How did you get into Graphic Design?
I’d been making and drawing things for as long as I can remember and got the most satisfaction and praise from doing so. This carried on through school producing murals and all kinds of things for general display. I was always curious about how things worked and looked. After my A levels the plan was to do Technical Illustration and I was offered a place at a leading course. That’s when my art teacher, bless her, said, “did I always want to be illustrating other people’s ideas”, and “why didn’t I do a Foundation course for a year to try out different media”. I loved the course, made a guitar and was offered jobs by lecturers, one at a pottery, one at JWT Manchester in advertising. I was keen to pursue industrial design – the pulling things apart as a boy helping here. Ultimately I decided that graphic design would let me work in a bigger range of media and sectors. So off I went and did my Graphics degree. Within two years of graduating, I’d won awards with D&AD, set up my company, which became Top 10 listed in the UK, before later joining up with my old friend and founder of Forepoint Simon Bailey.
What do you most enjoy about working at Forepoint?
I like the concept that a relatively small company can create great work for some of the biggest organisations that are out there. Together we make a fantastic team with diverse skills who continually add value to clients’ projects and who always deliver great work for them. I like to see everyone excel at what they do best. I’ve never lost my passion for working in new sectors and building relationships with new clients.
What projects are you currently working on?
Being the oldest pair of hand in the business now, I’m more than happy to see the younger team bring innovative design ideas and thinking into our work, Having said that, I am a natural technology geek, so I’ve been really active in the area of enterprise apps which is the big thing for business to adopt now (ask me about them if you want to know more!). I also go out to meet many of our new clients, a role that I enjoy, being an ambassador for us all. I work closely with some long-term clients such as Moto who have been great to work with for the past 16 years, when we created the new Moto brand for them, we also produce their website and app too.
Tell us about a memorable moment about working here or a project you’re really proud of?
Having worked in the industry for well over 30 years, it’s difficult to narrow everything down to a single project. We pitched and won the project to complete the £2.5m exhibition for the centenary of Tower Bridge in London which was a great privilege to do and a fantastic experience. I also helped relaunch the Mersey Ferries as a tourist attraction in Liverpool.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I have a passion for music, I keep saying my guitar playing will improve when I have more time and I still have the guitar I made as a student in my collection, admittedly it isn’t as good as the Red Special that Brian May and his father built together. I also love photography including street shots and astrophotography the latter which ties in with my great interest in space exploration and astronomy. I was the twelfth volunteer of a citizen science project called Galaxy Zoo, where I became a moderator and today that project morphed into the Zooniverse which now has well over one million volunteers. This has also led me to meet some amazing people in that field including the wonderful late Sir Patrick Moore at his home in Selsey. The man who originally fueled my interest in astronomy as a boy.
What’s your favourite TV show?
Currently enjoying The Fall, loved Breaking Bad, still catch Dr Who, but don’t hide behind the sofa these days. Wolf Hall was wonderfully produced and another TV highlight. But generally I’m pretty eclectic in my tastes.
Tell us a fascinating fact about yourself?
A US astronaut who has been to the International Space Station (ISS) twice has one of my photographs framed in his home alongside a poem it inspired him to write. Talk about friends in high places! In the shot below, that is the ISS by the Moon taken from my home.
Do you have a favourite quote/saying?
“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made”. Groucho Marx