artistic thinking into a beautifully crafted execution.
Favorite project: Most recently, I’m proud of our work for Straightline, an app produced by the Prison Radio Association, which aims to reduce recidivism using the power of radio. We created a brand identity for the project, which has already helped thousands of exoffenders. And to top it off, it won us our first D&AD Pencil and the D&AD Impact award.
Work environment: A three-floor Georgian townhouse, which we share with our digital partner, the web design agency Mud. It’s a little creative hub in a historic building, which was once the home to English painter and playwright Prince Hoare. Bath is one of the most beautiful cities in the United Kingdom, so every day, I feel lucky to live and work here.
Approach: A commitment to the ideas and craft. I always strive to get under the skin of a brief and pull out something unique and original. I don’t know whether that makes us different, but we do have a consistent approach that results in a diverse studio output instead of cookie-cutter designs.
Aspirations: Having previously led a slightly larger agency, my aspiration is to keep Supple Studio small so I can stay hands on. We’re currently four strong, and I don’t want to have more than six full-time staff members. I prefer to collaborate with specialists rather than having tons of permanent staff. We’ve also just started working with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which is incredibly rewarding. I’d love to get more of this kind of work in the future. Most of all, I want to continue working with people who are nice and nourishing. Life’s too short to work with dickheads!
Philosophy: Work smart, have fun, be yourself and have a balance. Design should be a form of play, and if you work with nice people, it’s a joy. These days, I work four days a week so I can be a better dad; this has made me more focused when I am designing, and I’m a better designer for it.