The year was 1998. Tony Blair held the position of prime minister, Nokia phones were all the rage, Microsoft stood as the world’s largest company, and the scandal involving Clinton and Lewinsky captured headlines. It was during this eventful year that I made a few life-altering decisions: leaving my design job, getting married, and establishing my own one-person design agency.
Armed with £4000 in savings, I took a leap of faith and invested it all in a laptop, some stationery, and the first month’s rent in the run-down district of Shoreditch, which ironically transformed into London’s coolest place after my departure.
The initial years of Crush were a period of relentless hustling, as I sought out record companies and took on any album artwork projects that came my way. Cerys Matthew’s band, Catatonia, became my first regular clients. Over the course of several years, I navigated he ever-shifting landscape of the music industry, designing everything from techno compilations to classical violin concerts.
By 2002, the music industry had undergone significant changes, with £10k budgets for album covers becoming a thing of the past. Sensing the need for a shift, my wife Helen and I decided to move to Brighton after the birth of our daughter, Stella. Fearing that no one would work with me if they knew I had left London, I maintained a London address and telephone number, keeping our escape from the metropolis a secret.
Working from a tiny back room in Brighton, Helen convinced me to invest £100 in an advertising agency contact list. With the month’s mortgage borrowed from my mum, I diligently reached out to everyone on that list.
And luck was on my side — a London-based ad agency took a liking to my work, and in a whirlwind of creativity, I found myself in Amsterdam clutching my mobile in anticipation of the birth of my son Gus, pitching to Heineken for a global dance music festival. Against all odds, I secured a contract that transformed Crush from a one-designer operation to a team of four overnight, with five years’ worth of work lined up.
Crush was now on the road, and the valuable experience I gained from the music industry days swiftly translated into working with prominent brands, attracting a youthful audience.
As the years passed, Crush grew gradually, adding one or two team members every couple of years. Throughout it all, I have remained at the core of the creative process, firmly believing that exceptional creative output will always lead to more work. After 25 years, I find myself surrounded by an incredibly talented group of individuals, working with some of the biggest brands in the world, all from our humble city of Brighton.
To all the remarkable people I’ve encountered throughout my career, many of whom have become my closest friends, I extend my heartfelt gratitude. You have played a significant role in shaping my world.
Lastly, I would like to thank Helen for being so supportive of my creative obsessions since the beginning of Crush.
This website highlights just a few of the 4000+ projects we have completed in the 25 year journey.
Here’s to the next 25 years of Crush Creative…
Founder & Creative Director