We sit down with Simon Manchipp, Founder and Executive Strategic Creative Director of Someone. Want to know more about who they are and what they do? You’re in the perfect spot… In their manifesto they state opinions need to be strong and adaptive – which we agree with! Simon, hello! How would you put ‘SomeOne‘ in a sentence…
SomeOne is a creatively led, award winning organisation dedicated (for over a decade) to creating competitive advantages for products, organisations and services — we launch, relaunch and manage brands worldwide.
What, if anything, would the studio tell it’s younger self?
Keep humble, keep doing, you’re going to be ok…
“Brand opinions shape the future, add value and signal change, this is what we create daily.” Talk us through this statement and how you feel you’ve adapted your own opinions across to apply to the individual companies who approach you.
Mimetic Isomorphism interests me. You find it in nature, and more recently organisational theory… it essentially highlights the fact that the more people move between organisations of a similar purpose, the more those organisations become the same. This is a brands nightmare. It needs to appeal more than its competitor, not emulate them. Yet that’s what so many brands do.
For example, so many digitally native brands are embracing the same surface mounted acid colour palette, same geometric fonts, same icon-led logocentricity, it’s become the sector norm and so it’s increasingly hard for customers to visually tell them all apart. These brands have become mimetically isomorphic. For me, it is the opposite of what branding should endeavour to do. At SomeOne it’s our job it to sing the praises of the specific advantages of brands better and in a more memorable way than the rest of the choir. To become soloists that lead their sector.
Equally, too often you’ll see commercial creativity and it’s clearly tried to tick a dozen boxes to appease a management board. But those so often fail as they lack a single guiding opinion.
Work that has a strong opinion often steers communications and actions away from the bland towards ideas that can populate culture.
Our opinion has always been to create original branded operating systems for products, organisations and services to use to develop commercial monopolies with.
Brands have always only existed to be competitive. We don’t see this changing any time soon. However, within our system there is room for MANY ways of connecting with audiences, from comedy to activism. That’s where we flex our opinions, within our well-known ‘BrandWorld’ construct. It’s permanently in flux.
You guys work across a variety of projects, from retail and travel to hospitality and innovation. How do you decide what to take on and what to leave?
The big question. And one we struggle with everyday. After a decade of doing it you do get the feel for a project that looks exciting on all levels. Generally we look for work that’s going to be ambitious, fun and fairly paid. The engineers triangle of Fast/Good/Cheap is a great way of figuring out how well a project is going… simply put, if it is a brand at a significant point of change, it’s generally worth a chat about.
Which three top tips would you say to someone who is interested in working within branding and design?
1) IDEAS-WISE: Forget logo-centric thinking. Things have moved on. You need to think about WAY more than a symbol. 1st, make a plan — if it’s not strategic, its just lipstick.
2) DESIGN-WISE: Consider all the channels brands work in. Design for as many as possible. But avoid repetitive badging, flex with the audiences and do something that has benefits for them.
3) PEOPLE-WISE: Don’t be uptight. This is a team game. You’ve got to be able to play well with others so you’re going to have to relax, the future will not belong to control-freaks.
What words of advice would you offer someone else who is just starting his or her profession in the creative agency world?
Your parents may have told you that you can do anything you want and made sure everyone went home with a balloon. But sadly, no one owes you a job. You’re going to have to do everything you can to get one. And even more to keep it.
Racking up your professional 10,000 hours can be done more swiftly if you’re affable and you knuckle down and get on with the projects you’re faced with. (10k hrs is widely seen as the amount of time needed to work before you can lay claim to be any kind of expert) Half the trick… keep going! You are absolutely not the only person who want’s to be paid for dreaming up ideas and making them happen… we get dozens of applications to join someone daily.
It’s not hard to get hired, don’t be a twit, be useful and fight the good fight for creativity whenever you possibly can. People buy into people and you want to be that person that is an automatic purchase.
Give us the three top things about having a studio in London and it’s benefits…
1) It’s endlessly surprising running a studio in the planets creative capital. Inspiration lies around every corner — where our studio is (in Shoreditch) there’s a feeling of a terrific community, people are happy to help out and work together. It feels like home.
2) We are made of a strong mix of multicultural people, from many backgrounds and experiences. As is London. So whenever possible we come together to exchange ideas. We have a weekly PechaKucha. Guest Lunch & Learn sessions with external speakers. Monthly cinema club nights. Our infamous Easter R&Bunny night. A summer yacht weekender in Ibiza… Essentially we are a party with a creative agency attached.
3) London’s never finished. It’s constantly adapting, changing and pushing for new ideas. It’s the perfect place to run a creatively led business. And the perfect example of how a modern brand needs to behave. Breathing in new influences, breathing out new ideas.
Quick round questions!
Music or silence? Music. We’re famous for it! I’ve lost count with the amount of times a client has said on the phone — are you in a club or something? It can get loud in the studio!
Biscuits or cake? Biscuit for the meeting. Cake for the afternoon.
Process or final piece? Great process = great outcome.
Group or individual workings? Group. A project is generally too big and too important to be completed by one person alone.
Town or countryside? Most of SomeOne are Country Mice who live in town!
Tea or coffee? Personally, mine’s a skinny Flat White. SomeOne’s teabagging would tell you something else.
It sounds like if you want to work with Someone you’ve got to be pretty knowledgeable in the world of design, branding and creativity! Find and follow these guys on the following social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest as well as their main Website too!!
Glug. I’m certain you would’ve heard of this London event group. They run talks and competitions in and around London, as well as many other cities internationally! They have events by creatives directed to other creatives… well I’ll leave Malin Persson, the main driver for strategic development and growth to explain a little more. How would you sum up Glug in a single sentence?
Glug is a global network for creatives, who come together to share insights, inspiration and a beer, or two.
You’re now based in 100 different cities, so how have you found Glug to be received so far?
No, we’re not based in 100 cities yet, but we’re on a mission to be. So far our network has presence in over 20+ creative hubs around the world and we’re super excited to reveal that we’ve got many more opening up in the next coming months…
Where did the name come from and why did you go with it?
The name comes from the notion of being ‘intoxicated with inspiration’. Knowing the guys I think there was also a bit of a relation to the original notion of the verb “Glugging” and how many beers were being consumed, or Glugged, in the early days of Glug…
You’ve had a variety of speakers, all of which are very big names. Which have you found to be the most inspiring, interesting and beautiful thing you’ve found to be?
We’ve had too many to be able to name drop without leaving some good ones out, but memorable talks and inspiring people are in general the ones that you can feel/see/hear are 100% passionate about what they’re talking about. It’s not so much the topic, angle or work that hits home – it’s their genuine passion that does.
In order to process the events and competitions, the employees of Glug need to hold certain assets. What would you say is the top three that you look for and why?
As our team is still pretty small we need all of our team members to be very proactive, social and curious. A good sense of the creative industry and all it entails is very important as well.
How do you put on an event; does one person do the marketing while another sells the tickets?
Here at the HQ we’re all sharing the workload when it comes to the London events so we collectively manage and oversee the production, marketing and sales. However, in other areas of the Glug World we’ve got separate and more focused roles and areas – but for the events we’re all in it to win it.
What, if there is one, is Glug’s motto that you work to?
Our motto, or tag line, or whatever you want to call it is ‘Glug – Championing creativity’. With this we mean that we want to highlight good work, showcase fab companies, connect good people and spread epic inspiration.
It’s great that you have a special relationship with Computer Arts and Creative Bloq, who are bringing their audience to your events as well as opening up the cities that you hold events. Are you going to push this side of Glug any further in the future?
We totally agree – we love the team over at Computer Arts & Creative Bloq, they’re the best bunch. And yes, collaborative partnerships is what we’re most interested in and we’ve got some pretty epic ones under way for the coming year. Not only does it mean that we can activate and engage our audience when we get opportunities for article features etc, it also means that we can tap into a fantastic resource and spread it amongst our Gluggers.
Quick Round Questions!!
Pizza or pasta? Oh, tough one! Pasta.
City or sea? A city by the sea (Singapore and Sydney are my fave cities!)
Talk or competition? I do love a good talk, but am also competitive.
Published book or magazine? I do love a book (and have got many tips if you’d like one!)
Reading or writing? Depends entirely what mood I’m in.
Tea/coffee or water? Water!!!!
Lauren Veevers!! Delighted to be speaking to you over interview. Having just graduated from Kingston University (stupidly jealous of that fact), how have you found the ‘real’ world and the transition between education? You can also catch Lauren’s work on Instagram…
Bustin’ out into the real world has been way less scary than I anticipated. I loved uni a lot, and as well as being excited about what was ahead I also felt like finishing would be a thump on the head with a big brick of stress and seriousness. Instead of that though, the past year has been a really fun and exciting mix of projects and experiences that I’ve really loved and learnt a lot from. I sometimes would find it frustrating doing work for free or very little money – and it definitely isn’t something I agree with, but I have taken so many positives from everything I’ve done that I think the majority of the time it has ended up being worth it.
Explain your tools for producing an illustration and how you introduce movement within your projects.
When I draw, I tend to use a big fat inky brush or a posca pen or one of those waxy crayony things you can write on cds with because they create a really nice line but don’t smudge. Then, when it comes to making things move have a very long winded, hand ache inducing approach. I love creating things that look like they have been hand drawn – and I really steer away from all the clever animation tricks you can do to make things slick and smooth. I love to redraw what I’m animating in every single frame… And although it takes a lot longer (I’ve also had clients tell me my work looks too ‘wonky’) I feel that working in such a way really captures the essence of what animation is and has so much more character than something that is so perfect that it’s no different to what we see out of our eyes all the time anyway.
Talk us through your project for Jonas Karlsson’s novel, The Room. How did you decide to split the work and did you find it unique working alongside other students?
Especially on animation projects – we regularly worked in groups with other students so it didn’t feel particularly unique, but it is something that I really miss now. In terms of splitting the work; we just went with where everyones strengths lied, some of us did the main bulk of the drawing, some were in charge of recording sound… And then, with the nature of this particular animation there was a lot of just colouring in of silhouettes and backgrounds with pencil. I never mind doing stuff like that though as I feel like every line has a purpose and even if its just scratchy pencil markings, to watch it back and know that every frame was completely done by hand is really captivating.
What, for you, are you main inspirations; can be anything from a book that you’ve read to a person…
I recently spent a month travelling around Japan and I have never been somewhere that’s made my brain feel so exhausted. Everywhere I looked I would see things that I found beautiful, funny, interesting and even cute! I think being somewhere I was so visually amazed by 100% of the time has really, really made me want to make things more than ever. Everything would have a character… From the toilets to the train tickets to a loaf of bread. I could spend a whole day walking around a Japanese supermarket just looking at packaging – it really truly is the best.
Do you feel your degree in ‘Illustration’ was an important element in becoming a freelance illustrator?
Yes and no. I think an illustration degree does teach you loads, at Kingston we had a lot of very eye opening talks from people in the industry alongside project work, programme tutorials, lectures and drawing trips – but don’t think you necessarily need to do one to be successful. Personally for me though, taking the animation route, I would be one million years behind where I am now if I didn’t. I was taught how to use a number different programmes I probably wouldn’t even know existed if I hadn’t. I also think that the people I studied and lived with were always and still are very important element that has contributed and pushed my work, and without doing an illustration degree I never would have met any of them so for that reason the course was absolutely vital!
Talk us through a day in your shoes…
I’ve recently begun working for a film production company producing illustrations, animations and running workshops for them so my routine has suddenly changed from just working from home as I was before. After I’ve finished my day there though I head home and at the moment I have a lot of drawing on t-shirts to do! I’ve started making and selling hand painted t-shirts so my evenings are often a blur of painting on one sleeve then hair drying it then painting the other then ironing then washing then sewing in labels then spilling fabric ink on the carpet then doing it all again.
This or that round…
Marmite or peanut butter? Peanut butter hands down…
Concept or final piece? Final piece I think.
Reading or watching TV? Depends on what’s on screen or in the paper.
Walking or running? I walk everywhere!
People or places? People.
Yuri Cataldo, heard of him? If you haven’t just leave… Nah, I’m just kidding. Yuri is the Founder and CEO of Indigo Water. His work can be found on his website and twitter. First of all explain a little about this company and how it all came about?
IndigoH2O started because of my own health problems and difficulty in finding good quality bottled water. I have a condition called thalassemia minor which effects my red blood cells. After searching for help from my doctors and finding nothing that worked I turned to natural medicine. My natural doctor helped me focus on the minerals I was missing and part of that was my hydration. I became obsessed with water after that part. Fast forward 10 years, I was working as a costume designer and assistant on broadway when the economy collapse and all of my design jobs in NYC dried up. Since I needed to make a change I decided to focus on my obsession and launch the bottled water company I would be proud to drink and tell others about. It took a year of research but in 2012 I launched the premium alkaline water IndigoH2O.
Secondly, how do you go about managing your own company? I have trouble staying afloat of the emails with Soapbox Press from time-to-time…
Years ago I stopped trying to do everything. Now I only focus on what I am good at and outsource the rest. I hire people who are good at what they do and I let them do their jobs. Emails are something I am not great at but I am not at the point where I let an assistant take care of them yet.
How does your brand stay in business both via print and social media. Do you tend to push at one aspect over the other?
I don’t use traditional print media and my social media isn’t that great either. I use online ads through Facebook and Google to target my customers who will pay for high quality bottled water. Anything I do above that is a bonus.
What are your three main tips to remaining the Founder and CEO of Indigo Water?
I remain the founder and CEO because I care the most about the company and product. No one I’ve ever hired even comes close. I also am the only full-time employee of the company. I outsource our use freelancers for everything else.
If you could pass on advice to a young creative who is thinking about starting a business on their own, what would they be and why?
As a creative, you are just as qualified as anyone who went to business school to start a company so don’t feel intimidated. Read as many books as you can, speak with other business owners, do your research, join a mastermind group, and keep your day job until your business is making money. Starting a company is exciting and can also be lonely, having others around you who you can bounce idea’s off of will help greatly. Feel free to reach out to me anytime if you need someone to bounce ideas off of.
One quote that you admire the most?
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” -Oscar Wilde
Describe what you do in a sentance…
I help artists and businesses take ideas and turn them into products that get a ton of press.
From ‘The Business of Creative Enterprises’ to ‘Indigo H20’ you have your fingers in many pies. Can you go through these three companies and explain your leading role within them and the aim of the company?
Everything I do these days in interconnected in one way or another. Art Tech Media Group is a marketing company I recently started that works with smaller companies and helps with PR and marketing. Since events make PR easier we teamed up with a gift bag company and work with clients to get their products into award shows then help them get press from it.
I am currently rebuilding IndigoH2O from the ground up. In 2015 I won the award for the best tasting water in the world and had the water featured in the Oscar gift bags. I was able to get so much press over those two weeks that the state of Indiana changed is laws and politiced me out of businesses. Since then I have been partnering with other companies which has taught me how to run a lean company.
The Business of Creative Enterprises isn’t a company but rather an undergrad bachelor’s program I created for Emerson College. I was there for one year and built up the program from scratch. The goal was to teach their art students how to start their own companies. My contract was only for a year and since I launched the successful program in the fall I am no longer with them. I then started the “advance your art” podcast to continue my goal of helping artists start companies.
It’s not on your list but I also work from time to time as a designer in theater, dance or opera. I am currently the resident costume designer for Harvard Dance so twice a year I design their shows.
Lastly, as a great reader myself I’d be interested in hearing what you’re reading at the moment?
I have a tendency of reading lots of non-fiction so lately, I have been breaking it up. Currently reading two books, The Inevitable by Keven Kelley and The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall.
Introducing the wonderful Ana Jaks to the Soapbox Press stage! An illustrator who is currently freelancing down in Falmouth, UK. Never heard of Falmouth? It’s most well-known for its internet coverage… Anyway as well as being on twitter and instagram let us begin the series of questions with this young lady…
When did your love for illustration grow the most?
My tutors at college all pushed for me to study illustration at degree level rather than fashion communication (which was initially my first choice and all I wanted to do), but they believed in me so I believed in them. Honestly for the entire first year of university I hated it and I didn’t think I was good enough and I nearly dropped out. It took me right up until the end of second year to really understand what illustration was and how it can be used. I think I fell in love with it once I realised I was capable. I was lucky enough to study in an environment where I was taught to get rid of everything I thought I knew and start again – which was scary but it bloody worked. Then I got introduced to Nobrow, Wrap, Kyle Platts, Lottie Neiman and Olympia Zagnoli; seeing all of that really made me want to illustrate. It’s still growing now and I’m so excited! The factor that really got me about illustration (and still does) is that you don’t need to be amazing at drawing things to real life, the figure can be abstract or distorted and it doesn’t matter as long as it makes sense to somebody. I sucked in life drawing and always got told off for not doing it “right” whatever that was. Even in school I was told it’d probably be best if I “left the drawing” and focused on something else. I think it grew the most during my final year at university, I was surrounded by super talented people.
Has anything you’ve seen changed your perspective on art and illustration?
There’s no glory moment or single event I can pin point that changed my perspective on either, other than being in a group crit at university and somebody showing me Anorak Magazine. Right up until that point I only drew with fine liners, my work was always black and white and there was nothing joyous about it whatsoever! One of my closest friends studied Fashion Photography and at that time when I had just decided colour was now going to be a thing, lots of students in her class were using bold, block primaries in their photographs. We both fell in love with Matisse and then I started looking at the Memphis Movement and it just sort of snowballed from there until I finally realised that art didn’t have to be dark or morbid and was to be meaningful. You always get that group of people who come out of college thinking that a dead flower means more than the bright colourful one. Rediscovering colour! Seeing colour, and artists/ illustrators/ makers who use it well changed my perspective.
What, for you, is your strongest skill?
Ironically, after that previous question I’d have to say it would be colour. Balancing colours alongside patterns and working out what’s too much and what is just enough – although that took a long time! I like to think that my choice of colour is often what draws people in and then the content is what keeps them interested.
Current fascinations (we all have them). What are yours and how is it feeding into your illustrations?
Summer! Always summer! Which is so weird? Because it is actually my least favourite season, I don’t do well in heat and I much prefer the kinds of clothing you can wear in Autumn and Winter. But I love the way everything in looks in summer; the colours, the way the light hits the water, plants in the breeze, the hazy sky. Everything is more fun, people are always happy and that’s what I want people to see when they look at my work. I just want people to look at it and smile. I also love drawing the female figure. People I did a work placement with last Christmas caught onto how many bums I had on my instagram and took the piss constantly – but I love it! It’s current; everybody loves a good bum. Cities are a big thing as well, I love drawing buildings.
Explain your project AOI 2017 Entry, what the theme is and what you created for the poster design…
The theme was Sounds of the City and was an open brief, which I unfortunately was never shortlisted for, but am so happy with the way the illustration turned out! I grew up on a teeny tiny island called the Isle of Man, and have since been living in the teeny tiny town of Falmouth, so whenever I go up to London it is pretty much just a visual feast for the eyes – hence the woman with the sunglasses. I sort of went with this abstract idea of “Seeing Sound,” and being surrounded by lots of people and lots of noise, but also wanted the contrast of huge crowds and people reading in their own personal space. There is always so much going on and in hindsight, I do wish I had narrowed my idea down a lot more and focused on a particular area, but I am so happy with the colours and how busy the illustration is! I used to struggle a lot with drawing the figure but this project along with others from 2016 have definitely helped me.
Do you prefer the process or producing the final piece?
I love the process; it definitely forces things out of you that you never knew were there before. Especially the processes you go through with a client brief in comparison to a personal project. They always seem to shock me, because (and this sounds awfully arrogant) I get really impressed with myself? Editorials are the best for it; some of the things your brain manages to churn out are great! Conceptual thinking does wonders! But, saying all this there is something wonderful about producing the final piece, and the accomplishment you feel after is amazing.
Quick Round Questions!!
Concept or final piece? There is something pretty great about seeing the final piece.
Sweet or sour? Sweet! In fact, I would choose savory but this isn’t an option.
Colour or texture? Guess? Colour!
Seaside or town? AH! So difficult! I love both for different reasons. I’m going to stick with seaside.
There you have Ana and her fantastically gorgeous work!!
Sophia Ward, an illustrator who studied at Kingston University and graduated with a First this past summer. Now? Well, explore her artwork on her website as well as connecting with her on Instagram and Twitter.
A creative who likes to explore the use of illustration as a springboard for socially engaged visual communication activity, describe your work in five words…
Expressive, Sketch, Colour, Abstract and Shape.
Who and what keep you and your work moving forward?
I suppose what keeps me going is my love for drawing and for creating things. I really enjoy the way I can use social media to keep communicating with others, and I like getting instant reactions back, both from people I know and from new audiences. And because I draw a lot on location I’m continually inspired by my surroundings. I love to use drawing to react to day-to-day life which itself is always changing, and I re-interpret it in my work, so that definitely keeps things fresh and fun for me.
Being in London (it’s honestly the best) is great, especially after being down in Brighton. How do you find the two differentiate from one another? Do you find you preferring one to the other?
I think I love both for different reasons! Although Brighton is an amazing city and filled with lots of creative activity and people, London for me has more opportunities. However this does mean there’s lots more competition, which makes it a lot harder to get going in the creative industries. I think you can find what you want to do wherever you are though, especially with the Internet and social media. You can be wherever you want, start something new and make your own thing!
When, for you, do illustrations hold more strength than words?
I personally feel that illustration is more powerful and flexible than words because you can portray a whole story or evoke a mood with just one simple image. I love how you can fill the page and describe a scene with many elements, or use just a simple shape that can equally communicate the same thing. It can grab your attention far more quickly than printed words can, certainly at first glance. Also illustration is particularly useful when it can communicate across language barriers: it can be multi lingual so that anyone of any age or background can understand or feel something just from viewing it.
Talk us through your fantastic work – you have a variety of projects on your website. Talk us through ‘Memory Maker’ and how this came about?
This idea first came about during the middle of my third year on my Illustration course at Kingston University. For my final project I wanted to use illustration to create something that helped people in some way. Dementia sits quite close to me as I have experienced it within my own family, and I know it can be very hard to cope with at times. After some research and experimentation I realised that what I wanted to make had to be tactile, and it had to be an activity that people with dementia and their carers or family members could share together.
I remembered from past experiences how sometimes people in care homes find it a bit intimidating to draw and don’t really want to ‘be creative’. I came up with the idea to create wooden pieces, which could easily be moved around by the user to form any kind of picture, almost like doing a collage. I made some samples and took them to a dementia care group called ‘Memory Cafe’ which is run by the charity ‘Home Instead’. The staff and the participants took to the idea really well, and they gave me lots of great feedback, which ended up being crucial to the final design. For example, having all the pieces the same colour makes it easier to imagine that each shape can be used to create any design. I ended up with ‘Memory Maker’ which also included a bespoke table which I created with a bowl in the middle for the pieces to live, making them easily visible and accessible, to be taken out and shared at any time.
What, for you, is the strongest and weakest point about your style?
That’s a hard one to answer as my style tends to change and develop all the time, but I think the key aspects could be a lack of detail and sometimes being impatient! I see this as a both the weakest and strongest parts of my work though because its what makes my style what it is. I like to draw things with a free energy to them, and I don’t like to spend hours on a small detail. This is great sometimes because it means I can get things done quickly when I need too. I remember with projects at university I would just go out and try stuff out, just to get on with it really, and if it didn’t work I would go back and try something else!
Quick round questions!!
Process or final piece? That’s a difficult one – so hard to choose! But I love the traditional, more hands on ways of creating, such as printmaking so it would probably have to be process.
Exhibition or pop up? Both! Pop up exhibition? 😉
Film or TV show? Both! I love going to see films at the cinema and watching TV shows at home.
Lipstick or lip-gloss? Lipstick!
Walking or running? Walking 🙂