Graduated – 1994
On graduating Simon hot-footed it to London to start his first job at Ziggurat Brands where he stayed for five years, getting the branded packaging design bug. He then moved to Jones Knowles Richie (JKR) where he stayed for 12 years climbing the career ladder to the role of Design Director. Running a team designing brands which included Hula Hoops, Tetley, Youngs beers, Murphy’s stout, Twix, Trebor, Weetabix, Lloyd’s, Bulmers, Guinness black lager amongst many others. After a stint as Creative Director at Blue Marlin, Simon has recently moved to pi global.
The Disciples of Design Q&A
How and where did you secure your first job?
Ziggurat approached the course looking for a junior designer, several of us applied for the job including my best mate Adam Ellis. Ziggurat couldn’t choose between me and Adam, so they ended up giving us both a job!
Do you think being a Preston student has benefited you in any way?
Totally. The focus on ideas gave me the foundation to build a career from. The ability to be creative and generate ideas will always make you a valuable asset to any company.
How has the industry changed over the years in your experience?
Once upon a time we would present marker visuals to the client at the first stage! Seems strange now, but the clients seemed to have much more vision back then.
Where do you get your ideas from? Do you prefer collaboration or thinking alone?
Headphones on, clean A3 pad, and a fine-liner, in my own world! Love it. Collaboration can be great, brainstorming can be fun, but you can’t beat using your own grey matter. Feed your head with galleries, books, films, music, art, etc. It all comes back out somehow?!
What would you have done differently at University knowing what you know now?
Invested a bit of my grant in a nice warm, waterproof coat. Preston is freezing!
What’s the best thing about your job?
Creating stuff from nothing. The fear of the white pad, then the ‘eureka’ moments of ideas, then seeing people with your designs and your packs on shelf in the local Sainsbury’s.
What would you say has been the key to your success so far?
Ideas, ideas, ideas. Work hard and be nice to people!
What is the most unusual thing you have done in your career?
Giving a speech to a room full of people whilst dressed as Elvis was a strange moment.
What do you look for in graduates and their portfolios?
Ideas, enthusiasm, open-mindedness.
Any advice for students entering the industry?
When you graduate you think you’re the nuts. It’s only when you get your first job you quickly realise that you are in fact at the bottom of the ladder, and you are going to have to learn a lot to get to the top of it. Be willing to learn from everybody around you. Go the extra mile and ask to work on stuff you haven’t been briefed on, do it in your own time. Enjoy it.
Packaging - Swan
Packaging - Bulmers