Chris May


Chris is Chief Creative Officer of Elephant, an IPG creative company. With over 22 years of international experience, Chris is a digitally focused thinker, maker and leader for the Elephant creative team. His digitalfirst approach has allowed him to work on a wide range of products and services from building the first eCommerce platform for Boots UK Ltd to campaigns and experiences for Audi, Apple, Beats by Dre, Comcast, FX Networks, Twitch, and more. Prior to Elephant, Chris held creative leadership roles at Razorfish, AKQA and Digitas.

Looking forward to 2023, are you optimistic about the role and impact of Graphic Design and Visual Communication in Business? Culture? Causes? Have the events and disruptions of the past few years changed the role or trajectory of Graphic Design?

I’ve always been an optimist, so yes, I’m optimistic going into 2023. At Elephant we are seeing exciting opportunities around the topic of Web3. And because this is a relatively new territory with new concepts to communicate, there’s a tremendous need for Graphic Design and Communication Design to partner with these emerging companies to clarify their product, find their identity, and define their voice.

Most influential graphic designer(s) or art directors(s) of the past 60 years? Of Today?

I always go back to the work of Josef Müller-Brockman. In fact, his book, ‘Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design’ is sitting beside me as I write this. I’ve always admired his work because it still looks so fresh and timeless — and was made long before computers played a role in a designer’s toolkit. Because of that, I see a lot of great consideration, architecture, and craftsmanship in his work. It’s pure graphic design — highly functional yet beautiful.

Most influential graphic design firm(s), ad agency(s), or inhouse department(s) of the past 60 years? Today?

Often when I’m in the initial stages of a project, especially when it’s brand related, I’ll take a look at what Pentagram is doing. I see them as THE reference point. When it comes to in-house I’d say Channel 4 (TV Channel in the UK) has to be up there.

Favorite or most influential logo or branding project of the past 60 years?

Early in my career I was lucky to work with one of the designers who was part of the RAC rebrand (UK’s longest serving motoring organization) back in the 90’s, by North Design. I got to see the brand guidelines manual they created, and it was such a standout piece in terms of the sheer depth and craft … I’d never seen something so thoughtful and beautifully made.

Favorite or most influential design project or campaign in any medium for the past 60 years? (e.g., package, poster, website, ad, publication design)

I’m giving you a lot of old school references here, but I would say the work of Otl Aicher for the 1972 Munich Olympics is something to look up to — it’s a classic. Many years ago I snapped some original posters at a market in Greenwich, London.

Most influential product, service or technology of the past 60 years?