Graduated – 1993
Stewart is the Chief Creative Officer of Red Peak Group. He spent his formative years with Lewis Moberly and Williams Murray Hamm in London. After moving to the US, Stewart was named Design Director at Desgrippes Gobé, and later rose to Creative Director of Taxi and The Partners.
He is a multiple award-winning designer, and his work has been recognized by D&AD, Graphis, Clios, Type Directors, New York Festivals and more.
The Disciples of Design Q&A
How and where did you secure your first job?
A designer from Lewis Moberly came to the London degree show and asked if I was interested in doing a placement. It was only supposed to be for a month but I made myself part of the furniture. Three months later they offered me a job, I stayed eight years.
Do you think being a Preston student has benefited you in any way?
It made me realize that for a designer, making something look good is point of entry. An idea on the other hand is what makes us different.
You now work in New York, what is that like?
I moved to New York without a job, visa, contacts or having visited the city. I thought it was going to be easy – I’d worked for great London agencies and won awards. It wasn’t. New York is probably one of the hardest cities to make it in, just ask Frank or Jay Z. I’ve been here for 10 years. New York is an amazing city; it celebrates difference and achievement, no matter who you are or what you want to do.
How has the industry changed over the years in your experience?
Design is much more strategic, we have to fully understand the business needs of our clients. You cannot blame a client for buying a ‘safer option’ if we cannot articulate why a more creative solution will make better business sense.
Where do you get your ideas from? Do you prefer collaboration or thinking alone?
For me it’s about becoming completely immersed in the project. I prefer working alone but believe great ideas can come from anyone or anywhere, recognizing the good ones is the tricky part.
What would you have done differently at University knowing what you know now?
What’s the best thing about your job?
Working with odd people.
What would you say has been the key to your success so far?
Being surrounded by smart people.
What is the most unusual thing you have done in your career?
Worked in advertising.
What do you look for in graduates and their portfolios?
In no particular order, well-crafted ideas and a big personality.
Any advice for students entering the industry?
Don’t take three or four years making a portfolio of work and only spend the five minutes before an interview thinking about what to say or who you’ll be talking to.
Branding and Posters - You On Demand
Packaging - Hovis
Posters - Lisa Sanders PR