The dissolution of Din Associates looks set to spawn a raft of start-ups. What advice would you give to new businesses in the retail design arena?

Choose a really stupid name, wear brown and get yourself an interesting haircut. Seriously, my advice is to surprise, delight and innovate. Never free-pitch, and network with like-minded companies before you decide to get too big. Don’t be afraid to charge your fees according to what you know is correct, not according to what you think will win the project. Get a good accountant and don’t spend the money that you’ll need to keep aside for the tax man. Oh, and find yourself a good bank manager – and when you do find one, send me his name and number.

Callum Lumsden, Lumsden Design Partnership


Jonathan Clarke

Understand your individual talents and understand the potential value that you bring to a client and its project. It is very easy to begin to take on projects at reduced fees to secure the business, however this may become a dangerous precedent that is hard to reverse. Someone will always do the project cheaper, but you need to have confidence in your talent and the ‘thoroughness’ of your service, even if you lose the project.

Jonathan Clarke, Director, Universal Design Studio

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