“We made a ‘rash’ choice to leave London and set up by the sea”

When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?

I grew up with it, since Dad was a marketing director who was completely passionate about his work and brought it home with him, as well as people from his agencies whom I idolised. What I learned was more on the advertising side, and my original ambition was to work as a copywriter in an ad agency – I was a wins and ratings geek in my teens – but over the years I found myself increasingly drawn to the design studios in which I gained work experience.

What was your first job?

I had the misfortune of entering the job market in the middle of a recession when writers were losing their jobs, not being recruited, so took work selling large-format digital print to agencies. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise since it taught me a heap of useful lessons about sales, financial management and production processes, not to mention humility, which have of course been invaluable in launching and growing Spring. I soon headed off to an agency but it was a great experience with which to start my career and I have been just as conscious of clients’ business realities as their creative ambitions ever since.

How would you describe what you currently do?

I’m a finely-tuned mash-up of conductor, inventor, teacher, seer, mentor, rebel, ring mistress, inquisitor and mother!

What has been the biggest change in design since you started?

Well, in a practical sense it’s the digital revolution. But if you move beyond the basics – the change from hand-made to digital – the impact of this has been that our industry has had to create value in more ways and has moved increasingly into consultancy territory. I find the ability to get under the bonnet of an organisation, and articulate our vision creatively, extraordinarily powerful. I’m very proud that we can use original thinking to create demonstrable economic impact and social change.

What is your favourite project, that you’ve worked on?

A current favourite is Look Sideways – East, an Arts Council-funded project to raise East Anglia’s profile as a cultural destination. It’s the perfect blend of long-term strategic vision and an opportunity to be properly creative in our approach: this focus on changing perceptions is something we’re also tackling for Morocco, well known for souks, and less so for surfing, seaside family holidays and being one of the world’s most welcoming places. I also love working with DanceEast, a world-class organisation with whom we have a fantastic creative partnership....more