5 MINS WITH... A Design Agency

A couple of months ago we met the fabulous design agency Mat Dolphin and thought they'd be perfect for our next '5 mins with'. Here's what they had to say...

Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

We are Mat Dolphin, the creative partnership between Phil Cook and Tom Actman. We design identities, logos, branding, websites, mailers, posters, books, annual reports, fonts, signage, packaging, apparel, large format stuff and anything else you can think of. We work with a wide range of clients including interior architects, beauty bloggers , PR agencies, bars and restaurants, high street banks and record labels.

Whats the story behind your name?

It's a closely guarded secret I'm afraid (although not impossible to work out).

What do you love / hate most about your job?

Love – We're our own bosses. We have complete control over what we do – the creative side of things, how the business is run, which projects we decide to take on, when we feel like dropping everything and going for a pint. Every decision is down to us. Hate – We're our own bosses. It's impossible to switch off and nothing is ever good enough.

What's the most interesting campaign you've worked on?

It's a cliché to say that the one we're about to work on is the most interesting but, as with most clichés, it's true. We're always most excited about what's just around the corner. That said, working with the DJ Norman Jay to rebrand his Good Times Soundsystem was a bit of a turning point for us as a company and something we were both passionate about. It was also the first time we'd seen our work in the public domain on such a scale – seeing random people at Notting Hill Carnival wandering around in T-Shirts we'd designed was pretty good.

Who wears the trousers between you?!

We share one pair with three legs.

Who inspires you?

In no particular order – Both our mums and dads, Stanley Kubrick, Peter Saville, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Roids MSK, Bjork, Rei Kawakubo, Aphex Twin, Charles Bukowski, Alex Trochut, Sanderson Bob, Ernest Hemingway, Barry Mcgee, Alan Fletcher, David Attenborough, Dash Snow, Non-Format, David Shrigley, John-Paul Thurlow, Kaws, Milton Glaser, The Designers Republic, The Sex Pistols, Mark Farrow, Ridley Scott, Adrian Shaughnessy, Ari Marcopoulos, Akira Kurosawa, Chris Cunningham, Gil-Scott Herron, Revok AWR, Steve Jobs, Stephen Hawking, Alex Turner, Mark Rothko, Zomby DDS, Anthony Burgess, Michael C. Place / Build, Alfred Hitchcock, Kool Herc, Wally Olins, Napoleon Bonaparte, Os Gemeos, Bibliothèque, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Paul Rand, Gerhard Richter, Angus Hyland, Stevie Wonder, James Jarvis, Vladimir Nabokov, Tony Hart, Paula Scher, Lee Scratch Perry, Ady Le Roux, Universal Everything, Mario Hugo, Ai Wei Wei and thousands of others.

What advice would you give to someone starting out as a designer?

Absorb everything you can. Graphic design, typography, photography, film, painting, sculpture, flower arranging. Whatever it is, if it's visually creative and interests you, study it obsessively. Then ignore it all and come up with your own ideas.

What are your favourite blogs / websites?

There are a lots we regularly check but, in my opinion, jjjjound.com is by far the best thing on the internet.

If you could have a superpower for the day, what would it be?

The ability to pause time so we could get everything done.


Check out some of their work by visiting their site, see what they're blogging about, or follow them on twitter.