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Head of Creative, Tony Lowe, has over 30-years of experience to share with his fellow Narrators. But what really gets his creative passions flowing? PR & Content Executive, Charlotte, sat down with Tony to discuss life as a creative and the road leading to Narrative. 

1. What sparked your interest in design? 

When I was a child, I loved comics – the creativity and imagination that went into Marvel and DC comics got me hooked. With this came my love and passion for drawing, even at a young age I knew I could draw. I used to be able to look at the characters and copy them pretty well for a 7-year-old!

This admiration for drawing and illustration later turned into a passion for editorial design because I was simply fascinated by the way they were designed and how the concepts worked, whether that be on paper or on a screen. 

2. In your career so far, what has been your biggest achievement?

I’ve been lucky to work with so many great clients in my career so far, but I don’t think there is one that I would single out. Although I am very proud of projects I have worked on with the likes of Manchester Arndale, Metro Centre, The Life Science Centre and more recently Durham Distillery because I love the difference I can make to a brand, a campaign, a strategy or even just show them a new direction. I love being part of the brand’s journey and being able to help realise and exceed a client’s vision, because that is what it’s all about. 

3. What has been your biggest learning curve?

That’s a funny one because when I started out in my career I was working with paper, pens and paint! So, from that perspective, the biggest learning curve would be learning to work on an Apple Mac. The shift in dynamics, from painting visuals by hand to creating them on a computer, was incredible. Even though these two were very different it was something that was embraced and something I remember being fascinated by and excited about how it could help the industry. 

4. What gets your creative passions flowing?

I always feel inspired by other people around me – that could be designers, illustrators, photographers, writers all doing their ‘thing’. Working in a team of like-minded people also inspires me, it’s the spark and the expression of talent that grows and can help you to grow too. 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I could list a whole host of names here from the greats of advertising and design, such as: David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach, Sir John Hegarty, Neville Brody, Jonathon Hoefler, Paula Scher and Ilse Crawford. One thing all of these greats have in common is a spark, an idea – whether it be big or small – it’s an idea. 

My favourite line in our industry came from BBH: “When the world zigs, zag.” It’s a line from one of their famous Levi campaigns. The ad saw a single black sheep facing right, in a flock of black sheep facing left. It has a relevance way beyond that of its original use. ‘Go against the herd, stand by your ideas and know that different is not dangerous.’ Is the extended quote. It’s truly great advice!

One to watch: I would recommend Netflix original, Abstract, because it displays so many areas of design which is inspiring to see – even if it isn’t necessarily your field. 

6. How would you describe yourself?

Describing yourself is always a funny one, because how do you describe yourself? I’m not sure if it’s for me to describe myself, as what I think, others may not see. However, I can say with certainty that one word I can describe myself with is ‘tall’ and at 6ft 4 you can’t miss me. 

7. How would you describe your take on design?

Design can be: big, bold, beautiful, subtle, uplifting, clever, simple and life changing even. I always aspire to all of these and more. Ultimately all of these items need to be reactive and mindful to what is happening around them. Your work could take any or all of these forms depending on the client and as long as it’s right, not only for the client, for the designer as well, it can change so many things and offer a real purpose. 

8. Do you think your personality shines through in parts of your work?

I have a design aesthetic that I bring to some of my work, as most creatives do but then, it’s not about me. It’s about a client’s needs and communicating what they need effectively and beautifully.

The work that I have created so far in my career, I have always tried to answer each brief as fully as I can for the client and not just for the sake of having my spin on it. It’s important for me to try to understand exactly what the client wants and needs. 

9. When did you think “this career is right for me”?

I knew early on in my career, maybe even before then, that design and advertising is absolutely the right path for me!

10. Why Narrative?

I’ve worked at many different agencies and even from a competitor’s point of view, Narrative always impressed me – the name, the logo, the brand, the structure and ethos, it’s very clear. It’s somewhere I feel that I can excel and help others to do the same.

This post was created on 2nd September 2020
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