A Tea with Steve

This week we’re having a brew with our super-talented designer, Steve. He’s one of the brilliant minds behind some of our creative solutions and has a real talent for sparking ideas that help businesses find unique ways to connect with customers. Let’s find out what makes our Steve tick… 

a man in a black and gray striped sweater.

First up, can you tell us about your role at A.D.? 

So, designer… plus photographer, marketing, website builder, illustrator, interior designer and a damn good tea and coffee maker! There’s no end to my job description, which is a good thing!

It’s #NationalTeaDay this week, but what’s your brew of choice – tea or coffee? 

Well, I do love tea, but it has to be coffee in the morning – nothing else hits the mark, so I’ll say both!

Pouring a kettle of hot water into a cup of tea

Do you have a business best friend? 

Awww, no, I can’t answer that! I treat everyone with an equal amount of sarcasm – no special loyalties here! Everyone supports each other in the team, even if it’s just making a brew round when you’re parched.

You truly are a team that sticks together, but we want to know… how do you deliver the most value to your clients?

Finding something different that ticks all their boxes – product type, branding areas, price, colour, packaging and sustainability/eco.

What is your passion outside of work?

Films and music. Saying that, I can’t remember the last time I went to the cinema since the lockdowns and restrictions. Sci-fi and thrillers are my favourites. My music tastes are pretty eclectic – anything from indie, rock, dance and more downtempo chillout stuff – it just depends on what mood I’m in!

What makes an excellent team for you?

One that supports everyone within it.

This comes up a lot – it’s great to hear. 

So, what motivates you?

To do my very best work on every job. Oh, and coffee. Lots of it!

What three traits define you?

Creative. Determined. Resourceful.

What does your desk look like?

Most of the time, beautifully minimal and organised. The nearer it gets to a deadline, it can get a bit messy, but after that, It’s a perfect time to de-clutter and tidy up again. I wouldn’t say I’m OCD, but… “don’t put that there!!”

If you could choose one superpower, what would it be and why? 

I’d love to predict the future. It would be cool to know what’s around the corner so you can be one step ahead.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Take a break! Sometimes when your head is deep inside a project, it’s so easy to lose focus on the end goal and not see the wood for the trees. Take a step back, move away from your computer and come back to it later with a fresh head. It makes all the difference. Designers, in particular, are a funny breed. Sometimes, re-evaluating the brief – and your answers to it – can take you off in a totally different direction, but without that break, you might not go down that route.

You’re an awesome designer, and A.D. are lucky to have you on their team. However… if you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing? 

I’d like to be doing something community based, maybe in the charity sector. There are so many great causes out there, and it’s never been a more important time to help those less fortunate than ourselves. I count myself extremely lucky that I’ve made a living out of being a designer for over 25 years, but it would also be nice to balance that out with some charity work.

What’s the last thing you bought? 

New iPad. I’m a sucker for any tech product. Nothing beats the unwrapping and opening of the box, then firing it up for the first time. OK, I know, I should get out more!!

Where is your favourite place to be? 

Yorkshire, top of a hill, sunset and a large glass of something cool and fizzy in hand. Bliss!

What’s your favourite time of day?

Mid-afternoon, just after an energy boost from lunchtime kicks in! As everyone at A.D. will tell you, I’m definitely not a morning person – I don’t know many designers who are to be honest, it must be a thing I guess! I’ve done my fair share of working late nights over the years, which comes with the job, especially when deadlines loom. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Countryside or city?

I was born and raised in the Yorkshire Dales, so I’ll have to say the countryside. Otherwise, I would be ostracised by family and friends! Despite living in Manchester for over 25 years now, I still think of the Yorkshire Dales as home – nothing beats getting out in the fresh air and getting a bit muddy! I would love to move back there one day.

A large open field with a bridge in the distance

How do you start most mornings?

Cereal and coffee, in that order!

What’s the best thing for you about being a Planet Positive Person?

Knowing that we’re all helping do our bit to re-balance our impact on the planet. Sure, we can always do more, but having the mindset to start that journey is the most important thing. We have many ideas and plans to further expand our green credentials as a business and as individuals, and we can’t wait to implement some in 2022.

What would you do if you had an extra weeks’ holiday each year?

Relax. Even when I take a holiday, I rarely just sit and chill out. It would be nice to do just that… absolutely nothing!

Are you a crammer or a planner?

A planner. I like to break down a project into chunks and plan each part separately and as a whole. I think this approach works for me, but I’m always open to new ways of working.

What’s your favourite of the A.D. brand values and why?

“Creative at Heart”, for obvious reasons, but also “Never Stop Evolving”. We should all keep refining the ways we work. There’s not just one route to get to your destination, and sometimes you see things on the scenic route that you wouldn’t have otherwise!

How do you support and inspire customers?

Bringing their brand to life on a product makes the difference between a standard branded product and something unique. We consider how a product complements their brand and how we apply their logo, brand colours and values to create a coherent brand strategy. We advise customers on the best branding methods for each product, the most eco-friendly solutions and how they can use these in their marketing effectively. It’s not just placing a logo on a product. Far from it. 

How would you define Creative Connections?

As a designer, the obvious answer is that we use design to spark ideas in directions that the customer might not necessarily be expecting. We look at each project from the ground up, taking the problems they want to address and then pulling them apart into their core elements. We use our Super Seven process to define how we approach and answer each issue and then further refine that to our final solution. Sounds easy, but a lot of time goes into this process to find the right product strategy. 

If you could be any Game of Thrones character, which one would you be?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a whole episode, to be honest, but I have to say one of the dragons. No one is messing with that!

Where do you hang out online – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin?

It’s weird how people see and use social media differently. Facebook and Twitter are just for me; I don’t connect them with work as it’s my little retreat away from everyday life, I guess. I have LinkedIn for work stuff, and I’ve never really used Instagram – I’m the wrong generation, I think!

How many apps do you have on your phone?

Far too many. I probably only use 5 or 6 regularly. I should have a purge and get rid of some.

What’s the one thing you could not live without?

Music. Whatever mood you’re in or time of the day, you can find some music to lift your spirits or chill you out. I used to spend a lot of time, and money, finding new music that I hadn’t heard of before. I’d love to get back to doing that. I do miss the record shops; they were perfect for discovering new stuff – OK, I’m really showing my age now! It’s all YouTube and Spotify now.

A colourful image featuring a camera, a tape, a vinyl record and a video tape

How many languages can you speak?

Er, barely one! Two, if sarcasm counts as a language, I speak that fluently!


Get in touch with us today, and get to know Steve more!

Let’s make something awesome together



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