Moves and changes: design industry news

All the latest moves and changes across the design industry


Design Bridge and Partners chair Jim Prior

Design Bridge and Partners chair Jim Prior will leave the consultancy and WPP later this year. Prior has been at WPP since 2001, first assuming the role of CEO of The Partners, then moving to become CEO of Lambie-Nairn in 2014.

In 2018, he led the integration of The Partners, Lambie-Nairn, Brand Union, Addison and VBAT to create Superunion. Most recently, he oversaw the Superunion-Design Bridge merger, which was completed earlier this year in January.

Prior said: “It’s been a wonderful experience to work with so many talented people across WPP over the last 22 years. I’m leaving in the knowledge that Design Bridge and Partners is superbly well set for continued success, in the hands of a great leadership team.”

Athletics managing director Kristen Ord

After almost six years at brand studio Athletics, Kristen Ord has been promoted from executive director and head of client services to managing director.

In her previous role, Ord has led the account team for brands such as Citrix, IBM, Samsung, and Square. As managing director, some of her focuses will be account growth, new business, the account team, and executive leadership.

Vault 49 strategy director Charlie Hughes

Global brand experience and packaging design agency Vault49 has hired its first ever strategy director, Charlie Hughes, as it looks to grow its UK studio. Hughes will report to Vault49’s head of strategy Meg Asaro and collaborating closely with London creative director Jonny Bateman while leading work across clients including Guinness and PepsiCo.

This news follows a series of recent new hires across Vault49’s London and New York studios. In the London studio, Richard de Cazelet was hired as designer and Marina Garcia Salcedo as junior designer, with Chloe Sacrè joining as a junior strategist and Harry Shaw as junior designer in New York.

Sir John Soane’s Museum director Will Gompertz

Sir John Soane’s Museum has announced the appointment of Will Gompertz as its director. Gompertz, who is currently artistic director at the Barbican, will take up the position on 1 January 2024.

He will succeed Dr Bruce Boucher, who is retiring at the end of 2023 after nearly eight years leading the museum through what it describes as “a period of great success”, as the museum attracted record visitor numbers in 2022/23.

Global experience design company Imagination has appointed Tom Arendas as executive director in the UK and Europe. Arendas will be tasked with pushing the company into new sectors such as tech, fashion, lifestyle and youth marketing as well as expanding its core offers to include consulting, destinations, content and live.

While working in his previously role as chief creative officer at Shiraz Creative for a nine-year tenure, Arendas worked well known brands across multiple projects, including American Express, Christian Louboutin, and L’Oréal.


Ex Vault 49 partner and executive creative director Leigh Chandler has launched NYC-based, women-owned creative agency Sister Mary, which takes its name from radical Californian nun and artist Sister Mary Corita Kent. The move is part of Chandler’s goal to promote equity for women in the creative industries, after working under male founders for 20 years.

Newson’s Yard

Interior design and retail hub Newsons’ Yard will be opening this autumn on The Pimlico Road Design District in London. The development will house a mix of interior designers and brands, from Nina Campbell and The Lacquer Company to Plain English, Modernity and & Objects. The space was originally a timber yard and has a rich architectural background, with a new design that looks to pay homage to its existing character.

Woking-based design studio Liven Creative has recently achieved B Corp certification. Moving forward, it plans to publish a report detailing its progress annually and undergo a review every three years to ensure the studio is continuing to meet B Labs standards.

Start the discussionStart the discussion
  • Post a comment

Latest articles