Profile: Departures

This week Wales hosts a Design Festival in Cardiff, where Departures has made its base and is already changing perceptions of design in the Welsh capital. Clare Dowdy talks to the group’s creative directors to find out how

Poster for Romeo & Juliet

He acknowledges that outsiders have a preconception (and poor opinion) of Welsh design, and he is trying to turn that around. And it’s probably true that most people in the design industry outside Wales would be hard pushed to name a Welsh consultancy. ‘You have to work harder here to push things and get recognition from your peers outside Wales,’ says Phillips.

However, he doesn’t like to think of his three-strong consultancy as a Cardiff consultancy, but a group which happens to be based in Cardiff. ‘We don’t want to be the best design consultancy in Cardiff, but to be among the best anywhere,’ he says, citing Farrow Design, Spin and Saturday. Indeed, much of its work wouldn’t look out of place among the portfolios of these groups. And some pieces, such as the Romeo and Juliet work, have turned up in the D&AD book.

It’s not just outsiders who are put off by Welsh design. ‘(Local) clients think they need to go to London to get the best work,’ Phillips laments. However, he and Griffith battle to win the juicy projects and then to push good work through. For Departures, all this effort is about raising the bar and doing things differently. And, so far, the effort seems to be paying off.

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