Newcastle’s NE6 leads Coates back to McIlroy

McIlroy Coates founders David Coates and Ian McIlroy are reuniting. Coates last week left Newcastle consultancy Yellow M to set up NE6, an offshoot of McIlroy’s Edinburgh consultancy EH6.

Coates, who was managing director of Yellow M’s design wing for eight months, is staying on Tyneside where NE6 will be based. He plans to hire around five designers initially.

Eventually, he aims to have around a dozen staff, a similar size to EH6. The network could expand further into other cities in the north, he says.

Coates and McIlroy set up McIlroy Coates in 1981. They both left around a decade later, McIlroy to set up EH6 and Coates to move to Italy.

Coates says NE6 gives him the opportunity to develop Newcastle’s first “pure” design consultancy. Yellow M also offers advertising and direct marketing. NE6 will be part of EH6 but a “separate enterprise”, he adds.

Debbie Douglas, joint managing director of EH6, will be working closely with Coates while McIlroy will continue to be wholly based in Edinburgh. Douglas describes NE6 as “a positive, proactive move”.

Coates says the buoyant mood in Newcastle gives NE6 a great chance of success. Primarily grounded in graphics, NE6 will also look to explore other design disciplines in time.

Coates is full of praise for Yellow M, likewise Yellow M’s managing director of advertising Ben Quigley stresses his encouragement for Coates and NE6. Both feel Newcastle can become a creative hotspot to rival Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.

Yellow M has promoted account director Michael Hynes to fill Coates’s old position.

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