Interview with David Pearman

1. When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?

Perhaps unusually, at a very early age. I was already designing things like posters, flyers, and menus before I knew that it was a thing called design. I had always loved drawing and sketching. People used to ask me if I could make a poster or a sign for one thing or another, and so I did.

Once when I was ten, I drew up an entire menu board for a local pizza take away shop. It took ages, drawing every piece of type by hand across about twenty-five flavours on an A2 board – and for that I received the princely sum of £5 and a free pizza! Not sure it covered the price of my felt tips.

And then one day English artist Tony Hart showed a design studio on one of his programmes, and they were designing a logo. I thought, ‘Wow that’s a job? That’s what I want to do’. So, in my art classes I started channelling design into what I was doing, drawing book covers, and the rest is history!

2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?

That was I how I started. The only hurdle as such were my parents. Being very sensible, they thought that it was probably wise not to focus everything on design. I carried on studying Maths and Physics just in case Art didn’t work out. It was helpful as those subjects are very structured and logic-based. It’s about solving problems, which is what design is all about. I was very lucky to have teachers and mentors guiding me and challenging me. The rest was just hard work and long hours.

3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?

Results and referrals, clients moving to new companies and asking us to come in.

4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?

One should never take a client for granted. You must continue to deliver great work that not only answers the brief, but also surprises and pushes expectations. Always give more. It’s like any relationship.

5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?

Yes. We do sometimes, although it’s rare. We deal with it like any other agency, we work closely and holistically with a client to formulate a payment plan – although we don’t hand over the rights to the work until it’s fully paid.

In terms of advice for young designers – if you’re brilliant, come join us. But also, don’t give away your intellectual property until you’ve been paid. You’re selling creative ideas, not time.

6. What does your typical workday look like?

Busy! Once upon a time, an hours’ commute allowed me time to mull over jobs and ideas. But now, like many others working from home, work starts straight after breakfast.

There’s the usual catching up on emails and a hunt around different websites to see what’s new in the world. We work very collaboratively which means there are regular catchups with the team and discussions around how we can get the best out of each brief. Of course, there are usually a few meetings to attend or present in the day.

I take a break at lunchtime to stop and allow ideas to form and get some perspective. A bit of lunch-time distance has replaced the thinking time I would’ve spent on a morning commute.

I still go into the studio once or twice a week, as do all our staff, which helps to keep us connected. We work on a flexible system which really promotes work-life balance.

7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at This Design Life?

There is a lot that goes on in the design business.

A lot of time pressure and the requirement to keep delivering your best work. Don’t let it get on top of you. Just take one thing, one day at a time, and solve the problems in a logical order. Don’t sweat about the things that you can’t control!

Connect with
David Pearman

Check out the This Way Up agency website.

David Pearman on LinkedIn

David Pearman is Founding Partner and Creative Director at award-winning creative agency This Way Up

Overseeing This Way Up’s creative output, David is fully immersed in their partner brands, their world, and consumers. Based in London, This Way Up is on a mission to create, define, and design brands that help people live healthier lives.

The team uses its strategic understanding of the health and wellness market to deliver big ideas to food and drink brands of the future, helping them visually communicate often untold stories and magnify what truly makes them shine.

Clients include Danone, Marmite, KP Nuts, Colman’s and Tyrrell’s.

Interview published on: Nov 24, 2021

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