Growing up I was lucky enough to live in a number of different countries around the world. From Singapore, Malta and the US. Each country offered up an amazing visual array of different design styles, colours and cultures that I found fascinating. This awareness and intrigue peaked as a young boy in Malta where I fell in love with the branding of Coca-Cola. From the shape of the bottle to the vintage signs that would hang outside the corner stores, I loved it. At the time I didn't know it but the brand had me hooked. Still to this day, my love for Coke hasn't subsided, I collect bottles from all over the world. Limited edition designs to vintage '50s, basically whatever I can lay my hands on. This interest at an early age created a hunger to know and understand more. At school there was a limit to what design I could find and learn, CDT was about the most on offer. So I would seek out art and print classes and internships whenever I could. Reading was an important part of this process. Discovering and learning from all sorts of different designers, typographers and creatives from David Carson to Vaughan Oliver, Alan Fletcher to Tibor Kalman, Josef Müller-Brockmann to Bob Gill and so many more. This hunger to learn is still part of my everyday life.
A family friend had a marketing consultancy set up in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North East of England. They knew how much I loved design so connected me with an agency they worked with regularly called Yellow M. I was 15 years old and was invited in for a two week placement. It was the best 2 weeks and was the start of a great mentorship from the Creative Director Alan Whitfield, who took me under his wing, as did the rest of the team. I worked on a Bass beer brand and shot the cover of a Scottish magazine called 'Drum'. I remember thinking how awesome and exciting it all was and how it didn't feel like work. Doing what you love never does. My relationship with Alan continued over the years and I would often reconnect at his studio for further internships and teaching. The placement at Yellow M inspired me to continue doing design at home for everything and anything. Designing posters for my School to flyers for parties. After that I knew this was what I wanted, I focussed my studies to get to an Art Foundation course (Newcastle College) and then to University (Kingston upon Thames).
Creativity, ideas and a clear understanding of the concepts presented. It sounds obvious but portfolios are a wonderful reflection of you as creative. Being able to clearly walk people through your book is imperative. An integral part of what we do is present to clients. The understanding of why we do what we do is what helps to articulate a concept and ultimately have it approved.
Trust and passion. With trust, we can achieve great things together. Passion is infectious, passion from a client can be inspiring. These two qualities together will often lead to the best outcomes.
Trying and failing. Each failure is a great learning experience. Whether trying new grid system for a 200 page magazine or a different direction on a film project. You won't know till you give it a go. Failures don't need to be epic in scale, they can be minor things on a daily basis. But if you don't try new things you'll stay static in an ever-evolving industry. So don't be afraid of failure, some of your greatest accomplishments will be born out of them.
I moved over to Dubai in 2005. The opportunity to be a part of a design community helping craft and shape the creative output of an entire city was incredibly exciting. Just last year the United Arab Emirates celebrated only their 46th anniversary. Dubai, as part of that union, is a young ambitious city creating an incredible legacy for the future. Moloobhoy & Brown (M&B) was set up in 2012 with a simple aim of developing better partnerships with our clients to help deliver great creative. We specialise in three key industries – hospitality, fashion and the arts. The opportunity for us as a creative agency is to help build brands within these industries in this dynamic city.
Also check out these links to M&B's work