Thought & Insight

Meet Kevin - Founder and Creative Director

01.2023 | By Oli Phillips

Kevin Barter - Klutch Studio, Creative Director

This week we find out a bit more about Kevin, Founder and Creative Director.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in London, and have done for almost 8 years now. I am married to my wonderful wife, Alex and we have a son called Fredrik who was born earlier this year. I also have a cocker spaniel called Bella. Away from running Klutch Studio, I enjoy eating out at new and fun restaurants around London, visiting new countries as well as catching up with friends over a pint or two! I keep fit where I can, having been a swimmmer in my formative years, I now try and get to the gym 2-3 times per week to stay in shape.

How did you get here?

When I graduated from Coventry Univerity, my first job was as a Graphic Designer for Achusnet, which is the parent company for the golf brands, Titleist and Footjoy. It was a baptism of fire, we made a ton of POS stuff and catalogues mainly, photoshoots, clipping masks, and colour correction, this was before e-commerce and w print were still the only way to shop. After a stint of travelling, I began freelancing for local companies, picking up too many clients and after working with another local designer on projects we decided to start an agency together. We worked with some great local businesses in an around Cambridgeshire but also, the NHS, Department of Health, RSPB, and Play.com (print catalogues again!). Sadly after 2008 budgets were cut and we lost a few of our clients so we decided to close the business, and go back to freelance work, it was a steep learing curve but one that has helped me so much today. A little while after that an opportunity came up to go to Melbourne, Australia to live and work, I quickly found my way into a small boutique agency that specialised in large scdigital and government awareness campaigns, I worked as a business director alongside the CEO, pitching and managing the team and later as an Account Director working on delivery working alongside this great team I built up my digital and multi-channel campaign experience, we once put a man in a 12 x3m perspex box on a train station concourse for a week to highlight workplace injury impact for the victoria government. After almost 4 years i returned to London and jumped straight back into design working for some of London’s best creative branding shops, soaking up everything I could. Come 2019 I knew I was ready to start an agency. Taking little bits from all the learnings and giving that to clients, no specific sector, just great work that allowed those businesses to be better through great strategy, creative thinking and stand-out branding and digital experiences. Add a global pandemic in there and here we are.

Where do you seek creative inspiration?

Everywhere. I am lucky to have travelled a fair bit and soak up all I can from that, from the different cultural experiences to finding type and lettering in different languages. Living in London can be pretty inspiring too, we have some of the best studios in the world here creating awesome work, which I take alot of inspiration from. Going to galleries, museums and events is a sure way to get the creative juices following for me, and aso talking to people, even my mates not in the design industry, finding out what they are reading, buying, and looking at can inspire me to find out more.

What excites you the most about working in the creative industry?

Honestly, it’s pretty fun solving problems with creative thinking. I’m lucky enough to call this my job. Design is all around us, from the way we navigate the streets to how we interact with a website, or how a brand makes us feel. Done well design can change the way people think about something, the right brand strategy for a start-up can help them achieve their goals quicker than they thought, having the ability to do that sort of work and help others in that way really excites me.

What do you think is the definition of great design?

I don’t think one thing specifically defines great design. I do try to live by the rule of less is more (my wife hates me for it) and this is the case in what we produce as a studio, removing everything that is superfluous or not required, once you’ve done that and it still communicates the message your on to something. It’s even more important now as we try to become a more sustainable studio, creating low carbon websites for example or thinking twice about how many brochures we might print, its all about what is the the right amount rather than to much. You can’t be something to everyone so really good design hones in on the target audience or market and talks to it, makes them feel something, and inspires them to interact with the brand or company.

If you could go back in time what would advice would you give yourself?

I would probably say continue to learn to code, I started building basic sites at college way back when Dreamweaver was a thing, building sites visually using tables and images. As soon as hand coding became more common I left it to the developers. I do wish I could code now, even just to better understand how it all works and whats possible.

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