Introducing the team – Alan

I started my career in London in a tiny design partnership – two designers plus me – straight from college. It was a steep learning curve, going from college projects to client projects. But it was a great foundation – working on projects with time pressures and budget constraints. I learnt a lot.

Most of my time here was spent working on smaller print projects for the BBC such as the programme catalogues for the BBC Proms; and graphics for media production companies – things like end credits for TV programmes. These were the early days of computer-aided design and I remember spending some time being given some instruction on a fantastic new computer called a Quantel Paintbox. This was a specialist (and hugely expensive) computer for compositing video and graphics. It was 1981 and the Apple Mac was yet to make its presence felt across the creative industry. Interesting fact: the cover of Queen’s album The Miracle was created on a Quantel Paintbox!

Staying in London, I moved to a more traditional graphic design studio with large corporate clients like BT, ICI and Blue Circle Cement. I worked on corporate brochures, sales brochures and direct mail projects for these companies, alongside rebrands for newly merged and breakaway companies. Occasionally I even got to work on food packaging for the likes of Findus, a frozen food brand owned by Nestlé. This was a great time, early in my career, working with some very talented individuals and learning my craft. It set me in good stead for the next chapter.

I’d grown up in Taunton, Somerset, so I returned here after my extended stint amongst the bright lights of London. I started a freelance career whilst working part-time as a lecturer at a local art college. Here, I worked within the main graphic design department to deliver specific typography instruction – after all, you have to understand the rules before you can break them!

My time at the college also put me in touch with like-minded industry professionals in the area, and that evolved into a co-operative business where I, along with five other freelancers with different specialisms, came together to offer a full design service to our local client base. You might say it was ahead of its time with its joined-up, ‘out of house, in-house marketing team’ approach. It was here that I met Dora when she joined us in 1997 to supplement the design team. That friendship blossomed into one of the most important in my life and career and, in 2001, we struck out on our own to start Think! Associates. The rest, as they say, is history.

If you’d like to find out more about Think! – or, indeed, my experiences of working with clients through design delights and design dilemmas – get in touch today.