Jason arrives in the studio sweaty and leaves sweaty. He is a talented road cyclist and sprints to work. And with his frighteningly intense attitude to design he leaves just as pumped.
You’ve worked at loads of other agencies, what brought you to AHOY?
The sex, fame and fortune – obviously. Seriously though, I was at a point where I needed to build on my experience and learn more, while taking on new challenges. When I joined, AHOY was a much smaller team, which allowed me to grow as a designer and experience a greater breadth of different projects, make mistakes and take on more responsibility. I didn’t know Mark at the time, but I’d heard of AHOY, and when I went for my Interview Mark outlined his ambitions for the agency, which I really got on board with. I think his vision for the future of AHOY struck a cord with me. He offered me the job and that was that!
How does working at AHOY differ to working for other agencies?
From my experience, I’d say that AHOY offers something more, especially for designers. We’re very lucky as we’re pretty much allowed free rein on projects – as long as our concepts are shit hot and we can sell them, we can do what we want. That level of trust must come from Mark being a designer himself, along with his ballsy attitude to things. Other agencies tend to be quite structured, restricting creative freedom to creative directors – whereas here we can have the satisfaction of working on projects from start to finish. Even the simple pleasure of seeing something we’ve designed come back from the printers isn’t something you necessarily get at other places. Plus, I think it’s fair to say that we’re all generally very open with one another in the studio.
Describe an average working day for you at AHOY?
I usually arrive to work sweaty, at about 8:30 after a long bike ride in. I get myself cleaned up, grab breakfast and then crack on with whatever I’m working on for that day You can be working solid on a project for days or be on bits and pieces which need to go to print that day, it’s quite varied, really.
Which clients are you most excited to be working with?
I honestly can’t say I have a clear preference, because I never think that it matters what the client is – it’s up to you to make the project exciting. That said, I’d love to work on a cultural event like a festival, art gallery or museum at some point in my design career.
Do you have any good stories from any of the projects you’ve worked on at AHOY?
There have been a few “questionable” choices of stock used for print… Let’s just say we try a lot of things and not everything works out!
How did you end up in design?
Well, it could have ended up quite differently. At various points in my life I’ve wanted to be a pilot, an electrician, a drummer and a rugby player. They all kind of happened in their own weird ways, but I never really stuck with them. I was probably a bit too young, in all honesty.
Ever since I was very small I was drawing, creating things, taking things apart and finding out how they worked. One thing I loved to do was technical drawing, which was a bit strange but all of those things lead nicely to design. So in that sense, I’ve always been creative.
I was at college studying Art & Design, then I went on to study Music Tech. I started designing posters, album artwork and other bits for bands and friends. It was a bit of an epiphany for me when I started to quite enjoy it. After a year and a bit of Music Tech, I dropped out and started a Graphic Design course at college, then went on to study it at university. I was offered a job halfway through my uni course, and started working at my first agency.
How do you find working in Heaton Moor compared to working in central Manchester?
It’s good. Gives me chance to ride my bike a bit! I think clients enjoy coming here too, it’s so much easier to park here and you don’t have the same difficulties with traffic that you do in the city centre.
What’s the best piece of industry or work-related advice you’ve ever received?
Make sure you enjoy what you do. If you stop enjoying it, it’s time for a change.
What’s the worst piece of industry or work-related advice you’ve ever received?
That quark is the future.