Moves and changes: design industry news

All the latest moves and changes across the design industry.


Design Business Association board director Jos Harrison

The Design Business Association (DBA) has voted in a new board director, Reckitt’s global head of brand experience and design, Jos Harrison. Two existing board directors – 2LK partner and executive creative director Andy Sexton and NatWest Group head of design and new digital solutions Stephanie Verschoor – have been reappointed for a further term of three years.

After various terms of service, three board members – Coley Porter Bell CEO Vicky Bullen, Volvo Group head of UX design chapter, digital delivery and IT Pernilla Johansson and Diageo global design director Jeremy Lindley – will step down. Lindley was first elected to the DBA’s board in 2015 and served as chair of the board for three years, between 2019 and 2022.

NB managing director Kate Illingworth

Kate Illingworth has been promoted to the role of managing director at NB Studio. Illingworth joined the team in 2018 from Design Bridge. NB Studio founding partner Nick Finney says: “Kate has been a key part of NB’s recent growth plans and this promotion recognises her talent and achievement across all areas of the business.”

Danish Greentech company Mater – known for its sustainable furniture and waste material experimentation – has announced Brian Walker as its new chairman of the board. Walker previously served as the CEO of Herman Miller and brings over 14 years of experience to the role.

Wunderman Thompson head of product design Anna Jehan

Wunderman Thompson UK has appointed Anna Jehan as its new head of product design. Jehan will work across the GE and Specsavers accounts, as well as others, adding to the agency’s 50-strong team of designers in the London office.

John Buckingham has been appointed head of Kia Next Design Exterior Group as the car manufacturer looks to expand its design capabilities and build on its EV portfolio. Buckingham will work alongside Vice President Teck Koun Kim and head of Kia Next Design Group, with Kim overseeing exterior, interior and also colour, material and finish design, while Buckingham will focus more on exterior design.

Istoria Group – which comprises exhibition and events specialists Ignition, hospitality and retail designers Phoenix Wharf, and digital transformation studio Tiny Spark – has made two new group-level appointments. Silka Mitchell has joined as group creative director and Bryn Isaac will take on the role of group financial director.

Pearlfisher executive director of strategic business development Justine Allen

Pearlfisher has promoted Justine Allan to executive director of strategic business development. Since joining Pearlfisher in 2016, Allan has worked across multinational and startup brands in areas such as CPG, consumer tech, and real estate.

Global experience design company Imagination has promoted Chad Hines to director of business development for the Americas. Hines was previously responsible for the business development of Detroit and will aim to continue promoting growth and sourcing new business across the whole North American region.


Brand consultancy Thompson has been appointed to deliver branding and content for Kent’s Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Recovery services (D&AR) by Kent County Council. Thompson won the work via a competitive pitch, to which it responded with a brand strategy built around user-centred design. The design work will look to raise awareness, create more navigable signposting for services and also destigmatise the experience.

Volvo’s design studio in Shanghai

Volvo has unveiled its new, state-of-the-art Design Studio Shanghai in a move to expand its global design offering. It joins its existing studios in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Camarillo, California.

Manufacturing company BRP – leaders in the snow mobile and personal watercraft industries – has opened its first European Design and Innovation Centre, located in the Sophia Antipolis technology park in the south of France. The centre will carry out advanced concept studies on sustainable urban mobility and have a large role in BRP’s global electrification strategy.

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