Designer Interview With Simon Manchipp
Simon Manchipp is the Executive Strategic Creative Director and Founder of SomeOne a world-class London design practice that launches, relaunches, manages & protects brands. The company was founded in 2006 and specialises in Branding including Brand Strategy and Launches.
They have worked with clients such as O2, Intel, Disney, Tottenum Hotspurs, Aston Villa, The Olympics, Tesco, Maplin, Domino’s Pizza. British Athletics, The Royal Opera House, Madame Tussauds to name a few in their impressive client list.
The company has previously won awards including Transform Awards, The Drum Marketing Awards, Brand Impact Awards and Creative Pool Awards.
The agencies founder Simon explains his Mum, Dad, Brother, Wife — even cat are all designers. There was never any doubt that he was going to be one too. Over the past 20 years Simon has been involved in creating transformative design solutions for brands both big and small.
He started as a junior designer at Michael Peters — owner of the world’s largest design groups. He worked his way up from Designer to Partner at HHCL — The Ad Agency of the Decade. Was a founder and Creative Director at NoOne, the strategic branding specialist inside an advertising agency (HHCL). He studied at Central St. Martins, Covent Garden, London. There he received a First Degree BA(Hons) and met David Law, co-founder of SomeOne. David was also his best man when I got married (and vice versa).
In the mid 1990s Simon was made the youngest partner of HHCL the seminal “Ad Agency of the Decade” after he wrote, animated, and directed the multi-award winning campaign for Go — the low-cost airline from British Airways. SomeOne, was the agency he started with Gary Holt, David Law & Laura Hussey after closing NoOne.
SomeOne was voted the most respected UK Design Practice by the Drum top 100 peer poll. He has lectured globally on branding, business, and creativity. From China to the USA, India and Japan. In 2014 he was hilariously rated as one of the top 15 creative minds in the UK. He was as surprised as you are. He’s been a visiting Professor at Central Saint Martin’s School of Design and a trustee and Executive Member at D&AD.
He has also written the Central Saint Martin’s short course on Typographic Design with his wife, Amelia Manchipp. While working on the front line of commercial design, He has launched, relaunched & managed brands worldwide. Including Eurostar, London 2012 Olympic Games, Sellotape, FastJet, Accenture, Disney, Proctor & Gamble, WorldPay, TUI. His brand Someone has won most of the major awards but more interestingly met Al Pacino — sadly he panicked and called him Cappuccino. He explained It was an honest mistake. And Al Pacino wasn’t impressed.
The Logo Creative — Hi Simon glad you’re taking part.
Simon Manchipp — Thank you Andrew, great questions.
The Logo Creative — What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Simon Manchipp — I messed around at school. A lot. But as soon as I got into Uni at Reigate School of Art & Design, everything clicked… I couldn’t believe that I might get paid to do something I loved, I knew I’d found my vocation
The Logo Creative — What does your day consist of?
Simon Manchipp — It’s different every day. And that’s what keeps it so interesting. I’m a firm believer in the ethos of ‘the answers yes, what’s the question’ so I find myself in all sorts scrapes. Yesterday consisted of meetings with a global finance brand, a legal organisation, and a bespoke shoemaker. I wrote a new strategy for a chain of nationally loved restaurants, and pitched for a cutting edge brand in the chemistry sector! A typical week can carry me through film shoots, board level presentations, pitches and foreign travel. I have no bias really, I enjoy it all equally and find the application of creativity to everything from a multichannel campaign, to a contract endlessly fascinating.
The Logo Creative — What was the first logo you ever designed?
Simon Manchipp — Weirdly, my first logo was for a DJ & Techno producer called Josh Wink — Then called ‘Guru Josh’ — I designed the launch 12” for his track ‘A higher state of consciousness’ — Sadly this was in 1995, long before the power of the internets really kicked in — so I can’t find an image of it… but I remember I made it incredibly complex… I designed it for days on a creaky old Mac SE at a design group in Horley, Surrey, called Kalligraphic Design. I’d managed to land a Saturday shift there after completing a great few weeks of work experience over the summer… the design was a monster of a Freehand File (The pre-runner of Illustrator, and vastly superior!) — It got to №7 in the UK charts and I took a trip up to London (I was living in Reigate at the time) to go and see the covers proudly displayed in Tower Records in Piccadilly. I was SO chuffed.
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite Logo you have designed?
Simon Manchipp — For me, my favourite bit of work is the next bit of work… We’re about to launch a progressive new brand for the Student Property sector, a beautiful new brand for a huge legal organisation, and a Fintech rebrand that should really make a sleeping unicorn famous… I think our London 2017 IAAF branding was pretty spectacular — we had to work with an existing set of logos, but developed what we call a BrandWorld for them and it worked brilliantly — it was so effective the games have been listed in the Guinness Book of Records for the most successful games, with more tickets sold than ever before.
I’m also a fan of the new work we have just launched for Yopa — a modular system to enable any message to be branded.
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite Logo of all time?
Simon Manchipp — I’m a maximalist. And I don’t really lust over a single logo… thing is, the majority of famous logos are not made famous for their beautiful craft, concept or application, they are famous because they have endured — most brands last about 5 years before they are tempered with, removed or consumed by others. The oddities are those that freakishly outlast the average lifespan.
I prefer to see a bigger canvas of choice for branding. Goyard is a good example of a brand that has a word mark, monogram, signature pattern, colour systems and a range of applications that set it apart from the average branding. Also, the products are exceptional and have been in production since 1792. It also has a terrific sense of itself — ‘Goyard does not engage in any form of e-commerce.’ it says on their website. In today’s online shopping frenzy, you’ve got to love a brand with that kind of confidence.
For me, in branding ‘weird works’. Where everyone else is chasing the online shopping experience. Goyard insists you go to one of their physical palaces of consumerism. They have about three or four word marks. They appear to not give a monkey about the current trend in branding, I love that.
The Logo Creative — Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Simon Manchipp — Everything we do is rooted in strategic insights and an agreed plan of action. We get clients involved throughout the process because the most important aspect of the design process is reaching consensus. If it never went live, it may as well never have happened.
Our worst nightmare is to get involved in a beauty parade, where one person’s perfume is another poison. We work in teams, and remain open to ideas through the process, right up to the last moment.
We also don’t lean too heavily on just a logo… see them as part of the picture, but not the entire picture. Discovering how they work alongside a whole host of other variables is just as important as developing an ownable and useful symbol.
The Logo Creative — In your opinion regarding Logo Design pricing do you prefer working on a fixed rate or customer budget and can you explain why?
Simon Manchipp — We’ve tried many models for renumeration — but always come back to estimating costs based on the time and team needed to develop a full Brand World for a product, organisation or service. It’s the simplest, most transparent, and in our experience, most practical way of arriving at a fair fee.
Our mantra at SomeOne is that we need each project to do three things.
- Enable us to do great work.
- Allow us to have fun.
- Pay us enough to keep doing the first two things.
As long as those three things keep on happening. We are happy.
The Logo Creative — How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Simon Manchipp — On average we like to start with a 100 day plan to get a brand fully operational and then work from there. We’ve done it a lot faster, and had projects take much longer. Truthfully the speed of a project is generally dictated by the client, not the design team.
The Logo Creative — Are you a MAC or PC User and is there a reason for your choice?
Simon Manchipp — Mac. PC’s suck.
The Logo Creative — Which software do you use frequently?
Simon Manchipp — Everything Adobe. Cinema 4d. AfterEffects. Marvel.
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
Simon Manchipp — I follow no particular theme. But it should be crafted, intelligent and immediately useful. Everyone loves a bit of negative space play. But in reality, the visual gag is a debatable addition to a brand that will be experienced regularly. Even the best jokes tire and date.
The Logo Creative — What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Simon Manchipp — I’m super lucky to have our practice’s studio in the center of Shoreditch, London, so we are frankly overloaded with inspiration. I encourage everyone at SomeOne to read weird things that others don’t and look in places that are not commonly frequented by designers.
The trends in design appear when everyone looks in the same place. And this is a nightmare for brands and branding. Brands exist to create monopolies in their sector. To be chosen clearly over others. There is no brand where there is no competition. But when styles begin to be adopted in a design studio, their output begins to merge all the work together.
I’ve seen recent competing rebrands that are essentially all visually the same. A coloured box. A word. A symbol. It’s sending the brands backward in terms of their competitive edge.
This is happening a lot with the ‘flat’ trend. Which is just as bad as the previous surge of skeuomorphism. The richer the pool of inspiration, the less chance of duplication. But designers are a tribal bunch and they love to club together and be influenced by very limited sources.
The Logo Creative — In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job being a designer?
Simon Manchipp — Best — Seeing your work at scale doing exactly what it was intended to do for the brand. Then being reapplied by someone else in a way you never expected (but love).
Worst — Being treated as the kids who ‘can’t add up’ and so went into ‘art’.
The Logo Creative — Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Simon Manchipp — Total cliché but my kids rock (5 years old and 9 years old). Looking at projects through the eyes of a child is an incredibly powerful way to reframe a challenge. Particualrly if it involves Haribos.
The Logo Creative — Who is your favourite Graphic Designer and why?
Simon Manchipp — Amelia Noble, of the design company, KerrNoble. She’s annoyingly never done a bad project. She’s now a tutor at the Royal College of Art. Fortunately though, I managed to somehow convince her to marry me 17 years ago. I think other than the Missis — I am a fan of Phil Baines early typographic work, notably his candlesticks, and Saul Bass poster designs.
The Logo Creative — What’s your favourite design quote?
Simon Manchipp — ‘I’ve never managed anything, I’ve only ever mis-managed things.’ — Malcolm McLaren. The first time I met him, I asked for his business card, as I was organising a series of lectures at HHCL and was keen on getting him in as the lead speaker. The next day, looking to call him up, I found the card in my wallet. It was white. With one line of type in the centre. Quite small. About 7pt. It simply read. Malcolm McLaren. Nothing else.
The Logo Creative — In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Simon Manchipp — Visually-led Commercial Creativity
The Logo Creative — What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Simon Manchipp — Many late nights, weekends and missed parties were involved in the making of SomeOne (although we are making up for the parties bit now). I racked up my 10,000 hours fast. Working in commercial design studios from the age of 18 while studying at Reigate School of Art and later Central St.Martins in Covent Garden, London — got me up to speed fast! Then, while at Ad agency of the decade, HHCL&P I was made a partner and started the pre-cursor to SomeOne — a design focussed group called NoOne. Even though I really put the hours in, I don’t think I made any huge sacrifices as it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed. Those not in the creative community often saw it as odd, that I’d be happy to work all hours crafting a typeface or pouring over some design detail!
The Logo Creative — Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Simon Manchipp — I’ve never really been one for regrets. They don’t seem to get you anywhere. Equally. While in retrospect something’s would have turned out slightly better with a different approach. It’s all led here. And here’s an exciting and interesting place.
The Logo Creative — If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Simon Manchipp — Very few worthwhile things happen after 1 am. Go home.
The Logo Creative — What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Simon Manchipp — Everybody’s winging it. The good creative is often conflicted with thoughts that swing from confidence to concern. But when you realise that you’ve been hired because ‘they’ can’t do it, things get easier. You are hired for your opinion. So stand by it.
The Logo Creative — What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Simon Manchipp — Does the world really need just another logo? Or would people prefer entertaining ideas that better connect them to products, organisations, and services? Perhaps, rather than obsessing over a single mark… you could do more?
learn more about Simon Manchipp | someoneinlondon.com
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Originally published at The Logo Creative | Logo Design & Brand Identity Designer.