I didn’t do particularly well at school, but I did at least know what I wanted to be – a Graphic Designer. This interest was encouraged by my dad who took me to see one in action – I was inspired. We’re talking back-in-the-day when the tools of the trade were Magic Markers, Letraset, and Pantone books. Although technology has transformed the tools, one piece of advice I was given then still remains relevant today. “Don’t get caught with your briefs down.”
After school, I studied Graphic Design and Advertising at college (via an excellent Foundation Course in Printing). Fortunately, Macs were just entering the industry and knowledge of them helped me to turn work experience into a full time Junior Designer role as one of the few people in the agency who knew how to switch one on.
There began a career at a number of local design and advertising businesses before accepting a role with TMP Worldwide in London as an Art Director. While at TMP, I became the lead creative on The Metropolitan Police account where I totally immersed myself in the organization in order to gain a thorough understanding of the culture and recruitment challenges they faced. This included visiting multiple police divisions, going out on patrol, and undergoing the initial police training tests and interviews (which I’m pleased to say I passed).
This deep exposure helped me understand the power of good ideas in addressing recruitment challenges, specifically around diversity and retention. I’m proud to say that the subsequent work, which included national advertising campaigns, was both operationally successful and widely acclaimed, winning multiple industry awards. This success led me to become Creative Director at TMP Worldwide with responsibility for a department of 40 creative staff nationally.
Eventually I left TMP Worldwide to pursue a career as an independent creative (and help launch employer brand technology Papirfly into the European market) before joining forces with two former creative colleagues to help build a new agency and work as exaqueo’s Executive Creative Director.
Aside from my work as a Creative Director, I am also a published comedy writer, average judo player, and spent a couple of years as the co-host of a radio show.
I live in the United Kingdom on the south coast with my wife Stacey and two sons.
National Diploma, Graphic Design and Advertising
Berkshire College of Art and Design
HZ Advertising, Junior Designer
Kokoro Design, Senior Designer
TMP Worldwide, Art Director / Creative Director
Groupbrand, Creative Director / Partner
LEAP, Group Creative Director / Partner
exaqueo, Executive Creative Director
My First Paycheck
Aged 12, I went into partnership with my 11 year old next door neighbor. CayKid Car Washing was formed (a portmanteau of our surnames, Cayless and Kidney). For around £2.50 (approx. $3) we would completely engulf a customer’s car with foam, and leave it covered with watermarks. The enterprise was dissolved due to a lack of repeat business.