James Lord

James has over 25 years of experience working on brands as diverse as The Garlic Farm, The London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange and yachting component manufacture Spinlock. He also helps apply and implement branding, which has led to him collaborating with deli ranges, restaurant interiors, glamping sites, wrapping of cars and boats, billboards, estate signage and many more. 

Read our interview with James here to find out more

Can you tell us a little bit about your work, James. What might a typical week look like for you? 

I’m an early riser and aim to be at my desk by 8am. Around 90 per cent of my work is for long-term clients, which is often fast turnaround work on established brands – anything from pitches and presentations to advertising and marketing materials. The other 10 per cent is new work, which can be creating a new brand, a change of direction/re-positioning, new campaigns/new products and so on. Every client and project is different. It’s a thrill to start a new one.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The thrill of my work is creating a brand that initiates a positive change in the institution, product or business. Many designers think that creating a brand is just a new logo, change of typeface and box of business cards, but it should be much more of a design conversation and opportunity for a whole organisation to feel part of their future.

How did you get started in the job? 

I went to London College of Printing with the view to becoming a photographer but then everything went digital so I studied Graphic Communication instead. I wanted to design posters and record covers but the pay was atrocious, so I sold my soul and went to work in financial marketing in the City.How have you noticed your industry changing over the years?

There has been massive change and acceleration due to digitalisation – but good design still stands out.

Do you find people try to do the design work themselves at first, then realise they need to call in a professional?

Sometimes – but most people I work with are seasoned entrepreneurs and realise the benefits of outsourcing their creative work.

What tips do you have for a small business considering how to move forward with branding and design?

There are three essential things to do:
1. Find a designer that understands you and wants to be in it for the long haul
2. Don’t design by committee (but do consult everybody)
3. Make it flexible. You need it to look good in every medium.

What have your highlights been so far?

Getting my illustration work into John Lewis and Bloomingdales.Do you have any companies or individuals or brands whose design work impresses and inspires you? 

Soho House’s founder/chief exec Nick Jones.

What advice would you give to a young designer trying to get into this work?

Better to earn less and work more.


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