The Creative Boom Podcast

21 Dec. 2022

It's been two years and nearly a hundred episodes since we launched The Creative Boom Podcast. With 2023 fast approaching, we thought a Christmas Special might be in order. One that celebrates how far we've come and pays tribute to the people who helped us get here but also allows us to look ahead and consider what's next.

What better way to do so than return to our very first guest? And that's Malcolm Garrett. The esteemed graphic designer and creative director also happens to be one of the co-founders of Design Manchester, an annual festival in our home city and one that holds a special place on the international design calendar.

It's actually where we headed last month to meet Malcolm but also catch up with other former guests of our show plus meet some new names. It seemed particularly fitting to make our Christmas Special during Design Manchester, as this year's theme is about Legacy – something that honours the late great Professor David Crow of the Manchester School of Art, who was one of the champions and supporters of the festival.

Held in the Benzie Building of the esteemed art school, the event meant that everyone was reflecting on the legacy of Design Manchester as well as their own creative journeys, and how that legacy plays into the future. It was an honour to capture some of that reflection for Creative Boom – much of which we'll share now. And to just add a little fun, we asked everyone for their own Christmas memories – a time of year that means something different from one person to the next. But whether good or bad, it was agreed that the festive season brings people together. And I also asked about new year resolutions and how they feel about 2023.

We kicked things off with Malcolm but then also chatted with former Creative Review editor Patrick Burgoyne, creative director and stylist Harris Elliott, graphic designer and artist Ian Swift aka Swifty, graphic artist Anthony Burrill, designer and artist Sarah Boris, artist and illustrator Stanley Chow, designer and digital whizz Zoë Hitchen, material and performance artist and artistic director Naitiemu Nyanjom, designer and illustrator Jane Bowyer, designer Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic, and Sir Misha Black Awards Chairman and Arts University Bournemouth Honorary Fellow, Mary V Mullin.

That's it for Season Five of The Creative Boom Podcast. We're going to take a short break, but we will be back in 2023 with lots of new guests, covering many different themes – topics important to you as a creative professional. Until then, from myself and everyone at Creative Boom, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and peaceful New Year.

19 Dec. 2022

It's our final guest of season five. Angela Roche is a graphic designer and creative director who runs Manchester studio, Love & Logic.

We've been trying to get Angela on the show for quite some time. Disclaimer alert: we're great friends and once shared an office when she was running Design By Day – a brand and digital agency that had tremendous success, working for clients such as the NHS, Barnardo's, and Brother.

We fondly remember leaning out of the window of our Northern Quarter base, watching the world go by as we helped each other figure out all the challenges of running a business. Or when we had swivel chair races across the floor. Or create fun videos for her agency's Instagram feed. Or when we dressed one of our team as a 'hipster', complete with a fixie bike, turned-up jeans and a little hat. They were great times and great people: Sami, Jonathan, Rob (whom we've also had on the podcast), Parham and many more that followed. Angela looked after them all, offering a great place to work and grow.

But after 12 years – 16 months spent during the pandemic – Angela found herself at a difficult crossroads. After much soul-searching, which we can imagine wasn't easy for someone we know who cares hugely about other people, Angela decided running an agency wasn't for her anymore. And so, she closed Design By Day and launched her solo venture, Love & Logic.

In this episode, we'll talk about building a design agency and its many challenges, and we'll hear of Angela's experience of closing it down, despite its success. We'll cover themes of the fear of failure, confronting gut feelings, and opting for difficult choices when you know they involve more than just you.

12 Dec. 2022

Our next guest is Meredith Schomburg, a Brooklyn-based illustrator originally from North Carolina. Today, we'll be hearing about the interesting twists and turns of Meredith's career thus far. Like many of us, she was told as a child that art wouldn't make a living, so she went down the more "constructive" graphic design route.

After graduating in the field from North Carolina State University in 2015, she secured an internship at IDEO in Boston, which led to her first full-time job at a small creative shop before landing the role of Experience Designer at Airbnb in San Francisco a year later.

In 2019, she joined Koto in LA as a senior designer. It was during her time at that studio when the pandemic hit, which proved to be especially difficult for Meredith but also valuable. She realised she really did want to pursue a career in art, turning to illustration as her full-time gig. Well, it's been almost a year since she went freelance, all is going well, and she's just been signed by the agency, Jelly.

In this episode, we talk about Meredith beginning her journey as a fully-fledged illustrator, having previously worked in-house at some of the world's leading brands and design studios. We hear more of how she found herself in a bit of a bad patch during lockdown and why she decided to move away from a full-time design role. And then we get to grips with how she made that happen, how she found her optimistic and colourful style, and how she kept going. And how her voice has finally taken shape.

We even talk about all that practical but necessary business stuff. Because, as a freelancer, no one really tells you what it takes to work for yourself, so she was keen to share what she's learnt on that and much more.

5 Dec. 2022

This week's guest is Lyndsay McLaren – account director at All Conditions Media and founder of Neighbourhood Skate Club.

Lyndsay has spent the past decade in marketing and creative communications for action sports, outdoors, fashion and lifestyle brands worldwide. We're talking Patagonia, Go Pro, Adidas, Arc’teryx, Yeti and many more. Originally from Scotland, she graduated in Corporate Communication from Robert Gordon University in 2008. But then went to the States to study Performing Arts at the University of Florida, where she discovered a passion for skateboarding.

That's where she stayed for a while, securing her first step on the career ladder at Bern Helmets in Boston before returning to the UK in 2014 to further her career in the outdoor and action sports world. It's been a whirlwind adventure ever since. She spent five or six years in London, where she continued her love of skating and also launched Neighbourhood Skate Club, which aims to create more opportunities for women in the UK to skate, connect and community-build. It's also designed to address issues such as consent, street harassment, domestic violence, sexual harassment, catcalling and male violence against women - while offering support to survivors and victims. 

Today, Lyndsay is based in Leeds after the pandemic forced her to take stock and realise she needed to leave the capital. It's where she continues to run the Club and work for All Conditions Media, immersing herself in the production and marketing world of extreme and outdoor sports. 

Her new project and short film, A Land For Everyone, is something she's also recently been involved with – it aims to show skateboarding in a new light while breaking down some of the barriers that exist within the sport - and in fact, action sports and the outdoor industry in general. We sat down with Lyndsay to discuss all of this and discover why – despite everything she's been through – she's hopeful for the future.

28 Nov. 2022

This week's guest on is Dyneisha Gross, an American graphic designer based in Washington DC, currently working at Ogilvy, one of the most respected creative agencies in the world.

Dyneisha describes herself as someone who loves to tell stories, spark conversations and solve problems, starting with paper and a good writing utensil. Her punchy and colourful work reflects her bubbly and outgoing personality. And it was also one of the things that got her noticed after university, leading to awards and recognition that put her work in front of Ogilvy and landed her that dream job.

A graduate of Graphic Design from the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Dyneisha spent her final year in the depths of the global pandemic, trying to navigate the "new normal" and finish her degree. She began a side venture to keep herself sane during that time, creating and selling greeting cards in her distinct lettering style. These cards feature many positive messages that she admits act as affirmations for living a good life.

In this episode, we talk about the struggles she's overcome, the lessons of lockdown, and what she's found has helped her get noticed and succeed in her current career. We talk about social media and how it can be a blessing and a curse. We delve into the content she creates, which shows how she loves to spread some love and positivity, helping others in a similar position to succeed.

We also talk about diversity in the industry and how she feels about the future of design. It's always great to hear from those at the beginning of their creative careers, and Dyneisha doesn't hold back.

21 Nov. 2022

This week, our guest is Michael Freimuth – the co-founder and creative director of Franklyn, a respected design studio in New York City.

If you find yourself on Michael's personal website, you immediately get a sense of his character. There's a whole heap of humour and a dose of humility. He doesn't take himself too seriously but is passionate about the people and causes he gets behind. Whether he's focused on branding, design or illustration – collaboration and play are at the heart of everything he does.

A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Michael's already enjoyed much recognition during a varied and rewarding career. He received the ADC Young Guns and New Visual Artists awards early on, recognising the world's top creatives under 30. A decade later, he's happily still at the helm of Franklyn, but much has changed since the pandemic and, more recently, since becoming a father.

In this episode, we get quite nostalgic, talking about Michael's childhood in Chicago and how his time spent with friends and growing up watching John Hughes movies inspired how he is today. With collaboration being so important to him, it almost feels as though that '80s innocence of bike rides, tree climbing and scratched knees, and occasional shenanigans with friends has never really left him.

It's this optimism that shines through his personality and his work. We've mentioned how he feels about "play", which comes across in his illustration practice – but whilst he mostly pokes fun at the world around him, he simultaneously highlights important issues.

Here, he gives us a wonderful insight into studio life beyond New York City, the difficult balance of career and fatherhood, and the legacy he wants to leave for his son. And we discover why he might just make a short film with childhood friends, inspired by those seemingly simpler times.

14 Nov. 2022

Our next guest is Tom Geismar, the acclaimed American graphic designer famous for creating some of the world's most recognisable and enduring brands.

Tom is a founding member of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv (formerly Brownjohn, Chermayeff & Geismar and Chermayeff & Geismar), the highly respected design firm in New York, which he began with friends Ivan Chermayeff and Robert Brownjohn in 1957. Together, they became renowned for their fresh and creative approach to companies such as Pan Am, Chase Bank, and PBS – which paved the way for the design industry we know today.

During his incredible career, Tom has created outstanding designs across print, packaging and environmental. There are many highlights, including his impactful work for Xerox, which created a new standard for design in corporate communications. There was also his special relationship with Mobil over 35 years and his unique take on exhibitions, bringing together many creative disciplines to create stand-out designs for The Statue of Liberty Museum, Ellis Island Museum, and many more. It's no wonder he's considered a pioneer in the field.

In this episode, we talk about those early days in New York City when a tremendous cultural shift was afoot, and the design industry was a completely different landscape back then. We hear of their first office: a tiny bedroom which featured a desk – an old door propped up on makeshift legs – of which Tom sat across from his then partner and mentor Brownjohn.

There's some insight into some of his favourite projects, and we learn of some of his regrets. How his practice has changed over the decades, and why they have kept their design firm deliberately small. We hear what he thinks of new technology like DALL-E and how he feels about graphic design today.

For someone described as a "sweetheart" by New York's design community, Tom is a brilliant mind that has won many awards and continues to enjoy being part of his practice today, even after 65 years in the business.

7 Nov. 2022

Our next guest is Rebecca Harrison, a brand designer and creative director at global agency Loveblood Creative.

Today, Rebecca is based in The Lakes, where she grew up. It's a small village with close family and a tight-knit community. But quite typically, when someone has enjoyed a quieter life as a child, she wanted to experience a different adventure in a big city. And so she packed her bags in 2004 and moved to London, where she studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins.

During university, Rebecca admits it was the first time she became aware of her accent and how different she felt compared to others. And deep down, there was this knawing feeling she couldn't shake, which she would later realise was homesickness. In fact, she spent a considerable amount of time and energy trying to feel more at home in London, but it wasn't quite cutting it. Her career, meanwhile, had taken a slight detour as creative jobs were hard to come by, and Rebecca instead found a job and "home" working as a funeral director in North London. It was an experience she believes was the most foundational and inspirational of her career.

During that time, she began freelancing on the side, working in graphic design and illustration. On the surface, all was well. But home was calling. She was about to return to the North when she met her now-partner James and moved to Brighton in 2010. That's where they stayed for the next eleven years, and it was where Rebecca cut her teeth at Brandwatch, moving from junior designer to Design Director.

Then the pandemic hit – a time that forced many of us to reassess our lives. And so Rebecca and James decided to move back to the Lakes, where she grew up. And that's where she's now happily based, working remotely as part of the team at Loveblood Creative. It's where I travelled north to meet Rebecca in a thriving art and community centre on the outskirts of Penrith.

In this episode, we talk about leaving home as a working-class woman and moving to London – how it impacts; the positives and downsides. We talk about the journey many of us embark on to find ourselves and what "home" really means. We discuss how we might become lost, forget our identity and try and be something else to "fit in" and get ahead in our careers. But Rebecca rejoices in the recent epiphany that she no longer needs to comply. She explains, "The creative industry, in many ways, told me that I needed to change to succeed. To be in a certain city or live a particular way of life. I realised how ridiculous these predefinitions are and what we are missing out on as an industry due to our own biases."

We discover why she's now choosing to challenge the status quo, shake up what it means to be a successful creative director and why she's instead embracing what's right for her, leaning into her culture and being proud of who she is and what she has to offer.

31 Oct. 2022

Our next guest is Muiz, an art director, artist and designer from Manchester who specialises in Arabic and Latin branding, editorial and type design.

Many of you will know why it's impossible to define precisely what you do. Job titles, after all, can be so limiting. It's why Muiz points out that he's a natural-born illustrator with an academic background in product design and fine art and also a qualified graphic designer working with clients as big as Arts Council England, Audi, and Bloomsbury. It's important for him to get this across, as so much of what we do influences our output.

Just as Muiz doesn't want to be defined by labels, he doesn't want to be put in any box because of his background or ethnicity. It's why he keeps a low profile online and has never shown his face on social media or the web.

Despite all this, Muiz has enjoyed a successful career, finding ways to network and get ahead via more traditional means. Straight after graduation, he spent 18 months working with two of the world's leading typographers – Bruno Maag and Erik Spiekermann, via Fontshop International. He tells us how that came about in this episode (and it's quite surprising).

He also reveals how he worked for the Palestine Festival of Literature for eight years. And we learn more about Rice & Gold, the creative studio he founded five years ago with his friend and illustrator Jonny Wan.

We also delve into the importance of identity and why you can be a success no matter where you're based. We cover the secrets of self-promotion without sharing your entire personal life on social media. Muiz also shares why real connections matter, as they're not "transactional", perhaps like a 'like' or retweet.

But mainly, we hear of Muiz finding himself, leaning into his strengths, and discovering that he – just like anyone else – has a real and valid voice that deserves to be heard.

23 Oct. 2022

Our next guest is the acclaimed American graphic designer, author and scholar Louise Sandhaus. A professor at the California Institute of the Arts, she is also the principal of Louise Sandhaus Design, a studio she founded in 1998.

Born in Massachusetts, Louise began her career in the 1970s and has since seen new technology disrupt and change the creative industries in ways many of us can't imagine – from the birth of the Apple computer to the software tools we still use today. 

Thanks to the Internet, Louise has recently launched the permanent home for The People's Graphic Design Archive to preserve graphic design history for future generations and act as a source of inspiration for creative professionals everywhere. She's one of its four co-founders – an online platform rooted in a passion for celebrating our industry's output and learning from our previous creations.

In this episode, we talk about new technology, how it transformed her career and why it's a force for good today. We discuss the rising tide of AI and its potential impact with tools like DALL-E. And we delve into Louise's path to success, the challenges she's faced, and the rewards she's enjoyed along the way. 

We really understand why preserving graphic design is a real labour of love for Louise and why it's so important that we somewhat remove the "gatekeepers" to celebrate all kinds of work and champion the unsung creators whose voices are often not heard. As she so beautifully puts it, "everything and everyone is valued" when you have something that anyone can contribute to.

16 Oct. 2022

Our guest on the podcast this week is Arthur Foliard, a creative director originally from Paris who is currently based in New York City.

Arthur has travelled the world since he accepted an internship at Landor Associates in San Francisco over a decade ago. He later moved to London and worked for Pentagram before joining Moving Brands for a couple of years, rising from junior to senior designer. In 2016, Arthur tried his hand at freelancing for under a year but then was snapped up by the London design agency Koto – becoming its Design Director in 2017. He's still there today but has recently moved to the States to head up its new studio in New York.

Although Arthur predominantly works in graphic design, he is also renowned for his illustration work – often merging the two disciplines to deliver stunning identities for the likes of Backmarket, Meatable, and Yubo. His illustration work, meanwhile, is instantly recognisable – often spotted on walls and billboards across London.

In this episode, we talk about his adventures around the world. And what "home" means to him when he's not in Paris – how all these other places where he's lived differ from one another; their various cultures and ways of doing business. He also shares how he found himself in San Francisco straight after college. And how he coped with not being able to speak a word of English.

We delve into his time at Koto and what it's like to be head of its new office in New York, which isn't even a year old. There's a bit of juicy insight into the studio's culture, how they might follow London's example and how it looks after its people. And Arthur shares why he believes everyone should be together, collaborating and supporting one another in the same room.

It's a fun chat with someone who clearly isn't afraid of the future and doesn't dwell too much on the past – something many of us will find comforting during these rocky and uncertain times.

9 Oct. 2022

This week's guest is Katie Jones, a graphic designer from Manchester. We met Katie at the Manchester School of Art, where she is currently an associate lecturer. It's a role she adores, as she spends a lot of time doing something she loves while helping the next generation of designers. She enjoys it so much that in 2019, she scooped an MMU Teaching Award for 'Outstanding Feedback', the first teaching award the Art School has ever won.

The School is where Katie studied her own art foundation and a degree in Graphic Design. During her course, she looked around at the other students and teachers and found a calling to create a magazine called Fresh – one that would shine a spotlight on diverse creatives. It's a side project that has since opened many doors, built skills and confidence, and introduced Katie to the wider creative industry.

In fact, Fresh made Katie realise just how important it is to build her own community. And so, she's since become part of SLAN Collective, a global network of artists and designers who all support one another. She's also become one of the people behind Ladies, Wine & Design in Manchester – the networking group for women. Aside from these valuable hustles, Katie also runs a vegan food truck with her family.

In this episode, we talk about the values and life lessons Katie inherited from her parents and two brothers. It's the way she holds herself, not conforming to any gender roles and why she has the strength and courage to pave her way – despite having that conversation with her mother, the one some of you know only too well.

We also hear about side projects and why they can be so fruitful. About rebellion and artistic freedom. Of listening to your gut and not being afraid to change or quit something if it isn't working. Katie also shares why she will not accept the status quo and doesn't want to be pigeonholed into one field or merely picked out for the colour of her skin. It's a warm and honest conversation with someone who reminds us to count our blessings and counter these difficult times through the currency of kindness.

2 Oct. 2022

We kick off season five of The Creative Boom Podcast with a topic that is, thankfully, getting louder in the creative industries. And that's mental health. We've invited Manchester-based graphic designer Graham Jones as our first guest to guide us through.

Now, if you're one of those creatives who doesn't do any marketing or seek fame in this industry, then Graham's approach will appeal. He's stayed deliberately quiet, not seeking out interviews or press coverage. Instead, he's been focusing on navigating his way through a successful career spanning over two decades. And he's had the publicity without even trying, as his work speaks for itself. He's been published in dozens of respected books by Victionary and Counter-Print and celebrated in magazines such as Computer Arts and Grafik.

Graham runs the independent design studio Loose Collective and is a part-time senior lecturer at the Manchester School of Art. If there's one thing he's especially famous for in the North West, it's for being one of the nicest people in the industry. Graham knows everyone and is well-loved. He's a positive force for good in the design community and someone who, we discover, has fought many battles to overcome his own mental struggles.

In this episode, we chat about the obsession with fame and fortune in the design industry, why it's bad for mental health and why being famous shouldn't be the goal. Graham also gives us a reality check about the field overall – it's not glamorous, for the most part. It can be hard work, a real slog. You have to love the profession to do it.

We also discuss overcoming imposter syndrome and the little mind tricks we can play to be happier creatives. And Graham gives us lots more reassuring advice to navigate what can sometimes feel like a demanding career.

26 Sep. 2022

Want to hear the inside scoop from leading artists and designers? Understand what makes them thrive (not just survive) in a post-pandemic world, how they view emerging technology like generative AI, and where they think creativity is heading next? Or even hear of those seemingly small career moments that had enormous impacts?

The Creative Boom Podcast will answer many of these burning questions and satisfy your curiosity through candid conversations with some of the world's biggest creative names. Each episode promises invaluable insight and incredible stories to inspire creative professionals everywhere. 

From visual artist and author, Oliver Jeffers, to American graphic designer Gail Anderson… 'King of Logos' Tom Geismar and the legendary Debbie Millman… Join me, Katy Cowan, as I chat with leading artists and designers from around the world, delving into their careers to discover the secret to their success, as well as hearing their thoughts on crucial topics that affect us all. 

This show is part of Creative Boom, an online magazine launched nearly 14 years ago to celebrate, inspire and support the creative community, particularly the underrepresented. Today, we reach a million creative professionals each month and have proudly championed thousands of creatives since 2009.

To discover more, go to Creative Boom and be inspired by all the latest news, work, insight and advice from the creative industry. That’s where you can also discover our entire podcast archive.

10 Jul. 2022

What does it feel like to be immersed in a scene documenting the rise of the UK's most important musical genre since punk? Simon Wheatley is an acclaimed photographer who did just that, capturing grime culture as it happened.

His subsequent book Don't Call Me Urban! The Time of Grime was released in 2010, offering a fascinating insight into that world through music portraiture, reportage and architectural imagery. It shot to the top of the book charts and was immediately hailed as a classic of British documentary photography. Since then, Simon has continued his work around the grime scene – also as a filmmaker – and he is currently editing for a more comprehensive book that will cover the genre's evolution up to the present day.

Amongst Simon's career highlights have been a spectacular spell with the Magnum agency – producing groundbreaking work from the French suburbs after the riots of 2005 – and being selected as the worldwide ambassador for the launch of Leica's legendary M-series camera in 2006. In 2018, he was invited to be the in-house photographer at London's Abbey Road Studios.

Over the past decade, Simon has divided his time between London and India, the land of his maternal ancestry, where he has continued his photography and studied yogic philosophy and music. He also carries out workshops worldwide and is developing a course of photography that seeks to combine physical, mental and spiritual development.

A self-proclaimed outsider, we wanted to know more about how his childhood, moving between the varying cultures of Singapore and England, and how that experience shaped him as a person. We asked what it was like to attend a Surrey boarding school where he didn't really fit in and what led him to documentary photography, finding a sense of belonging in London. There's a lot we cover. It's a humbling conversation with a gentle, curious soul that today embraces his many quirks and traits – something we can all aspire to.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

3 Jul. 2022

We speak to many people about how they got into graphic design. But we never expect anyone to admit that a dislike of their handwriting would set them off on this creative path. This was certainly the case for Alison Haigh. Realising computers were the answer to crafting neater typography, she fell in love with design. And today is Design Director at Accept & Proceed, a respected studio based in London that's behind identities for Dickies and campaigns for Nike.

Alison has had quite the journey to get here. After graduating from the University of Brighton in 2009 – at the height of the global economic crisis – she had internships at NB Studio, Small and various other agencies. It was typical of that era – jobs were scarce, and Alison did all she could to get onto the ladder. Her determination paid off as she landed her first role at Nelson Associates. She later joined Proud and spent three years building skills and experience there before securing a dream role at Wolff Olins as a senior designer. In 2018, she became part of the team at Design Studio, but two years later, she found her way back to a smaller agency via Accept and Proceed.

After spending 11 years in the creative industry, Alison realised there wasn't much support for the difficult "middle" – that part of our careers between graduation and the top of the ladder. So in 2019, she launched The Middle School to provide honest advice and practical skills to designers in the middle of their careers. By helping more people stay in the industry, realise their potential, and become better leaders, Alison hopes it'll be a small step towards tackling wider industry problems around diversity and mental health. In this episode, we talk about this and much more, including how she feels the industry is becoming more honest and vulnerable and why that's such a good thing.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

26 Jun. 2022

It was the picture books from her childhood that inspired our next guest to become a freelance artist. The illustrated stories sparked a passion for drawing for Aysha Tengiz but were also what kept her sane growing up in Turkey, where her family had moved to be closer to her father’s.

Now based in London, Aysha specialises in illustration, animation and textile design. Her work is playful, colourful, and often of everyday scenes full of charming characters like Fil, a lonely elephant who was also the star of her first picture book.

A graduate of Camberwell College of Arts, Aysha has worked in Illustration since breaking into the industry five years ago. Today she is represented by Closer & Closer in North America, and her clients include The New York Times, Facebook, and Stella McCartney. It’s been a whirlwind of success. One she partly puts down to being part of a thriving London community.

In this episode, we talk about freelancing as an illustrator and why it can often be hard to find your place in the world and settle on a style that suits you and your personality. We talk a lot about money – a subject that we feel just isn’t covered enough. And we understand more about what it takes to survive in an increasingly competitive field.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

19 Jun. 2022

Those of you who remember the glory days of web design, Web 2.0, Flash and ActionScript, when the FWA and Deviant Art were just getting started, and when everything felt new and exciting, almost like a Wild West of the Internet, then our next guest will make you smile.

Elliot Jay Stocks is a legend in the web design world. He began working as a junior designer for EMI Music, which he admits was a lucky break thanks to his portfolio, which had all the websites he'd designed and built for friends' bands while studying Contemporary Media Practice at university.

Some of you will remember Elliot's time spent at Carsonified – the website he designed for that agency went down in the web design hall of fame and today is still seen as a turning point for the industry.

With all that experience, Elliot has done a ton of talks around the world and written for magazines such as Computer Arts and Dot Net. In 2010, he launched a print magazine called 8 Faces, dedicated to type, typography and lettering. Later on, he joined Typekit as Creative Director, which has since become Adobe Fonts. Then, after getting married and becoming a father, he and his wife Samantha launched their own magazine on the elusive idea of work-life balance.

Today, he's working with Google on Fonts Knowledge, a library of original guides to the world of typography. Interestingly, he's been remote since 2013, working from his peaceful garden office near Bristol and where I was invited to sit down and chat about his journey so far.

Surrounded by many keyboards and instruments, showing a clear passion for making music on the side, we wanted to know if Elliot ever sits still and whether side projects and experiments have always been a focus. We wanted to ask how he feels about working for Google. And whether he's managed to achieve that ultimate goal that we all dream of – to balance life with work and be happy.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

12 Jun. 2022

If you've been running a design studio for quite some time and with some success, does it feel like you've been doing so for many years? Or do you feel like you're only just getting started? This was the curious question we posed to Max Ottignon, a co-founder of Ragged Edge in London.

Launched nearly 15 years ago with friend Matt Bland, the pair wanted to create a branding agency for people who "care less about how things are, and more about how things could be". That is anyone with the conviction to challenge the status quo. It's a mission that's done them proud. Today, the studio is behind fresh identities for the likes of Papier, Mindful Chef, Laka and East London Liquor Company. It's won many awards. And there's a team of nearly 40 talented designers, strategy directors, 3D artists, digital specialists and writers – all of whom the studio calls 'change-makers'.

So what does this change mean in design? And what has Max learnt over 15 years of running a studio that wants to do things differently? What's it been like growing a team – from global economic crisis to global pandemic? And how does Ragged Edge stand out in an increasingly competitive industry? Does Max even feel like the studio is fully established now? Or is there still work to do? We sat down with Max to find out more.

A tall yet quiet character, there's a humbleness to Max and an eagerness to push forward, keep improving and build on their success. To do the right thing. And to create something that puts people before profit. Perhaps leave a legacy that's about meaningful change and making a difference, more than anything else.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

5 Jun. 2022

Boma Krijgsman is a cultural champion who is currently part of the team at JDO in London. As a brand ambassador and talent manager, she helps the creative agency raise its profile to attract clients and diverse talent.

A self-proclaimed 'hustle bunny', Boma began her career travelling the world, working incredibly hard and picking up skills and experience along the way. She spent two years in Vietnam as the PR and marketing manager for a large fashion retailer, which she admits was a "dream job" as she worked with brands such as Versace, Christian Louboutin, and Jimmy Choo. She then returned to the UK, where she launched her own business to specialise in project management. Today, she's settled in Kent and is the proud mother of three children, juggling parenthood with her role at JDO.

We wanted to learn more about her exciting adventures and how she found herself in her current role. From a dip into tourism and then modelling to discovering a passion for PR and marketing, there seems to be no limit to Boma's infectious energy and talents.

We talk about diversity and inclusion in the creative industry and why we still have a long way to go. And we share truths about confidence, motherhood and being a woman in design, and finding ourselves – realising our potential and embracing everything that comes our way.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

29 May. 2022

What was it like to move to the UK from Delhi in the 1970s, aged just five years old? For Gush Mundae, founder of creative agency Bulletproof, he felt that, as an immigrant, he was never "invited in", so he admits it was a real hustle from the beginning.

Hip-hop was just emerging in Britain, which he became obsessed with – along with all the associated culture, like graffiti art and sneakers. But Gush admits the street art "got him into a lot of trouble with the boys in blue and rival gangs" until his art teacher encouraged him to take that passion for art to explore graphic design and consider a respectable career in the creative industry.

So, in 1998, Gush took the plunge and founded Bulletproof using £2,000 of his personal savings. Today, his agency works with Cadbury, Football Association Wales and Soapsmith from studios in London, Amsterdam, New York, Sydney, Singapore and – most recently – Shanghai.

Describing Bulletproof as his "life's work", we were eager to learn more about what he's been through. The blood, sweat and tears. The big lessons and the bold moves. Join us for this fascinating, honest chat from one of the best names in the business – from racism and Brexit to hip hop, modern music and design; from overcoming childhood traumas and growing a global agency to adapting to the world today – Gush Mundae reveals all.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

22 May. 2022

Our guest this week is Marina Willer, an award-winning graphic designer and filmmaker and one of Pentagram's many respected partners. Before joining the global agency, she was head creative director for Wolff Olins in London.

With an MA in Graphic Design from the Royal College of Art, Marina has enjoyed an incredible career so far. She's led the design of major identities, including Rolls Royce, Oxfam, Nesta and Amnesty International. She recently rebranded Battersea and Sight and Sound Magazine. And as a multi-faceted designer, she has even designed major exhibitions for the Design Museum, including Ferrari: Under the Skin and Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition. Both were the most-visited shows in the museum's history.

Elsewhere, Marina's first feature film, Red Trees, premiered at the 2017 Canne Film Festival and was released worldwide by Netflix in 2018 to much critical acclaim. She talks about it fondly in this episode and shares many other fascinating insights into her amazing creative journey.

We talk about her process and inspirations. We learn more about Pentagram and how she feels about the world right now. We discuss the idea of "home" and how it feels to be in London post-pandemic. And she shares the joy of realising that work continues to surprise her, even after it's been 20 years since she famously rebranded Tate.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

15 May. 2022

Mat Voyce describes himself as a "non-award-winning" graphic and motion designer based in the UK – not only because he hasn't yet won any awards and wants to joke about it, but perhaps to prove a point that you don't need a trophy to be a success.

And a success Mat has truly been. Specialising in 2D type animation, Mat has become known for his pioneering style that explores illustrative kinetic typography. It's actually what made him famous, as he spent the pandemic creating simple yet positive type art on Instagram. He gained a huge following, which allowed him to raise his profile and network with the global creative community, leading to huge client wins such as Disney, Google, Nike and YouTube.

Spending so much time and effort on his Instagram account allowed Mat to flex his creative muscles and build on his skills. We wanted to chat with Mat about this rise to fame, his experience of Instagram overall and how when Covid-19 hit, he just got his head down and got on with his work. We talk of the treadmill of freelancing and how to find a good balance – even whether that's possible. We discuss looking after our mental health and the highs and lows of social media. And we hear more about creative copycats and how to cope with people who are a little too inspired by our own work.

There's a lot that Mat has generously shared here. So we hope this "friendly neighbourhood type animator", as he describes himself, brings you some warmth and wisdom this Monday morning.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

8 May. 2022

Darnell Brown is a growth strategist and educator based in North Carolina. Originally a graphic designer, he now helps businesses to harness their superpowers, hack their time and impact lives through creative courses and consulting. 

It’s a career he carved out for himself after suffering the effects of burnout during his days of crafting logos and building brand identities. It was 2008, at the peak of the global economic crisis when he decided to make the change from full-time employment to freelancing, spotting an opportunity to hire himself when no one else would.

Almost fourteen years later, Darnell has helped hundreds of clients to thrive and continues to apply everything he’s learnt so far – from his days as a kid in the '90s, hustling and making money from his comic book drawings, to his time helping tech startups to raise millions in funding.

We wanted to hear more about Darnell's path to success. And discover all the things he's learnt along the way. Believe me, his passion for business and creativity will spark a spring in your step today.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

1 May. 2022

For episode 74, our guest is Sarah Hyndman, a graphic designer and researcher and the person behind Type Tasting – a practice that's on a mission to change the way we think and talk about typography by making it fun and exciting for everyone.

Sarah specialises in making typography entertaining and relevant with humour, a dash of theatre and lashings of audience participation. And she is also the author of various books on type, including the bestselling book Why Fonts Matter and the title, How to Draw Type and Influence People.

Through her practice, she gets us to think about type in ways we never thought possible. Whether she's doing a TED X talk, TV interview, radio show or installation at the V&A – she takes typography way beyond the world of graphic design. Chef Heston Blu-men-thal even calls on Sarah as his "font science" expert.

I wanted to pick Sarah's brains on all things type. On how typography has changed since she first discovered it as a child, looking at chocolate and sweet wrappers in her local corner shop. We hear her thoughts on trends and the overall design industry about type snobbery and why we're all experts. And we delve into the subconscious and how we feel about various typefaces. Even whether they have the power to change the world, shape our behaviour and influence pop culture.

Season Four of The Creative Boom Podcast is kindly sponsored by Astropad Studio.

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