SCA Spotlight on…Andy Wallace, Associate Creative Director, Bulletproof

Hi Andy! Tell us a bit about yourself and what a day looks like in the life of you

My name is Andy and I’m an Associate Creative Director here at Bulletproof and I’ve been in the design industry for over 15 years.

My current role is looking after the Cadbury account from a global creative perspective. Due to the size of this brand and account it really is a team effort and that’s what I enjoy the most – the different departments of the agency coming together to solve problems. This includes receiving briefs from clients, working closely with the strategy team to set the foundations for how we feel is best to approach the project and then again working closely with the design team to bring this to life through big ideas that ladder up to the overall Cadbury brand purpose. Setting the brand purpose and bringing this to life through a Sensory Brand World is so important and sets the foundations of what all creative work. More on that to come… 

So a typical day starts with a couple of cups of tea, a mix of all the above, along with presenting this to the client and bringing them on the journey.

Tell us a bit about Bulletproof. What makes you different from other agencies?

Established in 1998, we are an independent strategic brand design agency. We specialise in Sensory Brand World, and this in a nutshell looks at how a brand acts, looks, speaks, sounds and feels at every interaction – whether this is on social media, a piece of packaging or even an in-store experience, everything should communicate the creative idea.

As an agency we work on some of the world’s biggest brands across a range of sectors like Johnnie Walker, Cadbury, Smirnoff,, and the Welsh Football Association. On the other side of the spectrum, we also work on smaller start-ups such as Genie Drinks, Soapsmith and Ten Toes. Working on brands at different scales and across different sectors really helps keep us fresh and agile.

We’re based in Covent Garden, which is a dream location and after the last couple of years where working from home has become normal, getting back into the studio and feeling the buzz in the area is exactly what’s needed and what we’ve missed. We also have studios in New York, Singapore, Amsterdam, Sydney and most recently, Shanghai. 

What’s the most memorable campaign you’ve worked on at Bulletproof?

The new Easter Cadbury range that’s out at the moment. By far the highlight of the job for me is still seeing work you have been part of out in the wild. When you work on a brand like Cadbury this is highlighted even further as it’s a brand of the nation and you know you’re going to see it everywhere. 

 What are you most looking forward to out of a partnership with the SCA?

New talent is the lifeblood of our industry and is arguably even more important now than it’s ever been ‘post’ pandemic. Bringing new energy, skills, naivety and ways of thinking breathes fresh life into the industry and keeps it progressive. What excites me about partnering with SCA means we get to see some of the most hungry, ambitious and creative talent that may not have been fully recognised yet. I then hope we can share some of our knowledge that we’ve picked up with our years in the industry to help creatives find the best avenues and ways in. A lot of the time young creatives aren’t aware of all the different roles that are available and how you might take a specialism and bring that to life within an agency, so it’s great to be able to help bridge that gap.

SCA partners are integral to our scholarship initiatives for underrepresented talent. Why do you think diversity in our industry is so important?

Talent is talent and design is consumed by everyone. No matter of nationality, race, gender or background, the more diverse we are as an industry the more interesting it becomes. As an agency when we receive a brief the more diverse our people are, the more ideas and different ways of solving the problem we will have.

What skills or key qualities do you look for when hiring for your team?

Enthusiasm and passion. If you always have that desire to learn and continue to get better that will put you in good stead. If you can’t talk about your work with passion and enthusiasm, you can’t expect others to get excited by it. 

What’s happening in the creative industry at the moment? We hear it’s booming!

The best thing about the creative industry is that it never stands still, even during the peak of the pandemic the work coming out of the studio was jaw dropping – I was amazed how we adapted so quickly to collaborating remotely (I shouldn’t have been). There’s also never been such a diverse set of skills and talent in the studio as there is now. Again, it is incredibly exciting knowing we can pull on that level of expertise.

Recommended Reading for aspiring creatives.

For me there are 2 books from Paul Arden that I think are genius –

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be’ and ‘Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite’.

These are both full of nuggets of wisdom and even after reading them it’s always worth a quick refresh from time to time. D&AD annuals are always worth flicking through if you can pick one up or view online – they’re full of the best ideas across all sectors in any given year. If you see something that really stands out, google it, do your research and delve a bit deeper; there’s always more to find out and learn how it came about.

In terms of blogs there’s so many but my go-to ones are: It’s nice that, Design Week, Under Consideration, Dieline, Creative Boom, Design Taxi and I love typography

Who do you most admire in the creative industry and why?

Paul Smith has always been a design icon for me. I love fashion and coming down to London and seeing his stores as a teenager was always super inspiring to me – I love how he’s continued to evolve and stay relevant over such a prolonged period of time. There are also people like Alan Kitching, Anthony Burrill, Yinka Ilori, Thomas Heatherwick, Anish Kapoor and Zaha Hadid that I love.

Top tips and advice for anyone wanting to succeed in the creative industry.

What excites you – what do you look at out in the world and think “I would love to do that.” It could be a campaign, a piece of packaging, photography, illustration, anything. Then find out who did it and try to speak to them, find out if they are hiring or offer a placement scheme. I used to walk round supermarkets looking at the best pieces of packaging, I would then google who did it and then go from there – eventually after enough pestering I got into the industry I absolutely love.

What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

I’ve been lucky to work with some amazingly talented people over the years, but I think the one that stands out to me the most is actually a print from someone I admire from the industry, and mentioned above – Anthony Burrill: ‘Work hard and be nice to people’. A very simple and straight to the point northern star for me.

Check out SCA partners, Bulletproof here

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