4 Designers conference London

4 Designers was a fantastic full day event held in London on the 20th February 2017. It was split into four sessions which was chaired by Patrick Baglee. The speakers who were each experts in their field  and gave accounts of their influence and experience within the design industry. It was great exposure to the work and process of some of the leading designers in the country.

Matthew Shannon 

Currently working for Brash Brands as a Group Executive, Creative director and Group content director, perviously working for some of the highly respectable design studios within the UK, such as Metadesign and SAS first. His talk was very informative and he gave some sound advise. One of which was the process triangle (which I sketched out). To start at the bottom of the triangle when receiving a brief, to think = research, research is the key to ignite the brief. Rethink = interrogate your research, finally Do = design. By working this way he states that you make the creative process a whole lot easier. Giving substance to your final designs. He proceed to talk about 6 ways that he believes is an effective process to being a graphic communicator.

Approach To take a different view point from your brief, not thinking about your own personal preferences. To always be Agile, as you never know what is going to happen next, especially when it comes to technology, making sure that you are aware of trends to better your own work. Being able to Adapt, constantly learning to enable communication, work in different ways. Affects, to make a difference. To create content in a different way, to Alternate your delivery. Working Altogether to have the ambition to effect change.

His overall talk was quite inspiring, to effect change to be the change. Creativity is endless and we are the future. 

Joanne Davies


Founder of ZAK and is an audience focused design agency creating big brand ideas for under 30’s. Their claim is to be “Makers, Creators, and Innovators.” Jo not coming from a creative background when she initially set up ZAK but previously worked in Marketing and as a PA, so she had a lot of experience working with people, which gave her a good insight in to the type of people she wanted to build her agency up with. Her advice was more focused on us as a person and what we can do to stand out from the crowd. “Find your personal brand,” what make us different. Be Creative – get into cultural things, have a passion and interest for innovation. Be Smart – Make things happen, communicate your  work effectively. Have Agility – be flexible and adaptable. Be Brave – Speak up, challenge status quo, think laterally. Be Ambitious – Have a drive for competitiveness to produce your best work. Be hungry for more. Be Grounded – Be down to earth, no divas or dramas.

When going for interview she gave three pieces of guidance;

  1. Make a strong first impression
  2. Live the company values – research the company beforehand
  3. Deliver excellence

If we considered going freelance or setting up your own agency, she advised not to head straight into it after university, advising that its worth gaining experience working in a studio environment, to work with real clients and briefs. Make connections and contacts.


Matthew Baxter 

Currently working as creative director at Baxter and Bailey in Brighton. Having worked for many UK and international agencies prior, of which included 3Deep, 300million, Tricket & Webb. Baxter and Bailey work for many non-profit charities, and promote arts and culture. One which I found most interesting was that he writes and produces a comic, aswell running comic workshops for children.


Matts talks was probably my favourite talk out of the four,  as I related to his ethics and practices. He started off with giving us his stone cold pieces of advice, which he later went on to contradict.

  1. Know where your going  don’t know where your going, keeps you aware of what is going on around you
  2. Say yes to everything  Don’t say yes to everything, be selective, live buy your principles that guide the studio, design for good, make it count.
  3. Fake it till you make it Keep faking it, helps to you learn new skills
  4. Go places Stay local
  5. Dont do free work Sometime do free work, you never know where it could lead.

His advice initially was related to when you just starting out in the creative industry. The contradiction was therefore when you become more established in your practices. However he recommended that we should try and live by the following;

  • Always read the words – within the brief
  • Spell check
  • Spell check again
  • Be nice
  • Keep in touch

He had then put together a short video from designers that he had perviously worked with and what advice that they had that we might find useful. In summary;

  • Never talk yourself down
  • Over deliver, do something unexpected.
  • Do hard work and have a good attitude
  • Focus on what you want
  • Know it, research it, live it
  • Ask questions – even if they sound silly to yourself
  • Take advice – you can choose the advice that works best for you
  • Nurture your curiosity


Brian and James Webb

Our final speakers where a father and son duo, they were probably the most entertaining to observe, the banter between was comical at times. Unfortunately, my camera had run out of battery at this point, so was unable to capture the moment. They founded Webb & Webb together in 2003 and have many projects for the Royal Mail aswell as some really impressive book designs for the Harry Potter series. Most of their talk consisted of past work that produced, however the inspiration that I took from them was;

  • Adapting to change, be up with technology as it is developing so quickly
  • Enter every competition going – might take you somewhere unexpected
  • Avoid the obvious, do different from others in the market
  • Live the brief, know more then the client, become that expert

What I found interesting that even with all the technology around for design these days, that they were still using letter press in some of their book designs. Such a nice thing to see, giving the books an individual look which makes them more unique. Giving an insight to the importance of traditional practices.


The conference and the talkers were able to give us great exposure to the creative work and processes of the leading designers around at the moment. I have gained a wealth of knowledge and an insight into first hand experience into breaking the creative world. The advice given is something that I will be taking forward with my own pursuit to becoming an established Graphic Communicator.

This was above the stage that I thought was quite apt for the talks that we had just observed. 




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s