We’re putting our Head of Design, Leigh Felstead under the microscope! In another edition of 10 Questions With… we’re asking him the all-important questions on creative processes in foodservice and what he’s inspired by, but we also want to know what’s on his office playlist, as usual! Read on to find out what makes Cracked’s chief designer tick.

  1. Let’s start with an easy one. How did you get into creative design?

I was always interested in art, design, and photography when I was young. I studied design technology in my GCSEs and then in my A-levels as well. My Nana was very artistic, and I used to sit with her as a child and watch her paint — I was mesmerised by how easy it looked for her! I would carry around paper and pencils wherever I went and draw all the time, so moving into graphic design seemed like a natural step for me.

2. What do you like about being a designer in foodservice marketing?
Every job has its pros and cons, and the design career pathway is no different. It’s not all Mad Men, with million-pound budgets and clients saying, “I love it, that’s exactly what we were after!” But I love what I do, and it makes it all worthwhile when you exceed a client’s expectations — no matter the size of the budget or the project. One reason I feel fortunate to work in food and drink is because it can be so varied and exciting, especially compared to some industries out there. I also love food, so that’s a bonus!

3. What’s your favourite part about heading up the studio team?
My favourite part of heading up the studio is working with such a creatively diverse team. Everyone has different ideas and opinions and they constantly challenge me. I love that we have such a talented team that can approach briefs from different perspectives.

4. Where do you go for inspiration?
It might sound cliché, but I get inspiration from everywhere and anything. I could be walking down the street and see something that sparks an idea, or simply chatting to a friend over a coffee… ideas can come from anywhere! I also follow a lot of design blogs, Instagram accounts and websites, all of which are great for being inspired by other designers.

5. Is there an ideal process for taking the seed of an idea into a full-blown concept for you or is every project different?
I think you always need a concrete understanding of a brief — without that you’ll never get to the crux of what’s being asked of you. Research is key, whether that’s to gain an understanding of what competitors are doing, or to help inspire and develop an idea. It’s also important to collaborate throughout. I love the process of sharing ideas across the team, selecting the best and pushing it to the next level!

6. What makes you proud?
When clients see that we’ve understood exactly what they need. It’s not always easy, but it’s a great feeling when you’re both on the same page and they can see the direction of your idea and where you’ve taken it. I’m also proud of creating great work as a team, work that everyone is proud of — colleagues and clients alike.

7. You’ve got carte blanche to come up with the new logo for a massive food brand. Where do you start?
I’d spend time learning as much as possible about the brief and the brand, researching competitors, and formulating ideas. It’s always good to look beyond the market that you’re working in — for example, can I apply a similar approach that I’m seeing in a recent car campaign to this brief?

8. What’s the one thing about the world of design that you’d change? (This could be a trope, a cliché, a way of working… anything!)
That’s a tough one! Maybe how designers are sometimes perceived. Good integrated designers must be skilled as well as talented. They need be able to work with and understand lots of different software programmes, possess technical skills in layout, artworking, understand different printing methods and digital set up… and on top of this they need to be creative too!

9. It’s your last meal on Earth. What are you eating?
I love seafood, especially paella! I think every cuisine has amazing, delicious dishes to offer. The English often get mocked for having bland food, but I love a Beef Wellington or a great Fillet Steak.

10. And finally, the question on everyone’s lips: what’s on your agency playlist?

My music taste is very broad, from rock and brit pop to reggae and soul, all the way through to hip-hop and dance. It totally depends on what I’m doing and the mood that I’m in! I like to listen to dance music when I need some pace, and more classic/current rock if I’m looking to get some ideas flowing.