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Five minutes with Kevin Clarke, Head of Design

What is your morning ritual to help get the day started?

I have a habit of waking up far too early. Then I have to convince myself that a long walk to the station is better for my health than a few minutes bus journey. On the train I read. Factual, seldom fiction. At the office it’s an espresso coffee and an all too sugary breakfast. Then it’s one of three things:

  1. Take time to learn a new design skill.
  2. Be pro-active and think of something for a future project.
  3. Get my head down and start work before the day gets busy.

How did you get into advertising?

I had an extended education studying design and art history which ended in a degree and a long list of post-nominal titles that I’ve always been too embarrassed to use. Whilst in my last year studying I often worked for a magazine and on completing my degree the work became a six-month contract.

Then I spent time at a tiny industrial and technical agency. It should have been two weeks, but the owners convinced me to stay and I worked there for four years.

One day a supplier suggested I should visit some people that would be interested in meeting me. One of those companies was BMP – the original agency here at 12 Bishop’s Bridge Road. When I joined I thought I’d last six weeks. I didn’t think I was a big advertising agency kind of person and I felt way out of my depth. I made a quiet promise to myself to work as hard as I could and hoped that talent would somehow rub off on me before I got found out, or became too scared and ran away.

Which designer most inspires you?

I’m going to be greedy and name a few: the American husband and wife design team of Charles and Ray Eames, they did some amazing work across all kinds of mediums; German born graphic designer and typographer, Otl Aicher; Finnish born designer and architect Eero Saarinen; German born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. All took their chosen skills to the very top of their professions. They all believed that good design could make the modern world a better place.

"They all believed that good design could make the modern world a better place."

What has been your favourite project you have worked on?

I rarely think retrospectively. To me, my favourite is always the next project.

What advice would you give to newcomers trying to break into the industry?

Work hard. Be committed. Be passionate. Try to give back more than you take.

If you could do any other job what would it be?

As a child I would have said astronaut or pilot. The mature me would insist on something creative: architect, photographer, filmmaker perhaps, but it would have to involve design of some kind.

What is your favourite film?

This is like asking a mother to choose her favourite child, so I’m being greedy again.

Forrest Gump:

Look beyond the comedy and that annoying cliché, ‘life is like a box of chocolates.’ Through his innocence, Forrest sees the world differently to the rest of us and that touches my heart every time.

Blade Runner 2049:

The whole film is visually stunning. I especially like that moment where Ryan Gosling’s character interacts with Joi his virtual girlfriend and ‘upgrades’ her with the gift of freedom.

Ratatouille:

Small food-loving rat teaches hopeless human how to cook. Pay attention to the closing end-titles where the cartoon rats run around the wording and get up to all kinds of mischievous things – the details are superb.

What is your favourite quote?

"Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare"

Okay, not the kind of quote you imagined. Followers of the Krishna faith believe that repeated chanting of the mantra will lead them to a heightened state of consciousness. The late George Harrison, guitarist and singer/songwriter, once declared he had uttered the mantra non-stop for three days and nights. My own personal best is a very disappointing two and three-quarter minutes. It’s perhaps the reason I’m still seeking enlightenment.

Which typeface describes you best and why?

Ah.The default question to anyone who works with type. Anything seemingly simple at first glance, yet gets more complicated the closer you look.

If you could be a superhero for the day who would you be?

My choice is neither ‘super’ or much of a hero in the Marvel comic sense of the word. I’d be Tintin, the boy reporter, penned beautifully by the Belgian artist Hergé. Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy, travel around the world having adventures and getting into all kinds of perilous situations. I like Tintin’s inquisitiveness, intelligence, kind heart and good nature.

Gutenberg promotes two and wins two

Gutenberg Global, adam&eveDDB’s global production and adaptation agency, has picked up Gemfields and Chelsea FC as it boosts its leadership team with two senior promotions.

Chelsea FC has appointed Gutenberg Global as a production and studio partner. Gemfields - a leading mining company and supplier of responsibly sourced coloured gemstones - has selected Gutenberg Global to support with the development and delivery of their next global campaign.

Claire Bowers who led the recent client wins has been promoted from Managing Partner to Managing Director. Meanwhile, Gary Whipps who has 45 years’ production experience has been promoted from Operations Director to Chief Operating Officer. The promotions are part of the agency’s overhaul to offer a more robust service that extends beyond that of a traditional production house and is being spearheaded by James Murphy in his role as CEO of the adam&eveDDB Group. Both Claire and Gary will report into James. The overhaul includes a rebrand from Gutenberg Networks - launched in 2009 as DDB’s in-house studio - to Gutenberg Global, which works on 90% of adam&eveDDB’s clients, including Volkswagen, Esso and John Lewis. Gutenberg Global also works with standalone clients including Hasbro, Visa & Cisco.

James Murphy, Group CEO of adam&eveDDB, said, “Gary has seen the landscape change to one where clients want more value for money when activating their campaigns. His approach is one that allows for innovation whilst staying true to traditional production methodologies, which are of huge value to both clients and procurement. Meanwhile, Claire’s vision for the business has seen it transform from a background service provider into a modern offering suited to the needs of clients in this space today.”

Keepin' It Wheel for Cancer Research

On Thursday 28th June the strength of 12 Gutenbergers was put to the test. Riding from London to Brighton, a not inconsiderable distance of 63 miles, in aid of Cancer Research UK, keepin’ it wheel was definitely the best approach.

Gutenberg Global put forward two teams: The Wheel Deal, consisting of Mike Turnbull, Danny Courtney, Marc Van Moorsel, David Whipps, Alex Russell-Bates and Marian Popescu; and The Dirty Half Dozen, featuring Gary Halfacre, Sarah Mrowicki, Marc Dolby, Hannah Motaln, Matt Thompson and Joanne O’Toole. The smell of determination was clearly in the air from the get-go, from the 8am weekday spinning sessions to weekends of protein bars and worn-out wheels, not forgetting the off-road fancy handshakes between team members, witnessed in awe by their non-cycling colleagues. This clearly isn’t an activity for the fainthearted . . . cue Chariots of Fire? On the day, the teams were met with two angry van drivers, 25 bananas (each!), one single-speed bike and 11 energy gels. In a flash of Lycra, the Gutenbergers returned, 24 wheels intact and having raised £2,817.50 in total for Cancer Research. Bravo, we couldn’t be prouder!