The scriptures tell of the AHOY studio being built around Matthew, he’s been here for so long. Matthew’s seen it all over the years, he’s seen AHOY grow from a three-piece outfit, to an agency that’s roughly the same size as the Polyphonic Spree, give or take a few heads. Here, Matthew recounts how the AHOY you see today was very nearly called Chip Butty instead…
You’ve worked at loads of other agencies, what brought you to AHOY?
I’d recently moved to Manchester and didn’t have a job. Mark offered me one and I said “yes”. Bingo.
How does working at AHOY differ to working for other agencies?
It’s much more relaxed than other agencies. It seems a small thing but to get that right and for it to still be an industrious agency is an incredible achievement, I think.
Describe an average working day for you at AHOY?
Tea. Work on a number of projects throughout the day. Occasionally chip in on office banter.
Which clients are you most excited to be working with?
There’s something in every project that I’ll enjoy getting my teeth into – whether it’s improving an existing site, designing a new logo or starting to create a brand completely from scratch. SurveyMe was a great example – the design overhaul was so extreme, and it started to pay dividends for the client almost immediately.
Do you have any good stories from any of the projects you’ve worked on at AHOY?
In the early days we were called Bourn but we needed to change it due to poor phonetics. Mark wanted a wacky, eccentric, Northern name that stood out. Chip Butty was put forward as one of them and I just couldn’t stand it. It was an argument escalated fairly quickly, as we had been hunting for the perfect name for a weeks and were tired. Two grown men having a blazing row over a name – that’s just how strange our profession really is. Thankfully AHOY was put forward and everyone loved it, including Mark.
How did you end up in design?
I studied it from GCSE level to degree and was lucky enough to land a job in it.
How do you find working in Heaton Moor compared to working in central Manchester?
It makes driving into work really easy as you’re going against the usual flow – which is kind of what AHOY is all about, come to think about it. As long as you don’t have a deep fear for buggies you’ll be fine – there’s a lot of mums in Heaton Moor!
What’s the best piece of industry or work-related advice you’ve ever received?
Take pride in your work but don’t be precious.
What’s the worst piece of industry or work-related advice you’ve ever received?
I tend to forget the bad advice… or just ignore it.
Are there any strings you’d like to add to your designer/developer/account director bow?
There’s always room for more strings. Improving upon your design skills in every project happens most days, whether it’s experimenting with new things, trying new techniques – things like that. I’d always like improve my photography skills too, and I wouldn’t mind spending more time with animation software and editing tools.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing instead?
I’m sure I’d still be doing something with a creative edge. God knows what though.
Where are you from originally? How does Heaton Moor compare to your original stomping grounds?
Nottingham, originally. Manchester is much more culturally vibrant. It’s bigger, the people are great. It feels a lot like home.
Have you always been creatively inclined?
I think so… you’d have to ask my parents!
Any albums or songs on repeat at the moment?
Jungle, The 2 Bears and Morrissey are pretty much constantly in rotation for me.
Where’s your favourite night out spot?
Legends. But they closed it down a couple of years ago to build a hotel. Haven’t managed to find anywhere else yet that quite stands up to it.
What TV series or film do you recommend at every chance you get?
Anything by Michel Gondry. I also have a thing for anything with Jennifer Lawrence in it at the moment.