Stewart Devlin

ptw16-stewart-devlin

CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER RED PEAK, NEW YORK

From Stewart Devlin’s perspective, design is a valuable, if often underestimated, asset in business. Throughout his career, Stewart has demonstrated that the thoughtful application of design principles, executed well, can have a massive impact ‒ whether the product is fresh-baked bread, the chip inside a computer, or a nonprofit’s services. After graduating from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, Stewart has honed his skills first in London and now, New York. He has worked as a creative director at a variety of agencies, from packaging (Lewis Moberly, Williams Murray Hamm and Desgrippes Gobe) and advertising (TAXI) to branding (The Partners and Red Peak). Along the way, he’s branded islands and created identities for companies in media and retail; he has packaged oils and hard liquor and tackled 21st-century typographic dilemmas with the creation of a global, proprietary font. As Red Peak’s Chief Creative Officer, Stewart oversees a design studio staffed with teams expert in disciplines from graphic design and brand strategy to photography and art direction. His work has been widely honored.

WHERE OR HOW DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR DESIGN WORK?
For me it’s about becoming completely absorbed and obsessed with trying to solve the problem. I surround myself with stuff ‒ research, books, magazines and I sketch. This process allows inspiration to come from anywhere, at any time.

HOW DOES WHERE YOU WERE BORN, GREW UP OR LIVE NOW AFFECT YOUR DESIGN SENSIBILITY OR STYLE?
I grew up on a farm in Northern Ireland. Simplicity and story telling were a big part of my upbringing. As a kid I never got bored. I was a tinkerer, always making something. I now live in Soho NYC, in a building exclusively for people who work in the arts. The similarities are striking.

FAVORITE COLOR?
Changes a lot, but at the moment, Green

FAVORITE TYPEFACE?
I don’t have one

FAVORITE TV SHOW?
Blackadder, a BBC series from the 80’s, still brilliant

FAVORITE BOOKS?
I’ve been obsessed with books since childhood. I’m a big collector of art, design and photography books. I could open a bookstore. My last purchase was Herb Lubalin: American Graphic Designer (1918-81)

FAVORITE MOVIES?
Scenes from movies stay with me: the opener of Once Upon a Time in the West, the chariot scene in Ben Hur, and the final scene of Raging Bull, are a few I love.

FAVORITE MUSICIANS OR BANDS?
I went to college in the North of England, near Manchester. I still love the bands from that time and place: The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Joy Division, The Chemical Brothers.

FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA?
Instagram

FAVORITE FINE ARTISTS?
Richard Serra, James Turrell, David Hockney Saul Steinberg

GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
Strength is seeing the big picture. Weakness is not concentrating on the details.

TALENT YOU WISHED YOU POSSESSED?
I wish I could write like Samuel Beckett.

ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Identify the best in the business, then do whatever it takes to work with them.

IF NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
Furniture maker

A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
If it’s for you, it won’t go past you

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