I got into design through high end erotica
Having left university with the least vocational degree I could find – Philosophy and Literature – I got work at a place that I thought would amuse me until I found an actual real job. I had been looking through a website called Crazy Jobs – now sadly defunct; I also got work with them as a waiter dressed as a sailor, but that’s a whole other story – and saw an advert for a position as an office monkey at an erotic publishing company. I got it and so began my slow, purposeful and self-willed march towards being a designer. Not one to just settle for just filing files, I took it upon myself to gimp up on the software they used, to devour design books and to annoy the hell out of printers with lists of inky questions. By showing my bloody-minded appetite as a designer, they eventually capitulated, and capitulated in quite a big way it seems because within two years I was Design Director.
This involved running through the entire production cycle of a book, from commissioning copy or images, editing, designing, retouching, print finishing, print liaison and finally marketing. My time there was insane, the work was always fascinating; from 17th Century lithographs, to Victorian erotica, to erotic fiction to blazing new photographic talent and so much more in between. I would come in every day to a new, funny, disgusting challenge.
After four and half years I had hit a filth wall and I left to seek fame as a designer of album covers for bands and DJs. Unfortunately my portfolio was full of erotica and while everyone wanted to see it, no one wanted to hire me. And so I went freelance and worked in the studios of several of the leading Advertising Agencies in London. While freelancing I worked with some great clients including Mercedes, Sky TV and Chevrolet and, more importantly, I met some amazing people who I continue to cross paths with as we wend our way through our careers.
Tinder + Sparks
Following this I worked for two years as a packaging designer for Sainsburys and between this, the advertising experience and the book publishing work, I felt I had enough in my arsenal to start firing my own guns. I stepped out as a fully fledged design agency in 2007 with the aim of working closely with clients from the germ of the idea; guiding them, cajoling them and enlivening them to create work that is unique, and adds value.
Since starting up Tinder + Sparks I have worked with clients as diverse as the BBC, Katie Price, MTV, Monster Energy and Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses. I continue to learn and use that knowledge to help others as I take on amazing people and mentor fresh new talent.
The blog is a constant dialogue on design as told from my corner of the world, from the London Olympic logo to text legibilty to Tinder + Sparks' Case Studies. If you would like to get updates on blog posts as they are published, press the RSS or email button above.
If you would like to get in touch with me with questions, queries or just to send free food, mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the details below, I'd love to hear from you.