Richard originally trained in graphic design before specialising in art direction. Starting work in 1999 on the classic advertising formats of TV, press and poster. His work now focuses on modern fully integrated campaigns using a combination of each new channels to create maximum effect. His work as Creative Director at BJL includes a number of well-known international and national brands. Over the years these have included Ronseal, Swinton Insurance, British Airways, Subaru, Coke, Sony and Adidas. Creating work that has been recognised for its strategy, creativity and effectiveness.
What was your very first job? What does it feel like to look back at it now?
My first job was actual as a Junior Art Director at BJL, the agency at which I’m now Creative Director. My career, and other jobs, have taken me from Manchester to London and back again over 20 years of industry changes. It feels very unusual to look back to that time, and the differences in the work we produce. A creative’s job was normally centred around an eye-catching image and an 8-word headline. That’s the equivalent of 1 tweet today, we have to think broader and more long-term.
Please describe, in your own words, what your current job is and what work it entails.
As the Creative with oversight of BJL’s whole creative output, my job is incredibly varied. From working with and helping our creatives push ideas and boundaries of the channels. To working with content, PR and social to get the people in the street to notice the work we’re doing.
How did you discover that the creative world is right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? Which train of events did bring you to where you are today?
My granddad was a painter and my dad a photographer, so I’ve always been surrounded by art and creativity. From as early as I remember I was drawing or taking photos, and importantly in a working-class northern area I was supported to be creative. However it took me till university to realise that the element I was most passionate about was ideas. Thinking up new things, finding new connections and bringing them into reality.
In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how and where do you usually find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?
Whilst advancing technology has brought quite a few negatives along with it, it’s also brought a lot more positives. In the past it was tough to hear more than the views that had the power to be heard in mass media. Nowadays you can hear, see, connect with almost anyone on the planet. All those lives, experiences and voices, in just 10 minutes on a social network you can see more amazing thinking than hours anywhere else. It’s constantly inspiring me to find my own new thoughts or work.
If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, especially for the creative work and innovation it required rather than its recognition or industry success, what would it be?
Whilst I’m never fully happy with anything I’ve made. The one piece that would stick out is the ‘Ronseal Ad Break’. An ad break takeover which featured nothing but a man painting a fence for 3 and a half minutes. It trended for hours and got a lot of people to realise that whilst DIY is quite boring, Ronseal will help you get it over with.