For the last 20 years, like most of my colleagues I have had branding – the emotional aspects that an entity stirs in the viewer – provide the framework for my activity.
As of late, however, as my interest is clearly in achieving change through my work, I have begun to see branding as having a limited effect beyond the studios and marketing departments in charge of developing it. Granted, brands are everywhere, and they work. But often their influence does not seem to be more than a grand advertising campaign that is reassessed every five years.
At this point, I use the concept of ‘‘culture’’ to explain what I do, using the term in two of its meanings: as socio-economic environment, and in its biological sense – bear with me.
My sole aim when creating a new identity is to find the ‘cultural space’ for that organisation, their place in the culture (as socio-economic environment) they inhabit.
It is not about finding a gap in the market, an unmet need in consumers. It is about identifying what they – the specific people in the room, together with their business' offer – are building. Neither snatching a place, nor asking permission.
It's about claiming your place, and start building it. It's about identifying the space they can claim as their own, by bringing together their experience, expertise and offering, they fulfil a role not just in their profession, but in the society in which they operate.
Once that happens, the client takes ownership of the process – they no longer need an advisor to guide the discourse – it is too important to be left to external consultants.They internalise what is it that they are offering, and by connecting intuitively with their customer, they simply ‘‘see’’ what needs to be done. And it's rather exhilarating to watch.
From that point, my role is more about acting as a sounding board, and just ensure the process is steady and the discourse stays relevant to the strategic objectives. From then on, I commence creating the deliverables: messaging, visual brand, literature, webs, etc, always utilising these as opportunities to foster the growth and biodiversity of that culture (now in the biological sense) – as reinforcers of the vision and all its facets, that the client has ultimately devised and championed.
I rarely work alone. For most projects I collaborate with agencies, designers of various disciplines, architects, strategists, programmers, copywriters, illustrators, pr, photographers… some young bright things, others seasoned pros. I put together ad-hoc teams with the right set of skills and experience for that specific client; that way, we are able to be cost-efficient and nimbly tackle projects of varied dimensions.
Partial list of clients
Basque Film Institute
Bilbao Chamber of Commerce
Bilbao Ria 2000
Cancer Research UK
Cardiff Development Corporation
City of Bilbao
City of Bordeaux
Ernst & Sohn
Museum of London
Reed Business Information
Royal Academy of Arts
Yale University Press
Employment & Placements
Nick Bell Design
Will Alsop at RMJM
Something More Near
Awards & Publications
• The Good Web Guide Awards 2021, shortlisted for App of the Year, GoBe!
• The Plan 2015 Awards Italy, ‘Honourable Mention’ for Las Heras
• Shortlisted for Design Week Awards 2014, for 33 Parkgate Road
• Brand of the Year nomination,
Construction Marketing Awards for the Benaim identity, 2005
• Work published in DG and Experimenta magazines, ‘Select 2004’ design annual, ‘Marcas & Trademarks 2’, and ‘Musac’ design books
• New York University
Stern School of Business
BSc Cum Laude in Business
Administration Double major in Marketing and International Business
• London College of Communication Diploma in Printing and Publishing Studies
Exhibitions & Lectures
• Guest speaker at Digital Marketing Master Programme, London South Bank University
• Speaker at Type Writing Symposium, Birmingham Institute of Art & Design,
• Guest speaker at MA Programme, Coventry University
• Graphics Without Author (Gráfica sin Autor) Created and organized this collaborative project and exhibition
• IIA – International Architectural Workshops Coordinated William Alsop and Bruce McLean’s team