Our design heroes (some old, some new)

by Rachel Cook

When I started working here, I was worried that my taste wouldn’t be ‘cool’ enough to fit in with a studio of designers. I realised very quickly though, that ’design’ doesn’t just mean graphic design, and that, although it’s a cliché, when it comes to being inspired variety really is the spice of life.

Yes, design can mean tasty type and gorgeous foiled print, but noticing great design in other ares is what keeps us interested and interesting. Things like the furniture designers especially beloved by our MD Nick and resident wood craftsman Jimmy, as well as the clever code that our Digital Director Chris loves to share, also have to feature on the list of things that inspire and excite us.

I asked our team to let me know their very own design hero and predictably they all came back with a list of at least three, but I’ve picked some of my favourites below so you can see what really makes us tick…


1. Jimmy, Designer. Design hero: Clara Von Zweigbergk

  • “She’s a graphic/product designer with a ‘wish I’d done that’ thing about her work, and it just keeps getting better. It was only recently that I realised a chunk of ref I’d saved, were all done by her.”

    See her stuff: www.claravonzweigbergk.com

    2. Paul, Account Manager. Design hero: Verner Panton (furniture and print)

  • “When I lived in a crummy house in North West London, its only saving grace was the fact that my housemate worked at a TV props company specialising in 60s and 70s props, from which we furnished much of our house.  Particular favourites were our Panton stacking chair and Panton print curtains.”
    See more: www.vernerpanton.com

    3. Chris S, Digital Director, Design hero: Mark Bouton
    “For all his work on web typography and responsive grid systems, and for founding Five Simple Steps publishing, which have put out some fantastic books like Hard Boiled Web Design and The Icon Handbook.”

    4. Ian, Creative Director. Design hero: Saul Bass

  • “The first graphic designer to get me interested in branding and his work in film is conclusive proof that good designers all think the same, regardless of discipline. I saw him speak when I was a student and he totally inspired me, he seemed to sum up a way of thinking that I associated with the best parts of the US in the 50s and 60s. A total anti ‘Mad Men’ outlook that I still subscribe to.”

    5. Nick, MD. Design hero: Arne Jacobsen

  • “Right now, I’m loving the modernist designers of furniture and products from the 1950s and 1960s, mostly out of Scandinavia, including Arne Jacobsen for Egg chair, Swan chair and Cylinda coffee pots, as well as Hans Wegner for the Wishbone chair, the Chair and shell chair and Aalvo Aaltar for Finlandia Hall, Aalto vase and three legged stool.”
    See more: www.arne-jacobsen.com

    6. Chris K, Digital Director. Design hero: Chris Coyier
    “The don of CSS founder and contributor of CSS-tricks, designer at CodePen”
    See his work: www.chriscoyier.net

    7. Leanne, Designer. Design hero: Paula Scher

  • “She’s a Pentagram partner, responsible for some iconic identities, and an excellent and inspiring speaker.”

    8. Rachel (me), Account Manager. Design hero: Richard Rogers

  • “I love his inventive, inside-out, modernist architecture. It’s the mark of a man who’s not afraid to shock and I love that you can spot his his playfulness from a mile off. It’s the type of design that stands the test of time in a way few others can claim to. Take the Pompidou Centre: thirty years on, and it’s still right up there, surprising almost as much as it did when it was built.”
    See more: www.rsh-p.com/work

    9. Ash, Designer. Design hero: Matt Pyke

  • “Pushes motion graphics, isn’t afraid to do what he wants and gets paid for it.”
    See his work: www.mattpyke.com

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