Today is a BIG day. Zoe, our wonderful Design Director is retiring, (early we hasten to add), and we couldn’t be more excited and happy for her; but also incredibly sad to be losing such a fun, brilliant and kind soul. The Collaborators won’t be the same without her.

But before Zoe sets off on the new chapter of her life, we asked her a few questions about her career and how things have changed since she first started out in the business…

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Tell us about your career and when you joined The Collaborators?

My career started back in early 80’s as a junior finished artist. I went on to do a degree in Graphic Design at the Norwich School of Art and won a bursary and Masters Medal Young Designer of the Year with The Royal Society of Arts. I used it to travel to America to look at outdoor advertising in New York and to interview Antonio Petruccelli, the illustrator/artist of Fortune Magazine during the 1930’s.

I moved to London to start my career in Band Design working at Design House and JKR in its infancy. I then moved to Bath, working with Blue Marlin and Reach, before freelancing. I joined The Collaborators in 2017 as Design Director.

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Fortune covers by Antonio Petruccelli

How have things changed since you first started out in design?

The biggest change started early on in my career from non digital to digital. An integral part of the design process back then was to be able to explore and express your ideas /concepts through magic marker visualisation and image gathering. The thinking process began on paper flicking through books, magazines and visiting places to gather references. Everything is now at your fingertips which in someways saves time but I cant help thinking that the important immersion time has been lost.

What’s better now than it used to be?

With the events of covid and our ever-changing world, I feel that we now have a more balanced approach to how we incorporate work into our lives - more work flexibility - and that has to be a good thing. Its easy to loose your creativity when you are working 24/7 at breakneck speed….hopefully now is a time of change.

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What can we learn from how things were done in the past?

For me, it would be exploring your thoughts and ideas on paper before jumping onto the computer. Also going out and immersing yourself in the world of your subject.

What are your career highlights?

I really enjoyed working at JKR in their early days. It was such an exciting time to be part of an emerging, highly creative company. Designing Cadbury’s Fuse, (which no longer exists), from product and brand creation through to the final launch, and then gaining a design effectiveness award. It was one of Cadbury’s first new product launches in quite some time.

And what have been your highlights at The Collaborators?

I have loved the opportunities that I’ve been given to develop my illustrative skills - I guess taking me back to my more hands-on visualising, grass roots skills. I’ve really enjoyed working on Mars NPD which have been highly illustrative and fun. And also woking on Love Struck and Far Side.

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What are your favourite memories from your time at the Collaborators?

Walking through the fields at lunch time. Outdoor and indoor yoga. Our 10th birthday weekend at Watergate Bay. Cooking Christmas dinner together… Basically sharing time with a great bunch of people.

What will you miss about The Collaborators?

The people and the company ethos. Looking out for each other and working together.

What’s next? What are you looking forward to doing?

I’m looking forward to some time out… Re-connecting with my shiatsu/reiki healing practice, re-descovering my art and getting back out into nature and my allotment… So I’m going to be pretty busy!

We hope Zoe can spare some time to come back and see us. We’re really going to miss her. Good luck Zo!

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