Original Interview: April 2014

Bigfish

Today Simon Langford-Ely from Brisbane’s Bigfish.tv , explains that design is the vehicle for creating value in any business, no matter how ‘corporate’ a client may seem. And  just like all of us, smaller fish, he also ends up hating every job he’s ever done. 

Can you tell us about your personal creative journey, where it all began to where you are now?
It all began drawing ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and ‘Bad Billy’ logos on my school books. In high school I spent too much time in a dark room (hence my moon tan), while at night I’d chip away at an ever evolving mural on my bedroom wall. Leaving school I wasted time studying science thinking I’d become a Dentist… then doing 6 months sat next to a jeweller… then business school… finally I did an advertising subject at uni and before long had enrolled at Design College Australia. Since graduating, my work has taken me around the world and back, working across all disciplines on a range of clients big and small.

How does existing within such a corporate environment affect your creative outcomes?
There’s danger in thinking of certain types of clients or industries as being ‘corporate’ – because they should ALL be creative. At the end of the day every client is out to generate ‘value’, whether that value be measured by money or likes on Facebook. To us, design is the vehicle for creating value, and we design for our clients to be different and to stand out from the competition, no matter how ‘corporate’ they might seem at first.

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What advice would you give to recent graduates wanting to be an intern in your company?
I’ve had one person send me fresh watermelon… don’t do that. It’s hard because your college folio is no longer a vehicle for you to stand out from the crowd – it’s an alignment to our values and a hunger to do great work that we look for. And we don’t do ‘internships’ – it’s not fair on you or us. We like to trial potential employee’s and pay them as they grow and their work becomes billable. So my best suggestion is to show to me how hungry you are (just not with watermelon).

What was your most memorable project?
That’s a hard one because I’m so analytical that I’m constantly trying to improve and end up hating every job I’ve ever done. That’s not to say I’m not proud of my work, but you wouldn’t see me hanging any trophies on the wall. In the end I think the most fulfilling projects are often the ones you do for yourself.

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Whats the process in turning a creative idea into a successful marketing campaign?
There’s often a lot of strategy that goes into creating a campaign, but too often the strategy guy bumps heads with the creative guys and they end up pumping out turds. At Bigfish we don’t see strategy or creative as different departments – each unlocks the potential in the other, and it’s my role as creative director to connect the dots.

Where do you see the future of Bigfish?
We’re constantly changing. It’s because we’re designers – we get given challenges from our clients and we find new ways to get around them. As such, I see our future being very closely aligned with that of our clients. Saying that, there will come a time in the not too distant future when Bigfish will become it’s own client… stay tuned.

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