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With ambitions to grow the agency this year, Chris brings a wealth of experience from working at some of London and Bristol’s top agencies. We sat down for a chat with Chris about his journey to date and his plans for the future.
I studied Graphic Design at Falmouth, which was a very ideas-led course. After graduating I moved to London and cut my teeth in digital agencies, such as LBI (now Digitas) and Hugo & Cat. I soon discovered that I most enjoyed the conceptual side of things, so I honed in on art direction.
I paired up with a copywriter and as a creative duo we went to Critical Mass. It was all about ideas, ideas, ideas. I’m very ideas-driven so on paper this should’ve been a great move, but I found myself frustrated at not seeing enough of our ideas come to life. Seeing things through from concept to fruition, and the whole process behind that – was missing for me.
This coincided with meeting my (now) wife and so we decided to put roots down in Bristol. I joined Mr B and Friends as Senior Art Director, which was a fantastic introduction to the creative scene in the South West and allowed me to encompass all the various disciplines I enjoy into one role – centred around branding. I could animate one day and art direct the next.
I’m a big believer in putting myself out of my comfort zone. I had initially thought I’d go out on my own and freelance, but then I heard about this new role at Fiasco. To be honest, it just felt right. Fiasco offers what I need creatively and (hopefully) vice versa.
I’ve known of Fiasco and followed the studio for some time. The main thing that always stood out front and centre was the calibre of the work. Alongside this comes the talent that exists within the team.
I’m passionate about working collaboratively and believe this should be a natural part of the creative process. So, I can’t wait to work with Fiasco’s expansive network of copywriters, illustrators, strategists, photographers, animators, and more.
Fiasco hasn’t hired at this level before, which means my role can be shaped quite organically. The studio culture is strong and Fiasco seems to have a balanced view of an industry that often celebrates hard work to an unhealthy degree.
In terms of stand-out moments, I would say creating a product launch video for a Nokia camera phone in Rio was one of the most terrifying yet rewarding things I’ve worked on. It taught me to not be too rigid and trust the creative process.
During my time at Mr B & Friends, I worked on the rebrand of Bristol Rugby to Bristol Bears and Bristol City FC to the Robins. This was poignant for me because I could really feel how important the clubs are to their fans. With that comes a certain pressure, but also a real opportunity to create a brand that connects with its audience on a deeper level. I still find it really rewarding when I see kids in the park wearing the shirts with the bear emblem on with such pride.
When companies are genuinely doing something exciting within their sector and they need help to elevate themselves. Here, I find real creative freedom and feel able to carve out something truly special. But the diversity of the briefs we receive at Fiasco has already stood out to me as something that I’m looking forward to getting stuck into.
I find working with brands – and the people behind them – a really exciting prospect. People attach a lot of meaning and emotion to a brand. When you present an idea to a client you’re effectively asking them to restructure or reshape part of their own identity. They feel like they own it. It’s a representation of their identity and we need to remember that and treat it with a certain sensitivity.
Also, I still love learning. You don’t stop learning just because you reach a senior level. Actually, I find it a bit sad that the more senior you become, the less opportunities you have to learn from other senior creatives out there. So learning and teaching each other, as a team. Supporting one another.
I formulate my ideas in words first. This is how I calibrate my thoughts and how I know an idea is strong and well-rounded. I think it’s partly because I’ve worked with copywriters for so long that I tend not to think about how the visuals might look until I know the thinking behind them is water-tight.
Of course, I’m still a motion graphics designer at heart, so I’m excited to work with (sister studio) Yatta. I like to cross the spectrum and I’m looking forward to playing to all my strengths.
I thrive on immersing myself in new experiences. I struggled with lockdown because staring at the same four walls quickly became stagnant and uninspiring; for all of us I expect.
I love everything visual – design, animation, film, the view from the top, festivals. It’s normally when exploring somewhere new that I naturally reach for my camera.
I think representation within the design industry is still a real problem. For the most part, our industry has good intentions and wants to do better. But at some point there might need to be more of a concerted effort made to pave the way for future generations.
I think a lot of the advice out there is more suited towards extroverted personality types: establishing a personal brand, being active on social media, networking, etc. But for some people (me included) this just isn’t natural or comfortable. So I would say starting a conversation or sharing something of interest may be a better path.
Also – dream big! Go after the studios that truly inspire you. Just make sure you put your best foot forward; consider who you’re presenting yourself to and tailor your application accordingly. Always do your research.
What interests me is surrounding myself with the best talent out there and being part of an inspiring network of creative minds who collaborate to do great things. It’s that simple really.
Right now I’m just excited to be here. I love that Fiasco is focused on good people and good work. Sounds like there’s also a healthy measure of good times, too!