A romantic at heart, designer Rob Pratt has a bit of a thang for print.
Having produced a design book called ‘007′ this suave designer of mystery likes his ideas shaken not stirred. Rob‘s worked on some impressive projects including storyboarding for the IOC Olympics,The Premier League and Richard Hammond’s Secret Service. Tapped into the pulse of the digital age, he’s done the whole caboodle, including working on iOS apps as well as print, branding, art direction and storyboarding.
Beginning as a Junior Designer at Mzuri Design, Rob‘s climbed his way up the ladder to Design Director at Shoreditch agency Brand & Deliver. He now counts Playboy, Samsung and IMG among his past clients. A magpie for awards, he’s got a heaving trophy cabinet filled with everything from a Silver for Best Direct Mail at the International Design Awards in 2010 to a Highly Commended for an IVCA in 2012.
We spoke to Rob about the buzz of an idea, and why Gumtree gets him in a tizz:
Where did you study graphic design?
The University of Lincoln. I think it was ranked 122 in the country for Art & Design when I started, it’s now in the top 20. How times have changed.
Describe your style?
I never really thought I had a style (nor did I want one) but I guess I’ve developed a style along the way. I like clean, clear and concise design based on a strong or clever idea. Minimalist sensibilities with clever undertones is what I strive for.
How did you find the transition from print design to digital?
In my heart I’m still a print designer, I love the feel, smell and romance of print but I like the fact I get to work across a wide range of areas. A strong idea should be able to work across any medium and a designer needs to be able to do the same. There will always be specialists, however a good grasp of various platforms, approaches and techniques will help you become a better designer. I try to act like a sponge and soak up new ideas and techniques as I go.
What process do you go through when you receive a brief?
I research as much as possible. I start by collecting snippets of information I can find about the client, project, style, audience, possible approaches, competition etc. I write a lot of notes, ask myself a lot of questions and draw tons of interconnecting arrows (which my lecturer didn’t approve of). The main question’s I ask are ‘What’s the problem?’, ‘How can this be better?’, ‘What does the audience think?’, ‘Why should we care?’ Then I try and forget it for a few days (if deadlines allow). My best work comes when I revisit the information later and find a chink of something interesting, a little spark that sets me off down a certain path. I refer to it as ‘organised forgetfulness’. Once I’ve hit upon something I start sketching and mocking up ideas. I enjoy the buzz of being fully taken over by an idea, the possibilities are endless at that point. Then you show it to the client…
What projects do you hope to work on in the future?
I have been lucky enough to work on a wide range of projects. I would love to work on more large scale branding projects, in particular for a boutique fashion brand or boutique store as this usually allows some interesting approaches. I would also like to rebrand Gumtree, their look and feel upsets me. It wouldn’t take much to make it better either.
How do you find agency life?
I like that every day is different and brings it’s own challenges. I could be writing a script for an advert, to creating a campaign for a large client or artworking some posters and art directing a photoshoot. The deadlines can be tough with very little ‘naval gazing’ time allowed but it keeps you on your toes. It’s satisfying to see finished work out in the open.