Simon Robinson

Graduated – 1988



After graduating Simon started out as an Art Director at ad agency Bartle Bogle & Hegarty alongside his copywriting partner Jo Moore (also ex Preston). Here they worked on some of the most iconic ads of the late 80’s and early 90’s including the Levis and Boddingtons ‘Cream of Manchester’ campaigns. Ten years later they joined WCRS as a creative team and are still going strong.

The Disciples of Design Q&A

How and where did you secure your first job?
Along with my creative partner Jo we left Preston with our book of advertising ideas. We darkened the door of many of London’s ad agencies, managed to do a few placements, before we got to show (Sir) John Hegarty our work. “Write me some radio ads and come back in a couple of weeks” he said.

A couple of weeks later we returned and he claimed he couldn’t remember asking us to write any radio ads… but did we want to start work on Monday?

Do you think being a Preston student has benefited you in any way?
At the time we were there, Preston was the only college that really understood the importance of the idea. Ideas were what mattered then and to be honest that’s still what matters now.

How has the industry changed over the years in your experience?

  1. The advent of digital.
  2. I used to have a nice little office that I shared with Jo. It had access to a balcony and some tomato plants. Now I work in a call centre with my laptop balanced precariously on a pile of books to prevent me getting backache.

Where do you get your ideas from? Do you prefer collaboration or thinking alone?
Ideas come from absolutely anywhere. The worst place to find them is at my desk. Sometimes thinking alone works, other times you need to collaborate… there’s no clear winner.

What would you have done differently at University knowing what you know now?
I wouldn’t have stayed up all night doing that hand drawn typography project Alan Livingston set us.

What’s the best thing about your job?
I love the feeling of being on a shoot with a big crew, a big cast, in the middle of nowhere… and thinking “this is all because of a stupid little idea we wrote down on a piece of paper”.

What would you say has been the key to your success so far?

  1. 1. Perseverance.
  2. Being likeable enough that when they have to get rid of anyone they choose someone else.

What is the most unusual thing you have done in your career?
Sat in on a liposuction operation.

What do you look for in graduates and their portfolios?
Smart, original thinking.

Any advice for students entering the industry?
Advertising agencies have plenty of people who can do the expected. You’ve got to do the unexpected.


'Washroom' Advert - Levi's

'Runner' Advert - Boddingtons