British designer Kyle Wilkinson reveals his motivation behind setting up his new studio, and how to detangle from old partnerships
Why award-winning designer Kyle Wilkinson chose to break from his old business partner to forge new branding company Wilkinson&Co.
Keeping the creative fire stoked is a challenge for designers. Award-winning, Yorkshire-based designer Kyle Wilkinson reveals how launching Wilkinson & Co. has injected new enthusiasm into his love for typography and graphic design, as does splitting his time between the agency and nurturing his rising stardom as a product designer. Tell us more about your new venture...
I share my time between Wilkinson & Co. – where we work with clients on positioning, launching and building brands through a variety of platforms – and a product design studio under my own name, where I design furniture and homeware products as well as client commissions, such as CA’s Brand Impact Awards trophies. I’ve just launched my first furniture collection at the London Design Festival, which was great fun.
Why did you decide to go separate ways from your partner at Hacksaw?
Unfortunately, after six years the motivation and passion had started to leave the other partners within the business. Whilst still commercially successful, it became quite clear that the forward drive had depleted. Whilst a tough and sad decision, I couldn’t continue to go down that path.
How do you envisage your new studio being different from the old one?
I’m taking it back to our roots. We had success with our ideas and approach, so it wasn’t as though the old model was broken, just the motivation – and my motivation and fire has only increased.
What are the legal implications of splitting from a former partner?
This depends on the director’s agreement you have in place. Ours gave quite simple instructions to what would to do if the unthinkable were to happen. We made sure things were kept simple, so that friendships would remain and not go sour, which is something I’d certainly recommend when starting a partnership.
What advice would you give to someone considering making a similar move?
Be upfront and use your mouth and, most importantly, your ears. Don’t be afraid of the hard, honest conversations; yes they are difficult, but they’re necessary. Like all relationships, talking helps and you can fix problems before they develop. As your business will go through inevitable periods of uncertainty and challenge, the easiest way to solve any problem is to talk.
What sort of projects are you hoping to work on?
I’d like a variety of projects through the door, work that adds value to a brand and strengthens its offering to its audience. It could be anything from full branding and strategy, right down to a new bespoke typeface for a preexisting brand, something we’ve done twice recently for two vodka brands. As long as it isn’t boring and it challenges us, I don’t mind.
Versatile creative Kyle Wilkinson is equally at home with graphic or product design, and also designed our distinctive Brand Impact Awards trophies.