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Interview with Mark Turner

Home > Designer Interviews > Mark Turner

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Mark Turner (MT) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Mark Turner by clicking here.

Interview with Mark Turner at Wednesday 3rd of May 2017
Mark Turner
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
MT: I have always enjoyed drawing and creating from an early age, and wanted to be a sculptor. As a child I used to walk passed Henry Moore’s studio every weekend with my father. Later I was to attend a secondary school, which had a family group statue by Henry Moore and as a student, spent many hours drawing and painting it. I then decided after leaving school at 16, to attend design school. I did an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in art and design at Stevenage College in Hertfordshire. It was a great course that introduced me to all aspects of design, from packaging to typography, to print to fashion and textiles, and furthered my love of studying art history. I graduated from there with a diploma with merit, but my love of packaging had really taken hold. I was transfixed, by the whole form and aspect of what packaging could do for a product. I then attended Great Yarmouth School of Art at the Higher National Diploma (HND) level, again within the two years I attended the course, my love of art history escalated and my interest in Henry Moore’s sculptures turned to his war drawings, which I was fascinated by and in my spare time from the course I would produce numerous pen and ink drawings. My final thesis was on Henry Moore’s work. I then graduated from there with a Higher National Diploma with distinction. Further into my design career, my path crossed again with Henry Moore as I joined and worked at a design studio, which was based in the same village as his studio. So Henry Moore has been a huge influence on me as a designer and artist.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MT: Kre8ive Partners is a group of very talented people we are all from a traditional background in our training and have a joint 80+ years of combined experience within our senior team. We are all about design and everything we design in the studio we can produce as a final artwork. We get involved with all sorts of design, from tin plate to flexible poly to ridged plastic to carton board. We take pride in producing innovative and forward thinking designs that are backed up by a passion to ensure the final printed job is exactly what was designed. Whether printed litho, flexo, gravure or digital, we ensure the project is correctly delivered or installed on time and within budget. We manage the project from concept to completion. Our international awards are a testimony of our Creative Passionate Thinking.

FS: What is "design" for you?
MT: LIFE! It is so important that everything is designed, from a simple paper clip to a complex constructed building. Without design in the world, the world would be a dull empty box. Design at its best, captures the eye, appeals to the heart and satisfies the mind…It can help sell the most mundane items and to give them real purpose.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MT: Packaging is my passion, it started from my love of sculpture and form as a young artist and design allows me the best of both worlds to produce a piece of packaging that is not only stunning, but unique and meaningful with real purpose for our clients.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MT: I have not got a favourite piece I love all design that has a true purpose, a true meaning, uncluttered and pure raw design.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MT: My first piece of packaging was for a chocolate company. But my first design was for a Nike campaign I was working on.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MT: I love to use many different materials in my designs, I particular like flexible poly and glass. I am a digital designer, but with a traditional slant.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MT: Creativity is not something that can be turned on like a tap. You are either creative or you are not. It is something you cannot teach. I feel most creative when we are having a design/brain storming meeting in the studio. I love the interaction of other like-minded, passionate people; ideas really come alive!

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MT: I think you need to consider all the aspects. From the point of view of a piece of packaging, the surface graphics i.e. fonts, colours and imagery, the material if it is suitable for the job. The print method will it give the desired affect that I am after. All these factors are needed, to be considered to create a good design.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MT: Joy and excitement even after 30 some years, I still design with enthusiasm and most of all passion!

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MT: Electric I feel alive. I have been in design for over 30 years now and I am as passionate today as I was when I started in design.

FS: What makes a design successful?
MT: Very good question. A combination of things: colours, fonts and the imagery used all become integral to the success. I love to experiment with tactile materials as I find this also can help stimulate the senses.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MT: I do not like to judge or comment on other designers' work really, as I do not know the full brief they were commissioned to do. But when I look at other packaging design I look at the typographic used especially the kerning to see if they have just set the text using a computer’s setting or if they have considered the inter character spacing. To me design is all about space around the design.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MT: As a designer and especially a packaging designer I feel a huge responsibility to the environment that I share with my fellow creatures. I do not believe in over packaging and I am working on design concepts for one of the UK’s largest retailers to reduce significant product carbon footprints.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
MT: I think design has taken on a whole new meaning and importance in today’s world. Clients want design with true meaning and not just with decoration. I feel people love and appreciate design more than ever! With the advances in technology and digital media the impossible is now possible which is extremely exciting. There are no boundaries to what can be achieved as long as we can dream we can create.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MT: The last exhibition Kre8ive Partners exhibited at was back in 2012 at the ‘Business Design Centre’ in London, but our work was part of a design show more recently in Paris in 2016. I not sure when we will exhibit again as a studio as we find time is to pressing to spend long periods of time out of the studio. But we never say never!

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MT: From everywhere, as a designer you are like a sponge soaking up inspiration. It can be from a simple walk in the woods with my dog or a visit to an art gallery or even a shopping trip to a super market.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
MT: My approach to all my designs is less is more, to keep the design to its simplest, none cluttered or over-worked or fussed. But if there is a call for a more complicated design then the most important point to consider is what to leave off and what is not needed in the design I think this is the art of true design, which is my approach and kind of style to my way of thinking to design.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
MT: I live in the United Kingdom and am immensely proud to be a British designer. We have huge influences everywhere in England, and I strongly believe we have some of the best designers and visionaries in the world. And for me to be part of the design community, not only is Britain but in the world, is a great honour as design is so important but more importantly I believe without creative people doing creative work the world is a less colourful place to live.

FS: How do you work with companies?
MT: We work with any size of company to us the project is the most important as long as we get excited and infused we will get involved. We have some of our clients that have worked with us for over 20 years, which we are very proud to be part of their current and on going success. I love to built a brand from just a simple pencil sketch into a world leader. I am a traditionally train designer, a designer using tools as simple as a pencil and marker pen. The technology helps us to create our designs more efficiently and many be more quicker, but they do not design.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MT: A good question, word of mouth is a very good way to be introduce to a designer. I do not agree with free pitches I have been asked to take part in them but I feel it devalues my craft. We have also met clients through exhibitions when they have visited my stand.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MT: Every project starts with a pencil and pad, I come from a traditional background, and only use my mac as a tool. I feel you can get so many ideas down on paper even before you started the machine up. It also helps me clear my mind from the clutter and makes me decide on fundamental decision for the design i.e. fonts, layout, imagery. Then once I turn to my mac I have already got a clear understanding of the kind of font I wish to use be it sans, serif or script which can reduce wasted time in going through our 10 + thousand fonts.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MT: I would say 1. My Wireless Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin speaker - for its ergonomic, simplistic shape. 2. My iMac - detailed to the extreme 3. My Mazda RX8 - just beautiful 4. My Fisher & Paykel Dish Drawer Dish Washer - stunningly simplistic 5. My A0 drawing board - old but a design classic

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
MT: Every day is different in the studio. I start the week with a plan with what needs to be done, but it can easily be changed and turned on its head with a simple phone call or email, but that’s what makes life exciting sometimes - the unknown and the way you adapt and reorganise the traffic through the studio.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MT: Listen to your peers, watch them how they work, do not be frightened to ask questions how ever ridiculous you think the question is. But most of all have fun! Design is not a job it is a way of life!

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MT: I have enjoyed my life, working on some of the biggest brands in the world, working with some fantastic like-minded creatives. These are some of my positives my negative is that I live my complete life to deadlines. I have become a time control freak!

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MT: ‘Less is more’ it is important to know what to leave out as well as what to leave in on a design. A design layout needs air to breathe yet to be unique and distinct.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MT: For me creativity is key, but I think you need to be passionate, enthusiastic, understanding and patient. Knowing my own mind helps me guide my clients to the right decision and direction to take. Listening to your clients needs is paramount, but you need the strength to stand up for what you believe is right for the client and in turn what is right for the design/brand.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MT: For me it all starts with my trusty pencil and markers, I am a traditionally trained designer. But once I have the initial ideas and thoughts out and down on my pad. I take to the mac. Software packages are illustrator, photoshop, strata, iC3D. Sources of inspirations - everywhere, art galleries, nature, my scrap books and sketch books.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MT: Time management is key to keeping costs down and within budget and to keeping to deadline. My studio runs on a FileMaker job bag system, so technology certainly has a part to play here. But I think as you progress with your design career you become very much aware of time and that the client will only pay so much for it.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MT: It depends, if it is a piece of standard packaging it can be a few weeks. But I like to take the standard and turn it on its head. I love the challenge of designing something that pushes the boundaries and taking the impossible and coming up with a solution that has a new view on it.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MT: Can you design it to our tight deadline and budget.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
MT: I have be so fortunate to work on some amazing projects from the Sea Containers ‘Blue Ribbon’ Trans-Atlantic Crossing Challenge to numerous launches for Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. I think my most prestigious project was when I designed and created for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England. Our relationship started when I was working for another design company. I was a key team member who created both ‘The Royal Farms’ and ‘The Windsor Farm Shop’ brands, in which we worked closely with His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. The experience was second to none, as the brand icons are now part of ‘The Royal Archives’. The whole project was huge, high profile and very pressurised as the amount of work that was needed to be produced was to a very short and tight deadline. There were over 500 items that needed to be designed, sourced and branded from milk packaging to whisky and champagne packaging, to a simply branded carrier bag to an intricate piece of Point of Sale. The project was massively exciting but on the other hand hugely worrying, as I knew the World’s press was going to scrutinise every little detail I did.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
MT: I am proud to work in many sectors of the design business. Some of my clients are: Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment Fisher & Paykel BAFTA Royal Farms Windsor Imperial War Museum (All 5 sites) Gilbertson & Page (144 year old pet food company) Maple Leaf Bakery UK division ITV The Women’s Institute Vonziu Elite Teva Goldenfry Tesco

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MT: I am passionate about packaging. I love to work on brands large or small and make a real major difference to my clients.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MT: I would love to be recognised more by my peers for my design work. To work even more internationally. And to do what I love to do… produce stunning, beautiful design.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MT: It depends, I am a team player and have worked in large and small design teams, and have headed-up many teams, but I do enjoy working on all aspects of the design from creating the brand to designing and producing the final piece of packaging.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MT: I would love to discuss our work in the pipeline, but we can only talk about it once it is in the marketplace due to client confidentiality.

FS: How can people contact you?
MT: People can contact me via my email mark@kre8ivepartners.com or at the studio on tel. +44 (0) 1462 455555

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
MT: No I think your questions have been very thorough and precise.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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