Design: It’s a Matter of Life and Death

How I got here

After leaving art college I worked at a number of design consultancies before becoming an art director at Target Advertising, which really broadened my creative outlook and taught me to look at the bigger picture.

I found working on Press, TV, Direct Mail and POS campaigns for clients from Bovis to Intersport incredibly exciting and got a taste for winning with a DMA Gold for Ecclesiastical insurance.

‪After a move to South West agency, The Real Adventure, initially to work on their advertising accounts, I became Creative Director. This gave me the opportunity to work on the digital, direct mail and CRM campaigns that made them one of the biggest agencies in the South West. The agency won Gramia DM Agency of the Year three years in succession with campaigns for household names like Aptamil, Black Horse, Cobra beer, Cow & Gate, Johnson & Johnson, Mates, Tropicana and Walkers.

All the perfect preparation for taking the plunge with Darren to form Liquorice!

Design. It’s a matter of life and death.

At my first design lecture as a student, we were shown four slides (yes, it was a while ago) to demonstrate why we were all there. The first slide was a sign with ‘Fresh Eggs’ roughly painted in white on an old plank. The second was a sign with ‘Flying Lessons’ in a computer typeface etched into stainless steel.

So far, two perfectly straightforward pieces of communication.

The third was a sign with ’Fresh Eggs’ in computer type on stainless steel, and the fourth (you’ve guessed it), ‘Flying lessons’ roughly painted on a plank. I’ve never forgotten it as the perfect demonstration of the need for design (in this case it could have been a life saver).

When something is designed well it can go unnoticed because it’s ‘right’, whether it’s a logo, a wine label or indeed a sign.

As Jock Kinkier, the designer who along with his assistant Margaret Calvert, unified the then plethora of different motorway signs which were at best confusing and at worst dangerous to Britain’s motorists, into the legible and logical design still used today, observed in 1965:

“It is sad but true to say that most of us take our surroundings for granted. Direction signs and street names, for instance, are as vital as oil in an engine, without which the moving parts would seize up”.

Do designers want acclaim for their work? Well yes, and no.

Whether your ‘right’ design needs to go unnoticed or capture the attention of your customers, please feel free to contact me at to discuss.