Sunday, 26 February 2012
Simon goes Tribal
Simon Richings graduated from Wolverhampton in 1996 with a First Class Honours Degree in Graphic Communication. As part of his course he spent one of his semesters studying at California State University, Long Beach, undertaking an exchange programme.
After a short period of freelance work in London, Simon was hired by a small, graphic design agency in his home town of Bristol. A solid seven years there saw him rise into a senior design role, working on mainly business-to-business projects for a range of regional clients. During this time he honed his layout and Photoshop skills, while spending much of his spare time writing tabletop role-playing games and obsessing over new technology. Another period of freelancing followed, including a brief involvement in the founding of Science Education Arts (SEA) - a practice specialising in design for those sectors he had most passion for.
In 2006 he began working with digital advertising agency Tribal DDB on an entirely different sort of project. A friend at the agency figured he was right for an unusual hybrid task: designing and writing an online murder mystery game for Hasbro to promote their Cluedo brand. More work from Tribal followed and Simon accepted a permanent role there in 2007 as a senior art director. From this point on, he's had the luxury of working with some great designers, freeing him up to concentrate on his area of strength - the ideas themselves.
High profile work for Volkswagen, Guinness and other big brands followed, including the highly awarded Monopoly City Streets (for Hasbro, again). This combined the familiar board game with Google maps - players could buy any street in the world, including their own, and they did - 1.7 million of them. Simon has now risen to the dual role of Head of Creative for Tribal and Digital Creative Director for DDB (the famous traditional advertising agency), working with some very talented creatives, designers, developers and technologists.
Simon believes his time studying at Wolverhampton played a key role in his current success, despite his lateral step into another discipline:
"The Graphic Communication course at Wolverhampton gave me a fantastic grounding in techniques for idea generation, and taught me to always root my work in something deeper than pure aesthetics. This made the jump into advertising much, much easier than it would have been if all I'd learnt was technique."