Of the many qualities that independent Brand & Design Director Jason Ford possesses, his no-nonsense attitude is certainly our favourite.
As part of his job, Jason often receives long brief documents filled with "noise" that fail to reduce the project to its essential elements: challenges, needs, desires and creative ideas. As a strong believer in simplicity, Jason loves working to a clear and concise brief, letting the ideas flow naturally and creatively.
Jason has been creating digital art since he was 15.
For this Member Spotlight, we had a chat with him to learn more about his path into the industry.
How did you get in the industry?
I had my first computer at around the age of 10, a Commodore 64 and became fascinated learning how to use it as a medium to create art. At the age of about 15, I was being paid by computer publications and software games houses to create digital art, I knew this was a career path I wanted to pursue.
Where are you based now and who do you work for?
Most of my work takes place in and around London. I left ITV earlier this year after 10-years as Creative Director of Brand & Design. I’m now independent and working with other clients in and around the Broadcast sector.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
I would like to think it would still be something creative, maybe painting, drawing, writing or even teaching.
Can you explain your creative process?
For me everything has to start with a clear and concise brief. I often receive briefs that are pages long and filled with unnecessary ‘noise’. I like to work with the client to distill the brief down to its most pure form, I often find this also helps give the client focus. There’s nothing better than working within the confines of a tight brief.
How would you describe your style?
I’m a strong believer in simplicity, with a strong core-idea at its heart.
Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Growing up I was fascinated by TV identities, the two main industry leaders at the time were Lambie-Nairn and English & Pockett. Martin Lambie-Nairn has always been a huge inspiration to me. They say never meet your heroes, Martin accepted my invitation to be interviewed at an event I was hosting, where we talked about his work and the future of TV, he was a true inspiration to me throughout my career.
If you had to pick one ideal client/employer, who would that be and why?
The broadcast industry is generally a great creative sector to work in. I’m going to say either Netflix or Apple. I love that both of these are being quite disruptive within the broadcasting industry and that’s a good thing.
How has technology affected the way you work?
I see technology as a tool, for me it’s always been important to start with pen and paper, letting the ideas form naturally and then develop that idea with technology if it’s the right tool, however, I don’t ever let technology lead me.
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
To keep yourself motivated and on top of things, it’s always important to break down any project into smaller achievable goals, that way you’re always moving forward.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
I had the opportunity to create the identity for the remake of Thunderbirds. It was one of my favourite TV shows growing up as a kid. I knew I had to create a fine balance between moving the branding forward so it felt new and fresh for today’s younger audience, while still appealing to the die-hard fans that would be watching the show. Working in my sketchbook I found the letters ‘IR’ nestled within the word ‘Thunderbirds’. These initials stand for ‘International Rescue’ a key component within the show. Once I had this strong core-idea, everything else fell into place and the identity went on to win a Gold Promax Europe award. I had a great rapport with the Executive Producer of the show and continued working on the show’s title sequence, key art and overall campaign development.
How do you recharge away from the office?
That’s easy, spending time with my family. It’s important to keep things in perspective. I have two teenage daughters who help keep me very active, both mentally and physically.
What is one tip for other aspiring creatives looking for work?
It’s all about raising your profile, make sure to shout about your achievements and showcase your work through social, blogs, portfolio sites and don’t forget to post and connect on Linkedin.
What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?
It’s disappointing to see prospective clients asking for unpaid creative work for pitches before commissioning a designer or studio. I’m happy to sit down and chat with clients and discuss the brief, my initial thoughts and the timing for their project along with an overview of my portfolio that should reassure them that I’m the right person for the project.
Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
- The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda
- Logo Modernism by Jens Muller
- The secret Lives of colour by Kassia St Clair