It is unusual to hear someone say that they always start working near the end of a deadline, because they are far more productive under pressure. Though one may think that this is the easiest way to mess up, SMACK agency and its co-founder Lubna Keawpanna have never missed a deadline, and they keep delivering amazing work even during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lubna's dedication to her team is unparalleled. SMACK is both her greatest motivation and the work achievement she's most proud of, a small bubble in a world that is still not diverse nor inclusive enough.
For this Company Spotlight, we've discussed hopes, creativity, dreams and motivation with one of the most energetic leaders that ever appeared on these pages.
Where are you from and how did you get into the industry?
I’m from London and since I was little I always knew I wanted to do something creative. It wasn’t until after taking A-level art at college that I realised that it wasn’t art, but design that I wanted to pursue.
Where are you based now and who do you work for?
I’m based in London working for the digital agency SMACK, which I co-founded.
Explain your creative style and process
My style is bold, colourful & uncomplicated.
I always start my creative work closer to the end of the deadline as I work better under pressure, but I never miss a deadline. I like to spend my time incubating the idea and drawing inspiration for as long as I can before starting the actual creative piece. All creativity happens by night, when I’m in my own world, with no distractions.
Please provide one sentence about your spotlighted work on Creativepool
Maison KARL LARGERFELD puts a fun twist on the classic Pac-Man arcade game, with designs created to complement the much-admired brand - driving great engagement and results.
How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?
I’m always happy to adopt change and experiment with new ways of doing things. Tech excites me and has only helped evolve my practice, starting from print, to web, to apps to augmented reality, I love it. It also means we can change the way we work – remote-working in this current lockdown period has been facilitated by amazing technology.
If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?
To see more BAME individuals in industry roles across all levels and to understand and change the fact that women disappear from the industry - if the majority of design students are female, why are there so few making it into senior positions, in comparison to men?
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
I love being in cultural, arty environments to draw inspiration – I’m always motivated to do my best work, and now that I’m a mum I want my time away from my children to be really worth it.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
I’ve always been involved in creative industries including handbag design, photography and more – I would love to actually try my hand at window dressing, which is something I haven’t done before.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
Growing the agency and working with an amazing team has definitely been my proudest moment. When the agency won its first award it started to validate that we were a real contender in the industry.
How do you recharge away from the office?
I like to spend time with family and friends, zipping around on my scooter, trying to get some exercise and me time in!
What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives in the industry who are looking for commissions?
Believe in yourself, you really need to trust that your work is outstanding for someone else to believe that. Work hard, be tenacious, keep learning and always be nice!
What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?
I’d call on agencies to review their flexible working policies or introduce them. At SMACK, we have always been flexible with staff - not just in relationship to childcare, but in creating time for maintaining mental and physical health. It’s the need of the moment and needs to be adopted more widely.