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:
- Take time to learn a new design skill.
- Be pro-active and think of something for a future project.
- 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.
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.
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.