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Design Consultant

Design Consultant

I'm a design consultant... A graphic designer and web designer to be precise. I could wax lyrical about strategy, positioning and add all the usual designer speak. That's not what I'm about. What I am is a very experienced designer; as of 2018 I have been in the industry for twenty eight years, starting my own consultancy in 1999.

My goal is very simple... To give you excellent design, excellent value and first class customer service. I'm assuming this is what you're look for.
What I do I do? More detail about this here but in a nutshell I'm a graphic designer, web designer, web developer, logo and brand designer and a marketeer. I have other disciplines too. Oh, and I really love my job!

Where am I based? My studio is in Devon, located between Okehampton, Tavistock and Launceston. Why am I here? I spent many years working in London and made the decision to move to a quieter part of the country (and raise a family). It really is stunning here and a great place to be creative.

A Designers Progress

Timeline
Designers Progress 1984 1986
12

September

1984

1984 to 1986

Sat in my friends house watching Alien on VHS there was a knock on the door. It was my dad. “Get yourself over to the house and get changed. We’re off to Granville College; now”. Okay… This was late July 1984. Aged 16 I’d been accepted on a BTEC Graphic Design course but had a passionate interest in computer graphics. The course I was about to find out about (and be interviewed for) was called Creative Computer Graphics. In Sheffield? Really?

It was at Granville College that I used my first Apple Mac, in fact the college had secured funding to buy one of the first batches of Macs in the country. I was converted! Most of the programming was conducted on the BBC Micro, at the time the standard computer in educational institutes.

Fast forward two years. I graduated with an excellent BTEC qualification, the highest mark in the class in a subject that had been the study of computer scientists, not creative teenagers with a passion for design and programming. Destiny had blessed me and kicked me up the backside at the same time.

Middlesex Polytechnic Airport Lounge at Cat Hill
26

September

1986

1986 to 1988

Cockfosters Underground StationFrom 1986 I was accepted onto a degree course entitled “Graphic Information Communication” at Middlesex Polytechnic in North London, formerly the legendary Hornsey School of Art. This was a ruse to enable me to study computer graphics, only available in the first year of the course and then full time to post-grads.

Mid way through my course I was invited into the course head’s office and told in no uncertain terms to study graphic design or be kicked off the course. To be fair, this was what I was supposed to be doing, not spending two thirds of my week designing and programming computer animations.

House cleaning, fish and chips and design experience
28

September

1988

1988 to 1990

The last two years of my design studies… During this time I worked in a chip shop (great experience + free chips + low rent above the chippy), cleaned a local ladies house and secured work at Centaur Communications, a Soho based publishing house. Centaur still publish Design Week, Marketing Week and Creative Review, all titles which I read at college. I got to work on these titles during my work placement. Wow! After finishing my placement in 1989 I was invited back to Centaur to work on a part time basis for £150.00 per day. At the time this was sent from heaven. Okay, I should have been studying but for this kind of cash I could leave college debt free!

Of course the greatest benefit of working at Centaur was that I now had first class commercial experience. I’d learnt how to design “stuff” properly (and fry fish and chips)! I headed off into the commercial world with a design degree, portfolio under my arm, a dangerous mind and some valuable skills.

Phipp Street London EC2A
18

June

1990

1990 to 1994

After leaving design college I spent a few months freelancing at various design companies. I wasn’t totally sure if this was the life for me. My sights were set high wanting to work for a big name design company or Soho computer animation house; right in the middle of the early 90s recession. Then I got a phone call from my old college secretary – could I go and see a company in Hammersmith about a job working on all manner of computer graphics. The next six months were spent working at Prince Graphics which was a 1.5 hour journey from door to door by train, tube, bus and foot.

Then I got another phone call. A mysterious gentleman called Jim Ludden wanted to see my portfolio and had tracked me down through an earlier contact I had made. Jim turned out to be the owner of a highly successful international corporate design practice. I was interviewed and got the gig (on a much higher salary). Three years were spent working at Ludden Taylor Associates, often up to fourteen hours a day (on average) in Shoreditch, London EC2A. Sadly no longer in existence, LTA boasted an enviable client list: Rolls-Royce, BOC, Panasonic, Lloyds Register, Philip Morris International, Alcatel to name but a few. My teeth were well and truly cut using the latest Apple Macs and designing to the highest standards. I am eternally grateful to Jim Ludden for the mentoring and experience he imparted. He is also one of the nicest blokes I’ve ever met!

Philatelic Experience Security Reprographics
29

June

1994

1994 to 1999

From mid 1994 I spent the next five years working for a security printing company, The House of Questa. Primarily, they designed and printed philatelic media – postage stamps and related collectibles.

I designed and produced lots of postage stamps for worldwide authorities but my other role was in security reprographics R&D. I was tasked with creating new technologies that could be patented for use in security printing. My activities included military border security passes (with overlays to reveal authenticity), Visa forging and incorporation of new anti-forgery technology in the forgery, micro-type, disruption tints / patterns and ultra hi-resolution step and repeat.

Around 1998 myself, the department manager and press team created a technology called “Super Litho”. This was ultra high resolution repro and printing which was very secure due to the line screen being #850 or above. An average printed document is at #150 line screen – with our technology micro-type was being measured at less than 20 microns – invisible to the naked eye. Very unusual and very interesting.

Devon Dartmoor Graphic Designer
06

June

1999

1999 Onwards

In 1999 I made the decision to start my own design consultancy. Moving to Devon (to the house where my wife grew up) was a galvanising factor. It really is stunning here and extraordinarily inspiring. We bought a house in the next village and lived there for thirteen years and then purchased my wife’s old family home. I work here in my custom built studio (with a Scandinavian wooden ceiling and a Bang & Olufsen hi-fi on the wall – how designer is that).

I operated as Airship Design for many years and then made the decision to become Rees Kenyon Design – it just felt more “me”. After all, I’m selling “me” and my skills.

Learning to design websites from 2000 had enabled me to get into an emerging market; one that still requires the specialism and marketing experience of seasoned designers and developers. Print was still alive and kicking and this occupied the majority of my time until 2003. Then BOOM! Communications had changed radically and most businesses wanted a website, especially one they could publish their own content to.

Branding and logo design of course is still a part of my day to day work. Copywriting is also a great skill to have attained – my customers love it when I “kick” their text into shape.

I’ve been a lucky soul and designed and produced all manner of “stuff”. From enterprise eCommerce websites to movie quality props. As of 2017 I’ve gained over 28 years of commercial experience.

An old (and experienced) colleague once asked, “what do you do”? I answered “I'm a graphic designer”. He said “never just be a graphic designer”. Up to that point I had been involved in typographic design, brochure design, screen printing, computer graphics, logo design, coding, reprographics, publishing and stone carving. I guess I'm just a designer of “stuff”, all sorts of “stuff”!