Bri­tish de­signer Kyle Wilkinson re­veals his mo­ti­va­tion be­hind set­ting up his new stu­dio, and how to de­tan­gle from old part­ner­ships

Computer Arts - - Contents -

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.

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