james bull (moving brands) interview


moving brands recently celebrated their 15th birthday, designboom spoke to co-founder james bull to learn more about their work.


DB: please could you tell us why you decided to form your own studio?
JB: we started moving brands straight after graduating from central saint martins college of art and design, so it is a bit of an unusual story in that respect. it seems the normal route is to enter the industry as a junior designer, working in a series of different studios to understand what resonates for you, then get promoted and learn new skills, becoming really good at client engagement, and then – if you are feeling the urge, have the finances and have managed to organize life in the right way – you make the move to start your own studio. but, we didn’t do it that way. we set up moving brands a few months after graduating because we quickly identified that it was going to take us too long using the normal rout. we also thought that the industry needed a different way of working and we’ve set out to achieve that. from the start of moving brands we recognized that the worlds of brand, design, digital, advertising, motion and product would blur and eventually align. so we set up our business to meet clients needs for a creative partner that could work seamlessly across various disciplines.



swisscom rebrand



DB: how many people work in your studio?
JB: as a business we total about 75 people located across london, san francisco and zurich.


DB: how would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
JB: we help connect people to brands, and brands to people.



james bull (moving brands) interview
IO branding



james bull (moving brands) interview



james bull (moving brands) interview



DB: what is the attraction of designing brand identities for you?
JB: I do not find ‘brand identities’ to be the overall attraction for me. our business is dealing with brand – and we see that much wider than creating brand identity systems. we see brand as; storytelling, brand identity, experience design and innovation – and that directly meets the needs of our clients. they need to tell stories better, they need a brand identity system that communicates that story, they need world class experiences across their products and services and they need to enable and push innovation to the front of their business – we help them do all these things.


DB: who / what would your ideal client / project be?
JB: it’s hard to say. we have already worked with some pretty amazing companies, including; apple, nokia, microsoft, stella mccartney…


DB: what mistakes or ‘traps’ should a young designer avoid when working on an identity system?
JB: if you think an identity system is about logo, letterhead and business cards, then you are lost. if you disagree with that statement, you are so far lost that there is no saving you. if you think that the client should listen to your opinion because you are the ‘designer’ and therefore understand something that they do not, then you are also lost. I learned early on that the answer is inside the client, you just have to get them to help you find it.



hypothetical wikipedia rebrand



DB: do you think it’s important for a graphic designer to be able to draw?
JB: no.


DB: do you think the popularity of online design resources have influenced the design being produced today?
JB: massively, but no more than the advent of the printing press, the light bulb, the computer, email, mobile devices, wifi and touch screens. my thinking is that the ability to share design is nothing but a good thing.



james bull (moving brands) interview
HP rebrand



james bull (moving brands) interview



DB: besides design, what are you passionate about and why?
movies and my wife. both show me the honesty of the world.



james bull (moving brands) interview
blank rebrand



james bull (moving brands) interview



james bull (moving brands) interview


DB: what is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
JB: my dad gave me two pieces of advice that have stuck with me, less because they are true and because they helped make the dream of ‘anything is possible’ obtainable.


‘remember, it is easy for tin foil to shine in shit.’
‘find something you love and then find someone to pay you to do it.’


DB: what is the worst piece of advice you have ever been given?
probably the same advice from my dad, on a bad day.


moving brands turns 15 – interview with all the company’s founders.